OFF GRID Rainwater Harvesting Part 4 – solar powered pump

In this 4th episode of my off grid rainwater system series I’ll install a solar panel on the roof of our garden pavilion behind me.

Then wire that to a controller that charges a deep cycle battery. And that will power a 12 volt water pump to irrigate part of our garden. I’m not a solar panel installer or electrician, just a DIY’er that’s enthusiastic about solar.

Around 5 years ago I installed a solar system on our RV. And that system is working flawlessly to this day. That was a lot of fun to do so I was looking forward to building another system here in the garden.

Jump to:

Off-Grid Rain Tank Part 1 – Pour the Tank Foundation
Off-Grid Rain Tank Part 2 – Build the Tank Surround
Off-Grid Rain Tank Part 3 – Tank Plumbing and Fittings
Off-Grid Rain Tank Part 4 – Install a Solar Powered Pump

Rainwater Harvesting Tank - solar panel & pump setup [OFF GRID]
Watch this video on YouTube.

See the Youtube Video Part 1 or Part 2 or Part 3 or Part 4

(this is a transcript from the video)

Off Grid Rainwater Harvesting System – PART 4: solar panel and pump

Build a control board and add the Solar Controller

The solar controller and other electrical parts will be first mounted on a piece of 3/4″ plywood. Then this will be attached to the back wall of the mini pump house box. The solar controller must be connected to a battery first before it can be connected to a panel. So this is why I’ll build the control board first. I bought a 100 watt panel and controller kit from Renogy. I have a similar setup on my RV and everything is still working fine. I think this is my favorite part of installing this rainwater harvesting system, the solar board.

Build a control board and add a 40 amp fuse

I first mounted the controller. Then a fuse block in pretty much the middle of the board.

Build a control board and add a 40 amp fuse

From the controller to the fuse block is a red positive wire that has a 40 amp fuse.

cutting wires for terminal lugs on solar system

To the left of the fuse block is a ANL fuseholder. I sized the fuse according to the gauge of wire going to the battery and with the option of adding a 750 watt inverter later. Once I have the layout set for where everything goes on the board I attach the components and begin to make up the wires for the connections.

Lug Crimper

crimping wire lugs with simple hammer crimper

Here I’m cutting and stripping the wire from the positive of the fuse block to one terminal of the ANL fuse. I want to remove just enough insulation so there’s no wire showing when I slide the lug on.

hitting crimper ram with hammer

I have a simple lug/cable crimping tool and it works really well. It’s cheap and its fast. This one is spring loaded so I just set the lug in the jaws, hold the wire, then hit it with a hammer.

Heat Shrink Tubing

Heat gun shrinks tubing to seal the lug and wire connection

I check the fit then slide on some heat shrink tubing. This will make the connection water tight.

installing wire between main fuse and fuse block

I’ll secure that cable with washers and nuts and check that the cover of the fuse block still fits.

fuse block has a clear cover

On the other side of the board I’ll add a shunt to the black negative wire that will lead to the battery.

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