Friday, November 25, 2011

The SOLAR installation

Here are the two Kyocera DK135 solar panels that were installed on Wednesday:

We slept in the covered work area, with two other rigs that had their people in them overnight.  I didn't meet the owners of the rig next to me, they were very quiet and kept to themselves.  I met the other couple, though,  Nancy and John Wayne; they said Ron is a friend, along with his family, and they have been coming here for years. They have been full-timing for more than 20 years, and are on their third rig.

I enjoyed talking to them both, and we had a couple of good conversations.  Here's Nancy feeding Katie a treat. 

Katie with Taz and Stitch and Nancy

Here's Ron, the owner of the shop, he was great to work with.  He's been working on RVs for 30 years, and installing solar for 20 years.

Ron fabricates all the wires, hoses, and connections himself. All his installs are done the same, if someone calls and needs information on what he did, he can always talk them through a repair or warranty on the phone. He's had people call from other countries, and was able to talk them though the fix.

In case you need a good shop for anything at all relating to RVs, I would highly recommend:

Ron Wicklund, Owner
D & R Family R.V.
6344 W. Orangewood #7
Glendale, AZ 85301

Ron has a new employee, Arron, who did most of the work on The Palms.  He's been a mechanic for a while, but is new to solar, and he seemed intent on getting everything right.  Ron checked from time to time, made corrections and suggestions, and the final job was perfect. And here's Arron working on the wall panels:

The little black gizmo is the remote, I push the button and the solar is switched on.  The batteries are 91% charged, it was night when I took this, but I hadn't used much.

This is the Inverter and another new generator switch, and 
the in-house water filter I didn't know I had.
Ron got some filters and put one in for me.

Geez, Mom, the house is a mess!

Ron also asked me about how I am going to fill my new batteries.  I didn't realize that because the 6 volt batteries are taller, the other shop took out the sliding tray the old batteries were sitting on, and now I can't fill the cells without removing the batteries.  He took off the cell covers and put on a new cover that's part of a fill kit.  I just have to insert the end of a little hose, put the other end into the gallon jug of distilled water, and pump the little balloon thingie on the hose until it won't pump any more.  All the cells will be full.  I'm really glad he had the fill kit, I sure don't want to be taking out the batteries myself to refill them.

Ron solved some issues I didn't even know I had, but he saw and fixed them for me. I like shops that notice things other than what you specifically came in for.  I'd rather have them taken care of now than have to stop later somewhere else that wasn't recommended. 

At 4:00 all the work was done and paid for, and I asked Ron where would be a good place to do some boondocking that night to test out my systems. He checked with John Wayne and Nancy because they are boondockers, and they suggested a good place to go. Ron came back to the rig and wrote down directions for me, and we headed toward Buckeye Hills Recreational Area -  we blogged about that yesterday.

So, yesterday morning we left Buckeye Hills and headed for Yuma, AZ, looking for some sun:

A little sun in the distance.

Sun coming through, but it didn't get much better than this all day.

Last night we stayed at Paradise Casino in Yuma.  They offer one night free parking in their dirt lot next to the regular parking lot.  There were a lot of RVs here, but the area is so large the RVs each had a lot of space. It's a nice setup for an overnight and very quiet.  I went to their restaurant and ordered the Thanksgiving dinner and an extra salad for around $12.  Quite a deal for a fresh turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

 This church is right up the hill from where we are parked.

There was a beautiful sunset last night. One of the sunsets that have all kinds of colors, red, pink, yellow, gold, it kept changing until the sun was gone.

Today we are heading toward Quartzsite.  I want to see what it looks like and find a free space to park for two weeks to see how the solar does.  Yesterday I did have to run the generator, but today I have had my computer, TV and printer on since I woke up, just using the solar.   There were 4.4 amps coming in at 9:00 am, and now it's 11:00 am and we have10.1 amps coming in.

I'm unsure about the coffee maker and microwave. Yesterday I couldn't use them with the solar, but maybe it was the cloud cover.  Or maybe I'll need to fire up the generator when I use those, which is okay because they get minimal use during the day.  I'm hoping to meet up with other RVers in Quartzsite who have similar set-ups, and maybe they can answer some of my questions.  I could call Ron, of course, but that would be too easy.  :)

On to Quartzsite!  From Me and Katie, have a great Black Friday, everyone!  :)


  1. Barbara, Make sure you come by and say hello ! Hell come by and park here !! I'm on Plomasa Rd ( ??sp)on the right hand side about a mile or so in. I can be seen from the road. Use the "contact me" on my Blog if you need more specific directions.
    Looking forward to meeting you and Katie !!

  2. What a fabulous set up you have there! I'm impressed with the solar system, maybe on my next rig, I'll get one then. And the added perk of having a built in water filter is great. Enjoy quartzsite!

  3. Barbara, anything plugged into a wall socket will only work when on shore pwr or on the gennie. What works, on the batteries, would be your lights, water pump, stuff like that. This, also, will make it so that you do not have dead house batteries when you need to turn over your gennie or switch to house batteries to start your engine. :)

    If you do not have a 12 volt socket, in your coach, next time you get service, you can ask for one. Then you can use an inexpensive converter to plug into that and then plug in your coffee pot, or some other small appliance (not microwave). You need a bigger bank of batteries for that.

    Sheila :)

  4. Oh, forgot!! The company, of your solar panels is Kyocera. I know this as they are a sister company of the Kyocera that I used to work for. In fact the president, Steve Hill, is a friend that started with the Kyocera I worked for and then was promoted to Kyocera Solar. They are based in Az too!

    They really do stand behind their product, so if you have any issues- that your RV guy can not fix/handle- contact them directly. They are working to be number one, in solar, which includes providing the best customer service out there!

    Sheila :)

  5. What a wonderful and informative post. I also enjoyed the info from Sheila. Don't you and Sassy have too much fun. Dang, I wish I was there!!

  6. Congratulations on getting the solar. That's one thing I always wanted but never got around to getting.

  7. Barbara,
    I found this very interesting.

  8. Thanks for the great info and photos on your solar system. Looks like they did a really good job with the installation. Will be really interested in hearing how well it works once we get some sunny days.

  9. You must have way more money than most of us. You have really spent the bucks!

  10. Are you able to tilt your solar panels? That way they charge quite a bit more than when laying flat. We spent all our time boon docking with solar panels and hardly ever used the generator. Great to see you are having fun!!

  11. Those look like the ones on my MH but the panel shorted out. I need to order a new one soon. I never even used the solor, it was installed by the previous owner and I guess he's the one who did the bad install on the panel.

    Can't wait to hear how it all goes.
    The cloud cover and sunset pictures are great. Today it cleared up here and was nice and sunny.

  12. Looks great! I'm going to note your installer's name/contact info. Thinking about doing solar one of these days, but I've always been too fearful that dealers here in Chicago don't do it enough to be any good at it.

    Have fun in Q!

  13. congrats on the solar installation!!..can't wait to read all about your next two weeks!! well spent if it means you can park in the desert and enjoy the peace and quiet!!!

  14. You are really set now to go anywhere you feel like going! That was a great place to get your work done, too. All to often repair and other work doesn't get done that well...glad you found a good place to take the Palms. Onward to more adventures!! Give Katie a big hug from us.


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