Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Moving Electrons, and Visible Progress

Another step on the road to being unplugged.

One of our major goals was to have only one fuel in our new home.  To do this we are designing our systems to use electricity for everything except heating (air and water).

To achieve this goal we needed either a generator (diesel) or copious solar energy.  Since we have a burning hatred for the noise created by generators, we decided on the solar option.

Below are a series of photos of the solar install as it currently sits.  These panels are Grape Solar 160W monocrystalline panels.  Total output under ideal conditions is 640 watts.  This will hopefully allow us to boondock for as long as our water and patience will allow.

In the photo below you can see the vent fan clearance as well as the wiring pass through box.  I am considering mounting beastly LED lightbar to the front solar panel.  Stay tuned!

The panels are mounted to 2"by 1/8" thick aluminum frames.  The frames are anchored primarily with adhesive and secondarily with sheet metal screws.

Below are photos of the mock ups for the AC and DC distribution panels.

Monster gauge;  Below is the 2/0 gauge main battery cables.  These weigh about a pound per foot!

Here is a layout of the DC side of the electrical system.  You know something is getting complicated when the engineer needs diagrams to keep things straight....

Da Bass!  Really just the floor.  We added 1/2 of polyiso foam insulation to the floor, and fill the remaining gaps with reflectix.  Nothing is worse than a cold floor in the morning.

By now you must be wondering how many hours we have in this project?  Sadly you may never know, as I am too scared too tally them up...  Anyways, onwards to the bed fabrication!

This is how the bed frame arrived, 40lbs of raw steel stock.

After a bit of cutting, and some welding...

Some more cutting welding and fitting...

We have a bed frame!  This frame is designed to hinge from the front and rear.  This will allow storage access from the rear doors or from inside the van.

Excuse the ugly welds, sadly my budget doesn't have a $2,000 welder in it.

After putting hundreds of hours into the van, it still looks like an empty cargo van...  Frustration!  Thankfully, patience is an unofficial requirement to be a vagabond.  :)

Next up:  We have been refining our layout and cabinet designs.  I have also been ordering expensive bits at a frenzied rate.  Soon we will start in on making the interior cabinets.

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