Sunday, August 7, 2016

Oh, duh

About eleven months of the year I depend exclusively on solar power for electricity to charge my laptop, phone, hot spot and camera. The system works like this:

As you can see, there's the bit of silly inefficiency of changing DC current from the battery to AC current just so I can plug in my charging brick, which converts AC back to DC. C'est la vie.

But sometimes I have shore power, like during the past month at Forrest's place. Since I'm parked in a shady spot, and since there has been a lot of overcast, I've been using shore power, via a battery charger, to keep my house batteries charged. The primary thought in my old head was, "Keep the house batteries charged," so it took me a while to realize I had an even sillier setup when it came to charging my electronic devices.

Instead of merely going from DC to AC to DC as before, I was now going from AC to DC to AC to DC. Stupid me. I could just plug the various charging bricks into the extension cord from the building, like this:

However, there are still times I need to charge the house batteries and an electronic device simultaneously. Then I go back to the overly complicated way.

Too bad my refrigerator is DC-only. Otherwise I could just plug everything directly into shore power. Ah well, van dwelling means compromises.


  1. Less a comment and more of a question. Been reading your blog a while and am planning on my own rolling retirement. You've been around the block/country. I'm curious about whether you do most of your cooking inside or outside or what percentage you cook inside. I'm looking at the following options;
    1. Indoor propane
    2. Portable indoor/outdoor propane
    3. Outdoor propane
    4. Outdoor rocket stove

    Obviously 2. is most versatile but if I'm likely to be able to cook outside 90% of the time then a rocket stove seems possible. If the main reason for not being able to cook outside is weather then it seems easy enough to plan round. Thanks for any advice you can give.

    1. I rarely cook inside. I don't like filling the van with cooking smells, splatters, spills or the humidity cooking creates. To me it's like cooking in a walk-in closet. I have a one-burner propane stove I set up outside. When weather won't let me cook outside, I prefer eating something that doesn't require cooking. I use propane because it also powers my heater.