Harbor Freight Solar Kit

I went shopping a few days ago and purchased tools and a few items from Harbor Freight.

One of the things that caught my attention about the Harbor Freight 100 Watt Solar kit is that the panels work under cloudy conditions. That’s perfect for Washington’s weather.

Here are the items I purchased:

I got these panels on sale for $149. The regular price is $189.

100 Watt Solar Kit on sale for 149.00

I purchased the brief case because I wanted a light weight solution when I’m not in the van. It will also charge my van battery by plugging into my lighter.

13 watt briefcase solar charger for charging my van battery and small devices.

I used this to keep the van batteries charged while I worked on the van. The doors were opened and closed for hours and I didn’t want to kill my battery.

I purchased two (2) of these solar batteries. The great thing about these is they do not let off gas, which means they are safe inside the van.

Harbor Freight Thunderbolt Magnum Solar 12v 35AH Battery
Harbor Freight Thunderbolt Magnum Solar 12v 35AH Battery

I had an old inverter given to me by a friend back in 2005 when my family and I made a road trip moving from Michigan back to Washington State.

My goal is to mount the Solar panels on top of the van. But before I did that, I needed to hook up the electrical for the water pump.

First I ordered a pump from Amazon. So I visited HomeDepot and Amazon for some parts. Here is what I purchased.

Water Pump from Hell

I learned my lesson about the types of pumps to buy. The first pump I purchased was quiet, but every time I need fresh water I had to figure out how to prime the line. Any air in the line will stop the flow of water. I couldn’t image getting up in the morning fighting to prime this thing.

The pump from hell.

I settled for a pump from Harbor Freight. It’s loud, but I get the water flow I need.

Harbor Freight water pump.

The right taste

When I connected the pump I purchased a regular water hose and a water filter. Big mistake. RV’s use a white house specially designed for drinking water. The regular water hose taste like “water hose” even with the filter connected.

Water filter.

From Walmart’s camping section I purchased two (2) 7 Gallon water jugs.

Then handles from HomeDepot. I put these on each side to make it easier to carry.

Here are early shots of the front and back.

The solar panel controller is attached to the front with a hole to feed the battery connection.
Waste (gray matter) and fresh water through the pump. Propane for the burner.

My first design; had the batteries and inverter close to the kitchen. The propane was held in place with a bungee cord. The current design, (later article) the battery and inverter is stored under the van.

Originally the inverter and batteries were under the bed.

I’ve made changes to this setup and will discuss it in the next post.

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