Solar-SwingSet: Inside Wiring

by Ben N on September 2, 2013

The last part of setting up this solar system was actually the easiest. Running cables through conduit, digging holes, and sweating in the sun was the hard part.

Once inside, it was a simple matter to install some 1/2″ metal conduit and run it up to the disconnect box and Xantrax C-40 solar charge controller.

I first laid out the disconnect box and charge controller on a board, allowing space below the controller for the Anderson disconnect. I connected both boxes to each other with a simple thread-in piece designed just for connecting electrical boxes. After than, I screwed the boxes down to the board, and then mounted the whole unit to the wall with four deck screws.

I needed to bend the conduit out a bit, but don’t own a conduit bender, so I instead stuck the piece into the hardy hole on my anvil and pushed to bend the conduit by hand. A few thread-in connections finished the conduit from the wall box near the floor to the disconnect on the wall.

The wiring itself is actually very easy. Just a red wire and a black wire. The disconnect box allows for turning the connection to the solar panel on and off, and adds a fuse for over-current protection. On the C-40, the terminals are clearly marked to wire in the PV panel and the wires for the battery connection.

I mounted a 30-amp Anderson connection directly below the charge controller for easy access, and mounted it in place with a pair of small wood-screws. Next, I plugged in the 6 awg battery cable, and ran the other end to my electric motorcycle and a matching Anderson. After plugging in the solar cables on the roof, I flipped the disconnect switch and had power!

I was now charging the motorcycle straight from the sun! Er, well, but only at two amps. It was a terribly cloudy day. Even so, it was good to see at least a little power coming through. When the sun peeked out later, I did see the ammeter display up to 7 amps.

So, that’s it! I have officially built my own Solar Charging Station based on little more than a Craigslist playset and a locally purchased solar panel. Looking back at it, it wasn’t all that tough. The hardest part was reassembling the playset, and getting that beastly roof back on all by myself.

If you haven’t already, watch the video at the top of this post for all the details.

Until next time, I’ll be getting charged up with sunlight!

-Ben

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