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Solar Arrays, Pukin' Oil, Boiled Batteries and Memphis BBQ

We were sittin’ out in the shank of the evening doing the happy hour thing and wishin’ the heat of the day would just get on out of here.  A cold beer does help mightily to dispense the heat and the YETI Tundra Cooler was doing its’ exceptional job of keeping the beer stock at a temp just above Arctic ice water.  The Yeti doesn’t move from its’ corner of the wood deck these days and it is automatic when anybody goes to town to stop by David’s and get a big bag of the ‘good ice’.   My Sis-in-law was here and she had selected a Shiner Ruby Redbird  from the Yeti and I was sorta kickin’ myself for pickin’ out a Coors Banquet beer.   Those Ruby Redbirds sure are refreshing on a swelterin’ evening.  So she says

Old and new - Progressive Dynamics 9260A converter

Old and new – Progressive Dynamics 9260A converter

‘Do y’all smell sewer gas?’  I looked at My Bro and he looked at me and we were both thinkin’ that yeah, there was a whiff of rotten egg gas every oncet in awhile. The thing is though, when the day is done, and you are kicked back and drinkin’ cold beers the last thing you want is a new and unresolved problem on your plate.  So My Bro says ‘Aww, that is just the black tank venting out that roof pipe and the wind is just right to smell it.’  I nodded my concurrence and didn’t even take the pipe out of my mouth.  Sometimes it is just best to get on by a problem with little said as possible.

Well sir, about 3AM the next morning,  we both wished we had not blown off her query so lightly.  Seems the ‘sewer gas smell’ was the house battery on their Heartland fifth wheel slowly cooking off.  It achieved fusion about 3AM with clouds of noxious gas and a battery that was red hot.  We are just damn lucky it did not explode.  After some probing and figuring, I finally determined the Progressive Dynamics PD9260CV 60 Amp Power Converter had lost its’ mind and was pumping a steady 16.5 volts into that innocent battery.

I cut it out of the loop and substituted an old diesel truck battery and a NAPA battery charger until new parts could be picked up.   My Bro picked up a new Interstate Marine/RV battery at the local hardware that same day,  FedEx brought a new converter late this evening and it is happily installed in its’ new home.

Renogy 100w 12v panels alongside the Renogy 150w 24v brutes

Renogy 100w 12v panels alongside the Renogy 250w 24v brutes

The crisis would have been much worse had I not added to our onsite solar array this week.  Last year My Bro ordered the Renogy 200W Starter Kit and I got around to piecing it all together last week. I have to say I am as impressed with it as I have been with all the Renogy Products.  This kit comes with 2 100w 12v mono panels, connectors, cables, brackets, screws and a 30amp PWM LCD display controller.  It was all there and it worked just perfect.  The only thing missing was an inline fuse between the controller and the battery.  Easy addition.  If a man was lookin’ for a good all in one easy entry into a solar power system, I think this would be a good set to pick up.   While I was busy adding solar panels, I decided I need to add one to the house battery on the NO Princess Palace — anything to take a little more load off the generator.  I hooked up one of my Renogy 100w panels to the SunSaver 10amp Charge Controller and wired it in to yet another tired old battery. It does a fine job now that the monsoons are gone and the sun shines hot all day.

Pukin'oil

Pukin’oil

Every morning lately, first order of business is to go out and swap Little Blue, the Yamaha generator, over from night time to day runnin’. Little Blue has not got enough ass to run my 5k btu windowshaker AND the RV at night. With temps still at 80 degrees at midnight and humidity up toward the 70th percentile,  there is not much good sleepin’ going on without some AC relief.  I am just a puss and I don’t really care, OK?  So when I wake up, I go out and shut off the AC, swap the feed to the RV and pump the fuel tank full.  I staggered out the other morning and Little Blue was sittin’ in an expensive puddle of Pennzoil 10W30 synthetic.   WTF??????!!  Now, a good rule to remember is a little oil always looks like more than it really is and that was my first thought….. ‘Maybe it ain’t that bad’ maybe………’  So I looked and poked and figgered and resisted the urge to start tearing stuff apart to get at the problem.  These little units are put together with the precision of a Swiss watch and everything fits just so.  I got fat, awkward hands and I just didn’t think it prudent to tear into something that was mostly a mystery to me.  Besides, it is under warranty.   Best I can figure is the oil is leaking from somewhere around the head and in 12 hrs runtime it will leak 1/4 of its’ total oil volume.  No bueno.  I am gonna run it till it blows because I got little choice.   I can’t put it in the shop for repair because then I am out of the Secret Hideout.  No way to stay here without it. If it blows, I am outta here anyway. Same same.  It is a funny thing.   I had a second generator on my Want list because we all know two is one and one is none.  It was getting up pretty close to the top of the list when the gate closed and my fortunes reversed.  Oh well, it is what it is.

Primo pork shoulder ready for the smoker

Primo pork shoulder ready for the propane smoker

The Sis-in-law missed out on the brisket and was peeved a teeny bit.  I told her if she could find 2 pork shoulders; I would cook ’em up and give her a whole one in trade.   I was sorta laughin’ to myself because I had scoured the countryside looking for Pork Butt shoulder roasts with no luck.  Well, wouldn’t you know it?  Her first trip to the HEB and she walked back in here with two mighty fine cryovac Boston Butts.  I gotta watch myself better.  Been months since I was around any females and I had forgot how they roll.   Note to self: Don’t underestimate the capabilities of any woman!  So keeping in line with my new Old School smoker philosophy, I didn’t inject, bag, massage or alter these pork shoulders.   A little salt, cracked pepper, paprika and cumin and they went in the smoker along with a straight load of hickory for the smoking part.  It is about the meat and the wood people; not how you alter it!  11 hours later, we were done and I sauced it up a little and took My Bro a tupperware full of pulled pork.  That is all he has eat for the last two days.  What does that tell ya, huh?  Sis-in-law had to blow out of here but she told me to take a goodly portion of her pork shoulder and freeze it up in a Foodsaver bag before her husband ate it all up!  Done and done.  I ain’t crossin’ no woman on a mission.  Not hardly!

 

End Note:  Long Way Down by the Steeldrivers off their new cd The Muscle Shoals Sessions.   Gritty bluegrass……rockabilly?  Got me.  I dig that keening high lonesome.   The Steeldrivers have come up here before…. when Fat Boy Scott left us.   Worth another read  if you ask me.

 

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Solar Arrays, Pukin' Oil, Boiled Batteries and Memphis BBQ, 9.7 out of 10 based on 13 ratings
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1 comment to Solar Arrays, Pukin’ Oil, Boiled Batteries and Memphis BBQ

  • Wallace

    Wow, Andy; when it rains, it pours, yeah? Both your power converter & your generator giving you fits. I guess you’re just hard on equipment; manufacturers would do well to hire you for their endurance testing. 🙂

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