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Monday, 19 February 2018
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Electricity conservation - addiction unlimited
Friday, 05 May 2006
With our mobility a new aspect of life on the road begins. A limited electricity supply of 235 Ah at 24 volts, meaning 5,6 kWh energy. Switching off all electrical gear to the basic needs requires a constant background alertness. Normally it’s no real worry – an endless 220 volts supply provided more than we needed the past few months.

With solar electricity from spring sunshine and the DC current from driving it’s simply not enough to keep all our gear running without serious conservation. Changing our behavior doesn’t come easy, our electricity addiction is hard to beat.

For the ones interrested: We burn about 5500 Watts a day without worrying about what’s on. A sunny day produces an average free 1000 Watts a day. So cutting our addiction with 1/5th is about enough for our fridge, waterpump, lights and some satellite TV. The electricity from the engine provides anything beyond our basic needs. So writing these words take a few Km of road!.

We need sun, lots of it. No parking in the shade – instead in the full blistering heat. And when there is no sun – we’re bound to run out of energy – specially when we stay put. Anticipating this situation we rely on burning petrol using a 1,6 Kw @ 220V volts generator. It takes a maximum of 16 liter of petrol and 2 days (12 hrs) to fully charge the batteries from a near empty situation on dark / cloudy days. Not something to look forward to just keep our mobile house running.

With this new experience we know how much electricity we actually burned in our previous average household in the Netherlands. The always ON / STANDBY state of many small devices is a tremendous waste of energy. A simple battery charger for a mobile phone takes a constant load of near 0,5 Ah meaning 12 Wh or approximately 288 Watts a day. That’s 25 % the capacity of our solar electricity supply during a sunny day!
Only for a simple mobile phone… Go figure what the worldwide introduction of the GSM phone did cause. Not even touching the subject of all the 24 hr ADSL modems, PC’s monitors and printers the world has seen in the past millennium.

Anyways – the 2,5 months test phase we changed our electricity spending. For lighting we embraced the LED lamp. A simple 20 Watts Halogen spotlight can be simply replaced by a 1 Watt LED array saving energy with a whopping 20x. The light is quite different; it’s more cold and spreads less easily.  We chose an old Pentium 3’s PC’s i.s.o. the newer Pentium 4 energy wasters – reducing power consumption by almost 100 %. A simple battery operated short-wave radio i.s.o. our 50 Watts FM – AM sound system.

Living on solar electricity - a summertime opertunity. In winter there's no other way than to look for 220 / 110 Volts mains.

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