How To Build A Solar Setup: COMPLETE Step-by-Step, DIY Guide (12V, 2000W)


Build your own 12V, 2000W solar setup by following these simple steps. There’s no technical knowledge or skills needed … plus …

Date: August 24, 2023

42 thoughts on “How To Build A Solar Setup: COMPLETE Step-by-Step, DIY Guide (12V, 2000W)

  1. Build your own 12V, 2000W solar setup by following these simple steps. There's no technical knowledge or skills needed … plus there's no confusing verbiage used in this video. Here are all the items covered in this video:
    Wiring chart

    * This book was extremely helpful detailing everything you need to know:

    * Inverter (2000W):
    * Charge controller (40 Amp MPPT):
    * Battery (12V, 100Ah LiFePO4 self-heating):
    * Solar panel (100W):
    * Bus bar (250 amp, red):
    * Bus bar (250 amp, black):
    * 12V fuse block:

    * Connect batteries in parallel:
    * Battery / inverter cable:
    * Battery / charge controller cable:
    * Solar extension cable:
    * 2|0 AWG cable (red and black): + 2|0 AWG cable lugs:
    * 4|0, 2|0, 1|0, 2, 4, 6, 8 AWG cable:
    * 12 AWG cable:

    Cable management

    * 200 amp fuse (used in 2 places: on battery and inverter):
    * Inline MC4 10 amp fuse (used to connect solar panels to charge controller):
    * 40 amp fuse (used after charge controller):
    * Fuse holder:

    * High volt, low amp (disconnects solar panels):
    * High amp, low volt (disconnects batteries from system):

    * BT-2 bluetooth module (connects to batteries for app monitoring):
    * BT-1 bluetooth module (connects to charge controller for app monitoring):
    * Shunt/battery monitor (monitor battery status directly):

    * Cable stripper (optional, I bought it but never used it):
    * Cable wire lug crimper plus cable cutter:
    * Cable lugs + shrink wrap:
    * Ratchet with rubber grip (I bought this as I wanted rubber on the end of the handle to avoid touching the end of the handle on posts by accident):
    * Heavy AWG crimping tool (need it for the 2|0) cable to connect the batteries to the inverter:
    * Wire insulation cutter/stripper:

    Or, if you'd prefer to pick up a kit with all of these pieces combined (to save money), you can check out these options:


    Skip around with these timestamps:
    * Classroom: 1:21
    * — Wiring: 5:39
    * — Cable lugs: 8:13
    * — Fuses: 9:06
    * — Switches: 10:02
    * — Bus bars: 10:33
    * — Shunts: 11:11
    * — Layout: 11:26
    * Lab (inverter to battery): 12:04

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  2. Can somebody explain why duplicating a household 15A wall plug requires 2|0 AWG running less than a foot instead of the 14 Gauge that comes 25 feet from my house breaker box to a 15A outlet?

  3. I am very familiar with all these concepts having used inverters many times on 12v systems. I am new to the solar scene, I expected that since high amperage produces allot of heat and is hard on batteries and inverter circuits, and getting only 15A@120v requires >150A from 12v, that home solar systems would have higher voltage batteries, perhaps even 120vdc , where both sides of the inverter will be low amperage and much less prone to failure. This is a much more efficient and durable setup , with the exception that weaker batteries are at risk of being reversed charged when it is discharged before the rest, but a BMS could be employed like power tools packs to guard against that also.

    My question is: Are all home solar systems 12v on the primary side?

  4. question, could you use this same setup for doing a 12V system for an ebike seperate to the main battery of the bike
    I would be running turn signals, tail light and brake light and possibly a 12V Combination Halo & Fog light….I would be running the entire 12V setup off a 18V 5A/h Ryobi 1+ Drill Battery and have already purchased the step down converter for it,

  5. Seriously read hours of information and watched so many videos! Not one explained things so perfectly! I understood everything. The lights turned on in my head

  6. Would it be wise to upgrade to a thicker wire size for extra protection? I figured with these wires being small lengths, it might be a good idea to purchase thicker wires. What are your thoughts?

  7. Very thorough. Very concise. Good explanation of what was used, why it was used.
    Anyone with general mechanical / electrical knowledge should be able to accomplish this without any issues.
    Very good video, thanks.

  8. Just wondering if you've ever built a system this size in a toolbox.
    But maybe with just one 12 volt battery.
    I've watched and learned so much from you…and we all appreciate the valuable knowledge and time you put into these videos.
    Not to mention the 💰💰💰💰💰
    Be safe all

  9. Is it a good idea having the charger controller going to the bus bar which is controlled by the main switch? If the switch is turned off, the controller will be disconnected from the battery while still collected to the solar panels. I've heard this is not ideal or is it ok?

  10. Question 🙋‍♂️

    Not an electrician and excited to learn from videos like this and anyone generous enough to respond in comments. The question is: what is the purpose of the 12v fuse box? I would have thought the inverter would handle this function (somehow) but I’m interested to know the why. Thanks in advance!

  11. Your math appears wrong on the efficiency of the inverter, 2000/12 X.85 is 142 amps, not 196, you said divide by .85 that is not correct. Without the efficiency of 85% even at 100% that is only 166 amps. So unfortunately the rest of your system is built off of the need for 196 amps when in fact the max is 142. To demonstrate this, if something has a rating of 100 at 100% efficiency, but it actually runs at 85% then you multiply .85 x100 you do not divide, if you did then it would be running at 118. So therefore you could have used #2 wire which is less money and easier to work with

  12. You need more fuses. Fuses and fuses and more fuses…then you should make sure that you have enough fuses and add more fuses just to make sure you have enough fuses…just put fuses between every component and between everything you see and come upon. Just get more fuses. If you ever doubt about anything just add more fuses..please follow the link in the description and buy more fuses, and if you think you already have enough fuses that’s a sign that you need more fuses. So please buy more fuses. And if you are tired of reading this comment about fuses, that means you need to buy more fuses in order for you to make sure you have enough fuses…charge controllers and batteries already have built in fuses but you need more fuses…

  13. This is an excellent video that is very well produced. Good Job Sir!

    I started my SUV solar build 8 years ago but health issues stopped me (almost) dead, in my tracks.
    I feel much better now!

    My SUV/Solar project is the number one item on my Bucket List. I have all the components except the solar panels. I'm planning on 300 to 400 watts to charge my 2 x 100 Amp-Hour AGM battery pack that will get extended to 4 batteries. Some day, in the distant future, I'll replace the AGMs with Lithiums as soon as I can rob a few banks. HaHa…..

    I intend to boondock down the East Coast to Key West, across the Gulf to Boca Chica to catch a space launch or two then over to Phoenix, the Grand Canyon, up the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies and then back to the North East via the Great Lakes.

    I think that will take 12 to 18 months with many stops on the way to video historic locations.

    Along with the solar panels, I need to aquire a GSD Puppy Dog to keep me warm at knight and company 24/7.

    By leaving my apartment, utility bills and staying out of Home Depot and Amazon's web page, I expect to be financially stable.

    Only time will tell……..

  14. I have watched 50-100 of these over the past 9 months. This one I like best. Thanks for taking the time to explain things thoroughly. The addition of the shunt was not something I had considered from watching other videos. Also, I did not consider the two switches. It all makes sense when you see it built and then going back and explaining why you did what you did.

  15. I picked up the book you referenced in the video and product links and noticed that it makes a point of recommending the Class-T fuse for LiFePO4 batteries over ANL fuses due to the battery's high current discharge capacity. Was the ANL fuse an oversight or did you choose that for a specific reason?

  16. I found 2 tools that I already had for cutting through 2/0 cable. A chopsaw with 122 tooth blade, and a copper tubing cutter. the copper tubing cutter is also helpful in cutting through the insulation before stripping. you can also use a hacksaw, but that is slow.

  17. @6:49 your calculation of 2000w/12v/0.85 being 196 is incorrect. If the inverter is only 85% efficient, that means that the value you get when 2000/12=166 is not correct unless it would be 100% efficient, so the efficiency amps total is less than 166. You would multiply the total amps it can handle by its efficiency. 2000/12=166 multiplied by 0.85=141 amps total, essentially meaning you could run 1/0AWG to support 150A. I'm not saying this to nit-pick as I have used a ton of information from your video and am buiilding my own, which is why I have rewatched it and believe I have caught this error. Anyways thanks for all the info!

  18. Love the video! Best one out there! One question I have is for the grounding, I see you have it to the negative busbar. And that bus bar goes to ground on the chasis or the negative side of the battery? I will be using this set up in a travel trailer. Any advice you can gove will help a lot, thanks!

  19. So helpful. I bought a kit for my cabin and am figuring out what else to add that didn’t come with it. This video was fantastic. I wonder why two batteries instead of a single one of the same capacity.

  20. I want to convert my current 12V lead acid battery in my RV trailer to a 100Ah LiFePO4 (due to cost, I might start with just one battery and add a second later). Is there a lesser expensive battery you are comfortable recommending.
    If I were to install this setup in my RV trailer, where I can run a lot of 12V devices as well as 120V, and wanted to charge the batteries with the vehicle's alternator as well as 120V 30A shore line, as well as 400W solar panels, would I just connect the additional charging methods through the bus bars? 
    I would be using:
    • Renogy 12V 50A DC to DC Charger with MPPT, On-Board Battery Charger with power coming from the alternator's 12V power cable (through the seven pin connector) and the roof top solar panel hook ups
    • Renogy 500A Battery Monitor
    • Renogy 2000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter 12V DC to 120V AC Converter
    What 120V battery charger / maintainer do you recommend? And, would I just hook it up to the bus bars or directly to the batteries? Is there a Renege charger that handles all three sources of power (12V DC, PV input, and 120V shore line)?

    Thank you for your excellent videos! There are well written, instructional and well made. This subject has had a bit of confusion for me and you laid it out so well that I think I can pull this off (without torching the trailer ;-).

  21. This is one of the best videos I have seen on DIY solar setup. Most of the DIY systems comes with no instructions or UL certified cables and connectors. Instructions in this video demonstrate and explains the purpose of each device very well. Cabling chart link is very helpful. My first system had no wire gauge markings on the cable I had to find lugs by trial and error. Adding fuses, circuit breakers, and battery disconnect adds an extra layer of protection.

  22. You should discuss how to calculate what size system to buy. For example I would be interested in a system that would provide power for a room ac. The type that is usually on wheels.

  23. Thanks for the video! You make it so easy.
    I do have a question. I’m using a Renogy 1000w inverter and a Renogy 100ah lithium battery. I see you using a 200amp fuse between the battery and inverter, what size fuse should I use on the 1000w?

  24. There is a flaw in the wiring. The 8ga lead from the charge controller's circuit breaker to the bus bar is not correct. It either needs to be 2/0ga cable or a 40a fuse needs to be attach between the cable and buss bar.

  25. I understand the basic principals for building this solar system. How do I incorporate this into my toy hauler or do you have a video on that process? My end goal is to use both solar and shore power while we are off grid. I want to use the solar for 12 volt and 110 volt, 12 volt for lights and heater and to power the refrigerator then 110 volts to power a tv, dvd player and maybe an oscillating fan. For the a/c, I want to use the shore power (generator). I don't have the room for a massive system (or budget) to power everything on solar so for us, doing it this way seems to be the best solution at the moment. Hopefully you respond as this video is the best explanation how to wire a system and how it has been explained.

  26. Great, now how could one add a way to charge the two batteries with a gasoline generator as well?
    I’m building a system for my trailer , the end goal is to charge the system with solar most times and also be able to plug in a generator to charge the batteries that will power my water pump, interior LED lights, outlets for phone chargers, USB ports, etc etc.

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