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Solar panel terminal box

by Wired1, published

Solar panel terminal box by Wired1 Mar 15, 2013

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Summary

Placed on the back of the solar panel this box gives you somewhere to connect your external wiring to each panel and add a diode etc as required.
I am currently experimenting with making my own solar panels as cheaply as possible and the commercially available terminal boxes are very expensive for what they are.

I have placed a number of hole options in this box and will revise the number and position of these as my solar panel project proceeds.
Uses 2 x 12mm long M4 machine screws for terminals and 1 x 20mm long M4 machine screw to hold the lid on.

Instructions

Print it out.
Clear out the 4mm holes with a 4mm drill bit.
Fit three x M4 nuts in the central nut chamber (sounds like my workshop).
Fit 2 x 12mm long M4 machine screws and washers on the two outside holes for the terminal screws.
Fit the lid with a 20mm long M4 machine screw to hold it on.

I may change these machine screw sizes when it finishes printing, and I will probably make a larger version of this once I have worked out hw to make it all work.

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Added a second version TB2 which has captive nuts and machine screws. I have increased the gaps for the lid so hopefully this one will fit together better. I'll make it bigger once the parts are proven to fit together properly.

Version 1 is a bit of a disaster. parts don't fit too well and it is a bit too complicated.

Brilliant -- we have actually been working on this as well. Are you starting from individual cells or have you found a source for laminates?

Solar has got to be the way to go. I am using individual cells sourced from China and making them into 18 volt 140 Watt panels. My first array will be 3 of panels into a couple of deep cycle batteries and directly run a 2-3kW hot water system (boiler) for normal domestic usage. I am hoping to get enough energy during the day to run the system entirely from the solar but we'll see.

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