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Getting "off the Grid"

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posted on Jun, 8 2004 @ 03:53 PM
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As cool as using earths magnetic feilds to power everything is I think we should hold off on it a bit and look for the potential effects on said feild as it is rather important in keeping us not-so-radioactive. We've already managed to slow down the rotation of the earth with hydro dams, most notably with China's recent Three Gorges dam. I think that we should continue looking into good efficient fusion, be it self-made or provided by the sun.




posted on Jun, 8 2004 @ 04:09 PM
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neverfear,

I am looking at the idea. Its good to be grid independent in my opinion. Not just for the fact that I don't want to spend my life supporting utilities. But what about the possibility of a natural disaster? Or an energy crisis? I'd rather pay more for the material now and unhook from the grid than face the possibility of not having energy later or being forced to pay horribly high prices. I am not a whiz when it comes to electricity but I have been doing some reading on solar cells. Trying to figure out how many it would take to duplicate a home circuit. Thats about as advanced as my knowledge of the subject is. I know there must be MUCH more to learn on the subject.



posted on Jun, 8 2004 @ 08:00 PM
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neverfear,

Nice to have you here, welcome.

Ten years off the grid, thats great!
How are you doing it? Solar, wind?
Are you storing power?

Sorry, I have lot of questions, but maybe you can
give us a brief summary of your "road to electrical independence"?

I've looked into it a bit more, since i started this thread..And have found
that in my state, the incentives to produce your own power, are increasing
somewhat. (a single rebate, based on the potential of your system)

Another Plus, is that now you can "bank" your power credits and use them
later, it's like getting paid the retail rate for the power you produce..

Of course, this is all done without Batteries, or storage, so if your power
goes out, like mine did last night, for 2 hours, you're on candle power.


I look forward to hearing more from you!



posted on Jun, 8 2004 @ 08:04 PM
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Amur_Tiger

Good point, last thing we need to worry about is a "hole" in the EArths
Magnetic field!!.

Imagine what a Coronal mass ejection would do to our "power grid" then?



posted on Jun, 8 2004 @ 08:45 PM
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Would it be ok to be on the grid if the power companies used clean resources?

The Future is at hand.


.



posted on Jun, 8 2004 @ 09:00 PM
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neverfear, 10 years off the grid, huh? That's a long time, you must be very efficient and well informed about the 'true & practical' side of creating your own power by now. What method are you using for most of you power?

From what I've read on certain sites from those people who are also living off the grid, it seems that most of them are using Solar and Wind mostly. From what they say on their sites it seems that Solar is the Primary method used and actually not as expensive as one might think. Depending on how much energy you plan on using of course. In your opinion, are these sites giving a pretty good example of how 'off grid living' is like?

www.otherpower.com...



posted on Jun, 8 2004 @ 09:38 PM
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Hi Spacedoubt, thank you for your reply!

Solar is a huge waist of money! Wind would be okay I guess if you have wind, or not to much wind, other wise the maintenance would be high and again not worth it.

The key to living of grid is to learn to do without!

The first 8 years off grid I used one 12v battery to run the water pump, a light in the kitchen and the bathroom. I re-charged the battery from a spare battery on my truck, via jumper cables. Other than that it was ruff'en it, totally!

I now have a small Honda generator (with inverter) that runs for 11 hours on a gallon of gas. The only reason I have it is so I could get online, via satellite dish, (two way high speed broadband). I also upgraded to two 6v batteries for longer life, and a charger to charge while I'm online. My refrigerator, cook stove and water heater are all propane, and I use wood for comfort heat. I have water piped down from a natural spring just up from me.

I survive on less than $600 a month, rarely going to town more than once or twice a month, and ready to live on zero $ should it all come down to nothing tomorrow.

Yes, I'm one of those survivalist nuts that lives off the land and has prepared for the end. Instead of living a life of luxury, sitting around writing about all kind a ways of doing it, blowing out nothing but a bunch of hot air, I'm doing it!

The only way this could be accomplished by and for anyone is very simple. Just do it!

neverfear



posted on Jun, 8 2004 @ 09:51 PM
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With that setup there is still a dependency on fossil fuels. You need a generator and a vehicle to make it work. While solar may be highly inefficient you can truly get off the grid and cut yourself off from the rest of the world.



posted on Jun, 8 2004 @ 10:25 PM
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Hello Indy,

Like I said, solar is a huge waist of money! Ya can't eat solar panels! When it all comes down the only thing that will be important to anyone will be food and good drinking water!

The only reason I want gas at this time is for the Internet, and to go to town once in a while for supplies. When my truck did the charging (and used gas) I used my truck for labor saving convince, and still do)! When the gas is gone it will be a huge blessing for me. No more trips to town!

Who needs it anyway?

It's only our wants that get in the way, and cost so much!

Once you become familiar with doing without you do not need fuel, solar or wind, just two strong hands.

neverfear



posted on Jun, 8 2004 @ 10:57 PM
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Originally posted by neverfear
Hello Indy,

Like I said, solar is a huge waist of money! Ya can't eat solar panels! When it all comes down the only thing that will be important to anyone will be food and good drinking water!

The only reason I want gas at this time is for the Internet, and to go to town once in a while for supplies. When my truck did the charging (and used gas) I used my truck for labor saving convince, and still do)! When the gas is gone it will be a huge blessing for me. No more trips to town!

Who needs it anyway?

It's only our wants that get in the way, and cost so much!

Once you become familiar with doing without you do not need fuel, solar or wind, just two strong hands.

neverfear


Yes, you are correct neverfear, in that you don't actually 'NEED' anything other than Food & Water & sometimes Shelter. However, I think what this thread of 'Off Grid' is about includes alternative sources of Energy vs. reliance on the Power Grid. Nothing at all is certainly Off the Grid, but I think that goes without saying.

I think your comment about Solar being a waste is a bit too strong though. While it's true that you can't eat it, as you put it, in a crisis, the technology behind them has greatly improved and the use of just one panel is often enough to at least run one bulb, a radio, and other 'Basic' things should you want to. Also, the panels can often times be purchased 2nd hand in perfect working condition and will last for a very long time providing useful energy for those who don't want to completely 'Survivalist Style' like you're talking about. (BTW, by saying one panel I am implying that a Storage Battery for the Power goes without saying.)

[edit on 8-6-2004 by mOjOm]



posted on Jun, 8 2004 @ 11:13 PM
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I live in a Motorhome, run everything through an inverter and 3 deep cycles.
Charged by the motor when traveling, or solar panels when stationary.

Good source for info



posted on Jun, 8 2004 @ 11:33 PM
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We were off grid for 8 1/2 years. I won't beat around the bush....It sucked big time.
We had no choice because there wasn't electricity in this area, until July of 1999. Anyways we were ready for Y2k.
Yes it cost a lot. You need tons of batteries, solar panels, generators, inverters, and even than it wouldn't run the whole house. Did I mention battery chargers? It is also advisable to get a propane refrigerator. In our case we needed a 10 k generator alone for the well as it's depth is over 400 feet. Generators aren't cheap so constant maintence is required. We had to buy a well generator every year even with constant upkeep. Two extra generators were required for the house, in case of several weeks of overcast days. Usually due to the monsoon seasons here. Our power company never reinbursed us either. You should also have plenty of gas and oil on hand for the generators. We used kerosene heaters when it was really cold, but you have to be really careful. There must be plenty of ventilation...this also includes the use of kerosene lamps. The one thing I hated was going out to pump up water from the well at night..... especially when we heard a cougar scream! Also had to watch out for snakes. Our television was dc and small.



posted on Jun, 8 2004 @ 11:36 PM
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Sounds like you have a family of 12.
Of course usage has alot to do with everything off the grid.
I'm happy with my little 9 inch TV.



posted on Jun, 8 2004 @ 11:43 PM
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Neverfear.... I think it would be interesting if not fun in a way to live like people did 200 years ago. I think most have completely lost touch with the natural instinct of survival. What would most Americans do if they could not simply go to the grocery store and buy what they needed. How many would have the ability (mentally and physically) to build their own shelter with nothing more than their two hands. Now if I can take what I know today and use that to help me build a sufficient shelter off grid then I'd certainly do that. If I can build a solar array that will provide me light, heat and the means to cook then it will free up my time so I would not need to spend countless hours chopping wood for fire. It would also leave me more time to tend to my crops and other things necessary to keep my shelter operating year round. With a solar array I'd be able to generate electricity to drive a weather monitor. I would be able to use that information to watch for signs of approaching storms. God forbid we were ever to enter into another ice age. Would you honestly want to be chopping wood when its -40 outside? Perhaps my reasons for wanting to move off grid are different than yours. For normal day to day living it wouldn't be a huge problem. But im thinking for life after a disaster. Going out and collecting supplies may not always be an option. I am thinking more of a shelter where one could remain holed up for months on end.



posted on Jun, 8 2004 @ 11:45 PM
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Dang Star... where do you live? No power until 1999?



posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 12:03 AM
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Nope just three of us. Also it would be great if the home is wired for off-grid use. Our's was not....so there was extentions cords all over the place. Of course you could hook up the 10k generator direct to your power box. But you better not turn too many things on at once. Also generators really suck gas! And if you only have one 10k generator you'll have to move it each time you need it for the well. The smaller generators won't pump up water from the well if it's too deep. Living off-grid is no picnic. There's always something that needs to be done. Plenty of candles is a must. But be careful. If a big moth flies into one and catches fire...he might crash and start a fire.
Here's a tip... Get a ten gallon aquarium. We put horntoads in it. (or frogs your choice) with a twelve-volt light hooked just a little over the top. (those small ones used from the dash board of a car.)
Because of the fact you should have windows open for ventilation the bugs will come in. The bugs are attracted to the small light hanging over the aquarium. Then they will fall into the tank and the horntoads will eat them!



posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 12:16 AM
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Has anyone considered building either a hydroelectric/water-to-hydrogen generator or just running a plain water engine. It seems that you only need a little bit of energy to start the process. I've also seen solar cells the size of brief cases that output 120v, enough for most appliances, and probably enough energy to start a water-engine. Not to mention the fact that you can store extra energy....



posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 12:22 AM
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I'm in the foothills of Mount Charleston in Nevada. Not far... as the raven flies from Area 51. We were gun-ho to face the new frontier too, but after a few years it got really old. Also during the summer months we had to run a swamp-cooler. One year the temp was 117-120 for two weeks straight. This required having lots of gas and oil for the generator. We would turn off the swamper at night, but the temps would still be in the 90's. That really sucked especially when it was during the monsoon season, when the humidity was high. I'm telling you..... I pray to the electricity Gods.


XL5

posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 12:33 AM
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A solar cell the size of a briefcase may output 30W at the most, then in the case is an inverter that steps it upto 120V AC at 30W (0.25Amps). 30W is good for real small things, phones, walkmans, gameboys, small hand held fans and tiny TV's.

Wind power is the way to go. If you have a tall enough mast, you can get lots of power and more constant wind and you can always put more up and make one at about 200-250$ per KW. But storing huge amounts of power is the downfall for solar and wind.



posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 12:39 AM
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Originally posted by spacedoubt
What about up-and coming technology?

I seem to remember a report about solar-cells that use
more of the spectrum of sunlight, converting it to power more
efficiently.

Has anyone heard of other such breakthroughs?
www.trnmag.com... Here is some new material that should help lower the cost , and increase the efficiency of PVA's . Quick Story : Built an electric car at college and my prof. got to keep it . His house is set up with solar , and he "stores" his power with the utility co. for later use . He has battery back-up , and DC appliances for 2 days emergency use if all goes to heck. The cost wich lengthens the payback time is mostly the labor of installation . He did his own setup , interconnected to the grid for :storage" (they legally have to buy your power from you ) . When the sun goes down , he uses his "credit" energy from the grid . The money he saved by doing it himself , combined with the gas $$ he saves by charging his car off the sun will make him break even in 4 years (less than 2 years from now) then he has free electric as long as the sun shines , and the panels keep working .

At the end of the year however , any exess KWH's of electricity he has generated is absorbed by the utility with no compensation to him . He made a system that produces about 5 KWH's of juice on a clear day . Any more , and he will lose $ . So his system was designed with that in mind and not overbuilt . You have to plan carefully , and do the labor yourself to break even witin abour 5-7 years , electric vehichles obviously speed this up considering recent gas prices .



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