Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Solar Installation

I haven't posted in a while, we have been busy finishing a floor project in our house. Our house has a rear addition that was added in the 1930's that had been subdivided into two rooms.

Before view of dividing wall. The combined number of windows between the two room is 12.  We decided to remove this wall and open up the space.

View of wall from other side. One of the complications of removing this wall was that though the floor was the original maple, the rear part of the addition had had other flooring installed on top of it and the surface had been ruined. The entire floor had to be removed.

Larry working on removing the dividing wall. Much to our surprise, the electrical wires appeared to have been installed before the 1940's. We had to hire an electrician to clean out the old posts and tubes.

We had to hire plumbers to remove one of the four radiators in the addition in preparation for a future  bathroom remodel. Each radiator weighs 800 lbs!

Once the wall was removed, we removed all the old maple flooring and the remaining three radiators, installed sub flooring and a moisture barrier, and eventually new maple flooring.

View of the almost finished room. Floor was sanded and a water based coating applied. The remaining three radiators were painted and reinstalled. The addition faces south and is flooded with sunlight and is a very pleasant space to use in the winter. Larry will have some carpentry work to do after we return from our trip next spring.

So, once we finished this project, we turned our attention to readying the camper for the trip.

I found an online source for information on our planned solar installation and bought the panels and all in one solar charger unit in September. We decided to find someone to install the charger unit in the camper as Larry needed some help understanding how a 24 volt system would work in a 12 volt vehicle. 

After calling around to various rv dealerships and running into some resistance about installing a somewhat unconventional system, we were referred to a local self employed engineer, Petur Sigurdsson, who worked with Larry to get the system installed and running.

View from upstairs window. Larry installed four 100 watt panels.

We purchased sixteen 50 volt LiPo batteries from a solar installation company in Utah that sells its slightly used batteries on eBay.  Each cell was $50 for a total cost of $800, well below the cost for a single unit battery of the same capacity (Battleborn batteries are almost $1,000 each).

The MPP Solar all in one unit we purchased for about $600. It has everything included to run a 24 volt system. Petur and Larry installed a step down device to convert 24 volts to 12 volts. It works well!

View of the LiPo batteries. All 16 fit into the house battery box. The charger unit is mounted directly above on the curved wall behind the drivers seat.  Larry installed foam insulation sheets around the battery compartment on the outside of the box.

View of the camper looking forward. We removed the tv and DVD player that the previous owner installed. We also removed the swivel seat for more floor space. 

Our Mexico group leader, Kevin, recommended purchasing a Mr Heater Buddy propane heater (bottom right in the photo) in case we need extra heating capacity for the camper. I fashioned a strap and some cushioning for the heater, since storage is limited in the camper. 

So we plan to leave Wisconsin either Wednesday or Thursday and head down to Jacksonville, Florida for a visit with relatives. 

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