Sunday, March 12, 2017

More Solar Cooking

As it was still -33°F this morning (Wednesday March 8th), but not a cloud in the sky, it must be time for another cooking appliance test. The next candidate for the trip is a crockpot. In this case with a pot roast along with onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms and a few green olives for flavor. Seasoned with garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. The roast was browned in a frying pan so the crock pot started out warm and that may partly compensate for the 57°F garage. I started it out on "high" which pulled 170 watts according to the display on the inverter. "Low" is 130 watts according to the inverter display. Total cooking time will be about 8½ hours. Even on low it is well more than I'll get out of the one solar panel so don't expect the battery bank to be fully charged tonight. But this is something that I expect to be able to do with the four 100 watt panels on a nice day.

After almost 9 hours of cooking, the Trimetric meter showed the battery bank at 69%. It'll be interesting to see how long it takes to recharge with the single 130 watt panel. I don't think the crockpot makes the cut for use on battery power. Faster cooking even at higher power seems to be more efficient when on battery power. Plugged in at an RV park, no problem.

Thursday - Very hazy day. Not very sunny. Only 3.3 amps at solar noon and recovered to only 73% by the end of the day. Tomorrow is probably more of the same…

Friday - Overcast and light snow. Very little sun through the clouds at all but apparently there was a little bit. 74% by the end of the day.

Saturday - Sunny and visibility unlimited! No, not really unlimited but it feels that way after the last couple days of overcast. By noon, the output of the charge controller into the battery bank was 7.4 amps (98 watts!). Isc (short circuit current) for this panel is 8.2 amps. By 6 pm, the bank was up to 82%. The single panel is  able to provide about 25 amp-hours to the battery on a clear day. At this rate it'll probably take about 3 more days like today to bring the battery bank back up to 100%.

Sunday - A hazy day. Only about 3 amps from the panel.

6 comments:

Artie & Leinen's Grand Adventure said...

What? I thought today was sunny.

RichardM said...

It was hazy this morning and cleared up in the afternoon. Only 3 amps around 11am but 7 amps by 3pm but that was after the scheduled port time.

Trobairitz said...

Interesting to think of solar powering a crock pot......at least you can eat your experiments.

RichardM said...

There was a lot in that crock pot. We took it over to someone else's house and it fed seven people and there was leftovers. I think we need a smaller crockpot...

Lynne Goebeler said...

I also have only a large crockpot and do not find it useful for camping with just two people. I guess you could make huge portions and then have (lots of) leftovers, but if you try to make smaller portions, the cooking Temps are not right.

RichardM said...

I think you are right. Even at home the amount of food that you get from the crockpot produces too many leftovers. In many cases, the majority gets put into the freezer for later tossing (after I forget it's even there). I had not thought about the cooking temperature and process not working for smaller portions.