You've heard me say before about what rubbish these solar cells and wind turbines are on many occasions. I do try every now and then to get this green nonsense to work. Today I pulled out my solar panel and connected a 12v CPU fan to it. I aimed the panel squarely at the sun at the perfect angle and waited. Nothing happened. Unsurprised I connected my 12v CPU fan to a 6v battery and it whirred away nicely, shifting a good quantity of air.
Just to be sure - the panel was sold as 12V 5W and the CPU fan was sold as 12v. It probably only consumes 500MA at most or 10% of the panel's rated output. It is therefore rather strange that the fan does not spin, given the figures. Now a cynic would probably say that the panel manufacturer was grossly exagerating the output of the panel. Yeah... I'll go with that. Having seen it at midday failing to make a 12v indicator panel light bulb glow more than very faintly I'm going to go with the solar panel is a load of rubbish.
Sadly, this is not my first foolish forray into the fantasy world of renewable energy. Years ago I had a small panel and I plugged it into my cellphone to charge my cellphone. As I didn't actually need to use that particular phone, I left the whole lot plugged up on a windowsill for an entire week. After that week, during which the sun shone firercly on the panel, the phone had enough charge in it to run it for 15 minutes. Bear in mind this was an old style flip phone. If I remember correctly it was an Eriksson T15 or something similar. Those were the days when a phone could be charged and left on standby for 10 days before having to recharge it.
It's very tempting to follow the hoohaa about renewable energy but the truth is that electricity generated from the sun and from wind is just nonsense. Looking at the wind turbines available for motorhomes and the solar panels, the electricity generated is truly pitiful and the cost is truly outrageous. In order to run a microwave the theory is that a standard microwave such as the one I tossed out a few weeks ago because it was shot, would need 1100watts to power it. In terms of my pitiful little $15 5W solar panel that can't run a fan or light a bulb, in order to produce 1100W, I'd need 220 panels. Given that the panel is about 12 inches by 8 inches, that's going to cover 146 square feet. That, by the way is probably more space than the entire roof of my bus. It would cost $3,300 too. Even if bigger more economical panels were used then the power produced would still be unlikely to power my microwave.
Looking at things another way, if my panel cannot actually produce its stated capacity but can produce about 10% of it then things look pretty bleak for solar panels. Assuming a whole roof covered with panels producing a fanciful 1100W but an actual 110W then that 110W would have to be produced for 10 hours in order to produce enough power to run the microwave for just 1 hour. Now I bet you're saying that nobody runs a microwave for an hour. Think again! That's a cheap-ass Rival microwave that costs $50 in Walmart. That thing takes 15 minutes to cook a plate of food. There's three meals and maybe a couple of drinks and the entire day's supply of power is gone. No mention of heating water to shower, running lighting or anything else.
So, what is the solution? Well, initially I just won't be wasting my time with electricity unless it's of the battery powered or plugin variety. Speaking of battery powered, I did buy some AA powered phone chargers. There is a possibility of another couple of solutions too. One is to put a 12v battery under the bus, connected to the main batteries when driving so they will charge and disconnected when camping but connected to the house circuits instead. That could be achieved with a simple, ordinary switch on the console. Actually that is probably by far the best solution!
Thinking about the battery under the bus, it would need a massively powerful switch to control the amperage produced by the alternator. Thus a switching relay is likely to be needed. There sure is a lot of electrical work I need to do under the bus besides this!
There are starting batteries available that also have air compressors and USB power connectors. They don't have batteries that are all that worthwile inside. Usually 20AH at most. Those are pretty similar to the uninterruptable power supplies used in most offices. Again, the problem is a miserly battery.
At the moment, electricity is a way off in the future. However I have tried a few things that just haven't worked out. Mostly it has been the solar garbage that has been the hold up. Solar power like wind power really is cloud cuckoo land.