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Life on the road 4 - Power, we need lots of it!!

We have a pretty healthy solar set up by any standard (can read about it in our Solar Power Blog here) but still we struggle!

We have had our share of overcast days since we left and it is coming in to the winter so the angle of the sun will have an impact, but we hoped that we would not have this much trouble keeping the batteries above 80%.

Most mornings we have woken with about 60% on batteries but this morning we dipped to a low of 40% which stopped the hot water system from functioning.

We have 6 x 135 watt panels on the roof so theoretically we should be able to generate 47.64 amps an hour (135x6/17), but that is off course when it is sunny and in summer I would guess, because the highest we have seen in the low 30s, but with the patchy clouds this drops quickly when the clouds move in front of the sun.

Life on the road 3 - Reverse osmosis – getting the hang of it

Reverse osmosis

We have been using the reverse osmosis water maker now for the past 3 weeks, and have it worked out pretty good now; in fact we have it down to a fine art. We never got to test operating it before we left so it was certainly just a matter of ‘I hope we have it installed correctly and it will just work’!!

We both studied the manual and it seemed pretty complicated when you have no idea what you are doing but we just followed the steps for the initial start-up procedure and it all seemed to start and work as expected. The start-up procedure takes about 30 mins I guess give or take and then you are ready to start testing the total dissolved solids (TDS) level of the water, initial tests showed it to be about 450 parts per million (ppm) and after another 30 mins about 400ppm, this seemed a bit high as the manual said we should expect the initial test to be somewhere between 150 and 300ppm.

Life on the road 2 – Getting sea water to the ‘Reverse Osmosis Water Maker’

Reverse Osmosis

The Reverse Osmosis Water Maker uses 1000 litres of water to make 200 litres of fresh water, or there about, and if we have been unable to make water for a while and run out we may have to make 500 litres so that is 2500 litres of seawater we need. That’s a lot of water!

The booster pump on the water maker can pump approximately 10 metres with a lift of 2 metres. That is not far enough unless you are on a boat (intended use), so we had to come up with a way to get the water from the ocean to the water maker, we would not always be able to get right near the water supply so we needed something that would be able to get the water when we were up to 100 metres away and with a lift up of up to 10 metres if we were on a small cliff or deep river banks.