, Well, I couldn't live without solar for two weeks, so I ordered a Renogy 100 W panel from Amazon and had it overnighted to Albuquerque. 100 W is not much but it's better than nothing. When I got to Albuquerque and parked and set everything up, I was astounded to find that the abused plastic panels were still putting out a couple amps each. It was enough to make the time in Albuquerque livable.
Another issue I had been dealing with was the fact that my batteries had boiled over while they were plugged in while I was gone. That has been a problem with those batteries since I got them, and I wasn't sure if it was the battery or the charger. Either way it was a giant pain to deal with. After Albuquerque, in a Sam's Club parking lot in Santa Fe, Barb and I worked on the batteries for an hour and put almost a half a gallon of distilled water in them. It turned out to be the kiss of death. While they had been operating with a very low electrolyte level, diluting the acid made them no longer hold a charge.I messed with it for a few days, hoping they would resurrect themselves, but it was to no avail. So I went to Gallup and got two new group 27 deep cycle batteries. It was quite the debacle getting them installed but I don't have the heart to go into that now. I'll just say, watch the guy wiring them like a hawk.
With new batteries, I thought my troubles were over. Two days after the batteries were in I looked at the charger in the morning, and it was showing 0 Amps. It was overcast, but I still should see something. Even .2 amp. But it was showing zero. After much cursing and some quality time with the multimeter, I determined that the solar charge controller was simply not supplying any power to the battery. Nothing I did would make it work. I took the temperature probe out, I disconnected it from the battery and let it sit for a day (which worked when this happened once before), nothing worked. I was at the end of my rope at that point. Now, here I am with $850 worth of solar panels on the back of my rig and I'm running my damn generator for hours every day. And if you know me, you know what I think about generators. Well, since this was the second RioRand controller that I had had fail, obviously I wasn't going with that brand again. I ordered a MorningStar controller and had it sent to Page. To the address of the UPS store I found on a UPS locations page. Later that night looking at Google maps I discovered the UPS store that I had sent my charger to had gone out of business several years ago. It turns out that wasn't an official page. Awesome! I sent a panicked email to UPS, and to my astonishment they immediately rerouted my package to a real pick up location in Page. The controller is sitting there and I will pick it up tomorrow. I have to say, I am about out of patience with this electrical bullshit. And if this doesn't work I don't know what I'm gonna do, because running the generator every single day is not an option. And neither is living without lights, charged camera batteries, or all the other little electric things I rely on.
So, I've spent the day in kind of a funk. I've got myself all worked up that this charger isn't going to work and I'm just going to throw in the towel. It doesn't help that the site at Lone Rock Beach, while it has a beautiful view, is like Grand Central Station. I am so tired of people driving back-and-forth at 45 miles an hour. Hopefully once the weekend is over, it will calm down a bit.