Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2015-32 Solar Panels Installed, Quartzsite Arizona


another day ends with beautiful sunsets

Solar Power and beyond….

soaking up the sun on BLM land
As you probably know by now from my last report, I had solar panels installed on my camper.  Along with an awesome 2,000 watt inverter, solar power controller and 4 sealed highly efficient 6 volt deep cycle batteries.  I moved onto BLM land just up the street from my last full hookup campsite and am now testing out the solar system while dry camping in the desert.

First off, the 2,000 watt inverter will provide enough power to run the TV, microwave, small coffee pot and of course all the LED lights, radio and a few other things like my laptop and cell phone charging.  Obviously, not all items at the same time…

After setting up in the desert, pretty much away from the other campers who are congregating in the desert, I started to document the power settings and draining of power with some of the appliances.  Couldn’t figure out why the power was draining so quickly once I turned on the Inverter especially since I hadn‘t turned anything on yet.  But finally I figured it out after a while when I realized that every time I turned on the inverter, the fridge switched from gas to electric.  I had forgotten that I usually have it set on auto which means it can switch back and forth between electric and propane when one or the other is available.  After manually switching the fridge to propane, the inverter started to act normal.

The entire day has been overcast, yet the three solar panels were able to generate enough power that I was able to watch a movie on my large LCD 40” flat screen Tv (that‘s one inch larger than Tom‘s), have the stereo sound system on, and an overhead exhaust fan running.  The solar panels must be very efficient as they brought the batteries up to full power while I enjoyed using those electric items.  And did it with an overcast sky.  Now that’s impressive.

as you can see the desert isn't as bare as one might think

Taking a break, I sat outside to enjoy the peacefulness of the desert scenery with only hints of other Rv-ers out in the desert.  A small white patch indicating a camper was a fair distance away hidden behind ironwood trees and stately cactus .   The hum of a motor vehicle going down the highway a half a mile away.  Humming birds dive bombing my campsite looking for flowers and nectar.  Buzzing off after a quick check of the area.  Reading a book on my Kindle reader, but eventually putting it down just to look out at the expansive desert scenery.  Later the sunset would appear glowing red behind the mountain range where it quickly set this evening.  As if a volcano had just erupted.  A short while later the entire sky turned shades of pink, then deeper coppers and reds before fading into the night.  Only the far off lights of a small community flickering in the inky black darkness.  Night time comes early and quickly out in the desert this time of year.

I positioned the camper so that the entrance door and my outside seating would be in the shade all day long.  Necessary when the temperatures reach into the mid to high 80’s from noon until 5 pm each day.  Other than that, the mornings and evenings are very pleasant.  And being able to sit out on the shady side of the camper during the heat of the day is acceptable.  Though a run into town for a 69 cent ice-cream cone sure hit’s the spot.

I see a face in the mountains... do you?

2 nd day.  All’s well with the solar panels.  They are charging nicely and it appears the TV uses very little power (about 4 amps) as I’m able to watch it throughout the day and not use any battery power, only using solar power.  Evenings of course I’m relying on the batteries completely.  My small one cup coffee maker uses 48 amps of power which is rather high, but it’s only on for a couple of minutes.

I stopped into the Solar Discount store today to get a bit more info and let them know the little hiccups I’ve gone encountered, noting that I found only one thing amiss with their installation.  One of the solar brackets had not been covered with the DynCorp sealant.  They kindly gave me enough to cover the bracket.  Then when I got back to the camper, I noticed that the new breaker panel installed on the ceiling of the storage bay is hanging loose.  Apparently they did not secure it properly and I’ll have to bring it in so they can secure it correctly.  I could probably do it myself if I had too, but with the new solar equipment I would not be able to tell what had power going through it or not.  Not wanting to get an electrical shock, I’ll let them do the work.  A minor issue but glad I caught it before leaving the area.  Having a hanging power panel loose is not a good thing.

I’m continually impressed with how well the solar panels and batteries are doing.  I’m able to use much of the electric appliances and TV as I normally would.  I even used the microwave and it functioned quiet well, with the anticipated dip in the battery storage of course.  The TV being the lowest of amp use so far, making it quite easy to watch as much TV as I care too.

The days continue to be overcast and the solar panels are still able to continue charging.  Obviously at a slower rate, but still able to produce enough power to charge the batteries during the day.

My new friends Jeanne and Danny with their two free roaming cats and one very spoiled dog who is seldom on a leash had a bad experience the other day.  They are both new to this camping lifestyle and living in the desert for a short time on top of that.  Coyotes are around, occasionally seen during the day and often heard howling in the evening.  Jeanne and Danny have been warned repeatedly that they need to secure their pets inside or have them on a leash.  It might be added that most of the Rv-ers at La Paz campground seldom have their own pets on a leash.  Well, the other morning, rather early, I’d say around 5:30 AM or so, one of their cats wanted out of the camper to go pee.  A coyote was waiting quietly under their camper and needless to say, the cat is no longer with us.  It’s a sad lesson that we all must learn that domesticated pets are easy prey for the coyote and other animals in the wild.  And although we think by being in a campground, surrounded by other campers we‘re safe, we are in fact often out in nature where survival goes to the wild ones, not our pampered pets.  So we say a little pet prayer and wish all critters be safe from the wild ones.

The minor repairs have been made to my campers new solar panel installation and I’ll be heading out tomorrow. They actually moved the fallen breaker panel inside the service bay area behind the sliding access door.  A much safer and out of the way location.

I’m heading across the state to a favorite place I haven’t been to in a couple of years, the Cottonwood Arizona area.  Lots of Indian ruins, Jerome, the active ghost town up on the mountain over looking the area and Sedona that fancy upper class community surrounded by the most beautiful red rock with tons of hiking trails to explore.  I have a few good friends in the area that I’ve met over the years after having doing some camp hosting at Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

There is a small BLM dispersed camping area (free) and recently I’ve discovered that the local Fairgrounds also has dry camping ($7.00) and some electric sites with 50 amp service for around $15 a night.  I’ll probably stay in the BLM site continuing to test out the solar panel system.

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