Venturing into the World of Solar Power

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Hubby and I are constantly looking for ways we can become more off grid.  The main thing that holds us onto the grid right now is electricity.  We can have water and heat in the camper without being connected to anything.  We compost our waste, therefore eliminating any sewer hookups.  But, we have not found a way to go completely off electric.  We have been wanting to get into solar energy but have been unable to afford it.  Since we live in a camper, we don’t need too much power.  The camper has a battery, just the same as a car or boat.  This battery can be used to run the electricity but only lasts a couple of days.  My goal is to figure out how much power we need to run solely off the battery.  If our budget was not an issue, I would run out and buy a full size solar set up this very minute.  But we are on a very tight budget so that is not possible.  We decided to start small and build/save up for a full system.  Harbor Freight is running a sale on their solar panels.  What usually costs $300 is on sale for $130.  We think this is a good place to start and bought one set.  The system is only a 45watt set up so it wont be powering any big power tools anytime soon.  I am hoping its enough to charge the battery for the camper.  Once the solar panels are set up, you are supposed to leave them charging for 3 days.  I set them up yesterday, thus making today day two of waiting.  I am very impatient and I couldnt wait until tomorrow to test it out.  I plugged a light into the box and what do you know? we have light!  granted it flickers and isnt terribly bright, but still!  Once I was done celebrating and showing hubby, I promptly unplugged the light so the system could continue charging.  I am sure most people would not be as animated as I am, but I am so tickled that we can have a light turn on without electricity in the common sense.  With only the help of the sun, and these solar panels, we now have a light that turns on!  Thats big news in my world!! This week we will try and connect the system to the battery and see how long it takes to charge the battery.  The next step is to unplug the camper from the electrical hook up and see how long we last on battery power only.   I am soo very excited about this next step towards living off grid!

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Updating the Flooring in a Camper

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(carpet torn out)
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(flooring laid)

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(before- when we first bought the camper)

 

I have NO idea who thought that it was a good idea to put carpet in a camper. Why? Campers are used for camping…where there is dirt and mud and no one wants to vacuum on vacation. Our camper just had carpet on our slide out, thankfully. The rest of the flooring is nondescript vinyl tiles. At Lowes, I found some vinyl “wood”. The flooring looks like hardwood floors but is just peel n stick strips. I was able to do the majority of the camper in Texas before we moved, but stopped near the carpet. Now that Hubby is gone during the week for training, and I am stuck at home with no car, I finally have time for this project. I ripped out the carpeting and was disgusted with the amount of dirt and dust under it. One corner of the slide out will need to be replaced as its still damp from a leak. After pulling the carpet and all the millions of carpet staples, I put down the new flooring. Its not done, but already it looks so much better.

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(look at ALL THAT DUST)