My off-grid bootstrap - Page 12 - Survivalist Forum
Survivalist Forum

Advertise Here

Go Back   Survivalist Forum > >
Articles Classifieds Donations Gallery Groups Links Store Survival Files


Notices

Farming, Gardening & Homesteading Country lifestyle, homesteading, blacksmithing and living off the grid.

Advertise Here
Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Using GRID tie Solar with the GRID DOWN Jongage Urban Survival 84 10-20-2016 02:07 AM
Solar power for urban home. Partial on grid and off the grid idea WornoutDanners Urban Survival 39 09-12-2016 05:45 PM
Off Grid ~ (or grid tie) ~ for urban house johnlvs2run Urban Survival 37 03-17-2016 04:25 PM
Off The Grid: How To Go About Living Off The Grid MattGoffrey Book Reviews 2 08-14-2015 08:34 AM
Get On The Grid with Grid-It Cocoon AllOutdoor.com AllOutdoor.com 0 03-11-2014 08:30 PM
Can shutting down the power grid save the grid from a CME? "Solar Storm" documentary Heartlander Manmade and Natural Disasters 10 09-25-2012 06:40 AM
Take yourself off the Grid Tombstone997 Urban Survival 31 01-07-2011 01:26 PM
Going off grid.. Wright B. Hindya Disaster Preparedness General Discussion 15 10-27-2008 08:09 PM
Off the Grid hrpardner General Discussion 17 10-08-2008 08:29 AM

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-30-2019, 12:35 PM
MyPrepperLife's Avatar
MyPrepperLife MyPrepperLife is offline
MyPrepperLife
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Right where I belong
Posts: 3,819
Thanks: 8,360
Thanked 6,223 Times in 2,335 Posts
Default



Advertise Here

MattB4 said

Quote:
It is easy to happen...

I sure would feel foolish if I was facing a time of need and there was no refill available...

Trying to schedule things when long trips to town and there is availability of funds is a ongoing juggling act.
Exactly.
Quick reply to this message
Old 08-30-2019, 12:37 PM
MyPrepperLife's Avatar
MyPrepperLife MyPrepperLife is offline
MyPrepperLife
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Right where I belong
Posts: 3,819
Thanks: 8,360
Thanked 6,223 Times in 2,335 Posts
Default

BTW, Hilltopper, I've been meaning to compliment you on the cute little animals in the photo in your Post # 208. So sweet!
Quick reply to this message
Old 08-30-2019, 01:02 PM
MyPrepperLife's Avatar
MyPrepperLife MyPrepperLife is offline
MyPrepperLife
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Right where I belong
Posts: 3,819
Thanks: 8,360
Thanked 6,223 Times in 2,335 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilltopper View Post
Do you ever concern about your gas getting old or do you regularily rotate it through a vehicle , or do you simply burn that much with engines and vehicles you have ?
When I first started this off-grid adventure, I didn't have a good understanding of how to manage a fuel inventory. I was doing FIFO rotation from the beginning (I label each 5-gallon can with the purchase date of its contents), but in spite of that I sometimes experienced problems with engines that have carburetors. The engines in my two generators, two ATVs, lawn tractor, snowblower, and tiller all have carburetors.

I've learned some things over the years, fortunately.

Early on, I learned there is something called fuel stabilizer (e.g., StaBile, StarTron, PRI-G). I started adding a little fuel stabilizer to each 5-gallon can of gas when I bought the gas. I didn't have as much carburetor trouble after I started doing this. I still struggled with carburetor issues at times, though.

The most important thing I've learned is that for any engine with a carburetor it is better to use ethanol-free gas, as opposed to gas containing ethanol, if there is a chance the gas will sit for more than a couple weeks in a storage container or in the engine's fuel tank.

I go a step beyond that by adding a little StarTron fuel stabilizer to each 5-gallon gas can when I fill it with ethanol-free gas. Some people say there is no need to use fuel stabilizer when storing ethanol-free gas; others say it's a a good idea. Since I don't understand the chemistry, I have decided to go ahead and use the fuel stabilizer, even though doing so might be overkill. It's a small expense.

These days, I have almost no trouble with carburetors. The only time I do experience difficulty with a carburetor is when I get sloppy with my use of a choke.

I don't need 200 gallons of gas every year for the machines I mentioned, but I'm storing so much gas because I want to be prepared for a TEOTWAWKI scenario. Now that I'm about to get my gas inventory up to snuff and well organized, what I plan to do is rotate through all the cans of gas every year by burning any excess in my on-road vehicles.

Quote:
Wow I hope this solar array and other improvements bring more comforts and efficiencies, glad your customer paid !
I'm glad, too. It will be great to have the convenience of 24x7 pressurized water and lighting that's easy to use.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to MyPrepperLife For This Useful Post:
Old 09-16-2019, 12:22 PM
Routestep Routestep is offline
Target Shooter
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Central Virginia
Posts: 472
Thanks: 80
Thanked 363 Times in 210 Posts
Default

If you have trouble starting a two cycle type engine there is a product called

Trufuel

It is pretty expensive but I've used it to start a few engines that wouldn't start. I've had to let one chain saw soak for about two weeks it was so gummed up.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to Routestep For This Useful Post:
Old 01-30-2020, 09:17 AM
MyPrepperLife's Avatar
MyPrepperLife MyPrepperLife is offline
MyPrepperLife
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Right where I belong
Posts: 3,819
Thanks: 8,360
Thanked 6,223 Times in 2,335 Posts
Default

COMPONENTS FOR HIGH-CAPACITY SOLAR-ELECTRIC SYSTEM

JAN 30 2020

Hi guys.

I've really been looking forward to making this post!

Most of the components for my new high-capacity solar-electric system arrived yesterday, so it was a red letter day for sure. Five boxes showed up:



The system is a Titan Solar Generator.

The biggest box contains the main system components: charge controller, 3000 W inverter, input & output ports, status display, other stuff. Each of the other four boxes contains a 2 KWH Lithium Iron Phosphate battery. I'll have 8 KWH of battery storage (4 batteries at 2 KWH each).

I'm waiting for one more package. Once that arrives, I can assemble the system, test it, and connect it to my breaker box. Then I'll have pressurized water 24x7 (no more carrying water to flush toilet!), and I'll be able to turn lights on and off by flipping switches (no more headlamps!).

Stay tuned.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to MyPrepperLife For This Useful Post:
Old 01-30-2020, 11:27 AM
ForestBeekeeper's Avatar
ForestBeekeeper ForestBeekeeper is online now
off-grid organic farmer
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: forests of Maine
Posts: 23,738
Thanks: 30,669
Thanked 36,896 Times in 14,517 Posts
Awards Showcase
Outstanding Helpful Post 
Total Awards: 1
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyPrepperLife View Post
COMPONENTS FOR HIGH-CAPACITY SOLAR-ELECTRIC SYSTEM
That is fantastic
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to ForestBeekeeper For This Useful Post:
Old 04-30-2020, 03:54 PM
MyPrepperLife's Avatar
MyPrepperLife MyPrepperLife is offline
MyPrepperLife
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Right where I belong
Posts: 3,819
Thanks: 8,360
Thanked 6,223 Times in 2,335 Posts
Default

WHY I PURCHASED MY TITAN SOLAR GENERATOR

APR 30 2020

As you all know from my Post #225, I took delivery of the components for my new solar-electric system, a Titan Solar Generator, at the end of January. This was just a week or two after I became aware of the viral epidemic in China that has now evolved into a worldwide pandemic. Needless to say, the pandemic has been a big distraction. I've been spending a lot of time topping off my preps and researching the science that's driving the pandemic. Consequently, the boxes containing the Titan components have sat untouched throughout February, March, and most of April. Finally, a couple days ago, I began the process of unboxing the Titan and learning about it in detail.

In my next post, I'll explain what I've done so far to prepare for getting the Titan assembled and ready to test. First, though, I want to talk about why I decided to purchase the Titan.

Let's begin with the basics: Why have I purchased a plug-and-play solar generator instead of building a solar-electric system from individual components? The topic of plug-and-play solar-elec vs. DIY solar-elec was discussed earlier in this thread and has also been discussed elsewhere on SBoards, but I'll touch on it again now.

For me, the decision to purchase a plug-and-play system was a no-brainer. That's because building a solar-electric system "from scratch" requires skills and time, and I have neither. I'm probably spending more money for the Titan than a skilled person would spend for a DIY system, but for me, the extra expense is worth it.

Why did I decide on the Titan vs. a different solar generator?

The short answer is that I've gained enough experience with solar-electric technology in recent years to know exactly what I need and want, and I'm confident the Titan can deliver what I need and want, whereas other solar generators I've considered cannot.

The long answer is this: Three and a half years ago, I installed a small solar-electric system in my new off-grid house. Several Goal Zero Yeti 400 solar generators form the basis for this small system, which powers all the absolutely essential things in my house but does not provide as much convenience as I want. Specifically: the small system can power my cell phone and tablet and office equipment and some lighting, and it can charge the batteries for all my cordless tools, but it can't power my well pump or my washing machine or my microwave. The small system was intended for temporary use; my plan has always been to have a system with much more capacity. Using my small solar-electric system has enabled me to get my feet wet with solar-electric technology, and this has facilitated my efforts to solidify criteria for the bigger, permanent system I wanted.

During my extensive research efforts, I learned there are quite a few solar generators to choose from these days. Except for the Titan, every system I researched had shortcomings I can't live with or don't want to live with. Here is a synopsis of some of the issues I encountered.
  • Most solar generators don't have enough output capacity to power everything in my house that needs to be powered. I need at least 2500 watts continuous output. (The Titan's continuous output capacity is 3000 watts.)

  • Some solar generators do have enough "continuous" ouput capabity to meet my needs but do not have as much "surge" capacity as I'd like. (The Titan's surge capacity is a generous 6000 watts.)

  • Many solar generators don't have enough battery-storage capacity to allow me to live convenienty. When I use the term "live conveniently," what I mean is that I want several days of autonomy. In other words, I don't want to have to run a gas generator very often to charge my batteries. My house, when fully operational, will require a little less than 2 kilowatt hours per day, according to my estimate. My Titan system has 8 kilowatt hours of battery storage. Asuming 2 kilowatt hours output per day, I should enjoy four days of automomy with the Titan system. Note that the Titan's batteries are LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) batteries, which can be drawn down to a deep state of discharge without suffering damage, unlike lead-acid batteries. This means I can use virtually all the batteries' capacity, routinely, without damaging the batteries.

  • Some solar generators are just poorly designed, IMO. Here are a couple examples: I wanted a system that is easy to use; some systems are just not. I wanted a robust system that can tolerate a wide range of input voltage and input wattage; some systems accept only a narrow range of input voltage and input wattage - the manuals for some systems even contain warnings about damage than can result from exceeding the specified boundaries. (The Titan is very flexible in terms of its input requirements. I'll get into the details in a future post.)

  • Although my Titan installation is intended to be permanent, I wanted a system that is modular and lightweight so I could assemble it myself and could disassemble it and move it myself, should that ever become necessary. (The Titan fits this bill. In my next post, you'll see what I mean. Some other systems weigh well over a hundred pounds and need to be rolled around on wheels.)

  • I wanted a system that isn't noisy. Some solar generators seemed to emit a lot of noise when I watched videos about them. When I watched Titan videos, I didn't notice a lot of noise.

  • My house is small, and so I wanted a system with a small footprint. (The Titan's footprint is a tiny 18 1/2 inches x 12 inches!)

  • Some companies offer terrible technical support. While researching solar generators, there were occasions when I contacted various manufacturers and sellers of solar generators to ask a question or to get clarification on something. Some of the technical-support people and pre-sales support people I encountered seriously didn't know what they were doing.

  • I wanted to feel confident that the company behind the product was staffed with capable, ethical engineers who had high quality standards and were free to adhere to those high standards without giving in to pressure from their management. I corresponded with some of the Titan representatives off and on for months before making my buying decision. I also watched quite a few videos that were produced at various points throughout development and testing of the Titan, prior to production of the final product. At no time did I get the feeling that the manufacturer, Point Zero Energy, was going to push a buggy product out the door. It was obvious they were not going to do this, and in fact they delayed the Titan's release date for several months because they wanted everything to be perfect. Observing the development process and quality-assurance process over a period of several months enabled me to feel confident I'd be buying a well-designed, well-made product. This was very important to me - especially because I was taking a leap of faith, given the fact that I was buying a brand-new product.

So now that you know why I decided on the Titan, I'll move on to my next post, which explains what I'm doing to get the Titan up and running.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to MyPrepperLife For This Useful Post:
Old 04-30-2020, 04:04 PM
ForestBeekeeper's Avatar
ForestBeekeeper ForestBeekeeper is online now
off-grid organic farmer
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: forests of Maine
Posts: 23,738
Thanks: 30,669
Thanked 36,896 Times in 14,517 Posts
Awards Showcase
Outstanding Helpful Post 
Total Awards: 1
Default

Stay safe neighbor.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to ForestBeekeeper For This Useful Post:
Old 04-30-2020, 04:47 PM
MyPrepperLife's Avatar
MyPrepperLife MyPrepperLife is offline
MyPrepperLife
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Right where I belong
Posts: 3,819
Thanks: 8,360
Thanked 6,223 Times in 2,335 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ForestBeekeeper View Post
Stay safe neighbor.
You too! I've been self-isolating. I haven't left home since March 12th.
Quick reply to this message
Old 04-30-2020, 06:43 PM
MyPrepperLife's Avatar
MyPrepperLife MyPrepperLife is offline
MyPrepperLife
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Right where I belong
Posts: 3,819
Thanks: 8,360
Thanked 6,223 Times in 2,335 Posts
Default

UNBOXING THE TITAN AND CHARGING THE BATTERIES

APR 30 2020

My Titan came in five boxes. One box contained the main unit - i.e., the "brains" of the system - charge controller, inverter, input ports, output ports, etc.; the box containing the main unit also contained a 110 volt AC charger. Each of the other four boxes contained a 24 volt 74 amp hour LiFePO4 battery; this equates to about 2000 watt hours (2 kilowatt hours). So, the assembled system will have about 8000 watt hours (8 kilowatt hours) of storage.

Note that you don't need to buy four batteries if you buy a Titan. You can buy just one battery, which would give you approximately 2000 watt hours of storage. I bought four batteries because I need more storage capacity.

All the components were packed in sturdy cardboard boxes and were well-padded with pieces of foam that were obviously made specifically for the particular components.

The first thing I did was unpack the main unit. This is what it looks like. It's easy to lift and carry, because it weighs just 32 pounds and has a handle on top.



Next, I unpacked one of the batteries. Like the main unit, the batteries are easy to lift and carry. Each battery weighs just 36 pounds and has two handles: one on the top and one on the side. Here is a picture of the first battery I unpacked.



I'll need to charge the batteries before I use the Titan. I'll use the Titan's AC charger to do that. Specifically, what I mean is that my Yamaha EF3000iS gas generator will power the breaker box in my house, and I'll power the Titan's AC charger by plugging it into the wall. This is what the AC charger looks like.



Notice the two lights on the AC charger. In the picture, they look like white lights surrounded by red, but actually they are both red. One of them will turn green when charging is finished.

The Titan instructions explain that I can either connect the batteries to the main unit and then charge them, or I can charge each battery individually and then connect all of them to the main unit. I decided to charge the batteries one at a time.

To charge one of the batteries, using AC, you just plug the red connector on the AC charger's cable into either of the two red connectors on top of the battery. In the battery picture above, you can see the connectors on top of the battery.

The plus (+) and minus (-) sides of the connectors are clearly labeled, but you don't even have to concern yourself with that because the connectors are shaped such it's impossible to connect them the wrong way. This picture shows what I mean.



Here is a picture I took while one of the batteries was charging. The AC charger was getting a bit warm, so I propped it against the side of the battery to allow heat to dissipate.



I charged all the batteries yesterday. It took about two hours for each battery to charge.

This picture shows all four batteries, along with the main unit.



One of the things I like most about the Titan is its modularity. The components in this picture weigh a total of 176 pounds, but it's easy to move the system around because I can lift and carry each component separately. As I mentioned in Post #227, some solar generators are so heavy they come with wheels, because lifiting and carrying them would be next to impossible.

I've noticed all the Titan components are heavy-duty and appear to be well made. Cables are thick. Connectors are strong. The AC charger is encased in a heavy heat sink.

In my next post, I'll talk about assembly of the Titan.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to MyPrepperLife For This Useful Post:
Old 05-03-2020, 05:25 PM
MyPrepperLife's Avatar
MyPrepperLife MyPrepperLife is offline
MyPrepperLife
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Right where I belong
Posts: 3,819
Thanks: 8,360
Thanked 6,223 Times in 2,335 Posts
Default

ASSEMBLING AND TESTING THE TITAN

MAY 3 2020

Yesterday I assembled the Titan and started testing it.

The assembly procedure was pretty easy.

First, I created the Titan's battery bank. One nice thing about the Titan is that you don't need cables to connect the batteries to each other. The batteries just stack on top of each other, and male connectors on the tops of the batteries mate with female connectors on the bottoms of the batteries. It's easy to align the connectors with each other. Buckles on the sides of the batteries ensure everything remains secure.

This is what the four batteries looked like after I stacked them.



Next, I stacked the main module on top of the battery bank. Again, no cable is required; the system for connecting the main module to the battery bank is the same as the system for connecting the batteries to each other.

The fully assembled system looks like this.



This is what it looks like from the side. Notice the buckles.



The next thing I had to to was calibrate the monitor. This entailed turning on the power switch and then pressing some buttons on an LED display to tell the meter how many amp hours my Titan's battery bank has. My Titan has four 74 amp hour batteries, so I entered a value of 296 (4 x 74).

At this point, my Titan was ready to use.

NOTE: Some battery meters don't require a calibration procedure. At the end of this post, I'll explain why this meter does have that requirement. But right now I'm going to talk about what I did to test the Titan.

To test the Titan, I just plugged a few things into it. Here's a picture.



My 12-volt DC freezer is getting power from the orange-and-black cord that's plugged into the cigarette-lighter port on the right. My office equipment is getting power from the orange extension cord that's plugged into one of the 110 volt AC outlets on the left (that extension cord runs up two flights of stairs to my office). The black cord that's plugged into another 110 volt AC outlet is powering a work light. Everything worked perfectly.

To give the Titan a bit more of a workout, I plugged my shop vac into in and allowed the shop vac to run for about five minutes. No problems at all.

I've been using the Titan for my freezer, office equipment, work light, and a few other small devices since yesterday.

The next step is to connect the round 30 amp outlet (on the right) to my breaker box. Since my DIY skills aren't so great, I'm going to hire an electrician for that job. After it's done, I won't need the orange extension cord anymore, and I won't need the work light anymore. My house is fully wired for 110 volt AC, so once the Titan is feeding the breaker box, I'll be able to plug things into the wall throughout the house, and I'll be able to turn lights on and off by flipping switches.

*****
Now I want to discuss the metering system. It's explained quite well in this video:

https://youtu.be/M5NuG_cIFA8

but here is my synopsis.

As I understand it, a typical battery meter is called a "voltmeter," and it determines a battery's (or battery bank's) state of charge based on voltage. The Titan uses a different kind of meter, though: a "coulomb meter." The coulomb meter keeps track of how much comes into the battery bank and how much goes out, and it calculates the state of charge based on that. The video at the link above explains why the Titan manufacturer, Point Zero Energy, decided to put a coulomb meter in the Titan instead of a voltmeter. What it boils down to is that a voltmeter doesn't report an accurate state of charge when there is a load on your battery bank or when your battery bank is being charged, but a coulomb meter does.

For a coulomb meter to work properly, though, it needs to be told how much power it's starting with. Once that's done, it adds what comes in, subtracts what goes out, and reports state of charge based on that information.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to MyPrepperLife For This Useful Post:
Old 08-09-2020, 08:48 PM
woowoo2 woowoo2 is online now
Hunter
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,740
Thanks: 2,119
Thanked 3,335 Times in 1,126 Posts
Default

Bump for an update?
Quick reply to this message
Reply

Bookmarks



Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Survivalist Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:
Gender
Insurance
Please select your insurance company (Optional)

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:09 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright © Kevin Felts 2006 - 2015,
Green theme by http://www.themesbydesign.net