In the foreground is our ancient Bell Trimline phone which takes its power from the phone line. Next is our Dell Mini 12 laptop. This runs on 30 watts which is half the power need of a typical laptop. We use the Ubuntu operating system which boots faster than Windows. The hub of the power system is the Phocos CML05 Charger Controller seen (barely) at the top of the picture. It receives the wires from the solar panel and a green light says that the panel is producing electricity. I catch myself frequently smiling at the green light. The charge controller is connected to a Deka 32 amp hour battery with a 20 amp automotive fuse on one of the wires. Both the charge controller and battery came from Real Goods. The battery is the sealed type which is safe to be unvented inside.
Finally the charge controller is wired to the devices that we need to power. The laptop and modem are DC devices that are usually used with AC adapters, those big chunks of plastic in the power cord. Since our solar electric is coming in DC, it is more efficient to buy DC to DC adapters for the devices. Fortunately, these are readily available for running computers and other things in your car. These adapters vary in price and quality and it is worth spending more especially when powering a computer. From Radio Shack, we bought a DC outlet that attaches to the charge controller and contains a 20 amp fuse. Next is a splitter that gives us 3 outlets. The laptop adapter is from Lind and the modem adapter from Radio Shack. We converted our favorite lamp to DC with plug adapter and a DC bulb from Real Goods.