Browsing "Batteries"
Feb 19, 2013 -

Two Good Electrical Days In a Row

Today is another day with more sun than expected. It’s chilly, but I’m not complaining!

I’m going to have the computer on charge all day since I’m in major backup mode. My MacBook Pro keeps crashing, so complete hard drive failure is imminent. I just need to decide on a new drive and order it; the choices are a little overwhelming. I want to make sure I have several recent Time Machine backups and two different bootable backups. It’s likely way more than I need, but with the current drive being only good for the dump, I want all the chances I can get to be up and running perfectly about four hours from the new drive making it here.

Power right now is at 88% and holding. I’m actually getting 7 to 8A in, so I’m breaking even. The more the batteries are depleted, the more efficiently the alternator charges them, so I’ll wait till about 4PM and then run the engine for a bit to make sure I’m at at least 90% capacity tonight and then I’ll aim for 100% tomorrow.

In other news, R and S from Colorado are back, so a beach party is imminent!

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Batteries, Battery Monitor, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Electricity, Inverter, Nice Folks, Social, Solar Panels, Technical    3 Comments
Feb 18, 2013 -

Thoughts On Idling My Triton V-10 To Charge My RV Batteries

I don’t like to idle my vehicles, not even in cold weather. Idling my motorhome’s Triton V-10 engine for about an hour to charge my house batteries has just about been giving me hives, enthused as I am by this new-found charging ability.

Knowing that a little education goes a long way to calming my nerves, I did some research about the Triton V-10 engine and I now feel much, much better.

You can find Triton V-10s in buses, ambulances, and other service vehicles that frequently idle for long periods of time. I’m not saying that idling is good for the V-10, but it’s an engine that was built to withstand it.

Another thing that I should point out about my engine is that it has only 98,000KM on it (60,900 miles) and I have only put about 26,000KM (16,000 miles) on it in five years. There is no hope in hell that I will ever run see the end of the lifespan of that engine unless something really dramatic happens.

So the noise and the exhaust are going to still bug me, but I’m not going to let the alarmists freak me out anymore about idling my rig a few hours a week at about one gallon per hour.

As L said over lunch yesterday, that few hours a week won’t kill my engine and at about $3.50/gallon, I’d have to idle over 100 hours to get to the price of an additional solar panel. My stop gap measure to get the 5 to 15AH I’m missing on cloudy clouds  is just fine until I get a better and more efficient charging solution.

One thing I realised tonight, though, is that I can only use my engine to charge during the day because no one in the boondocks wants to be blinded by my running lights! I don’t even know if the running lights can be disabled and I wouldn’t want to anyway, for fear that I would forget to hook them up again.
Today wound up being a bigger power use day than I would have expected because of the computer kerfuffle. We wound up having a lot more sun than expected, too. So between the solar panels and about an hour of alternator charging total today, I’m at 93% battery capacity, which is just about where I was this morning.

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Batteries, Electricity, Technical    16 Comments
Feb 17, 2013 -

Electrical Status Report On a Crisp Cold Beach Morning

I first woke up at about 6:00 this morning and I couldn’t get back to sleep without checking the state of my batteries.

I had gone to bed at 97% charge and voltage around 12.5. I woke up at 95.2% charge and voltage around 12.5. Amp hours used by bedtime were 7.2 (3% of 240, so the monitor’s math is right). Amp hours used by this morning about 11. The fridge uses 0.5A so 7 hours x 0.5A= 3.5 amp hours. 7.2AH + 3.5AH = 10.7. The fraction extra could be from the fridge cycling on and off. No concerns there.

You know what I did? I plugged in the electric blanket (dang it was COLD this morning) and the cats and I went right back to bed. 🙂

I got up just a few minutes at about 8:00 and my numbers were close to what they had been at 6:00 with 45 minutes of blanket use factored in (about 4.5AH).

All was well so far. But I hadn’t yet tried to charge my batteries through the alternator with the new solenoid installed.

I ran the engine for less than a minute, just to make sure the two battery banks were talking to each other and I saw amps going in start at nearly 30 and then go down steadily, which makes sense since both batteries are at just about full capacity.

I’m too jaded to do a happy dance, but I am optimistic this morning.

In other news, cats are dumb, right? Then how come by the time I was done fiddling with the electric blanket settings they were already under the blankets staking out the warmest part of said electric blanket?

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Batteries, Battery Monitor, Cats, Electricity, Personal, Technical    6 Comments