Until the new-new controller arrives I will be limping along on limited solar.
- the main array (2 out of 3 panels running on 20A PWM), max ~250w
- the portable array (2x 100w panels on spare 10A MPPT), max ~140w
To make matters worse, it’s cloudy/rainy today.
I decided to cook the pound of italian sausage in the crockpot for lasagna in the next few days. Literally as I turned the power switch rain started hitting the van from upwind. Then clouds rolled over.
The rain stopped and the sun came out, allowing me to continue cooking.
testing the rice cooker
I think I mentioned before that I’d picked up a rice cooker from Goodwill but hadn’t tested it yet. It’s an Aroma 6-cup, rated 300w. A bit larger than I need but I haven’t seen any smaller ones recently in thrift stores.
I don’t have the power to run it (especially concurrent with the crockpot) but I did test it briefly on the kill-a-watt meter. It pulled 271w in cooking mode and 34.5w in holding/warming mode.
Rice cookers work by running full power until they detect the water has boiled off. This can be done in a low-tech manner: if temperature exceeds boiling point of water under low-power heating then the water must be gone. A bimetallic strip could handle it. Anyhow, when the water is gone the cooker drops back to holding/warming mode and will stay there indefinitely.
I wonder if someone with very limited excess power (35-40w) could run a rice cooker in this mode to reheat foods over time. It’s even less power than a crock on LO (or a mini-crock, which tend to have one setting, ~45w-60w).
While I was finishing up this post I got a visit from the local BLM ranger I had met in late May when I first arrived in this doG-forsaken area. He showed me how to distinguish between pinion and juniper which grow shoulder-to-shoulder in this camp. He also pointed out scrub oak, which is a collective names for several oak species I’d never heard of. They loook like 4’ live oaks to me (leaf-wise).
He thanked me for having a clean camp; I’d actually picked up a decent amount of litter earlier in the day and put it in the fire pit for later handling, if we get more precip.
Apropos of litter pickukp, I also made a fly-catcher out of a discarded beer bottle (bottom) and a cut-up soda bottle (inverted for the top) but no takers yet. Maybe the honeywater isn’t enticing enough. I’ll add a bit of brown sugar and see if that helps.
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