Solar Trailer: Part 8 – Wiring the Solar Panels and UPS mods

Solar Trailer: Part 8 - Wiring the Solar Panels and UPS mods

Author: BenjaminNelson via YouTube
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Solar Trailer: Part 8 - Wiring the Solar Panels and UPS mods

In this video, I wire up the solar panels, and produce power for the first time!
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Typical 60 cell solar panels like these produce more than 30 volts each in sunlight. The three panels will be wired up in series – positive to negative, positive to negative – so that the voltage increases. The three of them together can be over 100VDC.

Because of that we will wire up the connections to the breaker/combiner box BEFORE connecting the 3 panels to each other. After that, I can disconnect power from the panels simply by flipping the DC breaker to off.

Once the panels were wired up, I set to work making a few modifications to the UPS. The main thing was that it simply did NOT fit horizontal in the truck toolbox. It was just a little too wide! So, I removed the handles and cut off the rack-mount ears. I also removed a few internal parts related to the batteries which were no longer needed, as the lithium battery is external to the UPS.

I temporarily wired the Battery, UPS, and Solar charge controller together. They already had Anderson disconnects on them, so it was pretty much "plug-n-play".

I plugged the cord from the external electric outlets into the back of the UPS and then I (once I remembered to turn it on) had off-grid electricity! I could now run my corded power tools from the trailer while working on the rest of the project!

Please note: In close-ups, you might see in some shots that they are AC circuit breakers! With this brand, the AC breakers and DC breakers look nearly identical! I ordered these breakers by mail, but accidentally got the AC version. Since this was the next step in my building process, I installed the breakers anyways, so that I would have the correct spacing the breaker box, etc. I then swapped in the DC breakers once I got those. Alternating Current and Direct Current arc differently. Always make sure to use DC rated breakers on the DC side of a solar project.

This project is a bit of an experiment in building a portable, off-grid solar system using mostly what I already have. The Charge Controller is one that I’ve already had for years. The battery is made from 7 Nissan Leaf Cell modules. See the video on building the battery at:…
The inverter is a repurposed Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) which ran on 48V and would have originally been used in a computer server room. I’m just using the inverter portion of this unit, but it could also be used as a battery charger if I connected it to wall AC power. I used this same unit to power my house during a blackout from my motorcycle. Learn more about that at:…

Tools and Materials used in this project:
Xantrex C40 Solar Charge Controller:
(I later upgraded the charge controller to an Outback Flexmax80. Find out why in a future video: )
14S Lithium Battery (Leaf Cell Modules)
2200 Watt UPS (Recycled, Repurposed)
DC Circuit Breakers:
Circuit Breaker DIN Box:
Solar Cable:
Replacement tool box gas lifts:
DC Current/Power/Energy Multimeter Display:
Stainless Steel Cable Clips:
Anderson Disconnects:
Plug-In Electric Usage Monitor:
3/4" Pillow Block Bearings:
Weather-proof cord grip Cable Glands:
DIN Rail Terminal Block Kit:
Stainless Steel Zip Ties:
Outdoor Rated Metal 2-gang electric box:
Two-Gang Weather-proof outlet cover:
Ryobi 18V Drill:
Step Drill Bits:

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Music by:
"Shaving Mirror" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License…

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Solar Trailer: Part 8 – Wiring the Solar Panels and UPS mods
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