William Grill figured out a way to bring more sunshine into his life.
He wanted to provide some nighttime safety for his deck. He decided on some low-voltage lighting along the staircase and a few light sticks. Grillís brother picked up a 12-volt, 40W regulator and solar panel at a garage sale. The two brothers built an application that uses the panel to grab rays from the sun and stores the energy in a 12-volt storage battery, allowing the sunís light to shine all night.
This application includes a solar panel, a power monitor, and a 12-volt storage battery.
During installation, the controllers were located in a covered porch area.
The lighting consisted of four strings of three light modules each.
The LED based light modules were modified to maintain their sealed weather proofing.
I was a bit taken aback when I started watching the video for this gadget. My first thought was that I could buy something similar to this in a store and also that the lights are way too bright to stay on at night. But the fact that the lights are on separate dimmers sold me. This is a cool gadget if you have the skill and know-how to rig it up.
What a great idea, and kills the proverbial two birds with one stone. My question: the caption for the second photo says "The LED based light modules were modified to maintain their sealed weather proofing." What was done to modify them for this purpose?
Watching the video, I was fearing for Mr. Grill's health-- he sounded decidedly winded. Also, this isn't so much a standalone gadget as it is an installation project. Nevertheless, I'd have to say he put together something worthy and interesting.
agree with earlier post. If I could find a free or low cost solar panel, I would build this, or a similar system. Without that, I would 'reverse' the main power source with the backup mains power source and just run off of AC with a backup battery and no solar! This approach would meet all functional requirements except social acceptability.
Though the result is not that effective aganst being spent much effort, time, material cost especially the wiring is pretty wirings ! Anyway I admire the strong sense of make it done spirit, I am pretty admired and respected the idea.
I agree, proent. The strength of this entry is the get-it-done spirit. There surely could have been more costly ways to accomplish it, but this designer was determined to make the garage sale items work, and he did it in impressive fashion.
The wiring is not to NEC code and I hope this isn't being backfed into the house voltage, and I didn't notice an isolator for the solar panel and an inverter. This is a great idea and works but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Don't let an inspector or insurance agent see this setup.
WhEEngineer - Not sure what the NEC or the local inspectors might have to say about the details, but from how I read the article, the solar panel setup just feeds some 12VDC auxiliary lighting. If he fed that into the house voltage it would provide a whole lot of light for about one second and then the LED's would be no more.
The 2015 Gadget Freak of the Year goes to the DDV-IP -- or, a Drink Deliver Vehicle Ė Inverted Pendulum. The gadget is a two-wheeled self-balancing robot that can deliver cold beverages to thirsty folks on a hot summer day. A wireless RF remote enables manual control of the device beyond the act of self-balancing. All of the features of the DDV-IP result in an effective delivery vehicle while providing entertainment to the users.
If you have a Gadget Freak project, we have a reader who wants to make it. And not only will you get your 15 minutes of fame on our website and social media channels, you will also receive $500 and be automatically entered into the 2015 Gadget Freak of the Year contest.
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