Solar

Washington State isn’t known for mostly sunny weather so I needed to figure out a way to power my devices using the sun, a generator or upgrade my inverters.

At first I thought of buying Goal Zero’s Yeti, but with all the things I carry with me that would still limit me to a few days and still relying on the campgrounds power.

The Jackery Explorer

The Jackery is lightweight. I can get lots of recharges on my electronic device including my Mac.

My first choice was a lightweight Goal Zero Yeti alternative so I choose the Explorer 240 watt inverter.

  1. I get more charges for my MacBook Air than the Yeti.
  2. It was cheaper than the Goal Zero Yeti.
  3. The battery in the Explorer was lithium and not acid as in the Yeti which means it will last longer.
  4. It was lighter than the Yeti.

For long camping trips during the winter months I purchased this generator from Harbor Freight. I can connect this to my batteries and charge them using a battery charger and run my appliances.

After 3 months of research I came across a video on YouTube about the Harbor Freight 100 watt solar panel kit.

In this video during overcast skies, the author while unpacking of the solar panels connected a volt meter the the panels controller. The panels were sending a charge to the meter.

The next day I drove to Harbor Freight. In celebration of Father’s day they had a parking lot sale. The solar panels, regular priced at 189.00, was on sale for $148.00.

I also purchased the Harbor Freight 35 amp hour solar batteries at $69.00 each. I grabbed two of them.

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

I built an aluminum frame around the solar panels and mounted them on top of the van.

I didn’t discuss the bed or the kitchen setup. So I better do that next before I talk about my camping experience and the changes that came from that.

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