Monday, June 20, 2016

They're roaring away as I write

The fans, that is. I'm sitting in the galley area of the bus and the low noise I hear in the background is the roar of my two CPU fans as they blow air out the back of the bus. I'm not sure how successful they are because they have not been running very long and due to the warmth I noticed of the 8 AA batteries, I suspect that they might run better from a more powerful battery setup.

Needless to say, the temperature has dropped a little. Not very much and I'm not sure how much of that has to do with movement of the sun toward the horizon. I did have a go at running the fans off my 5W solar panel and as you might expect, nothing happened. It seems that the 5W stated is a complete lie. If those fans combined are using 300ma then I'd be amazed. I'd guess at more like 230ma for the pair. 230ma times 12 volts is 2.76W. That's around half the stated capability of the panel yet it can't even provide that! The sun is in the sky, it's 5pm and I'm in South Carolina. The sun doesn't set for about 4 or 5 more hours. There's a little gentle shade from a tree but that should not stop the panel from working if it was worth a damn!

My enthusiasm for this solar crap went out the window a while back and has been reinforced by the decision of governments all around Europe to ditch solar as being just a plaything. Rather than spending $100 on a solar panel that might or might not run my fans, I think I'm better off investing in a great big battery and an incy wincy litte generator. Indeed, if the battery could be tied into the alternator either by flipping a switch or by some other method, it could be charged by the alternator on a run and then used as the fan battery the rest of the time. Indeed, I'd imagine a single battery could probably supply all of my minimal electricity needs. I'm not even sure that a generator is worthwhile. Now if the battery could also be charged from main power when I'm plugged in, so much the better.

Thinking in terms of cost, a 105AH lead acid battery would be about $90. A 100W solar panel is about $150. My battery, assuming 50% use would yield 50Ah and allow just the fans alone to keep working for 217 hours. Given that there are only 160 hours in the week, that's ample and then some.
As can be seen, the fans are both wired up and running. As there's no conduit, I like to run my cables behind aluminum tape. The top coil is the extra from my reversing camera. As this is the back of the bus, it doesn't have to look pretty. It just has to be out of the way and tidy. I have not yet decided what to do with the descending power cable.

Today also, I set to work on my handy dandy outside work bench and soldered the wires on my latest electromagnet. The result is quite an improvement. This electromagnet needs a few more coils on it but it does lift my neodymium magnet quite appreciably. 
I'd imagine my guesstimate of 8 coils is not far off right. I'll have to unsolder my power connector from the top wires and wrap maybe another 6 coils then retest. It's just going to be a case of adding extra coils before retesting.

I looked at the front door latch and wasn't impressed by the space I have to work in. I might end up having to attack the problem in a different manner, perhaps using a rotary style solenoid. All I can do is keep trying. As long as I can get in though the back door, I should have no major issues.

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