johnny September 24th, 2007
Still got a bit of waiting to do, but we’re trying to finalize some of our technical gear.
On the power side, we’re going to start with 380 watts of solar panels. These are big honking 3’x5′ 24 volt panels, so we can only fit two without some extra work. If we find we need more watts, there is a possibility of putting a third panel without any major modifications or wiring smaller 12V panels in series for 24V. We will probably be supplementing this with a small generator – I still haven’t decided on a 1000W or a 2000W. Either should run the A/C, so I’m leaning towards the smaller genset for weight and efficiency reasons.
For power storage, we’re going to start with at least 4 12V group 31 batteries. These pack roughly 120Ah each. I’m still up in the air on AGM versus regular old lead acid. The AGM cost about twice as much, but should charge a bit faster and have the capability to be mounted upside down and sideways as well as indoors. The deciding factor may end up being how much junk we are going to haul outside versus inside. A battery stored indoors will have less Ah lost during cold weather, so indoor AGM’s would be a nice way to go.
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jenn September 14th, 2007
Well the perfect truck might have come along. Johnny’s post yesterday must have hastened the good truck mojo. Oddly enough, I am feeling a little apprehensive about it. Its exactly what I thought I wanted. Its a F450, Diesel, Dually, and its 4×4. Its in the year range that I wanted, has the engine I want. and has decent mileage. The only problems so far are that it is 300 miles away and doesn’t have a bed. The price is great, so I don’t mind the bed. I will put a bed on it. So what’s my problem? I guess its the fact that this is my first diesel dually. The only concerns that I have that are specific to a 450 is its weight and mpg. Oh and if my feet can reach the pedals. The F450 will carry all we want and more. On the 350 we will most likely be carrying as much as it will handle.
I’d hate to buy a new one until I sell my old one, but this vehicle is pretty hard to come by, and I might just jump on it. Wish my title would hurry up. Anyone want to buy an Xterra?
johnny September 13th, 2007
Well, there’s not too much going on currently. We’re waiting on the camper to arrive. We’re waiting on the title to Jenn’s Xterra to arrive so she can sell it. We’re waiting on the right truck to show up on the market at a reasonable price and we’re waiting on our current lease to end.
The lease is up the end of October. The camper will be here around mid November. And the title should arrive in 2-3 weeks. Who knows when we’ll find the perfect truck? Hopefully sometime before the camper arrives. At the moment, it looks like we’re going to try and scale down to living in a hotel suite for a few weeks before finally moving into the camper.
Meanwhile, we’re slowly whittling away at the massive pile of junk people can accumulate when there is no need to get rid of anything. Hopefully we’ll get rid of 6-8 computers this weekend along with some of the furniture. It’s barely a dent in what needs to go, but every bit helps.
johnny September 2nd, 2007
Yesterday, we put down a deposit on the camper. We added and removed a handful of things that should really optimize the overall comfort for two people.
- No oven. Really, how often are we going to be baking cookies? A stove is plenty and Jenn wants to play with a solar oven anyway. Maybe we’ll pick up a small grill to go with the thermal cooker. We get a large cabinet where the oven would be.
- No dinette seating. We opted for the couch instead. This should be more comfortable for general lounging. There is still a table we can set up in front of the couch, although I think we will probably build our own articulating desktops.
- Wet bath. A lot of people don’t like wet baths. They do, however, provide a lot more room to move around by combining your toilet and shower space. Additionally, we get a very large wardrobe next to the bathroom by saving space. The only real downside in our mind is that the ‘bathroom storage’ is limited to what will fit in a medicine cabinet. But with all the extra storage we gain outside of the bathroom and the increased space to shower properly, it’s a net win.
- Full wall wardrobe in the cabover. This was a bit more difficult decision. It cost us a nice window, but the extra storage space is considerable. For long-term living, storage is one of our most important concerns. Besides, the window on the driver side is a wide escape hatch instead of a narrow, divided window.
- No skylight in the kitchen. The benefit of the skylight really seemed questionable to us as we stood in the unit on the lot. It added some light, but only in a limited area. It is one more potential leak and one more place to introduce heat and cold. We save a few bucks by getting rid of it as well.
- No generator. The standard generator burns LP gas inefficiently, is rather noisy and costs about $3k. We can pickup a quiet, efficient gasoline unit for around $800. It won’t make quite as much juice and we can’t push a button to start it, but overall I prefer this route.
- 7K BTU air conditioner. Hopefully, this will put an end to my search for the perfect AC unit. It’s a bit higher wattage than I’d like, but I’m more comfortable with it’s ability to cool the camper. Sadly, we actually had to pay more for a 7k unit than if we had gone up to a 13.5K unit. However, with this unit, we should have no problem running it on our downsized generator.
- Thermal pane windows. They really charge a premium for these, but if we’re going to be in the cold weather, it’s thermal pane or storm windows. And just where are we going to store those storm windows when we’re not using them?
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