Friday, September 6, 2013

Solar power details

Aug. 29-Sept. 9, 2013 Jennifer's Driveway - Bozeman, MT
Solar Power System
This is what Scott wrote about his install.
I've completed my biggest mod to date. A solar power system. After passing up a lot of quite nice campgrounds due to no electric, we decided to check into having solar installed while in Eugene, OR. After getting a quote of almost $9000 for a very nice setup from AMSolar, we decided we didn't need solar that bad. I spent a day going over the quote and found I could cut the price by over 75% by doing the work myself and giving up the whole RV, wired in, Inverter. 
I drove over to AMSolar and told them what I was looking for and what our needs were. They could not have been more helpful. They showed me actual installations, and the one they were working on, explained how it all worked and how to design the system. 3 hours later, I left with the system, detailed instructions, and was told to call with any questions. They also wanted me to stop by so they could inspect and test the setup on our way out of town.
After 2 full days of work, the system was in and working. Another day, I had the 2000W inverter running 2 outlets in living room/kitchen, hooked up and working. (not a whole-house wired in type), and another 1/2 day to get the 750W inverter hooked up for the bedroom with 3 DC cigarette adapters strategically placed throughout the RV for minor power needs.
The setup includes 2, 150W panels, a Bluesky MPPT charge controller, a remote battery monitor w/temp compensation, shutoff switches, breakers, a shunt, a major 300 amp fuse to the 2000W inverter, with heavy gauge wiring connecting it all. Our Progressive Dynamics 9200 converter hasn't been plugged in since the install, since the solar charger is completely configurable for our batteries and a much better charger than the converter. We love the setup, but have yet to really test it, the Olympic Peninsula isn't the best place to test solar :) But it's been great so far.
Our RV was set up almost perfectly for solar. From panels on the roof, 5' down thru the 'fridge vent, 3 - 4' to the solar charge controller on the basement wall, 1 - 2' thru basement wall to batteries. Same with Inverter, 16" 1/0 cable to batteries. The install really wasn't bad, I just took my time to avoid mistakes, but I still made a few that really bug me. :) Anyway, if my calculations are right, we've got about 2% or less voltage drop from panels to batteries, due to the larger gauge cables and shorter runs.
For the install I got most of my info from AM Solar and Handy Bob, who is opinionated, but a great source of reliable info, also a nice guy from my brief contact I had with him.
Two, 150W Solar panel roof mount
Putting holes in the roof was scary, but 2 months, no leaks.
The Solar charge controller and 2000W Living-room Inverter on basement wall.
(Black)The Inverter Remote at top. Solar Charge remote at bottom
RV LIFE: Thursday, 9/5
RV life is not that great right now. Between my bum ankle and Devin not feeling well, and we're all due for doctor, dentist, and vet check ups, we need to settle down for a couple of months. After Oct. 1 we are free and I guess we'll try to head somewhere to settle to get all our visits and follow ups completed.
Devin has had blood in his poop, and diarrhea, and throwing up anything that he swallows. He's acting ok, but it sure sounds like he's got an obstruction somewhere.
Yesterday, I had another fall. I didn't know how to maneuver up two steps to go sit on the porch. Scott told me to put the crutches on the step first and swing. Well swing I did...backwards. Landed on my bad ankle, screamed in pain and immediately fell with nothing to brace me. Hit butt first, scratched my wrist, and banged my head on the concrete sidewalk. Once again, I'm laying on the ground accessing the damage. All seems fine, I'll probably have a bruise on my butt. No "egg" has developed on my head, so that's good. Scott got me settled and immediately went on the internet to find out how to negotiate steps with crutches.
I'm getting better on the crutches, but the ankle injury really puts a cramp in our life. I've almost accepted that I won't see Yellowstone and maybe we'll just stay put until my ankle can have some weight on it. So many simple little things that now takes an effort. But it's all a mindset. This is how it's going to be for a few days? a couple of weeks? I've got to plan my moves and needs. I'm not drinking as much water so I don't have to "go" as often.  I've figured a relay system to get my coffee from the kitchen to my easy chair. Put coffee at end of counter, crutch walk just past counter. Place coffee on end of dog crate. Crutch walk just past crate. Place coffee on the end table. Crutch walk to chair. Ahhh. I relax and feel normal for a couple of hours.

(Later in the day) I feel so much better! I was able to take a shower. Luckily, there is a built in seat in the shower. But when you are only using one leg, the seat is a long distance from outside the shower. So again, with the relays. Scott put a little fold up plastic step stool in the shower. I was then able to sit on the stool and slide my butt over to the shower seat. It really wasn't too bad at all. Ahh, clean again!

Friday, 9/6: Scott has gone to the Museum of the Rockies. It seems like if I didn't push Scott, he wouldn't do anything, but maybe Geocache. I hope he enjoys the museum since I nagged until he went. He asked if I was trying to get rid of him. Um, well, yes, sort of. Now I have the RV to myself. I can sit and knit and listen to some podcasts on the computer instead of using headphones. Ahh, what luxury. Of course, it will be quite a challenge if the dogs decide they have to "go".
I don't think I've ever talked "sports" on the blog. When I first met Scott, he finally got me interested in Hockey for a while. I got the jersey and went to practice to get it autographed by some of the players.

We went to the Flyers Wives Carnival and had our photo taken with Rod Brind'amour, who later went to the Carolina Hurricanes.

We went to some kind of dinner where there was one Flyer seated at each table. We were seated with Keith Jones who is now a Philly NHL commentator.

You can see Scott is thrilled to be able to touch the Stanley Cup.

 My perfect night was sitting home with hubby watching a Flyers hockey game and chinese food for dinner.
But, those days are gone. When goalie Ron Hextal retired, I was bummed. But when Rod Brind'amour was sent to the Hurricanes, I realized I'm not so into Hockey as into the GUYS playing the game.
Since it takes quite an effort to move from room to room in the RV on crutches, I lay extra long in bed while Scott was watching a recording of Broncos vs. Ravens football. I certainly got a laugh when Bronco player Danny Trevethan got all cocky after intercepting the ball and running for a touchdown. He let loose of the ball so he could bask in all his glory of a great touch down. Not! He dropped the ball before he was over the goal line. You idiot! I hope that humbles you a bit.

PETS: Thursday, 9/5
Since Devin was throwing up even after only drinking water, we were able to get a vet appointment the same day in the afternoon. They couldn't fit Lyla in also. We figured since we had to go to the vet, we might as well get Lyla's annual bloodwork done also. Nope, only Devin could be fit in.
We went to Baxter Creek Veterinary Clinic. $336.! Little things add up. The vet felt, prodded, scoped around and didn't feel he had an obstruction, just gastroenteritis which is basically an upset tummy. No food for 24 hours (I'm sorry Devin), and then bland for a day or two.
The visit was $45. which is pretty normal. But we like to get annual blood work, so we can catch abnormalities early and have a comparison from previous years. So that's where the $ went. I felt their blood work charges were very expensive, especially since the analyse the blood right at the office. It was extra for a thyroid test $45. I don't know why Scott got that. I am usually the mother hen watching over what is done while at the vet, but alas, I was stuck in the RV with a bad ankle. We also had a heartworm test done, $25. Besides the full bloodwork $100. which is not necessary, but gives us peace of mind. Add to the above the rabies vaccine $17. and a year's supply of heartworm preventative $104. and it all adds up.
Overall, Scott liked the vet. They were open to talking and didn't rush the visit to go on to the next. It was also nice that he could wait for the blood test results instead of having them sent out and maybe having to wait a day or two for results.

Poor Lyla was actually afraid of me as I came towards her on the crutches. She looked very unsure. But did not run away. Once I petted her, things were all good again. They still don't seem to understand why "Mommy" is walking so funny, or scooching along the floor down at their level.
Sept. 11-15, 2013 Horseshoe Bend Campground NFS, Lovell, WY (Tentative)
Sept. 16-30, 2013 Wheels West RV Park, Custer, SD

south for the Winter of 2013/214


  1. I hope you feel better soon. I cannot imagine. I am not sure what I would do since my husband is gone for 14 hours each day and both dogs require walks.

  2. Nice Info! The inverters are nothing much more than electronics, and the main decomposing solar system organizations are gaining the exact same economies of level as we see in computers.

    High Efficiency Solar Panels | Solar Power System Canada


Our Travels