Upgrading a small solar system – video

LaMar's off-grid cabin

I just love learning how other people live off-grid, especially when they are doing it in a very similar way to how I live. LaMar Alexander has done all of this and more, we may be in different places, but we both started out with small and simple systems, cobbling together this and that, building an independent life one piece at a time.

LaMar has graciously shared his life with the rest of us, in book and video format, here are some interesting and educational videos about how he is upgrading his solar systems. There are 4 videos in this series, you can view them here or click on the links to view at YouTube.









LaMar has written a great book about how he built his off-grid cabin and the systems that are part of his off-grid cabin, this IS a “how to” book about building an off-grid cabin, a great companion book to Nick’s book Off The Grid-Inside The Movement For More Space, Less Government, And True Independence In Modern America I own both books and found lots of great information in them.


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3 Responses

  1. Chicago electric has a system that is only 150 bucks at farm and fleet hardware or some place like that. I installed it on my rv in it works pretty good. 2 big so called deep cycle batteries from oreilly’s auto parts do the job but don’t hold a charge that long. I should’ve bought a couple 6 volt golf cart batteries but they are a couple hundred bucks each. Still I can run a 12 volt tv dvd stereo lights fans and a 2000 watt inverter et cetera for hours before it goes to 50 percent. The system has a warning light, 3 15 watt panels, 45 watt controller that works okay. All chinese made crap but what isnt? A chinese knock off generator and I am good to go anywhere.

  2. Thanks for that – this was very nice, watching
    another guy improvising things and daring
    to make it all work instead of just going ahead
    and spending megabucks on a ready-made solution ! I have a pretty similar setup and
    I am a bit hesitant to upgrade cause
    a) everybody tells me that different panels
    do not go well together (even different
    Kyoceras, say 2 of 95 watts and one of 135 watts
    combined) which I am not so sure is entirely
    true – but I do believe the guys who claim
    that you should never use different types of batteries (105 ah,m 200 ah) together,
    especially *even* old and new ones.

    Now LaMar just goes ahead and does it !
    Anybody else got any practical experience with
    THAT, especially over 5 years and more ?
    It would really interest me, it is essential.

    Being able to combine and add as you get
    the chance just sounds too good to be true,
    it would make my life much easier ;)

    1. Hi Michael, yes LaMar goes for it doesn’t he! We have as well, we have lived off-grid using solar panels and batteries (and all that goes with that) for 4 years now, we have mixed solar panels and mixed (amp hour) batteries, it works just fine. Now, if money were not an issue, then yes, it is ideal to use all of the same panels and all of the same batteries, BUT it is not critical to do so. That being said, with the batteries, I wouldn’t add a very old battery to a bank of much newer batteries. With batteries, you are only as good as your weakest battery in the bank, the oldest and weakest battery will keep the other batteries from charging fully, causing them to fail much sooner, not to mention the fact that you aren’t getting the full amount of power/amp hours from your newer batteries.


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