Sun-Fueled Beach Hose

The Solar Beach Hose is a solar panel–powered bilge pump connected to a garden hose. It’s the absolute favorite beach toy for my kids, their friends, and their cousins. They make rivers to float boats down, fill buckets with water for making sand castles, spray each other, and have lots of fun. Ever since I made it, everyone that walks by on the beach wants one!

The solar panels are the type that are widely available for boats, RVs, and camping, and the whole project is very easy to make using inexpensive parts from the hardware store — no soldering is required.

Make Your Solar Beach Hose

We’re working with low voltage with this project, so electrical safety is not a concern. The 12V solar panels put out enough voltage to give you a little tingle, but are perfectly safe. We are using some components from 120V house wiring like the light switch, but that’s just for a reliable and convenient enclosure.

1. Prepare the cables

Your first step is to hook up the solar panels to the light switch. I kept the quick-connect adapters intact that come with the Coleman panels so I could hook them up to the included battery charge controller.

Cut the large alligator clamps off the quick-connect cables, and strip about ½” of insulation from the cut ends of the wires. (Other panels may already have a cable that terminates in stripped wires.)

Note: On my first build, I cut the solar panel quick-connect extension cord in half to use the connectors on both ends for this step. Don’t do it! This gave me two identical-looking connectors with reversed red-black wiring polarities. It’s really confusing to keep positive and negative consistent in this situation.

To prepare the lamp cord, use the scissors to separate the two conductors and then strip ½” of insulation from both wires. Repeat at the other end.

2. Prepare the electrical box

You’re going to hook up all the wires inside the metal electrical utility box. First, remove one of the metal circle “knock-outs” by pushing it in with a screwdriver and then pushing it back and forth until it breaks off.

The utility box connector will protect the wires from being pulled out, or cut by the sharp edges of the box. Unscrew the nut, fit the connector into the box, and attach the nut from the inside.

Feed the solar panel connector wires and lamp cord wires through the hole before connecting them since they won’t fit through afterward.
3. Connect wires to switch

One wire of the lamp cord is ribbed, and one is smooth. Use the ribbed side as negative to keep the polarity straight. Twist together the 2 black wires from the solar connectors and the ribbed cable of the lamp cord, and secure them…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.

I have a crazy passion for #music, #celebrity #news & #fashion! I'm always out and about on Twitter.
Sasha Harriet

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