The Solar-Powered Tailgate Party– Go Green!

tailgating setup - fans

The tailgate party is a sacred ritual, and like with any ritual that requires serious reflection, one needs to decide how to best prepare for it. To throw a successful tailgate party for a bunch of your closest buds, you’ll want to put together an awesome set-up. Sure, you could plug into a generator, but why deal with that racket? Harbor Freight Tools has the perfect solution:

tailgating setup - ensemble

First, you need some shade. The HFT 10 Ft. X 10 Ft. Popup Canopy #69456 ($69.99) is perfect instant cover for you and the gang to watch the game in cool comfort. The canopy features a slant-leg design for better stability and a powder-coated frame to resist chipping, peeling, rust and corrosion. The canopy itself is made from water-resistant, 150-denier polyester fabric that protects against fading and mildew and comes with a convenient wheeled storage bag for easy transport.

solar panel kit

Next, instead of a generator as the power source, Harbor Freight suggests their Thunderbolt Magnum 45-Watt Solar Panel Kit #68751 ($159.99). With this impressive unit you can generate plenty of clean, quiet energy, using the sun to run TVs, radios, crock pots, blenders– even recharge 12 volt DC batteries. The set up’s easy, too. Simply connect the solar panels to a 12-volt DC storage battery #68680 ($69.99)…

1500 3000 watt power inverterwhich in turn connects to a Cen-Tech 1500 Watt Continuous/3000 Watt Peak Power Inverter #60601 ($129.99) with quality 300 Amp Inverter Power Cables #69537 ($39.99) to juice up your gear!

Tailgating setup - solar panels

Then plug in your TV along with your mobile satellite or a good, strong antenna, add a crock pot for the nacho cheese, and enjoy the game engine-noise-free!

The turf is green. Why not the tailgate? You can find all the supplies you need for an awesome solar-powered tailgating station at Harbor Freight Tools for ridiculously low prices!

Other tailgating necessities you can find at Harbor Freight include:

…and more!

On the other hand, if it’s a generator you’re still looking for, you know Harbor Freight Tools has the top-rated Predator gas generators in all sizes– at incredibly low prices!

My Super Sweet 16 DIY Solar Panel Kit Videos

Thunderbolt Magnum 45-Watt Solar Panel Kit

If you’ve been batting around the idea of picking up a Thunderbolt Magnum45-Watt Solar Panel Kit #68751, now’s the time to strike, my friend. This Friday-Sunday, March 8-10, the legendary Harbor Freight Tools Sidewalk Sale is running, with the solar panel kit going for a cool $139.99! And if you miss the sale, no worries– between now and Monday, March 18, the kit remains on sale for just $149.99. Talk about Daylight Savings Time (that’s OK, you’ll get it later…)!

Perhaps you’ve thought that the idea of setting up a solar system would be cool, but also a little intimidating. What’s in the kit? How do you put it together? What else do you need? How much do you need to know? The truth is, you don’t have to be a whiz kid to put something functional and efficient together for your home, garage, barn, shed, RV, camp or bug-out shelter.

First, what’s included in the kit, and what can it do? Not long ago, Dan Rojas, owner of Green Power Science put out a series of YouTube videos, explaining it pretty well.

In his first video, he goes over what the kit includes and also points out that you’ll also need at least one 12-volt battery (2 or more would be better– he recommends deep cycle) and a power inverter to make the system fully useful. For his demonstration he uses the Cen-Tech 750 Watt Power Inverter, but in the spirit of “More Is Better”– that is, if you intend to use the solar system for larger machinery or appliances– I suggest getting the Chicago Electric 1500/3000 Power Inverter. Of course, it depends on what you need the solar energy for. If you’re in a cabin and intend to occasionally vacuum or use a microwave, the 750 watt inverter won’t cut it.

Chicago Electric 1500/3000 Watt Power Inverter

 

Here’s a general guide of determining how big of an inverter you might need:

 

Appliance   Est. Watts   Appliance   Est. Watts
Cell phone 24 CD player 400
iPod 120 Toaster 1200
TV 25″ 175 Jig saw 350
Laptop computer 65-90 Circular saw 1250
Computer & monitor 400 1/2″ drill 700
Printer 75 Refrigerator 500
VCR 50 Vacuum 750
CPAP 200 Sub pump 1000
Blender 400 40″ fan 1100
Space heater 1000 Iron 1000
Coffee maker 800 Satellite dish 75
Microwave 1250 PS2, Xbox 125

Dan posted other informative videos, including 3-Solar Panel DIY Wiring and Solar Panel Wiring Configurations. You can catch his whole YouTube series here.

If you are really considering putting together a solar kit, one of best DIY solar websites to get acquainted with is the Do It Yourself Solar Energy Forum. This terrific site is a wealth of information with tips,  tutorials, videos and plain old general knowledge. Chances are good if you have a question, it’s been asked and answered on this forum. There’s a lot of coverage on the Harbor Freight 45-watt solar panel kit, too. Videos include everything from assembly, set-up, add-ons and plenty of personal mods from folks looking to build the better mousetrap. There are even videos on solar panel kit performance during rain and snow. My favorite video on this site was made by Larry “The Solar Toolman” Taylor:

I don’t think there’s a more practical and informative DIY video on home solar power set-ups out there. Larry followed this first how-to video with a Workshop #2 and a three-part Workshop #3. If you want to get some insight of just what you can do with your newly-harnessed solar power, definitely check these out.

Preppers represent a good number of the solar kit shoppers, which only makes sense. Nobody anticipates contingencies like a prepper. Only two weeks ago I wrote about Chappy from NewSurvivalSkills.com and how he employed a Harbor Freight solar panel briefcase to get power in the wild.

Another prepper clip I came across was from a guy with the moniker, ncprepper1. He uses three solar panel kits to run a 36″ TV (even in the event of a zombie apocalypse, you gotta have your TV), laptop, lights, a camera system, and more. To make room for even more solar kits, he shows how to build a wooden rack that can add three, making a total of 18 solar panels . Not to be outdone, LDSPrepper installed 4 solar panel kits (180 watts) on the side of his house with a 1500 watt power inverter,  and poses a convincing argument for why he decided to go with Harbor Freight solar panels.

Incidentally, LDSPrepper– who actually has a whole series of solar panel videos worth plowing through– repeatedly credits another YouTuber, econewpower, for helping him get started. This guy supplies his own treasure trove of solar panel kit how-to videos: I recommend starting with his How To Install Harbor Freight Solar Panels Part 1 . I think there are five parts in this series, plus he has other DIY solar videos on hand.

With the advent of spring fast approaching, it’s a great time to get started on your solar system project. Whether it be for emergencies, saving electricity costs or going green, solar is a solid alternative energy that, in extreme cases, could potentially save you and your family from losing creature comforts, food supplies or even lives.

Check out these and other videos on DIY solar panel kits and projects online!

Solar-Powered Kiddie Car Mod


I keep stumbling on wicked mods created with something from the wide-ranging Harbor Freight catalog– everything from the outrageous to the sublime. This time I’m just going to call it “cool!”

Ben Nelson’s little girl is just about old enough to start driving her tyke-sized electric jeep. There’s only two problems: there’s no battery and no charger. A lesser man would have hauled the carcass to the curb, but not Ben. With a couple of spare 15 Watt 12 Volt Solar Panels and a 30 Amp Solar Charge Controller that he happened to have– along with some conduit and a 12-volt battery– the kid’s now free-wheelin’ it with clean, free energy.

Check it out!