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SURVIVE AND THRIVE PHILADELPHIA Message Board SURVIVE AND THRIVE -- Discussion Forum › AC/DC, power supplies, batteries and various charging methods, and inverters

AC/DC, power supplies, batteries and various charging methods, and inverters

A former member
Post #: 65
On another thread, Bill responded to another member;

Actually, 12V power is as easy as it gets. Battery Charging, and 12 V power is also pretty easy. HarborFreight USA has a number of solar panel kits of different power levels, including a 45W kit with panels, and charging controller for $169-$199 depending on their present sale. The hardware is pretty crappy, I replaced my by building a case so that I can carry them with me when and where they are needed. 12V power is about as easy as it comes. Basic plan is use panels to charge battery. Use the battery to power the radio. Obviously if the grid is up, using an AC-DC converter is the best way to go.

If anyone needs assistance let me know, I am sure a skill trade can be arranged. Hunting, Butchering, etc. are my gaps.


Ok, here goes, as in previous threads, I will try to go step by step through, this material, and present so a 3rd grader can understand it.

There will be various degrees of 'grid down', all utilities might still be up, except cell phones. When and 'event' occurs, the first thing the public does, is to think, OMG, I have to call 'fill in the blank' to make sure they are ok!!! This will overload the towers, the system, and you phone won't work. A complete grid down, NO SERVICES, is possible, and needs to be taken seriously(see the SnT lab group forming). However, at least in the beginning, it is very likely to loose, some utilities, similar to 'rolling blackouts'.

1) Electric power grid up;

Raw dirty 120volt, 60cycle AC, or alternating current comes out of the wall, the 14amp power supply converts this dirty AC power into nice clean DC, or direct current. All is good.

2) Electric grid JUST went down and we expect it to come back on within 24hours

The battery needed is a 'deep cycle' battery, which is different from a normal car battery. While the grid is up, an inexpensive battery charger, from an auto supply store, or marine supply store will carry there items. The charger attaches just like jumper cables, red(+) to red(+), black(-) to black(-).

The CB radio can be connected directly to the battery, again red(+) to red(+), black(-) to black(-).

***** WARNING *****
***** WARNING *****

Deep cycle batteries, unlike car batteries, that can hold a charge a long time sitting on the shelf, deep cycle batteries, like to be connected to a charger all the time, to maintain a full charge. Electric grid comes back on, switch radio back to 14amp power supply, hook charger up to battery, bada boom bada bing, as we say here in BEAUTIFUL South Philly.

3) Electric grid is still down after 24hours, and isn't expected to be back anytime soon.

Fire up your gas generator, tapping the 20+ gal of gas you have stored(don't have one, hmm, maybe Survival prepping, Where do I start, would be a good idea). Use the generator to charge up the battery(ies), phones, gizmos, run the 14amp power supply for the CB radio, watch a little TV, run your freezer/fridge, A/C etc. Be mindfull of not overloading the generator, you WILL burn it out, by plugging more than one MAJOR appliance in at the same time.

A wattage rating of 3250peak/2400duty cycle is equal to one breaker in your house(20amp). Generators in this range can be found for about 200bucks new. One one tank(4gals) a generator loaded halfway+ (1200-1600watts) will run for 8 hours. Four is plenty, to charge, freeze, play etc.

200bucks get me 2400watts


I spent about 1400bucks for 2 solar panels which yields 248watts

Solar is free, abundant, except on cloudy days, however to collect it, convert it directly to electric power is EXPENSIVE and the power extracted is loooooow.

None of the dollar amounts include the deep cycle batteries, I have four hooked up in parallel. All new, two cost 200bucks each and the other two cost about 120bucks each, wattage ratings were different.

4) What is an inverter, and do I need one.

An Inverter converts DC, direct current, back into AC, alternating current. This makes it easy to plug in (VERY LOW WATTAGE) items into the inverter, which is powered by the battery(ies). However when converting in this way(inverting) power is lost. It is sooooo much better to wire essential electronic gizmos such that, they can take DC, straight from the battery(ies). Most gizmos, will just convert the AC back into DC anyway, thus more power is lost.

Hair dryers, Air conditioners, hot plates, fridge freezer, all drain 1500 or more watts, only one at a time in the generator, don't even think about plugging these into the inverter.

Most of the electronic gizmos, the 14amp power supply, are drain low(er) amounts of watts.

A cool little device I purchased is a 'kill-a-watt' meter, which shows how many watts, each and every item that you plug into the wall, draws. A real eye opener, to what uses what, when it comes to electric power. We are soooooo spoiled here in the US, in general we take for granted that when we push the button, stuff works.

Kinda long, that's why I created another thread.

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