Skip to comments.DIY electricity
Posted on 12/06/2012 5:20:29 PM PST by Kartographer
The Dallas Observer published a report1 recently that Texas has worst electric grid in the nation. This was based on a North American Electric Reliability Corp report2. Thats not very encouraging. They are also reporting that there is the possibility of rolling blackouts in 2013.
For a couple of years I have had the interest in setting up a backup power system for home use. There is a mobile system that provides power for work a couple of times per month, and is a backup system when at home. It provided power for 2 freezers, a refrigerator and a fan during 3 days of outage one summer several years ago. But we really want a system that has the specific purpose of supporting the house.
When looking for a mobile 120 volt (V) system I did talk to an expert who wanted to sell the best system that they had. He wanted to get me excited about selling power back to the electric company. After redirecting the talk with the expert to a mobile plan, and taking some of his advice, it proved to be an exercise in frustration.
(Excerpt) Read more at thesurvivalistblog.net ...
Bypass all the mechanical complexity and just scale up one of these:
I’ve debared the utility and usefulness of these things with several people, who just don’t appear to recognize that it’s a wood-fired generator with very few moving parts, only a fan to aid convection, improve the burn and perhaps keep certain parts of the unit from getting too hot.
It produces enough electricity to charge personal electronic devices from a fire built of sticks and twigs, more or less, with enogh heat and flame out the top to cook or boil water in one pot or pan.
Very small, couple of pounds, no larger than a water bottle. Scale it up, capture all heat for generation of electricity. Maybe a woodstove with this thermoelectric scheme adapted to it would work.
Somebody make a go of it. Sounds eminently doable to me. It would sell if the price was within reason.
ELI the ICE man?
Once upon a time, in a land right here under my feet, young boys no taller than ducks learned about stuff like that, and how to use a punch to make tube socket holes in aluminum box chassis.
Which eventually became radios, or amplifiers or televisions.
The good old days, when children could learn, parents could teach, and devil take the hindmost because they couldn't manage to put one hand in a back pocket.
If you’re going to buy a whole house generator, look at the warranty before you buy. Do yourself another favor and google the brand name along with “problems”. At least one of the well known brands sold at a lot of big box stores has Chinese engines in some if not all models.
Familiarize yourself with the terms standby and prime. Most whole house units are not built for long continuous running. In fact running more than a specific number of hours within a period voids the warranty.
There’s at least one brand with a diesel converted to run on naturals gas that can be run for 2,000 hours before requiring maintenance. Typical life of the unit before rebuild is in excess of 30,000 hours.
Like anything else you get what to pay for. READ THE WARRANTY BEFORE YOU BUY. There are some gotchas out there.
Need to check how loud the unit is, too. Having the equivalent of a large riding mower running just outside your window gets obnoxious, and it’s a magnet for thieves, too. Noise cancelling in the exhaust would be a good thing to have, for your own comfort as well as safety.
Gold or silver comes at the end to indicate +/- % accuracy.
Gold Silver None: GSN Get Some Now 5% 10% 20%
Don’t attempt to confuse the Dallas Observer with trivial things like reality and facts.
They had a good line to write about Texas having the worst power distribution (even though California and the NE have been having rolling brown-outs for DECADES)!
Funny thing... I'm sorta half-assed color blind.
In bright sunlight, maybe I can read the colors, or close enough. If I'm going to use a resistor in a circuit, I measure it. Used to be with a VOM that used vacuum tubes, but today, the digital ones work as well or better.
I got into the military on a waiver for the color-blind thing. Both times.
There is no way I understand this well enough to do anything. I would like to say goodbye to the electric bill though. And I would like to be able to run my well pump when the grid is down.
E (electricity) = M (Me or Marcella, take your pick)
I do it with D and AA high capacity rechargeable batteries and a 22 watt solar panel with smart charger attached.
I know you guys talk 12 volt and deep cycle batteries, etc., all too expensive for me, but I'm going back to my grandmother's time with no power at all and updating that with high capacity batteries, rather than just her oil lamps and nothing else in her house working with any kind of power, not even regular batteries. I can do better than she did due to products we have now.
I can have light and cooling myself with my batteries for years but I can't reproduce today's power for freezer/fridge.
So, the one thing I can't do is keep something cold. I've put off dealing with that, but I need to find the info. again on how it is done in third world countries - something about using several pottery pots in graduated order and it keeps things cool/cold. I must look that up and reproduce that method.
But that's just me. I can build the stuff from scratch. I'd rather not.
Now that sounds interesting. So what are all the things you are running on batteries? Is this only for power outages, or are you using it all the time now to keep electric bills down?
Do you have a well? If not, what are your plans for replacing water supplies.
I was just thinking the other day about ice, and how we used to have an ice house in town. Never knew where those blocks came from, and wondering if the grid went down long term ,if stuff like that would make a comeback.
Google Solar water pumps lots of options.
I just remembered a short term trick to keep things cool.
Back when my grandparents had a small dairy herd, and hand milked the cows. The milk was put into a metal milk can. Gramps would then take burlap bags dripping wet with well water and wrap them around the cans covering all the sides and top.
It cooled the milk and kept it good till the dairy came by to pick up the cans later on.
I have actually used this for milk and juices when we didn’t have a cooler. Just used a hand towel sopped it in water and wrapped it around the bottle to keep it overnight when ice wasn’t available. The evaporation of the water is what makes it cool.
Make a hole in the side of a hill. Line it with logs and a log floor and roof. Cover with fill material.
In the winter, set out square wooden boxes, open at the top with water.
Put the ice blocks in the hole, after you line the hole with straw.
Make your mint juleps in July as required.
I actually used 5 gallon buckets when I did it.
It's like all the rest of it. It sucks.
Modern technology is great.
More summary info including: wind residence cost, wind impact on the grid, consumer cost of renewables mandates, etc is here.
Well, I have been googling and reading this past week. It just isn’t quite clicking yet. It’s kinda looking like it might cost so much, It would take more than the rest of my life to make economical sense.
Any way thanks for the suggestion. I won’t give up just yet.
LOL. Modern Technology is great! Did the ice really last till July? August? How hot was the summer?
I still remember the old fashioned ice box, that we had to get a big block of ice for about once a week. It was lined with metal inside.
It took years before we quit calling the refrigerator the ice box. LOL.
My grandmother called hers the kelvinator when she didn’t call it the icebox.
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