I woke up about 5:00 and it was COLD. Stayed in bed until 6:00 trying to get back to sleep and didn't have any luck so got up to 37 degrees in here. I turned on the light and computer and the inverter cut out because of low battery voltage so I went out and started the charger. It ran out of gas no sooner than I finally got it started. Added gas and started it again so I'd have power until the sun comes up for the solar panels to start charging. Then I came in and put water on for coffee and kept waiting for the water to get hot. I noticed it never did so looked and the burner had gone out, but no propane was coming out. I just changed bottles yesterday! Next I notice the CHECK light on the fridge is on and it isn't working. I thought OK... it isn't getting propane, but I tried the burner on the stove again and it light with no trouble. Put the water back on for coffee and tried to get the fridge to fire up again and it wouldn't. Low voltage on the trailer's battery that the fridge gets its control voltage from. Looks like I'll be running the generator today to charge up that battery.
I've been thinking something is up with the batteries lately because they just don't hold up at night, but I just had an epiphany. It is Winter, the days are shorter, the sun is further away, its not hitting the solar panels at the correct angle for maximum charging and batteries don't like cold. This all equates to either going to bed real early and staying off the computer or using anything that will drain the batteries much. Either that or get used to using the charger and generator more in the evenings to top off the batteries because the solar panels couldn't.
Now this brings up a conversation JustMe and I had yesterday when I went over to pick up the siding. It was about AMPS at Volts. A lot of people seem to think that if an appliance pulls 1 AMP at 120 volts it also pulls the same at 12 volts. That is far from the truth. If an appliance pulls 1 AMP at 120 volts then it will pull about ten times that at 12 volts. You also have the overhead of the inverter which further adds insult to injury. Take the DSL modem here. I wasn't having trouble with inverter cut outs at night until it was installed. That coupled with the shorter days, the sun being further away and the sun hitting the panels at the wrong angle all cause problems I didn't have in the summer. About the only way to offset that would be to add more solar panels, setup a sun tracking mechanism for the panels to follow the sun or start running the charger and generator to take up the slack. Of course as mentioned before I could start going to bed earlier and cut back on the computer use at night, but that doesn't really appeal to me.
BTW the sun is now up and the solar panels charging the single RV battery are working giving the fridge enough voltage to work off of so its now working again.
Just something else to think about before moving off grid.
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