Power - what do you use in an Emergency?

Discussion in 'Functional Gear & Equipment' started by hitchcock4, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. hitchcock4

    hitchcock4 Monkey++

    Power is essential to a large percentage of the activities in modern life. In large and small emergencies alike, access to good power is essential. Whether it is needing power to jump-start your car to an all-out off-grid experience, at some point you will need power to make survival easier.

    Please use this thread to discuss some of the batteries, off-grid power, power banks, generators, etc that you have access to. Discuss pros / cons / and issues you have seen -- then actual problems solved.

    Here are some of the products that I own:

    • NPower Portable Inverter — 750 Watts: can be used with a 12 volt battery to power two 120V AC items, such as an induction hotplate for cooking.
    • KaliPAK 401- A Solar Generator/battery in a backpack. It weighs only 12.8 lbs and includes the 384 Wh, 26Ah battery pack with 4 USB ports and two 12volt ports. Bluetooth capable so that you can keep track of energy usage from an app on your phone. For my review so far, please see ^^^^ Review: Kalipak 401 solar generator and power pack | Survival Monkey Forums
    • WakaWaka Base: Solar Generator/battery package which includes a 10 watt solar panel, 5000 mAh battery, and two rechargeable flashlights. Built to charge USB powered devices (charge up to 3 devices at once).
    • NorthStar Portable Generator — light enough to lift and put in the car/truck
      • 2700 Surge Watts, 2400 Rated Watts
      • Uses Honda GC160 engine - reliable
      • I've owned it more than 4 years and running strong. Used for 3 power emergencies. When "in storage", I still use the generator for 40 minutes to and hour every 60 days to maintain it.
      • It has 4 "standard" three-prong grounded outlets. I use 10 AWG and 12 AWG extension cords to run 2 fridges and various other essentials.
      • This was a great "first" generator and it is still the only generator I own. When I get a new one, this will become a backup or use it for camping as needed.
      • Next generator I buy will have a L5-30R or L14-20R outlet, which seem to be the most popular receptacles on generators. We could use this to allow us to use the generator without running all the extra cords, if equipped with the correct transfer switch . [Transfer switch such as this one Amazon.com: Reliance Controls Corporation 20216A Pro/Tran 6-Circuit Indoor Transfer Switch for Generators Up to 8,000 Running Watts: Patio, Lawn & Garden when properly installed, will move 6 circuits from your home to the generator.]
      • A whole house generator would also be good (natural gas or propane) -- I am considering that as well, but that is usually $3,000 to $6,000 plus install.
      • I am considering solar as well, but my house may not be well-suited to solar.
    • I do have a good number of small solar panels, from 10 watts up to 80 watts. For charging cell phones to deep-charge 12V batteries (for portable ham-radio use).
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
  2. marlas1too

    marlas1too Monkey+++

    I have a 6,000 watt gen. a 5,000 watt gen. a 3,500 watt gen. and a 1,500 watt gen so I'm fixed for emergency
    kellory, Dunerunner, Ganado and 2 others like this.
  3. Oltymer

    Oltymer Monkey++

    12v battery in car, inverter for car battery, 12v solar panel to charge car battery, solar AA, AAA, & 9v battery charger. I'm not as civilized as most, and can do without electricity if need be, including the above mentioned gadgets..
  4. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Two RV Series 12V batteries on a BatteryMinder full time, 2KW inverter, 2-750 Watt inverters, Dual batteries in the fifth wheel plus propane for the 18 cu. ft. refrigerator/freezer, 2 - 40# propane bottles full, dual batteries in the truck and 10 gallons of diesel rotated monthly through the truck.

    No solar, no genset, planning on propane or butane for cooking, worst case I'll use the inverter and my Traeger grill.
  5. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    The problem with generators is they run out fuel and constantly announce with about 90+db that you have a generator and fuel to steal.
    I am switching over to power inverters and solar more.
    So far I have the solar hybrid inverter which is a 7kw primary generator with inverter system that consists of 100ah battery, 240v powered 27 amp charger, 160w of solar, 1000w kisae pure sine inverter, Morningstar charge controllers.
    Solar suburban with 200 watts of solar panels on the roof with a genasun charge controller, the suburban uses my removeable 60ah LiFePO4 battery pack with 2000w samalex pure sine inverter attached to it, going to upgrade the suburban to a 250amp AD244 series alternator.
    Then I have about 400 watts of solar panels that I have not put up.
    And I am going to start building the ultimate welder and DC power generator, it will likely have a 44ah battery or 2 and 2000w inverter, maybe a solar panel.
  6. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Since I generate ALL my own power, Emergency Power is a matter of Backups... Two of everything, and a Backup Clean Fuel Supply. I have a pair of 20Kw Northern Lights Diesel Gensets, running from a 500 USG Main Fuel Tank, that also feeds the Open Pot Burning CookStove, that supplies the Primary Heat, and Domestic Hot Water for the Cabin. I have a nice 12Kw Chinese Diesel Genset as a Primary Backup, and a Gasoline fueled Onan 15Kw J Series Genset, as a Secondary Backup. My Backup Fuel System is a 55 USG Drum, laid on it's side, above the Main Tank, that is filled from the Return Line from the GenSets. When it is close to full, their is line that returns any excess to the Main Fuel Tank. There is Fuel Line from Backup Tank that connects to the Fuel Header from the Main Fuel Tank, via Ball Valves, so that I can isolate the Main Tank from the header, and run either Genset, and or the CookStove from the Backup Tank, should the Main Tank become, contaminated. This gives me about 36 Hours to deal with any issues with the Main Fuel Tank, before the Lights and Heat goes out. Backups and multiple Redundency, is the answer to this question.
  7. Seepalaces

    Seepalaces Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    I have a baby mixture of everything so far listed. We have two 250w solar panels, I haven't yet messed around with. Keep trying to get that together. I have a aa/aaa/9v/phone solar charger. We have a wood stove in the house for heat. We have a small propane heater for backup. We have two propane grills and a volcano for cooking with a pretty good supply of propane. I can say the volcano is supposed to use propane/charcoal/ or wood. Well, fyi, cooking with wood on the volcano purely sucks, I'll be cooking on my woodstove before it'll come to that. I think gas is too hard to store for me. In my recent CERT class the instructor suggested that you buy a generator and then go around the neighborhood letting people use it for a couple of hours a day in exchange for filling it with their gasoline. Yeah, what could go wrong... Seems like that's one bad intention waiting to happen and who can afford that kind of time in an emergency? And what happens when my neighbor says, "Hey, my kid has diabetes, he needs the generator more than you do..." That socialism thing is a time bomb just waiting to go off in an emergency. Sorry to go so tangent.
    Gator 45/70, Motomom34 and hitchcock4 like this.
  8. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    Solar power is one of my future projects. We have lots of batteries for our flashlights/lanterns(and I make candles), and the woodstove with cook surfaces is nice, but the main issue for me in a grid-down scenario is water, so I plan to hide an old-fashioned well on our place, take advantage of the (shallow) underground seasonal springs on our property. Something like this:
  9. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Primarily a battery system,
    The grid is just for things greater then some of my own equipment can't/choose not to run; big air compressors and welders , refrigeration ect...If the grid goes down, I don't worry about this equipment.
    I have alternatives.
    The battery system normally is charged from the solar panels and wind mill, during the winter months and th solar is weak I can charge the B bank from the grid, or should the grid fail,
    I have a "5 Hp engine/automotive alternator" that is more than capable of maintaining my normal needs.
    In the event I need more than that, I have 4500 watt gas engine gen, and a 6500 watt diesel gen, and a gas engine driven welder/gen. ,and 100+gallons diesel and 100+ gallons gas . I just received an assembly for conversion to propane, If I felt I really needed it .
    100 gallon propane tank as well. I can also rig up wood gas, and or methane, or alcohol for that matter .
    I have a solar water heating panel and am engineering a water heater for the wood stove ,some thing relatively automatic .
    (Bi metal spring on the dampers .) (similar to the automotive exhaust manifold dampener .)
  10. mysterymet

    mysterymet Monkey+++

    GOALZERO For my portable power and

    GOALZERO Plus another 100w panel for at home. In addition we have a 3500w gas generator and fuel cans.
    We want to get one of those standby whole home generators that is dual fuel.

    Our camper also has an onboard generator and fuel.
  11. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    How does the GoalZero stuff work? I've seen it around, but I'm cautious about forking over that much money without knowing it'll work.
  12. T. Riley

    T. Riley Monkey+++

    10kw generator and 800 gallons of propane. 900w of solar, with charge controller and 2kw inverter. 4 175ah solar batteries. Various charger for aa/aaa and solar panels for same. As long as I don't get hit with a CME or EMP I am fine. Then it's karosene and candles.
  13. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    At the BOL,

    960W monocrystalline solar array. El Cheapo golf cart batteries (4 series/parallel 6 V 225 AH each), and a Taiwanese made Cotek 1500 W pure sine wave inverter that has been running things since about 2007. Uh, except the batteries were replaced about two or three years ago. The previous set of batteries had been running things since 2004.

    Runs everything in my nearby Travel Trailer except the air conditioner. That includes all interior lighting (which is now LED), computers, microwave and occasionally the toaster. A 12 volt system, will convert to 24 volt (already have the inverter) when time allows - yeah right, time to get anything meaningful done - ha ha ha.

    Have a Cheap Charlie gasoline genset, 3200 W to run things in the event that there are too many cloudy days to charge the batteries. It is seldom required.

    A separate 450 watt array operates a deep well (580 feet) Grundfos solar water pump. The water pump can easily be powered with the genset in a pinch, although it delivers ample water reliably even with some overcast.

    Which brings up the point that the 450 watt array is doing nothing when no water is being pumped, which is most of the day. It could be supplying additional power to the travel trailer. Going to have to think on that one - a priority system...could be accomplished maybe with a simple electronic circuit and another charge controller? (Scratching head)

    Lose power at the primary residence for any length of time? - head to the BOL
    As that Argentine fellow said, any city deprived of fuel and electricity for two weeks or more is a death trap.
  14. hitchcock4

    hitchcock4 Monkey++

    No need to apologize for the tangent -- we all have our worries about our own plans. For example, I am considering the whole-house generator ($4000 from Honeywell) that can run on CNG or propane. The primary plan would be to then have a stock of propane, but run primarily off the county's supply of natural gas. Well, two problems with that - the noise of the generator would draw people; and what if the emergency situation involved an earthquake (broken NG lines) or the city/county cannot pump NG anymore? Then I need to have another plan -- always have a backup plan!

    Just like @BTPost , @Altoidfishfins , and @T. Riley [see their posts in this thread] I would like to have a situation where I can generate all my own power -- whether it be solar/diesel/wind/other -- but unless I buy a BOL then I won't be able to do that. I know I need to be prepared, but I just hope the SHTF doesn't happen too soon.

    Right now I will concentrate on the smaller emergencies.
  15. hitchcock4

    hitchcock4 Monkey++

    Today I ran across this video on Youtube.

    The whole video is GREAT -- but if you want to learn about how they use power, skip ahead to 17:15 and watch until 24:15.
    In summary they have twelve 250 watt panels. A separate panel is for the Internet modem. They use Trojan T-105 batteries -- I didn't catch how many they have in there but he shows the whole battery bank. Between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM their batteries are topped off and they are ready for the day (or several days if necessary).

    Around 28:25 he also describes the solar-heated bath (which is powered by another solar panel).
    arleigh, Seepalaces and Gator 45/70 like this.
  16. mysterymet

    mysterymet Monkey+++

    So far so good. I brought the small one on deployment and it worked really well. The large one seems to work as well but i haven't put it through the same kind of extreme conditions test.
  17. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    My neighbor has one of these. They got it just for power outages, not for prepping purposes. One mistake I think they made was that they converted their fireplace (wood burning), turning it into a natural gas fireplace. It looks nice and is not messy like wood but I wonder if SHTF would they be wishing they had left that alone. They put all their eggs in the natural gas basket.
  18. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    My Brother, (the Engineer) has a 15Kw Liquid Cooled, TriFuel, (Gasoline/Propane/Natural Gas) Genset in a vault under his Garage. He has a 48Vdc 1200AmpHour Battery Bank, 4Kw Inverter, 2Kw worth of Solar on the Roof. The Cooling BTUs of the GenSet, and Heat Exchanger Exhaust Manifold are coupled into, First the Domestic Hot Water, System, as well as the Whole House A/C System and when those are up to temp, Secondly, BiDirectionally pumped thru the PEX Tubing, in the slab the House sits on, Which is a Massive Heatsink, or alternately thru the Pex Tubing under his concrete Driveway and Entry Walkway, to melt the Winter Snow & Ice. Then if there is any further need to dump those BTUs, there is a Small Radiator, with Electric Fan, to heat the Out of Doors. The normal, domestic Hot Water, Cooking Stove, and Clothes Dryer, are Natural Gas fired, with a Propane Backup, from a 1000 USG Tank, Buried in the Back Yard. He used a Hospital Grade Muffler, that silences the Exhaust, so that you can barely tell it is running at all from the front of the house. It ain't CHEAP, but he had a Blast Designing, and instilling the System, and Controllers.... The only Visible sign is the Roof Mounted Solar, but even that is on the Back side of the house, and the small Propane Filling Port, under a Small Plate in the Back Yard. Oh, and the extra Large NG Regulator in the Incoming NG Line from the Gas Company.
    arleigh, kellory, Seepalaces and 2 others like this.
  19. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    When living on the desert I had the opportunity to do some experimenting with making a solar water heater.
    I did a flat panel with 1/2" copper tubing( about 2 gallons) glassed over and a 10 gallon tank in side a glassed box .
    the flat panel achieved 160 degrees in one hour's time, and the tank 130 at the same time.
    Due to the fact the water tank held more water, it won the vote.
    Also the tank tends to hold the temp during the night better than the flat panel.
    If you live in a freezing climate as seasons go, then using a antifreeze in the dual glazed solar tank , a circulating pump, and a heat exchanger to heat the water with the solar heated antifreeze .
    The antifreeze can be used to heat the house like a steam radiator as part off the circuit the fluid is dispensed from.
    A friend of mine in the mountains heats his garage floor this way. built into the concrete floor.
    There are more ways to use solar than photovoltaic .
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
    kellory and hitchcock4 like this.
  20. jimLE

    jimLE Monkey++

    i have this power converter and extension cord.i originally got the converter to keep and recharge my rechargeable/portable jump-starter in the car.but yet,i learned on one camping trips..that i can use my battery chargers for my AAA,AA and D batteries,with it...and im sure i can use it for other things as well..

    hitchcock4 likes this.
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