Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

We Have Achieved… Chargeness

Originally posted 11/5/2012

Yep, the Quartzsite Post Office came through for me at 11 o’clock today, taking 1 full business day (plus a weekend) to push the same package the last twenty feet over the counter that UPS took two days to deliver from Massachusetts.

You can hardly imagine the tension of hooking up the new Morningstar SunSaver MPPT 15L, a small black box that charges batteries from solar panel energy. I was almost afraid to insert the final inline fuse and let ‘er rip for fear it’d fail and all the solar panels would have to be changed out or something. But lo, it did its little startup diagnostic and started charging the two house batteries like they were old friends. I could almost hear it say, “Relax, this is nothin’. I got this.” Whew! Me thankful.

Less than half a day’s charge won’t make the batteries sit up and bark, but we’ll see how much of a buzz they get tomorrow after I lay an evening of DVD movie watching on them. All the circuits except for the one that runs the CPAP are slightly over-batteried and under-solared, meaning the 195-watt panel is a little bit undersized for charging a hearty 208 amp-hours of total battery capacity, so it can probably use all the sun it can get. Arizona obviously has a ton of sun, so tomorrow will be mildly interesting. The lopsided specs may be significantly offset by the panel being 18 volts instead of 12, though. The SunSaver uses that extra, unneeded voltage to pump out more charging amps, which will speed up the process. Batteries stay much happier when they can reach a full charge, instead of always being almost fully charged. If it’s done recharging significantly before sunset tomorrow, that will be a sign that, in Arizona at least, this combination of components is golden. The upper Midwest may be a very different story, but getting shore power will be more of an option there.

I’m almost giddy, in a very tedious, geeky sort of way. So, tomorrow I plan to call the vendor, Alt E Store and talk to the same guy who recommended the SunSaver MPPT to me. We’ll do it again for the CPAP circuit, and if the answers I get are right, another bigger unit too, to handle two combined panels and four connected batteries for the iMac and the rest of the office. Ooooh, Baby!

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