Tuesday, March 24, 2015

And on we go....

I finally got off my duff Monday and called A.M. Solar to make an appointment for early October to add a couple more solar panels, and upgrade my charge controller to a model that can handle more than 400 watts of solar panels.  Right now I have 300 watts on my roof (two 150 watt panels) and it was my intent to just add two more of the  same, but was advised by the nice gentleman on the phone (Dan, or Dave.....I'm bad with names) that my current charge controller would be maxed out by one more 100 watt panel.  I'm grateful they keep good records at A.M. Solar because now I can budget the extra money for the upgrade on the charge controller in addition to the two 160 watt panels they recommend. We are supposed to arrive in Springfield, OR the afternoon of September 30th, so they can begin the upgrade the next morning, which will require us to leave Cape Blanco that morning.

Why is this important to us?  Well, under perfect conditions (temperature, location, time of year, etc.) our 300 watts of panels do a pretty good job of keeping us supplied with power, but if we want to boondock in less than ideal conditions they have a difficult time meeting our daily demands, which to start with are not that great.  By more than doubling our wattage we will have a little more flexibility in when and where we opt to boondock, or dry camp.  Where we are right now provides conditions that are near ideal for our current setup.  For example, Monday we began the day with our battery bank at 89% of a full charge.  Using only the solar panels, and with partly cloudy conditions, they got us back to 98%.  There was no sound of a generator running in the background......just passive solar energy being absorbed by our two 8D batteries.

As we hit the middle point of our two week boondock stay here at Lone Rock we are continuing to learn more about our solar system, and how to manage our power consumption without it becoming burdensome, and in a way that allows us to live  a somewhat normal daily routine.

So what did our normal routine look like on First Saturday?  We took our usual 3.4 mile walk out to HWY 89 and back, we spent time outside reading until the wind picked up early afternoon chasing us inside for the rest of the day.  I spent some time working on my mountain bike......the rear derailleur has not been shifting properly for a while now, including the ride I took with friends up in Sedona.  I was able to diagnose and fix the problem, so now all is well again in MTB land.

We were treated to a windblown sunset.....there was no fire to bring in the evening.....too much wind!  As I told TLE this morning.....if you stay in one place long enough you will experience a big range of weather conditions.  We are, after all, in the high desert where I would expect it would get windy from time to time.  Our first 5 days here were idyllic.


Thanks for stopping by!

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