The Best Thing That Has Happened to Me in 2018

The last week of March was a full week for me. I really wanted to hit the road for NM by the weekend, and I really wanted my electrical system to be energized by then. No electricity, no laptop, no ability to work from the road, no lights... that would be rough. 

On the evening of Wednesday, March 28, I finishing sticking all the right wires into the right boxes, double and triple checked for correct polarity, flipped the switch... and just about wept from joy.

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The design and installation of the PV system was a big deal for me. I grew up off grid, so I was familiar with the concept in general, but I'm a mechanical engineer and anything electrical is far from my sphere of competence. Framing the bed, walls, and the kitchen counter was great to get done, but that's the sort of thing I've known how to do since junior high. 

I'm fortunate that my father is a) an electrical engineer who spent decades designing industrial robots, and b) the designer/installer of our family's off-grid PV system, and I was able to benefit from his expert review and recommendations.

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Not a feeling in the world like sleeping 4" above 360Ah of pure electrical energy...

Not a feeling in the world like sleeping 4" above 360Ah of pure electrical energy...

Details for the nerds:

  • Two 250w solar panels, wired in series to give me about 70v when the sun is strong
  • A SolarEpic MPPT Solar Charger
  • A Kisae 1000w PSW Inverter/Charger
  • Four 90Ah 12v AGM batteries in parallel for 360Ah total at 12v
  • Shore power hookup if needed for battery charging, but I anticipate rarely needing it
As-built electrical diagram

As-built electrical diagram