So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
Follow by Email
Friday, February 20, 2015
Camper van solar electric
The last major improvement done to the van before the snow started falling last fall was the installation of a 105 watt solar electric panel on the roof. It's connected to the largest 12 volt deep discharge battery Walmart had. As I was making the final electrical connections the snow started to fall -barely got the job done in time.
We've put the system to a fair test. It allows us to camp on non-electric campsites. Our big power hog is a large 12 volt cooler. Good quality DC refrigerators are more efficient, but cost 5 to 10 times as much as the cooler. As it was, the cooler was given to me. One good thing about the cooler is that it's well insulated so we can often can turn the power off at night and it's still cold in the morning.
Besides the cooler we charge cell phones and power a 200 watt inverter. The AC from the inverter runs my c-pap device that I use for my sleep apnea. My laptop is a tiny netbook computer and the small inverter charges it up just fine.
The system has worked well enough that we've booked 5 more nights in campsites without electric power.
That's not to say there aren't a few things I'd like to improve. The cigarette lighter type 12 volt plugs are horrible. They can get loose, fall out, and are easily broken. The plan is to replace some with 2 wire trailer plugs. Unfortunately the local stores are out.
Another improvement would be installing a switch that would allow the solar electric system to charge the van starting battery or the van to charge up the solar battery. In the short term I suppose I could just carry a long set of heavy duty jumper cables. The van should have a good set on board anyway.
Right now the system is good enough, and that's what really matters..
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.