Solar & Survival?

Other discussions not related to the Permanent Portfolio

Moderator: Global Moderator

User avatar
vnatale
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 2633
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:56 pm
Location: Massachusetts
Contact:

Solar & Survival?

Post by vnatale » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:14 pm

Today is the three week anniversary of when I've last been in the presence of another human or any outside food has come into this house. Doing fine on both counts.

Living like this does, though, bring to mind how one would live in somewhat a survivalist mode or in times when basic services are not available.

My main "soft" spot under either of those conditions is that I cannot take the least bit of cold.

As I type this my house thermostat is set at 70 degrees yet my feet would be freezing if they were right now NOT on a foot warmer. I've oftentimes stated that the two most important things for me in buying a used care are 1) excellent sound system and 2) has a heating system that can make you feel like you in hell. The latter being a common complaint from people who have been in my car during the winter.

However, now that we have hit this time of year where I live (Massachusetts) my "soft" spot is not going to be any kind of issue from now until some time again in October.

In case of loss of basic services, not having any source of electricity would be my biggest concern.

I'd not have any problems reading paper materials any time of the day. During the day via outdoor light and by night via those candles (and batteries) I still have from my December 1999 purchases in anticipation for the Year 2000.

But it'd be much better if I always had access to fully charged iPods to be able to listen to music while reading. Also, even better to have some access to this computer and the internet.

I bought this 5-7 years ago on a Black Friday: https://www.amazon.com/American-Emergen ... 660&sr=8-4

The American Red Cross FR370 Portable Emergency Preparedness Radio with SAME Technology and NOAA Weather Alerts, ARCFR370WXR

It's yet to come out the box as nothing since its purchase has required its use.

It says: "USB dump charge: Instantly charge your USB device after cranking, to get power when you need it most."

Don't know how much cranking would give me so minutes / hours of iPod use.

I'm looking for recommendations of two types of solar chargers:

1) Something I could put outside and connect, say, a combination of four iPads, iPods, Kindles, phone. When I bring them in at night they are all fully charged.

2) Something I could put outside much bigger (and more expensive) with its own battery (with a larger capacity than my UPS) so that I could then bring it inside and run this computer for a few hours. If the sun was at peak noon is it possible both the following occur at the same time? Using this computer while the battery in it would actually be going up in storage? Or, is the technology still not there for all of that?


Vinny
"I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats."
User avatar
Mark Leavy
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 637
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:20 pm
Location: US Citizen, Permanent Traveler

Re: Solar & Survival?

Post by Mark Leavy » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:50 pm

Solar Panels are huge Pain in the Ass. One of my companies is using them to power iPhones mounted on poles. Even the really high end equipment is fickle. Plus, I don't like your odds up there in the North East. And... a big ole solar panel with 4 Apple devices plugged into it seems like a good way to donate a lot of equipment to the wandering hordes.

Assuming that you don't plan on letting your car die, I would just get one of these:
USB Car Adapter.png
USB Car Adapter.png (216.85 KiB) Viewed 280 times
They make them in lots of different flavors and they don't draw much power, so you can even charge with the engine off, if you turn on the accessories switch.

For any AC stuff, you can also get inverters up to about 200 watts that will plug into your lighter outlet. For even more wattage, you can buy inverters that you can clip onto your car battery terminals.

I tell you, there's nothing like good old fossil fuels in an emergency and your car is just the thing to turn it into power.
User avatar
Hal
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 351
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 1:50 am

Re: Solar & Survival?

Post by Hal » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:51 pm

Coming from a rural area myself, wind generators used to be very popular.

Due to much overcast/rain during winter, solar panels were not very practical. (plus very expensive back then)

Just did a quick search on a brand that was common around here.
https://www.oocities.org/ibssinternational/dunlite.html

The reported issues from people that have panels now are the inverters are not very reliable. Battery lifespan is also an issue (which would apply to wind generators as well). Hopefully you have better products in the US.
User avatar
vnatale
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 2633
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:56 pm
Location: Massachusetts
Contact:

Re: Solar & Survival?

Post by vnatale » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:57 pm

Hal wrote:
Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:51 pm
Coming from a rural area myself, wind generators used to be very popular.

Due to much overcast/rain during winter, solar panels were not very practical. (plus very expensive back then)

Just did a quick search on a brand that was common around here.
https://www.oocities.org/ibssinternational/dunlite.html

The reported issues from people that have panels now are the inverters are not very reliable. Battery lifespan is also an issue (which would apply to wind generators as well). Hopefully you have better products in the US.
While I can afford it, that is a lot more money than I'd was considering spending if ONO are anywhere comparable to American $$$$!

Vinny
"I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats."
User avatar
Hal
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 351
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 1:50 am

Re: Solar & Survival?

Post by Hal » Tue Apr 07, 2020 9:20 pm

vnatale wrote:
Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:57 pm
Hal wrote:
Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:51 pm
Coming from a rural area myself, wind generators used to be very popular.
While I can afford it, that is a lot more money than I'd was considering spending if ONO are anywhere comparable to American $$$$!

Vinny
USD not equal to Pacific Peso ;D

It was just the first ad that came up.
User avatar
CT-Scott
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 202
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:39 am

Re: Solar & Survival?

Post by CT-Scott » Wed Apr 08, 2020 12:06 pm

Vinny, with that radio you bought 5-7 years ago, I might be concerned about how well the Ni-MH battery has held up over time. Reading the description, it sounds like all of the alternate power sources (cranking, solar) rely on recharging that battery.
User avatar
vnatale
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 2633
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:56 pm
Location: Massachusetts
Contact:

Re: Solar & Survival?

Post by vnatale » Wed Apr 08, 2020 12:33 pm

CT-Scott wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 12:06 pm
Vinny, with that radio you bought 5-7 years ago, I might be concerned about how well the Ni-MH battery has held up over time. Reading the description, it sounds like all of the alternate power sources (cranking, solar) rely on recharging that battery.
Good point. I have all those batteries I bought in December 1999 still in their packages. They been in my (cool) basement all that time. Since batteries are essentially chemical operations and chemistry slows down in cooler temperatures (which is why I keep the active batteries I am using in the refrigerator) I'm betting those December 1999 batteries are all quite good.

I don't know enough about the properties of the Ni-MH battery to make any guesses.

Vinny
"I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats."
User avatar
dualstow
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 10268
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:18 am
Contact:

Re: Solar & Survival?

Post by dualstow » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:34 pm

I love the idea of solar and haven't had much luck with it. My last attempt was with a product recommended here on this forum: Suntastics (dot com), for charging phones and small items like that. First I thought it wasn't getting enough sunlight. Then I tried it in full sunlight in Florida. Changed from an ipod to an iphone at MedTex's suggestion. Now it's sitting in a drawer. $!70 if I recall. Wrote to the company- no answer last time I wrote.

The technology has probably come a long way, but I probably won't try another product until half the neighborhood is using it.
Sony’s first AI image sensor will make cameras everywhere smarter -- the verge dot com
User avatar
Mountaineer
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 3739
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:54 am

Re: Solar & Survival?

Post by Mountaineer » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:41 pm

Battery life:

“How long will my battery last?” I get this question a lot. The real question is, though, not how long batteries last, but how long SHOULD batteries last. Batteries have three distinct measures of life (run-time, shelf life and cycle life), and each type of battery chemistry has a different answer (alkaline, lithium-Polymer, etc.). For the answer to this common but complicated question, we must break down the answer for each chemistry. First let’s clarify the meaning of each measure of lifespan. ....... "

https://www.batteryuniverse.com/blog/tags/shelf-life/
I've learned that to ignore the truth does not change the truth.
Emojis are visual acryonyms. :)
User avatar
vnatale
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 2633
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:56 pm
Location: Massachusetts
Contact:

Re: Solar & Survival?

Post by vnatale » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:53 pm

Mountaineer wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:41 pm
Battery life:

“How long will my battery last?” I get this question a lot. The real question is, though, not how long batteries last, but how long SHOULD batteries last. Batteries have three distinct measures of life (run-time, shelf life and cycle life), and each type of battery chemistry has a different answer (alkaline, lithium-Polymer, etc.). For the answer to this common but complicated question, we must break down the answer for each chemistry. First let’s clarify the meaning of each measure of lifespan. ....... "

https://www.batteryuniverse.com/blog/tags/shelf-life/
Thanks!

Read it!

Anyone want to make bets on those Alkaline batteries that have been in their packages, stored in my basement, since I purchased them in December 1999?

Good or dead?

Vinny
"I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats."
User avatar
Mark Leavy
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 637
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:20 pm
Location: US Citizen, Permanent Traveler

Re: Solar & Survival?

Post by Mark Leavy » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:56 pm

dualstow wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:34 pm
...
The technology has probably come a long way, but I probably won't try another product until half the neighborhood is using it.
It hasn't come a long way.
User avatar
dualstow
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 10268
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:18 am
Contact:

Re: Solar & Survival?

Post by dualstow » Wed Apr 08, 2020 2:05 pm

😂 In that case, I guess I'll bide my time.
Sony’s first AI image sensor will make cameras everywhere smarter -- the verge dot com
Post Reply