Another cloudy overcast day but its starting to look like it doesn't matter anymore because my batteries are getting charged up to full anyway. I'm not sure if this is because the lithium iron batteries are able to take a charge quicker or the clouds just aren't that thick, but they're thick enough that I didn't see any sunshine the entire day.
There's a cool front coming through Monday and the temperatures are supposed to drop a little for the entire week, there saying low to mid 70s in the daytime and mid to high 40s at night. daytime sounds great but nighttime sounds like an extra blanket.
Today was legally the last day I was supposed to be here. Yep, my two weeks are up and I can't believe how fast they flew by, but I've got a couple of general delivery's coming to the post office in Wickenburg so I have to stay in the area and I might as well stay here in less somebody tells me to leave, which I don't think is likely. But if by some chance they do there are plenty of other boondocking spots in the area so I wouldn't have to go very far.
Since it was cloudy and cool I went for a walk in the desert this afternoon. I'm finding that keeping my laptops charged up is a bit of a chore so I'm spending less time on the computer and more time doing something more useful.
I drove into Safeway this morning partially to pick up a few groceries, but mostly to get rid of my trash. I may have left it in the back of the truck for just a little bit too long.
This is the tallest Saguaro around here it must be 25 feet tall
Just the other day I was telling everyone not to leave their trash in the back of your truck for too long. So when I go out this morning some birds and a ground squirrel made a hasty retreat from the back of my truck. This is nothing, I've had bears in the back of my truck
If they ate any of the chili that was left in that can, I know where their going to spend the rest of the day.
Today was very cloudy all day and they were the kind of clouds where you could barely tell where the sun was in the sky, and yet I managed to go from a 76 percent charge on the batteries this morning to a 99 percent before the sun went down. I'm always amazed how well the solar panels work even on some of the worst days.
Using 24 percent of my battery bank is a bit more than I normally use. On average I'm using about 20 percent every night largely depending upon how much I use my laptop. As I've mentioned before my 17 inch Asus G 75 uses anywhere from 8 to 12 amps an hour depending on what it's doing and last night I watched a couple of movies on DVDs and stayed up past 10 o'clock so I used more amps than I normally would.
The Arctic Fox has about half an amp of phantom loads and one or two amps of things that I could turn off but don't bother to inless I've had several days of cloudy weather. The TV stays plugged in which uses a little bit, the refrigerator's control board uses some, the cell phone booster and the Wi-Fi antenna use about an amp each. the inverter used about an amp just idling, of course its not using anything at the moment because it's sitting on the floor beside my chair.
So all in all I use three or four amps when nothings going on, but I could save most of that if I wanted to turn some things off that I don't actually need running.
One thing that I have realized is that when it comes to figuring out a solar system and how many amps of electricity you're going to use in a 24-hour period its not all that hard. What's hard is determining what its going to take to the replace the amps that you've used.
For instance it's easy to add up all of your stuff and get a number for watts or amps, I've always preferred amps because it's a smaller number and therefore less scary. But determining how many batteries its going to take to supply those amps and how many solar panels it will take to charge them comes mostly from trial and error based on your particular lifestyle.
If you're going to spend a lot of time in South Florida where it clouds up and rains a lot your solar system will be different than someone who spends a lot of time in the Southwest where it's usually sunny and cloud free. It took a lot longer to charge up my batteries last winter in Texas than it did the winter before in southern Arizona.
I think the best way to find out what works best for you is to install a solar system and battery bank that you think will work, but install a bigger solar controller than you think you will need, and heavier wires than you think you need, that way you can easily add more batteries or solar panels later, and if you find out you guessed right and don't need anymore solar, you're still better off with bigger wires and a better solar controller
Last night when I turned on my microwave, it ran for about 10 seconds and kicked off my inverter. That's usually not a big deal because my microwave and my inverter are both about 1000 Watts so the microwave is about all my inverter can handle and kicking off the inverter happens every now and then, but this time the inverter didn't come back on.
Since it was dark outside and I didn't want to go out and check the inverter itself, which is in the front storage compartment, I just checked all of the normal things inside the Arctic Fox that you would check when something kicks off. I checked the breakers first, then fuses, then switched the on and off switch a couple times, and finally tapped on the inside wall to see if it had fallen asleep, but nothing helped.
First thing this morning I got out my electrical tester that has wires hanging from it, lots of Dials and buttons all over, and switches with hieroglyphic names , none of which I know how to use, but the mere sight of me holding this thing not only makes some electrical components start working again but impresses anyone who may be looking on with my ability to use such a gadget. And after waiving this gadget around in front of the inverter for a few minutes I determined that the inverter was not working.
I called the factory that made the infernal beast and after discussing the problem with a couple of people that couldn't help me I finally got shuffled off to the department that handles nonworking inverters, And after explaining the problem to them they determined that the inverter was not working.
Being in possession of a nonworking inverter, which means I no longer have any AC power, is not as horrible as it first seemed. I gave some thought to what I use AC power for and how I can deal without it for a while.
In my case I use AC power to run my television, which I seldom turn on, run my microwave, which is not a big deal to live without. And to charge my laptop, cell phone, camera and drone batteries, Those things are very important, my life revolves around those things. What to do, what to do.
In my truck I carry a little portable 750 watt inverter for running gadgets that don't use a car charger. So I brought it into the Arctic Fox, plugged it into a 12 volt cigarette lighter type plug which I then used to charge up my laptop and my cell phone. So it looks like I'm covered for battery charging. And as for the TV and the microwave I can live comfortably without them for a while.
Figuring that I needed an inverter powerful enough to run the microwave without getting the vapors, I ordered a 2000 watt inverter that should last longer because it won't be running at its limit when the microwave is going. You would think I would've thought of that before I bought an inverter too small to do the job. Oh well, life goes on.
A Saguaro forest, they don't make very much shade. And you definitely don't want to hug one.