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A cold, dark and rainy day at the off grid solar camper

Article from: April 12th, 2013


It never got light enough out to charge my solar batteries with more than a single amp all day today. That is with all the solar panels combined. It was also very cold today, hanging around 35 outside most of the day. But there is something new at the off grid solar camper.

Yesterday I had as high as 20 amps charging current at one time but it did not last long enough to top off the batteries. I ended up riding my bicycle generator to charge up the batteries a little bit before it got dark outside. I got the batteries up from 12.2 volts to 12.3 by riding my bike generator for a while.

I can improve the generator by using larger diameter wires, I realized yesterday. With larger wires I will get more current into the batteries as I ride my bike. I have two 6 amp diodes on the wire between the generator motor and my batteries and they get quite hot. I need to swap them out as well with larger diodes to improve maximum output to the batteries.

It was raining quite hard most of the morning. I recorded a bit of it for you. If you have never been in a camper in the rain, then you need to listen to the video. It is LOUD inside a camper in a rain storm. Especially with missing insulation like I have in places.

This morning I discovered a leak around my fireplace chimney. There is water coming in around the pipe where it goes through the roof. I will have to fix that when the rain clears up.




By mid day today I had run out of firewood and had no more heat. It got down in the 50s inside my camper. It was still 35 outside at 1pm. I do have propane, but keep it for night use during really cold nights. At $20 a tank for 4 nights, it is not something I use carelessly.

After lunch I went into town to get a few supplies and a new addition to the off grid family.

I went to Tractor Supply and got some little baby chickens. I have a white and two reds for egg laying. I also got a mix of one day old Bantam chicks. The white is about a week old. The two reds are a few days old. The Bantams were hatched yesterday and still have the egg tooth on their beaks. They are so tiny and cute.

My old landlord does not want to return my chickens which are now laying eggs and I want to live off the grid and no longer purchase food at the stores this summer. I plan to grow my own vegetables and raise chickens for eggs. I hope to get a goat as well for milk. Lets see.

The Bantam chickens can also be raised as breeders to produce a bit of income. They are special show birds and often collected as cute pets. One of the chicks is a silky for sure. They are very fluffy and cute chickens. They also remain quite small. Some of the Banny chicks have feathers on their feet. I am interested to see how they turn out.



My current landlady allows me to keep the chickens on the front porch of her house so I can use a heat lamp. That is one thing I cannot do when living off the grid in the forest. I cannot keep a heat lamp going. The chicks need 98 degrees or they will die. When they are about 3 weeks old, I can bring them out to my camper. I promised her some eggs in the future, so she is happy.

By 4pm this afternoon it was down to 48 degrees inside the camper. I am wearing my winter coat inside now. I have no firewood and everything outside is wet. Soaking wet. I will use propane at night when I sleep, but for now, it is cold.

The up side to the cold is that my cooler is cold with no power. I guess that is some consolation due to the fact that I have no power inside my camper right now because of three days of rain.

Well, at least the chickens are warm.

You can watch today's video here: Watch the video now  A Cold Dark Day And Something New At The Off Grid Solar Camper


While you are over there please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow our daily videos as we strive to become self sufficient and off the grid on a budget.


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Troy Reid


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