Deutsche Version
Deutsche Version

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Solar generator from RS

The gadget in moving pictures with audio

More about the solar generator on the pages of RS:

The solar generator on the pages of RS

How open is this Gadget?

Category Remark Info
Firmware No firmware implemented.
Software No additional software needed.
Hardware All parts connected with screws and available from RS.
Electronics All spare parts available and can be replaced easily by more powerful components if needed.
Website RS offers the build instructions and datasheets of all components for download.
Patents As far as I know, no patents are claimed.

The gadget in Detail

Figure 1:
All electronic components are housed in the cuboid frame, well protected from unauthorized access. The solar cells mounted on the outside can be folded down for transport.
My job was to recreate a prototype that was built by RS for an exhibition and to provide detailed feedback from the build process. Since everything is made up of individual components from the RS-Pro product range, the system is an open source solar generator and that is entirely in the spirit of "How Open Is This Gadget?", which is why I was happy to accept that special job offer.
The open source philosophy was deliberately chosen by RS: With a lead-gel battery as energy storage and a charger with pulse-width modulation, the solar generator is not designed as a top product for end users, but as a learning object for training centers. With a storage capacity of 1.4 kWh in a robust battery, the solar box is also an interesting project for ambitious hobbyists.

Technical Specs

Category Value Remark
Dimensions 560x672mmx500
Solar panels folded down
Weight ca. 80kg
Solar power 80W  
Power Inverter Up to 1000kW  
Battery 12V 120Ah Lead-gel  

Package content

Figure 2:
The solar generator is composed of components from the RS Pro range.


Figure 3:
The aluminum profiles for the frame must be cut, the acrylic glass panels must be sawn and drilled.
The build instructions are available on the RS website.


Figure 4:
To operate as a solar generator, all you need are solar cells, a storage battery, a charge controller, and an inverter, all of which can be switched off using an isolator switch. Everything else is optional and there is plenty of space in the box for additional components that you can install if wanted.
The RS unit is equipped with some additional, quite nice, but not absolutely necessary components. Since everything should be accessible from the outside, some more switches and sockets are needed. RS has installed, among other things, an LED lighting in white and red, a fan and a voltmeter. A battery charger ensures that the battery can be charged even at trade fairs without sunlight. The chargers can be disconnected from the battery by large switches.
As already mentioned, this solar generator is intended as a demo unit for teaching purposes and it is up to you what else to install. Of course, you can let your imagination run wild as to what should be integrated into the box.


Figure 5:
The wiring is done with cable cross-sections of 1.5 or 6mm˛ without any soldered connections; all joints are screwed or clamped. The required tools were included in one of the packages from RS.

My conclusion

The solar generator from RS is an interesting project for training workshops to illustrate the basics of a solar installation and to learn how to wire the components.

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