Thursday, August 20, 2015

An electrifying decision!

Again, it was another exhausting day down the salt mines. So much so that after work I didn't even glance at my bus. I'm so glad I did so much over the summer!

Remaining are some minor things inside the bus that I can take care of this weekend plus the electrics and plumbing. As far as plumbing goes, dealing with waste water is easy - gravity takes it down to a tank I'll place under the bus (or a series of tanks, even).

As far as electrics go, I've been mulling over all the options. Those considered so far.
1. Plug the bus into a campsite power supply and have 4x120v sockets. No water heater, no electric pumps. This is by far the cheapest option.
2. Put a generator with the plugin option. Downside, diesel generators start at $2,000. Gasoline generators start at $100 but to get one big enough to power my microwave or kettle, its $300.
3. Put a wind generator. This is an interesting, off the wall option. It seems wind generators generally have a poor reputation at small sizes and low altitudes. That's without mentioning they start at around $300 for something that's just an electric motor with a fan blade attached.
4. Use batteries. There's quite some disagreement about how many are needed. One person will swear that my microwave will set the batteries on fire while somebody else claims to have done it with no problems. And batteries start at $80 apiece.

The general route map I've worked out is this...
1. Go for option 1 initially.
2. Slowly build up toward option 4 with plenty full load testing. During this phase, batteries will be charged while plugged in .
3. Investigate solar and wind options.
4. Investigate generator options.

The problem with solar is flexible solar panels are around $189 for 100w. Wind is a different problem altogether that I have not fully researched. It's looking as though the available wind turbines just aren't that great. But a 100w panel would charge a 100ah battery in 12 hours of full sunlight. This means that with partial sun I'd need 2 or 3 panels per battery. Assuming 4 batteries would be fine, that's 10 panels at $189 each for a grand total of $1890. That would pay for a $300 gasoline generator and 700 gallons of gasoline to power it!

Given that I'm unlikely to be boondocking that much, solar power seems just a little wasteful. Wind power looks more promising especially since the wind also blows at night. Backed by the $100 generator, that might be an acceptable solution. As far as I can tell, solar just seems to be somewhat of a scam. It works but it's uneconomical and the greens have scammed everybody into thinking its viable when honest cost analysis says its not.

Wind has three options. The first is a vertical axis turbine that I raise on a pole after parking. The second is a horizontal axis turbine that I raise on a pole after parking. The third is an array of plastic tubing on the roof as a wind collector, channelling the wind down plastic tubing to a smaller, more powerful turbine underneath the bus.

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