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opinion:frater_secessus:beginner_mistakes [2022/02/24 14:34]
frater_secessus [Heating and Cooling]
opinion:frater_secessus:beginner_mistakes [2022/06/23 20:57] (current)
princess_fluffypants [Fantasy]
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 For whatever reason, vandwelling attracts an outsized percentage of daydreamers,  naifs, and people looking for magical cures for whatever ails them.   For whatever reason, vandwelling attracts an outsized percentage of daydreamers,  naifs, and people looking for magical cures for whatever ails them.  
  
-People who have a good chance at successful 'dwelling are: +Those who have a good chance at successful 'dwelling are typically people that:
-  * people who have camped or backpacked and liked it +
-  * people who are self-motivated +
-  * people who are disciplined +
-  * people who can figure things out for themselves  +
-  * people who know basic cooking +
-  * people who have good DIY skills and fix-it/mechanical abilities+
  
 +  * Have camped or backpacked and liked it
 +  * Have good DIY skills and fix-it/mechanical abilities
 +  * Know basic cooking and are okay with simpler foods
 +  * Are instinctive "savers" (as opposed to spenders)
 +  * Are very organized and good at planning
 +  * Are flexible when things don't go according to their plan
 +  * Are okay with being alone for long periods of time (introverts)
  
 People who are less likely to adapt to the life:    People who are less likely to adapt to the life:   
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   * the "high maintenance"   * the "high maintenance"
   * social media addicts   * social media addicts
-  * People who have little interest in understanding how complex systems work +  * Those who don't like having to understand how things work
-  * people who make little effort and want to be spoon-fed+
   * stoners, daydreamers, idiots, children   * stoners, daydreamers, idiots, children
   * those that need internet access 24/7   * those that need internet access 24/7
-  * people who can't or won't take care of themselves 
   * the easily bored   * the easily bored
   * people who need constant excitement, crowds, "action"   * people who need constant excitement, crowds, "action"
   * picky eaters   * picky eaters
  
 +Further reading:  [[https://cheaprvliving.com/do-you-have-what-it-takes-to-live-in-a-vehicle/|Do You Have What It Takes to Live in a Vehicle?]], particular the section about it being 90% //self// and 10% //stuff//.
 ===== Planning ===== ===== Planning =====
  
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 Having no solar at all is generally an unforced error for vandwellers.  Even [[electrical:12v:alt_and_solar|adding small amounts of panel]] (100w) can make a big difference, and can be added to an [[electrical:12v:alternator|alternator-charged system]] for as little as $100.((100w poly panel on sale for $90, 10A [[electrical:solar:shunt_tweaking|shunt controller]] for $10.)) Having no solar at all is generally an unforced error for vandwellers.  Even [[electrical:12v:alt_and_solar|adding small amounts of panel]] (100w) can make a big difference, and can be added to an [[electrical:12v:alternator|alternator-charged system]] for as little as $100.((100w poly panel on sale for $90, 10A [[electrical:solar:shunt_tweaking|shunt controller]] for $10.))
  
 +==== believing 100w of panel will make 100w all day long ====
 +
 +The 100w panel will make 100w in a lab in test conditions.  Your van is not in a lab in test conditions.  
 +
 +  - the panel will rarely make anywhere close to 100w((under normal conditions))
 +  - the max power it //does// make will be around local solar noon.  Before and after that power will be less. 
 +
 +Example:  Albuquerque, NM  on May 15, 2022.((assuming clear skies, no shade, MPPT, total system efficiency 85%))
 +
 +^ Time ^ Watts ^
 +|6:02a |0w|
 +|7:02a |15.9w|
 +|8:02A |32.8w|
 +|9:02A |48.7w|
 +|10:02A |62.3w|
 +|11:02A |72.8w|
 +|12:02A |79.39w|
 +|**1:02p** - local solar noon |81.7w|
 +|2:02 |79.5w|
 +|3:02p |72.9w|
 +|4:02p |62.5w|
 +|5:02p |48.9w|
 +|6:02p |33.1w|
 +|7:02p |16.2w|
 +|8:02p |0w|
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +See the //not enough panel// section below. 
 +
 +==== shade ====
 +
 +Shade will wreck solar harvest.  Beginners often don't pay attention to shade conditions, including shade thrown by objects on the van roof itself.  
 ==== Worrying ==== ==== Worrying ====
  
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 Don't get me started on people **flat-mounting poly/mono flex panels to the roof of their van**.  Maximum cost, maximum power loss due to temp derating, //and// with the bonus of blasting re-radiated heat right through the van roof.  It's a crap trifecta.  Don't get me started on people **flat-mounting poly/mono flex panels to the roof of their van**.  Maximum cost, maximum power loss due to temp derating, //and// with the bonus of blasting re-radiated heat right through the van roof.  It's a crap trifecta. 
 +
 +=== mixing different panels ===
 +
 +Mixing differently-rated panels will always be sub-optimal.  People  who know what they are doing can minimize the losses.  Beginners should either buy identical panels or run different types on separate controllers. 
  
 === Panel types and controllers === === Panel types and controllers ===
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 Understand that **efficiency is a relationship between rated output and physical panel size**:  a high-efficiency 100w panel will not make more power than a low-efficiency 100w panel.  It //will// be smaller.   Understand that **efficiency is a relationship between rated output and physical panel size**:  a high-efficiency 100w panel will not make more power than a low-efficiency 100w panel.  It //will// be smaller.  
 This means **if you have limited space you will get more power out of of the same space using higher-efficiency panels**.  That's it.  A 100w panel is a 100w panel, no matter how efficient.  Only the real estate needed to generate that 100w is different. Efficiency doesn't mean you'll get more or less power from a 100w panel.  So don't spend the extra $$$ on high-efficiency panels unless you need it to get max power out of limited roofspace. This means **if you have limited space you will get more power out of of the same space using higher-efficiency panels**.  That's it.  A 100w panel is a 100w panel, no matter how efficient.  Only the real estate needed to generate that 100w is different. Efficiency doesn't mean you'll get more or less power from a 100w panel.  So don't spend the extra $$$ on high-efficiency panels unless you need it to get max power out of limited roofspace.
 +
 +==== Mismatched panels ====
 +
 +Mismatched panels (different voltage or current [[electrical:solar:panels#specifications|spec]]) on the same controller will hamstring one another.  It's [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_tennis_terms#unforced_error|an unforced error]] which you can avoid this by:
 +
 +  * running //identical//((not close, not same maker, not same wattage, not kinda  look the same, IDENTICAL)) panels on the same controller; or
 +  * run different-spec panels on their own controller
 +
 +If you are committed to running mismatched panels on the same controller see [[https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=alt-e+mismatched|this series of videos by Alt-E]] on the subject.  
 +
  
 ==== Not enough panel ==== ==== Not enough panel ====
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 Let's address two issues:  zero panel, and some panel but not enough. Let's address two issues:  zero panel, and some panel but not enough.
  
-Yes, there are situations where zero solar is part of a workable power plan but they are rare.(([[electrical:12v:alternator|alternator charging]] [[electrical:12v:deep_cycle_battery#lithium_chemistries|lithium banks]] is one scenario that doesn't require solar.  Long-haul drivers with [[electrical:12v:b2b|B2B chargers]] is another.)) Generally speaking, having zero solar power on a van is an unforced error.  It doesn't take much;  [[electrical:solar:builds#w1|200w is the most common amount of solar]] on vans.+Yes, there are [[electrical:12v:mandatory_solar|situations where zero solar is part of a workable power plan]] but they are rare.(([[electrical:12v:alternator|alternator charging]] [[electrical:12v:deep_cycle_battery#lithium_chemistries|lithium banks]] is one scenario that doesn't require solar.  Long-haul drivers with [[electrical:12v:b2b|B2B chargers]] is another.)) Generally speaking, having zero solar power on a van is an unforced error.  It doesn't take much;  [[electrical:solar:builds#w1|200w is the most common amount of solar]] on vans
 + 
 + 
 +For [[electrical:solar:output|various reasons]], solar panels will typically make less (or //much// less) power than they are rated at.  It's not a scam;  the panels really will make that power under certain conditions.  Those conditions rarely occur in reality
  
 The majority of 'dwellers who use lead-chemistry banks require enough solar power to fully charge the banks every day.  Under good solar conditions, this is usually stated as [[electrical:solar:sizing#solar_panel_array|the 1:1 rule of thumb]];  one watt of panel per [[electrical:12v:battery_capacity|Ah of battery capacity]].  Challenging conditions (higher latitude, chronic fog or rain) will require even more, 2:1 or 3:1 or more. If you drive regularly, making trips into town or something, [[electrical:12v:alt_and_solar|adding alternator charging to solar]] can reduce panel requirements. The majority of 'dwellers who use lead-chemistry banks require enough solar power to fully charge the banks every day.  Under good solar conditions, this is usually stated as [[electrical:solar:sizing#solar_panel_array|the 1:1 rule of thumb]];  one watt of panel per [[electrical:12v:battery_capacity|Ah of battery capacity]].  Challenging conditions (higher latitude, chronic fog or rain) will require even more, 2:1 or 3:1 or more. If you drive regularly, making trips into town or something, [[electrical:12v:alt_and_solar|adding alternator charging to solar]] can reduce panel requirements.
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 Buying "more panel than you need" usually costs extra money directly (panel cost * quantity) and indirectly (may need a bigger controller).  Exception:  you may be able to get 400w of high voltage panels for the same price as 200w of 12v panels due to the former's superior watt/$ ratio. Buying "more panel than you need" usually costs extra money directly (panel cost * quantity) and indirectly (may need a bigger controller).  Exception:  you may be able to get 400w of high voltage panels for the same price as 200w of 12v panels due to the former's superior watt/$ ratio.
 +
 +Having said all that, you can have too much panel((or string)) voltage for the controller's input.  Read specs on panels and controller before purchasing anything, and before [[electrical:solar:series_vs_parallel|running panels in series]].
  
 ==== Relying on tilt ==== ==== Relying on tilt ====
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   * tilt advantage is reduced or nonexistent in poor weather conditions.     * tilt advantage is reduced or nonexistent in poor weather conditions.  
-  * tilt only makes a difference when the sun is relatively low in the sky (in winter, and/or in Washington state).  +  * tilt only makes a difference when the sun is relatively low in the sky (in winter, and/or at higher latitudes).  
   * tilt advantage is greatest when the amount of power available is least, as at sundown   * tilt advantage is greatest when the amount of power available is least, as at sundown
   * if you feel bad, lazy, hungover or otherwise unwilling to get out and tilt your panels every time you will not meet your basic needs   * if you feel bad, lazy, hungover or otherwise unwilling to get out and tilt your panels every time you will not meet your basic needs
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 ==== Failure to add alternator charging ==== ==== Failure to add alternator charging ====
  
-[[electrical:12v:alt_and_solar|Adding an isolator]] can be very cheap and //supercharges// solar configs;((this effect is strongest on systems with PWM controllers))  if run at the right time it [[opinion:frater_secessus:panelsizesforinsolation|can double or triple the effectiveness of solar]], meaning one can+[[electrical:12v:alt_and_solar|Adding an isolator]] can be very cheap and [[opinion:frater_secessus:panelsizesforinsolation|can supercharge solar installs]];((this effect is strongest on systems with PWM controllers))  if run at the right time it [[opinion:frater_secessus:panelsizesforinsolation|can double or triple the effectiveness of solar]], meaning one can
  
   - run more loads; and/or   - run more loads; and/or
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 Yes, you can have too much battery.   Yes, you can have too much battery.  
  
-Most people use lead-chemistry batteries and carrying around unneeded lead is both heavy and expensive.  More importantly, **having more battery than you can charge fully and regularly** results in [[electrical:batterycide|battery murder]].  This is especially true for AGM batteries which typically have a //minimum// charging current requirement of C/5 (ie, 20A for 100Ah, 40A for 200Ah).  It is a rare vandweller who actually charges their AGM to [[electrical:solar:charge_controller_setpoints|manufacturer specs]] and gets a full life from them. +Most people use lead-chemistry batteries and carrying around unneeded lead is both heavy and expensive.  More importantly, **having more battery than you can charge fully and regularly** results in [[electrical:batterycide|battery murder]].  This is especially true for AGM batteries which can have a //minimum// charging current requirement of C/5 (ie, 20A for 100Ah, 40A for 200Ah).  It is a rare vandweller who actually charges their AGM to [[electrical:solar:charge_controller_setpoints|manufacturer specs]] and gets a full life from them. 
  
 Exotics like [[electrical:12v:deep_cycle_battery#lithium_chemistries|lithium]] and [[electrical:12v:deep_cycle_battery#carbon_foam_agm|carbon-foam]] aren't bothered by partial state of charge, but they are so expensive that buying too much is a self-limiting behavior. Exotics like [[electrical:12v:deep_cycle_battery#lithium_chemistries|lithium]] and [[electrical:12v:deep_cycle_battery#carbon_foam_agm|carbon-foam]] aren't bothered by partial state of charge, but they are so expensive that buying too much is a self-limiting behavior.
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   * believing one can be 100% stealth and not be noticed; and   * believing one can be 100% stealth and not be noticed; and
   * believing the opposite, that one cannot tilt the balance in one's favor of not being kicked out of a spot   * believing the opposite, that one cannot tilt the balance in one's favor of not being kicked out of a spot
 +  * staying in one spot for days/weeks/months then being shocked at being kicked out
 +
 +
  
----- 
 ===== Money ===== ===== Money =====
  
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 Good advice can save time, money, and heartbreak. But getting good advice is not simple or even natural. We have to slow down and force ourselves to think about the issues, our questions, the existing body of knowledge, the answers we receive. Good advice can save time, money, and heartbreak. But getting good advice is not simple or even natural. We have to slow down and force ourselves to think about the issues, our questions, the existing body of knowledge, the answers we receive.
 The most important thing is no matter what advice you get or take, **it's your life and you have final responsibility for it**.  Your decisions are your own.  Make them wisely. The most important thing is no matter what advice you get or take, **it's your life and you have final responsibility for it**.  Your decisions are your own.  Make them wisely.
-===== Wanting premium support =====+==== wanting personal attention from an internet-famous person ==== 
 + 
 +No, Bob Wells and or Will Prowse will not answer your plea in person.  There are thousands of you and one of them.  If you want personal help pay a consultant or buy a pizza for a geeky friend.  
 + 
 + 
 + 
 +==== wanting premium support ====
  
 {note:  this section uses Renogy as an example} {note:  this section uses Renogy as an example}
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 ==== Wanting easy answers ==== ==== Wanting easy answers ====
  
-Easy answers are rarely //correct// or //useful// answers.  +Easy answers are rarely //correct// or //useful// answers.  In real life "one weird trick!" solutions are exceedingly rare.  
  
 Q.  What is the best [fill in the blank?  \\ A.  Best for //what?// Q.  What is the best [fill in the blank?  \\ A.  Best for //what?//
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   * [[opinion:frater_secessus:beginner_mistakes#research|do your homework]]:  read, browse, watch youtube videos, google, **use the ding-dang search function** of the forum, subreddit, etc.   * [[opinion:frater_secessus:beginner_mistakes#research|do your homework]]:  read, browse, watch youtube videos, google, **use the ding-dang search function** of the forum, subreddit, etc.
   * when you hit a wall //then// ask for help.  No one likes leeches, princesses, helpless snowflakes, or the lazy who expect others to do the work for them.     * when you hit a wall //then// ask for help.  No one likes leeches, princesses, helpless snowflakes, or the lazy who expect others to do the work for them.  
-  * express your request as clearly and simply as possible +  * express your request as clearly and simply as possible, including what you intend to accomplish 
-  * indicate what you do know, [[opinion:frater_secessus:beginner_mistakes#research|what you have already read]] or tried, and any important details like what you are trying to accomplish, **the make/model of any components you are using**.  "My van don't go.  Help." is unlikely to generate usable advice. +  * shouldn't have to say this, but here we are:  list **the make/model of any components you are using** and how they are connected 
-  * use human-readable style.  Avoid run-on sentences, "wall of text" word vomit with no organization, punctuation, or paragraph breaks. +  * indicate what you do know, [[opinion:frater_secessus:beginner_mistakes#research|what you have already read]] or tried 
-  * write a concise and specific title.  "Configuring a Morningstar TS-45 MPPT" is good.  "don't understand solar!!!!!!!!" is not so good. "Can anyone answer this??!?" is annoying and manipulative.  Also, any title that includes the word "anyone" indicates a low-effort question.  Why should //we// care if //you// don't?+  * write a concise and specific title.  "Configuring a Morningstar TS-45 MPPT" is good.  "don't understand solar!!!!!!!!" is not so good. "Can anyone answer this??!?" is annoying and manipulative.  Also, any title that includes the word "anyone" indicates a low-effort question that could likely be answered by a 10-second search.  Why should //we// care if //you// don't? 
 +  * write the post in normal, human-readable style.  Avoid run-on sentences, "wall of text" word vomit with no organization, punctuation, or paragraph breaks.  We aren't writing  masters thesis here but write it so the post wouldn't give your 8th grade English teacher a stroke.  
 + 
  
 > I am always surprised to see some people demanding the time of others and meeting a most obliging response. Both sides have in view the reason for which the time is asked and neither regards the time itself — as if nothing there is being asked for and nothing given.  - Seneca > I am always surprised to see some people demanding the time of others and meeting a most obliging response. Both sides have in view the reason for which the time is asked and neither regards the time itself — as if nothing there is being asked for and nothing given.  - Seneca
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   * is the responder an idiot, a druggie, a zero-experience dreamer, a poorly-informed blowhard, a black/white thinker?     * is the responder an idiot, a druggie, a zero-experience dreamer, a poorly-informed blowhard, a black/white thinker?  
   * is the advice upvoted/downvoted/liked by onlookers?   * is the advice upvoted/downvoted/liked by onlookers?
 +  * is the advice commented on favorably by onlookers whose opinion you value?
   * does the responder have experience and/or training in the area?   * does the responder have experience and/or training in the area?
   * does the responder expect you to believe him/her as gospel?     * does the responder expect you to believe him/her as gospel?  
opinion/frater_secessus/beginner_mistakes.1645731265.txt.gz · Last modified: 2022/02/24 14:34 by frater_secessus