I've got a 400 watt inverter I was going to hook up directly to the battery because it only provides 100 watts when going through the [cigarette lighter] DC connector. That turns out to be a bad idea because even with the battery isolated from the rest of the vehicle by a cutoff switch juice still flows when the inverter is turned off. So plan B. First I realized I don't have to run a line to the negative pole of the battery since the chassis should be ground. The negative pole of a side mount battery has a boot over the connector which is really the first clue that it doesn't like added wires. Second the live wire will connect to the other side of the cutoff switch rather than the battery so the inverter is cutoff like every other circuit when I throw the switch. The 1.8 watt solar battery charger I am going to connect directly to the battery so it provides juice regardless of the state of the cutoff switch. I'm not at all worried about over charging. That's not been a problem. The only thing I'm missing is one inline wire connector. Too bad I couldn't find a variety pack with everything I needed. I ended up buying dozens of each kind of connector when I only needed less than a handful.
I'm using 14 gage wire because it's the largest gage that works with the connectors I bought. I'm sure this is fine for the solar panel but not sure this is enough for the inverter. I suspect if I ask too much of it I will find out. Laptops only draw about 90 watts and I don't have one yet. The only other current use I have is to charge my cell phone and that will work fine. I should have it all done tomorrow. I've already got two wires routed through my truck's firewall. A red one, connected directly to the battery, I will change from my inverter to my solar panel. A blue one I will connect to the other side of the cutoff solenoid and replace the red wire currently connected to the inverter with that. Then all I've got left to do is ground both devices to the chassis.
The only trick now is to figure out which is red and black on the solar charger. The wires are both black. I know the center of the DC connector is red, but I'd have to take it apart to figure which wire goes to the center pole. The guy at the parts place gave me a free new 9 volt battery for my VOM (I did a Becker complaining about how the other parts place wanted to charge me $4 for it and a miracle happened.) I just have to find out where in the garage the meter is. I'm also going to look for some nylon ties in the garage. I have three bucks left to last me the next two weeks. Otherwise I'm using string temporarily.
Update: Also I decided against the air mattress. It takes up too much room denying me storage space. I do not want to use my front passenger seat for storage. I gave it to my mom and she said I didn't have to repay a $100 loan. Normally I wouldn't accept, but things are tight. Not bad for the $25 I invested in the air mattress. My sister has a smaller regular mattress still in plastic that she's donating to my cause. That will leave room for the four clear plastic containers I bought the other day. Only two are full but I should fill the third before I'm done. I'm taking the fourth along just because. I'm going to forgo sleeping bags and just take some blankets.
Other stuff... I'll have about 5 gallons of water with me and I use that generic crystal light stuff for flavor. I have two almost full multi-vitamins plastic jars because I once couldn't find the first and I only take one every other week when I think about it. Peanut butter, honey and crackers don't require refrigeration, but I need my best foods mayonnaise so I may have to invest in one of those plug in camp coolers down the road. Anyone know which fast food chain uses best foods packets? I promise to pay for an overpriced sugar drink with meal if I need some extra condiments.
So what's the equivalent of an MRE for the homeless? All suggestions welcome.