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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

on grid 12v 1 of 3


ON GRID 12v

The other day I somehow stumbled across an article by the guy who writes “Low Tech Magazine”.  I didn’t realize he lives in Spain.  I’m not sure if he is an expat-he seems to have American idioms occurring naturally in his publication-but if he is I’m not sure the Iberian peninsula would be the worst choice you could make in a slow collapse scenario.  While I don’t think its climate/soil can feed the present population, it also probably isn’t the number one target on anyone’s invasion list ( beyond being closest to Africa, I’m not sure why the Towelheads ever did ).  The Pyrenees mountains make a nice land barrier, the independence movements from several of its regions probably brakes centralist tendencies, as long as economies are functional in the north there will always be tourism dollars and it has, mostly, a Medditarrian climate without the crowds as you would find in Los Angeles or parts similar.  Anyway, that was apropos to almost nothing.  My point was that his article was on powering his work office by solar.

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Then, I’m going through my collection of scribbled ideas in search for an article subject and I run across “future black outs and high power costs-go low power now”.  And there you have just a taste of the convoluted pathways my brain takes when I conjure up what to write about for the day.  I’ve mentioned before about the Alaskan power fiasco.  For whatever reason which escapes my memory ( refined oil for generation disruption? ), some Alaskan residents saw their power costs about triple.  At around 55 cents a kilowatt hour, everyone was scrambling to come up with alternatives to higher power appliances or procedures.  The situation righted itself soon enough, but I loved the cautionary tale and have mentioned it a time or three.  It isn’t just about a grid down situation but about regular and normal shortages and disasters.  So, obviously, propane and 12v isn’t just for those seeking to escape off grid to minimize the effects of the Rat Race.  And while camping supplies are all well and good, they are temporary and usually not that well made.  Far better to just plan on a future of insane high prices and brown-outs and then you cover several problems at once.  Reducing dependence, emergency coverage, insulating against cost hikes and just for the heck of it, to help against Gore Warming for bragging points with hairy armpit Hippie Chicks.

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Not that I’m saying, hey, go out and hump a Hippie Gal.  I mean, sure, they have fewer hang-ups as far as Protestant derivative sexual repression, and they will embrace your bike riding ( no car payments-to you it is about the Benjamins.  No car payments equal free exercise and extra prep money ).  But they most likely will have the whole Amish/Gandhi non-violent thing going on and will certainly NOT be pleased with your semi-automatic death dealing arsenal.  She might mount you like a lame horse, but who needs the nagging about turning Golden Horde members into Pink Mist?  To you and me, that is just natural selection and tribal protection, but to those potential fruitcakes you are disturbing the cosmic vibe or some such drivel.  Right now the great sex ( less hang-ups AND yoga-double jackpot, yo.  Be Warned! ) is making you weak, but think of the future when she throws your shotty into the chlorinated water filled pool, the ignorant slut ( see the movie The Trigger Effect ).

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Okay, so partial, in town, on grid alternate energy is great for attracting Hippie Bitches into your windowless van, and it is great for keeping the lights on and the wheat gruel cooking after the Apocalypse.  And I’m certainly NOT talking about twenty grand in solar panels on the roof.  What kind of frugal survivalist would I be if I did that?  I’m talking $35 here, $100 there, some weekend projects using junk material, that sort of thing.  Rather than focusing on post-Apocalypse you are mainly insuring against outages and price hikes.  These are measures the wife will surely support, as you are assuring continuity of luxuries, while in “her” house.  It isn’t camping stuff, which she’ll probably not really approve of.  It isn’t prepping, which you know she hates.  It is saving money, potentially, saving Gaia, potentially ( in case she is a little bit Hippie Check herself ), and keeping the lights on and the kids safe ( don’t neglect to play the Kid Card if it will help ).  But it isn’t a whole lot of money, either, which is where most plans go off the rails.  Costs are going up, wages are going down, and you want to buy WHAT?  I’d heavily cover the potential of electric or heating oil price hikes, something you can easily collect newspaper articles on.  Then your post-apocalypse energy independence project can get approved.

More next article.

END

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18 comments:

  1. Folks may want to consider embracing the Hippy facade. It gives you a good excuse to install alternative energy (like solar and windmills), grow a garden, collect rain water, and raise a few chickens without the neighbors thinking you are some survivalist fruitcake.

    You will also have an excuse for the wheat and grain mill. It's for your healthy-whole-grain-bread ala the books "Laurel's Kitchen" and "The Tassahara Bread Book".

    Guns are a little harder but you can always use the excuse of hunting for deer -- organic and chemical-free meat. In the book "Omnivores Dilemma", the author hunted in order to better connect with where his food was coming from.

    In my neck of the woods, most of the hippies are survivalist. Being a survivalist up here is considered normal.

    Idaho Homesteader

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    1. Good cammo, being a tree hugger-great idea. I'd try that but I like my hair short. I doubt most folks would believe a crew cut hippie-our tribal uniforms are pretty convencing most times.

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    2. locks of love, and other hair recycling schemes will work for that, if they question it. The symbols are more important, a peace symbol on your bike, a 'stop the drilling' sticker as your bookmark, say approving things about organic and eclectic foods, etc. People will quickly come to believe you are hippy lite.
      Problem is that rednecks tend to find hippies annoying - and maroon necks (for neck color and intelligence) tend to target them for harassment and possible violence so stay in the hippy lite category and keep the hair short.

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  2. The Trigger Effect ! You could write a whole series of articles about this since it fits very well into your general outlook.

    This was the movie I saw when I entered survivalism (I already read "Medical Effects of Nuclear Warfare" some years before, so I was quite aware of a good number of issues already). At that time I wondered what the whole trouble was with these family issues and whatnot, I just wanted some disaster porn ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZW2qxFkcLM0 ) and was still in the stupid belief that Hollywood was actually based on something real to teach me survivalism (how wrong I was !)

    Actually the movie is very sound. Over twelve years later, life experience had taught me that it is ALL about family and the people around you, and the decision process. It is ALWAYS messy and frustrating (if it isn't, you're moving as one man towards precipice)

    The huge, fat issue here is not the MGOTW themes (back when MGTOW wasn't even a word). The huge anteater balls sucking thing is that the couple has a kid which is sick.

    And this is where the awfulness of SHTF hits, because the proverbial shit is RANDOM and structures or people who could help you out are not present anymore or worse (would you sacrifice everything to save your child ? many people during WW2 did)

    We don't see this because our delicate system allows us to be qualitative (make one or two children and invest in them) but when that system disappear things get so RANDOM that you get quantitative and pop lots of children in the fragile hope that enough of them will survive... (and if you have too many you either all starve to death or wage war with some guys you don't like ) (again, James explains it better and his words carry more punch, just like his hair)

    The quantitative approach is also what strips you of your precious snowflake individuality and you become one with the tribe, most of which is made of stupid assholes. Hey, it's either being low on the totem pole or being alone against any other such tribe.

    The Trigger Effect is a very mature movie. The one movie which made me in earnest depart from retarded survivalism is also named "The Trigger Effect", it's the pilot episode of an extremely well made BBC series by James Burke, "BBC Connections". This is true survivalist stuff, very well explained. Once I saw this other "Trigger Effect" I became more interested in the real stuff and suscribed to the Bison Newsletter.

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    1. Okay, it's been awhile since I saw the movie ( when I was writing my book on PA movies ), even if it was my forth or fifth time, but if I'm remembering correctly the great thing about the movie was the pretty unique outlook as the characters truly unprepared. Most movies assume some hidden talent or reserves of fortitude but here it is mostly just The Blond Leading The Blind ( trademark, copyright, if nobody else thought of that first ). It was believable insofar as Joe Everyman meeting the Apocalypse.

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  3. A solar powered shed is also a good starting point. The cost saving not pulling a long power line covers a portion of the set up. Plus you can expand it as you want because a wife never goes into a shed.

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    1. As long as you can keep the equipment mobile. Living in the house is much better than a shed. But, yes, good cammo.

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    2. “As long as you can keep the equipment mobile.”

      That sounds like a good compromise James. You could do a variation on one of those little houses (towable shed) for a fraction of what those cost. It would be better than a trailer too, but not quite as good as a real shed, because you would really want to go with lighter framing in order to keep the weight down. Also make sure that you can clear your typical overpass.

      Once permanently moved, you could remove the tires, and drop it down on some cinder blocks. An even better option is to drop it on a cinder block basement, doubling your square footage, and providing an earth sheltered option as well. Wish that I had done this instead of getting my RV.

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    3. Well, I was kind of thinking the equipment itself, the batteries and propane stove, you could easily bring inside. You got WAY complicated on me there-not that it isn't an idea onto itself.

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  4. I have a friend that spends time in a third-world country (the DR) that experiences power shortages several times a week, sometimes every day.

    What people there do is to build a battery bank (think solar power type of battery bank) and instead of having solar panels charge the batteries they use the grid power to charge them when it’s up.

    All it takes is batteries, a battery charger an inverter for 110 -volts (and 12-volt appliances) to run a few things when the power goes out.

    Add propane for cooking (and maybe heat) and a wood stove if you live where it gets cold and you are set for times without the grid.

    A small $100.00 ($40.00 if bought used) generator can put out as much power as $500.00 worth of solar panels and it can also be used to charge a battery bank.

    Chuck Findlay

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    1. I've used a $150 generator and the thing blew rabid chunks. For the same price I can now buy a 100 watt panel. Granted, it is sunny here a lot, not so in other places. That is a consideration. But also, the fuel issue and and maintanence and the short lifespan of a generator ( 1k hours ) have their own issues. The wall plug in charger has its ease of use going for it, and a generator to back that up, which shouldn't be used too often, is a great way to deal with brownouts. It is just that solar will do the same for a lot longer and in the long run cheaper.

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  5. Don't underestimate the value of a generator. Solar and batteries are great and very cost effective over the long haul. But when you need a lot of amps for a few min to run a tool the solar / battery system has real trouble delivering power unless you spend the money fro a BIG system. This is where the generator shines, it can deliver high current for tools to do a job when needed.

    And a used generator (get a 4-cycle one, not a 2-cycle) is not that expensive. I bought a 4,000-watt Homelight (sp?) generator for $50.00, and it ran OK. Since then I bought a carb rebuild kit to have on hand, but so far I haven't needed to use it.


    Chuck Findlay

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    1. Generators have their place, but not in a small low power back up to brown-outs.

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  6. A "good" generator is not cheap, a cheap generator is not good (although it may keep the freezer cold for 2 weeks _not fail_ while the grid is restored). You don't need 5KW from a genset, and you REALLY don't want any genset that rotates at 3600 rpm. 1800 rpm is okay, and the best ones can run at 900 rpm (or slow-variable speed). A good genset is not loud. I have an "okay" genset that is a 300cc horizontal single that rotates a 24v generator that can provide 2KW continuously (hot-rated) while burning 1 pint of fuel per hour (yes, 1 gallon per 8 hour shift). I thought it a very good deal at $1200 used, when solar was $4/watt for panels. I wouldn't buy it now, at all, but will find a place for it in The System, maybe as a winter charger for a 24v system that runs a house inverter. The problem with a generator is minimum run times to get up to temp, having enough useful (charging) load to put 75% of faceplate load on the engine, and minimum operational frequency (exercise) to demonstrate operation and stay lubed. All these things might not contribute much to keeping your battery charged, but you HAVE TO do them or face early/expensive repairs & short machine life. It's tough to find a small generator of good quality to match a small cabin and small battery bank, although expensive top-quality models from Honda and Hatz are some. User diligence is the most important thing you can't buy.

    If you have neighbors that also are primarily solar powered (off-grid), you might share the costs of a portable generator for periodic conditioning charging of batteries or topping-up during cloudy winter months when panels aren't enough. On-grid people have access to the cheapest Watts 24/7 and will find gensets expensive & annoying, esp. if their grid is super-reliable like BPA-fed PNW urban areas.

    I disagree with our well-maned list-mom that "marine" batteries are correct for deep-cycle use. They are "half-good"; better than pure "start" batteries, but not as optimized for the long run as genuine "Deep Cycle" batteries. If a battery lists "Cold Cranking Amps", it is probably not a Deep Cycle Battery, but if it lists C/20 run-time, it could be. Running LED lights most-approximates a 1/50th (C/50) or 1/100th (C/100) of the amp-hours in a battery, not a brief high-current load. The external appearance of a start battery can be exactly the same as a Marine (starting/lighting) or true Deep Cycle battery, so read the small print before buying. -pdxr13

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    1. Yes, marines are half good. For poor boys who can't handle higher quality's price tag. It's your $300 Mauser compared to a $1200 M14.

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    2. This is why we shop long and hard for $75 K98's, $100 SKS's, $150 AK's, and $250 FN/FAL's. They are out there. Don't stay poor, and keep some of the really-good stuff that might be unfashionable (like red hair and Pendelton wool shirts). Your knowledge and efforts are the most valuable things. -pdxr13

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    3. When buying electronics, avoid any unit with fans. Fans allow designers to use small heatsinks and fewer expensive power transistors. Fans suck in dust, coating electronics with insulating fur, leading to rapid demise by over-heat (just after guarantee ends). This is typical Chinese technique to make FIVE THOUSAND WATT SINE WAVE INVERTER that weighs 16 pounds and costs $399.
      Portland is experiencing excessive Gore-Warming today, especially since the sun came up. Raspberries!
      pdxr13

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    4. My first 400 watt inverter ran its fan all the time-WalMart special. My second Wally unit, same watt, only kicked on the fan at about 60 watts draw. Hell if I know...

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