Saturday, September 24, 2016

This is bullshit!

With great enthusiasm, I rushed to the mailbox this afternoon to take delivery of my new solar charge controller. I connected my two solar panels in parallel and connected the charge controller. Nothing! No lights lit up. The display remained blank. I disconnected the panels and connected a battery to the battery connections. Still nothing. I disconnected the battery, reconnected the panels and connected a CPU fan to the load connections. Still nothing. It appears I've bought another lemon. I reconnected my solar panels to my CPU fans and they buzzed away merrily. Well, perhaps not that merrily but they did spin and shift some air. Quite how much air, I don't know as I haven't measured it lately.

Next, I connected the batteries my 5 watt panel had been charging over about 2 days with the panel in direct sunlight. They powered a small CPU fan for an hour or so before giving up. I'm not surprised nor astounded. I have come to expect to be consistently underwhelmed by this solar baloney. My experience of solar products echoes my experience of LED lighting units. They work about 60% of the time and don't last anywhere near as long as they're supposed to. In fact, just like LEDs, the cost of solar is higher than conventional alternatives.

For decades I have tried to get somethething worthwhile out of electronics (solar, tablets, phones, computers, LED lighting) and have come to the conclusion that most of it is just plain old bullshit. Phones that cost $250+ and don't last more than 3 years, tablets that don't last more than 3 months, laptops that become obsolete and unusably slow in 18 months, desktops that become unusably slow in about 18 months, cameras that cost an arm and a leg for something that doesn't produce a storable negative that'd outlast funky digital media by generations, LED lights that last a couple of months at best as opposed to the decades claimed. Then there's this "wonderful" internet. Don't let me get started on that!

Oops... Too late... I search for something online and what comes up is usually worthless trash. I get so many forums, blogs, personal websites, social media garbage etc coming up. That's where instead of reading facts about a subject, fools will read people's opinions posing as fact. The internet reminds me very much of the graffiti I saw on the back of a Swansea University bathroom door "call this a library, I'd get more information from a freshly squeezed turd" though I'd suggest replacing the word library with the word Internet.

That brings me on nicely to forums. I tore one apart for the baloney posing as fact over driving licenses. As those that read this blog regularly will realize, I know a good bit about licenses, particularly those relating to busses. I also know a good bit about DIY and bus mechanics. I have a CDL B with P and S endorsements. Occasionally I glance at forums and am usually amazed at the bad advice being handed out. It seems somebody reads something on one forum then spouts it as gospel truth elsewhere without ever referring to primary sources. It's like claiming the moon is made of cheese while ignoring the information from NASA and other bodies about it's actual makeup.

So, I now have a solar controller that doesn't work, attached to the inside of the bus. I'm probably just going to leave it there. I'm not going to throw good money after bad, trying to replace it. I'm not going to buy more solar panels. I'm not going to try to recoup value from the money already blown on electronic components. I'm just going to leave my solar panels powering my fans. I'm going to build a little box for my 12v battery and put a small mains/car charger into it and create thusly a portable power unit that will charge my cellphone and or tablet.

The next stage with the bus is cleaning and sorting out the inside. The bedroom still has high humidity which makes me wonder about leaks. I think a sensible step will be to put silicone seal on all the roof seams that I've not yet hit with silicone seal. Maybe combine that with aluminum tape.

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