*Ammo Can Battery Box*
31 December 2015
A few years ago, I found that I needed a portable battery pack. I wanted it to be rugged, simple to use, and easy to replace or repair. I needed AC and DC power. I also wanted to be able to monitor the voltage of the batteries.
I began with a Fat Fifty Ammo Can. It is 12" long x 7" wide x 8 ½" high.
I cut up a foam sleeping mat to provide insulation from the metal can. I also removed the rubber gasket and sanded down the lid and the ammo can edge and used aluminum foil to make a new gasket. This should make this EMP proof.
Another Rubie has been using a new shielding material made out of copper shim stock. I would like to upgrade the aluminum foil to this shim stock.
I used 7 amp hour sealed lead acid batteries (6" L x 2 1/2" W x 3 3/4" H). These are used in security systems, emergency lighting, etc. I decided to use this size because they are very common and if one of them goes bad, I can disconnect it and continue using the battery pack. If I used one large battery and it went bad, then the entire unit would be unusable.
Three of them fit perfectly in the ammo can.
I connected 3 of these 7 amp hour batteries in parallel to provide 21 amp hours. Most of the jump start power packs use batteries in the range of 14-20 amp hours.
I used 10 gauge wire and connected all the wires together with nuts and bolts. To prevent shorting, I wrapped them in electrical tape, then used split loom, then more electrical tape.
To mount the components, I used 1/4" sanded plywood. This was supposed to be temporary to just test it out. The plan was to use plexi-glass to for the final product. I moved on to another project and never got around to it.
A hole was cut in the plywood to allow the fan to help cool the inverter. The entire assembly comes out of the ammo easily for troubleshooting or repair.
External replaceable fuses for the inverter. The inverter is a very common inexpensive inverter. If it goes bad, I can replace it easily.
Charging ammo can battery box with 15 watt solar panel.
Using the Eneloop battery charger. Not the best charger, but it is a good backup to the Maha battery charger.
Not a great picture, but this was taken on recent deer hunting trip. I was charging AAA batteries from my headlamp from the ammo can battery box. The ammo can battery box was being charged from the solar panel on the roof of the camper shell. Throughout the trip, I also charged laptop computer with the inverter in the ammo can battery box. I was able to transfer data from the GPS to the laptop and look at a larger map on the laptop. It is really nice to be able to charge items without firing up the generator.
I am in the process of building another ammo can battery box. Zamp Solar has a new product that has a voltmeter, cigarette plug and usb ports all in one unit. The cost is just under $30 from Solardealz. The second picture shows the Anderson Powerpole plug ($20) that I got from Powerwerx. I replaced the usb plugs with the powerpole. I will put this in the next ammo can battery box.
Any ideas for improvement will be appreciated.
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