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Solar Sound System

21 Jan

Long ago in a house faraway we owned a massive component stereo..it was a Sony and consisted of a DVD player, tape player, cd player, VCR, reciever and massive speakers. I loved the stereo but it was a power hog..we knew if we wanted to go offgrid there would be no way to power it so around 4 years ago I bought this little 12v reciever. It had great reviews with professional sound quality but it was a power sipper…So, I got rid of all my space taking gear..and took my rear speakers and this reciever as my ‘pumping stereo’. For the last 3 years we have had it hooked up in a myriad of places but the bookshelf is where is is going to life forever..so instead of just hooking it up to a car battery ( which we kept on the window sill ) we wanted a long-term sound solution that did not cramp our window. The idea is to use a 12v (5w) panel to charge a battery which runs the stereo ( on the other side of the house ).

SO, without too much thought or preparation I started. A* was out for the day so it was a perfect time to start hacking the place up..and I started with a saw to the ceiling( yellow handle, the reciever is the silver thing(power and volume..complicated!!)):
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..not pretty but I wired the panel to go in through the vent. The battery is in the attic for the winter but when spring hits I am going ot have to change locations for everything cause it will be too hot and it will kill the battery life. Perched at the top of the ladder I had a tough time getting the panel attached to the side of the house..precarious( I nearly fell over backwards as I was screwing the panel in)..don’t worry though cause if I fell I had Jango and Loki below me to cushion my fall.
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I needed some strand wiring for the battery to the charge controller so I made some with some excess wiring from the shed.
Finish making the cables…
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Bring everything to the attic..attach the panel..I attached a 12v light to make sure I had a current to signal that everything was attached correctlyimage
..and it works(as well as the ‘charging’ indicator). Now to connect the stereo. I feed some 16g wiring into the ceiling hole..
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So, moving on I head back downstairs and connect the wire to the stereo. Turn on the stereo and turn on my iPod..this way once I connect it upstains (again) the music will start blaring.
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..reseal the hole for the cable…
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..I marked the + of the wiring with red tape, connect the wires to power the stereo..and ‘RIde of the Valkryes’ starts pumping out..SWEET!
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…and the working rig after cleanup. Now we can pump tunes whenever we want without fear or running out..a long term solution ( until the spring when it changes )..we also had some car speakers donated to us too..sometime in the near future I am going to set these up under the eaves of the house so we can have both inside and outside speakers which we will be able to turn on/off inside the house..we need louder music outside..especially for gatherings(coming 2014)!

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8 Comments

Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Construction, solar

 

Tags: , , ,

8 responses to “Solar Sound System

  1. John Delp

    January 23, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Nicely done! I just hooked up my power-sucking receiver in our shop. It was with a twinge of guilt, but you can’t work without tunes! Sounds like you’ve got a nice long-term plan, I’ll have to ask you what brand receiver that is when we get around to music-ing the house up. Speakers outside is a pretty golden idea, too.

     
  2. eagergridlessbeaver

    January 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Hey John. It’s a ‘T-Amp – Super T-Amp’..I got it off thinkGeek.com actually when I finally tracked it down. Was $139 at the time..basically 1/20 of the cost of my old reciever..crazy how much money I have spent on electronics over the years!

    An audiophile friend suggested a horn speaker for outside..but that would cost money so I am just using the free ones when I do it!…really the music outside is for gardening in the summer anyway..I heard tomatoes love Bach! hehe.

     
  3. eagergridlessbeaver

    January 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    ahhhh…Bach! ( if you are a M*A*S*H* fan..)..if not sorry! hehe

     
  4. jleejj

    January 24, 2012 at 2:46 am

    I like M*A*S*H, but that was a pretty obscure reference. I had to look it up. We have a friend who likes Bach a lot. I’m partial to Tchaikovsky … please don’t look bored. :)

    When I was reading your post I had this ominous feeling the whole time, like something was going to get hooked up wrong by accident and the new receiver was going to get fried. I’m glad everything turned out okay. I hope to experiment with solar power around here at some point, but I think Robin’s still obsessed with drywall … and a respectable bathroom or something like that.

     
    • eagergridlessbeaver

      January 24, 2012 at 8:05 am

      hehe..yes obscure! I did not even remember it until I typed Bach on the previous comment..I was a bartender for years and I know 100’s of jokes..but they are all situational so when someone asks me to tell a joke I cannot…sort of like that for the Bach…hehe. I like classical..some of my favorites are Haydn’s ‘The PLanets’ and Vivaldi’s ‘4 seasons’..but any is fine…at work I usually just listen to white noise (waves on a beach) to drown out noises in cubeland..classical has too many silient parts for listening to at work!

      Hehe, you obviously read all our posts..things going wrong is just an oppourtunity to learn something! hehe..the reciever has a fuse in the cord so it cannot be fried..I know cause I fried the fuse before!..seems like with more projects under our belt the mistakes are less and less.

      hehe..yes, our bathroom just passed into the ‘respectable’ zone…or at least semi-respectable.!

       
    • eagergridlessbeaver

      January 24, 2012 at 8:18 am

      oh yeah…I did mess up 1 time now that I think about it. I needed 2 holes in the ceiling..the first one was on a stud ( but all covered by books anyway so no biggie). I am having deja vous. NOt sure why.

       
  5. Phoebe

    January 24, 2012 at 3:07 am

    Thanks for the how to, it came just in time for my meager attempt at solar powered music. I am grateful for the help. Do you like that Sunsaver 10? How long will it take to fill the one battery? How much music can you get from a day of charging? Why did you choose to climb a ladder when there was no one there to call the life flight? Does Loki know how to dial?
    I find I have many questions… But, great post.

     
    • eagergridlessbeaver

      January 24, 2012 at 8:15 am

      Hey, We got 3 charge controllers when we bought our ‘system’ 3 years ago..so it was on hand but it works well enough. Not sure how long it takes to ‘fill’ the battery but this is a system that does not get used all that much so I expect it to stay in a near full state most of the time..except weekends and when we have a gathering. WIth a 5w panel it is a trickle charge but in the past I would use a car battery and when it was dead I would hook it up to the panel for a couple sunny days and would be back in business for a couple of weeks..

      I have more confidence in my abilities than common sense which is why I climb precariously on ladders..once I fall or die I will stop ( but I used to paint houses and spent whole summers on ladders(although this is the first time I changed a drill bit with my mouth at the top of a ladder!))

      ..a couple of notes ( and keep the questions coming if you have some..I will answer what I can) but: use thick ( lower gauge) wiring which is stranded copper if you can ( 12v runs on the outside of wire so standed makes it stronger without line loss; keep wire runs short if possible ( there is line loss the longer the wiring is ( combined with how thick the wire is): just do it..it is really simple..IN the past I would create complications in my head due to now knowing..but once I started playing with everything it all started to make sense..I wish I had done this project 3 years ago before I did my battery bank!

       

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