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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Rechargeable batteries

Last year we spent some time both investigating as well as experimenting with small scale solar panels as well as rechargeable batteries. Although I do not have any pictures currently the two panels shown here keep a rotation of 3 separate 12V 105 amp hour deep cycles (from TSC) topped off and ready for use. A small inverter with two 110V plugs gets attached to the deep cycle and is ready when we need it. In the last few years, with the advent of CFL Compact-Fluorescent-Lights, you can now maintain a very good backup lighting system without the need for oil, propane lanterns and its 100% renewable for longer term use. Running these lights is not quite as efficient as running 12V lighting however having an inverter that will power up your more common household items has its advantages as well. Each of these is listed as a 15 Watt panel and under ideal conditions should be able to put 1 AMP of power back into a battery for each panel for each hour in the sun. Another example would be for every hour of Sun these panels have, we get 2 hours of light from a 40W equivalent bulb... The 105 amp hour battery can be used for approximately 27 hours or 20% draw down for optimal lifespan. During bad weather, car battery chargers do the work of keeping the 12Volts topped off.


Here is a tiny charge controller that can accommodate up to seven 15W panels and attaches to your 12V deep cycle.


Another side project was to start maintaining a supply of rechargeable batteries for flashlights, radios and other small devices. In case you have been out of the rechargeable battery world for a while (I know I was) you may find it interesting that they only come in the AAA an AA sizes, shown here. In the event you want to use the battery in a device that takes C or even D sized cells, most of the kits come with the plastic blanks that are the same size as normal C or D cells which keep the AA in the center as shown in the bottom left. A plastic Ammo carrier for large rifle cartridges keeps them nice and organized. + up means the battery is full and - side up means that it needs to sit on a charge next time its convenient. These are readily available from Amazon and you can add a few at a time every once in a while... In theory they should be capable of recharge up to 1000 times. If you end up getting a couple kits you can recharge 8 or even 12 at a time.


Being a 100% renewable option was important here as well for any kind of long term need. Run time on these rechargeables has been about equal with any of the standard throw aways, so I'm very happy with their performance.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Recently Joined NH Prep Network

Hi All,

I ran across the site and decided to join after it was mentioned on another forum that I follow regularly. Sounded interesting and I was hoping to learn from others as well as share what knowledge that I have... A little about myself/family… My Wife and I have been on a path toward a more self sufficient lifestyle for almost three years now (to varying degrees) and that path has morphed and branched out in many different directions, especially in the last year or so, given the current conditions. I’ve always considered myself to be on the slightly more prepared side than most and you wouldn’t find me in lines at the grocery store for batteries or milk before a storm because well, I would tend to already have those things. My wife works very hard on several fronts including raising chickens and taking care of dogs. We decided three years ago to build an off-grid camp with limited assistance and none of your standard infrastructure or supplied services. This meant that we would try to build it from the ground up to have its own electrical power, water and hopefully someday a percentage of food growing capability. More on camp life later as I’d like to start contributing to the community on some more manageable items that anyone can do. My personal areas of interest/knowledge include: General Survival skills, All associated gear, Firearms, Firearms Safety, Water Filtration, Archery, Solar Power, Rechargeable battery technology, Security, First Aid, Communications, Small Engines, Generators Any form of Carpentry/building, Tools (Hand Powered, Gas and Electric) and cooking. My Wife has some specific areas of interest as well including Firearms, Firearms safety, Food Preservation, Food Gathering, Gardening, Raising Poultry for meat and eggs and caring for our two dogs (training, medical needs where possible etc).

Things have sure changed over the years…. If you were to ask me ten years ago what survival meant, I probably would have replied that I was all set because I had a Hunting knife, AR-15 and three MRE’s and that would be enough. Looking back, that wasn’t even a good plan for 24 hour period. Instead of starting my first posts with Firearms (because well, its common and there are many resources) I figured I’d start with one of the other three areas that I consider extremely important. Food, Water and Shelter as these are the first three things that will challenge someone in any kind of short or long term situation. If your stuck in your house for a week due to an ice storm/blizzard or if something were to happen that would require you to stay indoors longer these items are going to be on everyones mind very quickly.

Starting with Water Filtration…

Several months ago, our whole house water filter broke, fortunately within a 48 hour timeframe we were able to get the replacement parts from the vendor and get things working again. What occurred to me during that time was that we were VERY unprepared to clean our own water in any kind of quantity and definitely not enough to provide for a family of four, two large dogs and 10+ Chickens. Sure, there are small personal water filters that we use regularly for hiking in the white mountains and we always have a few days worth of water (in bottles or gallons) but none of which can get you beyond a few days. The search was on for a good filter that had one very important criteria (gravity fed with NO power usage). This specific filter came highly recommended via several web recommendations and reviews. I have seen similar setups that are much less expensive through a popular shooting catalog (CTD) and from a DIY perspective if you had the filter cartridges you could fashion something similar with a few buckets and a spout, very easily and cheaply. One very nice advantage to this filter (other than not requiring any power or moving parts) is that with the addition of multiple cartridges you can increase the output. The “crown” which is the largest unit they make will hold 6 gallons and can also filter 6.5 gallons per hour with (two supplied cartridges)… This can be increased to a maximum of 8 cartridges all working together to produce 26 gallons of fresh water per hour.


Water is one of the most important things we’ll need in any kind of disruption to day-to-day life and if you are unable to get it clean you will very likely introduce illness to the group or yourself very quickly…. That would really make a bad situation worse IMO. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know, I also found a very reasonable resource for this unit through ebay/paypal as web searching will return a rather wide range of prices.
New Hampshire PreppersNetwork Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. New Hampshire Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.