Focus, YouTube, and Solar Truck update

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Wintertime always sucks here in Indiana. It’s not quite ever really snowy and cold for a majority of winter, it fluctuates between snow one day, 60F the next, muddy after, and as soon as the ground isn’t miserable; it begins snowing again.

Case in point, it was 54F in the morning last week. By noon, we had a high wind warning with 60Mph wind Gusts, my kitchen window actually blew in! That evening, it was 34F with snow. Snow, mud, wind. Winter. Yuck.

Screwdrivers and Trashcans holding in my Kitchen Window.

This is a reason why I usually end up being a shut-in and gaming most of Winter. I gain weight, my body starts hurting, and mostly all energy to accomplish anything dissolves into lethargy.

While that’s all good and proper, an unexpected effect is that my anxiety peaks during winter as well, a feedback loop which keeps me at home which is NFG at all.

Well, I’ve tired of that and took on Solar Truck Project this season. In 10 days, I went from Zero to functional Solar/Generator. In 20 days, I went from a basic setup to automatic generator management.

You can bet, my body hurt. Going from 235 of last summer bliss, up to almost 300 pounds was murder on my joints, knee, fuck, even my left big toe. Nevertheless, I persisted.

I’m proud of this little teaser vid

Let’s get to the real reason you are here. This is a list of what I’ve accomplished in the month of February:

  • 3D Modeled solar panel mounting to the top of the truck
  • Installed and modified truck bed rack to fit the girth of the array
  • Framed panels two by into modules, reinforced framing
  • Designed, reinforced, wired, and installed equipment into Truck Toolbox
  • Almost gave myself a hernia deadlifting 150lb batteries (literally)
  • Bought, assembled and used a 2 Ton crane to install said toolbox into the truck
  • Built, rebuilt, disassembled generator, reassembled (twice) and used the crane to put in/take out the generator with quiet box several times in the back of the truck
  • Designed and 3D Printed cooling fan shrouds, cut holes, installed fans
  • Programmed Arduino (first time ever) to trigger relays, with a custom Raspberry Pi install of Victron Venus (with Mk3-USB cables), breadboarded, soldered, tested, and retested generator control module
  • Wire management
  • Ripped out existing foam and replaced with mineral wool (flame “proofing”), necessitating another rebuild of the generator quiet box
  • Modified a chain to chain it all down for theft deterrent, strapped everything down

All the while the temperature fluctuated between 20F and 60F (sometimes all in the same day) with sleet, snow, rain, and high winds.

It’s been a monster project. 15,000-17,000 steps daily. My sleep schedule has changed from going to bed at 2-3am to going to bed early and waking up at 6am. My joints were on fire, but now I’ve lost some weight and they don’t hurt as badly now.

Venus Pi, Generator Controller

And there’s still more work to do, actual testing.

About the focus though. I was posting updates on Reddit, two Facebook Groups, a Victron mailing list, this blog, and putting out YouTube updates. It’s too much. I think I’m going to get back to my roots and focus on this blog for a while, and the YouTube channel.

We have our first Boondocking trip planned in two weeks, then Nashville. I hope that with the weather, we are alone in the forest here soon.

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