Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Finally I get to the bus.

Today I finally got into my bus. A few purchases had arrived, namely some terminal connectors (of which I was desperately short), my thermal switches (set at 25C or around 77F), my USB charging connectors and some glass fuses.

I already had all the photos I need of the bus bar three. One is of the drivers side, one of the shower and one of the toilet handbasin area. I suppose I really need to do a new one of the front and back since I now have a second camera on the back and a solar panel on the front.
That's what the bathroom looks like. There's a handbasin and I subscribe to the Old West method of bathrooms. There's a jug and bowl, a lantern and a mirror. The toilet is also visible as is my thermometer on the wall. I decided not to bother with a flush toilet nor an underbody water tank.

While I was inside, I set up a connection allowing me to charge my ventilation battery from both front and back. I sat and watched while my oldest solar controller (at the back) told me the battery was at 12.9V and that there was a problem with something. I disconnected the fan but the warning remained displayed. The charge controller at the front reckoned the battery was 12.8v. Though I was there for half an hour, the battery voltage never reached 13v but kept flickering ominously between 12.6 and 12.8 through 12.7. I have a feeling I might have bought somebody's dead battery on eBay as a new battery. That's $20 lost that I won't see again! I'm just hoping somebody can suggest a miracle fix on my sealed lead acid battery but I fear that the only fix will be to turn it in when I buy a bigger battery to offset the core charge.

There wasn't much point in trying the glass fuses in my fuse holders. It seems the fuse holders are somewhat larger in diameter than the existing holes in my switch panel. The only way around that would be to install them in the end of the panel though that could be challenging. I'll stick with the inline fusing I've got right now. The advantage there is I can use standard automotive fuses.
For the curious, that's my shower. There's no permanently attached shower head. I can do a bucket bath with a washcloth in there or use a battery operated comping shower from the same bucket of hot water. I told you I'd taken pages from the Old West or more specifically an hotel room shown in High Noon. 

So, looks like mail ordering SLA batteries is not a good thing to do. I'm not sure of the origin of my twin 7AH SLA batteries but given they don't seem despite having been charged to be reading close to 13.8V (try 12.7v and 12.8v) I'm going to suspect those are also junk that I've bought. If it was in Radio Shack then my consolation is I probably didn't pay much. If it was elsewhere then shame on the. For selling returned or faulty batteries.

So the new plan isn't Plan 9 From Outer Space. The new plan is to fork out for a real deep cycle battery and pray that works. That sounds like a trip to (cue the Heavenly Chorus) Harbor Freight. There is a cheaper alternative though. I could use a $20 lawnmower battery from Walmart. Set to 20% discharge only, that should last a good long time. Lithium or supercaps would be the ideal thing but for cost and the fact lithium batteries are incendiary bombs on a par with military munitions.

This leaves me wondering about my portable USB charging ideas. It might be best to try solar charging lithium power banks, housed securely in an ammunition box. Or maybe just forget about charging USB devices and concentrate on living rather than playing with electronic toys.

While we are on the subject of electronic toys, let me tell you about my cell phone. I dumped my smart phone when it gave out on me after just 3 years, for the last 6 months I have used solely a flip phone. In that time, I have received ten calls totaling just under 20 minutes. This month out of my allotted 300 minutes/texts I have used just one single minute and the month is almost over, How much importance do you think I place on electronics? More than that, would you agree that electronics represent a huge expense for something that just doesn't seem to last very long?

Sometimes I wonder with the ventilation whether I might have been better off having a clip on coiled black painted smoke stack that with just the heat of the sun drew air out of the bus. I know I chose correctly in having jerry cans for water and a bucket for a toilet. Sometimes all this newfangled electronic and electrical stuff is too much trouble.

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