Author Topic: "Off-grid" coop - need help designing light system  (Read 1554 times)

Offline clayfarmer

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"Off-grid" coop - need help designing light system
« on: March 12, 2018, 10:00:35 AM »
Hey all,
My coop and run is about 200 feet from my house, which is the closest source of power. I'd like to be able to provide some supplemental light for a few hours each morning, like 4am to 8am. Also would like like the ability to turn on a light temporarily when I go out there after dark.

I have the idea in my head - I'm thinking of a deep cycle marine battery, an inverter, a timer, and a small solar panel on the roof of the coop to keep the battery topped off. Has anyone here built this type of light system before? I need to take this from theory to reality, and I need help knowing exactly what parts to buy, sizes of inverter and solar panel, etc etc.

It seems like Steven Harris answered a TSP expert council question about this very thing once, but I can't find the episode.

Thanks!

Online Carl

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Re: "Off-grid" coop - need help designing light system
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2018, 10:10:32 AM »
  Your idea is good.
With a good battery and 60 to 100 watt solar panel plus a charge controller you can power a good amount of light for the four or so hours a day and I suggest using 12 volt lamps or better yet LED lighting and skip the inverter unless occasional 120 supplemental power is needed and there are a number of mechanical or 12 volt timers available.

Offline Cedar

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Re: "Off-grid" coop - need help designing light system
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2018, 10:40:25 AM »
I used an $18 solar shed light when I was up in Canada, it worked and took like 15 minutes to set up. If you get 2 if them, that. Is probably enough light for your coop.

Cedar

Offline clayfarmer

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Re: "Off-grid" coop - need help designing light system
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2018, 03:42:22 PM »
I love the idea of only spending $18, but I haven't been able to find anything with a built in timer. 

I used an $18 solar shed light when I was up in Canada, it worked and took like 15 minutes to set up. If you get 2 if them, that. Is probably enough light for your coop.

Cedar

Offline clayfarmer

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Re: "Off-grid" coop - need help designing light system
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2018, 03:43:18 PM »
Thanks for the feedback.  I think this is the direction I'm going.  I just need to nail down the specifics and place an order.

  Your idea is good.
With a good battery and 60 to 100 watt solar panel plus a charge controller you can power a good amount of light for the four or so hours a day and I suggest using 12 volt lamps or better yet LED lighting and skip the inverter unless occasional 120 supplemental power is needed and there are a number of mechanical or 12 volt timers available.

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Offline Hopalong

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Re: "Off-grid" coop - need help designing light system
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2018, 12:28:41 PM »
I have a similar set-up that powers the coop LED light in the morning and my fence charger that powers my electric poultry netting and orchard hot wire. 

Here is the major parts list:

100 W Solar panel with controller
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BFCNFRM/

Timer Switch
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00WR0ELCO/

12V LED Light Bar
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013BBLU44/

Premier 48" Electric Chicken Net Fence 12/48/3 Yellow - 164' Roll
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YZ2QOYA

Speedrite 1000 Unigizer, 1.0 Joule
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GY0Z0C8

Deep Cycle Marine Battery

For the night time light we have a couple Mr. Beams Motion activated lights, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008X099PQ, that run off D Cell batteries that I had left over from another project.  They're super bright and the batteries last a long time.  I may switch them over to some Solar LED motion activated lights that we have used on other parts of the property.





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Re: "Off-grid" coop - need help designing light system
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2018, 03:23:11 PM »
HOPALONG...sounds like a great setup! Karma +1

Offline Hopalong

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Re: "Off-grid" coop - need help designing light system
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2018, 06:17:04 PM »
Thanks.  I'm using an overkill panel and battery to allow me to add more functions in the future like an automatic coop door closer if needed.  What's nice is that it follows the coop around when I move the poultry netting to fresher grass.  The battery will power the fence charger for at least 30 days but with the sun we get it tops off the battery within a day or two.  Also the fence charger I bought it specifically because it can run on AC or 12 V DC.  I should also be able to add a few more sections of poultry netting which will come in handy for the meat chickens we plan on raising to fill the freezer this year.


Offline Hopalong

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Re: "Off-grid" coop - need help designing light system
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2018, 03:13:03 PM »
That's similar to the Renogy 100 watt panel and controller I have in the parts list in my above post.  I use such a big panel to keep the battery topped off for the fence charger mostly.  What are your plans as 100 watts may be overkill? 

We recently "upgraded" our coop by basically building one on top of an old trailer that can now hold 30+ chickens:


I'll post a better picture when I get a chance but we swapped out all the Battery Powered Mr. Beams to these solar powered guys:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077GNFJWW  We put one on each side of the coop.  They are super bright and have motion detection along with different lighting modes that may suite your needs.  I still have the 12 V light for the inside I need to reconnect but that doesn't need to be done till winter.  I'll probably just use a 10 W panel I have laying around with a custom AA battery setup configured to make the required 12 V since the inside light only needs to run a few hours at most during the winter.