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Thursday, January 11, 2018

The RTR Kicks Off 1/11/18 - Day 4

As I walk to to main RTR area from my campsite I look back to see my camper top tilted to get a bit better angle for solar rays.  I made sure I parked facing south.

It is a 1.1 mile walk this way from the green dot where I’m parked and the blue dot where the main RTR gathering takes place.

I did walk back in a more direct route down and back up washes.  The extra distance is a better walk.

It is so crowded this year that I parked out a bit,  I enjoyed being closer in past years but most of my friends are all over the place too, except for a couple of my Priusdweller friends.

Oh my! This first day gathering is about twice the number of people that were here last year, and there are more people to come.

I didn’t get to listen to much of the announcements as I was busy meeting past friends.  Some of them are now “staff” positions helping with pieces of the event.

I went back to my campsite at noon and started the install a solar panel on a friend’s (Susan) RAV4, that she recently bought for her Vandwelling experience this year.  

The other car to the left is Randy’s.  Susan met Randy at the main gathering and he came over to hang out with us.  Randy is an engineer and we have that common engineering thought process.

Above I am installing the “Z” brackets to the solar panel, but in the opposite direction than normally done.  The reason for this is shown in the next picture.

The panel is set up to sit between the cross bars on her car.  This way the panel doesn’t stick up and cause attention as the side bar blocks most of it from a side view.

Everything was going great until I start threading the nylon captive nuts on the 1/4”-20 stainless steel bolts and they get stuck before the panel is tightened.  This resulted in me using my vibrating cutting tool to cut the bolts and zip tie the panel to the cross rails temporarily until we get to the store for more bolts.

As we were doing this we found the solar panel cord with MC4 connectors and adapter cable from Goal Zero were not long enough to reach the battery pack Susan had to order an extension cable to be delivered to a business in town that offers that service.

We can temporarily charge the battery pack by moving the battery but need the cable for the final design.

I was frustrated with the bolts not working from Lowe’s, but I was glad we got the panel charging the battery pack.  To help facilitate the charging I offer my excess solar to run Susan's compressor fridge so her solar power will go completely to the battery.

Right now with panels flat on the roof of vehicle at midday we are only getting 50% of the Watts the panels put out.  By tilting my panel oil can get 60% of the wattage.

Another friend (Joanne) arrived later in the day to hang out with us, and we met some neighbors in the area.  Directly behind us is a meditation group that meets at 8:30 am and then takes a walk later in the day.


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