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An Awesome Day At The Off Grid Solar Camper

Article from: April 25th, 2013


Today was a very good day at the off grid solar camper. I got a part time job, which will pay my rent and bills. The sun was shining brightly all day. A nice care package arrived. And there was a very awesome gift given to the off grid camper.

The morning started out sunny but cold. It never really warmed up much today, but stayed sunny, which was good for the batteries. The batteries had been drained during the night down to about 12.1 volts by leaving the thermoelectric cooler running all night. This morning my half and half was starting to freeze a bit, so I had to unplug the cooler for a while. Later I plugged it back in for a few hours to ensure the food stayed cold.

I had to leave early this morning to head out for a job interview. I got the job! I will be working on some e-commerce sites and SEO for a company in a nearby town. It is only part time, 5 hours per week, but it will certainly pay the bills for now. Up to now, I have had help from my Mom. It is embarrassing to say, but my Mom has helped me through the past few months of hardships. If it was not for her, I would not even have the property I am staying at now. Thank you Mom!

So, Thursday mornings I will be doing some SEO work for 5 hours each week. Now I do not need to stress about paying the rent, car insurance, phone bill, internet hosting fees and gas. Let alone food. I have been living off my storage for a few months now. That and eating anything I could dig up out of the forest and meadow nearby.




When I got back home this afternoon, I started to work on my gas generator. I need to get the generator running on gas first, then convert it over to wood gas later to be truly off the grid. But I need a standby option for cloudy days when there is no solar power.

I found an old chain saw laying in the forest which provided me with a pull starter cable and handle. The rope was too short for the huge gas generator motor, but I had some dollar store rope laying around which works perfectly. I replaced the rope in the pull starter handle and have a good pull rope now to turn over the generator motor.

But, when trying to get the motor running, I discovered that gas was coming out of the carburetor. When trying to disassemble it I found that the gasket on the fuel bowl is missing. This is bad. This generator will not run without a carb rebuild kit and a fuel bowl gasket. I guess it off to ebay to search for parts.

I did some calculations and found that my thermoelectric cooler is draining my 4 golf cart batteries each night all on its own. It draws 1,800 watts per 24 hour period. It runs non stop because there is no control for temperature. It can freeze the food if left unattended too long. On warmer days and nights, the thing needs to run 24 hours, drawing the batteries down fully.

The 2 solar panels are putting out 400 watts total, max. But the sun is not fully overhead all day. It is only over the top of the panels for a few hours per day. So the solar panels are not putting out their maximum output all day long. The batteries are getting topped off during the day, but my cooler is draining them right back down overnight.

I need to insulate the cooler and put in a thermostat control to shut it off when the temperature gets cold enough inside. The insulation will help maintain the cold inside and help keep the motor from running all the time.



A care package arrived today from Dave, who sent me a package about a week ago. It was loaded with electronics and gadgets which are all going to be of great use in the off grid camper projects. Some of the items included solder, wire, fuses, meters and much more. Thank you again Dave for such a great pack of stuff. This is all very useful for the projects going on inside the camper.

Later I was invited into town to meet a fellow Youtuber who treated me to ice cream and gave me an incredible gift. Niel Shubert actually went out and got me the meter that matches my new solar charge controller. I cannot believe Niel went to all the trouble to get me this meter. This installs right on the front of the Tristar MPPT solar charge controller I just got from Northern Arizona Wind & Sun.

This meter will greatly help me monitor the status of my batteries, solar panels and charge controller output. It also has some diagnostics displays. I need to read the book to see all the details.

Thank you Niel.

I got home just in time to clean up my tools and put things away before it got too dark outside.

Then I had some internet problems with my phone. Sorry, that is part of the reason this video and blog post are so late today.

But I hope it was worth the wait for everyone.

I want to thank all the Youtube followers, friends and Youtube family I now have. This week I passed 5,000 subscribers and just today, 1,000,000 total video views.

Thank you all for your care, comments, advice and help. I could not do this without you all.

Thank you!

You can watch today's video here: Watch the video now  An Awesome Day 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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