Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Making a Cheap 12 Volt Timer

From guest Blogger Denise McCracken........

I have two 50 watt solar panels up, in the DC part of my system. I was thinking about putting in a timer to control the outdoor lights, but I did something much simpler. I built a box with a diode and a relay. The diode is between the solar panel power feed and the battery.

Power on the solar side will close the relay. The battery is connected to the lights through a 10 amp circuit breaker, and through the NC contacts of the relay. So, whenever the sun goes down, the lights come on. When it comes back up, relay closes, lights go out, and the batteries charge.

So far, I've gotten by without a charge controller, just the panels and this little switch box that I made.

The schematic is almost trivial, but here it is...

The circuit breaker for the lighting goes into the "to lights" wire, to protect the box and its wiring. You can find one here:

I like aircraft breakers because you can pull them to disable a circuit, if necessary. Here is the one I used.

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