Browsing "Computer"
Feb 4, 2013 -


OMG, my French Canadian neighbours were totally cool with the thought of my borrowing their genset for a bit! I am so grateful! He even understands why I use a separate battery charger.

Isn’t this a beautiful sight?


I asked for two hours of use and don’t want to take advantage of their generosity, so I won’t be able to get a full charge. I’m using the 15A setting and charging my computer at the same time, so I have 10A coming in. I need to put in about 40A to get really full. So we’ll see how far I get.

For the odd time I need a generator, borrowing one makes more financial sense. I just don’t see myself asking any Tom, Dick, or Harry to borrow their unit. ๐Ÿ˜€

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Batteries, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Electricity, Generator, Technical    7 Comments
Feb 4, 2013 -

Knowledge is Power

A grey stretch commences…

I want to thank everyone who has commented about charging house batteries with a truck or the RV itself. I encourage everyone to read through the comments on my last few points. I will address a few things here.

Airmon provided a good charging strategy (more on that below) and asked: “Did you set your linkPRO up with the capacity of your batteries and the float voltage charge profile from your solar controller?

Answer: Yes.

Croft suggested a battery cut off switch to separate the alternator from the batteries so that I can get more charge to the house batteries. I will research this further.

Dave chimed in to say that it’s easy to get a battery to 80%, but the last 20% takes hours. This goes with what Airmon said, that I should only use the truck to charge if I’m below 80%, get to 80%, and then let my solar do the work. He also said to attach the jumper cables before the shunt and fuse, but not directly to the battery posts. Dave, huh? I understand the theory, but the only thing before my shunt and fuse are the battery posts.

Finally, Alan said that folks who use their motorhome engine to ‘top off’ their batteries do get a little charge, but it will never truly charge the batteries to full capacity.

This morning is very overcast and I have barely 2A coming in. I did start the day with my batteries in much better shape than they have been in a week (12.4V versus 12.1V!). I finally rehardwired the little solar panel in and that’s giving me an extra amp. So I’m fine for power today… if I don’t charge my computers. That’s where I’m a little stuck. I ran the truck for more than two hours this morning (!) and got a full charge out of the PC and only 75% out of the Mac. The PC wins, right? Ha. That full charge out of the PC gives me at most 2 hours of run time while the 75% on the Mac gives me 3.5 hours. I have to scrap the library idea as it is closed on Mondays! ๐Ÿ™ I really, really need the Mac today, so I may sacrifice some amp hours in the middle part of the day. And hey, it looks like it might be clearing a tiny bit! And I’m now at 2.5A!

Now that I really understand how the battery monitor works (and that it is working properly), I feel very empowered. I know that even though it is grey out there right now, as long as I don’t charge my laptops, I will end the day with more charge than I started with. That means that I can face tomorrow without fear of a dead battery. It also means that if I ever get to 4A coming in, I can charge the computer during that time, quit when the incoming amps go back down below 4, and still end the day ahead.

But that still leaves me the computer charging problem. I just can’t seem to get out of it. Running my truck for hours to charge a laptop is very inefficient! I am nowhere near due for a new computer, but the Macbook Air’s seven hours of run time on a single charge is starting to look pretty good. ๐Ÿ™ My 17” Macbook Pro is four years old now, but there’s no reason it couldn’t serve me well for many more years. The hard drive on it is good, I’ve maxed out the RAM, and it has a new battery. So I’m back to finding a better way of powering it.

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Batteries, Battery Monitor, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Electricity, Solar Panels, Technical    14 Comments
Feb 3, 2013 -

Sunday Miscellanea

I had quite the adventure at the laundromat this afternoon, as far as laundromat adventures go.

First off, I got there and I realised that I forgot my detergent!!!! There was no attendant to sell the little one-use boxes of the stuff, but, thankfully, a nice lady took pity on me and let me use some of hers (ยกMuchas gracias, seรฑora!).

I also needed change and the change machine took some convincing to convert my $20 into a mountain of quarters.

I loaded up two machines, put in money, and one of the machines refused to turn on. $1.50 down the drain, literally.

I managed to tap out a whole rough chapter while my loads ran. I’m getting quite good and productive with the iPad!

Then, it was time to try the dryers. One of my loads did not spin properly so I had to wring it out by hand since there was no setting on the washers for just spin and I correctly guessed that rerunning the load would be most costly and take more time than just drying it as is. Fun. I could have done this at home on the beach with a view. ๐Ÿ™‚

For the dryers, I had to put in a quarter, turn a knob, then press a button. I knew that the machine was working if giant flames started shooting out of the top of the dryer. I am not kidding.

My loads, even the sopping wet one, dried reasonably quickly and laundry ended up costing me $6.25, a fair price.

At one point, I noticed a guy holding a screwdriver had come in and begun to work on a washer. When he was done, I asked him if he could rescue my six quarters from the bad machine. He did not object and he was still trying to fix the dang thing by the time I left!

All the machines in the laundromat were very old, but the place was quite clean. The whole experience reminded me of carting my laundry to the Wilbrod Laundromat in Ottawa’s Sandy Hill in the late ’90s. ๐Ÿ™‚

I was up working on a project by 6:15 this morning (no hardship, I was just up and at ’em by that time!), so I was pretty zonked when I came in at about 3:00. I wanted to get more work done, but was rescued by my French-Canadian neighbour who needed some help with her iPad. I got her mostly sorted out and then it was time for a beer!

Ugly weather is incoming. ๐Ÿ™ The temperature has dropped and the wind has picked up. The truck is going to get quite a workout charging my computer in the next few days and I think I will go investigate the Port Lavaca library to see if it has any power outlets. If so, I could easily spend a couple of grey afternoons there.

I still don’t have a really full charge and tomorrow I might bite the bullet and ask the French-Canadian neighbours if I could rent their genset for a few hours so that I can start this grey stretch with a charged battery bank and properly calibrated battery monitor.

Finally, a humourous note. I watched the movie About Schmidt last night, in which the main character sets off on an RV journey in his brand new Winnebago Adventurer. Guess the make and model of the latest addition to our little beach community? What a funny coincidence! I can’t believe that movie is 10 years old! I definitely appreciate it more now that I’m an RVer. I could watch that guy park his rig and get parking tickets all day. There’s just something about someone nonchalantly driving a 35′ class A motorhome like it was a subcompact that is hilarious!

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Batteries, Battery Monitor, Boondocking/Dry camping, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Countries, Electricity, Generator, Homemaking, Laundry, Nice Folks, Personal, Social, Solar Panels, Technical, Texas, Travel, USA, Weather    2 Comments