Originally posted 11/29/2012
No sage insights and philosophical points brewing today. I spent the day screwing down the iMac to the office desk and hooking up 14 devices to the office power supply. 14! Hard drives, scanners, printers, card readers, my digital picture frame, an audio amplifier, and the record turntable. I labeled all the plugs so I had some idea what the tangle was, and I’ve been downloading bank statements, item receipts, and offloading the camera photos for a couple of hours now. I also got the propane and carbon monoxide alarm hardwired to the office battery pack. Plus, I’m doing a data backup for safety’s sake. That’ll take awhile.
The goal of fastening the iMac to the desk is to hopefully allow me to move the trailer without having to carry the iMac rearward and plop it on the bed for safe transport. That was a pain, especially whenever the solar panels were stowed in the office/living room passageway. There’s some risk in bolting it down, because it’s top-heavy. When the trailer does its rock ‘n roll on a rough road, well… we’ll see what happens – or not. It’s worth the try, and by my reckoning, nothing short of a head-on is going to bust it loose.
It’s nice to be able to compose a blog post using the desktop computer. It gives me options that the iPad software doesn’t, not to mention that the wonderful office chair (thanks, son) is ultra comfy. It’s hard to say how long the office battery pack can power the system, because I won’t be on it much longer than it takes to complete the backup. I’ve got a voltmeter hooked up to the pack, and even under load (which gives inaccurately low readings) there still looks to be quite a long way to go. Although the charge controller LED indicates that I’m already under 50% capacity, the voltmeter says I’m at 80% and pretty much holding even – which indicates that the relatively quick drop to 80% is merely a result of the load itself exaggerating the true drag on the cells. The limited amount of equipment I have powered up is pulling less than 140 watts (on AC power), so it could last quite a while. When I shut the system down and recheck hours from now, voltage will almost certainly be higher than it is now. Voltage recovery.
No surprise heat-wise. Everything is cool except for the 300W Samlex inverter’s supply cord, which is thinner than lamp cord. Cheap stuff, and its plug is cheesy. When wire is too thin, you waste power in the wire itself, converting energy to heat, like a toaster element. On a more industrious day, I may open the inverter and see if it’s easy to replace the wire with heavier stuff, and a heavier-duty plug that I already have lying around. Don’t want to void the warranty just yet, though.
I have quite a few things to catch up on, but that visit to the Petrified Forest National Park is still awaiting composure and photo editing, and it ain’t last on my to-do list!