Ernie breaks into the sun

As I plugged the coiled blue electrical cable into Ernie and Mercy early this morning, meaning to test the towing connection, it already was obvious that today would be a scorcher. I would’ve liked to putter around our bus and toad today — and there’s much puttering to be done — but this wouldn’t be the day for it.

The connection failed the test. I unplugged the cable, stowed it and ducked back into the air-conditioned motorhome.

Within a couple of hours I was back outside, unable to accept being unproductive.

The project I tackled today was installing a module and a couple of runs of wire to let us charge Ernie’s house batteries using our suitcase-style solar panel. The task was neither complex not difficult, but between the oppressive heat and my rusty electrical skills, it took longer than it should’ve.

Originally I planned to mount the solar controller in the battery bay. Putting an electrical component near four off-gassing wet cells would be a bad idea, I decided, so I installed it above the inverter in the bay next door.

I ran the charging circuit through an existing grommet in the wall between the two compartments. Another wire was fixed to the solar input of the controller, and I fitted that one with a quick-disconnect. That was all — but it took a while to get it done.

The sky was cloudy enough to dampen my optimism about how effective our small solar panel would be this afternoon. I set it up anyway, plugged it in and took a look at the controller’s display — 15.5V, 1.6A. Even without full sun, we were getting a useful trickle charge.

And that’s the goal. We know that our setup will, at best, maintain the batteries, not run the coach or re-charge the cells if they’re seriously depleted.

Chalk up one more satisfying upgrade.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath