Friday, October 21, 2016

Solar Panels

We have been on the road for three weeks now and we have stayed at several farms and wineries where there are no hook ups. That means that there is no power for the coffee pot, but there is a solution. I had four 12 volt AGM batteries installed to store the power from three solar panels which were installed on the roof. I had a 2000 watt inverter installed to turn the 12 volt DC battery power into 120 volt AC power. It works. I have been able to run the microwave to cook supper and still have enough power stored to run the coffee pot in the morning.

There was a learning curve, however.  What I quickly learned was to only turn on the inverter when I wanted to use the 120 volt power. The first night I left the inverter on and it kept producing 120 volt power which I did not need. It ran the refrigerator on 120 volt power instead of propane and ran the clock on the microwave. I had the hot water heater running on 120 volt electricity as well.  Four batteries could not store enough electricity to power all of that for such a long period of time. Before the first night was over the batteries went dead which meant that now the heater did not work, the refrigerator did not work and the lights in the trailer did not work, because all of those things needed 12 volt power.

I convinced Kay not to turn around and go home. I learned from my mistake. We have plenty of battery power to run the heater all night and enough power to turn on the inverter to make coffee in the morning. Life is good. The road trip continues.

Here are a couple of places where we used our solar power system:

Camping next to the vines at Cedar Valley Winery, Batavia, Iowa.

Russ and Jake at Bodega Victoriana Winery, Glenwood, Iowa

We stayed two nights at Bodega Victoriana Winery. On our second day there, another Harvest Hosts traveler pulled in and stayed the night. Doug and Brenda Grave, the owners of the winery, invited us to come and watch the last presidential debate on their big screen tv in the tasting room. They bought pizza, we bought a bottle of wine as did Carolyn and Gary, the other Harvest Hosts couple. It seemed like we were all old friends getting together to watch a show and chat.

This trip is not just about seeing friends and family. It is about meeting people, making new friends and visiting new places.

Thanks for stopping by today and for leaving a comment.  They both mean a lot to us.

Kay and Russ


Mark from Missouri said...

Good to know what you guys are getting out of four batteries. Karen and I decided we don't want to be limited as to where we stay, nor do I want to start off with a big solar system. So - we are thinking starting with a propane/electric fridge.

I'm wondering about the newer induction cook tops rather than the standard propane stove/oven? And if we went with the induction cook top, having extra storage below rather than the oven. We would use a convection microwave for baking and then a gas grill outside when boondocking. So many decisions to make.


Gregg Goldberg Aczl600 said...

Glad your both enjoying yourselves and talking to one another

judy l said...

I love reading about your travels, keep it coming!!!

judy l said...

I love reading about your travels, keep it coming!!!

Anonymous said...

Great idea on the solar panels!