Wow, been a lot going on, where to start?
Last post I had the generator loaded and was bravely headed off into the world of light switches, running water and semi automatic toilets. After touching base with Mad Al Yankovic (no relation to Weird Al Yankovic) I learned that I could return the generator to the place of purchase. So the next morning I set off on the nearly 600 mile round trip. Later that evening and nearly $300 dollars later I pulled back into the campground with a brand new generator in the back. Many thanks to Al as I could have never pulled this off without his help.
The pig tails for my solar panels came in. Now I have to decide whether to mount the panels on the floor of the balcony, build a skeleton structure to mount above the balcony, or put in a full tilt frame and roof. Right now I’m leaning toward a skeleton just to get the ball rolling with a roof added at a later date. At least with the skeleton I expect it to leak so I won’t be disappointed when it does.
I bought a used 120v/propane refrigerator that appears to be in excellent shape. I had to transport it on its side so after unloading this morning we leveled it and are allowing it to sit at least 24 hours before testing the 120v for cooling. Right now it’s sitting in a friends shop in town under a camo tarp until we get back to it. I just hope we can find it when we get ready since camo hides everything.
These refrigerators were designed to go in RVs so they aren’t really easy to install as free standing. No problem, I called the manufacturer. They were incredibly unhelpful. I was warned that I had to do it correctly or the stars would come out of alignment, chaos would ensue, then the earth and all life on it would be consumed by a rogue super massive black hole. I’m thinking that possibly they overstated their case but I took their point to heart. Don’t hook a nuclear reactor up to it and not expect a melt down I guess.
I picked up a pair of led solar powered shed lights while Al and I were off the leash in the big city that promise “up to” 8 hours of light from a full sunny days charge. So I can expect maybe four hours at best which is OK since I’m rarely up more than a couple of hours past sunset when out in the swamp. A nice feature about them is that the panel to light cable is 15 feet long. With it I can pretty much mount the panel on the balcony then mount the light just about anywhere in the shed that I want. At some point I need to take all my solar lights apart, replace the leds with super bright leds which are 10 times brighter and draw much less current.
I also returned the charge controller I had for another. The one I had was giving me trouble with the buttons not actuating properly so I figure I would head off a failure. At some point I need to dedicate some dollars to a quality controller but hey, when you are boot strapping a project with only one boot you dance with what you brung.
I ordered two 110 ah batteries which are scheduled to arrive next week. Crunching numbers and doing battery calcs I’ve decided I should be able to charge batteries, run fans and power the 12v control circuit on the fridge during the day. At night I should be able to run the air conditioner for about four hours before I hit a 50% discharge level. There’s a very good chance I might run the ac during the day then run fans at night since I’m comfortable sleeping in 70ish temps. However I have several options available once I get the solar up and running so I’m getting a bit more optimistic about this particular project.
Back in the swamp and still a lot going on. Got the new generator unloaded, put together and ran for about four hours. So far so good but I’m still watching it with a suspicious eye. I started the framework to mount the solar cells only to realize that it isn’t large enough. I haven’t tried to put the cells up yet so I’m not positive that they won’t all fit. Naturally the mounting hardware I had bought wouldn’t work so I had to go back to town to exchange it for new material. Tomorrow I’ll find out if I can fit all the cells so I’ll know if I have to expand the frame or not. Since I dearly hate working with wood I’m hoping I can figure out how to fit everything.
My batteries were in when I got back to town so they were loaded in back for the trip out. On the way out I ran into McGuyver who wanted to see the batteries. We opened a box only to discover that the attaching hardware as pictured on their website was nowhere to be found. There were just two empty threaded holes in each battery. So back to town I went for the third time today. Need I say it? They aren’t a standard battery post thread. Thankfully the sweet young lady helping me solve this problem had no reservations about describing the low life idiots that would ship a naked battery with non standard threads and no fasteners. I was so infatuated that I bought some extra cable I really didn’t need but will put to good use.
Of course I got to the swamp just as it started raining. Not hearing any thunder or seeing any lightning I went ahead and unloaded in the rain. I didn’t want the new batteries which go for $200 plus each sitting around in soggy boxes and possibly shorting out.
I checked on one of my science projects and have good news to report. I started with a precision grade blue plastic toy bucket and wrapped it in precision grade fly paper in a precision grade manner. Don’t mind the wrinkles, you guessed it, they’re precision grade wrinkles and worked out to my benefit.
I’ve noticed that the local yellow fly muzloids love that shade of blue. I have a blue Lowes bucket that they like to hang out on, smoke, joke and launch terrorist attacks from. So I decided to give them another mosque in which to gather. After about four days somewhere around 50 of the evil little jihadis had got themselves stuck which has to be some kind of world record for flypaper in that period of time. I need to check with Guiness on that. The wrinkles work well since they will land on it and strut around going “Dirka, dirka, jihad, jihad!” hoping for some action then get stuck behind a wrinkle. Soon it will be time to send them on to aloha and set up another snack bar. It’s not perfect but until I can develop a final solution it’s the best I’ve found so far. Just think, if Hitler had gone after yellow flies he would be a national hero in every civilized country today.