Looking for a simpler life, but not too simple…

Alternative Energy

Great News!

I spoke with Clark today from Green Eye Auto. They do SVO (straight veggie oil) conversions and this is the same company that made the kit for Benny’s conversion. He wants me to come up to Eugene, OR in May to apprentice under him and learn more about veg conversions. After that I’ll do installs for the company while I’m traveling around the US. 🙂 I am so stoked about this and can’t wait to learn more.

On another note: We are planning on leaving the farm in Albuquerque on Thursday to travel to Texas for the NuRVers gathering. We plan on stopping in Roswell and Carlsbad Caverns and I think some friends of Tara’s in Texas. I am looking forward to not being rushed and being able to sight-see and take our time getting there. It has just been go go go since we left Vegas. I am in desperate need of some down time and some R&R. Plus, we are going to meet up with Matt and Sara from The Happy Janssens at the gathering. 🙂


Veg Conversion

What a exciting post I get to tell you about! Where do I begin? Matt from the Happy Janssens came into town, along with his family, to do the veggie conversion on Benny.

We started by getting the dimensions for the fuel tank and discussed where we wanted to mount it. We found a great spot to fit a 36 gallon tank; the only bummer was I had to move the electrical box for the generator plugin. We started by making a bracket to mount the veg pump and misc solenoids. After mounting all of them on the bracket we then mounted the bracket inside the engine compartment. Then Matt worked on mounting the fuel gauge, pressure gauge and veg switch on the dash. We then routed all the different hoses to everything, and back to the fuel tank.

And there you go: Benny runs on veg now! I don’t want to go into depth on the install for proprietary reasons. But Clark from Green Eye Auto asked Matt and I if we would be interested in going around the U.S. doing veg installs for him. How awesome is that? I have to get in touch with Clark soon. He wants me to travel up to Eugene, OR and work on a couple of installs for him, so I can get acquainted with all the different parts and vehicles I will be working on. I am so excited about this, and hope it pans out. 🙂

Matt, thanks a lot for everything. You’re awesome.


Solar Panel Installation!!

Yessssss! Tuesday this week we finally received our solar panels in the mail (I’m so excited).

yes!

I got my kit from Alter Systems. It includes:

  • 2- 80 watt Sharp solar panels
  • 8 mounting brackets
  • 30ft of #10 wire
  • 2- 6ft #10 wires
  • 2 wire connectors
  • Morning Star charge controller
  • 600 watt Samlex inverter

So I figured I would get a jump on the install first thing Wednesday morning.I had to run to the Depot and Checker for some odds and ends not included in the kit (30ft of #6 wire, misc wire ends, 30ft of split flex tubing, electrical box, 100amp inline fuse, and grommets.)

misc peices

I hooked the wires and connectors to the solar panels, and put the mounting brackets on them.

attaching wires to panels

I mounted the panels on the roof of the RV in a location where they wouldn’t be shaded by the air conditioner or any other vents. I also mounted an electrical box to put the connections in to protect them from the elements. Any place I pierced a hole in the roof ( screwing down panels and drilling holes) I sealed them with Dicor sealant.

solar panels!

electrical box with connectors

Then drilled a 1/2 inch hole directly above an existing support tube, and fed the wires from the panels to the charge controller, which I mounted under the sink, that way it would be close to the batteries and easily accessible but out of the way.

1/2 inch hole in roof to feed wires into

support tubing holding wires

charge controller

I took some of the #6 wire and ran that from the charge controller to the batteries. BAM!! Now we have free energy. 🙂

battery bank - 2 for engine, 2 for solar array

Now for the fun part: hooking up the inverter. I mounted the inverter in an outside compartment on the RV and drilled a 2in hole into the compartment to feed the wires from the batteries to the inverter. If you can see to the right of the inverter on a block of wood I mounted the blue 100amp inline fuse. And the black wire plugged into the left of the inverter is the shore power cord, which runs to the a/c breaker panel inside.

inverter with inline 100amp fuse

The only thing left to do is get a breaker, and mount it above the other two, which will be the on/off switch for the RV’s automatic battery charger. The reason for the breaker is so that the inverter doesn’t charge the batteries when the panels are charging them (not good). Now I have to wait till Monday to see if one of the RV stores have the breaker, because the depot doesn’t carry 30 year old breakers.

ac breaker panel

Oh and thanks Dad for coming over and giving me a hand. 🙂