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Solar Powered Fish House Build


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2017 update..  

 

Solar panels are still working great. I think if I would do it again I would not put the solar panels on the roof I would mount them all on the side.   It is a cleaner look having them on the roof but with heavy snow it's a bit of a pain to get the snow off the solar panels.

 

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Here are the original pictures.  Let me know if you have any questions.

2016 update.  Solar panels still work like they did out of the box..  Replaced one of the original unclaimed freight batteries (I suspect it was a few years old when I purchased it).  The only upgrade

Thanks, I am a homebrewer as well and going to add a nitro tap serving stout on the wall and put the keg in the closet at some point..  

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Great to know Princeton, did you ever get a scale under this?  Just wondering on the weight.  I am building one simular, but it wont be half as nice or as finished as yours this season.  however I am happy with the frame and options I can add in the future.

 

 

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Very sweet shack you have there. How does it pull with those skids? I noticed bebergs now has changed their design to a "floating" type ski. Does yours ride up on top of the snow and slush or does it kind of drag? Thanks for the review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 1 year later...

2018 update.    Solar panels and charge controlers still going strong on the house.

Was able to just pull it out and had full charge on batteries.  Was fishing in 20 mins from the time I started pulling it out of the field.

 

Upgraded my wheeler to a Polaris Ranger with a cab and chains, makes pulling the house around the lake alot more comfortable.  

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On 10/13/2013 at 10:09 PM, Princeton said:

I built this fish house last year with the goal of having a house that was semi-permanent, light weight, warm, solar powered and a Irish Pub smile. I have had a few questions from folks as to how I went about the build so I figured that I would start my own post to describe the build.

 

The house is a custom built 8x12 Aluma Lite V front aluminum skid house that I purchased from Bebergs. The house was unfinished but included 2-3 inches of spray foam insulation. It sleeps 2 and has a LED TV/DVD player, bathroom, media player for movies, inputs for fish cam, car alarm, stereo and inverter. I wanted to be able to leave it on the lake so that my Dad could use it during the week (he is within walking distance of the house) and I would use it on the weekends. This house is very light and weighs around 1,800 pounds fully loaded, I pull it with my 350 big bear with chains on the tires.

 

full-46676-37841-photo(8).jpg

 

 

full-46676-37821-photo.jpg

full-46676-37822-photo(1).jpg

 

 

I installed 3 Unisolar pvl-68 flexible panels for a total output of 204 watts. The roof of the house is curved so I installed the panels to one side of the roof. These panels come in a roll and have a very strong adhesive on their back. They are very dependable and should last 20 years. To go along with the panels I installed a Morningstar dual battery charge controller and two 100+ Ah batteries to store the energy. I set one battery up to run the essentials like the lights and the heater and the other is the accessory battery, they each have their own circuit breaker. The accessory battery has a disconnect switch ensure that there are no phantom loads when we are away.

 

Here are the panels on the roof (sorry the roof is dirty):

full-46676-37823-photo(5).jpg

 

Here are the batteries, solar charge controller, inverter and circuit breakers.

 

full-46676-37824-photo(2).jpg

 

Charge controller read out - gives voltage on the batteries as well as tells you how much energy you are generating.

 

full-46676-37840-photo(4).jpg

 

 

The key to make all this work you need to install very low draw accessories including led lights, LED DC TV and a low draw stereo. I did opt to go with a forced air furnace which takes the most power to run. If you have room I would suggest a non forced air furnace.

 

You need to look at the current draw of all devices and how long each one will run to determine the amount of solar capacity that you need. Originally we were only going to put two panels on the roof - we decided to put 3 on just to be on the safe side.

 

The stereo that I installed was a Kicker (model PXi.50) made low draw head unit that takes headphone or I Phone inputs - you plug it into your phone to play music. They make these to go on ATV's. I also added a USB charger to it so that you can charge your phone as well. (for some reason this pic is sideways)

 

full-46676-37829-photo(3).jpg

 

I used the house pretty much every weekend last winter and my Dad used it one day out of the week. During the week the solar panels charged the batteries back to the 200 Ah capacity, during the weekend we would use around 60-70 Ah each day leaving a reserve + whatever the panels would generate. On a normal day the panels would generate between 40-50 Ah of power. One week we even left the heat on all week and we did not run out of power - a side note is that the house only burns 30 lbs of propane per week with the heat on.

 

We never ran out of power (although there were times that we were getting close to just running lights and heat). The main thing is to keep a mindful eye on your battery status.

 

Given the sun is so low on the horizon in the winter I would probably put the panels on the side of the fish house - I choose aesthetics over functionality and put them on the roof. The most that the panels would put out in the winter was 10 amps, in the summer it runs over 16 amps. They would generate more if they were on side of the house. If you have a flat roof I do not think that the panels would be very efficient in the winter. If you do put them on the side I would go with the more traditional solar panels and not the self adhesive ones.

 

The huge benefit is that we do not have to run a generator or carry batteries out to the house. It is always ready to go and has power even in the summer if the guys want to tip a few back.

 

Let me know if you have any questions. Any one else using solar on their house?

My generator took a dump on me this weekend. I'm sizing out my solar setup and I think i'm calculating my TV incorrectly @10.14 Amps, or an estimated 50AH usage per day. That includes an assumption of 85% efficiency for a inverter to power it. Is that how you set your TV up or was it 12v? I'm unable to see the picture of the one from Amazon.. 

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23 hours ago, HUJU said:

My generator took a dump on me this weekend. I'm sizing out my solar setup and I think i'm calculating my TV incorrectly @10.14 Amps, or an estimated 50AH usage per day. That includes an assumption of 85% efficiency for a inverter to power it. Is that how you set your TV up or was it 12v? I'm unable to see the picture of the one from Amazon.. 

 

10 amps seems kinda crazy... what is the model of the TV?

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I did a lot of research and knew that I wanted a 32" TV w/ DVD. Here is what I got....

 

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Sceptre-32-Class-FHD-1080P-LED-TV-E325BD-F-with-Built-in-DVD/46784933

 

It draws roughly 30 watts... so about 3 amps when you figure in the 20% overhead of the inverter. We usually only running in when on the generator, but have had no issues running on the inverter either. I did some research on inverters... The bigger you go up in size, the more that power you seem to lose. For example, a 1000 watt inverter may be 95% efficient at when you are drawing 900 watts, but it is only 80% efficient when pulling 100 watts.... What I did was buy a few different inverters (60w, 150 w, 300w) and use the correct one based on the application. The 60w has no problems running the TV/DVD, even with the line loss, and it has less overhead loss than the other two bigger ones.....  Not sure if there is a better way, but this has definitely been working for me over the last 3 years.

 

Also - Here is a site that lets you know power consumption...

https://www.wattdoesituse.com/

 

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19 hours ago, rl_sd said:

 

10 amps seems kinda crazy... what is the model of the TV?

You're right. Where I went to school the math worked out to 10 AMPs but after looking at it again it's closer to 1. It's a Vizio 32". 

2 hours ago, rl_sd said:

I did a lot of research and knew that I wanted a 32" TV w/ DVD. Here is what I got....

 

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Sceptre-32-Class-FHD-1080P-LED-TV-E325BD-F-with-Built-in-DVD/46784933

 

It draws roughly 30 watts... so about 3 amps when you figure in the 20% overhead of the inverter. We usually only running in when on the generator, but have had no issues running on the inverter either. I did some research on inverters... The bigger you go up in size, the more that power you seem to lose. For example, a 1000 watt inverter may be 95% efficient at when you are drawing 900 watts, but it is only 80% efficient when pulling 100 watts.... What I did was buy a few different inverters (60w, 150 w, 300w) and use the correct one based on the application. The 60w has no problems running the TV/DVD, even with the line loss, and it has less overhead loss than the other two bigger ones.....  Not sure if there is a better way, but this has definitely been working for me over the last 3 years.

 

Also - Here is a site that lets you know power consumption...

https://www.wattdoesituse.com/

 

Thank you! I've been looking into the inverter part of the system. I plan on only running the TV and maybe a charger for the auger until i figure out a way to charge the auger right off of the DC current. So i'll probably borrow your strategy if you don't mind lol. What do you run for a battery bank on yours?

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3 minutes ago, HUJU said:

You're right. Where I went to school the math worked out to 10 AMPs but after looking at it again it's closer to 1. It's a Vizio 32". 

 

Looks like the majority of the Vizio 32" tv's are drawing 32 watts.... So, if you divide the volts into the watts it will give you the amps... (32w /12v=2.6677a) Then add 10% for inefficiencies of the inverter (2.6677a * 1.1 ) and that gives you 2.93 amps

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1 minute ago, rl_sd said:

 

Looks like the majority of the Vizio 32" tv's are drawing 32 watts.... So, if you divide the volts into the watts it will give you the amps... (32w /12v=2.6677a) Then add 10% for inefficiencies of the inverter (2.6677a * 1.1 ) and that gives you 2.93 amps

 

It's a lot easier the way you're calculating it (aka the right way) lol. The one I have actually draws 22 amps so slightly less than your calculation, at 2.02. Looking at my math i was using 95Watts for some reason. Are your inverters pure sine wave or modified sine wave?

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6 minutes ago, HUJU said:

 

It's a lot easier the way you're calculating it (aka the right way) lol. The one I have actually draws 22 amps so slightly less than your calculation, at 2.02. Looking at my math i was using 95Watts for some reason. Are your inverters pure sine wave or modified sine wave?

Pure sine inverters is the only way to go when working with electronics. I assume that you mean 22 watts, not amps. Usually if you can go to the manufacture site they will give you wattage for start up, typical usage, and stand by. I suggest using the middle ground between start up and typical for your figures and also suggest using an inverter 50% bigger than the application needs to account for line loss through the 120 AC wiring. I am using two 27 class deep cell 12v batteries, this is primarily because I use them in the boat for  the trolling motor. If you are looking at buying batteries specifically for this application, you are probably going to want to go with 6volt batteries instead because of the increase in Amp Hours and also the usable discharge on a multiple (2 or 4) 6v battery system is better than on a single or double 12 volt system.

Edited by rl_sd
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35 minutes ago, Princeton said:

Thanks, I am a homebrewer as well and going to add a nitro tap serving stout on the wall and put the keg in the closet at some point..  

 

Don't have to much and forget to take the keg out at the end of a weekend. Or you will come back to one big Beersicle!  :lol:

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2 hours ago, HUJU said:

Looks awesome! Those batteries look pretty beefy. What kind are they?

 

They are Gel Cells.  The long one is used for telecom backup power supplies.  I picked them up at Millaca Unclaimed Freight, they get random batteries once in a while.

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