Monday, June 28, 2010

Solar Mounted and Roof Vent Installed! Road test!

The last of the big projects is done! This one took some time and thought and frankly, some cajones! I was very nervous about cutting holes and drilling into my perfectly good fiberglass roof on my van but hey, it had to be done.

The roof vent has an exhaust fan that runs at around 200CFM @ 1.10 amps. Thats not too bad, a little more than I wanted but hey it is what it is. I tried emailing the company before I bought it to get an idea of power draw but they never responded and I ended up just measuring with my multimeter. So anyone out there looking at the Ventline Ventadome, it uses around 1.10amps @ 12vdc. I purchased mine from here Eastern Marine. I havent had much of a chance to test its effectiveness at expelling heat but Ill have plenty of time for that in the future.

The solar panels are the upgraded panels I snagged off of craigslist. I sold my old harborfrieght kit that produced 45watts and picked up these two 80watt panels producing a total of 160watts! Power shouldnt be an issue anymore especially coupled with the battery isolator I will be installing soon. The panel mounting was a little tricky with my roof because it is not flat but curved on the outer edges. So we decided to mount the L brackets to the outside which allowed them to conform with the roof curve but still held the panel flat. Ill try and post a close up soon!

Still a decent amount of work that needs to be done but most of this can now be accomplished in after work hours where solid daylight isnt that important. I also installed my shelving in the rear (pic coming soon) which will double as storage and a solid mount for my longboard to ride inside the van!

On a side note, I drove to Kemah saturday night to hang out with friends and sell my Hobie Cat sunday morning. I filled up the tank to try and get a mpg test with all the newly mounted roof equipment and round trip I did 137 miles by time I filled up again last night. Guess what?!?!?! I averaged 19.5MPG on the highway with a bit of stop and go city driving by keeping my speed around 55mph and not racing from stop light to stop light. Ive been working on my method of "hyper-miling" for awhile but this is the best I have been able to achieve. This gives me high hopes for the trip and I might save a bit on gas! I really hope so because when I was in Costa Rica back in 2005, we were paying $5usd a gallon for diesel, and we paid $4 a gallon for gasoline in Guatemala in 2007. Gas prices have since dropped globally and Im hoping they will continue to stay low!!! Gas prices will have a huge effect on my trip and Im constantly re working my figures and trying my best to guestimate just how much I will spend. Some rough numbers I did today come out as follows.

35,000 Miles
/ 15mpg
2333 gallons of gas X $4.50/gallon = $10,498 just in gas!!!!!!! Sailboats dont look so bad after all!!!!

Im working to revamp this blog with some form of Google advertising and some donate buttons. We shall see how this pans out.

Stuff that needs to be done...

1) run all electrical, install lights
2) paint and pad shelves, rattle like hell
3) build mount for my breaker panel, run wiring
4) install isolator charging system and wiring
5) install switch to change electricity source for stereo
6) install car alarm
7) install multiple kill switches
8) install security cage over window where my head is when I sleep!
9) stove/kitchen work
10) build solid base for Wonderwash (portable washing machine, hand crank)

bleh... this list could go on :) what happened to simplicity David????? ugh!


Roof Ventilators said...

Nice blog.
I like it.
Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Gas in mexico only costs 8.37 pesos per liter. Thats like 8.37 x 3.75 = 31 pesos per gallon. I think the peso is at 12.5 so say 2 bucks a gallon more or less. The border areas are really the only "dangerous" areas. Oh yeah avoid driving in Mexico City. Have fun