Need to protect a small inverter & battery on an outdoor post

   / Need to protect a small inverter & battery on an outdoor post #1  

ning

Elite Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2017
Messages
2,538
Location
Northern California
Tractor
Branson 3520h
I have a solar panel near a garden which is set up to charge a battery, which in turn powers an inverter; plugged into the inverter is a valve timer that handles the semi-automated irrigation for that garden space (didn't want to set up a zillion battery units, and this lets me also plug in a phone to charge etc).

Last year I just had the battery & inverter mounted on the post under the solar panel, and I put them away to the shop before the rains... mostly. I think we got a couple light sprinkles on them but nothing bad seems to have happened.

While I expect to remove them for the winter regardless, it would be nice to protect them somehow; some kind of somewhat ventilated box would be good as it's likely to be in the hot sun some times.

Ideally I think I'd fashion something out of metal, but I've never done sheet metal fabrication.

Can anyone suggest -
  • a ready made product that's reasonably cheap I could adapt for this?

    or

  • if it's actually easy to sheet metal fab and the materials aren't too pricey, I'd be ok with spending some $ on basic tools for it, suggestions?
The inverter is "‎7.28 x 4.33 x 2.44 inches" and is currently mounted vertically (7.28" tall), with wires attached on the nuts at the top and 110v power plug in the bottom, then there's ~3" between the bottom of the inverter and a motorcycle battery (which is "7.15 x 3 x 6.65 inches", though I'm likely to put something more lawn tractor battery sized there).
 
   / Need to protect a small inverter & battery on an outdoor post #2  
I would suggest using a NEMA 3R or 4 rated enclosure sized to fit your components. They aren't cheap, but they are waterproof. Most electrical supply houses stock them.
 
   / Need to protect a small inverter & battery on an outdoor post #3  
Sheet metal would be quick and cheap. NEMA enclosures are great, and very sturdy, but UL rated, for which you pay a price.

I would have a look at your local auto parts start for a 12V battery box; it will have holes in it that earwigs and spiders can get in, but that hasn't been an issue for me. ($20.) I would fasten it to your post so that it doesn't blow away. Or get an old ammunition box and some cable glands. ($15.-ish, harbor freight and surplus stores)

For fancier items, I use a gasketed PVC box, but it is pricier.
MAKERELE My $0.02 would be to make sure that the box is big enough to dissipate the heat passively.

All the best,

Peter
 
   / Need to protect a small inverter & battery on an outdoor post #4  
I would just look for something readily available....

A couple of L or U bracket on the pole & a battery box for the size battery your using...

Battery Boxes -

Then an inexpensive IP65 or IP66 enclosure sized for the Inverter....

IP Enclosure - 1
IP Enclosure - 2
IP Enclosure - 3

For $50 or $60 your done... You could even vent the Inverter enclosures yourself
 
   / Need to protect a small inverter & battery on an outdoor post #5  
would a simple water proof tackle box or tool box work for you?
Around here a small Plano box about that size runs <$20.
 
   / Need to protect a small inverter & battery on an outdoor post
  • Thread Starter
#6  
Thanks all, good suggestions.
I need to settle on the replacement battery (the one last year was my motorcycle's previous battery and isn't the greatest and then I can choose the box, looks like many of the above would work pretty well.
 
   / Need to protect a small inverter & battery on an outdoor post #7  
I have a solar panel near a garden which is set up to charge a battery, which in turn powers an inverter; plugged into the inverter is a valve timer that handles the semi-automated irrigation for that garden space (didn't want to set up a zillion battery units, and this lets me also plug in a phone to charge etc).

Last year I just had the battery & inverter mounted on the post under the solar panel, and I put them away to the shop before the rains... mostly. I think we got a couple light sprinkles on them but nothing bad seems to have happened.

While I expect to remove them for the winter regardless, it would be nice to protect them somehow; some kind of somewhat ventilated box would be good as it's likely to be in the hot sun some times.

Ideally I think I'd fashion something out of metal, but I've never done sheet metal fabrication.

Can anyone suggest -
  • a ready made product that's reasonably cheap I could adapt for this?

    or

  • if it's actually easy to sheet metal fab and the materials aren't too pricey, I'd be ok with spending some $ on basic tools for it, suggestions?
The inverter is "‎7.28 x 4.33 x 2.44 inches" and is currently mounted vertically (7.28" tall), with wires attached on the nuts at the top and 110v power plug in the bottom, then there's ~3" between the bottom of the inverter and a motorcycle battery (which is "7.15 x 3 x 6.65 inches", though I'm likely to put something more lawn tractor battery sized there).
Ventilated is the key word there. So a waterproof sealed box is out.

How about a simple "marine battery box"?

They are under $20, large enough to fit a good sized trolling or starting battery, usually come with a strap to hold the lid on and it down to a mounting point, and are ventilated. Drill a couple small holes in the bottom in case some water does get in.

Maybe build a little shingled roof over it just in case.
 
   / Need to protect a small inverter & battery on an outdoor post #8  
Would a large mail box work?
 
   / Need to protect a small inverter & battery on an outdoor post #9  
Ventilated is the key word there. So a waterproof sealed box is out.

How about a simple "marine battery box"?

They are under $20, large enough to fit a good sized trolling or starting battery, usually come with a strap to hold the lid on and it down to a mounting point, and are ventilated. Drill a couple small holes in the bottom in case some water does get in.

Maybe build a little shingled roof over it just in case.
I was gonna say what MossRoad said: ventilated. This is very important. You really only need protection from rain so a big umbrella would work. But whatever you do make sure it is well ventilated. Otherwise moisture will condense on and inside your inverter. Add a lead acid battery and you are setting yourself up for pretty bad corrosion. I would also suggest you check out lithium motorcycle batteries. At least they don't outgas corrosive fumes like lead acid batteries. Good ventilation should make it possible to use lead acid batteries though.
Eric
 
   / Need to protect a small inverter & battery on an outdoor post #10  
I think that we are a bit dryer here. We use the marine/automotive battery boxes on our solar powered fence chargers and have had zero corrosion issues, even when the lead acid battery leaked. The charging circuits are an inch or so above the battery. A piece of closed cell polyethylene foam would do that for you.

You can also get AGM batteries that have the advantage that you don't need to keep an eye on water levels or worry about batteries getting knocked over. Some of our newer fence chargers came with AGM batteries. Not a huge fan for the intended purpose as they are a little harder to get and much more expensive than automotive batteries.

All the best,

Peter
 
 
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