Posts Tagged ‘RV’
The DARPA 2005 Challenge is a once in a lifetime chance for robotic engineers, companies and engineers to show their stuff. What is learned during such contests probably saves the Department of Defense hundreds of millions in Research and Development costs. To the taxpayers this is exceptional news indeed.
Recently I had a conversation with one of the teams, which is poised to win this years contest, although many would agree upon reviewing all these teams that they are all winners, as they bring to the table the future of robotics a frontier, which will be conquered indeed. This team told me that since they were using Off-The-Shelf Technology for their platform vehicle, meaning it was your basic SUV, that they were not sure if it had enough of a gas tank to make the whole trip. In fact since the speeds would be around 20-25 miles per hour over rugged terrain and since the vehicle would be running the modified electrical system full blast, with two alternators, RV style air-conditioning system and computer processors that it would be a gas hog? And you thought you paid a lot for gasoline? In any case this unmanned ground vehicles or UGV would be very inefficient indeed.
If you do a lot of boondocking (no hookups while camping), then you know battery life is one of the most important things you must plan for, especially if you have a small battery bank. One great way to save a lot of power is to convert your existing incandescent lighting to LED lighting. LED stands for light emitting diode and provides light in a very different way than incandescent or fluorescent lighting sources. The biggest benefit for a boondocker is that LEDs require very little power to operate, so you won’t have to be so conscious of switching off lights when you don’t need them.
Just how much power can you save by going LED? In a typical travel trailer of say 27 feet with a super slide and a couple of bunk beds, you may have upwards of 20+ 12 watt incandescent bulbs. If you were to have all of these on at one time, you would be drawing around 20 amps of DC power. In a few hours, your single group 24 12-volt battery would be near dead. Even if you had two batteries, you wouldn’t have much left to finish out a 2-day weekend without a battery recharge.