Ramblings of a Techno-Viking

Big Wash Road BLM

Big Wash Road is a maintained, but in places rough, dirt road about 20 miles Northwest of Kingman, Arizona. Dispersed camping is allowed on the unmaintained side roads starting about a mile from US 93. (The section by US 93 is on state land and has different camping rules.) Trailers and large rigs are not recommended on the steep switchback section starting about six miles from US 93. Verizon signal was marginal. Several sites were occupied when I was there.

There are two developed campgrounds along this road after the steep section. Packsaddle is free, has four tent sites uphill from the parking areas, a vault toilet, and trash can. Windy Point has 7 sites, is $8/night, and the camping areas are closer to the parking places. Some have good views down the canyon, but I bet it lives up to its name at times. There is a BLM web site for these campgrounds. Both campgrounds were empty early Saturday afternoon in mid-April when I looked at them.

Posted Sunday 13 April 2014 00:00 UTC
Last edited Saturday 12 April 2014 23:48 UTC

Crossroads Campground -- Parker Strip

Crossroads Campground is on the California side of the Colorado River halfway between Parker and Parker Dam. RVs, trailers, and trucks are not permitted on the Parker Dam, so unless you are car camping you will need to access it from the south. This is a BLM campground with a host, two dozen sites, $5/night, 14 night maximum, no hookups. Most sites are big enough to park several vehicles, but only one is included in the $5 There is little or no space between sites. Each site has a picnic table and grill. Half a dozen of the sites are just up a steep bank from the river, (with no river access) these tend to be the smaller sties. A path from the north end leads to a small shaded gravel beach, and from the south end a path leads to the large unshaded sandy beach by the next campground over. It is pretty noisy during the day with the motorboats, generators, and birds. The campground was about 2/3rds full the Thursday night I stayed. The wild burros seem to mainly stay further north where the grazing is better. Verizon signal is marginal.

Posted Saturday 12 April 2014 02:33 UTC
Last edited Saturday 12 April 2014 02:33 UTC

LiFePO4 house battery resources

Here are some resources to research about LiFePO4 batteries for use as RV house batteries. I did not include a section about prebuilt systems, since they all seem to be very expensive, not proven, or both.

Places to buy cells: (I have not done business with most of these companies. Check shipping prices and times before ordering.)

RV installers: These places sell and install complete systems on RVs. They may offer parts or non-installed systems.



Technical Articles:

Posted Wednesday 26 March 2014 21:28 UTC
Last edited Tuesday 13 December 2016 15:34 UTC

Osborne Overlook -- Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area

Just off California Highway 78 in Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area is Osborne Overlook, with views in every direction of the blowing sand dunes. When I was there on a Saturday, sand was blowing on the highway and the overlook parking lot. Part of the parking lot is designated two-hour maximum, and another section allows overnighting. The latter section was packed with RVs, most towing trailers for their OHVs. To stay in the Imperial Dunes, you need a pass available in many of the local stores or from the ranger stations. (I think the America the Beautiful Pass would be accepted.) This did not look like an attractive place to camp and be sandblasted, I did not stay. There are many other places to camp in the recreation area.

Posted Tuesday 11 March 2014 18:44 UTC
Last edited Tuesday 11 March 2014 18:44 UTC

Lithium Ferric Phosphate Batteries -- Part 2

If you missed it, please see Part 1. This is a continuation, (stuff I forgot to mention) with some minor updates.

There are some integrated systems of LiFePO4 batteries (including battery monitor and charger), mainly marketed for yachts, but they are much more expensive than buying the parts and assembling them yourself. The boating market has been using LiFePO4 longer than the RV market, but the earliest adopters are racing teams that don't disclose information to avoid loosing their edge on competitors. There are threads on LiFePO4 batteries on Cruisers Forum, including one of more than 3500 posts.

Part of the reason cells are cheaper and more available than assembled batteries is shipping safety certification, where the certification would need to be re-obtained for each configuration.

Since my LiFePO4 batteries are reaching full charge early in the day, for the last week I've been running my refrigerator on an inverter (rather than propane) for several hours a day. My solar controler reports that doing this I'm using about 80 amp-hours more on sunny days, more than doubling my normal usage.

While my alternator is hooked up to charge my house battery when driving, I have not been driving my motorhome a lot since I installed the LiFePO4 batteries. (About 200 miles in about two months, moving about every two weeks.)

The Winston 260 Ah cells use M12 bolts, just a bit smaller than 1/2 inch. Balqon does sell the hardware, but it is not listed on their web site so I did not learn that until after my order was placed. I flattened (in a vice) and drilled holes in 5/8" soft copper tubing to create the bars between cells and to the ANL fuse holder I hung off the positive terminal. The same tubing with one end flattened and drilled is used for lugs on the 1/0 and 2/0 wire used in rewiring. The tubing needed to be deformed a bit to get it in my hydraulic crimp tool.

I am not using pressure plates to keep the cells from bulging when they self-heat, this seems to be mainly needed on high current applications. There is a ratchet-strap around the cells to keep them together and another to hold them down.

Posted Wednesday 26 February 2014 22:12 UTC
Last edited Wednesday 26 February 2014 22:12 UTC

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