Browsing "Computer"
Feb 11, 2013 -

A Local Guide At Last

L and I drove into town this afternoon to buy fresh shrimp so he could show me how to do a shrimp broil. Surprise, surprise, the shrimp people decided not to open today! Dang! Our shrimp boil plans are postponed to Wednesday or Thursday.

We both had to go to Walmart anyway, so the trip into town wasn’t for naught (and it was really, really, really nice to have someone to carry the heavy jugs of water for me!).

L has been wintering down here on and off for 20 years, so he was able to point out a bunch of useful locations, including where to get my 30lb propane tank filled. I always forget how much propane the fridge needs, so my on board tank is just about empty. We’ll take my 30lber into town on shrimp day so I can hook it up.

Coming back into the beach, he pointed out something on the road into the village that made me groan: a laundromat! Dang! I didn’t have to drive to the laundromat in Port Lavaca!

He invited me to go to Galveston tomorrow for the Mardi Gras celebrations, but five hours in a vehicle with someone I just met doesn’t feel right, plus I have a big project due Wednesday morning. So I passed on that even though I was really tempted. And before anybody starts to get any ideas, he’s a much older widower with kids older than me! 😀

We both use a 150W panel to keep our rigs charged and he has the same problem as me keeping his laptop charged after so many grey days. His solution? The same as mine: charge the laptop in the truck (also a Ford Ranger) for a few hours a day. He says that he runs the engine for part of the time and then shuts it off, claiming that the draw from the computer battery is too small to drain the truck battery. I’m a little nervous to try that, but I just might… after moving the truck to the rig in such a way to make a boost possible if I need one! It takes two hours of truck running to full charge both my computer batteries. I did that this morning and will do that this evening.

We are beyond due for sun, but that won’t happen till Wednesday. *sighs* I’m sitting at about 70% battery capacity, so I am only running the fridge. L was an engineer for Boeing, so I’m going to ask him if he knows anything about solenoids and such. If so, I will wrangle his help to pull the RV battery, fix the solenoid, and get charging capacity back from my RV alternator. According to Harold Barre, that’s a very good method of getting the batteries to about 80%, and then you let the solar finish the charge gently so I know the effort and possible expense will be worthwhile.

Anyone know a good sun dance?

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Batteries, Boondocking/Dry camping, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Countries, Electricity, Nice Folks, Propane, Social, Solar Panels, Technical, Texas, Towing and Toad, Travel, USA    1 Comment
Feb 5, 2013 -

A Full Charge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I can be excused for the number of exclamation points in my title; no?

I was FINALLY able to recalibrate my battery monitor. From now on, it will tell me the TRUTH and I will truly be in control of my electrical destiny!


This was an almost equally welcome sight:


This reading tells me that I am putting in more voltage than I am taking out. In other words, I am charging my computer for FREE.

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Batteries, Battery Monitor, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Electricity, Solar Panels, Technical    4 Comments
Feb 5, 2013 -

Late Night, Early Morning

I returned the genset last night and then was invited in for a glass of wine. Okay. Two glasses of wine and a beer. We gabbed and I didn’t get in until about 11:00, which is late for my routine here. I went to bed immediately and was wide awake at 7:00.

The first thing I wanted to do this morning was rewire my battery bank, yet again, because comments yesterday made me realise I had it wired completely wrong. I got all comfy, prepared to twist myself into a pretzel, followed the wiring… and discovered that I might be forgetful, but I’m not an idiot. Yes, everything was wired correctly and I used the correct fuse and shunt posts to recharge with both the truck and the genset. So my apologies to everyone who tried to come to my rescue yesterday. But isn’t it any wonder that I doubted myself when so much has gone wrong with this project?!

My battery bank is FINALLY working perfectly. It’s time to spend a few days without opening the dang compartment!

Thanks to my evening yesterday, I’m starting today with a full charge on both laptops. The plan is to just let the house batteries charge all morning and into the afternoon. I really do think I will get a full charge today. I know I’ve said that before, but I woke up to 12.5V, so it really shouldn’t be that hard to get me back over 12.6 if I’m not charging the laptops at the same time. Other mornings that I thought I’d get to a full charge I woke up to 12.3 and would have gotten a full charge if I hadn’t been running the computers.

It looks like we are going to get sun today after all. Yaaaaaaay.

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Batteries, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Electricity, Generator, Nice Folks, Social, Technical    No Comments