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Old 02-10-2008, 01:05 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Ok, so I'm going to say that the solar idea is out. I over-estimated how much power a solar panel can produce and underestimated how much power the car actually uses. I was thinking that this 6'x3' cell I found a Fry's would cover it, but if it won't then that is the largest I can fit on the roof of my car, period. But now I'm thinking of removing the power steering which will remove some load, but the question is, will I see a noticeable improvement, enough to make it worth my time and effort to bother removing it? I have tried driving the car just rolling with no engine and it's pretty easy to turn without power steering so that would be really the only thing I can sacrifice off the engine at that point.

And to what Frank Lee said about the defrost working without A/C. There are some days that the only way I can get the windows to become un-fogged is to run the A/C. It usually happens when it's raining and cold outside so opening the windows to compensate for the temperature difference just isn't feasible so the A/C is my only option.

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Old 02-11-2008, 03:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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On the third hand, what if you made an aerodynamic trailer to attach to the back of your car that happened to be completely covered in solar panels? That, added to what you mounted directly to the vehicle might make a difference. Would have to know how long a trailer you felt comfortable with to do some basic calculations.
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Old 02-11-2008, 03:47 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Yeah, but the trailer would defeat the original reason for unbelting the alternator anyway.

Hauling a trailer will kill more MPG than unbelting the alternator will gain.

IMO, the best way to go would be two high AH 6v batts with a charger. Plus keep the alternator belt and a wrench in the trunk for those longer trips.
"I got 350 heads on a 305 engine. I get 10 miles to the gallon. I ain't got no good intentions." - The Drive By Truckers.

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Old 02-11-2008, 04:04 PM   #14 (permalink)
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You could go as far as adding regenerative brakes or even wattage-generating suspension if you had lots of engineering and fabbing resources at your disposal, but an easier route might be to find an oversized pulley for your alt, so it takes less parasitic effort from the engine, and can still produce just enough charge to keep LED lights on and the battery trickling.
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Old 02-11-2008, 04:44 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I find that my engine is off enough of the time, I barely get enough charge. I get 14.x volts when the engine is running, but that's 1/2 or less of the driving time. This time of year, with headlights a necessary evil, I'm happy to keep it charged enough to crank the starter. No way I can/will change the pulley on my alternator.

It's close, though. LED's would probably tip the balance just enough.

11-mile commute: 100 mpg - - - Tank: 90.2 mpg / 1191 miles
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Old 02-11-2008, 04:52 PM   #16 (permalink)
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PaleMelanesian: it's for that reason (higher electrical loads in winter) that I don't mess around with alternator optional running at this time of year. Also, the cold temps degrade battery performance. So on top of the added draw, you also have lower capacity. Bad combination.

Hondaworkshop: I understand that if you underdrive an alternator, the voltage regulator will simply compensate for the reduced output by increasing the field current.
So it's a wash in the end. The only (small) benefit from underdriving then is limited to belt losses & less aero drag from the pulley fan.

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