Off-Grid Solar Automation

Batteries and Automation

Pyroelectric ("Passive") InfraRed Sensors (PIR Sensors), Photo-Sensors, Temperature-Sensors, and other sensors will be mindful even when you are not (it's their only function).

Motion Sensor for lights

When building your off-grid battery-bank's power house, consider incorporating photo-sensors that either turn appliances and lights on or off when the sun rises or sets, as needed.

Motion-sensors will eliminate forgetting turning off lights and other consumers of electricity. Timed-switches will start the bread-maker and other devices without any further input from you, etc.

Automation also ultimately aids in the long-life of the battery bank, provided of course that the states of load/battery/charge equilibrium has been attained (preferably year-round).

Lighting are some of the easiest items to automate.

motion-sensing device

Do it before you lose it

By mere motion or presence, the lights turn on all by themselves; if the lights sense no activity for whatever period that is pre-determined in the configuration (usually five minutes), they simply "know" to turn themselves off until motion is sensed again.

Some of the more important lighting requires an extra apparatus that permit the manual control (override) of the motion-detection system.

In the consideration for automation, might also be efforts toward maintenance-free and fool-proofing. Efforts that may be key to the survival and sanity of the pre-dying, a.k.a. off-grid aging individuals, is the adage to do it Before you lose it.

Automotive stores, or Automotive sections at a local Walmart, are some of the avenues for direct-current lighting and switches.

Any ordinary 12v automotive accessory applies to an off-grid 12v battery bank. These items require no additional equipment or know-how to put into action.

But before you go stripping your sister's car for lights and switches

Look around your property for 12v items that simply have been converted by the capitalists to 120v (usually involves a heavy clunky item that eventually will burn up without notice, it's called a step-down converter).

Remove the converter and guess what you are left with? That's right, you just breathed new life into a dead AC appliance by converting it back into the DC appliance it was before the capitalizers embedded it with the short-lived converter device.

This is a photo of a pre-motion-sensing

Having an additional switch between the motion-sensor and a load allows for the over-ride of the sensor when desired, or when the battery banks need a break due to low sun or wind conditions. The power-rail can simply be turned completely on or off without a major undertaking.

So, for the 120v items that only require 12v, simply locate and remove the step-down converter and you've just created one less item to worry about (which ordinarily would be sending you back to the store to replace the appliance prematurely).

With the step-down converter removed, the item can now be connected directly to the stable electrity of the 12v battery-bank.

Lights Motion Sensor Photo

You are going to get old (hopefully), and forgetful (probably), and therefore some safeguards in addition to switches and sensors, should amply be considered while you still have the mind to do so.

Lighting Motion Sensor Photo

Sorry for the tone of the video, but boy am I in a bad way right now ';-(

The following are some variables and questions that still need ironing out concerning the common true-and-tried wet-cell deep-cycle battery.

It has been determined by others that DC electricity flows from negative charge to positive charge.

(*see: )

If this is so, that electricty flows from negative to positive, then are not our installations of off-grid switches backwards?

In AC electricity, it is said that the positive wire is the codes-approved wire which is directed to a switch.

However, in a DC configuration why would we copy the AC dictates to our loss?

Since the DC Battery Bank issues negative electrons that don't complete a circuit until they meet up with one or more of the positive, then simply keeping the negative electrons contained closest to the battery bank and switch, could save energy that might be better-purposed elsewhere.


1.) A battery (with positive and negative leads), and a switch that is some distance from the battery bank.

2.) A load or appliance that is a considerable extended distance beyond the switch and battery bank.

= 9.) Complete waste of potential energy if we follow the Codes-Approved AC dictates.

As an example,

If energization of the wire is stopped at the switch (a few feet away from the battery bank), then are we not eliminating potential hazards? Are we not also conserving energy by not losing our voltage and current due to having a long line energized at all times?

Oddly enough, the only analogy that came to mind is, when we pee or poop, it's good that the stuff isn't directly right at the hole, but is stopped further inside somewhere (thereby conserving our energy to make it to the bathroom).

Excess energized wire is loss, also referred to as "heat loss", "wire-loss" OR (I like this one), "Phantom Energy loss/consumption", it's also referred to as "line loss", etc.

As a final note, if anybody is already doing experiments with a hybrid battery bank using conventional batteries along with the Li-Ion, please contact me, I'd like to be in the loop.

Kenny's Completed Mobile Solar Project

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