Friday, April 10, 2009

Solar Powered Blogging

Does this look all GREEN? I’m posting this “off grid”, powered by a sunshiny April morning with a little help from a grungy battery.

I’ve been fooling around with solar panels for a year or so in an effort to decrease my dependency on the grid in an emergency situation. No, it’s not to reduce my “charcoal paw print” or some such foolishness; it’s just that it’s good to have some juice when you need it.

My reader will hopefully remember my post of the AAR following the December ice storm. One of the things that worked out so well was having LED lighting to use instead of oil lamps, candles, etc.

Since then, I’ve bought more LED lighting fixtures, so I can light up this place like Vegas. Accordingly, I had to increase the generation end of the setup, so I bought three more panels as well. So now I’ve got 60 watts of panels that will charge my batteries wicked fast.

After I had all that power (which, BTW, is next to zilch in the eyes of a real solar power geek), I needed something to do with it when not in emergency mode. Sooo, I cobbled up the necessary adapters & gizmos to charge all my rechargeable devices (phone, hand held radios, GPS, et al), and purchased a neat 12v powered box that will charge all sizes of regular rechargeable batteries (AAA, C, 9v, etc.).

Still, I was generating more power than I was using. Lessee, what have I got around here that I use regularly, but doesn’t use more power than I can supply via the small battery group & the cells? Yep- this here computer rig.

Picked up a small 400w inverter to power this beast & here we are. The panels don’t supply enough power to fire it all up directly, but the drain on the battery is minimal, & it recovers within a few hours if I limit my time “off grid” to about a half hour. Still, in an urgent situation, I wouldn’t be surfing or blogging (emergency blogging?- heh), but using the web to gather information on the weather, news, or the like. So the time limitation won’t be much of a factor I’m guessing.

I’ve probably spent less than $400 & not a little time on this equipment & set up, but it’s nice to have the fallback option should it become necessary. One never knows when the grid will drop its connection (especially here in the woods), or for how long. The cool thing about this self-contained option is that if my equipment is here I cannot lose powe


Borepatch said...

"Emergency blogging" is a simply outstanding concept.

doubletrouble said...

I chuckled when I wrote it- kind of bends the brain, donut?

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