Well, the numbers above look all nice and pretty, and of course are approximately doubled from the extra input from the external panels, but alas are only a snapshot, with conditions about as ideal as they can get for this time of year.
Reality is a much more grim prospect, with only about 10% of that under what is turning out to be a "normal". I of course knew that there was going to be a radical difference between summer and winter, but I'm a bit irritated with what I'm seeing. I calculated the 200W based on conditions I saw last year, and it would have roughly been enough, if carefully used. This year, I'm seeing different conditions, and while I don't have a quantified value to place on it, there's no way it's even close to what I was expecting. I'm not sure how much is actual difference and how much is due to estimation error, likely a solid mix of both. But either way, it ain't cutting it.
I regret to say that for the moment, I'm plugged back in, until I can come up with a way to reduce consumption and improve input. Both come with issues in the present setting, mainly input. Raising the panels to optimize incident light is not ideal, due to various concerns with having them elevated. The propping method I'm using at the moment isn't super secure, and while it has illustrated it can tolerate some wind, I don't know how far I trust it. It is also a very obvious protrusion into the sky since the entire array is more than 4 feet long, and it attracts a LOT of attention when it's raised, a fair amount of which I would not consider positive. There's also technically a 7 foot height limit for street parked vehicles, that isn't necessarily strictly enforced, but could become a problem if enough eyes fall on it over the course of time. I have no intentions of finding out.
On the consumption side, my load at night with only the phone, 2W overhead LED light, and ceiling fan running (via inverter) hovers right around 3.2A, which would be ok if the skies were cooperating during the day to any extent, but proved to be trending towards dead batteries (50%, and likely even lower) by the end of night 3. The fan is a requirement to keep the temperature homogenous in here, as stratification and drafts take over without it, and the heating fuel requirements go up significantly to keep it comfortable.
There's also more drafting than there was last year, the heat is working much harder for some reason. I've pretty much been left thinking door seals, but the physical configuration for air flow also changed when the bed frame finally gave way last year and I lost the ability to let the cooler air pool up somewhat underneath. I can't recall exactly when it was swapped out right off the top. I can probably get a clue from another post, but I'm thinking December. This would leave the coldest months still to have yet to come however, so I'm at a loss if that indeed turns out to be the case.
Today I also realized that the sliding door is trying it's best to reach the "I'm over it" stage, and pretty much solidified the idea that the van as it exists is at end of life. I have no complaints overall, it's been very good to me, was there when I needed it most, I don't have any real money tied up in it, and what I do have can be removed and reused. It's been an incredible learning tool, and I certainly don't regret anything I've done with or to it, but I think it's time to begin planning for version 2. More space, more real estate on top, and a reliable drivetrain (the computer that controls the engine has issues and I can't see dumping money into it given all of the other issues since it does still actually run).
I'll be continuing with some experiments that are currently in the works and running on PV as conditions allow, but I don't see anything major being started at this point in time in this version.
Thanks goes out to everyone that has provided input and components that have brought it this far, I can honestly say I wouldn't have pulled it all off without all of your help. No fear, it won't end here! I'll still keep the updates coming, just admitting that I've basically hit the wall on it and need to take it to the next level. You guys tried to warn me, it is certainly addicting! LOL
Till next time...