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#2686264 - 05/25/14 08:38 PM My version of a DIY feeder light -----Reloaded-----

When I built the original it worked but gradually discharged because I used an unregulated solar panel from Moultrie, it kept the battery charged for about 3 1/2 weeks, then went bad completely.

APC posted this in the original thread:

Originally Posted By: AllPredatorCalls
Ingenious design, but I don't think the solar panel will charge a depleted battery up after a week of running all night. The solar panel specs: Amps: 0.07 Volts: 12

He ultimately was right. The panel worked but just barely and then when the panel decide to take a big ole dump, it ruined the battery. It no longer would charge and actually completely discharged the battery, it could not even be charged. I got Academy to warranty the panel and O'Reilly Auto Parts warrantied the battery and let me upgrade to a U1 deep cycle.

I found this solar calculator and used it to determine what size panel I needed.

Solar Calculator

I made some changes to the original design. Original Thread

My version of a DIY feeder light.

Having bought a couple of "cheap" feeder lights and not being satisfied, I decided to build my own.

What you will need:
Fat 50 Ammo Box
12v Photocell(Green Electrical Supply)
12v U1 Deep Cycle Battery(O'Reilly Auto Parts)
12v 3 or 6 watt Green LED MR16 bulb(Amazon)
Universal Two Wire Connector with 12" Loop(Amazon)
12v 12 Watt Solar Panel(Academy)
12v Cyclops 10-Amp Digital Charge Controller(Academy)
12v Landscape light that uses a MR16 bulb(Lowes)
3/8" flexible conduit and 2 threaded end pieces(Lowes)
2" Wide 1/4" thick galvanized strap(Lowes)
3/16" thick aluminum plate 2' x 2'(I used Discount Steel locally, They have a website, online ordering and they ship. They are quite reasonable IMHO)
10' long 2" conduit(Lowes)
Tube of Silicone sealer(O'Reilly Auto Parts)
3) 2 1/4" Muffler U-bolts(O'Reilly Auto Parts)
3) 3" hose clamps(O'Reilly Auto Parts)
7' T-Post(Tractor Supply)(Buy several for quick relocation)
Various drill bits, jig saw with steel/aluminum blade, 13/16" hole saw, bolts as required

12v Photocell

6 Watt MR16 Green LED

3 Watt MR16 Green LED

Universal Two Wire Connector

Landscape Spotlight

Cyclops 12v 12 watt Solar Panel

Cyclops 10-Amp Digital Charge Controller

It is a fairly simple design. I put the photocell behind the handle for the ammo can to protect it from squirrels and what not. I also used garden hose washers to shim it to the right depth. I chose a 12v lawn mower U1 Deep Cycle battery because it was on sale for $20 because the cheap battery went bad. I had to order the bulbs and photocell online. I got a good deal on the 3 watt green led bulbs, so I bought a couple of both the flood and spot light bulbs. They store nicely inside the ammo can and replacement takes about 20 seconds tops. I later found a 6 watt green led spotlight that is insanely bright.

The solar panel uses sliding tension plates, I just drilled the aluminum plate and loosened the sliders and let the 8mm bolts do the tensioning. I let the plate cover the exposed wire and put the flexible conduit on the bottom to prevent water from entering the solar panel. I also made a drip loop under the ammo can for the same reason. You will need to keep your strap as short as possible to fully support the panel, it is about 7lbs. I put a 45 degree twist in the strap to properly position the panel for full exposure and to lessen damage from hail. You will have to cut the wires about 6" from the end plug, make sure to separate them before cutting them, DO NOT CUT THEM TOGETHER, feed them thru the flexible conduit and then attach the conduit to the can. and then reattach the plug, it will plug directly into the controller. I also bought 2 2 wire connectors to use for the other two plugs on the controller, one for load and one for battery. I also used a fusible link on the battery positive wire just in case. I also cut up an a couple of pieces of mudflap to insulate the battery and used 2 pieces of 1" foam on top to prevent any contact between the battery and can.

You can pretty much figure it out from here. I mounted mine on 2" conduit so I could slip it over a T-Post pretty much anywhere I wanted. It also makes removing or moving very easy. I also drilled some 3/16" plate to use inside the ammo can to reinforce it and a 1/4" piece to shim the box out away from the conduit so the lid will close. You can shim it with washers, just make sure to put a little silicone on them to seal the can up.

#2686826 - 05/27/14 07:23 PM Re: My version of a DIY feeder light -----Reloaded----- [Re: ]
canuroper Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 11/04/10
Posts: 259
Loc: NE Georgia
Awesome setup! Thanks for the pics and sources.
I believe this would work well for a feeder setup I have in mind.
Curiosity is killing me though. Why can't the wires be cut together?

#2687173 - 05/28/14 07:22 PM Re: My version of a DIY feeder light -----Reloaded----- [Re: ]

They could short the panel out

#2687451 - 05/29/14 02:00 PM Re: My version of a DIY feeder light -----Reloaded----- [Re: ]
308Garand Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 12/28/06
Posts: 422
Loc: Mesquite, TX
I like it!
It takes three people to do anything around here. Two do the work, one explains to the crowd of people who showed up when they seen smoke and flames.


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