Saturday, November 13, 2010

How to power your shed

This is a guest post from shedworker Stephen Waddington, MD at Speed Communications.
If you're going to spend any length of time working in your shed you'll need to kit it out with mains power and Internet access. Alternative energy systems are slowly becoming sufficiently gutsy to be worth considering particularly if your shed is remote from a mains electricity supply.

We're currently testing a solar lighting system in a remote building. It uses a solar cell to charge a car battery that is used to power 12V fluorescent spot lights. Graham Burnett has used gone further and used a series of solar cells to charge a 12V battery that uses an inverter to power his laptop.

The alternative is running mains power to your shed. This is a job for a qualified electrician as it will almost certainly require creating a separate circuit and laying armoured cable.

We've wired up the shed office and a workshop and each case have reduced costs by agreeing with the electrician upfront that we'd take on the grunt work of laying and fixing the cable.

Internet access is much more straightforward.

Wireless access may be sufficient if the distance between your shed and house is unobstructed and no further than 30 to 50m. It's worth experimenting with the location of you access point as this is a low cost solution. But even though my shed office is only 10m from the house wireless wouldn't work because the walls are 2m thick and absorb the signal.

When we renovated our house during the summer we ran armoured Ethernet cable between the house and the shed office. At £3 per metre this is an expensive solution necessitated by running the cables in a channel across a yard. But it is rock solid reliable.

Shedworking reader Shark Trager has another solution. He's running the internet to his shed office over the mains using Devolo Homeplug.
Image courtesy Powershed, "The first fully self-contained, homeowner-friendly, portable solar photovoltaic system!"
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Making it easier.

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