Data management and other off-grid technologies

Going off-grid sounds exciting.
Many people approach it with a sense of  adventure as if they were living in a camper van,  trailer or small cabin.  The high tech aspect consist of  adding a small  solar photo voltaic  panel to power  a set of LED lights and maybe a laptop computer.
I have seen people express  the sentiment that going off-grid was a way to get away from  other people, society and the evils of modern technology.
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Emergency Power: engine-driven generators

Living off the grid,  generators have a place. There comes a time  when some backup power is needed.  In most cases  this means using an engine to turn some form of generator.

People living  in Vans, camping trailers or small cabins tend to view  a seperate engine driven  generator as a nuisance  to be tolerated  and  usually do  not wish to spend much money. Various alternatives  present themselves.
Running the Van motor to charge up  the battery is among the first  solutions  that  comes to mind.  Next is a small  stand alone portable genset and  a typical automotive charger  that plugs into the mains.
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Where have all the engineers gone?

A common theme  running through  many if not most  if the current  crop of discussion threads  dealing with alternative lifestyle and off-grid living is a lack of solid engineering  know how.
Many posters ask basic questions about the technology involved.  All the major green and alternate  energy projects we hear about in the news are mega projects  involving  huge amounts of money and  aimed at  creating megawatts of power to feed the existing grid.
These projects  do employ engineers but  very few of these engineers  seem to get involved with low tech small scale energy projects.
I began wondering why.
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Must simplicity be minimalist?

To date most efforts at living the simple life,  off the grid seem to be an exercise in minimalism — doing without  amenities most people take for granted.

No wonder the off-grid movement has trouble attracting adherents. The biggest appeal seems to be to those who want a simple life away from the restrictions imposed by living in communities.

Freedom is the keynote in many of the articles and books dealing with going off-grid.

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