Monday, August 8, 2016


The lights are on but is anybody home? Today I connected my 5W solar panel to the charge controller and connected the other end to the control panel via a switch and hence to the bus battery. According to the website I viewed, 12.3 volts which is what I measured on my meter, means that the bus batteries are at 70% capacity. Whether that website spoke with forked tongue is another matter entirely.

So, with my 5W panel angled through the driver window at the sun I had brief spurts of 3 glowing red lights but most of the time, just one. I'll leave it plugged up for a day or two to see if there's any measurable change with the battery readings. Indeed, it might be worth purchasing a voltmeter to add into the circuit. With that in mind, I ordered a voltmeter. Actually, one that plugs straight into the cigarette lighter socket. Now that's the socket I was kicking myself for installing when all I really wanted was a USB socket.
As can be seen, the solar panel really is quite diminutive in the driver window. I'm considering adding a bank of panels where the bus destination sign normally would live. While it's not typically the done thing, I don't really see a problem with using the bus battery to charge small electronics, especially if it's being topped up from solar power. Maybe, using a second charge controller on the rear panels, a small gel battery could be installed.

Meanwhile, I'm boning up today on the General Knowledge section of the Commercial Driver's License. I passed the Air Brakes test on Thursday. I still have the School drivers test and the Passanger test to do. I have a feeling these tests might get written out and installed on another page on this blog.

I'm definitely going to have to put some form of cool air circulation into the bus. Air conditioning is not an option however. The hot areas of the bus are those where there is no insulation. I'm going to try injecting foam though I'm not sure Great Stuff is the best option.

I had a look at further solar panels from the seller from whom I purchased my two 10W panels. It seems they have a 30W panel. Two of those would cover the front destination board area. The cost isn't bad at $100 for the pair. It would be possible later to add house specific battery later to be handled via a second charge controller. The possibilities for expansion and improvement are endless.

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