Friday, February 16, 2018

Craggy Casualty

When you camp at Craggy Wash you are essentially camping on rocks.  Mostly gravel sized stones with an occasional larger rock thrown into the mix.  Readers of the blog know that I no longer have solar panels attached to the roof of my RV (the Mini) instead I deploy them on the ground outside the Mini, adjusting them occasionally to insure they stay perpendicular to the sun for optimal efficiency.  The "Solar Suitcase" I bought from Renogy, a California solar company, has produced well but, frankly, the built-in stand has been a disappointment and proven much too fragile for RV use where the suitcase gets deployed and redeployed frequently.  The weakness of the stand contributed to an unfortunate loss of my solar charge controller when wind blew the suitcase over and caused the controller, which is attached to the back of one of the suitcase's solar panels, to shatter against a particularly sharp-edged rock.

The KIA Solar Charge Controller post-accident.

I'm glad now I didn't make the decision to upgrade the controller to a much more expensive MPPT controller because I'm pretty sure that one would have bit the dust too.  As it is the one PWM controller in the picture above can be replaced for under $30 off Amazon.  You can get upwards of $200 really quickly if shopping for a MPPT controller (they're more efficient in the way they control charging) so I guess I partially dodged a bullet.

Guess I'll head to Amazon and get the order started.  I really need to design a tube stand for the suitcase like I made for the stand-alone panel - it won't be as pretty but it would be a hell of a lot stronger!

Thanks for reading!

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