Monday, November 28, 2011

My yard...

This is a photo of my yard last night with the solar lights going.  I got a good shot with the flash, because it was almost dark.  The flash must be picking up what was left of the red sunset?  It looks kind of pink.  My little Walmart solar lights are all lit up.

As I was crossing over to the couch to close the window, I saw a pretty big coyote walking right along side my rig!  He was about five feet away, slow and confident.  I grabbed my camera, but by that time it was too dark, and I couldn't get the settings right, and they all came out too dark.  Wow, that was exiting, and I'm sure glad we were already back from Katie's last potty break.  I've got to play with the camera at night more, so I can get the settings quicker.

Some of you commented on Katie waking up so late - YES, Katie is a wonderful sleeper, and sometimes sleeps until 9 or 10 am. I get up, fix my coffee, get on the computer, and then an hour or so later she pokes her head out of the covers and I get her down to go outside.

Good morning... are you awake little Katie?

I put one of my little quilts over us last night, and we were as warm as could be.  Those little quilts really make a difference. The side showing here is the back of the quilt.  I actually made it to be a wall hanging, then it became a table cloth, then a lap quilt, and now it's also a comforter when needed.  It's the first quilt I made, and has been pretty handy.

We both got a little mixed up with all the time changes we've had, between Pacific and Mountain time, and Daylight Savings and then Standard time, so sometimes I'm not sure what time our bodies think it really is.  Today I was up at 8 and she was up at 9.  I'd rather each of us sleeps an hour later, though, because it would be warmer then.

Update on the heater:  This morning it was 48 in here when I got up, I turned on the heater, opened the windows and vents again, and its taking about a hour to bring the temperature up 10 degrees each hour.  I have the heater set on low and I just closed the kitchen window.  Tomorrow I'll try a different approach, move the dial to medium for awhile, or keep the windows closed and keep the vents open.  I guess it's a balancing act, once you get the right balance, things will heat up faster and then I'll know how to set it.  We'll get there.  Also, when the sun is shining in the couch window all morning, that helps, too.  Not so much this morning, though.

Update on the Solar:  Yesterday was clear and sunny all day, and even though it's November and the sun is low in the sky, we had a really successful day.  I don't know if this makes a difference, but I have my computer and Sirius radio charger plugged into my little inverter, which is plugged into the 12 volt plug in the coach.  So they are using the coach batteries, but through the 12 volt plug instead of being plugged into the wall.  That way I don't have to keep the solar inverter button turned on all day.  (If that is a bad way to do this, please let me know.)  I monitored the regulator readout on the wall, and it had good readings all day. The batteries were at 100% until the sun got low. Then the volts slowly went down and the amps coming in also slowly went down.

I hope I'm saying all this correctly.  Those of you who understand this stuff will know what I'm saying, and I guess the rest of you, like me, wouldn't know if I've got my lingo down right or not and probably don't care. :)

I fired up the generator when I used my coffeemaker, toaster oven or microwave, which were very limited times, then I turned it off.  The regulator indicator for Volts isn't supposed to go below 12.1 or 12.2, and a couple of times it was getting there, so I turned the generator on for while to bring it back up and charge the batteries, and then turned it off.  We were almost completely living off solar all day.  I'll bet in the summer I won't have to charge the batteries at all.

If I didn't want to use my generator, I would use the gas stove/oven to make coffee, toast, or cook meals, and maybe only turn it on a little to get the batteries charged when needed.

At 9:00 pm when I went to bed, I had a reading of 12.5 v on the regulator, 81% battery charge and of course zero amps coming in.

This morning at 8:00 am, the regulator was at 12.6 v, the batteries were at 93%, and there were, 1.5 amps coming in.

Right now, at 10:00 am, I have 13 volts, 100% charged, and 5 amps are coming in.  We have cloud cover this morning, it's thin, but will probably make a difference as the day goes on if it stays cloudy.

To those of you who know and understand solar systems, does all this sound okay?  Is it working properly, and am I okay to be using the 12V plug instead of the house plugs to have my computer on all day?  Or should I be plugging into the electrical outlets and turn the inverter on?

This is all very interesting to me and it's starting to make sense.

Here's a little diagram I lifted from my daughter-in-law, Trish's, Face Book wall.  This about says it all, doesn't it?

From Me and Katie, have a wonderful Monday, everyone!  :)


  1. I like your solar lights, will look very nice around your sight. We just got back yesterday from the Sands so am catching up on reading blogs. Very nice pictures in yesterdays post. Lolita and I hope to meet you someday. We really enjoyed our visit with all the bloggers at the Sands its fun to meet everyone as you know. Have a great week.

  2. Love your solar lights spotlighting the American flag!

  3. Good your campsite. I am enjoying reading about your new winter camp. Here in So. Calif. there have been coyotes grabbing the little dogs right off the leash and running away with them...I didn't know if you had heard that or not...we all sure love Katie and don't want anything to happen to her. I have really enjoyed your pictures. I put the one of the night sky on my desktop...hope you don't is just beautiful!

    Enjoy and have a wonderful Monday, Sandy

  4. Yikes on the coyotes. I think they are bigger & braver there than what we have here in southeast Texas. I guess I'd carry something with me on your walks that would scare them off, but you'd have to be sure it doesn't scare Katie too. Love the campsite. I have solar lights & citronella glass globes that I carry. I don't know anything about solar, so am learnign along with you as you post. I don't know how it's wired to your existing electrical system, so don't know if you can also plug into regular outlets? I wonder if you can & it works, if it's the same as using the 12volt plug then?

  5. Your camp site looks so comfortable with the solar lights,the chair and the fire pit. A small(or big depends how you see it) living room with out walls.
    Katie just kills me with that one floppy ear. LOL I love the light above the bed, is it bright enough to read a book or is it like a night light?

  6. Love your yard there...looks nice a cozy. And little Katie peeking out from under the covers is adorable as always. Watch out for those coyotes!!

  7. Sure hope you get some comments from people who understand solar. That would not be me. And keep a close eye on Katie especially at night. I also worry about hawks and eagles. But then I'm your basic worrier.

  8. Looking at your little yard, I'm thinking you're at "Q". Lots of coyotes there but not as many as the regular RV park we just left from outside of Phoenix.

  9. You can tell me anything you want about solar and I will believe it. I doubt if I could ever understand it though. You are one terrific lady!

  10. love your backyard and although I don't have any solar as of yet it sounds to me as though you are indeed getting it down..

  11. I love your yard, too! Funny, Jack adjusts to my schedule, too. I'm not an early morning person, and he'll sleep in-sometimes I have to wake him! If I do have to get up early, he's ready to go, though.

    Have you thought of giving just a blast of 10 minutes with the furnace, and then letting the heater maintain the temp? Just a thought. I know nothing about solar, but just bought a 2000eu generator. I feel so dumb. I wanted to make sure I bought a safe can to carry gas. It's so safe, I can't get the cap off--and there were no directions--there's a trick to it. I just can't figure it out.

    Katie really is adorable. I was in one camp last year where it seemed like we were surrounded by coyotes. Jack being as big as he is, I don't think I have to worry, but I always carried my taser gun if we were outside at night. You could scoop Katie up and aim it at the same time if you had to.

    One got hold of a cat in the middle of the night, here, and it was awful. Please watch out--it seems many of the animals are getting bolder as we move in on their territory and habitats.

    Love the solar light idea.

  12. What a nice yard area you have designed. Love the solar lights....nice!!
    Katie is so cute peeping up over the quilt. Be careful with Katie with those coyotes you didn't already know that!! ha!

    Your solar setup sounds interesting...don't know much about solar so I'll read along and learn with you.

  13. You're one smart cookie! I've been reading up on solar, but it sounds so complicated :) Watch out for the coyotes! Poor little Katie wouldn't know what to do against them!

  14. Bennie is like Katie. He will stay in bed for hours after I get up - especially if it's cold !!

    I have found this website really helpful when answering questions for people -

    It was GREAT meeting you today - but I'm sure we'll both be blogging about that tomorrow. LOL

  15. Try, an RV'er that has a LazyDaze and uses solar.

  16. If a coyote was that close to your rig, I would be on the alert when taking Katie out either morning or night. I have coyotes here in Indiana but not that close and when they are out my Bloodhound is on the alert as she can smell them a mile away. The bassets will lift their noses to the sky when they smell an animal that is not suppose to be around.

    I like the taser gun idea but have no idea how to acquire one. Great looking campsite. It will be interesting how much that changes once the other show up for the show you talked about.

  17. sure sounds like the solar setup is a learning curve!..enjoy the new found freedom!!

  18. My husband thinks your solar set-up seems OK. He was wondering why you had the computer on all day though. We did what Hobopals the furnace to get the coach warm in a hurry and then let the little heater keep it warm. We only made sure the vent over the stove was open for fresh air and never had a problem. No open window or hatch.

  19. Your "Then don't worry" diagram was great! Had to forward that to a few people. So true.

  20. About solar, summer I use solar to brew coffee, run two exhaust fans all day and lights are hardly needed. Using the vehicle battery for computer might leave you with a dead battery so it won't start. It sounds like you might have a gauge to monitor batteries which is good but does it monitor engine battery? Mine monitors both, voltage but the % of charge is for house batteries only. Does your rig have 12 volt power outlet that work off the house batteries, that would be a better place to use computer from.

    what you mention about your system sounds good and as long as you maintain batteries at recommended % of charge, with solar or if no sun generator you should be just fine.

  21. Your solar is operating as designed.
    As long as your radio and puter run off the little inverter why not use it? No Harm and draws less juice. That's a good thing.
    You are correct in watching the voltage. Do not let it drop below 12.1V. That's the 50% mark for the batteries. Any lower will shorten battery life.
    From time to time you will need to suppliment the solar charging with the generator. Particularly if you have clouds or in the winter.
    I use from 100amps to 130amps a day. This time of year I run the gen about every other day to help the solar bring the batteries back to a full charge.
    Looks like you have a good thing going.

  22. I just noticed that we barely missed you in Vegas. We arrived on the 16th and are staying at Las Vegas Resort next door to Sams Town. Its a very nice park.
    Im so surprised a coyote came that close to you... SCARY! I dont want to hear about a coyote getting Katie (or Bennie!)

  23. I think it's great that Sassy takes the pooch out for a ride!

    Hi from a new visitor!

  24. Have you tried hanging one of your quilts between the cab and the main part of The Palms? This helps to keep the extra cold that comes in through the uninsulated cab windows from getting back into the living part of the rig. Thus the cat heater can warm up the living area more quickly.

    If you have the electric capacity, you can run your regular furnace for just a few minutes to take the chill out of the air, and then the cat heater does a better job of keeping the rig at a comfortable temperature.

    If you have the inclination, a layer of a thin "space blanket" between two quilts provides an amazing barrier from cold. Of course this works just as well in the summer to keep the heat from the cab windows out of the living area.

    Virtual hugs,



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