Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Redesign Was Needed

True to their word, my friends Mark & Gary showed up in Mark's Diesel work truck to assess and possibly begin the process of installing the four 300 watt solar panels to the roof of my Stealth Cargo Trailer home.

My Stealth Tiny Home (on the right)
 Upon further assessment the three of us jumped in Mark's truck and made our way to the local Lowe's and then Home Depot to purchase eight ten foot lengths of aluminum "L" shaped channel for around $160.

We also stopped at Starbucks for some much needed liquid energy in the form of caffeinated coffee and tea.

Gary is Marking the Aluminum for Cutting
One solar panel sitting on a pair saw horses

When we returned Gary got up on the roof and determined how to best install the solar panels. After cutting the aluminum to the desired length and drilling holes for the bolts and lock washers, I was asked by Gary how I had planned on wiring the panels. 

I stated that I designed the system to be series-parallel wired where each set would be wired in series to double the voltage then the two sets would be wired in parallel to double the amperage yielding an array that would be putting out 92.4 volts @ 17.12 amps or 1581.888 watts maximum.

All he really wanted to know was how I was going to wire up the panels if they were already fastened to the roof making the wiring inaccessible. That is when we decided to postpone the duration of the wiring until after I were to obtain the photo voltaic cable, a crimper and additional MC4 connectors.

As soon as the crimp tool, wire and connectors show up, we will complete the installation of the solar panels with the wiring in place.

I look forward to completing this installation and I really appreciate Mark and Gary's commitment and expertise in this install.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Solar System Update

I had hoped that the 4 large solar panels would have been installed by now but sadly that task has not been completed yet. The problem is that there are certain things that require more than just myself to complete the job. The installation of each 50 pound 6.5 x 3.5 foot panel takes at least 2 people to install on to the top of the cargo trailer. I cannot do this process by myself.

Lucky for me, My friend's Gary & Mark have volunteered to assist me in the installation of the panels. Both guys are going to come over on Sunday September 21st, 2014 to assess what is required to efficiently get the panels mounted to the cross members on the roof that tie the roof to the sides of the trailer. Safety is a prime concern which is why I want to make sure that when I'm towing the Cargo Trailer to a new location, there is no possibility that the solar panels would slide off and come down on a vehicle behind me.

I'm sure, after my friends assessment, I'll be sent to Home Depot or Lowe's to purchase the necessary hardware to prepare for the solar panel install. Wiring the Solar Panels is my job as an Electrician and can be accomplished relatively quickly once the actual solar panels are in place.

I am hoping to accomplish the other two projects (1. The On-Demand Hot Water system for the shower & 2. The Emergency Floor Exit) soon after I complete the electrical system.

I look forward to completing the solar charging portion of my electrical system because it is the most time consuming, expensive & potentially dangerous aspect of the projects to date.

I guess that's it for now... Have a great day!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Beginning The Solar System Install

I'm back to work part time teaching fiber optics and associated disciplines to the telecommunications industry once more. The curriculum has changed a bit and the class I teach has gotten one third longer. I was rehired by the company that laid me off in 2008. I am looking forward to getting back to a 20 hour work week and It's great to be back in the work force once again

As far as the living space goes, I do not have any plans to stop living the way I live now in my cargo trailer. I dream of a time when I can live on a property that will last more than two years because moving every two years is kind of a drag. But I owe a huge thank you to my good friend Bob O. for letting me live on his property for this long. My stay in beautiful Juniper Hills California has been bliss and I believe that I couldn't have been any more content anywhere else.

My friend Bob is selling his home and moving back to his home state which means that once again it's time for me to begin the search for a new place to live. I am hoping that I can get on a property that is close to the freeway so that my commute is shorter than the 132 miles I drive round trip from home to work and back. I can't move too close to work because I am still attending college which is in the opposite direction from home.

I am almost done with the first part of my college education and the one class I am taking this semester will complete my goals for two associates degrees in graphic arts. Going to college has been a great deal of fun along with an equal amount of difficult academic work that I have not had much experience with prior to these past few years.

A few weeks ago My friend Pete and I took a trip to the San Fernando Valley in my pickup truck to buy some fastening materials to install my new solar panels. A few months ago I purchased 4 brand new 300 watt polycrystalline solar panels to install on the roof of my Cargo Trailer home. I designed the system to be wired in series-parallel to a 96 amp Midnite Solar charge controller which will charge my pair of 8D parallel wired AGM batteries. [I was a union electrician before I began my teaching career]

I am hoping that before I move to the next location I will have the 4 huge [6.5 ft by 3.5 ft] solar panels installed securely. Once they are installed I can do the necessary wiring to finalize my off grid electrical system.

If you or anyone you know needs a vibrant well spoken instructor to teach materials that are hard to comprehend while keeping the atmosphere light and humorous, feel free to send an email. If you can teach me, I can teach anyone! Until my next post... Take care!

Monday, May 5, 2014

An Update 2014

It's amazing to me how time flies. A lot of things have happened since my last post in 2012.

I have been living in the cargo trailer since July 8th 2010 and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I am now and have been for the past 3.5 years, the proud owner of my own home [on wheels] that is paid for and is mine. I do not pay any mortgage payments and the upkeep is practically zero. The best part is that If I choose to move from where I live now, my home goes with me. No more packing stuff in boxes, getting a lift gate box truck, taking a day or three loading all of the stuff into the box truck and then into the new place, only to pay some new landlord $550 to $850 a month to have my spot somewhere in southern California.. NO!

Today I live inexpensively in my cargo trailer and have money to spare working part-time if I so choose. Freedom from stuff is the new motto and I have been having one hell of a good time ridding myself of the stuff piece by piece. I have found that my happiness is directly contingent upon how much freedom I have to do what I want to do. I am no longer a slave to a job I hate with hours I hate and people who I'd rather not spend time with. Although I really do LOVE teaching fiber optics and hope to go back to work soon!

At present, I am still in college. I will graduate sometime later this year with two associates degrees in Graphic Arts. I joke with my friends about being in my 4th year of a 2 year degree because I have found so much fun in going to community college that sometimes I wish I could do this forever. I love learning new things and I really enjoy interacting with people of all ages.

I took ceramics as an elective a few semesters ago and learned how to make vases and things on the pottery wheel. I spent the first 3 of 16 weeks ruining things that I tried to make on the wheel but in my 4th week I was able to finally get something to stay upright and it eventually became a vase after its time in the kiln. I went on to create around 30 items from cups to plates and vases to bowls over the following 12 weeks. Ceramics was a lot of fun and I met some really engaging people too.

The cargo trailer project is close to over as far as the inexpensive projects go. The only things left are the off grid solar system and inverter, the on demand hot water system, the emergency exit and an air conditioning system that I may not bother with doing.

What I love about my no-windows cargo trailer is that I have a whole sound studio and three monitor computer setup with two additional laptops and surround sound completely built to my specifications by me as efficiently as possible all inside what looks like a large utility trailer on the side of my friends home. Is that cool or what?

What else? hmm

That new hose for the heater was never used because my friend Pete said that he thought that my propane system should be on a safer piped system. Pete said that If I bought the hardware, he would install the system. I specified the spots where I wanted shutoff valves and gas nipples [if that's what they are called?] and showed the layout to Pete. I towed the cargo trailer over to Pete's friend Bart's house and Pete went ahead and installed the whole system in two days including the platform that I bought that houses the automatic changeover valve for my two propane tanks on the extended trailer tongue. The whole installation came out really well and I now have a valve near where my floor heater goes, one for attaching a BBQ near the door, one for my existing super large single gas burner and one for the upcoming on-demand hot water system [that is yet to be installed].

And that's it for now, on this beautiful May 5th at 2:53am. Off I go to study for a math test I'm taking tonight, wish me luck! :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

The New Propane Hose

Yayyy.. The new propane hose showed up for my Mr. Heater MH18b propane heater!

There it is in all of it's glory! Now I don't have to refill the one pound containers. yayyy!