NOT recommended: Renogy Rover Elite solar charge controller

Reasons not to get involved with the Rover Elite controllers from Renogy.

  1.  the setpoints are unconfigurable, except for the Absorption setting in Li mode
  2. even in that mode Vabs is settable only in .2v increments
  3. the cable interface (or chip behind it) is nonstandard for Renogy (and its sources).  The external display for it costs more than the options on other Renogy controllers (surprise!).  It does not offer any more info that the limited set on the unit’s display.  Example:  no way to see panel amps.
  4. it costs more than the 2210AN that is highly configurable and supports normal external meters/dongles/etc

Why did Renogy do this?

Continue reading “NOT recommended: Renogy Rover Elite solar charge controller”

backchannel: grade-grubbing, business style


A couple thoughts here:

  • don’t be a grade-grubber
  • although pleasant enough, Cultura cannot compete with world-class joints of similar types:  Ginger Man in Dallas, Hoppy Monk in El Paso, etc.
  • extreme ratings (1 star and max stars) with little gradation are generally associated with minimal education.


I bought some shadecloth before going FT and finally deployed it this weekend.

It’s commonly available in 90% and 80% shade, with 90% being more popular.  80% might be happier in very windy situations, although even 90% is much easier to deal with in wind than a normal tarp.

I wanted shadecloth because I work on the galley end at the side sliding door.  If sun comes through at all it burns people and overheats equipment quickly.  I smoked an inverter that way, and nothing was plugged into it.  I had it laying in the sun and turned it on…. pop!  Unfortunately the fuse was soldered to the board instead of being easily replaceable.  Note to self….

The brutal sun, I suspect, is due to the reduced attenuation of sunlight through air at these 4000’+ altitudes.  It’s really noticeable.

If I’m parking for a couple of areas I’ll arrange it so the slider is on the shaded side.  But if I am emplaced somewhere (or want to be parked in a given direction for some reason) the shadecloth really reduces the sun.  After putting up the  shadecloth my black laptop does not get warm at all.

The cloth stretched a good bit in the first few hours, requiring guy cord adjustment every so often.


Honeywell swamp cooler and a $100 mistake

41jcgmfxl6l-_sy90_Just before going FT I ordered a Honeywell CS071AE 176cfm evaporative cooler from amazon to help make summer in the desert bearable.  They humidity in the ELP high desert is quite low, a great candidate for evap cooling.  The vast majority of homes here have evap cooling units on the roof instead of A/C units.  In a residential setting it takes about 10x the electricity to run an A/C than evap. Continue reading “Honeywell swamp cooler and a $100 mistake”

Verizon $5 3G apocalypse

A few days ago Verizon started shutting down flashed devices.  My wifi puck died on the first day of the apocalypse.  Even though my smartphone was still showing $15/mo and was working I started sniffing around.

After seeing the excellent coverage of Verizon I decided to stay with them or, more likely, a reseller (MVNO).  My criteria are: Continue reading “Verizon $5 3G apocalypse”

Winter RTR 2018: lessons learned

I’ve had time to think about and integrate some lessons learned from the Winter 2018 RTR<tm>.    It’s time to start documenting those lessons.

Shakedown cruise

I took 2.5 weeks vacation planned around the RTR.  I wanted to have plenty of free time and flexibility to make a comfortable drive between Texas and Arizona.

The RTR trip was the first extended offgrid experience in my van.  In total, Continue reading “Winter RTR 2018: lessons learned”