Anyone here using semi-flexible (not roll-up) solar panels? The OP may be amenable to this genre.
My future buy would be a ~~30% flexible panel in the ~120 to ~144 watt range around 4.7 LBS, with between ~22% and 23.x% efficiency. It looks like all the higher end "thin film technologies" these days are achieving in the 21% to 23.3% cell efficiencies (NREL; Solar Frontier; EMPA; Solibro; etc...). I would carry a solar panel backing made of 0.5 inch XPS insulation (weighing almost nothing). This would be a portable/movable panel of course...
...interesting. Just showed this to Dunes. She drove that 191 from Springerville to Morenci, and on to Safford, back in the late '90s. It was girl's 2 weeks off; her and a girlfriend did this in a rented Chevy Blazer. Then, they drove the East Border Rd from near the Cochise College airport, to Bisbee Junction (today, that road wouldn't be wise for 2 girls solo offroading LOL!)...
Until I wised up, stopped using the hardwall windows with the leaky screens, and instead used the softwall screens soaked in bug repellent. Much better
We haven't sprayed our screens with repellent yet. Thanks for the tip on the hard-wall screens (that probably includes the door screening)! Interesting.
When we used the Outfitter in the Southwest, we were out of gnat season and territory; so when we do, in the future, get back into that area and in gnat-dom, will make note use only the softwall screens. Waking up in the morning with hundreds of gnat bites wouldn't be my idea of fun.
Those gaiters that Jefe 4x4 wrote about: I got mine (full-length, with belt clip/snap) from Cabela's back in ~1995 (they are really the snake chaps, double as brush walkers), I used them in Central America in 120+ F and 80%+ humidity. So, in bone-dry 115F (or so) and 15% humidity or less, they would be like tropical linen pants LOL! :D
...I'm always cognizant of out-board weight at the end of axles **gross wheel weight** (the actual weight of the tire and wheel) that will really negatively affect performance/fuel mileage (if there are any Formula 1 racing engineers here, they could explain this better than I LOL!)...
...so, I look at OEM tire + rim weight, then play with any new tire/rim combo, to determine if they will be "heavier" or "lighter" than the OEM set-up...etc...etc.
The only way our set up could go south is if we were camping in a tunnel.
...there are a lot of ways to "make it work" for sure. This is often tempered by lifestyle, and world-view. We are taking the extreme cost-effective approach, we being minimalists.
One day, it would be nice to grab a portable light-weight 150w solar panel, throw it out the door, place it on a rack on the ground, and plug the laptop into it :B
I think that synthesizing down all the issues that impede long-term boondocking, the show-stopper constraint for us is: black water capacity. For us, this is appx 7 days "out", before one has to run back to "civilization" with tail between legs....to dump the black water tank.
So, the second biggest constraint for long term boondocking, is the food cooling situation. Given the above black water constraint, we need to have cooling for up to 7 days. We can achieve this with our large "Extreme cooler" at $25 CAD, which can easily take us 7 days. Overstock food that needs cooling goes in there (the cooler is kept out of the baking-hot truck cab and in the shade), and we use the ice and ice packs in our 3-way fridge for every-day next-in-line meals. We don't want to open our Extreme cooler till our 3-way fridge stock is depleted. No need to even turn on the 3-way fridge propane. However, it is there if we need it (a break-down way out in middle of nowhere). Also, we transfer some ice from the Extreme cooler into the 3-way fridge at about day 4 (around 1st line food depletion date).
Now, the next constraint is water: our toilet (the largest porta-potti on the market; with an AA battery pack flush system); PLENTY of water in the fresh-water side to do us 7 days. We also carry some jerry cans of water for dish-washing: plenty for 7 days boondocking (no need to run the 12V water pump). We have a D-cell electric shower for an outside shower, if need be (drawing from our dish-washing water reserve). We carry drinking water gallons for drinking (more than enough for 7 days).
....by this point, we haven't used nary 0.1 amp-hours of battery power....
OK...now, we need light at night: both outside and inside camper, we have LED lighting (I keep 1 incandescent bulb for ambiance lighting...used rarely). We need only 1 or 2 LED lights at night for reading....for max 1.5 hours. Our cell phones and hand-held radios get charged with a portable lithium power-pack if need be (good for 7 days at least). We have smart-phone music (plug in the head-phones). We never use the roof-top power vent....even when it was 107 in the desert (we sit in the shade outside under the awning; and at night the desert gets quite cool).
....by this point, our house AGM Group 27s are barely used (!). So, we may splurge, and charge a laptop from the house system. Still, nearly nothing used in the house 12V storage. So, between the truck batteries (we have 2 of those) and everything, we're drowning in excess 12V capacity....at 7 days. No solar. We can re-charge the house system as we drive at the finish of the 7-day period to empty the toilet black water (and, empty our 12 gallon portable gray water tank, too).
So, so far, solar would be a real luxury; something fun to tool around with for fun. I would only get a panel that I could move around (with small light-weight balsa-wood stand) to keep perfectly aligned with the sun very few hours, and toss it under the dinette seat cushions when we move...
I was also getting by fine with my 2 group 24's. That was until I recently added an inverter to run the coffee maker. Of course we got by for years using other methods but I like the convenience of my baby keurig.
...we just boil water, and pour it into our 1.2 liter bodum (French press), and we have a huge quantity of coffee...no electrics needed :D
I agree that you likely won't see a measurable increase in fuel mileage from the truck riding a couple inches higher or lower in the rear.
....I think that your proposed aerodynamics mitigation would probably be completely swamped by numerous other issues: driving style (good/bad); perfect tire inflation; perfect/terrible wheel alignment; perfectly/imperfectly tuned engine; weather conditions (extreme cold, strong headwinds, etc, etc, etc); terrain slope (flat/hilly/downright mountainous); and many, many other issues.
I think that it would be practically impossible to tease-out any canted rig aerodynamic benefits from all the above situations (unless you were testing in a 100% controlled environment).
IF you have the SurePower isolator/charge controller:
Model: 1314 (-B, BP-D) from serial# 09004545 to serial# 11002845, there is a recall on (overheating/potential fire).
There are 2 other SurePower separator models under recall, too. See their website for more details: here-->
Our particular model and serial# is not on recall: 040088xxxxxxx Ours was bought/installed way back in 2005.
...its under the dinette seat closest to the rear Caribou door (the space behind our electrical control system--- your camper may have a different locale).
Take a look at where the charge cable enters the rear wall (or, front wall) of your camper, and follow the wires to the separator. We have a SurePower...hold on, I'm in the camper checking.....its the model 1314. This is what Outfitter was installing from 2005 to...perhaps your camper's model year.
Have the Outfitter Caribou with "plug-into bumper trailer socket" charging system (Chevy 2500HD), using the battery separator (installed in the camper by Outfitter). This is where I'd focus my multi-meter "testing" first off.
It appears (reading your Post) that this problem has only started recently. Check that battery separator.
....I could be a bit off, but I recall when I was looking at AGMs to replace flood cell lead-acid, almost every AGM manufacturer I looked at had a different casing size (length and/or width and/or height). So, for the most part, I had to shop dimensions, given our limited battery compartment space.
Probably helps a lot that where we live in West Michigan on the lakeshore we don't get below zero F at night or over 90F max as that can really hurt battery life etc.
Its hard to believe how long these batteries go. I'll probably replace the other in 2017.
Our truck was only stored outside for 1 winter since new. Other than that, its only seen heated storage, and the occasional coolish spring or fall. It had seen 2 expeditions to the Southwest for 4 weeks each. But even those excursions were during spring; so no exceptionally hot prolonged life in the baking heat.
We do indeed have the same trucks (down to the color LOL!), albeit, yours is diesel. We have ~67k kilometers so far hah hah! I've seen these trucks go to 400k miles(!) quite often. Our undercarriage looks like showroom (I coat it every year myself since new). We expect it to go perhaps 15 to 20 more years, it will then be insured as vintage collectable (I hope gasoline will still be available then hah hah).
A battery tender helps. I have a small solar powered one in the window of the garage plugged into the cigarette lighter socket that keeps me topped off.
Dual battery Silverado 2500HD here (non diesel). Our truck sits in storage for 7 to 8 months a year (this year an early spring, so only 6 months storage). I stopped using the battery minder probably, hmmm, 8 years ago. I now just disconnect my 2 batteries for storage (it takes me only ~2 minutes to disconnect them), and I disconnect them if we have no driving planned for more than a week. The truck is a 2004.5; and starter battery is still original. After 12 years, it is still like nearly new condition. I've only replaced the accessory battery; that was done last year (at 11 years old) LOL!
...OK, back to the program...
...another Outfitter owner here: Caribou 8 (long-bed configuration). We've had the Outfitter for almost 12 years now, and expect to have it for perhaps another decade+.
We have done several camper shell upgrades (all of which are illustrated in this Forum over the years). In fact, I am typing this response from the Outfitter now (when not camping in it, I use it as my office over the spring/summer/fall).
...if ya have any questions, just post :B
Have fun out there,
...but it does mean checking rv.net for new trip reports every few days so as not to miss new ones, and copying the URL into the Word document in the right place. Then about once per quarter editing the relevant sections of the sticky and doing a cut and paste into them from the latest copy of your Word document.
Hi Steve! I received an in-expedition photo you made via "Sleepy". Looks like blue skies for you up in Norway!
OK, back to the question. Steve pretty much nailed the process. When I was the TR admin, the "Sticky" resided inside my RVnet account; so, unless I wanted to share my password with the new Trip Reports admin (tantamount to giving the new TR administrator access to all my personal PMs), a new TR person will have to continue with TRs under their RVnet account.
Now, after pondering this, IF multiple TR administrators wanted to pool their efforts together (say, share/schedule the editing duties), perhaps a new account could be opened, and a shared password could be created for that specific project. However, when you think about the RVnet participant's responsibilities as "Forum citizens", having multiple participants on one account could be fraught with potential negatives (I'm playing the part of a corporate legal).
Anyhow, in my mind, the easiest transition, may include Steve's master text document to the new admin/editor; the new person could then ease into the role, then change the format eventually to personalize the TR....
The only open-pit mine I have been able to find in operating the TR, is the 100 edit limit to any individual Post (I think this is a CFM scripting thang; but I never pursued a "ticket" to the site Administrator to look into the matter).
Steve has been a most organized, tech-savvy, innovative and reliable Trip Reports admin. If I was head-hunting a Forum admin for a large corporate client, he would be the primary candidate. Thanks Steve for all your efforts!
Just checked them out on their French website. They manufacture fully customized camper shells; some quite sophisticated. They have pop-up roofs; one could have a roof pop-up on any side, or full 4 corner pop-up.
They have a digital CAD/CAM cutting machine where they feed the roof, and walls through to cut out for appliances. The camper shell itself appears to be removable (the customer can have any removal system installed they wanted).
Their gallery shows many units installed on Land Rover Defender pick-up (cutaway) trucks.
...the water treatment plant is still in place but has shutdown due to the evacuations
Yes. It appears now that the river water intake was not destroyed, and thank goodness for that.
It is an unknown for all facilities still standing (every facility has to be thoroughly checked, building by building even if fire hadn't apparently "touched" the buildings, by various engineering disciplines, to verify their fitness to operate (is the hospital HVAC still functioning? Are there burning embers still on the roofs? And many other issues)
The problem with "turning on the water soon" is: the hundreds of burned structures could free-flow water from broken pipes, unimpeded. The various neighborhoods have to be checked (house by house) and mains shut off till the main water pipes coming into all the affected homes and businesses are capped. I imagine that this would have to be done sector by sector. However, there may be shut offs for blocks of affected buildings/houses.
I think Florida is so crowded because of where folks are coming from - the heavily populated states north of Florida. Snowbirders seem to head straight south for the most part.
Yes. That's exactly right. From places as far away as Montreal, we can shoot down to north Florida in 2.2 days (if you have a trailer down there, you don't have to haul it, making a snap trip south very doable). Its the only "warm" climate available to the several hundred million east coasters in a last-second or, planned foray. If there is an emergency with a rental property or other issue up north, one can shoot home, remediate, and be back in Florida in under 5 days; costing only a few hundred in gas and a cooler full of food. Try that from the Southwest; it may take 4 days to book a flight on business-class, at several $thousand dollars for last minute return flight.
Even with our truck camper rig, we have driven to north Florida for a 2 week break in April....all the way from Quebec! Try doing that to the Southwest (you need 2 weeks with an RV rig to drive to get to and home from the Southwest). Waaaay too far.
The RGV would be perfect for a Central continent dweller or Tennessee to Colorado latitudinal transect dweller; the Southwest is a perfect and sane distance for a west-coaster. There are statistical outliers who do west coast to Florida; and east coast to Southwest (but this is the fringe cohort of Snowbirders).
We know a lot of Snowbirders that FLY to the Southwest from the East Coast to their condos/winter homes...but not many that drive it with an RV/rig.