It’s getting to be like the 12 days of Christmas around here! More stuff came in, and I had time to play around with at least some of it.
Pictured above is a 30-watt solar panel and a small solar charge controller. In yet another instance of needing to actually have my hands on something to determine what the next step is, I found out that the panel actually includes cables with standard MC4 connectors on them. The description made no mention of this. They really should have mentioned it since it’s a significant selling point. I’m going to pick up another pair of those connectors and then I’ll be able to bench test this system in a couple days. We do get sunshine here in MN… on occasion.
I’m considering adding a second 30-watt panel just like this one to the system. According to my calculations, I’m going to be using just about exactly the same amount of power as this panel will generate on a daily basis. Of course, that all depends on how long I spend on my laptop each day. I’m hoping to minimize that time, but I’m wandering into a whole new daily-life routine, so who knows. I’m also trying to buy pieces of equipment that will be useful beyond this AZ trip, and I had only planned on one of these smaller 12v panels, so I’m not sure how/where I would use a second one in the final build. (The final build will have five giant 340-watt, 24v panels.)
Here we have the Mr. Heater Big Buddy heater. Something I noticed that nobody else has mentioned is the padded rubber feet on the bottom of the unit. That was a nice touch which made placing it on my dining table worry-free.
Since I picked up a couple bottles of propane recently, I couldn’t help myself and had to try it out. I hooked one of them up, and started it up. It’s almost like standing next to a campfire! There’s a significant amount of heat that comes off of this thing. (OK, 18,000 BTU to be exact.) The featured image on this post shows the buddy heater warmed up and running in my test run.
There’s another version of this heater that many RVers get, the “Mr Heater Buddy” which is a slightly smaller version. The smaller version has settings for 4000 and 9000 BTU. I decided on this larger version because it’s only slightly larger, has the same 4000 and 9000 BTU settings, but it also has an 18000 BTU setting. I really like the idea of having each of those settings for various situations. In this first trip, I’m going to have a giant open space in the trailer that’s going to require a lot of heat, and 18000 BTU is going to be pretty much a minimum to make things half-way comfortable. In the future I may only need the lower settings, and this heater can accommodate me with those options as well.