Monday, October 20, 2014

Snook, Solitude, and Solar

So this last week I took the Beast down to Snook, Texas to do the Solar work at my Uncle's farm. Since he was away on vacation, it was pretty much The Beast, some donkeys, a dog named Fritz, and myself.

First things first, I needed water. I didn't feel like driving the 200 miles with the extra 800 lbs of aqua in my tank.

Filling the 100 gallon tank up water

The front yard.
Since this was taking forever, I took some pictures of where I would be doing my working and sleeping the next few days.

Pretty sure I'm the first one to ever sleep in the workshop
Nestled in among the tractors and tools
Had to unfurl this mighty satellite one more time before removing it to make room.  As well as the HD antenna behind it and the fan vent to the back right.

Over the next few days, my cousin Jason and I got to work on the solar install. We managed to get most of the panels installed before the weekend hit and he had to run off to some fairs and such showing some old tractors. But we did finish the seven hardest to place ones, leaving just a few for me to finish.

First 4 panels on front glued and screwed on

Framework for 2 of the panels in the back right
I took to the road back to Plano Texas early Saturday morning and subjected the build to a 80 mph wind test on I-45. Happy to report that none of the panels blew off! I stopped and checked at a couple rest areas along the way to make sure nothing was amiss as well.

This Sunday I completed the Solar install, building a platform for one panel in which the cords all connect and go down into the electronics cabinet below. I also hooked up five of the panels to test out the supply to the batteries. They were putting in about 5 amps at 95+ volts.  Once I connect the second set, it should be up to about 10 amps. I may have to juggle this around a bit to optimize my amps to the batteries.
The OCD among you might want to just ignore the panel in the lower left...there was just no other way.

Late today some MC4 connectors I had ordered arrived which allowed me to create the cables I needed to connect the 2nd set of five panels. Unfortunately the sun had gone down so I had no way of testing if they were working as I planned or not. I have to wait until tomorrow. Once the test is complete I'll do the wire management and secure some of the hanging wires.

In other news, the interior of the RV got a bit of an upgrade. The uncomfortable leather got replaced, though we did save the old covers. Here's the transformation:


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! Been a learning experience for me.

  2. do you plan to remove the rigid solar panel to add one of the new ones instead?

    1. for now I'm going to leave it, as it charges the 12v battery and because of the wiring, I think it keeps my engine batteries charged as well. I may actually be removing 3 of the new panels due to shade issues..I think i may have 5 panels basically doing nothing because of shade on 3 of them and the Series setup I have