Media Workers and TV Researchers - Please seek permission before posting on this site or approaching individuals found here by phone or email - write to the Editor - mail to nick@off-grid.net


Forum Replies Created

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 547 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • in reply to: Different Style Off the Grid Living #66586
    elnav
    Member

    We have seen many appeals for volunteers who want to form a community to live off-grid. Unfortunately many of these appeals come across like starry eyed utopians. Back in the sixties B.F. Skinner wrote a book on the subject and countless trial communities since then have started. Sadly most failed, a few survived and often morphed in the process.

    I live in an area where such people still exist and have been for decades. I have become accustomed to asking if they have telephone and a computer. The mountains sometimes block the sky view for even satellite links and the hills pretty much precludes cell phone coverage except in larger village sites.

    The point being people get along and being off grid or on grid is not a big deal. We even have one community where there is no building codes whatsoever.

    You don’t need a ‘special group’ of like minded people just people who are willing to get along with each other and be tolerant of someone being different

    in reply to: At it again #66587
    elnav
    Member

    Gordo wrote: in my purest attempts at being of the grid in todays modern society i question the use of propane, newspaper, lighters, store bought garden products, even the computer i am sitting at. i am slowly refining my wants and needs to build /develop my homestead in a way that is maintainable in the future with out the need for the hardware store, the grocery store, the box store.

    This is the classic argument concerning off-grid. Should it be a return to pre-industrial society suitable to a world populated by one tenth of the present population or should off-grid move forward to a future utopian life more remenisceint of the long ago TV series Lost in Space where the nuclear family lived in a spaceship pod on an alien planet. They had the benefit of the latest life support technology, robotic labor and remote sensors to warn of any imminent perils from nature.

    About the only common denominator between the two styles is a dislike of any authority that presumes to take your money (assets) and tell you what to do. Never mind this might be for the common good; it still represents imposing rules on society as a whole.

    Taking Gordo’s argument to its logical conclusion, You cannot make use of any technology because it requires some sort of civilization with structure and thus some form of authority (the man) to organize it. Where do you get nails from? In the absence of nails how do you build a house? In fact how do you get an ax, knife, or saw unless you have mines and at least black smith technology.

    Oh sure you can get flint knives and axes but unless you live where flint is found, you need traders to carry goods back and forth. Guess who controls the traders. Right! The neanderthal man. ( UGH! you pay toll or you don’t get through this road)

    With the right technology I think I would prefer being Lost in Space. <smile>

    Gordo, consider switching to methane instead of propane. At least then you can control production. Eat more beans.

    Don’t you just love these philosophical debates? <VBG>

    in reply to: 12v vacuum cleaner #66582
    elnav
    Member

    For the record USB power is 5V not 12V locally I have found adaptors that stick into a cigarette lighter socket and has a USB socket on the front. New retail price is $15. Last week I picked up a travel mug at the second hand store which contained a heater. Closer examination revealed the cigarette plug was actually an adaptor with a USB socket in the end.

    For those who like to do their own thing. Do not connect LED lighting directly to your 12V battery. The normal charge / discharge cycling result in voltage swings that will shorten the life of the LED lights considerably. You need a regulated power supply. Every desk top computer has a bolt in box you can adapt as a great power supply. Most of these desk top power supplys are around 250 – 300 watts, so a 500 – 600 watt inverter will drive them.

    The benefit being a computer supply will provide a rock steady ripple free source of both 5V and 12V at better than 10 Amps

    I just cannibalized one supply that listed the 12V at 14A and the 5V at 22 amps. Just perfect for many projects.

    Incidentally the bargain stores have many versions of low cost battery powered LED lights all of which use 3 batteries. 3X 1.5V = 4.5 volts so these lights will run on the 5V supply used in a desktop computer.

    Considering how many computers are being junked and replaced with laptops there must be a whole lot of perfectly good power supplies you can salvage from the dumpster. Sounds like an opportunity for a DIY person to relight their place with low cost bargain store LED lights powered by a repurposed computer power supply giving stable regulated voltage.

    in reply to: Different Style Off the Grid Living #66580
    elnav
    Member

    Trinity EX your post sounds utopian just like much advertising. iphone auto correct???? Oh sure. What are you gonna do when you do get off grid and discover there is no phone or internet access. You wrote;”we do things differently. We believe in providing professional grade service and technology in off the grid service. We are not a real estate or developing firm. We are an Organization that prides itself on pride and tactical professionalism.”

    Sure sounds like a business pitch.

    You are addressing your comments to some people who have been away from the grid many years. I presently live in an area where it is estimated 20- 30% of homes are off-grid. The head librarian and her husband have been off-grid for 30 years. Some homesteads formed a century ago are still not on the grid.

    in reply to: At it again #66568
    elnav
    Member

    I feel for you Frank. Unfortunately off-grid does not promise honesty or integrity. I wish it did!

    By your own account you already know how to protect yourself against dishonest merchants. This is not something linked to off-grid or on-grid. It relates directly to human nature and moral standards. There is also a system for addressing this, but is somewhat off topic for here. Sadly despite 2000 years of practice we as a civilization have come no closer to reaching the goals of this other system. I despair of the off-grid system ever having any greater success.

    in reply to: Different Style Off the Grid Living #66576
    elnav
    Member

    SPAM!

    you are advertising a business service. Suggest you repost this in classified ads section.

    Oh yeah learn how to spell its Rome not roam.

    in reply to: New to this, where to start #66570
    elnav
    Member

    I am reminded that most if not all the pioneers who settled this area did not have books to read and guide them when they set up off grid homesteads. How did they ever manage it???

    in reply to: ultimate off grid, mars rover curiosity lands tonight #66559
    elnav
    Member

    Maybe it last 25 years but you won’t. Space application nuclear power sources do not have shielding so any biological life form in proximity gets toasted.

    in reply to: New to this, where to start #66560
    elnav
    Member

    Along with reading the books you can begin with reducing your energy consumption.

    Hints are scattered among nearly every article on the subject. Even if you rent and the electric utility bill is included; you can at least get in the habit. Inexpensive power meters like the Kill-a-Watt costing around $20 from Amazon among other places will enable you to actually measure how much energy you use.

    By identifying the energy hogs you can change your lifestyle now in preparation for going off grid later.

    in reply to: Drought and where to buy / live ? #66558
    elnav
    Member

    Today I saw an article by a scientist by name of Hansen who stated the drought pattern (theory) is now supported by statistics not just theories. I have seen other articles that indicates we will see climate regions suited to prairie land shift northward. In the longer term this suggest that people looking for lower cost land should be looking at northern regions not southern regions that are are already seeing great heat periods and sometimes water shortages.

    I live so far north that if I flew directly west I would land in Alaska. While it is true we have a short growing season we have long sunlight hours in summer. Nightfall only happens at 10:00 PM – 11:00 PM and sunup is around 4:30 AM.

    Solar panels definitely must have trackers for best effect. Most people around here have thriving vegetable gardens and the addition of a small green house means we can even grow tomatoes. Berry plants do quite well. I even know someone who has managed to grow a peach tree.

    And as Centralpafarm says you can grow your own ice blocks in winter then store them for summer in a hay insulated barn. This was the normal way of doing it before electricity came along. Lots of properties nearby sell for less than $50,000

    in reply to: 12v vacuum cleaner #66555
    elnav
    Member

    Although I design systems using 2kW – 9 kw inverters I often recommend to my clients to use several small inverters, each dedicated to one task. Inverters are most efficient when loaded to 80 – 90% of their rated capacity. Thus it makes no sense to run a 300 – 600 watt load with a ginormous 2kW or bigger inverter.

    in reply to: 12v vacuum cleaner #66554
    elnav
    Member

    300 – 600 watt inverter is what I had in mind. There are a few cordless models available that also work well. They are better than the 12V models. I had both kinds so a personal comparison was possible. Best of all the cordless models can be recharged from mains or inverter. Good luck!

    in reply to: Best 12v Cable for Indoor Lighting ? #66546
    elnav
    Member

    Seeing the above comments gives me a sense that the correspondents generally lack any in-depth knowledge. 12V man at least know the rudiments of voltage drop as a function of current and wire length.

    I highly recommend anyone wanting to run 12V wiring first read one of the books on RV and boat wiring which includes at least a whole chapter on the subject and also includes some of the wiring tables used to determine wire size for a given length and load amps. I have seen too many examples of someone using any old wire they happen to scrounge but forgetting basic safety principles.

    Everything works fine until . . . . something unforseen goes wrong. In the absence of correct fuses in the right place, a short circuit can cause wires to overheat and melt the insulation. Most plastic wires are made using PVC which is highly toxic when melted. I know of one fatality where the owner was running some new wire and accidentally caused a short. The smoke from the melted wire overcame him before he could step six feet to the door and fresh air.

    AS a marine electrician I have seen my share of fires started by poor wiring done by owners who figured they knew enough. Enough to be dangerous is more like it! There are any number of good books published and available at public libraries if you can’t afford to buy them. It might save you from having a fire or worse getting killed by faulty wiring. Data wiring such as computer cables and phone cables should not be used for power unless the power source has protective over current protection installed. Using inadequate wire sizes means incurring losses that are worse than the losses you are trying to avoid by not using inverters.

    in reply to: 12v vacuum cleaner #66547
    elnav
    Member

    Frank you would be better off running a mains powered small vac powered through an inverter. First of all there are many more of them made so the price is lower per unit. When you need a replacement there is more choice and retail outlets.

    You do not need a huge battery. Run your vehicle engine to charge ther battery while the inverter is powering the vac.

    This is one place where its best to buy a consumer product that really sucks. The 12V devices don’t hack it. :-))))

    in reply to: Using Wood Stoves for Off-Grid Cooking #66515
    elnav
    Member

    The link I provided had 10 different stoves and not all of them were expensive thermal mass. Your comment about time of day only applies to evening meal. Morning meals and coffee or similar hot drink poses a problem since solar heat does not develop in the early morning. Therefore some kind of heat storage is required. I have not yet seen any system that uses zeolite storage technology.

    According to the Gizmag article one of the principal benefits of zeolite is the long term storage of heat without loss. That would be ideal for next day morning use.

    Technology that requires extensive social re-engineering is more problematic to gain acceptance by people.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 547 total)