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Solar powered studio?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author Solar powered studio?
johnnywoods
I'm looking to build an off-grid studio, and was curious if anyone here has done it?
I've been starting to monitor my studio power usage to get an idea of what size system I would need, but I would love to hear experiences with purely solar powered studios.
Eric the Red
Hey Johnny,

This idea intrigued me, and I have zero knowledge on the subject matter -but a quick google search brought me to these sites:

- Doing it in an RV? Better think twice... https://www.solarpaneltalk.com/forum/off-grid-solar/off-grid-solar-pan el-systems/14765-mobile-recording-studio-completely-solar-powered-gene ral-questions

- off grid in the woods, can be done: https://www.motherearthliving.com/green-living/bustin-some-funky-solar -grooves

- it looks like it can be done in a bus - https://www.instructables.com/topics/how-to-build-a-solar-powered-reco rding-studio/

- this dude in Australia has a fully off the grid studio, he might be able to provide some insight - https://www.monkeymarc.org/solar/#soundsystem

- a hiffington post article with a list of off grid recording studios: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/19/solar-powered-recording-stud ios_n_1214570.html

Hope this helps.

-Eric
Fallen_lassen
10 years ago i lived in a van and had my studio powered by the sun.
The studio,was small. Tapco mixer. Roland mc 202 Roland tr 606 Sherman filterbank2 Moogerfooger murf and acetone drummachine..
One solarpanel 75w one big lead battery. And a transformer via a fusebox.
It worked great .
Panason
I was off grid for years. You 'd need a laptop and you'd probably need to work on headphones quite often or very small powered speakers. Realistically you' d probably want a small quiet (pref gas powered) generator for backup in bad weather. Those small Hondas are great. But, I wouldn't power sensitive gear directly from a generator.

Also, the inverter has to be pure sinewave. No cheap crap.
johnnywoods
Interesting... thanks for all the input!

I've measured my studio, when everything is on, at around .6 kwh per hour of use (with monitors and computer on as well as synths and outboard). If I use it for roughly 40 hours a week, that's only 96 kwh per month. Wouldn't a 2kw system with batteries, in an optimal south facing configuration, be more than sufficient for this?

I should clarify that I'll be building a cabin specifically for this, so I can optimize the panel direction, and I live in a location with tons of sun and clear skies.

While this all works out in theory, I've read so many mixed reports of it in actual practice. I wonder if I'm missing something...
rean1mator
sizing of your inverter is the easy part i think. you need to convert everything to Amp hours to figure out your over all draw based on your usage and size your battery bank accordingly.

I'd imagine quality of inverter will be a very important factor as well. power quality makes a pretty big difference in sound quality, so a pure sine inverter will be required.



johnnywoods wrote:
Interesting... thanks for all the input!

I've measured my studio, when everything is on, at around .6 kwh per hour of use (with monitors and computer on as well as synths and outboard). If I use it for roughly 40 hours a week, that's only 96 kwh per month. Wouldn't a 2kw system with batteries, in an optimal south facing configuration, be more than sufficient for this?

I should clarify that I'll be building a cabin specifically for this, so I can optimize the panel direction, and I live in a location with tons of sun and clear skies.

While this all works out in theory, I've read so many mixed reports of it in actual practice. I wonder if I'm missing something...
Fallen_lassen
For sound i used a simple sony car cd/radio player with two car speakers and two hi fi speakers. This doesnt use a lot of ma hours.
hippo1
...Don’t know if his music fits in your ‘wheelhouse’; but have you seen Thomas Dolby’s converted lifeboat-as-studio? A combo of wind and solar. Pretty sure it’s ‘augmented power’ and not totally off-grid; but he may be amenable to questions surrounding its build/power resource. Especially as he’s recently begun teaching as a prof; there’s his ‘fan’ site q&a, and probably other (professional/school-based) available ways to communicate...
fieldofstones
This is a really interesting thread. Look forward to following up on all of the leads. Thanks!
johnnywoods
fieldofstones wrote:
This is a really interesting thread. Look forward to following up on all of the leads. Thanks!


I've committed to doing it at this point... going completely off grid in the spring. Some of my more power-hungry outboard may have to hit the road, but I'll be sure to update with my progress!
Chopper
There is a studio here in London that has been doing that for many years (dunno if they still do tho). The Premises, in Hackney, if i remember well. So definitely doable.
goiks
2kw of panels should be more than enough, the crux will be sizing your battery bank to get you through a period of clouds. i'm in a sunny desert/mountain climate too, but storms can bring clouds for several days at a time, typically in the coldest part of the year when there are other energy needs too. fwiw, i used to live in taos nm completely off-grid with three other people on 2kw of panels and about 20 6v golf cart batteries.
johnnywoods
Well, after 6 months, I am happy to report that everything is going way better than anticipated. Ive been testing in the main house before building the detached studio, and have really been surprised with how well the solar works.
We have 3.6kw of panels and 8 large 12v batteries. Theres a propane generator for backup, but Ive only triggered it once when I was trying to test how long I could go when the sun wasnt out.

I read a lot of scary things- people saying Id have to use a laptop, have to ditch the power hungry Aurora, Manley, and Chandler, etc... none of it was true! The best part is that it forces me to work more during the day, which I find more productive in general.

All in all, solar power is amazing!!

This is what Im running these days:
3hands
This is awesome!

I’m looking at building a completely off the grid home utilizing shipping containers at some point in the next 5 years... and was worried about my studio. It would require a separate container for sure. Seeing that this is a doable thing, it makes me smile. Would love to chat more in detail about this!

Also, has anyone done small solar systems for outdoor jam sessions?
johnnywoods
3hands wrote:

I’m looking at building a completely off the grid home utilizing shipping containers at some point in the next 5 years... and was worried about my studio. It would require a separate container for sure. Seeing that this is a doable thing, it makes me smile. Would love to chat more in detail about this!


Hit me up any time! Id love to chat more. That sounds like a great plan! I was really worried too- scared Id have to trade everything in for some Volcas and a Zoom multitrack, haha. When I build the dedicated studio, I am actually going to get a much smaller system than what I originally expected. Of course, we also live in New Mexico, where sunlight is plentiful year round, and we are at 7500 ft, which doesnt hurt.

I decided to wait at least a year before designing the permanent studio space and solar installarion. Id suggest you do the same. Testing it with the house system gave me a much better idea than measuring my equipment's power draw and trying to size a system online.
Bobby
Well this is inspiring. Well done.
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