Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Day 32 - Lodi, CA

I was kind of curious about the peak current being around 17 amps. Since the front of the trailer was in full sun this morning i.e. all of the panels were not shaded, I headed up to the roof to test each panel. The easiest way to test the output from each panel was to cover them up one at a time and measure the total current from the charge controller.

At the top of the web page from the Raspberry Pi monitoring the charge controller, I have this status block that updates every minute so I don't need to sit there and wait until the graph updates. The graph is a five-minute average. Anyway, with each panel covered, the current dropped by about 3 amps.

So the reduced current from the panels must be due to the lower sun angle. The way the panels are installed, the two panels near the front of the RV are tilted slightly towards the sun. The two behind them are flatter. This graph of sun azimuth for Lodi, CA, shows that the angle is about 42° from the horizon. The sun angle for when we were in the area last year was 75°. Quite the difference. When the angle of the sun decreases relative to the solar panel, the area of the panel is proportional to the sine of the angle. Using 75° and 42°, the virtual area is about 70% of what it was. At the winter solstice it would be 50%.

Two of the panels are shaded by a tree by 11am. so we are not in full sun for much of the day.

Another "task" was cleaning out the storage bay. There was a lot of pine needles, bark, and other debris from the mat that we put in front of the door. While cleaning things out, I pulled out one of the bins I have in storage with spare parts and rarely used tools. One of the repair items was a spare disc that goes between the pinbox and the fifth wheel hitch saddle. This plastic disc is used instead of grease. I had ordered one from Amazon a couple of years ago before we picked up the trailer. But, since it already had one, the new one got put into the parts bin. I think it's time to be replaced.

I received notification that my Amazon order was delivered to an Amazon locker. This was the first time we tried using this service. I was annoyed yesterday as it was supposed to be here by the time we arrived in the area. It wasn't and the delivery date changed to maybe today or tomorrow. Anyway, we went to the locker location which, by the way, was the largest and nicest Safeway I've ever been to. Fantastic produce, well laid out and huge.

We just scan the barcode from the Amazon delivery email and the appropriate door pops open. You then pick up your item and close the door. In this case, it was a replacement remote for the truck. You need a working remote to program a new remote and the one remote I have seems to have a weak battery. After all, it is 13 years old. The new remote programmed into the system by following directions on the Internet. Since this was simply a door lock/unlock remote, programming was very straightforward. And the replacement fob was only $12 on Amazon. I’m sure the dealer would have been a bit more.

On the way back from our Amazon Locker experience, we stopped at Calivirgin olive oil. This is a small producer of local olive oil and balsamic vinegar. They had about a dozen flavors and it was difficult to make a choice. We ended up getting the sampler which had the lemon, basil, and garlic flavored oils. It also includes a bottle of their premium oil made from hand-picked olives and a bottle of balsamic vinegar. A nice selection.

It was another 80+°F day today. Spent some time in the hot tub/jacuzzi and even though it’s too hot to spend too much time, when you get out the gentle breeze feels wonderful. 


  1. The locker system is quite popular on the countryside, but not with Amazon. They are used for parcel services and post office deliveries. I find it a very smart system.

    1. This was our first experience with any system like this. Very convenient for the traveler.

  2. Your solar explanation tends to be a blah-blah scenario for me, but after boondocking for a week at Balloon Fiesta I wish we had solar! 😀 And I am fascinated by the Amazon locker thing. Did you do that because you couldn't have a delivery sent to the campground, or were you just curious to try it?