Thursday, January 19, 2012

Solar Lighting Project

It seems I am just filled with ideas for projects right now. Lately, I have been troubled by how dark my grandparent's driveway is. I hate having to back out of it already because it's narrow and I feel like I'm going to scrape the side of my vehicle passing by; the feeling is worse when it's dark. So, I figured, why not install some small garden lights or something to illuminate the pathway?

I have two solar panels and some 12v deep cycle batteries that aren't being used for anything and I could use those to provide the energy for the lights. Below is a rough sketch of the idea:
On the left is the power setup and on the right is how the lights might be laid out along the driveway. Notice that the wire will be direct burial so I won't have to install conduit to the lights. 

So, here's the scenario of how everything will work: During the day, the solar panel(s) will charge a 12 volt battery bank via charge controller (to prevent overcharge and generally protect the batteries). The circuit will be controlled by a timer switch programmable with ON/OFF times as indicated starting ON at 7pm and then OFF at midnight. This circuit will run the six LED lights along the driveway for hours providing enough light for adequate illumination. 

Let's say each LED light is a 12 volt input at 0.1 amps. Below is some math to determine how much power I will actually need for this setup:
This is all dependent of what type of light fixture I choose to install and it's operational wattage. 

Hopefully, I can find a good light to use for this project

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