Batteries & Cat House (12/2/2016)

Hello all.  Spent some time on the property last weekend, first working from up there on Friday and then doing some ‘project’ work Saturday and Sunday.

First thing I did when I got there is start a dang fire, and break out my new EcoFan

This thing is so very awesome!  I mean to have a fan help push the hot air around, that basically runs on thermal currents…oh yeah.  It is very cool, and fits nicely on our little Hobbit stove.

That was the first thing and was helpful on a cold Friday.  I also did some battery re-arrangement once again, trying to find a configuration that will help our new batteries charge.  Well, what I really learned last week was that in winter time we just don’t have enough sun to charge our new battery bank.  Funny how you find the things you did wrong after the fact.  Hindsight, right?

What we did was buy new batteries and mix them with old batteries, first mistake, but too late now..we move forward.  Also, when batteries come from the store, they are at 6volts, but just barely, and not what you would consider full in a solar system.  They needed to be charged and adding them to another 12V battery string, there just wasn’t enough power to go around.  So, they soon died…well fell to low to be useful.  We bring in some good current to the batteries during the day, but not enough to fill those babies full.  So, I did a lot of battery configurations to try and help them.

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Another issue we have is that our battery box is outside, in a shed that only has insulation.  Being cold, these batteries struggle to charge period.  So, I bought an electric blanket to keep them warm overnight…but….

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You gotta have power to use the blanket! ha.  Oh the humanity.  So, I tried something else.  I broke the battery string (eight batteries) into two four battery strings.  One I used with our solar panels and house power, the other I added to another inverter and trying to charge them with a smaller solar panel.


This isn’t really going to work either, as the four batteries in the second string don’t get enough input current to charge.  So, we have decided to supplement our solar capacity this winter with a battery charger, run from our gas generator.  This should, and I say should because I write this on Tuesday and have yet to try our new charger, work for us this winter.  Oh how I long for the days of summer!

This is our new charger:

SOLAR PL2520 Pro-Logix 20 Amp Battery Charger

This should fully charge each bank, condition them as needed, and keep them running in tip top shape.  So, they better finish that ‘Standing Rock’ pipeline, cuz the Simpson/Wade team need more fossil fuels!

The other project I needed to get start was building out new cat house.  Now, I am sure some of you think that because I live in Las Vegas a cat house means a structure of ill repute, but I differ.  This add-on will be for the cats to have a place to ‘to the duty’ and hang out.

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This cat house will be right under the kitchen window and since I used the same footing block as the bathroom, it will be about four feet wide.  The floor is done with 2×4’s 16″ o/c.  I used foam insulation and then R13 on top of that.

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Then I used a 1/2″ subfloor.


And this is as far as I got.  I will be working on the walls and roof this weekend.  It will be about three feet tall I think and since it is under the deck overhang, it won’t really catch any rain.  I am going to still put a little sloped roof on it, but also build a small planter box frame on top of it to sit under the kitchen window.  Should work out…uh I think.  It usually takes a couple runs to get it right.  ha.

That was pretty much my weekend up there.  Oh…and it was a blistering 64 degrees on Sunday…sooooo nice!  We will be heading back up this weekend to continue our progress.

Until then!