Monday, February 3, 2014

New Solar Panels

Quartzsite was a very good visit this year.

We visited with some friends from our Lazy Daze owners group-----there were over 36 Lazy Daze motorhomes in our section of the BLM land.

Also, Jan and I had a chance to meet some new friends --all with different backgrounds and different RVing experiences.

Out thanks to Roger who organizes this every year under the Yahoo group LazyDazeQuartzsite.

On our second week, we needed to pick up a few groceries--and a birthday dinner.

So , off to Blythe , California--only about 20 miles or so from Quartzsite.  A lot of farming in Blythe, in this case, hay from some carefully monitored water in an elaborate canal system.

Tandem trailers are common.

We are on our way to Albertson's Grocery store, but we know of this supply of native grapefruit very near the hayfield.

Jan loves the fresh grapefruit.  They are larger and much juicier than the grapefruit that make it to the northern stores.

And yes, we did pick up 12 grapefruit for $2.00.

And yes, the sign does say " fresh pict"

Jan says they are wonderful.  Every now and then I sneak a taste, but generally not allowed with current meds.

The grapefruit are placed outside a locked gate.
But over the wall we can see the fruit trees.

This one is a lemon tree and the lemons are huge!!

If you click on the picture, you might see them closer.

Next door to the grapefruits there are  hundreds of sheep.

The water is part of the canal system for watering the hay fields and other crops.  Some of this water comes from the Colorado River.  There are thousands of miles of canals taking the water to field after field.  This is some of the water supply that you may have heard about being shut off in the California drought.

Back to Quartzsite on Route 10.

Eustis is impressed by some of these hills and mountains that just pop up along the way.

You never know what kind of sunsets you might get in Arizona.

This one showed the best color in some wispy clouds.

The color comes up fast after sunset and disappears just as quickly.

Our celebrations are very simple.   Jan was happy to have some great phone calls and emails from family and friends.

Also, she had chance to pick a dinner of grilled steak, salad, and shrimp.  Life is good!

The store in Blythe was the source for some fresh flowers.  They are Alstroemeria or as Mrs. Ashcroft might have said?" Ask her to marry her."

Our two weeks at BLM land is up and we decide we will try to start camping in Southern California on BLM land and other dry camping spots.

To do that, we could really use more solar power.

Off to Casa Grande to see Marvin, a very good solar installer.  We add two panels, giving us a total of 3 solar panels and 300 watts of solar power.
Also, we add a battery monitor.

The solar panel you see in the middle is our original 100 watt panel. The other 2 are the new panels plus a junction box. The 2 tall antennas are for FM radio and CB radio.  The little bump in the front is an antenna for Sirius satellite radio. The rectangle in the lower center is our 15,000 btu air conditioner. And the normal, over-the-air antenna is to the right.  Out of sight in the lower left would be our satellite tv antenna that we use for Dish TV.  That service we can turn on or off as needed.  Reception is great here in Arizona, but we will turn it off when we start camping in the trees.

The battery monitor is a great new addition. It tells us the state of charge for the battery--as to the right it says 14.3 volts.  This is close to the recommended full charge of 14.4 volts for our 2 Lifeline brand AGM or (absorbed glass mat) batteries.  These batteries provide a maximum of 220 amp hours at 12 volts.

This screen shows us what the amp charge or discharge is at the time.  For this picture it is charging at 2.5 amps.  That is low, but it is early morning and quite cloudy.  Also we know that with everything shut off, there is still a draw of 1.1 amps for things like the refrigerator control, smoke and gas detectors,etc. So it is really getting 3.6 amps from the solar panels.(1.1 plus 2.5)

We can see exactly what each electric appliance in the motorhome uses for amp draw. With all three solar panels in full sun, the amp charge can reach up to 12 or so amps .

The third screen simply shows the percentage charge of the battery.

In this screen it is at 96%.

This new addition will allow us to dry camp or boondock without electrical worries.  If , for any reason the battery is low--say on a very cloudy day---we can still start up the 4,000 watt generator or start up the motorhome engine.
Interestingly, the battery will only fully charge on the solar panels.


  1. It was so nice meeting you in Q. Three panels will make a big difference for you. May see you around So. Cal one of these days!

  2. This may duplicate another email reply. Likewise, nice meeting you in Quartzsite. As we mentioned in our other email, we wish we had more time to chat with all the group. Out three panels are making a huge difference! This morning we were 90 % charged by around 10am. It seems there is enough capacity to even make a difference when we are north and under some trees--not totally blocking the sun but partially.

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