How to DIY your own offgrid chicken coop lighting:

Tom Mendise from Northeast Ohio has a 4’x4′ chicken coop. He was looking for an offgrid chicken coop lighting system to keep hens laying as the days get shorter. He did not want to run an extension cord across the lawn or trench an electrical line.

Most solar lighting systems for chicken coops use fairly large, heavy lead-acid based systems. He instead built a light, simple system with the following:
2 Room Lighting Kit from Voltaic
– USB timer from Cottonpickers (scroll down a bit to get to the timer)

Here’s the connection between the battery and the timer.
battery and timer setup chicken coop, Offgrid Chicken Coop

The 9 Watt solar panel is mounted outside of the coop, facing the sun and free of shade and will provide plenty of power to run the light every night between 4AM and 8AM.

On the low setting, the Touchlight consumes 0.65 Watts or 2.6 Watt hours for the scheduled 4 hours. Assuming a 20% loss from the battery, the system needs to generate a bit over 3 Watt hours every day. Even during cloudy winter days, the panel and battery should be able to keep up with that power demand.

solar panel for chicken coop, Offgrid Chicken Coop

There were a few key aspects to the setup:
1. Switch the Voltaic V44 battery into “Always-On” mode by holding the power button for ten seconds. Most power banks shut off when nothing is drawing power.
2. Use the 2A port on the V44 battery. The timer has brief moment of high load that was activating the high current protection on the 1A port of the V44 and shutting off the system.

solar panel outside chicken coop, Offgrid Chicken Coop.

Good luck to Tom and his chickens. If you have questions, you can reach Tom at TmendiseMD@hotmail.com

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