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    Hi all budding of gridders. Let me start by stating that I have been supporting this movement for many years in my own way, right from the publication of “Limits to Growth” in the 70s warning 50 years ago how we are on a gloabl collision course to destroying our environment. OK there’s my bona fides.

    Now I want to issue a caveat to all budding off gridders – beware of false prophets.  I am a retired professional engineer and I am constantly appalled at the specious rubbish spouted by puffed up old bubbas trying to sound knowledgeable and avuncular.  This is especially dangerous when encouraging technically un tutored newbies to dabble weith electrics and solar power systems. These are potentially lethal especially in the open air environment. For those interested, there are special whole sections in the IEE regs devoted to safety on caravan sites, farm buildings and swimming pools. Did you know you can get a shock off a 12 V battery? It takes less than 8Vdc to electrocute a human swimmer at sea. I could go on for pages on this but will be happy to help on such matters.

    On the subject of solar panels, there’s far too much hype here (but let me say that our country cousins across the pond have a great deal of real accumulated experience here – >10^6 people off grid).  You can use a simple panel making 12Vdc and a few A on a good day to charge up a lithium torch for nighttime (use a candle/hurricane lamp?) or your mobile phone and get away with that. Stepping up to a full Lead Acid battery system LAB is a whole can of worms for the amateur (I used to design these systems for use in the desert). First myth deep cycle LABS may claim a life cycle of 500 deep discharges. You cannot realistically discharge below 50% and I dont go below 30% as otherwise you drastically shorten the lifespan – these are expensive to replace. Once they start to fail (<70% capacity then life goes by quickly and you may be looking at <10% life left.  I could go on 10 pages on this but google it for yourselves.

    As one poster said, “most important first step for an off gridder is research research research

    Sorry if Ive ranted, just thinking of safety


    PS Talking schwepps aside – anyone interested in humanure, rain water harvesting and disposal of washine machine waste detergent water – my experiences

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