Friday, January 31, 2014

Solar install part 2. Running wires.

Last week my new hydraulic crimpers showed up so it was time to move forward with our solar charging system install. These crimpers exceeded my expectations and I would gladly recommend them to anyone on a budget.

Temco 5 ton crimper $65 off of ebay.

The only hitch is that the dies are metric so you have to do a little conversion. For 2/0 lugs they suggested the 70 die but I found the 50 die to be a better fit for these lugs to get a complete crimp. Crappy crimps give away your power to resistance and you would be surprised how much is lost in one bad connection.  

All DC loads must run through this shunt. (manganin resistor of accurately known resistance, is placed in series with the load so that all of the current to be measured will flow through it.) My cable is on the left finished off with glue filled heat shrink, the ones on the right were existing and will be replaced tonight. I also ran the smaller volt sense wire from the remote to the shunt and the control line from the remote to the charge controller. I know it doesn't sound like much but to do things right takes time and this coach is full of challenges.

Also, I wanted to share a little more on headlights. I was still not happy with the low beams light output so I looked a little closer and noticed both low beam bulbs (left) had cloudy reflectors and moisture inside. Just because they were still working doesn't mean they're still good. The new ones (right) are at least 50% brighter and I think that all of my headlight problems are finally behind me. Maybe. 

Jess and I celebrating finishing our tax return! 

Jess doing the Whitesnake hood dance on our "can't afford to drive it out of town coupe" 

Friday, January 17, 2014


2014 brings many new challenges to the table when it comes to funding our long term boondocking goals.
It would seem that the most right component is most always the most expensive as well. In the true spirit of manifesting wealth, I guess we'll just have to trust that all will be provided to those who work their asses off to get it. These three components alone will run over $6k and with two years until we cut the cord for good, I hear the clock and it's getting louder.

After a lot of back and forth, I've decided on the MSH-M Magnum Energy Hybrid inverter/charger for our application. It's boosting technology will be helpful in using our solar charged battery supply to do load support when only plugged into a 15 amp extension cord so as not to overstay our welcome when invited to driveway surf.

Having been involved in school bus maintenance, I am very familiar with the Espar line of products and what they can do for a bus in cold weather. Using your diesel fuel and very little electricity, These little programmable air and coolant heaters make cold starts a thing of the past and provide great cabin heat support should your propane supply run low.

Last but not least, Natures Head composting toilet. This simple addition to any motorhome, will greatly extend your ability to stay in one place without the need to get to a dump station every time your black tank is full. Converting our back tank to a separate grey tank also doubles our grey water capacity to 130 gallons which is 20 more gallons then our fresh water tanks hold. Also, grey water is much easier to dispose of responsibly or reuse for irrigating small crops of salad greens and veggies. All in all it's a tall order but so was acquiring our coach to begin with then purchasing our 480 watt solar charging system the same year. It's all about manifesting success without doubt.  We're on the right path and we know it!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Solar Install Part 1

I thought I would start by doing some "indoors" work and install the Blue Sky IPM Pro Remote. I chose this area for many reasons. #1 reason was that there was already a botched hole with the hot water burner switch stuffed in it. #2 was that this location is right above my battery bay located in the basement of the coach. #3 and the best reason was for visibility from the front of the coach all the way through the living room and into the kitchen, the charge status light  is easily visible.

Before marking the new hot water switch location, I measured the wires to be sure it could be relocated 4 inches higher.

I always take pictures before I unhook anything.

Since I want to do more installs in the future, I took my time making these templates.

These little levels are great in homes but not in an RV since you can't be sure how level the RV is at any given time so I squared from the existing trim and counter top and made sure to place the remote where it would do the best job covering the previous hole.

My Dremel Multimax does an outstanding job on precision square cuts like this. The project took one hour from start to finish and turned out nice. Next will be installing the shunt for volt sense and pulling wires. Stay tuned!