Author Topic: 5 in 1 12V Solar Battery Conversion  (Read 204 times)

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Offline CBXSteve

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5 in 1 12V Solar Battery Conversion
« on: July 11, 2018, 07:41:46 PM »
My 5 in 1 battery consumption has increased over the years and become a pain. Today I converted it to solar powered, and it seems to be working beautifully. I wanted to share with the group the key component that made it an easy mod.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ODL140M/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

That link is to a 12vdc to 3vdc regulator module. It's only $7, and worked very well. As a bonus, the entire module will fit in the 5 in 1 battery compartment with a little modification. The only modifications necessary are to rip out the divider in the battery compartment, and clip off the screw mount tabs on the module. Once you do those things, it will fit snugly in the compartment like it was made for it.

The battery compartment divider is very thin plastic.  If you start with a couple of cuts with diagonal cutters, you can go in with some long nose pliers and roll up the divider like an old sardine can lid (hey, I'm old).

There is plenty of room to run the wiring into the body of the unit. Just solder the module output to the existing tabs that the red and black battery wires are already connected to.  No need to modify anything, just tack them on to the existing tabs.

In case you were unaware, the 5 in 1 runs on 3vdc, running 2 sets of batteries in parallel so you can change them one at a time so as not to electrically drop the system while changing batteries...that was he plan anyway, but the series/parallel arrangement explains how you get 3 volts with 4 batteries.

The rest of the system is straightforward and I won't go into it here, but this is a way to run your system off of 12vdc from any source.

Disclaimer: If at some point they modify either the 5 in 1 or the regulator module, it might not physically fit for you, but it was perfect in my case.


Offline daman

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Re: 5 in 1 12V Solar Battery Conversion
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2018, 08:43:51 PM »
My batteries are OVER.. 2.5 years old and the low indicator just came yesterday I'm going to keep them going for a wile yet. I've been nothing but happy with the battery performance outa of my 5n1.
AcuRite 01057RM Pro+ 5-in-1 Color w/ Accsess
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Offline Glenn

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Re: 5 in 1 12V Solar Battery Conversion
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2018, 09:22:14 AM »
That sounds like a cool project! Do you still use batteries for low-light/overnight?
Acurite 5 in 1 Pro+
Southern VT
Connecticut

Offline CBXSteve

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Re: 5 in 1 12V Solar Battery Conversion
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2018, 12:49:19 PM »
No, the whole thing runs on a 4.5 Ah 12V AGM battery which is charged by an off the shelf 1.5w solar trickle charger. I didn't need a battery with anywhere near that capacity, but they were cheap at about $17, and I had the solar charger lying around, so I used that rather than having to buy a solar panel and charging controller separately.  The power these things use is really miniscule and this battery could probably run this thing for years even without the charger.

My 5 in 1 AA batteries have lasted shorter and shorter periods of time over the years and it finally got down to a few weeks per battery change.  I took it apart and scrubbed the boards with solvent and got it back up to a couple of months, but that was still a pain, so I did this hopefully long term solution.

Offline vreihen

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Re: 5 in 1 12V Solar Battery Conversion
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2018, 05:57:08 PM »
As a caution, my understanding of buck converters is that they do not regulate voltage very well unless under a decent load.  I would check the output voltage with a multimeter, in case it is high enough to cause damage to the 5-in-1.....
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Offline Glenn

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Re: 5 in 1 12V Solar Battery Conversion
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2018, 07:52:23 AM »
Very neat project! Thanks for sharing the details.
Acurite 5 in 1 Pro+
Southern VT
Connecticut

Offline CBXSteve

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Re: 5 in 1 12V Solar Battery Conversion
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2018, 11:59:47 AM »
As a caution, my understanding of buck converters is that they do not regulate voltage very well unless under a decent load.  I would check the output voltage with a multimeter, in case it is high enough to cause damage to the 5-in-1.....

I saw no indications of that in the reviews, and it puts out 3.1 V with no load except a Fluke DVM. The only downside to this converter that I can see in this application is that it is a potential source of EMI, but that is unlikely to be an issue with the station as it is transmit only, and it does not seem to be messing with any of the sensors. My main reservation with the unit was installing a potential broadband jammer on a hill behind my house. I don't expect that to be an issue, but I'm aware of the potential.

On a side note, as a result of this project, I how have a meaty 12VDC power source up on that hill, and it is whispering to me that it is lonely and needs some other gadget to power  :-)