Author Topic: 5 in 1 12V Solar Battery Conversion  (Read 996 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
Michigan


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  :-)

Offline Ranch Hand

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Re: 5 in 1 12V Solar Battery Conversion
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2018, 09:37:07 AM »
Steve -- I was having the same problem with battery life and have a 120VAC to 3VDC converter wired up and ready to install.  Please advise where you connected the black (ground) and red (+) wires inside the unit.  Once done, I should have a constant source of 3v power to the station (and no more short battery life issues!).  Thanks in advance for your reply.

Bill

Offline CBXSteve

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Re: 5 in 1 12V Solar Battery Conversion
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2018, 02:45:35 PM »
I didn't take a picture of the work, but as I remember, there are 2 red and 2 black wires that connect to the 2 sets of AA batteries on one end, and are connected to the circuit on the other ends.  All you need to do it connect the red wire from your converter to any one of the red battery wires in the unit, and the black wire from the converter to any one of the black battery wires in the unit.  If I remember correctly, I just "tack soldered" them to the tabs where Accurite collects the battery power for the circuit board.  By "tack solder" I mean: Flow a little solder onto your stripped wire thereby "tinning" it, and then simultaneously touch your tinned wire and your soldering iron to the existing solder joint you want to connect it to, and when it all flows together, remove the heat and hold everything perfectly still until the solder cools to a shiny solid. You don't need a "good mechanical connection" in this type of application so tack soldering is fast and easy.

If this still doesn't make sense, I can haul it down and take a picture, it's time to clean the spider webs out of the aspirator fan anyway.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 02:48:55 PM by CBXSteve »

Offline Ranch Hand

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Re: 5 in 1 12V Solar Battery Conversion
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2018, 07:11:24 PM »
Steve -- Many thanks.  You confirmed what I thought I needed to do.  I'll let you know how it went once I get back to the ranch and get the wiring done.

Bill

Offline Ranch Hand

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Re: 5 in 1 12V Solar Battery Conversion
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2018, 04:21:35 PM »
Steve -- I got the unit wired to the 120 VAC to 3VDC converter and t is working perfectly!  It will be nice not to have to change batteries.  While in the unit, I also connected a 12" piece of 14 gauge stranded wire to the antenna spring and have it exiting out of the weather head at the bottom.  This increased signal strength considerably.

Offline DoctorKnow

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Re: 5 in 1 12V Solar Battery Conversion
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2018, 05:35:20 PM »
Be careful you don't short out the transmitter modifying the sensor like that...


Offline CBXSteve

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Re: 5 in 1 12V Solar Battery Conversion
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2018, 11:08:57 AM »
Steve -- I got the unit wired to the 120 VAC to 3VDC converter and t is working perfectly!  It will be nice not to have to change batteries.  While in the unit, I also connected a 12" piece of 14 gauge stranded wire to the antenna spring and have it exiting out of the weather head at the bottom.  This increased signal strength considerably.

Ha! GMTA I did exactly the same thing but didn't mention it. My signal in the house is now great where it was marginal before. I don't remember my wire length as I did the math for a 1/4 wave, cut it, and soldered it onto the board, but it works awesome.  My station is probably 150 feet from the house, which is brick construction.

 

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