Kenny HendrickOff-Grid Solar and Wind Generated Power

Page Topic: Lifestyle

**********DISCLAIMER:    This page is in the making;     Read at your own risk!
Our Nation CAN do Better!

Preface    Batteries   Brick    Solar    Controllers and Inverters    Solar Kits

Lifestyle    Security    Lighting    Water    Wind    History

Wood Stove     Generator        Walkway

My first hot showers were firewood stove-heated, and later solar heated.  The photos shown below were the only means to hot water during the winter. 
Water added to a large pot with a bilge pump dropped in were still appreciated.  The bilge pump was connected to a garden hose. This was a messy and time-consuming shower.

My first showerMy first shower
 Later I evolved to black pipe placed out in the sun.
This was an ineffective and unreliable means of heating the water (for obvious reasons, such as waiting till 11am when the water in the pipe is hot enough to be able to take a shower).
The black pipe seen in the photos is actually over 200 feet of thick-walled hard poly pipe typically used for underground water lines.  The pipe draped all over the roof, and then down the side, and back and forth on a wire fence.
In the summer, the heated water was at times unbearably scalding, with no means to adjust the temperatures.

Solar-heated water linesSolar-heated water lines

Off-grid Heat

Off-Grid Refrigerator
Although there are three refrigerators here, as it turns out there hasn't been any real need for refrigeration.  Two years and going strong.  The refigerators are used as cupboards.

If it's winter time, put your food outside in a secure cooler.   Raccoons are ingenious!

As for the freezer, it's on the top of the "never turn off" list.  The freezer is where all the good stuff from the garden is hiding.

Off-Grid Freezer
The freezer shown above came from Home Depot in Springfield Ohio and has been well-appreciated.
Since I don't drive, they even delivered the freezer to me free of charge!

Recently a man whom I fixed a computer for, repayed me by filling the freezer to capacity.  He brought so much food that I had to decline some of it!

Another thing you may need to adapt to when off-grid, is making your own food.   This is something made in January 2018.  It's bread with pineapple and apple spice.
Oddly enough, this flour was about 2 years beyond its expiration date. Yes, every bit of it was eaten anyway, but who knew powders and flour had expiration dates?

  Springfield Ohio-made bread
If you're heading off-grid, chances are you are too far from a store in which to shop.  
Keep your flours and powders in very secure canisters.   I was clueless about these little creatures that lay larvae and then turn into moths.  I'm not sure how long I had been eating that larvae and those moths.  Whenever I needed flour I simply dipped a measuring cup into the  25pound bag and scooped the flour out.  Back during that time, lights were scarce here.  At times I would notice webs, other times I noticed whole moths who seemed confused, and other times I simply knew that there must have been more that I missed because the bread was funny.

Life in an off-grid venture would be somewhat non-committal if one did not provide a stock of edibles from the garden!

Springfield Garden
To the extreme-right within the photo shown above is a barely visible tree with a white band around the trunk.
The apple tree was brought to me by this lady,
Smiling Vickie.
Springfield's Vickie Murph

Thanks again, Vickie!

The area around here in the German Township becomes saturated quickly with standing water during various stages of the seasons; standing water might not be entirely eliminated, but the installation of a catch-basin should diminish the standing water that affect a few of my neighbors as well.
The water catch-basin is born. (*not yet completed)
Solar Water Pump
The solar panel creates the electricity for the pump.  Although there is a switch to turn the solar panel on and off manually, in the ON position the pump starts to push water as soon as the sun rises, and cease automatically when the sun sets (so there's not really a need to ever turn it off unless servicing something).
  The simple 12v pump has a variance of about +/- 7volts and allows for the direct connection to a 12v panel, without the need for batteries.  

The water shown coming from the hose below has been transferred through over 75 feet of hose using the method mentioned above.

Water being transferred from basin

The un-finished catch-basin with a pump just tossed in for testing.
Springfield Ohio Water-Catch Basin

Below is the workhorse that was utilized to dig the catch-basin (the tractor, not my mom).


The tractor is by the Grace of MOM, so ...this is my mother playing make-believe.
vroom vroom, look at her go! (it's not actually running)

Okay, my turn mom.  Look, no hands, vroom vrooom.
Do-it-all TractorMom

The tractor sure has made work easier around here.  Broken wheelbarrows and broken riding lawn mowers were wearing me out.
Do-it-all Tractor

Although the bulk of cooking is performed on the wood burner, at times alternate means are utilized.  Thanks to the graces of Jimmy, an acquaintance who lives north of me, I have sternos!
off-grid cooking alternative

Recently there was a bad month with virtually no sun here in Ohio.  Dark and rainy, and not enough wind has left the battery banks with some rather deep sighs (low voltage draws).   Aside from turning off everything that is not entirely essential, there's little else you can do other than relax and wait for the sun to come back into vogue.

During this time though, one of the battery banks was drawn exceptionally low.   I couldn't figure out why since almost everything other than the server and modem/router, the security system and a few lights and what-not were all that were left on, everything else had been disconnected pending sunnier days for that particular battery bank.    I checked each battery's cells for specific gravity, and all looked fine.  Yet it appeared that the bank was not taking a charge as it did normally.  It was decided that one-by-one the remaining items would be removed to another battery bank to enable troubleshooting the problem.

AS IT TURNED OUT, the batteries were NOT the problem.
One of the pure sine-wave inverters appeared to be sucking power.   Following its removal from the batteries, the batteries almost instantly sprung back to life.
THIS IS WHY I SAY:  just keep it simple.  If you have a 12v battery bank, buy 12v appliances.   Having an inverter is just another thing that could go wrong, since the inverter contains a slew of components, and each one of them just itching to fail.

Springfield Motion Sensors of Ohio
If you're planning on going off-grid, plan on getting a few of these babies.   Automation is key to preserving power.  Waste is costly more-so when you are the power plant in your household. Photo-sensors help save your sanity and battery bank by automatically turning your appliances on and off without your manual efforts.

With the advantage of modern-day weather forecasts, planning which days to make bread or do the laundry is easy.  When it's not sunny, it's break day.

This concludes the LifeStyle Page

Our Nation CAN do Better!

Preface    Batteries   Brick    Solar    Controllers and Inverters    Solar Kits

Lifestyle    Security    Lighting    Water    Wind    History

Wood Stove     Generator        Walkway


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