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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 25 total)
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  • in reply to: Vanishing posts from the forum #65781

    Thanks for the reply.

    I will repost.

    in reply to: Gordo, You will be hunted down and held captive #65773

    I needed a good laugh!

    Getting my foam dart gun ready.

    PREPARE, hunted one!


    I thought they quit importing evergreen panels into the US??

    in reply to: I want to find a completely off grid community #65740

    The only trouble is, you end up running into the same thing Mr or Mrs “Gorilla” is trying to avoid.

    Instead of the latest BMW or Benz, it becomes the nicest cart and horse, who sews the best…which child can do _______ better than the other…how large of a pumpkin you can grow or who carves the best welcome sign…whatever.

    Human nature is the same even if you take away the grid.

    in reply to: AC or DC? #65743


    Can you make an actual list of your stuff?

    For my own setup, it is not logical to try to run the audio/video system from DC.

    But it is pretty high-end stuff that is quite power hungry.

    I am going with a dual system, but I have pretty much decided to run the generator while doing laundry and watching a movie/playing my cherished vinyl.

    Lights, Computer, water pump, small TV, cell phone, router and microwave boosters are all going to be available 24/7 and will be DC.

    Thus far, I can run all of this for three days on three fully charged Wal mart special 115AH 160reserve wet cell marine batteries before dipping below 12.5 volts. The only thing I have not actually run was the water pump…but I did a load simulation with a flood light whenever we turned on the faucet to make up for it. (This seemed to use a lot more than I thought BTW…a shower will be a generator startup and top-off event in our earthship.)

    The DC fridge vs propane is a question thus far unanswered. Up front costs are more for the panels and batts to go the solar route and I have not sharpened a pencil to see if the lack of a propane bill would offset this investment yet.

    I think before you make the decision to go big AC, you need to list what your gear is. How big is the TV you will have?

    Audio gear?

    Have you looked at the fridge setups out there? If you get one “normal” sized, they are ungodly expensive…like 5 grand…but a small apartment or RV sized unit gets more affordable.

    Lights too. elnav is not joking about people adding “just a little something extra” to a circuit that carried a moderate load for ten years without incident and then that little added load made smoke and fire…knowing what the amperage requirements are is everything.


    Anyone who is going to wire a cabin “home brew” should read and fully understand this page.

    To avoid a fire…besides not running a wire where it will chafe or damage the insulation and short out…this is the most important thing to comprehend when dealing with DC.

    Car amplifiers or water pumps or computers…dc load and fusing is all the same and this page breaks it down very well.


    in reply to: AC or DC? #65742

    elnav, your post mentions 12 volt causing fires. While I get what you said and why you said it, I think it is very important to clarify things.

    DC done poorly can cause a fire…

    So can propane in a cabin hooked up with an aging rubber line used to connect to the bottle and running under the crawlspace. Rubber lines are for camping hookups that you can see and replace when they get cracked. Under a cabin, where you cannot see them…they can rupture and fill the entire place with gas in about five minutes. If sleeping inside, you would likely die from inhalation or when the proper mix was achieved and it hit the woodstove or pilot light…>>>BOOM!<<<

    120V AC plugged into an inverter with five 14gauge extension cords run and taped under throw rugs (I wish a had a 10-spot for pictures or video of every setup like this I have seen in an off-grid cabin) will cause fires too. More setups than not (that I have seen) using small inverters are not set up properly. Plug adapters, extension cords, no grounds, no ground fault device…etc.

    Anything done unsafe can kill you.

    DC, done correctly, is no more dangerous than AC, propane, or any other modern tool we use.

    If you take something like this:;rcol

    The wall wart transformer that comes with this unit converts wall current to 13 volts.

    (In fact, most of the audio gear I have seen converts AC to low voltage DC inside.)

    If your batteries were within 30 feet of the cabin, using lets say 4 gauge fine strand wire for the 30 foot run to the cabin for a max load of 25amps at 12 volts. Then into a dist block for the various devices= (LED lighting, laptop, cell phone, LED TV and radio or amplified speaker system…added up correctly and wired with proper fusing for the load capacity of the wire used.)

    =you would not use this setup over an inverter?

    When I do the math, I find the wire and fuse blocks cost a lot less than a quality inverter and a bigger system to cover the losses in conversion.

    While what you say is the truth about low voltage requiring more amperage for the same work…it is kind of misleading, since the panels or the windmill stores your power in 12 volt batteries to start with.

    I just would not want people to leave this thread afraid of 12 volt DC.

    …because the truth is, if you do it right…you can have the basics for less money using DC properly.

    in reply to: Sin to burn a little fuel? #65727

    There IS a way steam would be very viable and with a couple of nackers and their torches and welders, possibly very cheap too!

    Mirror fed solar steam.

    In the high desert, this could work, no?

    (Still working on my peat moss flannel shirts and rabbit poo anti-depressants!!)

    in reply to: Open Source construction set (blueprints for civilization) #65726

    I would call that a dream list myself!

    I could build and feed Atlantis with all of that.

    in reply to: Anybody wanna start our own community? #65728


    in reply to: Water harvesting #65711

    The one I know of uses a panel that is direct connected to a DC motor. It pumps into a tank above ground while the sun is out and the farm takes it from the tank to its various destinations.

    I could not see a hand-pump linkage being reliable with that depth, but I might be wrong.

    in reply to: Water harvesting #65712

    I guess I was very wrong. Just found this…

    Good question

    in reply to: Water harvesting #65714

    That style works well, but you would need something to pressurize the system. You could pump it to a small tower and use gravity feed, or a regular DC pressure pump and tank setup…of which there are several on the market.

    Have you thought about doing a solar water heater? They are one of the simplest things to build.

    in reply to: AC or DC? #65715

    I do not know why some folks seem to think DC is a disadvantage.

    In reality, you run one or two sets of monger welding cables to your power-sucker devices and the rest of it is really of very little concern…or much different in cost. Certainly a LOT cheaper than a huge, perfect sine wave inverter would be.

    IMO, 12 volt, because of the availability of low cost devices, is not a disadvantage at all.

    Taking the inverter out of the mix…along with the heat and built-in dependability issues it adds, just does not seem like a disadvantage. Quite the opposite actually.

    In a 600 SQ FT cabin, to me, a 23 inch TV would be just fine…and there are a ton out there that either have a 12 volt input or are very easy to modify inside to run on 10-14 volts.

    I bought a Emerson from WalMart for my truck and ran it on a 300 watt Cobra inverter. It used next to nothing and the inverter ran the DVD player, the TV and the dish network box without any issues.

    Using one of the computer prologic aplified speaker systems for the surround sound would be a great way to go, since they run on 12 volt from a wal wart. (At least the Cambridge systems all did)

    your question is huge and there is not enough info to answer it, but I hope I have tossed in a few tidbits of value

    in reply to: Sun Frost RF12 anyone use one of these? Thoughts? #65710

    Thanks Gordo!

    in reply to: 12 volt is the best off grid choice #65708

    Going through all of our stuff and selling off what we are not bringing West has forced me to think about this.

    There is NO QUESTION that with regular auto wiring, (heck, speaker wire at 12 ga even) will work fine for LED lights running on 12 volts. The biggest error I see people doing all the time is thinking that thicker is better.

    One thing to remember is the more strands, the better. A huge 120v wire for a home that would work great for triple phase 440 will not work as good as 12 gauge speaker wire for 12 volt DC. (I encourage you to check on this with an actual scientist, not a prepper you know who THINKS he or she knows.)

    I have done the homework on this and I have to agree with Chowan. The way I intend to wore my earthship is to have white switches and black switches in the wall. Everything white will be 12 volt and powered all the time.

    The black circuits will only be generator powered…like the big screen TV, the washing machine, My home audio amplifiers…etc.

    If you look at the wire load balance, you can use very small wire if you wire it more like a car. Running 4guage to the main distribution block with about 6 batteries, keeping the system 12 volt allows you a HUGE power draw into the home for about 30 bucks. You keep the high-draw items close to the 4guage.

    For example, running a single 4 gauge line into the bedroom would not be needed for an LCD TV and a regular shortwave/alarm radio.

    I have seen people elsewhere on the net say doing things this way is unsafe, but if you use fuses and keep them well under the load ability of the wire, you will never generate any heat at all.

    For us, keeping it all 12volt is a no brainer…as long as I can fire off the genset every third or fourth day for an hour or two.

    My Linn LP12 is a MUST for me as is the rest of my hi-fi. But using a car amp and the CD player for daily use brings the power needs down to near zero.

    When I want to play vinyl and really sit down to listen, I can fire one of the gennies and do laundry as the vinyl spins and I make a ton of heat with the class A amps. A couple of diodes and switches will make this a painless operation.

    I have to say, the idea of using 120v stuff off grid just does not make any sense to me. If you are running on batteries, you are trying to be very frugal anyway…so the power needs are minimal.

    In fact, as a joke, I have run 5 of the harbor freight LED mini flashlights in a room with diffusers on them.

    I encourage you all to give it a shot. if placed in a plastic wiring box and daisy chained, you can have wonderful lighting in a 15X20 room from 5 of these units, at a total cost of about 17 bucks including everything…less than the cost of one good 120v LED light bulb.

    (We used the frosted light covers normally used in ceiling fans and while I would not read with it unless I went for 6 and aimed one on my page, for every other function, it was great!)

    I would really like to see anyones ideas for 12volt stuff in the home.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 25 total)