Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ruby Goes Solar

Ruby gets a solar panel
It was one of the things I wrote off getting done before I left on tour this week. But then my neighbor Rusty popped by (out here, anyone within 20 miles or so is a neighbor). Rusty salvaged my pipe dream about hooking up a solar panel to the roof of my Volvo in time for my tour through some very sunny areas.

Rusty mentioned that he needed a break from his current building project, and thought he'd stop by to see what I was working on. I told him my idea and asked if it was possible. He said "You mean to tell me that you want to get this all done by Friday?! OK, I'm in!!"

Luckily, I already had everything I needed: I borrowed one of the solar panels from my home, since I won't need it while away. I had the leftover battery from my old battery bank before I upgraded, the roof rack that my brother gave me a few years ago, a small charge controller from my first solar setup, and all the necessary cables. Rusty threw in some nuts and bolts, as well as his time and experience modifying cars.

And so I followed Rusty to his adobe house up the backside of a cliff on a steep rocky road with very loose gravel. The road seemed to be moving in the opposite direction that I was driving, and after getting stuck a few times, I eventually made it to the top of the mesa where Rusty and his tools live. We did some drilling, soldering, metal bending, wiring, and eventually sleeping once we ran out of sunlight.

In the morning, we daisy chained the engine battery to the new battery, so that the Sun would charge both batteries and also so that I could choose to have the alternator charge the 2nd battery while I am driving if need be.
Ron Mohr, the solar dealer, built this solar array that moves electronically with the angle of the Sun

Afterwards, I drove by Ron's house to get his approval. Ron is the solar dealer (one of the them) around here. He sold me my panel and also the battery bank and other toys.

While on the road, I can now power my fridge (same one I use at home) and laptop, and if the situation arises, plug in a sound system for an impromptu performance on the side of the road.


Wayne said...

Hi Trevor, can you give me the number to reach this Ron Mohr so i can contact him for my solar needs? Thanks in advance.

trevor.reichman said...

He is at extension 2962.