SRW

Driving across Africa – in 1956/60 the very last time it was possible

Driving across Africa is now politically impossible. Our 1960 such two-way expedition across all Africa was the very last known. We started in mid 1959 – and exited the Sahara on 28 April 1960. The track was closed that night. It has never re-opened. Further, Africa’s centre, right down to Zambia, has ever since, been far too dangerous to even consider.

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Australian Battery Breakthrough

Gelion is in an exciting phase of its development program for battery systems. With their London-based counterparts, they are well advanced in planning their commercialisation and supply-chain strategies from initial prototypes all the way through to demonstrating commercial production capacity this year (2020).

Gelion’s small, low-cost battery cells can be used in flexible configurations, depending on the required applications. This could range from street lights, domestic use, commercial buildings and grid support.

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Electrolysis corrosion in vehicles – how to find and fix it

Electrolysis corrosion in vehicles eats away engine and particularly cooling system parts such as water pumps. It is often caused by a broken earthing lead. These are often accidentally disconnected, or broken. If so, return current travels through components such as the radiator cooling system. Also metal around them. This corrodes parts that have dissimilar metals.

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Solar That Really Works! – sample chapter

On clear days around noon, up to 1000 watts of solar energy (enough to boil a kettle in about five minutes), is theoretically available on each square metre of much of the Earth’s surface. Commercially available solar modules (in 2020) convert only 20% or so of that energy into electricity. By using appropriate and efficient appliances, however, such solar can free recreational vehicles and cabins substantially or totally from mains, alternator or generator power.

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RV Solar Basics

Solar is now so cheap that the main limitation is the space available for the solar modules. It is not possible to have too much solar. Ample solar prolongs battery life. It also and ensures at least some output during overcast days. There is no risk of overcharging, nor overloading the associated solar regulator. That regulator blocks the excess current.

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RV Batteries

RV batteries store energy from your RV’s or tow vehicle’s alternator and solar modules and grid or generator power via a battery charger. This article explains all about the many types of battery now available.

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Solar That Really Works!

Solar That Really Works! fills a previously all but unexplored need. In one tightly written book, Collyn covers all that is needed to design and install rv solar electrical systems in anything from a tiny or campervan to a large fishing camp. It includes the...

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Vital things about solar in the USA

This excellent USA system assisted USA’s residential and commercial solar installation to increase by over 1,600% since 2006. That’s a compound annual growth of 76%. It enables home-owners to use the credit to offset their personal income tax. It applies when home-owners buy the systems outright and have them installed on their homes. In the case of the Section 48 credit, the business that installs, develops and/or finances the project claims the credit.

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Fuel cells for RVs

Fuel cells for RVs provide electricity cleanly and silently. Their high price is still hindering acceptance but that may well change as new types are being developed. Most use hydrogen derived indirectly from methanol.

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Solar Modules for RVs and Cabins

For RVs in particular, space for solar modules is usually at a premium. It is thus best to use solar for lighting, water pumping, TV, laptop computer. If using solar keep compressor fridge below about 220 litres. Use LP gas (or diesel) for heating and cooking.

Buy the most efficient solar modules on the market. They are likely to be monocrystalline but the very best polycrystalline solar modules are equally efficient. Flexible solar modules are convenient – but typically produce only two/thirds of the output of the better rigid modules.

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Our Solar Equipped RVs

Our first solar equipped RV was a rare 1974 Westfalia VW Kombi. We added a single 80 watt Solarex solar module (that then cost $650!). It charged a 100 Ah lead acid deep cycle battery. It (plus the alternator) powered two 20 watt halogen lights, and a 40 watt Engel fridge. All proved to be mechanically and electrically reliable – despite being used mostly off-road.

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Energy and Power

LiFePO4 batteries are the Svetlanas of the solar world. Lead acids and AGMs are the equivalents of young children. Costly batteries can release a great deal more power but, unless you truly need it, buying them is like hiring a weightlifter to stack those cans. If lead acid (and even more so AGM) battery bank exceeds about 350 amps at 12 volts (4200 watts) it can release powers like Svetlana anyway. Knowing this difference can save you thousands of dollars!

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Refrigerators for cabins and RVs

Refrigerators for cabins and RVs can be LP gas or electrically-powered (ideally by solar). Cabins usually have roof space for the 200-300 watts solar capacity required. Also feasible are portable solar modules placed outside when you use the cabin.  RVs less available space for solar modules. Buy only the efficient monocrystalline.

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Solar Regulators for RVs

Solar regulators for RVs accept whatever output is produced by the solar array. They optimise that to whatever needed for optimal charging. Most solar regulators for RVs also accept input from the RV’s alternator.

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Are Lithium-ion Batteries Worth Their Price – homes and properties

There are various types of lithium-ion batteries. Those used for homes, properties and RVs are usually LiFePO4. All are about one-third of the bulk and weight of traditional batteries. Here, however, direct comparison ceases. LiFePO4s have far less limits on depth of discharge. They can be routinely discharged to 20% remaining.

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Solar That Really Works!

Solar that Really Works! covers the design, installation and use of solar in cabins, camper trailers, caravans, fifth wheelers, campervans and motor homes.

eBook versions

Paperback version

The book retailers set their own prices which can vary substantially. We'll aim to keep a selection of the better prices above.

Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Solar That Really Works!  Just ask.
ISBN: 978-0-6483190-3-0

Caravan and Motorhome Electrics

The essential handbook for anyone with an RV of any kind.  Everything you need to know to make the electrics in your rig work for you.

eBook versions

Paperback version

The book retailers set their own prices which can vary substantially. We'll aim to keep a selection of the better prices above.

Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Caravan & Motorhome Electrics.  Just ask.
ISBN: 978-0-6483190-8-5

Solar Success

Whether you’re building a new home or adding solar to an existing structure, this is the one book you can’t afford to be without.

eBook versions

Paperback version

Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Solar Success.  Just ask.
ISBN: 978-0-6487945-4-7

Caravan and Motorhome Electrics

The essential handbook for anyone with an RV of any kind.  Everything you need to know to make the electrics in your rig work for you.

eBook versions

Paperback version

The book retailers set their own prices which can vary substantially. We'll aim to keep a selection of the better prices above.

Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Caravan & Motorhome Electrics.  Just ask.
ISBN: 978-0-6483190-8-5