Building a 3.5kWh DIY Solar Generator for $650 - Start to Finish

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After having a friend ask several questions regarding a solar generator project he was working on, I decided this would be a good opportunity to build my own solar generator and fully document the process. The total build came out to around $641. This video provides an in-depth look at the process involved in collecting and assembling the battery pack along with the choice of components and some testing.
** BATTERIES ** batteryhookup.com/discount/BATTERY?redirect=/collections/modem-batteries (10% Discount Code "BATTERY")
** MORE BATTERIES** www.power2spare.net/r?id=ll40ua
Forum Discussion & Wiring Diagram... secondlifestorage.com/index.php?threads/diy-3-5kwh-solar-generator-for-650.10309/
■▬▬▬▬▬ COMPONENTS USED ▬▬▬▬▬■
Craftsman Toolbox www.lowes.com/pd/CRAFTSMAN-VERSASTACK-System-17-in-Red-Plastic-Lockable-Tool-Box/1000578373
Modem Batteries batteryhookup.com/discount/BATTERY?redirect=/collections/modem-batteries (10% Discount Code "BATTERY")
100W Renogy Solar Panel amzn.to/2yh40Y5 (not included in price calculation)
Reliable 1500W Inverter amzn.to/36i7VAS
50A Circuit Breaker amzn.to/2Wiiv7g
DROK Voltage Display amzn.to/2WMaCFY
Recessed Outlets w/ USB amzn.to/2SQpCBS
Surface Mountable XT60 ebay.to/3chkK09
Nickel Strip 2P 25ft ebay.to/2SSTI7E
Cell Holders 4x5 ebay.to/35Nxv01
Kapton Tape ebay.to/2LjE6Ws
DALY 14S BMS 40A s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_dW2lNjP
MPT-7210A MPPT Charger amzn.to/3p8REqz
Cigarette Lighter Plugs amzn.to/3dDiSPH
Fan Temp Controller amzn.to/2yBR1AF
XT60 Connectors ebay.to/3blaYJ9
XT90 Connectors ebay.to/3blaYJ9
48V to 12V Buck Converter amzn.to/2SSTzkC
Pack-Sized Heat Shrink... ebay.to/2WIjKNF
Recommended Products:
Battery Hookup batteryhookup.com/discount/BATTERY (10% Discount Code "BATTERY")
Big Battery bigbattery.com/?ref=13 (10% Discount Code "BATTERY")
Power2Spare www.power2spare.net/r?id=k0uv11 (10% Discount Code "LITHIUM SOLAR")
Batrium BMS www.batrium.com/
DIY Lithium Batteries Book amzn.to/2PmWeys
Opus BT-C3100 Tester amzn.to/2xYJXuy
Contact Info:
Business email is lithiumsolardiy@gmail.com. I am not available for personal project questions or consultation.
Disclaimers and Statements:
► I receive a small commission on purchases made using my affiliated links shared the video description and comments section. The views and opinions expressed here are my own, unbiased, and not influenced by this commission in any way.
► My videos are in no way intended to be instructional "how-to" lessons. I am simply documenting my project for informational purposes. Property damage, personal injury, or death may result, even when following manufacturer's instructions. I cannot be held liable for such damage or injury. It is YOUR OBLIGATION to ensure that you are complying with any local and federal laws as well as code and permit requirements.

Science & Technology

Published on


May 15, 2020




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Comments 100
LithiumSolar 7 months ago
ONE MILLION views!! I never expected this video would go that far. Thank you everyone for the support, feedback, and ideas!! I uploaded a new questions & answers video that addresses several of the questions and ideas that were shared. I also included a "stick-figure" wiring diagram - hopefully it helps :) ruvid.net/video/video-XS9Mggw2M5o.html Also, don't forget to check batteryhookup.com/discount/BATTERY for the latest deals and pricing! (10% Discount Code "BATTERY")
Steven Raeburn
Three Million and rising... well done
Sovereignty One
Sovereignty One 4 days ago
Can I pay you to make me one of these?
DelightedBy Light
3.2 Mil Views, you Rock!!!
Jon Mitchell
Jon Mitchell 12 days ago
would that run window air conditioner?
Donald Kissler
Donald Kissler 13 days ago
Karanveer Chouhan
Karanveer Chouhan 8 hours ago
What a great project and i especially like the dealing of each point
WhatzUp Momoland
Why not buy a car battery 🔋??
Eli Corella
Eli Corella 2 days ago
i want one ;c .. shut up and take my money ._.
Would this be enough for 2 computers that are both running around 400 watts each (500w power supply and 620 watt ps)
Foxfried 2 days ago
Nice but now you can build for $435.00 for a lot less work, see will prowse LIFEpo4 video
LithiumSolar 2 days ago
I have my own LiFePO4 videos you know ;)
VoltageLP 2 days ago
Why don't you test them for internal resistance before paralleling? A 20% difference can cut the cell life almost in half
Jake Songster
Jake Songster 2 days ago
I feel frustration when I see generator applied to a battery Bank. I'm not saying it's technically wrong but for those of us who are not initiated into the magic of off-grid power it can be misleading
Jake Songster
@LithiumSolar let me be clear I'm not saying you are being misleading. I'm saying that the industry terminology for this can be misleading. I'm not faulting you for calling it that I'm just saying that I wish there was a different word or term for this device
Jake Songster
Jake Songster 2 days ago
@LithiumSolar as I said it may not be technically incorrect but the energy supposedly generating is coming from another source in this case battery is charged by solar. Period.
LithiumSolar 2 days ago
It's not misleading. It's generating (creating) AC electricity. It's a generator. Period.
John Skelcher
John Skelcher 2 days ago
Great video
gary Bonard
gary Bonard 2 days ago
Fantastic video, I'm going to build one ! can you tell us how you test the battery's ?
Dixsy Normas
Dixsy Normas 3 days ago
Couldn't you use magnets to help interference ?
Dixsy Normas
Dixsy Normas 3 days ago
@LithiumSolar same that's what I thought
LithiumSolar 3 days ago
Could I? I don't know much about magnets or interference. I just know I see the ferrite things on many cables so I thought I'd give one a try.
Sovereignty One
Sovereignty One 4 days ago
Can I pay you to make me one of these?!
LithiumSolar 3 days ago
I wish I could... :(
Shahriar Dhruvo
Shahriar Dhruvo 5 days ago
wouldn't it more battery friendly project if you had paired them with some supercapacitors for handling the initial loads?
Vivid -X
Vivid -X 5 days ago
About 73 Ah?
Daragh Counihan
Daragh Counihan 5 days ago
Great video, thank you.
deeablort 5 days ago
Geez, at least one of us is prepared for an apocalypse. I was good until the spaghetti mess then it just got intense. Great job. Build em and sell em you'll make a mint.
Mizanur Rahman
Mizanur Rahman 6 days ago
Wow! Excellent. Watching from Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Chris Sartain
Chris Sartain 6 days ago
Informative for someone like myself, thanks I learned a lot!
Delta Philip
Delta Philip 6 days ago
The biggest environmental danger posed by is the amount of water the process uses up: an estimated 500,000 gallons of water per ton of extracted. This can endanger the communities where the is being because it can cause droughts or famine if operations are not kept in check.Oct 22, 2020
Bobby Perez
Bobby Perez 6 days ago
Talk about how much cost to built one lake this?
Sally Acquire
Sally Acquire 6 days ago
Well done! Very informative and to the point. You are an excellent teacher! Let's teach some classes for us non-electrical newbies. Let's connect!
PBS #007
PBS #007 7 days ago
have you done a step by step on a build
Jorge Toloza
Jorge Toloza 7 days ago
Bro..am making one, thanks.
Kelly PBR
Kelly PBR 7 days ago
Do you want to be my neighbor and build this old man one?
Arif k
Arif k 8 days ago
Nice. To make that red led visible and nice, place a translucent plastic sheet on top.
Jonathan S
Jonathan S 8 days ago
How did you connect the zip ties? I'm now trying to go for a mass cramming of information to fully understand these designs, I also want to be able to create my own products. But I would need a couple hours with talented individuals. I think I can create a new and improved future if I have the right resources.
Anna B
Anna B 10 days ago
It wasn’t too long! The details give understanding.
Daniel Olalla
Daniel Olalla 10 days ago
Excellent project and very detailed explanation, can you share with me you batteries and nickel strips provider name or address?
LithiumSolar 9 days ago
Thanks! A list of all components used (including batteries and nickel strips) are in the description of the video :)
radrando 11 days ago
yall need to becareful cuz if ur not u can die. Dont forget to wear gloves because panels use DC.
LithiumSolar 10 days ago
YES! Safety First!
Can Le
Can Le 12 days ago
You bought parts you can buy parts again in wholesale, and sale them to us for profit.
ricky embers
ricky embers 12 days ago
I didn't even notice how long the video was, in fact I could of kept watching.
Steve Paige
Steve Paige 13 days ago
Would you consider making more to sell? I'd buy one from you. I have no time to make my own.
Steve Paige
Steve Paige 13 days ago
@LithiumSolar Understandable. I will just buy an ecoflow 1300 I guess. I hope its a good unit. Thanks anyway and great content on your channel👍
LithiumSolar 13 days ago
I don't sell DIY batteries, sorry. Way too much liability that I don't want to get into.
Ray Bin
Ray Bin 13 days ago
Well done video - concise, clear, to the point and of utmost importance....no crappy music!! Bravo!
Chris K
Chris K 13 days ago
Genius wow
Jeff Pepin
Jeff Pepin 14 days ago
19:27 i would be like i want to disassemble this because i doubt its a bunch of lm7812 in paralels on a giant heatsink your assemblies capabalitites are simply amazing impressed by the giant heatshrink and more THINGS INSIDE THIS video usefull info also clear talk , no cheap music , no intro , no youtuber thANKS for sharing real knowledge
Jack Pestaner
Jack Pestaner 14 days ago
Awesome project, and very nice workmanship. One very small suggestion--use heat gun or butane lighter on heat shrink. Regular matches leave carbon behind, could become a leakage path.
Rommel Rivera
Rommel Rivera 14 days ago
Awesome how-to and no doubt this is perfect for electricians. For me, I'll just pony up the $2K for a 1kWh (true capacity) solar station with 3 110W solar panels included in the price and call it a day. Seems much safer for a non-electrician.
Peter Mashak
Peter Mashak 16 days ago
I didn't see anything about how much it weighed.
LithiumSolar 16 days ago
It weighs 57lbs
Helmut Schaus
Helmut Schaus 17 days ago
If I need to keep running 1 fridge 500Liters and 1 freezer 200Liters for 24hours a day. How many panels, batteries and which inverter capacity would you recommend for an area with at least 6 hours of sun daily. Any suggestion is highly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
maraj baha
maraj baha 17 days ago
I really appreciate this video. Thank you
Prestige Parties
Prestige Parties 17 days ago
Did I see a blue cell going in with the purple ones lol I pay too much attention.
Prestige Parties
Prestige Parties 16 days ago
@LithiumSolar I like your content, do you have any knowledge about magnets and levitation? I've got a massive project I'm working on. It's gonna involve some ideas in your DIY projects
LithiumSolar 16 days ago
@Prestige Parties Ah I see it LOL. I took it back out, if you watch closely my hand goes the other way :P
Prestige Parties
Prestige Parties 16 days ago
@LithiumSolar actually 2:19 bang on
Prestige Parties
Prestige Parties 16 days ago
@LithiumSolar between 2:18 and 2:19
LithiumSolar 16 days ago
I don't think so, at least I hope not... Where did you see this (what timestamp)?
tantonj 17 days ago
What tool did you use to cut into the toolbox
LithiumSolar 17 days ago
I used a Rotozip. It melted the plastic pretty good so am not sure it's the best option - but it worked for me as I already owned one.
Henry Londono
Henry Londono 18 days ago
How do you test the capacity of each cell?
Henry Londono
Henry Londono 17 days ago
@LithiumSolar Thank you. Great video btw!
LithiumSolar 18 days ago
I use an Opus BT-C3100 at 1000mA amzn.to/2xYJXuy
Norman E. Lackey
Norman E. Lackey 18 days ago
Alex Mar
Alex Mar 18 days ago
Thank you for this amazing braingasming video ! Would covering the battery case or just keeping it in shade and not in direct sunlight help lowering the inside temperature?
Cyril Girault
Cyril Girault 18 days ago
thank you very mutch. it is a very clever vidéo for an french guy like me... i will watch all vidéo you made.. nice
So the video was about 30 mins, how long did it actually take to make this device?
LithiumSolar 18 days ago
I could probably put it together from scratch in a single day, excluding cell testing of course since that takes a while. It took me about 3 weeks as I was filming every single step in between work and family stuffs.
Joe Shedler
Joe Shedler 19 days ago
@LithiumSolar did those modem batteries have balancing boards in the for when the modem charged them? I was wondering why rip them apart, seems like less work to rewire the 3s packs, being basically just rectangles, they look like they would stack quite efficiently in any right angled container, like a box or rectangle. oh well is cooling the issue? how hot do 18650's get?
joseph jackson
joseph jackson 19 days ago
Great video and very enjoyable to watch,well done you're very talented.
J. T.
J. T. 19 days ago
Very nice build. How long would the Units hold the charge ? something like an emergency bank backup in a cellar.
Lihan Boutje
Lihan Boutje 20 days ago
Truly amazing crafstmanship, and the video is really well put together
Daniel J. Mydlack
THANK YOU! How much des it weigh?
LithiumSolar 21 day ago
Thanks for watching :) It weighs 57lbs.
Blenderis YO
Blenderis YO 21 day ago
So do instructional video then
Blenderis YO
Blenderis YO 20 days ago
@LithiumSolar was refering to your disclaimer 😄 👋👍very informative video, but hard to understand that ending since I dont have electric engineering knowledge.
LithiumSolar 21 day ago
blownspkr 21 day ago
So... I understand the part about getting the tool box. After that I was lost.... but I watched the entire video.
Reaper Montanta
Reaper Montanta 21 day ago
Loved it life saver:)
mahdini mahtar
mahdini mahtar 22 days ago
sir..great ....if you dont mind....can u give the full wiring diagram for solar generator that you build....send to my email... mahdinizehan@gmail.com..great pleasure n big thank you...
CHOPPER ATTARD 23 days ago
Top video too bad I suck at electronics it’s like Hieroglyphics to me
EmpireLeague 23 days ago
Where are the skill checks?
Oscar Flowers
Oscar Flowers 23 days ago
Hi good video, does the lithium cell have to be 2600mah?
Luz Velazquez
Luz Velazquez 24 days ago
Are you an Engineer Electrician?
LithiumSolar 24 days ago
Stag Man
Stag Man 24 days ago
The length of the video is spot on I’d sooner have a more in depth construction vid than get parts of it skipped and miss something important 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼
Fernando D. Altamirano Altamirano
I'm really impressed by the quality of this and other videos, thanks a lot for such great ideas.
Robert Yengo
Robert Yengo 25 days ago
This video was fantastic!
Peter XYZ
Peter XYZ 26 days ago
Stop buying in advertising terms by using “generator” for “battery storage”. Generator “makes” electricity
Peter XYZ
Peter XYZ 26 days ago
LithiumSolar misleading to the public. Companies trying to sell the notion that “our battery capacity is so huge, that it’s practically a generator. Our product should be compared to a gen” “Generator” already has an established definition in the industry. Applying “generator” to a battery is marketing hype. If that’s the case, a Tesla powerwall is a “generator” too on the same class as a a bank of PV or the propane elec back up gen. Even 10 12v car battery, serial, can qualify as a “generator”. You drinking the koolaide hype is your choice.
LithiumSolar 26 days ago
Why does it matter to you? I call them solar generators.
John Smith
John Smith 26 days ago
This seems well put together but seems like this energy has a very limited life span. If this is 650 ( dollars...us) it only worth a 2 year span. Please stop me if I'm wrong. I'm not trying to troll I'm actually a homesteader in northern California just trying to find what's best for my application. No water,no septic, no electricity... all brought in. Any advice is considered, studied and challenged (to find what's best.)
LithiumSolar 26 days ago
The lifespan of this will be MUCH longer than 2 years. I wouldn't be surprised if I can get 10 years out of it with proper care. If you're looking to power a home - including well pump, septic pump etc - this isn't the right option. I would consider either some of the 170Ah/280Ah LiFePO4 batteries or some of the pre-built boxes from BigBattery. This portable power build is meant for light-duty work.
Larry Tanaka
Larry Tanaka 26 days ago
By the way, I built one using your parts list and instructions. A bit on the heavy side but it works great. Thx David.
Larry Tanaka
Larry Tanaka 26 days ago
Question regarding the pos and neg XT60 connectors from batteries to BMS. Since there are two separate wires coming into the XT60 connectors, shouldn't there be two wires coming out of the mating XT60 connectors that finally combine before going to the BMS if we are going to really distribute the load between the two leads soldered to the pos and neg ends of the battery pack?
Giant Pup
Giant Pup 27 days ago
What do you think of this portable battery bank? www.amazon.ca/dp/B085WLSLW1/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_fabc_DbZ3FbG059D4H?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
Jen N
Jen N 27 days ago
Is there a way to build this for freezing temperatures?
Yonatan Michael
Yonatan Michael 28 days ago
Very good video!!!!! But I had a question about the solar controller. Why is not the solar controller directly connect to the battery? Because you have connected it to the DC/DC converter instead. Or the connection to the solar controller comes from "nest of wires".
Yonatan Michael
Yonatan Michael 28 days ago
@LithiumSolar Thanks for answering, I appreciate it :)
LithiumSolar 28 days ago
You can't connect a solar panel directly to the battery. You risk overcharging the batteries which could result in fire. The charge controller regulates the voltages and shuts off once the batteries are fully charged.
Cooper-Luna Yen
Cooper-Luna Yen 28 days ago
I live in Australia I am waiting for the batteries to be widely available, since electricity is so expensive here, I paid almsost a thousand dollars in winter quarter without the discount.
Nii P.
Nii P. 29 days ago
1. There can't be a "too long" video, as long as your viewers are capable of clicking on a start/stop symbol. 2. There is no law, that you HAVE TO watch a video in one go, without brakes. C'mon, this is a very complex project. To explain everything in a proper way, 33 minutes are not enough, especially from a trainer's perspective.
Nii P.
Nii P. 27 days ago
@LithiumSolar Great! Since I learned about training others, I always remember the most relevant part: "There is never TOO much information, when it comes to communication. Over 90% of problems in our society are caused by lack of information." And it proofs to be right, every day again. Only one exception: Buffer overflow! ;)
LithiumSolar 28 days ago
Yes, I know both points. I just had no idea this video was going to blow up like it did LOL. I've definitely learned a lot since!
R Shinn
R Shinn 29 days ago
so you cant charge this from the wall?
LithiumSolar 29 days ago
Yes. You can use the green charge controller for solar panels or any DC input. You just need to definite the voltage and current limitations in the settings.
Tonydfixer Tonydfixer
That is a very good job you have done. Excellent presentation, no music, great explanation,
LithiumSolar 29 days ago
Thank you!
Toshi Tyagi
Toshi Tyagi Month ago
Best science and equipment related video I've seen till date❤️!! Love from India🇮🇳!
Xeluc Month ago
I figure this has been mentioned before, but just in case. I would have painted the enclosure white to minimalize solar heating of the battery pack.
Nolan Reach
Nolan Reach Month ago
Totally awesome, thanks
MD. Riad Khan
MD. Riad Khan Month ago
can you give us the full building process of all connections into the box how you do that part 2 of this because I want to make this DIY Solar generator
FuocoSuave Month ago
@lithiumsolar or anyone else knowledgeable, i have a couple questions, possibly stupid and unanswerable: 1. How long would this take to charge from 0% to 100% with one panel on a sunny day, ballpark? 2. could this charge while simultaneously outputting power? 3. how long could this realistically power home essentials (for arguments sake 1 fridge and 1 lightbulb) at a 100%, ballpark any input will output equal or greater appreciation
Sachiv Mehta
Sachiv Mehta Month ago
Honeestly considering my tech knowledge limitations, I found this very complex but the ease you are preparing this video and making this system, you are real genius person. Koodos you. All the best
TacPreppers Month ago
Robert Hill
Robert Hill Month ago
Wow nice job
Tremendously impressive Thank you for sharing.
Dragon Energy
Dragon Energy Month ago
are you gonna sell these?
Brett Mitchell
Brett Mitchell Month ago
Wow!! Super impressive!!
caio pdesousa
caio pdesousa Month ago
great work!
Jonathan Iaquinto
is this a true generator, or a battery pack? the solar panels take the solar and create electron flow?
LithiumSolar Month ago
Does it matter? Surely you understand the function of the device if you're asking.
markoni Month ago
Nikola Tesla send me here.
chad jones
chad jones Month ago
Very cool!
Willow Branch Haven
I love this video but im missing something... how can you feed 58v into a 48v inverter?
MLG Joe Month ago
Can it power a gaming PC
Argie Bacomo
Argie Bacomo Month ago
Why apologize? Long video is not a problem if its good content. Ive got about a thousand 18650 batteries from an old powerbanks. might do this project
LithiumSolar Month ago
I didn't think many were going to watch it, let alone the whole thing. Clearly I was very very wrong LOL. Let me know how your project goes! :)
Nilson Nunez
Nilson Nunez Month ago
Edgar Blumenfeld
You are very knowledgeable, and clearly now what you are doing, however you should really pre tin your cables and surfaces when soldering. That's the only way to guarantee a good joint, specially if a lot of current will flow through them.
Maximus Month ago
WOW You are the man. A very through project.
Pete Coventry
Pete Coventry Month ago
I like the more and more LifeP04 battery packs being built on Ebay and Amazon
Pete Coventry
Pete Coventry Month ago
@LithiumSolar Indeed. I live in a motorhome and I am all 12v but I just replaced my 360ah of Lead Acid for 200AH of LifeP04 - I have smaller LifeP04 battery banks but I know if I needed to run an oven (say if my gas ran out) I could. I was going to get something like the leoch power station but I wanted my own inverter so I just got one of these in the box devices like you did and run that on everything. Only have 215W of Solar but it's all good at recharging them :) Edit - cost me around $1000 for 200ah and a 3000W quality inverter - none of this 80ah put into 24v to make 180 like the Leoch.
LithiumSolar Month ago
LiFePO4 is definitely a better route than NMC. Much safer and longer lasting.
shyrwall0 Month ago
Not a generator
1061shot Month ago
Bradley Extream
Bradley Extream Month ago
Awesome two thumbs up!!!
Brennen Kuhn
Brennen Kuhn Month ago
I’ve got a bunch of questions, if you don’t have a welder is it realistic or possible to attach the nickel plates with solder? If your using this daily for your solar panels will it last for a long time... hopefully at least a few years? Last question, being 3.5w I would expect that it should be able to run a window ac unit for several hours?? Thanks!!!
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