February 19, 2017 § 2 Comments

At first glance, batteries are a terrible investment.  It seems that everything you do with a battery shortens it’s life.

When we purchased our trailer, we were not instructed on proper care and use of the lone twelve volt battery that resides in a special vented compartment in the rear of our Casita travel trailer.  When the battery didn’t have enough energy left to light the lights, we knew we had to charge the battery.  After a while that didn’t work so well and we would get a new battery.  If that was within the one year warranty, we received a replacement  battery without paying for it.  If not, we paid for it.  We figured it was just a cost of using our home away from home.

After a few years, it sunk in that there might be a better way.  Many RVers use the 50 percent rule meaning that they try to never let the batteries fall below 50 percent of the capacity before recharging.  This rule is intended to extend the battery life.  We used that for a while but as we learned more about batteries, and studied the life cycle charts, we decided that limiting the battery discharge cycles to 20 percent as a goal extended the probable battery life much more. Especially so for the readily available and cheaper ‘marine’ batteries we are using.  So we now aim to limit the discharge to no more than twenty percent of the total capacity leaving eighty percent state of charge.  Since our single battery is rated at about 91 amp hours, that limits our use to around 18 amp hours between charges.  We enjoy watching television in the evening so we are liable to need to run the generator some in the evening especially in the winter with longer night times and maybe some furnace use.  To eliminate the use of the generator in the evening, we added a second battery.  It won’t fit in the trailer so it resides in the van and connects to a plug-in that then connects the two batteries in parallel doubling the available amp hours to 182.  This allows us to drain around 36 amp hours before needing to recharge.  This is plenty for us on a daily basis.

But wait – batteries don’t keep their original capacity. They gradually lose capacity.  We are now operating with a capacity estimated to be around seventy amp hours with both batteries.  That means we can use something like 14 ah between charges to stay with our twenty percent usage goal.  But these batteries are old and slated to be replaced so we’ve temporarily abandoned that goal until we have new batteries.  Our new goal for now is fifty percent which is around 35 ah.

Recharging the amp hours we use still has to take place.  We do that with our generator or our solar panels if there is sun.

We have two 100 watt solar panels that we move around to wherever the sun is shining.  It’s not unusual for the panels to produce over eight amps to the batteries after the controller throttles the power down to a safe level.

The solar controller is located in the trailer above the batteries and was indicating a 16.3 volt current coming to the controller from the solar panels when this picture was taken.  The current from the panels is often over twenty volts.

The battery monitor however is showing that the controller has limited the voltage to 14.16 volts to the batteries.  We would prefer the voltage limit to the battery to be 14.4 but that is a subject for another essay.

All this has allowed us to live off the grid here in the Sonoran Desert very comfortably for over four months so far this winter and we shouldn’t have to replace our batteries as often.  We are hoping the new batteries last at least five years.  We’ll see!


Corrected New Site Address

February 9, 2017 § 2 Comments

A strange character got placed at the end of our new site address.  It was corrected within a few minutes but the emails had already been mailed.  The correct address is : 


New Site

February 8, 2017 § 1 Comment

We’ve created another blog site to contain Harrison’s life observations.   We invite you to check it out at

The first post is an Open Letter to the members of the US Legislature. 

“Dry” Desert

December 23, 2016 § 2 Comments

At least we haven’t gotten stuck yet!  We’ll see after tomorrow’s drenching.

Our “Christmas Tree”

December 16, 2016 § 4 Comments

That was taken looking west when the moon was coming up in the east.

That’s the way it is here in the Sonoran Desert. 

Winter Digs 

December 11, 2016 § Leave a comment

We are boondocking on BLM land south of Quartzsite relaxing, eating, watching television, and doing all of the other important household duties.

D & W Lake

July 15, 2016 § Leave a comment

We’re still in Champaign Illinois  at D & W Lake campground and we’ve decided that staying put for a while is not conducive to staying young.  We need to be moving!

Before we can act on our bad case of hitch itch, we need a few more doctor’s appointments to stabilize Harrison’s eye medications now that hopefully all procedures have been done.  So we are still thinking we will take off right after Labor Day. 

We enjoyed having Harrison’s brothers and some extended family here in June although we were in a little fog and took few pictures.  Our extended family came from Houston TX, St Petersburg FL, and Urbana IL while David and Jan came from State College PA and Roger and Pat with daughter’s family came from the Aurora IL area.  It made for quite a group that was able to stay for several days.

The weekend of the Fourth of July brought a very nice fireworks show shot off from across the lake just for the campground guests.  They reflected nicely in the lake which was as calm as a mirror.  The fireworks actually took place between rain events.  The result was fantastic.

The next day they had the annual picnic in the pavilion garage because of rain – all day.  Despite that it was very nice and both of us won a prize!

One of the wonderful events that took place during our stay here is Harrison’s hernia repair. That turned out to be pretty much a non-event because it went so smoothly. 

We have been walking the corridors of the Market Place Mall because we are able to walk farther there – probably because of the smooth and flat surface.  It’s cooler there too.  Of course the distractions help pass the time such as Victoria’s Secret, the jewelry stores, and of course the new Field and Stream store.  Today we passed a kiosk with this sign that caught our eye.

The kiosk rents electric animal scooters to ride around the mall so the ID requirement probably makes sense but it looks a little odd.

A while back, we got a sample of oriental food as we passed through the food court – both times!

Sometimes, Peg stops to shop a special and then catches up – she is the faster walker.

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