Saturday, May 27, 2017

May 27 Memorial Weekend

So we are going on our 3rd week up here. It has been wonderful except for when the 2 weather fronts come together. This results in strong winds. But today they are gone and it is wonderful.

Since this is a holiday weekend, the Apache - Sitgreaves forest has filled up, more than we were here few years ago. 

We were hoping friends would make it up, but people, just can't seem to decide on anything or anytime. And surely we, meaning me, will not wait for people to decide if they are coming or when they are coming. Oh well, such is life. 

Early on we explained to friends that we would be up roaming around, then head up to Utah for month of June, well we decided to include Colorado in the roaming bit.  

DaGirls Rv - Safe Travels and Journeys
Dakota, Tilly, Susan and me

Monday, May 22, 2017

Dry Camping, Boon Docking, Solar Oh My.

Here we are, week 2 of camping up in the Tall pines. So far we have gone from cool to cold at night, to snow and now to the real weather for this time of year.
40’s at night with 70’s in the day time. Beautiful. Gorgeous weather, especially for hiking and for Solar.

Since we have been here we have been busy, doing small and large jobs getting everything back to normal. Susan has been busy mending my jeans, shorts, making covers for the mirrors. Cleaning and rearranging the kitchen and pantry.

Me I have finally finished up my Midnite (Solar Controller / Magnum (Inverter / Charger) project. What does this mean? Well cleaning up the area, fitting the cable correctly, installing a new on/off switch for the inverter batteries, to name a few.

I also wanted to re-install my shunt (Wizbang) for the Midnite solar control. The part I was having trouble is both the Magnum and Wizbang are about 4 inches long and need to be in series. This kept giving me location problems.

So, it was time to see what was so different between these 2 shunts. Nothing is different, so I was able to use the BMK (Magnum) shunt for both units, this made it real easy to install and hook up. So now I have real time current readout for both systems.

I also relocated the Midnite display, I just did not like having it out of sight nor did I want to buy a remote display. Some being a "prichard", I moved it.

So, what else has been going on? well our friends B & D, will not make it up here while we are here. So we have decided to head out to Utah, to see the canyons and parks up in that area. From there maybe head to Colorado for a change in elevation and places.

Another interesting experience was / is watching Dakota: she just loves going after lizards, and other small flying inserts near the ground. We watched her on Sunday, she must have seen a lizard or maybe she smelled a mole. She spent over 30 minutes digging a trench the length of her body, trying to locate it.

This is her normal position in the morning, waiting for Susan and I to come out and play. She's that small dot in the center

 This is Dakota, she saw or smelled something, and away she went after it, or should I say duged after it. Now if you look closely, she will move away from the tree to the left.

  As you see she is getting very tired digging. 

 DaGirls Rv, safe and happy journeys 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Round Up of the last few days in the tall pines

Ok, so let's get this show / post on the road. Where exactly is DaGirls at? 
GPS:   34.3968394, -110.721005

​The temperature last 2 (5/15 -5/16) days, with 1 more day left:

While we are keeping warm inside with our Procom Vent-Free Propane heater.

And yes we have been traveling around the areas seeing the many places we have boon-docked in the past. 

​So, what does our day look like ?

Up, make coffee, let Dakota out

​​​Who is waiting outside for Susan and I to come out?

The many hikes with Dakota and Tilly in the area, with Dakota running back and forth checking everything out and hunting for lizards:

One of the nice thing that Dakota does is walk Tilly.

Or the Can Spinners I am making.

Made a few changes to our Solar Controller Display: many of you remember when I ungraded to the Midnite Classic 150 controller. This unit allow's you to add a remote display. Now in the back of my mind, I said, why can't I remove the display and bring it inside.

Well that is exactly what I did. 

Item needed, 6 pin RJ11 connector and 6 wire phone cable. I found a 15 footer pre-made at Fry's Electronics

Removed the cover from the controller, remove the display cover, where I located and removed the 4 mounting screws​. Then remove the display unit. I do need to point out, that the display is a unit by itself. 

Next I installed the cable connector to the controller, replace the cover, routed the cable to the inside of the Rv. At this point I connected the cable to the display and boom. I now have a remote display/controller inside the Rv.

How is our solar system working:

DaGirls Equipment:
Midnite Classic 150, Wizbang Shunt (Getting ready to re-install) Kit
Magnum MS2812 with BMK (Shunt) kit.

Interstate batteries, all controllers have been specifically setup for these batteries. I am not using the standard default setting.

1600 Watts panels, unfortunately panels are a mixed lot:
2, 180w purchase 2012
1, 300w purchase 2013
1, 300w purchase 2014
2, 300w purchased 2016
As you can see purchased over a 4 year period, this means different panels.

Panels shaded in the morning with full sun after 12 noon.
6am, battery voltage 12.4. 74% SOC(BMK)
2pm Reach 100 % SOC.

Here is an excellent example:
Full Sun, 798 watts, started the vacuum cleaner, watts jump to over 1200 watts, voltage was in the 14 - 14. 5 Volt range (Absorption mode). pretty impressive I might say. 

One thing made a big difference in my battery storage/voltage, is the custom charge setup per manufacture specifications. Prior to this, normally (Oct 2016), battery voltage would be in the 12.0 – 12.1 Vdc range.

Another is the addition of the BMK kit to the Magnum. The BMK, once setup, will calculate the charge/discharge current of the batteries. It will take into consideration all charge methods; i.e. Charger, Alternator and Solar, this is why I like this system.
I will be re-installing my Midnite Wiz-bang very soon; it will be fun to see how it calculates and displays current.
I also noted that my system has some deficiencies, which I attribute to the old Vs. new style panels.

A few weeks ago Mike Lynch came to me and asked for help in designing and installing a system. We installed 4, 300 watts panels at a VOC of 40 Vdc, with a current short of 34Vdc. Using a Midnite classic combining box, 2 bulk head mounted re-settable circuit breakers and misc stuff. My guess the total cost less installation was less than $1500. $120, each panel, $650 controller, $110 circuit breakers, another $200 misc's items. And some stuff I had on hand; aluminum angle (brackets), 3 rolls of dicor, cable combiners, and wire.

I was really happy when we turned system on for the first time. The system jump to 800 Watts then dropped down to around 700, before settling down to 500. 

Da​Girls Rv, Traveling Companions Dakota and Tilly

Thursday, May 11, 2017

May 10th Update in Cottonwood

Ok, so what has been happening. Well we spent 2 weeks in Apache Junction, getting the Air Conditioner fixed. Mike over at Gene, worked wonders as the compressor blower motor went out, along with the #1 compressor which was bad. During this, Mike replaced the bearing, cleaned and lube.

During this, we ordered a new Atwood Keypad, Drain-Master dump valve, struts for the window awnings, pantograph adapter for the windshield arms along with new fans for the Dometic refrigerator. I also fixed a bad hose on the Twin-Temp. Some was covered by extended service plan some was not.

Everything was finished up on Friday, May 5th. Once completed, we headed north to Prescott Valley. We elected to boon-dock in the Elks parking lot. Will not do that again; or rather we will get a spot in the storage area if we can.

We stayed long enough to complete a solar installation for Mike, and get a gallon of Sierra (Peak Brand) Anti-Freeze. This brand is safe the aluminum tank of the Twin-Temp.

Our next stop was Thousand Trails Resort in Cottonwood, where Dakota had a Dr., appointment waiting for her on Monday, May 8th. Dr. Brady was Della’s vet, during the remaining years of her life. This included her Alaska adventures. He is one of those vets that reminds me of the home town doctor’s that new everyone by name and did house calls.

Ok, so we are planning on leaving for the Apache-Sitgreaves national forest on Thursday. If you have never boon-dock in the tall pines, then definitely this should be on your bucket list. Now we are not talking about in an RV park with other rigs. No I am talking about the forest, where the closest RV could be 25 yards or even 100 yards away. Where you wake up, to the scent pine trees. Or a cool breeze, or the wind whispering thru the trees.

On Wed., Mike Lynch came out and we all headed to Sedona to hike around Bell Rock. In all it must have been over 4 miles. as it took us over 4 hours. Normally i hike in the 3 MPH range, but this was a fun hike.

Anyway safe travels from DaGirls

By the way, if you are heading east out of Payson, give us a call as we are dry-camping up in the Tall-Pines of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.