Step by step

Yesterday we set up our 135 Watt solar panels, and had our satellite internet installed. (So we’ll be able to post more often instead of waiting to go into town for an internet connection.)

At the moment we are running the sat, wifi and  notebooks on the generator.

Only one of the solar panel is operational at the moment, and we are using a test battery to get a feel for the system before we invest in a few more batteries.

We built two simple low cost panel frames out of 2×6’s and 2×4’s. They are sturdy and can tilt to catch the sun. We haven’t added the bottom braces yet, since this time of the year the panels will be almost vertical because the winter sun is lower in the sky. (That’s why you see two concrete blocks at the moment. It’s only a test)

To the right is our satellite dish that was installed yesterday. We went with HughesNet because of the good reviews we read for service in remote locations. Unfortunately the service rep didn’t mention a few billing items during the conversation, which were a small surprise when we reviewed the bill this morning. It’s nothing major, just annoying that they were not mentioned. But it is a far better connection speed than the Alltel data card we tried out last week, (which Alltel kept the activation fee and billed us for five days usage after we returned it). There was no mention of not getting the activation fee returned either.

So far our temporary solar control panel seems to be functioning well.

Clockwise from the top left: The charge controller, a 12 volt battery from the VW, our volt meter, breaker box, bus bar and terminal strip (unused at the moment).

We’ll get a permanent solar control panel location set up once we start plastering the interior walls and run lines throughout the house. That’s it for the moment.