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Old 12-15-2009, 02:39 PM   #141
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

Actually.... If I can find a 4WD shorty for $2K, I might just buy that instead! I'm looking.....
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:26 AM   #142
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric von Kleist
I don't suppose anyone has a spare Jeep/Dodge Dakota 4 cylinder lying around, do they?

Mine just threw a rod Friday night. BUMMER. That's $2K out of my next semester budget that I really didn't need to spend. Oh, well, gotta deal with it!
Heck, you could buy my 1992 dakota le 5.2L (that's a 318 for you old school guys) for half that...

jim
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Old 12-28-2009, 01:25 PM   #143
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

Independence! Hooray! The grid went down and I didnít notice!

A week before Christmas, we had something approaching a foot of snow here in Grundy, Virginia. The storm seems also to have affected a large part of the mid-Atlantic region. As I write this, I have only had news from a couple of people by word of mouth, so I really donít know the extent of the troubles, except that the government declared a natural disaster and called out the National Guard. Our whole county was without water: the county water pumps were without power, as were private well pumps. Power was out in my hollow until late in the day on Christmas Eve, and thatís about when power was returning in many other places.

I had gone into town to school to use the internet early last Friday afternoon, and the snow started falling in earnest as I left town. I picked up a few items at the crowded grocery store (there is only one in town), and watched other people buy carts-full of food, much of which required refrigeration, I noticed. Most in these parts serve the god of refrigeration.

The power went off late that evening. Saturday morning I could see from the accumulation on the ground that I would not be going anywhere. By Saturday evening I had switched over one of my wall sconces to 12VDC. It was very easy because I had prewired the bus for both 12VDC and 120VAC. I put in the 12VDC fluorescent bulb and fiat lux!

The woodstove was roasty, toasty warm, there was plenty of water in my tank, a fresh bottle of propane was under the bus, and there was 12VDC lighting throughout, and my little generator would heat my 120VAC hot water tank in about 20 minutes. By Monday I was able to get into town, only to find that nothing was working anywhere, so I came home.

I loaned my landlord the use of my generator. We had initially thought to get the well pumps working, but they turned out to be 220VAC, as did his stove and water heater. He was concerned that the refrigeration god would abandon him, so he put all of his frozen food into a chest freezer in his detached garage, and we used the little generator to keep the refrigeration god happy. He spent about thirty dollars on gasoline to keep maybe fifty pounds, or under two-hundred dollars worth, of food cold! I have more than a monthís worth of food within armís reach of where I sit, and not one bit of it needs refrigeration.

My landlord ended up spending the week about twenty miles from here at his brotherís house in another town. I hear from him that there is no propane available within 50 miles, that the local gas stations are limiting purchases of gas to $50 per car, and that kerosene is very hard to come by. He said that there have been at least two deaths caused by CO poisoning, and I wouldnít be surprised if there were more: his wife had tried to get him to bring the gas grill inside to keep the house warm, and I imagine that others might do equally foolish things, like burning charcoal in the fireplace.

The main roads have been passable since Monday, and most of the side roads were passable by Wednesday at the latest. Since there is no internet service available locally at the school or library, I donít really have any reason to go out. Iíll just stay here in my school bus and wait for school to start in 8 days. Iíll be up late reading Civil Procedure, Property, and Contracts by 12VDC light!

12/28/09

I finally came into town today to use the internet at school. Looks like everything is back up and running here. It amazes me, that as likely an event as this winter storm is in this geographic area, how many people are so UTTERLY unprepared for it. Hmmm... I live where winter storms shut down power with some regularity....what steps will I take to survive that eventuality in comfort? Apparently, for most people, the answer is none. The power that one has over one's life if one can supply his own needs for some extended period is incredible. It's the kind of thing that seperates the rich from the poor in life, which means that if you have that power, you are rich, but if not, you are poor. Like telephone. I have no phone number that people can contact me through, kind of like Bill Gates, or the President. I can call people if *I* want to, but they have to come see me if they want to see me. That's the kind of limited access that rich people have.

Rambling, sorry.

I did try reading Contracts, but it was really boring. Then I tried reading Hegel, but that was only marginally more endurable than Contracts....

I hope everyone had a good holiday season!
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Old 12-28-2009, 11:11 PM   #144
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

good for you for being self reliant... i mean that relatively.....
now you should drive around smuggly blaring sum triumphant song
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Old 01-01-2010, 08:38 PM   #145
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

I would think that keeping your food outside where the critters can get to it is a little silly. Snow or not, critters move around... four legged or two legged, critters are critters!

Just keep a large coleman or several styrofoam coolers on hand, put your food in, grab some gallon+ sized ziplocks and fill with snow to put on top of the food. If you have room in the underbelly of the bus to put the coolers in, the snow will keep even longer.
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Old 01-04-2010, 06:01 PM   #146
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLaw
Nicely done, dude.

One question, though.

You're in Virginia, with a foot of snow on the ground - everything is iced over and people are scrambling to keep their food cold in the REFRIDGERATOR!?
They are spending valuable gasoline to run a generator to keep an ice chest cold?

Maybe I'm missing something here, but uhh....I would just build a little "box" out of snow and ice and keep my food OUTSIDE where it is below freezing!


LOL
Yep, makes you wonder. I suggested it, but...

Quote:
Wish ya had some pictures of the snow! We just got hit by 14 inches of snow and it was the ONE day I decided to drive my bus the 40 miles TO work ... got stuck at work... didn't get home until 2 days later. The 40 miles back home at 15 mph on ice was NOT fun.
Dang, I bet that was an adventure. Did you stay on board, or was the bus amenable to that? I keep wishing my bus had automatic snow-chains on it. Those are awesome. Even if I never used them, they are awesome! LOL
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Old 01-04-2010, 06:04 PM   #147
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sojakai
I would think that keeping your food outside where the critters can get to it is a little silly. Snow or not, critters move around... four legged or two legged, critters are critters!

Just keep a large coleman or several styrofoam coolers on hand, put your food in, grab some gallon+ sized ziplocks and fill with snow to put on top of the food. If you have room in the underbelly of the bus to put the coolers in, the snow will keep even longer.
I suggested to him coolers full of snow in the garage (it's critterproof), but I think the promise of electrically generated cold seemed the more certain promise to him.

Personally, I don't have refrigeration (except in the stairwell in cold weather) on the bus, so I don't worry about it.
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:02 PM   #148
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

I bow to the Refrigeration God too, but I also know that HE said that he helps those who help themselves. HE cant watch over me all the time, I have to watch out for myself. ^.^
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Old 08-31-2010, 12:59 PM   #149
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

I am OFF THE GRID! Wo0t!

I have some pictures to post of my solar panel installation and mount construction details, just as soon as I get my password reset for the gallery.

I have moved out in the country. I am living entirely on power I generate on site (primarily solar.) I have a great spot. The bus drove across a creek (got stuck) up a rough dirt road (got stuck) and parked back up in a western Virginia (not West Virginia) holler, and it went splendidly! Lots of work to do to turn the place into a permanent dwelling site, but I'm there for the duration! No power bill. No water bill. No rent. No neighbors within a half mile. No artificial lights visible anywhere at night (except those inside the bus).

More to come as law school permits...
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:39 PM   #150
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Re: "Paradigm Shift"

So far so good!

I am using 1 260Ah AGM sealed battery for storage. That gives me 52Ah of power before I drain the battery to the 80% level. By not draining it lower than this, I should be able to extend the battery life significantly. I plan to get one more of these batteries in the future.

I have three 130W 18V panels. My maximum theoretical usable power output is 6.5 Amps per panel.

The wiring is such that there is theoretically a less than 1% voltage drop in the wiring run from the panels to the battery.

The panels are controlled by a Blue-Sky 3024 Di MPPT charge controller.

I have a North-facing site below the ridge line of a hollow. Effective solar availability is limited to 9AM to 4PM at this time of year. Trees do block some of the late afternoon sunlight, but they will lose their leaves soon, so that may extend my practical daylength.

My demands are low. I may charge my computer at 5Ah for a couple of hours. My 6 Amp water pump runs occasionally, for a total of perhaps 20 minutes per day. I have a few 12VDC flourescent bulbs that I burn sparingly.

Right now I run a 3kW gasoline powered generator for about thirty minutes to make hot water in my 120V marine hot water heater. In the not-to-distant future, I will build a solar collector to heat the hot water and also the installed (but as yet unused) radiant floor heating system.

I live without air conditioning. In South Carolina in the summer it can get hot. My bus is solid white. When the bus is clean, it does not get hotter in the bus than the ambient air temperature (windows and doors open for ventilation, of course.) Gloss white is a great defense against heat.

You certainly could set up a system to run an A/C on PV. It will take a whole lot of panels. Dozens. They run the 15kW generator at least partly because of the amount of current it takes to run those A/C units. Figure out how many 100W panels it will take to make that kind of power, and you will see what you are up against trying to run A/C on PV. It *can* be done.

You can park under a tree for shade if your panels are mounted on a rack in the sun. Panels don't have to be on the bus (although portability becomes an issue if they aren't -- on the other hand....a small trailer could be an entire portable PV system that you could wheel over into the sun...hmmmm...)

So far I've seen my charge controller put out 10 Amps of power when I had a DC powered AA/AAA battery charger charging four 2150 mAh batteries, and my computer was charging, and I was burning one 11W flourescent bulb while I studied. Most of the time it just loafs along at a few tenth of an Amp or an Amp or two -- which means my battery supply is not being drained much by usage, and also means that I am wasting power by not using it to charge a battery (that would give me greater overall storage capacity.) I have overengineered this system in several ways.
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