Watt-er day!

The excitement of yesterday has spilled into today and we ended up getting more work done on the van.  With a new alternator we set out to sort out our auxiliary battery situation. So our morning was spent removing the old auxiliary batteries and putting in a new one. The two older ones we had didn’t want to hold a charge. We would charge them fully and they would discharge rapidly with minimal use. We had spent weeks trying to condition them and bring them back to life, but unfortunately they seem to be too far gone.

So we headed over to Sears to grab a new battery. We had done our research had our eye set on the Diehard PM1.  An AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) type battery with a 205 minute RC (reserve capacity) and 1150 cold cranking amps. It’s a new generation of battery that is made by absorbing lead paste into a vertically stacked fiberglass matting. The benefit of this design is that it has no liquid acid. We opted for this because when we were charging the acid batteries, they let off a strong odor, and you could actually hear the liquid acid bubbling.  This certainly can’t be good in an enclosed space…

This new battery is by no means light…  even though it’s the same size as the other batteries, it weighs as much as both them combined (about 75 lbs). Because of it’s size and weight we installed it in the same place we had the other two; within a battery box in a small space beneath our bench seat and just over the van’s rear axel. It’s an ideal spot because we have access to it if we need to, but its out of the way.

The wiring that Andrew installed back in Savannah means that we can charge the auxiliary battery when we drive. This is great because the battery allows us to run our fridge and water pump when we want to. Until now, we had been getting power from campsites to cool the fridge every couple days. Running water on the other hand, has not yet been possible. With a new battery we were able to officially test the electric faucet, pump, water tank combination that we’ve been working on over the past few months.

We’re quite pleased – it seems to work overall. No leaks or anything major. The fuse we had initially was just way too small. After some trial and error (i.e. 3 more dead fuses) we eventually consulted the water pump’s electrical requirements… For future reference a 7 amp fuse is the sweet spot.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent hanging out in the van while it poured rain. It definitely feels good – we have the feeling of home, things are starting to come together on the projects we’ve been working on. We barely leak, we have running water for when we want to wash dishes, and power for our ‘chargeables’ when we need it. It’s cool to think how far have we come with this little van. We have even been able to cook little gourmet meals without much issue. Like tonight’s meal, naan bread pizza with the works (pesto base, with fried zucchini, mushrooms, onion, and summer sausage topped with goat cheese and avocado and toasted on a pan). Mmm!

The only thing missing from my day was family. Today was my little sister’s birthday and I wish we could have been there to see her. Even when I spoke to her on the phone today I realized how grown-up she’s starting to sound. Not only her voice, but with what she has to say.. So, happy birthday to you baby sister – don’t grow up too fast, being young is under-appreciated (especially when you’re still young).