Solar power in a vintage VW bus?
Is it worth it? Would I do it again? Was it easy to set up?
Yes to each and every one of those. And while I do not consider myself an expert by any means, I am confident that I can proffer the Air-Schooled Theory of Onboard Power Needs:
Everybody spends too much time, effort, and mental energy on electrical builds.
Here's Buddy's electrical list:
- Car stuff (headlights, ignition, etc)
- Stereo amplifier with subwoofer
- Power inverter for charging laptops
- Water pump with inline filter
- LED cabin lighting system
- USB and 12v ports for charging devices
If that list was posted on internet forums anywhere in 2021, I would be told to buy an upgraded alternator, 400-watts of solar, and a 100-pound auxiliary battery.
Instead, I have a 52-year-old German generator, 100-watts of solar panel on a tilting hinge, and one battery that runs the car AND all my living accoutrements. Beer is kept cold by the heat that makes it refreshing. My phone/GPS is kept alive all summer by the beauty that keeps us chasing the sunsets. E-mails are sent indefinitely, because they seem to stack up that way…
I think all that is pretty cool, while also being more economical and less wasteful. But my hobby isn't spending money on my car, it's driving it.