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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

WNTBTTA 2


WHAT NOT TO BRING TO THE APOCALYPSE 2

1) number one is, of course, the generator.  If you live in the deep South and it is hotter than Lucifer’s lower intestine and you get more tornado’s and hurricane’s than they have enough names for, well by golly I guess having a generator isn’t the worst thing to consider owning.  Especially considering the deplorable condition of housing quality ( air conditioners are nearly mandatory on newer McMansions and mobile homes alike ) and the rather dear price of the meat in your freezer.  That being said, a generator is a natural disaster tool.  NEVER a survivalist tool.  A real manly man survivalist does away with the need for 99% of the electrical tools mere mortals depend on.  He embraces solar with the same fervor that tree-huggers do.  He 12 volts all his tools and minimizes those he absolutely needs.

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He takes the old school view that electricity is mainly for illumination and almost nothing else ( while I used my system to run my computer for writing, after the collapse the only thing I’ll be using 110 AC for-off my inverter-is my hair trimmers.  Hygiene and normalcy luxury.  Everything else is just lighting ).  If you must have refrigeration such as for insulin, you need a solar panel & 12v battery run 200 watt a day freezer turned fridge.  And you can-relatively cheaply compared to a high end generator- dig a earth pipe for cooling ( ten foot deep trench with sewer PVC pipe, if you are suburban you can loop the trench around and around in a small area rather than go in a straight line, fifty feet long.  The air intake is on the outside, going down ten feet to the horizontal fifty feet.  Have it elbowed to avoid water collection, a few small holes drilled at the bottom elbow just in case it happens.  The pipe goes up into the house, pulled by a 12volt auto fan.  In theory, fifty degrees [ the year round earth temperature that far down ] is pumped in ). 

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While, obviously, this doesn’t approach the efficiency of an AC unit designed with chilling meat in mind, it is off grid and natural and will deliver a far better return than a generator ever will.  Generators are for fat bald lazy humps unwilling to give up their Fry Daddy’s or 99 inch plasma TV’s and who use the excuse of a hurricane as the reason to keep their luxuries blasting away regardless of God’s Wrath or Natures Plans.  Then they throw in a case of MRE’s ( which will be #3 on our list ) and an AR-15 ( #9 ) and call themselves Preppers”.  Survivalism seems a bit too extreme, what with their claims of American Empire ending ( and how could that possibly be, they ask themselves, since Our American Boys have By God M-16 carbines with electric sites [ #10 ] and hence with such Billy Bad Ass Tommy Tactical gear they should be able to take on the world and win at War For Oil ) and Oil Ending ( like, Oh My God!, how can we survival without oil?  Call in Super Fracking Man and get a side of Energy Independence delivered with our Global Hegemon! ), so we’ll just act all mellow and chill-lax out about the “end of the world”.  Preppers are like Honey Badger ( look up HB on You-Tube for a friggin hilarious three minutes.  Thank you Kunsler for having a great sense of humor about the Apocalypse and sharing that and Honey Badger )-they just don’t give a sh*t.

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Generators are loud.  You can gay it all up, putting on a super deluxe muffler and hiding it is a garage or a basement or whatever, but it is easier and cheaper just making sure you don’t need one.  When solar panels were $1,000 for barely over a 100 watts, a generator made sense.  Now that 100 watts is barely over $100, it simply doesn’t make sense to own a generator ( for any event over a one week’s impact natural disaster ).  Generators use gasoline, and like bottled water gas is both too expensive and too sought and fought after to mess with.  Gasoline is that holy grail item everyone riots over and steals.  Sure, because they need it ( never having built a simple alternative ), but also because it is a talisman they use to ward off the need to deal with reality.  As long as their generator is churning away and they can watch reruns of Judge Judy, all is well in their pathetic bubble.  Reality need not reply.  Ditch the need and ditch the unneeded tool. 

Continued next time.

END

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30 comments:

  1. Yep, it is astounding how many things people take for granted every day use electricity- grid electricity where they charge you to hook up (through the nose) and charge you to stay hooked up every month (a decent chunk of change if you are broke) and charge you for the electricity you use (again a decent chunk too) Is it any wonder that more and more people are trying to get on low maintenance solar power? Recent events in Las Vegas have PO'd my friends their with their grid tied solar enough that they are considering dropping the grid all together and switching to off grid completely. They however live in a cardboard crapshack (a nice one, but still cardboard with plaster) and need the AC to not die from heat prostration during the summer.

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    1. I wonder how many casualties the decaying grid will rack up, just from the AC in crapshacks issue. How many 10's of thousands died in Europe just a few summers ago?

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    2. And here at the north border, how many cant heat without electricity? 2 years of highly unreliable power nation wide could rack up a body count in the millions before people get smart about it.

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    3. If they get smart. Most will just scoot down south, overloading the resources. Go Vikings, screw jungles!

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  2. Generators are also unreliable. When I was a firefighter we maintained and tested them every week. Even so, once in a while they'd crap out. These are not cheapo big box generators either.

    When we had a big ice storm I could hear generators from miles away -the first day. Then they started running out of gas. After three days it was pretty quiet. My solar just kept on working, no driving tree filled icy roads searching for an open gas station.

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    1. And you survived without hair curlers or the hot tub?

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  3. Don't forget, generators break down...fairly often and use parts that are hard to get and almost impossible to improvise. I have lived in the deep south most of my life without A/C and simply acclaimize to the temperatures, so it is possible. Old timers got by without A/C, you can too. As for tv's, cable is probably down if the power is out so you are stuck with broadcast stations. If you can stand Jerry Springer and his ilk, go for a 12 volt model or just go with a radio to get news and information.

    On the earth tubes, I worked on a geothermal heat pump system that was only 3 feet deep, but the lines were 3 feet apart so each line did not affect its neighbors thermal mass, hope that helps folks building their own. Research solar chimneys and you may be able to do away with the fan, or at least reduce the need for it. I Invision a solar chimney as being multi functional as a food dehydrator and clothes dryer, but there may be more uses.

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    1. I went through Basic in the Alabama summer, and lived five years in Florida without AC. It is only impossible out of the shade and in a badly insulated dwelling. On the tubes, how did you get the performance at only three feet? I'd be interested, see if I can redo my tube.

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    2. What we have seen over the year watching the neighbors who use the Big Box Store generators is that they are usually good for around 1,000 hours -- give or take a couple hundred.

      After that they just seem to burn up or break a part that cost more than a new generator.

      If you must have a generator, it's hard to beat a Honda. That being said, I do not know anything about propane generators so do your research. I do know some folks who have a propane generator and have been very happy with it.

      Idaho Homesteader

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  4. "That being said, a generator is a natural disaster tool. NEVER a survivalist tool."

    Very true!!

    I've lived off grid full time for over twenty years. I use a generator to top off my batteries when the sun doesn't shine and when I need to run big power tools in the shop.

    A generator is great for allowing you to have a fairly "normal" lifestyle and allows you to enjoy the conveniences of modern society. It also excels at getting a person through a short term disaster.

    For these scenarios, I strongly recommend the little Honda 2,000 watt EU generators. They are portable, sip gas, fairly quiet, easy to use, and are very reliable. Plus, you can hook 2 together for even more power.

    However, generators totally sucks as a SHTF prep item. They are too dependent on modern infrastructure. They need gas and parts. They make noise. Regular ol' "Home Depot" generators are not engineered to be ran 24/7. You would be silly to depend on one. Murphy's law definitely applies to generators.

    If TSHTF, I plan to not use my generator. I'll keep it for an emergency -- like if I need to set up an operating theater and amputate my own leg or something. I have set up our homestead to cycle down to simple living with all our basics covered -- oil lamps, candles, and solar lamps for light, Wood cook stove for heat and cooking, root cellar for refrigeration, rain water cistern and pitcher pump for water, hand tools for shop and garden.

    If you have a generator, keep it forefront in your mind that it is a LUXURY and not a necessity for daily living and survival. The basics of life should not be dependent on modern devices.

    ** As a side note -- if you are dependent on diabetic insulin, I would strongly recommend looking at a propane fridge. Propane stores forever and the fridges have no moving parts. Yes, you are dependent on propane, but just store a lot. Our mid size propane fridge uses approximately 5 gallons every 3 weeks so 100 gallons of propane would last you over a year.

    Idaho Homesteader

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    1. Or, if you get decent solar, 200 watt a day freezer turned fridge. New quality insulated marine batteries should last at least five years. Cost of propane fuel alone for that time is a $1k-not counting tank. Two solar panels, two batts, one new freezer, powering device, $650-$700. If you don't get good solar, more in panels and batts.

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  5. “If you live in the deep South and it is hotter than Lucifer’s lower intestine”

    Yeah, it gets hotter and more humid than Rosie O'Dumbbell's butt crack in the Mojave desert there. That's probably going to be a particularly challenging place to survive a collapse.

    Plenty of precipitation and wild edibles, so it has that going for it. But the population density is rather high, and I think that one of the worse things that you're going to be dealing with is disease and infection through rampant bacteria growth during the warmer months. Southerners should strive for an earth sheltered abode, a large store of antibiotics and antiseptics, as well as a multitude of ways to purify water.

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    1. Remember, in the 1800's, the South and even up into Yankeeland, say 3rd world tropical type diseases.

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  6. I have a Yamaha inverter type generator for the many short outages we have but I'm screwed for the long term. I can pump water and cook but no solar. I know I should stash the equipment now but all my storage is jammed full already. Must work on that...

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    1. Panels slid under the bed. Batteries, I'm not sure of. Kept charged next to the genie for running an LED lamp or three?

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    2. Yes. Get panels that you can move by yourself (even though the 350W panels are cheaper per Watt), while climbing up a ladder. That's about 60# (monocrystaline 150W) for me.
      If LED lighting is the objective (as it should be), a 60 pound Group24 72A/Hr will keep a lot of LED's lit with some comm/small-battery charging/vent-fan/laptop time. Why not a Group27 that is 100A/Hrs? Too effing heavy for a fit young lady or a damaged middle-aged man to move. I got a deal on an Exide AGM-FP24DP at local Bi-Mart (no tax, no shipping, rode home on bicycle package rack!) that my current batch of solar/wall chargers can work with. AGM is about 2x cost of cheapest flooded deepcycle models, but doesn't spill and doesn't vent (much), so can be in rv living space. This is a little bit small to run a refer (2 in series would be okay, but no longer 12v), but fine for lighting or starting an engine (Onan 4.0KW gas twin, 2.0KW Kubota Diesel, or fueled vehicle with dead battery). Agree completely that fueled genset is a luxury to be saved for important hard work that a cheap solar system and (available) human labor can't do. When it runs, it should be doing at least 75% of rated output into useful loads (pumping, charging, turning, etc.) by careful planning to get the most from fuel and machine-time.

      Plan better and get more solar?

      A few years ago, I lusted after large and costly Outback/Magnum/Xantrex inverter-chargers, scheming how to come up with the absolute minimum on-sale/refurb/used price that was never below $1500 bare-bones. Upon learning to love running one thing at a time, I found that a $160 (sniped!) ebay sinewave inverter like Morningstar SureSine could do enough (300W continuous, 600W peak) to satisfy minor electrical supply lust, as it does every day for the 3rd world target audience. Taiwan-made, without a fan to fail, for tropical hell-holes and monkey-installers. No toaster, hair drier, microwave, electric chainsaw running is possible, but the advantages of 120V to remote outlets without the heavy copper or voltage drop of 12v DC.
      pdxr13

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    3. Monkey installers-sounds about like me ( "just hook up the wires, if it doesn't work, switch them around" ).

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    4. Monkey-installers will be frustrated. 120v hurts. 12v can hurt if you are profoundly inept. Most likely, no-worky. Eeeeep!

      It won't work without careful study of the manual and accurate application of + and - the first time. Read and completely understand Technical Orders (at least 3 specific ones, and a couple general ones) before beginning procedure. Consult with topic experts for assistance or clarification.

      The payoff is that you can charge and run many different things that do not plug into USB for power.

      pdxr13

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    5. Yeh, I only monkey install DC, not AC.

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  7. I agree with you about a generator vs. solar. A large inverter for the truck covers large load short term. Damn I forgot you loath vehicle's.

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    1. Unless you get a vehicle as cheap as a new genie, then you can have both. If you MUST have a vehicle. Remember, a vehicle can be the lesser of evils if it keeps you away from crowds-they aren't evil incarnate, in and of themselves if used properly.

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    2. Odd that you said both as cheap as a genie. My son bought a Mazda that runs and drives but has a warped frame for 150$. A 2000 watt inverter from H.F. is 150$. So he got both for 300. I had him trailersteading in the woods till his attitude improved . It took a year and a half.

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    3. I told you he wasn't a complete morn. When I was a young lad it took me most of my 20's to get a decent attitude ( of course, to be fair to me, people suck and my attitude is their fault. I had to learn to hide that ).

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  8. “Regular ol' "Home Depot" generators are not engineered to be ran 24/7.”

    This reminded me of something that I read in the very first homesteading book that I ever read. And that's that if you have to have a generator, and need to run it often and for long periods, avoid the 3600 rpm generators and get an 1800 rpm generator. I believe that most being sold today are the former, and they're not really meant for anything beyond short term power outage usage. Any attempts to use them beyond their intended purpose results in a fairly quick internal meltdown.

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    1. I've read the same. Surprisingly, not all diesel gennies last as long as gas ones, according t neighbor who went through a lot of them over the years. Chinese crap, I'd imagine.

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    2. Years ago we bought a book through Backwoods Home Magazine that touted the advantages of the China Diesel Generator. We were stupid and bought one. What a piece of garbage!!!!!!!!

      We ran it for years but it was loud, dirty, loud, shook loose bolts and wires, loud, broke down every other week and did I say, it was loud?!?!

      You could get parts and rebuild it when needed (which we did -- often) but you better not forget to stock up on the specialty screws it required because the vibration would sheer them off on a regular basis.

      It did give a lot of power (more than we needed so we geared it down/up?? I don't know but we did something to have it run on less rpm's.) but you better have a diesel mechanic living under your roof.

      I would put buying that China Diesel Generator in one of the top 10 homesteading mistakes my husband and I made.

      Idaho Homesteader

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    3. If you must run a genset, get an 1800rpm Onan opposed twin. A 4.0KW model is ~750cc 1930's low-compression flathead technology. It will run on whatever, and can be made fancier with electronic ignition and propane/alcohol. As is, they are over-built to be able to deliver from inside a tiny compartment in an RV, without overheating (remote start!). Regularly available under $500 running/working. Points ignition will work post-emp, if that matters to you.
      Diesel is as good as you are. Become a master and have excellent luck, or don't and have frustrating expensive disposable engines.
      pdxr13

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    4. IH-I remember those books being advertised. The cheap way to energy independence. Sounded like a plan-glad I didn't go for it.

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    5. pdx-are those the Indian made units that made quite a stir here recently? Hard to ship over?

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    6. Onan 4.0KW genset is salvaged from leaky 1980's RV's and bolted to cart. Any one that had an A/C unit on top came with at least a 4KW gasoline generator. These are 18hp air-cooled tractor engines de-rated to about 5hp, so they are pretty sturdy (and over 200 pounds). A Honda generator is more portable, and you can dig a hole for one to point the noise into the sky. The Onan will be running in 10 years and the Honda will be worn out. Pick yer scenario. In the PNW, it doesn't get hot so there are lots of low-hour gensets and low-hour A/C units on leaky-moldy RV's that sell for cheap (really-cheap if they have sketchy titles and are ready to be scrapped).

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