Browsing "Solar Panels"
Feb 14, 2013 -

The Dirty RV Chore No One Talks About

One of the many things that sold me on RVing is that I would no longer have to worry about yard chores. Ha ha ha ha ha.

As part of my maintenance schedule, I like to get up on the roof fairly regularly (it averages out to about once per quarter since I don’t get up there in snowy or icy conditions).

Up there, I wash the solar panels, make a note of anything needing Dicoring (note to self, bring TONS up there next time), and… clean the gutters.

Augh! Gutters! I hated getting on the roof to clean them in my house and now I still have to do it in my RV! This wasn’t anywhere in the ‘This Is What You’re Getting Into’ manual, not even the fine print!

Thankfully they were fairly clear this time around so I was through in about 10 minutes. I spent two hours cleaning my gutters in Blaine after my fall in Osoyoos under trees!

In other news, I checked the real estate space on the roof, including where shadows are falling and, surprise, I can fit at least two 150W panels up there! Okay, now if only $400 would fall from the sky. 🙂

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Electricity, Maintenance & Repair, Solar Panels, Technical    No Comments
Feb 13, 2013 -

How a Solar Two Stage Charge Controller Works

Greg at AM Solar just emailed me back with a reply to my question about my solar monitor flashing that the battery is full when it’s not.

The short answer is that the panel is poorly labeled. Solid light means that the charger is bringing me up to 80% capacity. Blinking light means that it is gently charging the other 20%. More below. But I wanted to comment on this part first because guess what my battery monitor was saying when the solar monitor started blinking? 80-ish%. It’s properly calibrated! Who cares that it’s registering 0.00V; it’s doing it’s job of tracking my amp hours! Woohoo!

This is Greg’s explanation:

“The 22B is a two stage charge controller when set for “Dry Camp” mode. This means the controller will deliver all available charging amperage until the batteries reach the set point. This is called “Bulk” charging and generally means the batteries are about 80% full. It then goes into “Absorbtion” (or Taper Charge) mode which means it holds the batteries at the set point while tapering off the charging amperage. This will finish charging the last 20%. As a general rule of thumb, when the charging amperage tapers off to about 1% or 2% of the battery capacity the battery is considered full.

When the 22B “Charging” light is on solid, the controller is in “Bulk” mode. When it starts flashing, it is in “Absorbtion” (or Taper Charge) mode and will continue delivering charging amperage at a reduced level so that it won’t unnecessarily drive water out of your batteries. So, for your situation, the 22B is still charging the batteries even when the light is flashing.”

He also confirmed that adding a solar panel is just a matter of mounting it then plugging it into the combiner box. Easy! Now, if I only had the $400 to order another 150W panel while they have them in stocked and boxed up. But I’d really like to be able to eat in March and I do need to think about moving on to San Antonio at some point, so I need to hang on a bit.

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Batteries, Battery Monitor, Electricity, Solar Panels, Technical    No Comments
Feb 13, 2013 -

Sun! Blue Sky! Amps Coming In!

The day started off really crappy, but the weather couldn’t be any better now! I’ve gained 16AH today and am still getting a good charge, so I will be ahead tonight.

I emailed AM Solar to ask them why my solar control monitor claims that I have a full charge when I know for sure that I do not. I was worried that the batteries would stop charging, but the battery monitor still sees the full amperage going back in, so I probably have a reporting glitch the same way I do with the volts on the battery monitor.

L and I went into town this afternoon to get shrimp for a traditional shrimp boil tonight. Mmmmm… sun, shrimp, beer, and ocean. This is the life!

We also detoured to the H.E.B. grocery store so I could check out their cat food selection since the Walmart didn’t carry Whiskas (!). Thankfully, I found my brood’s favoured food, and in the giant economical size to boot. What I bought them on Monday to tide us over hasn’t sat well with them at all and they were very happy when I opened that bad when I got home!

Finally, L took me to the post office so I could get my general delivery mail. Gina, your package hadn’t arrived yet. 🙁

It sure is nice to have someone else do the driving (and expend the fuel!). 🙂

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Batteries, Battery Monitor, Cats, Countries, Electricity, Finances, Law and Government, Mail, Personal, Shopping, Solar Panels, Technical, Texas, Travel, USA, Weather    2 Comments