Browsing "Electricity"
Feb 17, 2013 -

A Crazy Change of Forecast!

I wish I had thought to screen cap the forecast for the week ahead that we were given yesterday and this morning  because it has done a 180 degree about face:

forecast

We were supposed to have partly cloudy for the next few days.

Well, I have a full battery now. I am going to use the truck battery to do one charging cycle a day on the laptop to conserve some house power, then I’ll use the alternator to make sure I get a full charge every two days at least.

This forecast doesn’t scare me the way it would have a few days ago, not when everything is working great, the battery monitor is properly calibrated, and I know I can charge the laptop in the truck without the truck running. Having the alternator for additional charging power is icing on the cake.

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Boondocking/Dry camping, Electricity, Technical, Texas, Travel, USA, Weather    No Comments
Feb 17, 2013 -

Using My 1,000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter As a Whole House Inverter

My inverter finally works the way that it should and I really enjoy it being technically a whole house-type installation.

How I have it wired is that it has short beefy runs directly to the battery, and then I have a 120V heavy duty extension cord running from the inverter to the shower power cable compartment. In there, I use a 30A to 15A adapter to plug the shore power cable into the extension cord. So when I flick on the inverter, I have 120V power in most of my outlets.

The unfortunate thing about my setup is how my converter is wired. To avoid a huge drain on my batteries, I have to flip off the breakers for the fridge (so that I don’t accidentally switch it to AC), the microwave and air conditioner (in case I lose my mind), and the converter (which would stick my batteries in an endless charge and discharge loop). The converter is on the same breaker as all the outlets on the driver’s side of the rig.

This means, I only really have access to three outlets, the new one under the desk, the old one above the desk, and the hard to access one in the kitchen above the fridge in the far corner of the cabinet.

Having the one under the desk be live is great since my UPS is plugged into it and all my computer peripherals except the printer are plugged into the UPS. But the printer and shredder are normally plugged into an outlet by the converter and I have to snake an extension cord across the room when I want to use them when boondocking.

Now that I’ve ascertained that the load on the new outlet is actually very small, I feel comfortable getting an extension cord and running it around the rig to the UPS to permanently plug the printer and shredder into that outlet. So I’ll do that soon as I get a chance to pick up a good extension cord.

In the kitchen/front room, I like the outlet at the foot of the bed under a cabinet for plugging in the vacuum cleaner or the crockpot. I now have an extension cord coiled up for easy access in the over fridge cabinet and I pull that out when I need to plug something in in the kitchen. It’s a good workaround even if I would prefer to plug the crockpot into the outlet by the sink and not have to worry about tripping over an extension cord (not that I would, it’s long enough that it can sit flush across the floor).

I don’t leave the inverter on 24/7, only when I need it. Even so, it has zero to negligible draw when it’s on without a load. I’ve checked and rechecked this and my inverter is definitely not a power hog, which is a pleasant surprise.

One thing that bugs me about it is that I had to mount it at floor level because of the cable lengths available to me. It came with a remote starter, so I thought I would be able to put the start button within easy reach, but the dang remote starter doesn’t work! So I have to bend down to start the inverter. A bit of a pain, but it’s not something I do often. One good thing about having the inverter in that location is that it forces me to be more thorough in my vacuum (you know, move the chair to vacuum behind it instead of just going around…) to keep dust to a minimum. 🙂

It was a bit of a steep climb to getting the inverter to work correctly and to perform according to my expectations and needs, but it was worth the work. Being able to press two buttons (inverter plus UPS) and have my office come to life is a real blessing.

And so was being able to use my jigsaw to cut a little trim the other day. Imagine that, I’ve gone from not being able to charge my computer while boondocking to running power tools. I’ve come a very long way since the start of my boondocking experiment.

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Boondocking/Dry camping, Electricity, Inverter, Technical, Travel    No 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
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