Wednesday, May 7, 2014

More Pennsic Thoughts

This is my new folding chair I made myself.  :-)   I have to add the seat and back, of course, but it's painted and works!   It looks like a kindergartner made it but whatever.  I actually made something out of wood that was not precut.  I had to use measurements and math! 

Now will it hold an actually person?  Even I'm not sure.  I might err on the side of safety and this will be come a lovely handwashing station, with towels on the arms and a bowl on the seat, at Pennsic. 

On to what I've been planning!   I really *really* want to make my vardo solar.   There are a lot of reasons for this (I can charge up my phone, my computer, and run the lights!) but it comes down to one simple reason- I want to be able to run my fridge, darn it!  Yes, I can easily add some ice packs and just use the fridge as an icebox the entire two weeks but...I want my fridge!  Plus, with solar power, I can turn the vardo into a wifi hotspot pretty easily....

Solar is quiet, effective, and a great power system all around when camping.   The problem is the price.  The price to full make my fridge run and turn on a light or two would be around $900.  That is not a small chuck of change.   And the reason for the price isn't the panels either - the one panel I know would be perfect is a slight bit more than the others I've been looking at.  Still, it's $229.  It's also the only panel I need. 

In reality, the entire solar power system is easily $322 - I priced out the panel, the inverter, the regulator, and even the trickle charger.  It's the batteries that make up the rest of that $900 price tag.  I would need two true deep cycles or four golf cart batteries.  The best I could find for the cheapest I could find were 4 golf cart batteries at $150 each.   That's $600 right there. 

Storing the batteries in the trailer isn't an issue - there plenty of space.  It really all comes down to price.  Do I and will I use the trailer enough to really justify throwing around $900+ on making it ready for the Zombie Apocalypse...err Pennsic?  The very impractical "I WANT MY FRIDGE" side of me says yes!  However the more practical part of me realizes that spending just under a grand on something I'll use maybe four times a year might not be the best use of my money.  I also realize, that if I do get it fully solar powered I might actually use the vardo even more - which would help a lot in off setting the costs.  Plus, the system should last a good decade (the batteries will need to be replaced after that).  Even at four times a year (3 weekends= 6 days and Pennsic= 17 days, giving a total of 23 days) over ten years, you are talking maybe $4 a day.   Still, it's a lot of upfront costs that I don't necessarily have right now, no matter how much I want to run the fridge.  :-)


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