Wasteland Energy

Producing your own solar energy in your flat without drilling holes.

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In most cases the ability to convert solar energy is only available for real estate owners. Tenants of flats have no access to the roof and therefore can't convert the sunlight into their own electrical energy. "Wasteland Energy" is a small but portable project which makes ist possible to use small areas of the house surface to attach solar cells without modifying the structure of the house. A battery for storing the energy is located in the interior of the flat. The whole system is working using 12V so it is not dangerous for humans and makes ist possible to use ordinary car electronics to AC-DC or DC-DC convert Voltage for i.e. loading a laptop. If the front of the flat is wide enough you can attach up to 100Wp of solar panels, which can save you a lot of money.

The basic idea of "Wasteland Energy" is to free the Hacker from the power companies and finally use only self made stuff to make your day. All my future projects will be connectable to 12V DC.

You need these basic components:

  • Solar Panel (purchased or selfmade). Use monocristaline cells because of the better performance.
  • Clamp. I bought a prefabbed clamp for flower boxes. The benefits of this clamp are: Storm safe, no holes to drill
  • Battery
  • Solar battery load controller
  • Power converter (DC-AC: 12V -> 230V)
  • Power converter (DC-DC 12V -> 5V, 12V, 15V, 19V, ...)

Screw the panel to the clamp. The clamp can be purchased if you don't want to make ist yourself. I bought it here:

The clamp will be "pressed" to the embrasure of the window. This mounts your panel in a way which looks like a windowsill. If your window sill is huge enough, you can find another appropriate mounting solution.

For safety reasons I connected an additional rope in case the screw is losened by stormy weather. By turning the nut the end of the clamp presses itself to the embrasure of the window.

Here you see the mounted solar panel without any drilling only mounted by using friction and force.

Then you need to construct a self made cable. I used solder tab wires which are available for connecting solar cells with each other. Stack them up to a stack of 5 - 8 tab wires. The cable ends are put into cerified solar MC4-connectors and then crimped using a crimp tool.

Fan out the wire tabs in the middle and solder it to keep the geometry stable. Wrap it with shrink sleeves and put the metal contacts into the MC-Connector. The Fan out of the wire tabs makes the cable very flat so that you can lay the flat connectors to the window frame. This self made cable is able to conduct a lot of curent and it is flat enough to lay into the window frame so that the window can be still closed. Again: No drilling!

Now you have two connectors inside your flat which will deliver current if the sun is shining. Now you need to take care for a little bit safety: Fuses. You can use standard car fuses here. Use fuse values which are the maximum values of your solar panel.

Then use cerified solar cable to connect your panel to the battery controller.

As you can see in the image the panel provides 3A of current.

I use a special solar battery, but you can use a car battery, too.

Now you need some converters to get your desired Voltage:

As you can see we mounted the converter behind a small tree. This looks nice and make the converter "invisible".

Most devices nowadays use wall plug transformers. All these devices don't need big DC-AC converters. Use Car converters for Laptops instead:

Using these converters you can connect all devices in your household. We have connected our TV set and our stereo to the DC-AC converter and our laptops to the small converter. Our room light was completely replaced by LED's which are actually connected directly to the battery (using a switch on the wall to turn it on or off).

This is how your free energy generator finally looks like. You're now your own power plant and save money. Simply mount solar panels to all of your windows. You will be surprised how much energy you'll make. In summer our power meter from the electricity provider stands still now (except cooking).

  • 2 × Monokristaline module A high efficient solar panel (small surfaces need higher efficiencies)
  • 1 × valve-regulated lead acid battery I use a lead battery. Battery technology is evolving. This will be replaced by better systems soon.
  • 1 × Inverter Converts 12V DC TO 230/110V AC
  • 1 × Clamp, metal parts, screws Yo need to mount the solar panels to your windows sill in a storm save way.
  • 10 × solar cable 4mm Cables for connecting the system

View all 12 components

  • First "clamp in" solar panel

    Jack Pearse08/18/2015 at 13:46 0 comments

    Until today I've only used ready made stuff. Now I want to make my first solar panel which can be easily clamped to the window by design.

    Today I unwrapped a new package of monokristaline solar cells (30 pieces).

    Right now I am not sure how to build it. Maybe a plastic or aluminium back will be used. Maybe the cells will be covered with a UV translucent acrylic glass or it will be moulded using resin.

    One thing is sure: I will include the square shaped aluminium profile withe the panel. This should be the first step into a "product". The new panel should be easily mountable by just turning two nuts.

    This will be my last panel using silicon cells. For the next iterations I will use flexible CIGS cells. It's time to say goodbye to silicon technology. The future is flexible!

  • Hackers and makers should not only make their own things.

    Jack Pearse08/17/2015 at 13:26 0 comments

    Hacking is all about learning how things work and then create own things using this knowledge. It's high tech in-house production. Hackers are able to build small factories, solve huge problems (i.e. optimizing prostheses) or build satellites or rocket propulsion systems.

    Hackers have undertaken the monopoly of knowledge and production. Now it's time to take the next step. Hackers! Please make your own matter and energy!

  • Make a time travel. Take energy for free.

    Jack Pearse08/17/2015 at 13:18 0 comments

    Years ago oil companies made billions by just selling oil, which was available for free. Sheiks and big oil field owners became the richest people of the world by just selling "mud". They simply turned dirt into money.

    Now we are at the dawn of the solar age . Sun is for free. As a hacker you should use the free solar energy to produce. Please empower your 3D printer using sun at daytime. You must not store the energy. Just setup a timer and start the printing job if sunlight is available. Use the solar panel to detect light. If there is current, your print jobs starts automatically. Make your projects as cheap as possible. Don't use energy from the power outlet. Most devices have a 5V, 9V, 12V or 19V connector. All these devices can be powered using sunlight directly!

    Try it. You don't need to invest much money. Solar panels are becoming cheaper and cheaper. Support CIGS panels. Buy CIGS cells, create your own solar energy module for your 3D printer. Load your laptop battery with your windowsill. Please use the sun to create the electricity for your devices. As soon as you start you will see this is addictive and feels great. Not only because you save the environment. Once you think "solar" you have a swarm of small devices which you can operate everywhere. You will become independent of the power company.

  • Think solar. Identify areas for creating electricity.

    Jack Pearse08/17/2015 at 11:58 0 comments

    Why is this project important? Economy is always based on free goods like oil or coal. It's just there. Years ago companies just started to collect oil which was available on the surface of our planet and sold it. They built their business on free available goods, given by mother nature. Whatever product you touch, the very first ingredients of that product have been free and given by nature. Businesses "just" added energy and design. It is important to understand that everything started with free goods.

    If you think about hacking you need some parts to build your project (i.e. plastics or gears) and energy to transform it. You can use (free) scrap parts. The maker scene is already capable of creating high tech devices more or less for free. Only energy costs money and is expensive to our environment. We still use coal, nuclear material or oil for producing electrical energy. That's kind of silly because the daily sun is there, day by day.

    "Wasteland Energy" wants you to open your eyes to identify not used areas where you could put solar panels. Future batches of solar panels will be cheaper and more efficient than today. Knowing that every windows ledge can create electricity is an important step into design and new paradigms according to hacking. At my home there is a huge box which I use to collect wall plug transformers. Some of them are broken, some of them I don't use anymore. Nearly every electronic device is packed containing one of these wall plug transformers. I hate these transformers. Why should I always transform 230V down to 12V if I could have a 12V socket in my home? It's time for a separate energy bus at home. Using a solar panel instead of a windowsill (wich looks ugly in most cases) makes it look better and creates electricity for you. The battery is my 12V source. I don't use these ugly transformers anymore. There is one powerful 12V source in my flat which provides enough energy for all my small devices. While I am at work the sun is delivering the power at day time for free. You can attach solar panels everywhere without drilling holes or changing the structure of the building.

    Think different. Think 12V, 24V, 48V, 60V

    Think solar.

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