Tuesday, September 27, 2011

speaking of electronics.

I do not have a bunch of electronics in the vandaminium save a small Acer net book, a Kindle reader, and an old portable 10"DVD that no longer works on it's own battery and has to be plugged into 110v electricity (I lost the 12v cord). These are the "entertainment" electronics. I also have 12v incandescent lighting, a 12v Edgestar refrigerator, a Sony car stereo, a CB (never used) a 12v pump for my sink, and 2 12v fans. These items are powered by the marine battery which is charged from a small solar panel as well as the alternator when the car is running. You may notice the lack of an inverter. With the exception of the DVD player and computer, everything I run is powered from the 12v system. I charge the computer up while I use it at coffee shops, surfing the net or writing. As I don't boondock that much this works out great. For boondocking I will add a small inverter and more solar panels. A small generator might be on the horizon as well. I find that if I drive a bit everyday my house battery stays charged but if I stay in one place my battery only lasts 2 days. More solar and another deep cycle should allow me to stay out for a few more days which is the goal. I would like to be able to stay in one place, away from civilization for 7-10 days without having to drive the van to charge batteries. The generator would alleviate this but I don't want to put a stinky, gas generator in the van and I dont want to mount it outside and blow my stealth ability. If I add more solar panels they are not going to mounted to the roof of the van but put on a rack with a quick disconnect so I can aim them at the sun for more efficiency. When they are not in use they will slide into a special sleeve under the bed. Tha's the plan anyway. Amazon sells a 45w kit as does Harbor Freight. This may be my next purchase.


  1. Hey finally home and can leave a post. Had trouble at the library comp. I love your blog as its so simple to understand. Every thing else I read is so techo.
    I wanted to know what size solar panel do you use? Also was it hard connecting the battery to the van?

  2. No the second battery was pretty easy. I did however cause a short and I wrecked my alternator soooooooooo...be careful. The wire running from my isolating solenoid to my second battery rubbed where it passed through sheet metal and shorted. A very costly error.

  3. also,Tippy, the solar panel is a 15 watt sunforce with charge controller that I got at Harbor Freight. I would suggest however, buying a real solar panel (100-200 watts) if you are serious about using the sun for your energy needs. I still need to drive for about a half hour every day to keep my battery up. With the mileage the van gets that equals about 3 dollars a day. A good solar panel would negate the need to drive.

  4. Sorry it took so long to get back here. I was planning on 2 batteries. I don't think I will be doing this myself. A mechanic in town (I know well) will be doing it. For my peace of mind.
    The solar panel I was thinking of 128 watt(its the flexible one)
    Oh god so sorry about your alternator blowout there. Hey we live and learn. And nobody got hurt there. Except your wallet maybe LOL