(Formally "Plan V: A Van Dwelling Blog", when I lived in a 1978 Dodge Xplorer 228 Class B motorhome van)

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Ice isn't nice

While in Missouri, I bought a bigger generator (1400W/2000W peak) and a 2 door mini fridge, rather than constantly buying ice. At the time, I only had one battery so it didn't do so well overnight. I also had to buy a bigger inverter for the fridge. I got one from eBay, since I had General Delivery mail access at the time. Well, I ended up returning the fridge. I bought a second battery instead, in case I got a cheap fridge again later on.

Well, I did. A few days ago, I got an old Sears Coldspot fridge for free. Well, actually it cost about $12 in fuel to go get it, but yeah. It pulls more amps than modern fridges but it works nicely. A new $60-80 1.7 cu ft fridge would pull less power, so I might bite the bullet later on and get one. For now, I'm honestly trying to minimize costs at this very moment.

Unfortunately, my generator, batteries and charging setup can't keep up, even with 100W solar panel tossing in a few amps here and there between the clouds. My 90s Yamaha EF600 generator is on my 500W/600W peak, so it can't start the fridge. It has a built in 10A charger, but the fridge just consumes that. I need a way to power the fridge separately from the battery bank while the batteries recharge, so I'm debating ordering that same generator again while it's still cheap.

I might have to try to sell the Yamaha generator, even though I'd rather not. It's a great little generator. But, it's just too small for my power needs. I'd REALLY like to have the Harbor Freight 1600W/2000W peak inverter generator ($450+tax with coupon) but, I can't justify spending that kind of money right now. The cheap generator is about $160 with tax. Quite a difference in price.

In the meantime, for free power, I bought a $19, 14 gauge, 100ft extension cord (10A max) so I can use an outdoor outlet at this park. I figured it was a good investment right now and for the future, anytime I see an outlet in a park that's far from the parking lot.

The reason for the big push for a fridge? I spent probably $50 on ice just this month. It has been warm mostly, so 20lbs of ice at $4 to $5.50 lasts me all of 3-4 days. When it's 82 out, it gets up to 90+ in here, without shade.

The fridge being off the battery bank has helped a lot in just a little over an hour, so yeah. I need that bigger generator I guess, as much as I hate to spend the money. I hated spending on ice just as much. Yeah it'll cost more in gas than the Yamaha and makes more noise. (The noise travels much further) I've considered a second solar panel, which costs only a small amount more, but on a cloudy day like today, I'd be in the same boat: not enough power.

I'm debating just hanging around this city for all or most of next month. It seems vry doable based on what I have observed of other local RVs hanging around. That would actually allow me to buy the generator, rather than spending on fuel to drive 500+ miles. Plus I have access to that power outlet. Using it a few hours a day would probably be all I need. After 2 hours, my batteries are looking good. Yeah, I'm supposed to be in this for traveling, but at the same time, I can't disregard mundane, day to day existence. So we will see.

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