WELCOME ALL SUBSCRIBERS to this Special Edition of Author Raymond Dean White's Newsletter.Book 2 in The Dying Time Trilogy is being released tomorrow (March 15) and is currently available for Pre-Order at:
After The Dying Time: Tomorrow is the big day
Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other fine retailers. See links below. On the Cover note the greatly expanded Gulfs of California and Mexico, the missing Great Lakes and that Central and South America are no longer connected.
In a post-Impact world there are Kings, subjects, slaves and those desperately fighting to remain free. Twelve years after The Dying Time Impact, Joseph Scarlatti reigns as King of California, or at least thatís what heís called to his face. Behind his back the words tyrant, butcher, monster and cannibal are spoken softly in fear of being overheard. His spies are everywhere. His empire spans the remains of the entire West Coast. But his need for power is all consuming so he invades the Colorado Freeholds and the Nation of Deseret (formerly Utah) and he hasnít forgotten about gaining control of the top secret weapon that can assure him of world domination.
On the moon, where the crew of the International Space Station relocated to survive, a mutiny is brewing. The population is growing, resources are getting scarce, their power supply is failing and people are getting sick of military rule.
Thereís also a growing fear that if anyone on Earth gains control of The Weapon theyíll use it against Luna City and plans are hatched to destroy the space based laser.
Meanwhile, Havocís twin is hurtling toward Earth and that weapon is the only thing that can prevent another Dying Time.
The Dying Time: Impact is still available for only $1.99 and thanks to many of you it's getting some great five star reviews.
I'm still working on the CreateSpace (print version) of the books and hope to have them out by April 1.
And now for more of that Prepper content I've been delivering to you. This is an excerpt from a non-fiction book I'm working on titled:
BUGGING IN: WHAT TO DO WHEN TSHTF and YOU LIVE IN SUBURBIA by Raymond Dean White
Power and Light
Without electricity, civilization as we know it does not exist. That may not apply to you directly if youíre Amish, or Hutterite or Mennonite--though even they will be seriously impacted. But for the rest of us, no power literally means the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI).
What did you do the last time your power went out? If it was nighttime, you probably stumbled around a too dark home until you grabbed a flashlight, hoped the batteries werenít dead, and went to check your circuit breaker box. Of course many people keep their cell phones beside their beds and just by turning it on have a ďflashlightĒ to use. Of course if no breakers were tripped you probably went outside to see if your neighbors had power. Finally, you picked up a phone and called the power company to report the outage, then waited for the electricity to come back on.
Weíve all done that, some of us more than others--think Hurricane Sandy in 2012 or Katrina in 2005. In both of those storms thousands of people were without power for weeks or months. In the aftermath of Katrina, especially, there was widespread looting and chaos as civil order disintegrated. Preppers call that a Without Rule Of Law (WROL) scenario and itís pretty much the worst case after The Shit Hits The Fan (TSHTF).
What most folks think about doing if the power doesnít come back on within a few hours is using a portable electric generator that runs on gasoline, propane or natural gas. There are a number of excellent, durable generators that can provide short-term emergency power, but before we get into restoring power letís discuss emergency lighting and batteries.
The lights go out. All power is off. You grab a flashlight and the batteries are dead.
Here are your alternative lighting sources. You should have virtually all of these things on hand and if you donít...get busy.
Matches--great for lighting candles or a gas stove but try holding a lit match while finding and changing batteries in a flashlight. I use regular old Diamond wooden matches for most uses but I also have several boxes of UCO Stormproof, Waterproof and Windproof Matches for emergencies. Check them out and get some. You do have to be a bit cautious using them. The non-igniting part of the matchstick is on the short side. (I can just see a Corporate bean counter saying, ďIf we cut off ľĒ from each matchstick we can make X more matches without effecting our matchstick cost outlayĒ). Since these matches burn for 15 seconds they generate a lot of heat and you can char your fingertips. They are, however, just the thing if you need fire in wet, windy conditions. http://www.amazon.com/UCO-Stormproof-Matches-Waterproof-Windproof/dp/B00345Q1WE
I just stumbled across these Elite Forces Survival Waterproof/Windproof Matches on the Pioneer Living website. Just from the photos and description I can see they have a longer matchstick -- therefore safer to grip. Iím ordering some. http://www.pioneerliving.net/store/fire-starters-survival-lighters/full-tang-tactical-knife.html
And Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center has these Coughlans Windproof Storm Matches which also look excellent and they are less expensive. They are NATO approved. http://www.nitro-pak.com/emergency-prep/camping-supplies/camping-supplies/storm-matches-nato-approved-windproof-and-waterproof
All of these matches are great for camping as well as for emergencies.
Cigarette lighters--even non-smokers should own a few.
Fireplace lighters--just long-nosed butane cigarette lighters. An absolute necessity. Almost nothing beats them for lighting a propane grill or a wood fire in windless conditions.
Candles--now weíre getting somewhere, especially if you have the 100+ hour emergency candles like these from The Ready Store. http://www.thereadystore.com/emergency-preparedness-supplies/light-and-communication/115-hour-readycandle
White gas, butane, or propane lanterns--Okay in a very short term pinch (so you can change those blasted dead batteries) but not intended for use inside due to carbon monoxide and other such problems.
Electric LED lanterns--excellent, but again think dead batteries. These will light up a room and this model comes with a hand crank as a backup to its batteries. Some are even solar powered to keep the batteries charged. http://www.thereadystore.com/emergency-preparedness-supplies/light-and-communication/6-led-dynamo-lantern
Oil lamps -- much better, but unless you can go whaling (oh, I am so bad for even thinking that) or live near a defunct fast food restaurant, you will eventually run out of oil to burn.
Your emergency radio (from Chapter One) which should have a hand cranked or solar/battery powered light.
Flashlights--okay, you think weíve come full circle, but Iím talking about solar powered or hand cranked flashlights. Yeah, there are such things. The best one Iíve found is the Solar Hybrid Flashlight from either Good Ideas for Life orAmazon.com
--see links below. It holds a charge for 3 years, 5 years with battery backup. It provides 10 hours of light on a single solar charge, is a very bright LED light (40 lumens), is waterproof up to 80 feet, and it floats. Best of all, it comes fully charged.
I have several of these flashlights. One in each vehicle and one in each bedroom as well as the kitchen and living room. They arenít all aluminum Maglights, so you canít use them as a club, but they are reliable. http://goodideasforlife.com/products/emergency-essentials/light-and-communication/solar-hybrid-flashlight http://www.amazon.com/Hybrid-Powered-Flashlight-Emergency-Battery/dp/B001NTT45Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1373473626&sr=1-1&keywords=solar+flashlight
Headlamps--basically a flashlight you wear around your head, keeping your hands free. Sure, youíll look like a Grade A dork, but function beats fashion in any survival situation and these little gems are great. Mine, a cheap little Black Diamond Gizmo ($19.95 from REI), uses 2 AAA batteries that I can recharge in my solar battery charger. It only weighs 2 ounces, has a high and low beam that illuminates up to 50 feet on high and 15 feet on low. It lasts for 6 hours on high and 75 hours on low. Best of all, they leave your hands free to do whatever you set out to do when you started traipsing around in the dark. http://www.rei.com/product/825732/black-diamond-gizmo-headlamp
Maybe if I was spelunking Iíd spring for the much fancier and more rugged $500 model, but so far this one has been terrific. I keep one of these in each vehicle and in the master bedroom. Did I mention they are hands free?
Solar powered light bulbs--Leave these Nokero N200 Crestone three-way Solar bulbs in the sun for a couple of days to put an initial charge on them and get up to eight hours of light. They cost about $15 each but thatís comparable to any LED household bulb. Iíll admit I havenít tried them yet but I will simply because they are such a good idea. Hereís a link to one from Emergency Essentials, but you can also get them on Amazon. http://beprepared.com/nokero-n200-solar-powered-light-bulb.html
Nokero also makes a Shavano Pro model that is twice as bright as the Crestone. It goes for $27 and is said to be their rugged outdoor version. The Crestone, however, is the best selling solar light bulb in the world and is frequently used in third world countries. http://store.nokero.com
Now for a quick word about rechargeable batteries, without which most of your flashlights or lanterns will be useless. I use Sanyo Eneloop Ni-MH batteries for AA and AAA needs. I also have D and C cell sleeves that I can insert the AAís into for those items requiring D and C batteries. I chose these because they get outstanding reviews from users and can be recharged up to 1500 times, giving them a long useful life. The AAís are rated at 1900-2000 mAh (milli-amp hours) and the AAAís are rated at 750-800 mAh. As an added bonus they have a very low self-discharge rate. Iíve used them for years now and they are the best rechargeables Iíve found. http://www.amazon.com/eneloop-2000mAh-Typical-1900mAh-Position/dp/B0058N6JUE/ref=sr_1_11?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1373473427&sr=1-11&keywords=eneloop+batteries
Unfortunately, Eneloop does not make a 9V battery so for 9V applications I use Tenergy Centura Ni-MH rechargeable batteries. They are also low self-discharge and have a 200 mAh capacity (which is apparently good for 9V batteries). Tenergy claims they can be recharged 1000 times and that they maintain 85% charge after one year of storage and 70% after two years. Tenergy also makes actual D and C cell rechargeable batteries, which would outlast AAís in sleeves. http://www.amazon.com/Tenergy-Centura-Self-Discharge-Rechargeable-Batteries/dp/B003QUNYQI/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1373473029&sr=8-12&keywords=tenergy+rechargeable+batteries
Rechargeable batteries are virtually worthless unless you have a way to recharge them. I have several plug-in style rechargers but my absolute favorite is the Ansmann 5207123 Energy16 charger. It has worked flawlessly for the past four years charging D, C, AA, AAA and 9v batteries. It will charge up to twelve AA and four 9v batteries simultaneously (thus the 16 in its name). I got mine from Amazon but itís unavailable there now so hereís a link from CCI Solutions. http://www.ccisolutions.com/StoreFront/product/universal-battery-charger?gclid=CjwKEAiAmOymBRD0_evS4aTh2hUSJAB7FkhypkYZgJ7TKcJUZtKuBQDPdQrAxElbdsTgRpjJwZo98BoC7Z7w_wcB
Okay, so plug-in rechargers wonít do you any good if the power is out. Thatís why God invented solar battery rechargers. I donít have one of these yet, mostly because Iíve researched them to death instead of saying to hell with it and just buying one or three. The reason I say one or three is because I havenít found one yet that will recharge all the batteries types I use--D, AA, AAA and 9v--as well as my Kindle Fire and other devices that can be recharged via USB cables. The leading candidate so far is a combination of three devices:
First up is the Instaparkģ Mercury 10M Solar Panel Portable Solar Charger with Built-in Dual USB Ports for iPhone, iPad & all other USB Compatible Devices, such as my Kindle. It comes with a 5200mAh Battery Pack. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006ZSE6TM/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=AU5MW0P13QZ5V
Hooked to that via a USB cable is a device that will charge my AA Eneloop Batteries, which are, by a large margin, the batteries I use most. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004UAG776/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A4UCFL9LU89NR
Next is a stand alone device that will charge D, C, AA and AAA batteries. http://www.amazon.com/C-Crane-SBC-11-in-1-Battery-Charger/dp/B001BKS3Z2/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1423696983&sr=1-2&keywords=solar+powered+battery+charger
Frankly, Iíve been tempted to simply buy three or four of these 11-in-1 chargers since they are relatively cheap and let it go at that.
And finally, the main reason I donít have one of these yet is because my wife and I are working toward purchasing a whole home photovoltaic array large enough for us to go off-grid entirely, in which case my Ansmann will do all the recharging we need.UPDATE: I bought the Instapark Mercury 10M Solar charger and the Eneloop battery add-on and I've tested them and they work well together. The Instapark will also charge my cell phone and Kindles. Now when we get around to doing whole home solar we'll have some backup. Remember the Prepper saying "Two is One and One is None."
Okay, letís get back to you, standing in the dark with your headlamp on or solar hybrid flashlight in hand. If you have a generator youíll want to fire it up.
Weíll assume youíve maintained it well, oil changed, air filter clean, and kept a gasoline preservative such as STA-BIL 22214 or PRI-G in the tank so it will start when needed.
Weíll assume itís a gasoline model since they tend to be the least expensive and most common. Weíll touch on propane, natural gas, diesel and solar generators later. I am not going to get into wind or micro-hydro generators as they will be almost nonexistent in the suburbs or in cities.
We will further assume that your power has not failed as the result of an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP), because if it has and your generator has a push button solid state electronic starter, and no pull start option, you are hosed. Being an intelligent, far-sighted kind of person, your generator has a pull starter and is so well-maintained it starts on the very first pull.
You run a power cord into your house, plug a six way outlet strip into it and then, because you made sure it put out enough Kilowatts to handle your load, you plug in your fridge, your freezer (if it's as separate unit), a lamp, and, if your generator is pure sine wave rated (which you also made certain of before buying it), your computer and your TV. You even have an empty slot left over in case itís hot and you need a fan plugged in, or you use a CPAP to sleep, or need to plug in your battery charger to recharge your AAís.
Do not get cute and try to back-feed your circuit breaker box as you could feed power back onto the grid and electrocute some poor lineman whoís trying to restore power. You can, for about $600-$900, have an electrician install a transfer switch and hook your generator up to your breaker box so it starts automatically if the power fails, but that is beyond the scope of our discussion.
Congratulations! You have just restored power and civilization to your immediate family.
You have also told everyone within a three block radius that you have a generator, because even a ďquietĒ generator is surprisingly loud in the eerie stillness following a blackout. So now you need to secure your generator to something very solid with a heavy chain and padlock.
Your best course of action now may be to share your power with your neighbors by running heavy duty extension cords to their homes. Note: they must be heavy duty extension cords preferably 8 gauge or larger because if they arenít it will place too heavy a load on you generator and could damage it. Further note: such cords are stiff, heavy, difficult to handle and expensive! Iíve seen a YouTube video by LDS Prepper (who I have great respect for as his information tends to be sound) wherein he said he ran extension cords from his generator to five neighborís -- allowing each of them to run a fridge, freezer, TV, sump pump and lights and if I heard right they were all able to do this simultaneously. All with one 5 kilowatt generator.
If you do that you will need to reduce the number of items you have plugged in and set a schedule because your generator wonít run several refrigerators or freezers all at once. For example, you run power to each of your two closest neighbors and tell them that they can only run their refrigerators, a sump pump, if you need them, and one lamp. Each family can only run them for one hour at a time and then must wait for two full hours while your family and your other neighbor each get a turn. If they, like you, have a separate freezer they can plug it in for one half hour during their allotted time. This should be enough time to allow their appliances to keep their perishable foods from going bad.
Another, and cheaper, alternative is to take everything except meat and dairy products out of your fridge and stick them in a cooler along with ice from your ice maker. Then you offer to share your fridge space with your neighbors. Also, if you have any spare LED bulbs, loan them to your neighbors to reduce the load on your generator. LEDís burn brightly and use a fraction of the power of a standard incandescent or fluorescent bulbs.
In exchange for sharing electrical power, your neighbors will agree to supply a fair share of gasoline for running the generator and will help you defend it from thieves. Iíve heard that, after Katrina, homes running on generators were often looted by marauders, their lawful inhabitants, terrorized, injured or killed by the gangs.
Note: these arrangements are best worked out in advance of an emergency. So get to know your neighbors and talk about contingencies with them. This is how Mutual Assistance Groups (MAG's) are formed. You will only be that nut from next door until the power fails, then you magically become that genius from next door.
One thing everyone who has been without power for prolonged periods of time agrees on is that it is better to have a generator, any generator, than none. So letís get into types and features.
When it comes to the experts, they usually agree when it comes to generators, you get what you pay for. Iíve owned cheap generators in the past and am pleased to say all of them worked well enough when I needed them. They were all obnoxiously noisy and gulped gasoline like they were hooked directly to a refinery. None of them put out pure sine wave power and that did cause a few problems with my older computers. All of them were heavy and awkward to move around. Even though none of them ever let me down, that is, when I needed emergency power I had emergency power, they all wore out fairly quickly, in spite of being well-maintained. I will never get a cheap generator again because these units taught me what to look for in a quality generator.
For any internal combustion engine generator (gasoline, diesel, propane, or natural gas) you are looking for cast iron or stainless steel cylinders, overhead valves, the ability to automatically adjust the rpm to the load, quiet running (sub 65 db) at twenty-five feet, the capability to run on multiple fuels, inverter technology good enough to produce a pure sine wave for your sensitive electronics, a normal running capacity of at least five kilowatts, an automatic shut off switch when low oil is detected and, as always, Made in America if possible. A fuel gauge, hour meter (showing accumulated run time), and a power meter (how much is being used and how much is available) are also nice to have as is a large fuel tank--so you don't have to get up in the middle of the night and refuel.
If you are not concerned about EMPís, whether caused by nuclear explosions or massive solar flares, then go ahead and get an electronic ignition. Iíll stick with a pull start, also known as a recoil starter. And, unless youíre getting a large capacity stationary generator, youíll want one with a wheel kit. You do not want a generator that draws power from your home when it is not in use to keep its starter battery charged (no standby load). Thatís why, as part of routine maintenance, you start it and run it for half an hour or so once a month and is also why you do want one that charges its own battery when it is running (called onboard starter battery charging). Better quality units run at lower RPMís (1800) when at load, than cheaper units (3600).
A liquid cooled generator will last longer than an air cooled model because it is thermostatically controlled. It will also run quieter because such units usually come with solid housings and mufflers. They are also usually much larger (10 KW or more), not portable, designed to run your entire house, including A/C, and really expensive.
You want one with at least a two year warranty and a local dealer network with a good reputation for after-sale support. This wonít matter if TSHTF but otherwise it will.
Smart users, who want to get the best performance out of their generator while minimizing wear and tear will use AMSOIL small engine synthetic oil and platinum spark plugs. Also, keep in mind you shouldnít be running your generator constantly--only long enough to keep the food in your freezer and fridge good.
People who need CPAPs or other such devices that require long term power should invest in a rechargeable battery bank, charge controller and inverter that can provide power while the generator is off line.
Thatís the basics. Now for some specific models that meet most or all of these criteria. I am not presenting these in any specific order of preference.
Honda eu6500is has a superb reputation for being super quiet, fuel efficient, and for producing stable enough power for the most sensitive electronics. It puts out 6500 watts at full load and is rated at 5500 watts normal load. Though it has an electronic ignition it also comes with a recoil starter. It will run for 4.7 hours at its rated load and the fuel tank holds 4.5 gallons of unleaded regular gasoline. It is 50 State compliant which is critical if you live in California or any other state with uber-jerk regulations.
It does not come with multiple fuel capacity, so to run it on propane or natural gas you would have to buy and install a conversion kit, which will undoubtedly void the 3-year warranty. It cannot be connected in parallel with another generator. It may be one of the best gasoline generators available but it is terribly expensive for a portable, retailing for about $4000. http://www.wisesales.com/eu6500isa-honda-generator.html#.Ud486ha0LHg
Honda makes several smaller and less expensive generators that have excellent reputations. The EU2000i, at $999, is Hondaís most popular generator. It is also very quiet. http://www.wisesales.com/eu2000ia-honda-generator.html#.Ud5Cjxa0LHg
The Yamaha EF6300iSDE is almost perfect. Itís quiet, has all the bells and whistles, and comes equipped to run off gasoline, propane or natural gas. If it only had a recoil starter instead of a transistor controlled ignition (TCI) Iíd buy one in a flash. I still might do so if I can figure out how to get a spare TCI to put in a faraday cage. It also runs about $4000, which I consider a negative. http://www.yamaha-propane-natural-gas-generators.com/ef6300isde.htm
Multi-Quip portable generators have a good reputation. The GA-6HA is a 6kW model (5kW continuous) that has a recoil start, Honda GX340 engine with low-oil shutdown and automatic idle control, and delivers smooth enough power to run computers. It will run for 5.5 hours on a full tank. It is designed for use on construction job sites and in service trucks so it can power high usage items like worm drive circular saws, submersible pumps and air compressors. It costs $2650. http://www.contractorsdirect.com/General-Tools/Portable-Generators-5000-7000-Watts/Multiquip-GA6HA-GA6HEA-Portable-Generators
Robin Subaru Generators also have a good reputation. The SGX7500E model will deliver 6700 Watts continuous, is safe for computers, has low oil shutdown, an hour meter and only costs $1690. http://www.rahayugenerators.com/portable-generators/subaru-sgx7500e-6700-watt-electric-start-portable-generator.html
There are about a million other generators so do your own research if you donít like any of the models Iíve covered. For example, youíve decided you want one of the 10kW plus whole-home, stationary generators from Honeywell or Kohler. Good for you. Go for it.
Now for a word about fuel for your generator. Gasoline is the most common fuel and is one we are all familiar with. So long as the power is on at your neighborhood gas station itís readily available. One problem with gasoline is that itís highly flammable, which can be an advantage if you decide you need Molotov cocktails. A second problem is that it breaks down over time and will gum up orifices. Sta-Bil, Pri-G and other preservatives are expensive. Another problem with gasoline is that cold-starting requires use of a choke. That is why most auto-starting generators donít use gasoline. Still, it is the fuel for most portable generators, so figure out how to safely store it, stock up, and use it up and replace it every six months. Most folks accomplish this by filling up their cars with it.
Propane (LP gas) is cheaper than gasoline and is the fuel commonly used in more expensive, stationary generators, often in rural situations where people already have large propane tanks. Propane lasts almost indefinitely and burns cleaner than gasoline or diesel, which increases durability. The main problem for propane is that if you live in an area where it gets below 10 degrees F, your generator may not start.
Natural gas is the cheapest fuel and is often used for stationary generators. It burns clean. If it is available in your area, itís a good idea to convert your gasoline generator to run off it and propane. With the turn of a valve you can still run your unit on gasoline.
Diesel is the fuel of choice for most high quality, long-lived, stationary, expensive generators. This is what hospitals and other large facilities and organizations, including the military, use for backup power, though smaller models are available for home use. It burns dirtier than the other fuels and the fuel can gel below freezing temps (usually far below), which means costly additives. On the other hand, if you are an eco-tinkerer, you can run one on biodiesel or virgin or waste vegetable oil. I have an acquaintance who used to run his on waste vegetable oil he picked up for free from his local McDonaldís and Burger King restaurants.
From a SHTF viewpoint, the main problem with any generator that runs on any fossil fuel is that when you run out of fuel they make a great anchor.
Back in my grandparents day, some ingenious daredevils generated their own electrical power by building small, wood or coal fired, steam generators. Some even ran their cars off such devices. If you are interested in doing that Google it, because I donít know enough about such things to even begin to discuss them. Unless you are intimately familiar with operating steam pressure boilers, I have a one-word warning for you...boom!
I define a solar generator as Solar panels tied via a charge controller to deep cycle batteries. From there the power runs through an inverter and extension cord to your house. I confess a complete and total bias in favor of these devices.
Advantages: First, itís not dependent on fossil fuels. So long as the batteries are properly maintained, they should last for at least ten years. You can even buy extra dry batteries and the acid to charge them with for when your original ones wear out. Second, the sun shines long enough in most places in this country, even in winter, to keep the batteries fully charged. Third, monocrystalline solar panels often come with a 25-year warranty and even though they can be damaged by large hail or storm debris they are tough. Fourth, the system is totally quiet. Fifth, there are no moving parts, to break down.
Disadvantages: First, some places get socked in by weather with such dense clouds and for so long, that your battery charge canít be maintained by solar alone. Second, unless you store spare parts in a Faraday cage, the system can still fail after an EMP. The panels themselves should be okay, as should your batteries, but any solid-state electronic component such as your inverter, charge controller and diodes will be fried. Third, while it isnít noisy, a solar array of any size is highly visible and fairly screams, ďHey, we have electrical power and probably other cool stuff you bad guys might want.Ē
One of my neighbors, who lives on a one acre lot, placed his array in his block fenced back yard making it pretty much invisible. But if you canít hide your array you need to have a plan to defend it, much like the one for defending your generator mentioned above.
Since I live in the virtually cloudless desert SW the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. You must decide for yourself. I favor multiple backups so I have a solar generator that I built myself and a gasoline generator converted to run off either propane or natural gas and a plan to build a whole home solar system.
I had several reasons for building my own solar generator. Saving money was one of them, but I also wanted to learn the technology in a hands-on way. Plus, if I did it myself, I could design it to be easily expanded by adding more panels and batteries.
I started small, with only two Trina 245 watt 24 volt panels, a couple of 12 volt deep cycle RV batteries (100 amp hours each) wired in series for 24 volts, one 3000 watt pure sine inverter, one 30 amp 24 volt charge controller, one 30 amp smart charger for the batteries, one MC 4 MMF branch connector, an inline fuse kit, a couple of SB350 connectors, about 50 feet of 6 gauge wire, and a few miscellaneous parts such as the angle brackets I installed on the South side of my house to bolt the solar panels too (I used a ground mount system). My total outlay was about $1900, almost half of which was for the inverter. I could have built it for around $1200 with a cheaper inverter. The system provides me with between 2500 and 2900 watts of power so I canít come close to running my whole house on it. But I can run my fridge and freezer, a few LED lights, my CPAP machine, and computer on it. When not using my CPAP to sleep (severe apnea) I can substitute the 56Ē Sony XBR Flat Screen TV.
My backup to this system is a Honda eu2000i which is also tied to the battery bank.
For those of you who arenít into DIY Solar there are companies making portable solar generators that can run your fridge/freezer, a lamp or two and your TV or CPAP. These generators are also lees expensive ($949 and up) than the one I built. Here are some links for you to check out. http://www.bepreparedsolar.com http://www.wagan.com/index.php/news/wagan-solar-cube-best-in-class.html
And for a real eye-opener, though God knows how expensive this thing will be, I give you the Ecosphere Power Cube--a whole home system with a lot of built-in flexibility and that can be moved to another house or locale should you need to do so. http://www.ecospheretech.com/environmental-engineering-technologies/powercube
Hereís a link to a whole house solar system with backup batteries. Itís also grid tied with a transfer switch. It costs more than $34,000 installed, but that doesnít include the tax credits allowed by the Federal Government and by many States, which should reduce the total outlay to closer to $20,000. This is the kind of system I drool over. http://www.powerstationflex.com
Warning: if you are on Social Security or are one of the many low income Preppers out there you may not be able to use the tax credits because you may not earn enough income to have to pay taxes. Also, installing one of these will add value to your home and may increase your property taxes.
Iím not going to say much about wind generators, in spite of having built more than one and had personal experience with them. They can be a good option for some people but if youíve Googled the subject or looked into it on Pinterest youíll discover all you need to know.
I donít currently have one and donít plan to get one. My reasons are simple. They can be quite noisy, are unreliable to keep my batteries charged and they break down. I live in a windy area but for me solar is simpler and better.
One word of caution if you decide wind is for you. Do not ever mount one on your roof. The noise and vibration will soon drive you crazy. Itís like the frame of your home becomes a drumhead with the generator pounding out the beat. ĎNuff said.
The No Electrical Power Option
Finally, hereís a word about going without power. While Iíve stated that, to us, electrical power IS civilization, and it certainly makes our lives more convenient, there are those who choose to live without it--think Amish, or Mennonites or millions of people living in third world countries. Our own ancestors explored the world, settled new continents and built civilization without electrical power. The farm I spent my formative years on didnít get electrical power or running water until I was almost old enough to start school. So, while having electricity is certainly desirable and convenient, it isnít necessary for survival or civilization. Those who survive the initial chaos of a grid down scenario will be those most able to adapt to change.
There are numerous businesses such as Lehmanís that sell a large variety of non-electric tools and appliances. Again, Google can be your friend.
See you next month--and I would definitely appreciate any feedback you can give me on either Bugging In of my Dying Time Trilogy.
I AM NOT ASSOCIATED WITH ANY OF THESE BUSINESSES IN ANY CAPACITY OTHER THAN THAT OF CUSTOMER. I OFFER THESE RECOMMENDATIONS BASED EITHER ON MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH THE PRODUCTS OR MY HAVING RESEARCHED THEM EXHAUSTIVELY.