Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Day 15, 16, 17 - Visiting Friends and Solar

Monday (15) - After the morning test session, we drove into Tucson to visit friends at the KOA RV park. The place is huge. We have a reservation at this park in a week and a half for our week out of the Encore system. After a week, we can return to any Encore park including Benson. I believe that is the plan.

Yesterday, we replaced the Fan-Tastic fan in the kitchen/living room with a MaxxAir fan. This one has a built-in rain cover as well as a remote control and thermostat. The removed Fan-Tastic fan will be replacing the vent fan in the bathroom. I believe that is tomorrow’s project. I will cover the screws and the edges with Dicor and maybe re-install Eternabond tape over the Dicor.

Tuesday (16) - We re-installed the Fan-Tastic vent fan in the bathroom. It is much quieter and has a temperature sensor but does not have the motorized lid like the new one. Still an improvement. We were done before lunch and I’m relaxing in the pool since it is a warm 81°F right now. I have a test session starting in an hour or so but for now, relax. 

A few more solar pieces arrived. The DC shutoff from the panels to the charge controller. Since the max DC voltage with the three panels in series will be almost 80VDC, it was difficult to find a reasonably priced switch or breaker rated for that DC voltage. The current is only 10amps. I found a four-pole switch rated at 1000VDC and 36amps. Serious overkill. Other items include a circuit breaker for the charge controller to the batteries. I needed 60amps and up to 16VDC. I found 80amps at 48VDC. That’ll work. The next item is the Victron battery temperature sensor. It turns out that our friend, Garrett, had ordered one that he didn’t need. I could’ve bought it from him. The temperature sensor is needed for lead-acid batteries. Not needed for lithium. Only a few more parts and pieces.

Wednesday (17) - Sitting outside on a sunny morning. It's only 63°F but there is no wind. The test session starts in a little under an hour so I usually join early to talk with some of the others. A little socializing.

My afternoon project was installing the charge controller and going through the configuration. The solar panel shutdown switch is to the right and it will disconnect both positive and negative cables. 

The charge controller breaker is in the battery compartment, the next compartment to the right. It is wired before the main DC power switch as you need to remove the input from the panels before turning off the battery power. I plan on printing instructions for powering up/down the charge controller. 

I’ll be installing one of the 8266 microprocessors in the compartment with the charge controller to monitor the heat sink temperature and the ambient temperature of the compartment. 


  1. Hey Richard, trying to get caught up here, been too long. I'm sure that your system is close or surpasses the turnkey system we installed on the roof. I'm adding a much more basic system with storage to the van for my weekend/week-long travels. Everything needs to be easily removable both for normal minivan use as well as for the time, probably in the not too distant future when everything will need to be moved over to a replacement vehicle.

    Travel safe and well!

    1. This system is pretty straightforward and simple compared to what you have. I just want to keep my 4 golf cart batteries charged so I can run a ventilation fan when it’s in storage.