23
May
14

Flat on Wheels

Mention a flat to an American and they might ask if you called Triple A.  However, to a European a flat is an apartment.  Being somewhat familiar with the inner-workings of the internet and having made the acquaintance of people all over the world because of it, I have acquired a friend or two in foreign countries.  While chatting with one such friend, the other day, she asked me a question about my camper.  To most the question would be vulgar because it asks about cost, but I understand her curiosity.

She asked, “So, how much does this flat on wheels cost?”

Understanding her curiosity, because she also informed me she didn’t know such things existed, I answered her.  Now, my flat on wheels isn’t all that fancy but it is self-contained.  My flat on wheels is not as nice or as expensive as some of the fancier high-end motor homes and travel trailers, but I did add something to mine that sets it apart from most others.

Living off the grid in a flat on wheels allows me to travel all over at my pace and stay in places far from any city.  It also means having to find things that most take for granted.  Water, for instance.  My flat on wheels can only hold twenty-six gallons  or about forty liters of water.  Water which is used for showering (yes, my flat on wheels has a shower) and doing dishes.

But all motor homes and travel trailers have these things.  What, then, sets mine apart?

Well, electricity is another thing I have grown accustomed to having.  Most travel trailers have a built in 12 volt electrical system powered by one or two twelve volt batteries usually stored on the trailer’s front tow hitch.  The twelve volt system will keep the lights on, power the water pump and spin the fan on my furnace for about five days.  I’ve been out now since May 8th or 16 days.  The lights are still on!  Pumps still pumping!  Fan on the furnace still turning!

Must be getting electricity from somewhere.  Some campgrounds provide you with electricity, but not this one.  I’m doing what is called dry camping.  Dry camping means I have no external connections to water or electricity.

So how is it my lights are still on?  Must have a generator, right?  Actually, I do!  I have a 2000 watt Whisper Quiet Generator manufactured by Honda.  And, you want to know what?  It’s still in the back of my truck.  Haven’t put gas in it yet.  I will have to eventually, but for now, the system I added to my flat on wheels is keeping everything whirling, twirling and lit.

So, what am I using to create electricity?  Some of you have been following this blog for many years and I appreciate your patience and you have my gratitude for staying with me, and some of you are new.  You’ve seen the pictures of my flat on wheels and you may or may not have noticed the solar panel.  This flat on wheels can be kept going with sunlight.

The solar panel connects to four 125 amp 12 volt deep cycle batteries.  The deep cycle batteries connect to a 2000 watt power inverter, which turns my 12 volt DC electricity into standard American 110 volt AC electricity giving me what is called a solar generator.  So my flat on wheels is powered by the sun.  Eventually, because I only have the one solar panel, I will have to use the gas generator, but for now and for the last week the solar generator has kept my flat on wheels well lit and comfortable.

The solar panel and inverter was purchased from GoPower.  The 12 volt 125 amp deep cycle batteries were purchased through Amazon.com and made by VMAX Solar.

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