Browsing "Solar Panels"
Feb 12, 2013 -

The Goat is Safe!

Whew! I was really starting to worry that I would have to sacrifice a goat to the sun gods!

The sky was BC-low again for most of today, but we finally got patches of blue sky in late afternoon. The promised sun for tomorrow now feels like a possibility.

Thanks to my battery monitor, I am riding this out nicely, but it will be nice to actually be able to use power again instead of just conserving it!

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Batteries, Battery Monitor, Countries, Electricity, Solar Panels, Technical, Texas, Travel, USA, Weather    No Comments
Feb 11, 2013 -

A Local Guide At Last

L and I drove into town this afternoon to buy fresh shrimp so he could show me how to do a shrimp broil. Surprise, surprise, the shrimp people decided not to open today! Dang! Our shrimp boil plans are postponed to Wednesday or Thursday.

We both had to go to Walmart anyway, so the trip into town wasn’t for naught (and it was really, really, really nice to have someone to carry the heavy jugs of water for me!).

L has been wintering down here on and off for 20 years, so he was able to point out a bunch of useful locations, including where to get my 30lb propane tank filled. I always forget how much propane the fridge needs, so my on board tank is just about empty. We’ll take my 30lber into town on shrimp day so I can hook it up.

Coming back into the beach, he pointed out something on the road into the village that made me groan: a laundromat! Dang! I didn’t have to drive to the laundromat in Port Lavaca!

He invited me to go to Galveston tomorrow for the Mardi Gras celebrations, but five hours in a vehicle with someone I just met doesn’t feel right, plus I have a big project due Wednesday morning. So I passed on that even though I was really tempted. And before anybody starts to get any ideas, he’s a much older widower with kids older than me! 😀

We both use a 150W panel to keep our rigs charged and he has the same problem as me keeping his laptop charged after so many grey days. His solution? The same as mine: charge the laptop in the truck (also a Ford Ranger) for a few hours a day. He says that he runs the engine for part of the time and then shuts it off, claiming that the draw from the computer battery is too small to drain the truck battery. I’m a little nervous to try that, but I just might… after moving the truck to the rig in such a way to make a boost possible if I need one! It takes two hours of truck running to full charge both my computer batteries. I did that this morning and will do that this evening.

We are beyond due for sun, but that won’t happen till Wednesday. *sighs* I’m sitting at about 70% battery capacity, so I am only running the fridge. L was an engineer for Boeing, so I’m going to ask him if he knows anything about solenoids and such. If so, I will wrangle his help to pull the RV battery, fix the solenoid, and get charging capacity back from my RV alternator. According to Harold Barre, that’s a very good method of getting the batteries to about 80%, and then you let the solar finish the charge gently so I know the effort and possible expense will be worthwhile.

Anyone know a good sun dance?

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Batteries, Boondocking/Dry camping, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Countries, Electricity, Nice Folks, Propane, Social, Solar Panels, Technical, Texas, Towing and Toad, Travel, USA    1 Comment
Feb 10, 2013 -

Hey, Look At What I Have!

Can you see that box protruding from the left side of the fridge vent cap where the wire is going in?

I’ve been thinking about adding a solar panel and trying to figure out how to daisy chain it into my existing system. Research brought me across ‘combiner boxes’, which take the connections from solar panels, combine the current, and send it all to the charge controller. So once the original panel is installed with the controller and wiring, adding future panels is just a matter of plugging them into the controller box.

Damn, why didn’t AM Solar sell me one of those? 🙁 Or maybe they did? I should go up on the roof and check! Oh, wait, I took pictures of my installation. Ah ha! Oh, wait. That’s the vent cover. Hmm… I’m not sure. I need to get on the roof after all. No, stupid. They gave you a detailed invoice! Check the invoice and sure enough, I was billed for a ‘refer C-box.’

So adding a new solar panel will just be a matter of screwing and Dicoring it to the roof and plugging it into the combiner box! The job doesn’t seem as scary now! And I’m further motivated to buy from AM Solar, even if I won’t get the lowest price, since I’ll know for sure I have the right connections.

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Electricity, Solar Panels, Technical    2 Comments