It is estimated that by the year 2025 there will be 900 million surplus computers and monitors in the US. These computers and monitors contain hazardous materials, and are destined for our landfills, which can pollute the environment. This is a very serious waste management concerns all over the world, with electronics filling dumpsters everywhere.

Waste management in electronics

However, many states have passed legislation to ban monitors from landfill. The computer-recycling infrastructure in just beginning. Get on the ground floor and build your computer recycling business or non-profit training program now! Learn the secrets of where the grants and money is to start your operation.
California passed the Electronics Waste Recycling Act of 2003 (SB 20) the first of its kind of legislation in the nation to address the growing electronics waste problem. Authorized collectors and recyclers of monitors may be reimbursed for expenses for collecting and recycling monitors from the Electronics Waste Recovery and Recycling Account portion of this legislation after July, 2004 in California. This account is expected to be in the tens of $$millions of dollars.
You do not have to be a California Business to participate. California generally leads the nation on innovative programs and trends. The EPA, environmentalist, computer manufacturers, waste industry, state government and local government are looking at the California model.

Our book Computer Recycling For Education will assist you in setting up your computer recycling business or training program. This book is ideal for recyclers, jurisdictions, municipalities, waste haulers, refurbishers, nonprofits or school computer repair training programs. It may also be used as a reference for college environmental studies departments.

Solar energy to the rescue

You can power your house with 2000 peak watts of used ARCO panels. The only effect from the concentrators was out gassing from adhesives that condensed on the inside of the glass, reducing output. The price of these panels reflects the abuse they have received, and they are the lowest cost per peak watt PV panels available. We would not recommend these panels in cloudy areas like the Pacific NW, as they are not great performers in overcast weather.
Ultimately add a dozen new panels on a two axis tracker to help power an electric car and get a bit more power in winter/cloudy weather. Out of the sun, if possible. The encapsulate will deteriorate a bit faster if they aren’t making power, because they’ll be hotter. will sell you either their Alternative Energy Source book, which has a good deal of information on system design and component selection, but not much on actually wiring it, or The New Solar Electric Home which has much more detail on design and installation, but not much on specific vendors.
In either case you probably shouldn’t do it yourself unless you know at least the basics about power wiring or did an undergraduate thesis project on some aspect regarding solar panels.

Uses for motors connected straight to solar panels, or motors connected to batteries charged by solar panels, or any other uses. There are ways to get maximum power out of solar panels. For example – various sun-tracking systems, the use of motorized mirrors.

The solar part of the system (at least the panels anyway) are guaranteed for 20 years. That’s a bit more than $100 a year. Not that bad. If your generator doesn’t last 6 years, it would cost more than that per year (plus gas and maintenance costs).

First, calculate how long you might expect my batteries to last. Without trying to determine exactly how much power I would be using, your daily average can be 25 amps. This means that a dual 6-volt system with 220 amp-hours of capacity, taken down to 50% (or 110 amp-hours available) would last 4 days with a bit of reserve (or allowance for not being fully charged). Next, determine the number of days you want to be able to dry camp.

Cost breakdown 

They are big and heavy (120# each) but the cost difference ($180 each for the 220s and $220 each for the 395s) isn’t all that much for almost doubling the capacity.

In the Backwoods catalog there is a 64 watt panel. 4 of these would produce 256 watts. If you were always in a sunny location or using the system in certain other areas of the country you could get by with as little as one panel. These panels cost $350 each. These particular ones don’t use glass but unbreakable plastic and are thus lighter. Both good features for RV use. 4 of them will cost $1400.
Now you need mounts to put the panels on. 2 portable mounts (each will hold 2 panels) comes to $170. #You’ll need some module interconnect wiring to go to the combiner box. Let’s say 5′ for each module should do it. 20 feet costs $15. You now need a weather-rite combiner box to take the small gauge wire from the 4 panels and combine them to a much larger gauge wire. This box costs $115.

Next you need the large gauge wire to run from the location of the panels and combiner box to the charge controller in the pop-up. Figure on 50′ to give me a good chance of finding a sunny spot. For this distance you need 2 strands of 4 gauge copper with UV resistant jacket. Lets say it is $100. Next you need the charge control unit itself. You want a pretty good one with some meters and 3-stage charging.
There are just too many variables to be specific. Therefore generalities are very useful. There are more than a few people here that have moved on. Who said anything about 120v power. This discussion is about battery consumption and that is 12 volts. Besides, if you thought about it you would have realized we couldn’t have meant 60 amps of 120 since the most that RV parks offer is 50 amps.

Battery life

No, its not standard practice and it will effect the life of the battery. The system design has to take this into account. Sometimes it is necessary to use up most, or all, of our battery depending on the availability of sunlight due to weather, or camping in a cave and a deep cycle battery can do this without serious damage. Naturally, if you do it a lot, it will shorten the life effect on the battery life, but you can certainly do it.
A ‘shallow cycle” car battery is not designed to go to complete discharge, whereas the deep cycle product uses thicker plates which allows it to be depleted without killing it off. That is why a deep cycle battery is rated in amp hours, and a car battery is rated at CCA or some other version of quick discharge, cranking amps. If you have a 100AH deep cycle battery, you CAN draw 20 amps for 5 hours.
A car battery will not deliver this. Trojan and others provide data which will show you the life you can expect based on how many times you cycle the battery all the way down, or how many times you can go to 50%, or whatever you plan to do.

It is good practice not to run them down too far, but the capacity is there if you want it, and most applications will require that this happen more than a few times over the life of the battery, especially for camping when you don’t want, or need, a huge battery bank and a ton of solar panels. Its just a matter of using the technology that is available to provide for a specific need.

You bought it, but you didn’t check the MTBF. If you contact the manufacturer’s website, you can get that information. If you know how long your car or trailer should last, why not the same for a generator?

Honda are pretty good generators, but you might not like what you find out. That is $2100 dollars for 3 generators, assuming the price doesn’t go up in the future. We can count on an increase if you can use solar, you only buy it once. That would be the better investment, if you can use solar.

If the generator is a 1000 watt device, and if you run the battery charger from the 120V output, you can only achieve 8.3 amps per hour, not 20. We wouldn’t expect that the 12 volt output is 20 amps, probably closer to 10, but we don’t know your generator specs for certain. If you want 20 amps at 120v, you need a 2.5 killowatt generator. Running a deep cycle battery flat is what they are made for. You can zero the trojan ones out at least 100 times. That is why they are known as deep cycle batteries.  

Not everyone can make use of solar. If you buy solar equipment from an RV catalog. you will pay a lot of money for it, just like everything else they tend to sell. When you shopped for your trailer, you didn’t just buy from some catalog without investigating prices and looking for a good deal. After searching, you probably got a pretty good deal. Why just see prices on solar in an RV catalog, of all places, and determine that its too expensive? 15 amps of what power? What is the wattage of the furnace fan?
Is it 12V? how long does it run on a cool night. Its not on all the time, so saying 15 amps doesn’t provide any information about the power requirements. Not everyone can use solar, but those who are candidates should not be discouraged from checking on the possibilities. If you want to run a furnace or an air conditioner all the time, go for it, but you may not get there from solar.

You will never know if you don’t know the power requirements of the devices you want to run. When dry camping, plug the 110 volt cord from your trailer into a PROwatt 800 inverter in our van, turn OFF the converter in the trailer, and supply 12 volts to the trailer directly from a deep cycle battery in the van via the “charging line” in the umbilical cord between van and trailer.
Based on dry camping experiences, including two 6-day sessions last summer, we concluded that we can dry camp indefinitely, provided that we run our van’s engine an average of at least 1.5 hours per day to keep the house battery charged. We normally have no problem at all doing this, simply driving around for local sightseeing and running errands.
The custom “rv type” electrical system includes a 210 amp-hour 4D deep cycle AGM battery by Lifeline, a PROwatt 800 modified sine wave (MSW) inverter by Statpower, a 3-stage 10-amp charger by Statpower, and a PORTAWATTZ 300 MSW inverter (also Statpower) to power the 10-amp charger during most normal and long distance driving.

Better waste management

If your battery is rated 70 amp hours, then 10 amps is much more than a trickle charge. Without defining the system requirements, there is not point in making statements about what is a trickle charge, what is a reservoir, and “solar is not any good”.

Every application is different. Those generators cannot deliver much more than the “trickle charge” . With such a limited MTBF, you will buy an awful lot of generators over the life of your camper.
The average RV user will get a lot more out of a solar setup than from a generator. Its quieter, its infinitely more reliable than a generator, it won’t irritate your neighbors in the campground, and it doesn’t need gasoline at $3 a gallon. A pair of T-105 Trojans, fully charged, can deliver over 2 kilowattts before discharging completely. A lot of folks won’t use that much in three or four days of camping, especially in the world of pop-ups.

Solar is a great benefit to the camping world.

Determine the requirements for your application. Yours will be different than any one else’s. What are the cheapest solar panels available, and from who, or does any one know how to make home made solar panels that would still generate electricity, but for a lot less $ per watt.

Solar panels are pretty hard to make. The process involves several chemical mixtures and lot of weird stuff. You can to put together a small 12 Volt DC battery charger for about $75. These little panels can charge a car battery.
Unless you have a physics lab-from-hell, you cannot make your own solar panels. They are made from thin slices of pure crystals of some pretty esoteric materials.