Since the article in The Journal, I’ve had a lot of questions about the solar power system we put together for the cabin. Here’s a diagram of the current setup:

We started with the a 45-Watt “kit” from Harbor Freight, added a sealed deep-cycle battery from Wal-Mart, tested this for awhile, found that the kits charge controller wasn’t working right, replaced it with a much better but still inexpensive one, and then tweaked the wiring, etc.

The system performs well with plenty of room for improvement which is excellent. The controller that we selected has enough capacity for at least another battery of the cheap HF cells, and that coupled with a more appropriate battery would provide far more power than we could use at the moment. As I mentioned in the article the ultimate goal is to be able to run a microwave, but I believe this has less to do with our system’s capacity and more to do with the fact that the inexpensive inverter we’re using doesn’t produce a proper sine wave. There are inverters that remedy this, but they are very expensive. Instead, I have an idea for “improving” the wave produced by this inverter that, if it works, will be a lot less expensive.

Feel free to post questions, I’ve deliberately left out a lot of the details.