Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Day 52 - Lodi, CA

It was a long-ish driving day today. I looked several Harvest Host offerings but after looking at the weather for today, I opted to stay at an RV park. We stayed here before and it’s a pretty good deal with Passport America. 

After setting up, this was my destination. The pool and jacuzzi are open until 8pm. The pool was on the cool side but perfect with these temperatures. 

It was about 360 miles today but we are now over halfway to our next stay. Climbing over Tehachapi Pass, I saw 216°F on the water temperature but it was already in the high 80s (°F) outside. The fill-upon Tehachapi was one of our largest at 85gallons for $327. Ouch. California is expensive…

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Day 51 - Acton, CA - TT

The power is still out in the RV park and we needed to do some laundry so the generator was turned on at noon. And, since it’s running, we may as well use the A/C plus I made a batch of rice in the Instant Pot. 

I was curious about the solar panel voltage. The specs for the panels say Vmpp is around 22VDC and Impp is 9.3amps. With three of them in series, I’m only seeing around 52VDC and 7amps. It felt like a pretty sunny day today. 

To check the third panel, I switched to the first two panels in series. Then the last two panels in series. I got the same result which means all three of the panels are fine. In Benson, the first two panels were making 350watts now 226 watts. Clearer skies in AZ maybe (less “haze”).

We ran the generator for about four hours. Tomorrow is a travel day. 

Monday, May 3, 2021

Day 48, 49, 50 - Acton, CA - TT

Saturday (48) - An absolutely beautiful day here in Acton, CA. It's only 70°F right now, but then again, it's only 10am. I'm waiting for the morning test session. This place isn't as crowded as I had expected since it is a weekend and not that far from Los Angeles. The pool was very refreshing yesterday afternoon though they didn't have the hot tub open. And the second pool was still closed. 

I'm still playing around with the Victron software options. This is Victron Connect running on my laptop and connecting with the charge controller via Bluetooth. This is the software used to configure the charge controller. From inside the RV, the Bluetooth signal is low but I can still connect using the laptop. The phone needs to be much closer to get a reliable connection. One nice feature is that I can export the data as a CSV file. Since we are currently plugged into shore power, we aren't using much power from the batteries. 

We went towards L.A. to meet Bridget’s oldest at a Mediterranean take on Korean BBQ. There was a mixture of protein some with Korean marinades. And the appetizers were half Korean and half middle eastern. Quite the mix. 

Sunday (49) - Power shut off at 8:05am and there were a lot utility trucks running around. I think it may have been planned but there wasn’t any communication. Anyway, a nice test of our solar. 

The one shadow across one panel was sufficient to drop the voltage down to the mid-30s (VDC). Once the shadow moved mostly off the panel, the voltage increased to 50VDC then up to 65VDC once the shadow was completely off. This is a known drawback of series connected panels. If they were in parallel, only the shaded panel would be affected. Nevertheless, the batteries are still at 100%. 

A staff member stopped by and said that the power may be off for a couple of days  

Monday (50) - Today, we get to really test out our new solar. The batteries are pretty low now with the state of charge (SOC) of 53%. The recommended minimum for lead acid is 50%. 

To get here, I prepared dinner completely using electricity. Sous vide, induction cooktop, and microwave. Plus, the propane furnace was used for heat (we didn’t need much). You may notice that cooking really didn’t start until near sunset. I’ll update as the day progresses. 

This morning, we headed into downtown LA. I hate large cities of any kind and this was miserable for me. We told my middle son to meet us at 11am. He didn’t show up and his phone repeatedly went to voice mail. The parking for the 1hr wait was $10. Did I mention that I hate cities…

At 4pm, the batteries were back up to 80%. The power is still out and we had both fans running all day long to keep the inside of the RV at a “reasonable” temperature. So we can’t count on the three panels to get the batteries back from 50% in a single day. But, that was not the current plan. I need to find out how much power the inverter draws when only the Raspberry Pi, HomeAssistant, and the WiFi running. Currently, they run on 110VAC.