made it to Los Alamos


I left SFE later than I thought I would because I found a place with slightly better shade. But on Thursday the 23rd I started the relo

reprovisining, a win, and a loss

Hit PF, then Smiths to snag manager’s discount stuff, then wally world to flesh out the pantry for a 30-day excursion.

At the Smith’s I noticed the water spigot was unlocked. I couldn’t get to the pump near the spigot because some folks were having social hour behind it. I tried to manuever around them but caught the steel protector post with my rear quarter panel, dented it, and hit the edge of the wheel hard enought to bend it.

The dinged rim leaked air so after filling up (water and gas) I went to a local tire shop. They took it off and beat the rim back into place with a hammer, as requested. Some hammer marks but perfectly back in the round. /whew

Los Alamos

It’s a few degrees cooler in LA than in SFE, typically by 5° F. The real win is the tall conifers that provide shade. There are scrub pinyon in the BLM/NF areas outside SFE but not enough to hide the camper under.

I have good signal but depriotorization on my MVNO cell data is severe when the physicists are all at work in the labs down below me.

deploying the portables in earnest

Shade is good for dog an human, but bad for solar harvest. This is the exact scenario the portables are meant to address:

portables deployed

The metrics available from the EpEver are cruder than Victron, but in the ~9 days I’ve had them out they’ve made 5.49kWh. So 0.61kWh/day. Because of the shade here in LA I’d ballpark 0.5kWh/day from the portables. Yesterday the skies were clear and the shaded mounted array made 1.26kWh. So ~1.76kWh total. That’s enough to do at least my coffee and one IP meal off solar and still get the bank fully charged.


The 10A limit on the portables’ EpEver is not its fault; I bought it, I installed it, and I am [mis]using it for this purpose.

The uneven1 performance of the EpEver MPPT algo under challenging conditinons is its fault. The EpEver does an admirable job in even, full sunlight but loses its mind in low-light or variable conditions. The main symptom is crashing Vpanel to just above Vbatt.

normal crash

  • The first pic shows the controller bopping along in Float, Vpanel > Vmp so we know there’s more on tap than the 100w it’s using to hold Vfloat.
  • The second pic shows the controller crashing to Vbatt when a cloud passed. This is not the panel’s fault; the MPPT algo has crashed and can’t get up.

This is why I picked up the Victron 45A and relegated the 50A EpEver to backup duty.

Update: another example. Trying to find an optimal position where i don’t have to move the portables. I moved them from a shaded spot to full sun, and it took 46 minutes for the Epever to get unstuck from Vpanel==14.x up to Vpanel==15.x. I gave up waiting for it to come up to actual Vmp==24v. The victron handles this kind of transition in seconds.

when clouds are helpful

Today is partly cloudy, which hurts in the morning when I have better views of the sun. In the afternoon clouds would be welcome because there would be more diffuse light so the panels shaded by the tree canopy would be getting additional indirect light.


On a hike with dog I found a spot with totally clear sun until 11am and better shade after that. If the power can’t keep up here in this spot I’ll move, but if I can squeak by I ain’t breaking camp.

  1. to put it generously