Author Topic: Solar emergency portable energy generator  (Read 5103 times)

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2988
Solar emergency portable energy generator
« on: July 14, 2015, 07:13:11 PM »
I'm looking into different options for my home in case the power goes out. It will not be needed for a car or camping. Strictly for home emergency's. I think that if I have some sort of system in case of emergency I won't feel the need to invest a lot of money in going off grid. Mostly I would want to easily charge phones/computer but I would also like it power my fridge. But maybe that would be too much to ask for a non gas generator. I read that I just need a battery and a solar array? Where do I start if I want to diy this? Here is a similar product.
http://www.amazon.com/Goal-Zero-22004-Solar-Generator/dp/B00CWBABRM/ref=pd_sbs_263_6?ie=UTF8&refRID=0Q5C6WYR64VPV7A6ERN6

I already have this:
http://www.amazon.com/Forever-Battery-KA710-Portable-Rechargeable/dp/B00B4H3K50

MoonShadow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2542
  • Location: Louisville, Ky.
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2015, 07:34:02 PM »
Don't buy one of the kits, they cost too much.

What you want is an East-West solar array, wherein each side is powerful enough on a typical sunny day to start your refrigerator through an inverter. 


MoonShadow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2542
  • Location: Louisville, Ky.
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2015, 07:38:12 PM »
A deep cycle battery is a plus, but not critical, most any modern fridge should be able to maintain decent temps overnight so long as it is never opened after twilight.  If your array is large enough to start the fridge, it will have some leftover power most of the time.  Plenty to charge up cell phones and run shortwave radios, anyway. 

MoonShadow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2542
  • Location: Louisville, Ky.
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2015, 07:43:45 PM »
I use a Kill-A-Watt meter to measure what my critical devices take to run.  My deep freezer, as an example, takes no more than 130 watts after the initial power surge of the compressor, which can be several times the running wattage.  I'm thinking that I can get this setup to work with the deep freezer with a pair of panels about 450-500 watts each. The regular refrigerator is more, with a higher starting surge.  I'm starting to think that one of those table-top icemakers might be an easier method of solar refrigeration.

forummm

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7396
  • Senior Mustachian
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2015, 07:44:45 PM »
How long an emergency are you planning for?

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2988
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2015, 08:01:44 PM »
Um, maybe a week long emergency to get started. I would like to get to the point where I can handle a 3 month emergency.

Quote
What you want is an East-West solar array, wherein each side is powerful enough on a typical sunny day to start your refrigerator through an inverter. 

Sounds like I need to do some research on portable solar arrays. Then I plug into inverter, then battery? It's hard to get a sense of how it ties together from my google searches.

regulator

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 469
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2015, 08:25:26 PM »
Suggestion: If you are planning for longer than a 1 week power outage, plan to empty the fridge in the first few days.  After that, have shelf stable food for your needs.  I keep meaning to build a simple solar oven to be able to cook rice and beans and I never seem to get around to it.  That is the sort of thing you should be thing about if we are talking 3 months.

Oh, and you'd best have a firearm handy if you think you will be dealing with a 3 month power outage.  Hungry, unprepared people get less friendly with each passing day.

MoonShadow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2542
  • Location: Louisville, Ky.
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2015, 09:05:57 PM »

Sounds like I need to do some research on portable solar arrays. Then I plug into inverter, then battery? It's hard to get a sense of how it ties together from my google searches.

If you have a battery involved, you should not be using it to run the fridge at night anyway, but most inverters expect to see a battery, so you might need it.  In such case; solar array to charge controller, charge controller to battery, battery to inverter, inverter to fridge.  There are better ways to do this, but this is the most simple I can think of.

But also consider Regulator's suggestion.  If you don't need the fridge ongoing, you likely don't need more solar than you need to charge up your cell phone or shortwave radio in a couple hours.  Ocean going sailors have been doing this one for centuries, and there are plenty of tricks.  One that I'm testing out currently is bean sprouting.  A 5 lbs bag of beans in a tupperware tub can last a long time, and are good both in soups and stews as they are, and sprouted on a salad.  It's a different food after they have been sprouted for 4 or 5 days, with a different nutritional spectrum.  Canned goods are okay, but don't buy any that you wouldn't eat anyway.  Truly cured meats are expensive compared to their refrigerated versions, but can be kept on the shelf for months.  You can get canned butter & canned meats from Amazon, but again, more expensive than their refrigerated versions.  But butter doesn't really need to be refrigerated, just kept away from oxygen if on the counter, which is what a butter crock does.  I have a one stick butter crock, that looks just like a bell upside down inside a cup of water.  Butter can last for a month that way, if you change out the water every three days.  Don't try this with margarine, though.  Almost every condiment that Americans keep in the refrigerator don't really need to be, except mayo.  Hard cheeses, like butter, only need to be kept away from oxygen; and you can literally take a block of cheddar from the store and seal it into cheese wax for a year.

regulator

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 469
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2015, 09:14:21 PM »
MoonShadow has good suggestions.  If you have the time, this dude lived it and has some good ideas:http://www.whenshtf.com/threads/8419-Jobless-and-living-in-my-truck-(with-Pics)

forummm

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7396
  • Senior Mustachian
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2015, 05:48:45 AM »
Um, maybe a week long emergency to get started. I would like to get to the point where I can handle a 3 month emergency.

Quote
What you want is an East-West solar array, wherein each side is powerful enough on a typical sunny day to start your refrigerator through an inverter. 

Sounds like I need to do some research on portable solar arrays. Then I plug into inverter, then battery? It's hard to get a sense of how it ties together from my google searches.

For a situation where the utility goes down for 3 months, your phone and computer, etc, are not going to be useful. If there's been some kind of mass emergency and there's no power in the region, the cell towers and Internet won't work. The refrigerator is great to have for awhile, but you'll have soon eaten everything from it. But you could still power whatever with enough solar. Just be aware that with a grid-tie system, it will go down during a power outage. You'd need some way to disconnect your mains (to prevent backfeeding into the grid) and turn your power from the panels back on. And keep your AC/heaters off because they will draw too much amperage.

MoonShadow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2542
  • Location: Louisville, Ky.
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2015, 01:20:04 PM »

For a situation where the utility goes down for 3 months, your phone and computer, etc, are not going to be useful.


That would depend upon what you have on your smartphone, and what you are doing with it.

http://www.gotenna.com/


forummm

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7396
  • Senior Mustachian
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2015, 02:24:39 PM »

For a situation where the utility goes down for 3 months, your phone and computer, etc, are not going to be useful.


That would depend upon what you have on your smartphone, and what you are doing with it.

http://www.gotenna.com/



Interesting. So for $150 you can tell people where you are if they also have one of those same devices? Seems like a limited market.

MoonShadow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2542
  • Location: Louisville, Ky.
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2015, 02:45:57 PM »

For a situation where the utility goes down for 3 months, your phone and computer, etc, are not going to be useful.


That would depend upon what you have on your smartphone, and what you are doing with it.

http://www.gotenna.com/



Interesting. So for $150 you can tell people where you are if they also have one of those same devices? Seems like a limited market.

It's a digital bridge transceiver, so it can do much more than tell others where you are, but yes, it can only communicate with others like itself.  But it is P2P, and doesn't require a functioning Internet or cell tower network to be useful.  I can do more with a ham radio transceiver, but they cost a great deal more.  Like anything else, the network effect makes them more useful.

forummm

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7396
  • Senior Mustachian
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2015, 03:18:30 PM »

For a situation where the utility goes down for 3 months, your phone and computer, etc, are not going to be useful.


That would depend upon what you have on your smartphone, and what you are doing with it.

http://www.gotenna.com/



Interesting. So for $150 you can tell people where you are if they also have one of those same devices? Seems like a limited market.

It's a digital bridge transceiver, so it can do much more than tell others where you are, but yes, it can only communicate with others like itself.  But it is P2P, and doesn't require a functioning Internet or cell tower network to be useful.  I can do more with a ham radio transceiver, but they cost a great deal more.  Like anything else, the network effect makes them more useful.

I was thinking tell people where you are for rescue or whatever. What uses are you thinking of?

MoonShadow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2542
  • Location: Louisville, Ky.
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2015, 03:36:07 PM »

For a situation where the utility goes down for 3 months, your phone and computer, etc, are not going to be useful.


That would depend upon what you have on your smartphone, and what you are doing with it.

http://www.gotenna.com/



Interesting. So for $150 you can tell people where you are if they also have one of those same devices? Seems like a limited market.

It's a digital bridge transceiver, so it can do much more than tell others where you are, but yes, it can only communicate with others like itself.  But it is P2P, and doesn't require a functioning Internet or cell tower network to be useful.  I can do more with a ham radio transceiver, but they cost a great deal more.  Like anything else, the network effect makes them more useful.

I was thinking tell people where you are for rescue or whatever. What uses are you thinking of?
  Trade, logistics, general communications, whatever.  The kinds of things that people would have used a CB radio for before computers took over those functions for us.  If we are talking about power being out in an entire region for 3+ months, then just the ability to call for a ride out of the area isn't likely the best use of the technology.  If we are talking about a Carrington class event (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859) then there would be no where to evacuate to

forummm

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7396
  • Senior Mustachian
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2015, 04:07:08 PM »

For a situation where the utility goes down for 3 months, your phone and computer, etc, are not going to be useful.


That would depend upon what you have on your smartphone, and what you are doing with it.

http://www.gotenna.com/



Interesting. So for $150 you can tell people where you are if they also have one of those same devices? Seems like a limited market.

It's a digital bridge transceiver, so it can do much more than tell others where you are, but yes, it can only communicate with others like itself.  But it is P2P, and doesn't require a functioning Internet or cell tower network to be useful.  I can do more with a ham radio transceiver, but they cost a great deal more.  Like anything else, the network effect makes them more useful.

I was thinking tell people where you are for rescue or whatever. What uses are you thinking of?
  Trade, logistics, general communications, whatever.  The kinds of things that people would have used a CB radio for before computers took over those functions for us.  If we are talking about power being out in an entire region for 3+ months, then just the ability to call for a ride out of the area isn't likely the best use of the technology.  If we are talking about a Carrington class event (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859) then there would be no where to evacuate to

If it's a solar storm, would the panels or inverter get destroyed too?

MoonShadow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2542
  • Location: Louisville, Ky.
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2015, 04:11:09 PM »

For a situation where the utility goes down for 3 months, your phone and computer, etc, are not going to be useful.


That would depend upon what you have on your smartphone, and what you are doing with it.

http://www.gotenna.com/



Interesting. So for $150 you can tell people where you are if they also have one of those same devices? Seems like a limited market.

It's a digital bridge transceiver, so it can do much more than tell others where you are, but yes, it can only communicate with others like itself.  But it is P2P, and doesn't require a functioning Internet or cell tower network to be useful.  I can do more with a ham radio transceiver, but they cost a great deal more.  Like anything else, the network effect makes them more useful.

I was thinking tell people where you are for rescue or whatever. What uses are you thinking of?
  Trade, logistics, general communications, whatever.  The kinds of things that people would have used a CB radio for before computers took over those functions for us.  If we are talking about power being out in an entire region for 3+ months, then just the ability to call for a ride out of the area isn't likely the best use of the technology.  If we are talking about a Carrington class event (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859) then there would be no where to evacuate to

If it's a solar storm, would the panels or inverter get destroyed too?

From a natural one, maybe.  But not if I keep it in a galvanized steel trash can with lid.

If it's a nuke at high altitude, it depends upon how far away it was, and the incoming angle of radiation; but probably yes.

The natural EMP doesn't have the high spike in the VHF range like the nuke does, but is still rather likely to really screw up the electrical grid.

regulator

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 469
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2015, 05:10:40 PM »
How many preppers can dance on the head of a pin?

MoonShadow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2542
  • Location: Louisville, Ky.
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2015, 05:12:50 PM »
How many preppers can dance on the head of a pin?

Just one, because it's MY pin!

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2988
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2015, 08:18:16 PM »
I like the idea of goTenna, but the range is pretty short. My parents are 14 miles away in opposite directions. But mostly I'm thinking about shelter in place situations, and being able to listen to the radio. But a solar oven and deep freezer are a good start.

MoonShadow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2542
  • Location: Louisville, Ky.
Re: Solar emergency portable energy generator
« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2015, 02:57:00 PM »
I like the idea of goTenna, but the range is pretty short. My parents are 14 miles away in opposite directions. But mostly I'm thinking about shelter in place situations, and being able to listen to the radio. But a solar oven and deep freezer are a good start.

I have a C Crane Shortwave, and a set of D-cells will last a loooong time.