Solar Maintenance Update

There's really not a lot to say here, just a huge ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘. We've been living almost exclusively on solar power since October 2014, and I've hardly thought about electricity. I haven't done a moment's maintenance on the system other than monitoring water levels. I do this once a month, or whenever I start feeling almost guilty for having abundant, effortless, free power.  

To check the water levels, I usually just stick my phone inside the compartment and take a picture of each cell with the white cap removed (rows of three on each battery top in the picture below). It's fast, helps me remember what level they're at (a silver sharpie does wonders for numbering each cell), and I don't have to remove the batteries to look. You could also use an inspection mirror if you prefer the analog method.  I pulled mine out for the sake of inspection, and well, plain old curiosity. 

If the batteries need water, I use a syringe and some plastic hose to add water, 500cc's at a time. 

Hydrometer, distilled water, and our batteries removed for easy maintenance.

Hydrometer, distilled water, and our batteries removed for easy maintenance.

We had a wire to the Trimetric meter fail back in Boston, but that was a self-inflicted injury. The spray foam I used to seal the wire's passageway continued expanding until it shorted the line. I spliced in a new line and it's been fine since. 

The only other problem we have is that the blender can surge past 1000 watts, triggering a fault in our inverter that I then have to manually reset (this always coincides with days we're in a hurry). The blender pulses occasionally confuse the Trimetric as well, but a quick reboot fixes that too (the IT background comes in handy once again). 

The inverter overload isn't a solar issue, but since it's part of the system, I want to mention it. It's happened maybe three times in five months--just frequently enough to be annoying. Our next rig will have a larger inverter--the one I specced for Harvey's system was conservative because I simply didn't expect such an abundance of power. In the meantime, full solar power ahead!

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