But... I've recently come into a wee bit of a windfall. The work on making Tilley self-sufficient is back on!
Last year we put in a 12v battery and last July I mentioned that Pat had installed an inverter as well. During the winter we found an incredible wee appliance for something that we feel is essential to our happy camping experience - a 12v coffee maker!! We thought we were all set to go with our lovely new inverter until we opened the coffee maker box and realized that the plug was for the battery directly. Dang it!
So the first thing we had to do was get a 12v socket just so we could use the coffee maker - early mornings when camping must have fresh coffee!
You can see it plugged into the new socket on the counter. We tested it too - thankfully it works.
The next thing Pat wanted to do was figure out how much electricity we expected to use for various things like lights, movie watching, computers (all on rainy days of course) and our coffee maker. He worked out that the item that would use the vast majority of our energy was the coffee maker. This is where priorities come in. I said we'd just have to get a bigger solar panel to cover the need for the morning coffee - no ifs, ands or buts.
To help keep the usage down (so more can go to the coffee maker) he found out that there are LED replacement bulbs for items that have halogen bulbs, which we do in Tilley. Less usage and they last a long time too.
We replaced both bulbs. Less energy used
AND they are actually brighter.
While he was at it, he also got an LED light for outside of Tilley. We simply wanted something that we could have on in the evening to help us find our way back from any campfires we may have been visiting with friends.
We got a red light so we could see it, but it shouldn't attract as many
bugs to our front door, or be glaring late at night.
Next step is to find a dealer for the type of solar panel we want. We'd like to get one you can roll up, flexible and waterproof. Now that we have all our information together and everything in place, that's our next step. I can't wait!