Friday, February 09, 2007

2AM - Cleaning Mr. Sunny's battery bank.
Does it seem strange to be cleaning a solar battery bank at 2AM? Jorge wants to write about that in his next post!

We have been asked a lot of questions by readers about our battery bank, cleaning, etc. Here are some thoughts about that.

Our batteries are Exide's Stowaway model. Exide calls them by various names. But they are the deep cycle battery that they produce for use in golf carts. I like the standard lead-acid battery that has to be maintained by filling with distilled water. Those permanently sealed batteries do not make sense to me. Something must be given up to seal them, but I admit that I do not know that something is.

I bought my Exides at Sam's Club in April, 2003. They cost about $47/each. At almost four years of age, they are going strong and all cells check out at 1300+ specific gravity. They hold their charge too! Right now as I type this post to you, I am only 28.4 amp-hours from a full charge. And that is at 4AM! This means that the batteries will be fully charged when the sun comes up by about 10AM, depending on how much I am on the computer.

I use a dish and tooth brush to clean my battery bank top. These brushes are wet, and I keep a little bowl of water on the floor to rinse off the dust. I do all of the cleaning first. MsTioga gathers a ton of dust as she travels along, and all this must be cleaned before watering the batteries. All of the wiring is checked over. This morning I replaced some of the cable labels. It is so easy to replace a label, and so hard to trace down where the circuit goes.

I use a funnel with a valve to fill the battery cells. The funnel has an 12" long hose which makes it convenient to fill the cells, especially at the rear of the bank. It takes about 4 ounces of water to refill each cell. Seems like a lot, but these batteries are doing a lot of work. Each cell's water is brought up to just past the bottom of the filler tube. When I shine my flashlight down the tube, the cell is filled when there is a little band of shiny light coming off the battery fluid. Before filling, I am able to see down past the tube, and there is no shiny band of light.

Next all of the battery cable nuts are snugged down. Not too tight because the battery connection is very soft metal and may be easily damaged and/or the stud pulled out of the battery.

All of my batteries are labeled, in order for me to keep track of individual cell readings when I use a hydrometer to check specific gravity.

4AM - Breaking the bond of time created by work.
I have wondered if after retiring from work, some continue to live by the same time constraints as when they worked?

When I worked, I had to live in a certain way. I had to be alert at work. There was no going off for a morning nap! This meant going to sleep in time to get enough rest. If I could not sleep at nite for some reason, this would be a major concern for me. And of course, I had to awaken at a certain hour in order to get to work on time.

Now I am Tioga George, retired and living inside MsTioga. This morning I got up at 2AM, and Mr. Sunny suggested that this would be a very good time to clean his battery bank. I agreed. I do not even consider the hour anymore when getting out of bed at nite. Wow! I am able to sleep anytime that I want to.

At the beginning, when I first met MsTioga, I continued to live according to time constraints caused by work. Then it dawned on me. "Hey, Jorge! You do not have to worry about getting up in the middle of the nite anymore!"

From that moment on, I was free!

9AM - MsTioga in Mulege.
We have reached the Pueblo of Mulege [moo-leh-hay]. Jorge is going to make a guacamole omelette with a bunch of other stuff inside. Then, Little Mavicito wants to go explore the pueblo.

Jorge likes to call small towns pueblos. But a pueblo is probably more the size of a village, with just a few people. Santa Rosalia and Mulege are actually towns, or small cities. However, the sound of the word "pueblo" is just to nice to stop using!

11AM - Readers ask, "Where to Camp?"
A couple of readers wrote this morning wondering about how I decide where to make a Camp. This morning here in the Pueblo of Mulege, I drove around until I came to this quiet street. MsTioga is not going to Camp here for the nite, but my thinking would be the same if we were making a Camp.

In the pic below, MsTioga's rear is away from the front door of the house. We do not want to block the view out that door [the door cannot be seen in this pic]. MsTioga's front is adjacent to a garden.

I think about how I would want a big RV parking in front of my home, and do it that way. If there is any doubt in my mind, I always ask permission.

Yesterday when I made a Camp on the rancho of Don Julian, I just parked and walked over and asked permission. If I owned this giant ranch, I would give permission to park too, because the land is soooooo big!

If I have a choice when Camping near where people are living or further away, I always choose to Camp close to people. It is much more fun to be in contact with people, don't you think?
MsTioga in Mulege.

2:30PM - The sand trap.
There was a time when Jorge would not see a sand trap. This is place near the ocean or a river where the sand is soooooo terrible, that you get stuck easily.

Today, however, Jorge saw the terrible sand trip, and stopped in time. Have you ever driven your RV into a sand trap? Hmmmmmm?
Do you see the trap?

3:30PM - Our Mulege Camp.
We have made a nice Camp next to the lagoon that enters Mulege. It is a gorgeous bright sunshiny day. Little Mavicito went out and took pics of MsTioga's Camp, and also some shimp boats close to shore.
MsTioga Camped at the lagoon.

The shrimp boats.


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