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Mar 7, 2013 -

Thursday Morning Status Report

Good morning blogosphere! It’s a glorious day out here in Texas! The sun is shining! It was warm at 6:30 a.m.! Life on the beach is great!

(No, I have no been dipping into my secret daiquiri stash this morning. Why do you ask?)

Not that you asked for it, but here is a battery status report. I’ve been full up since the weekend. These are the kinds of readings I’ve been going to bed to for several nights now, and this is after charging computers all day, running the whole house inverter to vacuum, leaving a couple of LED lights on all evening, etc.

voltage at 12.63

voltage at 12.63

0.3 amps going out for the fridge and other systems like the propane detector

0.3 amps going out for the fridge and other systems like the propane detector

down 1.5 AH from a 144 available to me

down 1.5 AH from 144 available to me

99.5% battery capacity

99.5% battery capacity

When when I need to charge the computer after dark, I usually see the voltage fall to about 12.3 when the computer is unplugged, but then the batteries rest overnight and I get right back up to 12.5 or more in the morning, matching my battery capacity readings.

We haven’t even had full sun all week, either. Lots of white wispy clouds.

I went to bed very early last night, so I was out walking the beach very early this morning:

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IMGP5896

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I'm thinking a structure like this could be good for my property in case I ever have to leave the rig there in the winter (not with me in it!). I could wrap the sides in heavy plastic for further protection from the elements.

I’m thinking a structure like this could be good for my property in case I ever have to leave the rig there in the winter (not with me in it!). I could wrap the sides in heavy plastic for further protection from the elements.

Another style.

Another style.

I was excited to see cacti in the Okanagan, but these are much cooler!

I was excited to see cacti in the Okanagan, but these are much cooler!

Lots o' spikes.

Lots o’ spikes.

Ouch!

Ouch!

Warren Schmidt's RV!

Warren Schmidt’s RV!

Another RV shelter.

Another RV shelter.

Love this, but a bit too rich for my blood!

Love this, but a bit too rich for my blood!

More cacti.

More cacti.

The most bizarre structure on the beach.

The most bizarre structure on the beach.

There are boxes in the cubes. L says these folks come here once a year for a few weeks and add on to the place. I checked Google Maps and the last time the Google car was around here, the place was just a platform, no boxes on it. The big question is: what's with the yellow cube?

There are boxes in the cubes. L says these folks come here once a year for a few weeks and add on to the place. I checked Google Maps and the last time the Google car was around here, the place was just a platform, no boxes on it. The big question is: what’s with the yellow cube?

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Batteries, Battery Monitor, Boondocking/Dry camping, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Countries, Electricity, Personal, Solar Panels, Technical, Texas, Travel, USA    4 Comments
Feb 26, 2013 -

A Little Restraint Needed

I woke up to a decalibrated battery monitor that claimed I was at 100% capacity and pulling in 13.0A. Both it and the solar array monitor claimed that I was at 10.5V.

My first thought? Damn, I need to do some carpentry.

I went outside and, sure enough, the batteries had shifted a little from all the wind yesterday (bad enough that I felt so queasy I went to bed at about 9PM after taking a Gravol to help me sleep!!!). The shift was enough to loosen one of the top butterfly-type nuts on the batteries. These are the ones that keep giving me grief, so I need to find a better option for them.

Anyway, the batteries were sitting at about 12.4V and a quick flick of the wrench got everything nice and tight again. I didn’t use much power yesterday and we will have sun today, so I’ll be able to recalibrate the battery monitor shortly.

After installing my new batteries in Suffolk, I restrained them the way I did my old pair, but I removed the wood when I got here to make it easier to keep tweaking the setup. I’ve now learned that it really doesn’t take much to move those heavy suckers and that they should be restrained at all times.

We’re supposed to have sun all week, so I am seriously considering taking the batteries out completely and moving the fuse and shunt to a more accessible location for checking connections. The hiccup is that I am severely limited by the length of my cables and I put the fuse and shunt where they are because there was no more obvious place to put them. So it might just be exercise for exercise’s sake, but I’ve conceded that my battery bank setup is never going work for me and will continue to cause me grief.

Anyway, not a huge deal this morning, especially since I’m very well rested. 🙂

 

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Batteries, Battery Monitor, Electricity, Solar Panels, Technical    5 Comments
Feb 24, 2013 -

Xantrex LinkPro Charging Amps Discrepancy

Caroline and her hubby are exercising their generator tonight by letting me plug in. I thought, woohoo! I’ll have a fully charged house battery bank tonight AND a fully charged computer!

Reality according to my LinkPro has been somewhat… disappointing.

Since yesterday, when I actually hit full charging amps from my solar panel for a bit, I’ve noticed that my LinkPro is only showing half the amps going in that my solar charger claims is going. And, yes, this reading is taken with everything off.

I’m getting the same deal from my dedicated battery charger! I’m on the 15A setting and only getting a measly 7.5A in. If I plug in the computer, I only get 2A. 7.5A is barely worth running the genny for and 2A is a waste of gas.

Who do I trust? The solar array monitor and battery charger or the LinkPro, which has been 100% accurate in recording the amp hours going out?

Xantrex hasn’t been any help regarding this and I’m not finding any anecdotal evidence about it. I’m convinced (ie. hopeful) that I’m wired correctly since I’m getting an accurate record of amps going out.

The only thing I can fathom with the current situation, being on the genny, is that the charger realises that I’m above 80% and is only doing the tapering charge. That would make sense when I’m on solar, too, I guess, but if that’s the case, then there’s no sense getting another panel because I wouldn’t squeeze any more juice out of it than I already am.

Do any of my experts want to give their theories on yet another mystery?

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Batteries, Battery Monitor, Electricity, Generator, Solar Panels, Technical    3 Comments
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