Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Dealing with solar in the fog

I think the party is over with the solar. Winter is here now, and it's foggy all day long. The sun is out until 9pm, theoretically, but you can't see it. I'm pulling 6 amps at noon, maximum. And for some reason my batteries seem to run out of charge a lot faster. Maybe I deep-cycled them a few weekends ago, and they've lost capacity as a result. I'd say that maybe it's taking longer to charge them, but I'm not seeing that. I can get them up to 14.1v easily still, by conserving electricity. But they seem to end up down in the 12.6 range VERY quickly now. Maybe I'm just using electricity more extravagantly? But I don't see how that could be possible.

Anyway, here's what I'm doing to help conserve:

I turn off the wireless router when I'm not going to be using it. It's silly to leave it on, even though it only draws 200 milliamps or so, just to keep it associated with a network.

I kill the inverter too. Also silly to leave it on, drawing I don't know what, but the manual says less than an amp, and the power supply on my monitor, and I don't know how much that draws either.

Those steps seem to help now that it's foggy. The laptop draws about 400 milliamps overnight when in sleep mode. I have to leave it in sleep mode because I haven't figured out how to get it to hibernate in Linux yet. But if I could do that then it'd draw zero amps when asleep, and that'd probably help keep the batteries fresh in the morning.

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