Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Yuma, AZ

Sunday - We had a short travel day south to Yuma, AZ. We are mooch-docking at Carolyn and Garrett’s friends home outside of Yuma. They have enough room for two RVs in addition to their 5th wheel. They ran us a 15amp extension cord which is enough to keep things charged up without running the generator. 

It is a very pleasant 73°F right now with a very light breeze. The high is forecast to be 77°F! Quite the improvement from Benson. I went to the grocery store to stock on food as in few days, we will be headed out to another BLM area. 

Monday - Excitement (for me) last night around 1am. The RV was completely dark. I went out and checked the batteries and the BMS indicated that it had disconnected the batteries due to a "Short Circuit". I restarted the batteries using the small Antigravity jumper pack that I used to carry on the Ural, and the BMS went out of protect mode. I turned on the main shutoff switch and shut off charging on the inverter control panel. After the HomeAssistant server re-started, I looked at the data and things shut off when the batteries were just fully charged off of the inverter/charger. I had changed some of the charge parameters when we were boondocking to enable the batteries to charge to 100% from the generator though I never ended up using it to charge to 100%. We are plugged-in to shore power now and the inverter-charger used those new parameters. 

I reset the settings back to the way they used to be. 14.3V constant-current, 80amps max, 12 minutes absorption time, 13.8V constant-voltage, 12.9V restart bulk charging. I'll try charging again today after solar is done.

Almost made it back to 100% SOC! They went from 77% to 97% in one day. Today’s total was 2.6KW-hours and that is the most we’ve been able to get from the solar (so far). The max sun elevation was only 41° today. The elevation will be ~80° on the summer solstice. 

 - Based on this graph of battery voltage and current, I adjusted the output of the inverter/charger to not charge the battery to 100%. The sharp spikes are from the BMS shutting down the battery since it is fully charged.

Absorption voltage=14.1V, absorption time=6min, charged voltage=13.8V, re-bulk voltage=13.0V. We’ll see if this works better.

Today’s adventure was the Yuma Territorial Prison State Park right along the Colorado River. It has a nice museum and was very advanced for its time. Pictured is a guard tower and it is sitting on a large cistern that supplied the drinking water. The prison had electricity before the town and supplied power to Yuma after 9pm. The prison hadn’t been used as a prison for over 100 years but it did serve as the high school. Their athletic teams were called the Criminals.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Quartzsite, AZ

Thursday - When we were within an hour of Quartzsite, I noticed that the outside temperature was over 70°F! When we left Benson, it was barely 40°F. We filled up our propane tank as it was down to 8% and below “E” on the tank gauge. We arrived at La Posa South LTVA around 3:30 and Garrett met us at the gate and led us in to our friends campsite. 

It was a nice sunset and we had a nice campfire. The DC-DC converter tripped the input circuit breaker sometime during the day but we arrived with our batteries at 100% from the solar. Tomorrow, I’ll enable the 50% feature on the Renogy charger and see if it still trips. 

 - Not very sunny this morning but it’s a whole lot warmer than Benson. And, at least for now, no wind. We are with Diary of a Family and Richard & Hope. They’ve been here for almost two weeks and will relocate to Yuma on the beginning of next week.

This morning, the SOC of the batteries was 42%. We use a lot of power. That did include running the microwave last night. I started the generator at 9am and ran it until 11:30am which brought the SOC up to 87%. There wasn’t much solar today due to the clouds. I'll probably run the generator again this evening to top off the batteries since I'm going to be making something in the Instant Pot that cooks for almost an hour.

The last task was running the additional wire to the Renogy DC-DC charger to drop the current to 20amps from 40amps. 

Saturday - The SOC was at 42% this morning. I started the generator around 8:30 and, since it was running, I ran the heat pump to warm up the front of the RV back to 70°F from the overnight temperature of 62°F. 

We went to visit Jim and Debbie from Life is a Joy in their converted bus. I have been following their channel for a while. Afterwards, we drove a couple of miles south and visited with Brian from AdventureVanMan and Kelly from Wild Wanderland both have YouTube channels. 

Bridget had some sort of complicated game for the afternoon. The picture on the right was taken last night as the campfire was dying down. I just wanted to try out the night capability of the iPhone 13 camera. It seemed to come out all right. The photo says 1/6sec @f1.6 and ISO 8000. 

This is the game. Some sort of single-use “escape room” game. Too complicated for me since more time is spent reading the instructions.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Benson, AZ - TT

Saturday - We headed south and east to the Dragoon Mountains to visit with Dom, Chris, and Lori again. This is a different location than earlier in the week. A very scenic location. We visited until around 5pm and made it back before sunset. 

Sunday - The forecast is for one of the warmest afternoons in quite a while. Mid-60s (°F) supposedly. Bridget headed out to take some bird pictures at Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area. I opted to defrost the freezer. This is the first time since the 12V compressor conversion and it went much quicker. There was no thick layer of ice on the bottom just a lot of frost and ice around the ice maker area. Most of the freezer contents fit in the chest refrigerator/freezer. 

It took about four hours to get back down to freezer-like temperatures. I loaded about half the stuff back in and I’ll just add the rest tomorrow. 

Monday - This morning, we drove into Tucson for a Dr appointment followed by lunch with Fairbanks friends who are full-time RVers. Lunch was at Ruby’s Texas Barbecue. Very delicious. 

Tuesday - Today was spent running around Tucson. The picture is from our last stop at Saguaro East Visitors Center where Bridget picked up her senior National Park Pass. 

Friday, January 27, 2023

Benson, AZ - TT

Thursday - Something I didn’t expect to be concerned about. Low-temperature solar panel voltages. The open circuit voltage, Voc, is specified at 25°C. The voltage increases as the panel temperature drops. On the colder days, you can see that the PV voltage for the four panels is in the mid-90s. Under normal temperatures, it’s in the mid-80s. The maximum input voltage for the Victron 100/50 solar charge controller is 100V. I thought that I had plenty of room but maybe not. If colder temperatures are in the forecast (during the day), I’ll need to disconnect the panels from the controller. 

 - This morning, the RV park had breakfast available. Not bad and it was an excellent opportunity to visit with others in the park. Around noon, I went to the hot tub as the temperature was already well into the 50s and sunny. Pretty nice. 

Yesterday evening, we went to visit friends staying at the SKP park. We visited with them in Casa Grande a few weeks ago and we had originally met them on the Oregon coast a few years back. It was nice to see them again. 

There is a test session this afternoon so I’ll probably participate today. Other than that, a pretty slow day.