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  • small shed advice

    I have a small shack with a loft that I would like to light it with a 12 volt system. The studs are still exposed so I would like to run wiring before I insulate and panel. I would like some suggestions on an inexpensive solar 12 volt setup with six 5 or 7 watt LED DC lights and the possibility of a converter connected occasionally to the battery for small appliances. Specifically:
    what kind and size wire should I run in the walls?
    What is the minimum size solar panel should I use?
    size and type of battery for storage?
    size and type of charge controller?
    do I connect the lights to the terminals from the charge controller or should the wiring come off the battery?
    Can I use standard household light switches and light fixtures for the 12 volt lights?
    I appreciate any and all advice.

  • #2
    Originally posted by DRZ View Post
    I have a small shack with a loft that I would like to light it with a 12 volt system. The studs are still exposed so I would like to run wiring before I insulate and panel. I would like some suggestions on an inexpensive solar 12 volt setup with six 5 or 7 watt LED DC lights and the possibility of a converter connected occasionally to the battery for small appliances. Specifically:
    what kind and size wire should I run in the walls?
    What is the minimum size solar panel should I use?
    size and type of battery for storage?
    size and type of charge controller?
    do I connect the lights to the terminals from the charge controller or should the wiring come off the battery?
    Can I use standard household light switches and light fixtures for the 12 volt lights?
    I appreciate any and all advice.
    Even though you appear to be set on solar you did say you appreciate any and all advice. How far away is grid power to your shack and do you have access to it at all? If you do, then the power will be much cheaper on the grid.

    You are making a big leap from a few DC lights and then adding small appliances. Solar installations are very difficult to expand later because all the pieces need to work together. To do this properly you should identify not just the appliances, but the actual amperage draw of each one times the hours per day each will run. Only then will you be able to see how much battery capacity you need and how big the wiring needs to be, type of controller and panels, etc.

    If I were designing a location like this (and absolutely wanted to run DC loads) and did not have any access to grid power, I would probably wire both for DC but also for conventional AC. Your inverter could feed your AC circuits and if done to code you won't have to figure our your loads ahead of time.

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