Online you may know me as jimindenver through solar forums, RV forums, CheapRVLiving.com and photography forums.
Through these forums I have shared my experiences in the subjects associated with them and tried to use my knowledge to help others as much as I can. In person you may have met me at the RTR’s where I give talks on solar, solar cooking and getting internet while boondocking. While I do not have a YouTube channel, you can see interviews of me by Bob Wells and Jax Austin.
As you might see I enjoy helping others.
I started boondocking in the Rockies in 1986 and began using solar in 2012 when I picked up a few panels off of craigslist. I didn’t have a controller, so every chance I had I put them in the sun, and using a multi-meter, learned from the ground up what they did in various conditions; how and why they reacted as they did. I bought my first MPPT charge controller in 2013, and while camping, found that the system was more than a battery charger–it was a solar generator that would run loads while the battery’s voltage stayed stable.
I have been designing systems to do just that ever since.
I kept building larger systems until I met my goal of running a small window air conditioner in 2014. This was something that until then there was a general consensus that you could not have A/C on solar. I now run not only the A/C off of the power generated by my solar panels, but also a hot water heater, electric stove top, a small oil filled heater, and even my propane fridge set to 120v…anything to save me propane by using the free power of the sun. In the course of getting there, I have tested different types of panels side by side to see the effects of different conditions on their output.
This has been beneficial because now I have a system that can cover my needs even in cloudy weather. I even see usable output in the rain.
Helping others understand solar has been a great joy.
In 2014 I started using solar ovens to cook on sunny days. I now carry, and use, five different solar ovens/cookers to make everything besides fried foods. Learning the pros and cons of each has been a passion of mine, teaching how to use them has too.
Staying connected in the Rockies is very challenging, and after two years of research I developed a plan that gave me unlimited data or streaming on each of the major providers for a grand total of $57 a month. I use a booster system that allows me to receive signals where others say there is none. Again teaching others how to do it is a passion.
I now live on the road in my 2011 Ameri-Lite 25 foot bunkhouse trailer. I follow the good weather from the Rockies in the summer to the southwest desert in the winter. I participate and even hold gatherings for others that travel as I do and have made many friends along the way.
Now, I have started jimindenver.com as a means to educate and design solar systems for people. Design for me is much more than numbers, or plug part A into part B; it is to have my customers understand why it is done. Eventually I wish the site to have classes for those that want to design their own systems. The classes will be taught in a way that doesn’t leave a person befuddled and overloaded.
So welcome to jimindenver.com. I hope you enjoy your visit.
"Solar is one part of a balanced system of knowing your needs, having enough battery to provide for those needs when the sun doesn't shine, enough solar to charge those batteries when the sun does shine, and an alternate means of charging for when the sun doesn't shine for an extended time."
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They call my rig 'The Power Station'
My solar system, as it stands now, consists of three Navajo 250w polycrystalline panels mounted flat on my trailers roof, a 435w High-tec polycrystalline panel that tilts on the roof of my 2003 Expedition, two Morningstar TS-MPPT controllers, three Lifeline 8-D agm 12v batteries and a Trip-lite PV1250fc industrial inverter. At peak the system produces 80 amps at 12 volts. I use on average of 2-300 amp hours of power a day–more when the air conditioner is in use.
Inspection & Consultation
Inspection service is a hands on review of an existing system to find out why it isn't functioning, or not meeting your needs. Sometimes it is a faulty component, and sometimes it is a poor design.
Either way we can get to the root of your problem.
Systems Design & Installation
Design service starts with a consultation to work out what you need out of your solar system. What you wish to run with it, when you want to run it, where, and even what time of the year have as much to play in the design as how much room you have for panels on the roof, batteries in the bay, and budget to work with.
Making sure all of the components fill your needs as well as work well together is part of the balance.
While I no longer handle major installs I can install, or assist in the installation of, various components for repair or upgrade.
Education & Online Courses
Education is key in using a solar system–be it after it is built or designing and installing it yourself. My wish is to break down the complexity, and provide easy to understand courses on the different components; explaining how they work, and work together with other components, so that you not only understand what choices are available to you and also how to make them.
Upcoming courses will include overviews of major components such as batteries, panels, controllers and wiring as well as those more detailed in the workings of a MPPT controller, specific battery types or inverters.