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Hi All

Today I picked up a spotlight for my shed outside the back of my house. Also got a remote switch, so I can turn it on at will and light up my backyard to see whats going on. This got me thinking about SHTF lighting/security.

I have a decent generator setup with transfer switch, a deep cycle battery, and a solar panel is in the future. In theory, I have a way to run that generator so its somewhat protected/hidden, so maybe it would be available, but in a SHTF situation, anything run with fuel is questionably available at best.

Now if your like me, and can do basic math, you have figured out the CFL's are the most cost efficient bulb. I still use incandescent in the attic etc, where I barely ever use the bulb and want max light. This is the points in my life where I scream loudly with the crazy people up in arms about the light bulb ban, which is of course complete C#[email protected] Moving on... So ya, CFLs have some "Disposal Requirements" which of course I follow to the complete letter of the big government law every single time, and you should too... Sorry back on topic.

So, SHTF, electricity has been off for a month, and its not coming on anytime soon. Everything and everyone is in max conserve mode. Only running the generator for absolute necessity. By this time I have probably pulled the batteries out of the cars, and am trying to keep them trickle charged off of solar. So, best case scenario, I have a small battery bank of lead acid batteries, and 1 deep cycle. Not much to work with. Now I want to be able to light up my house/outside on an emergency basis, mostly for security concerns. So now every milli amp counts. Now don't get me wrong, I have no illusions of "lighting up the killing fields" or anything, far from it. My house actually stinks tactically. > 180 degrees of view is almost essentially blind, at least close in, and I have a corner lot in the suburbs, so everyone can see me fur sure. But something is better than nothing. So I want whatever outdoor light I can muster, and at least something indoors. Now obviously an inverter will waste lots of precious power, however, as I look around my house, it seems my best option would be to buy the ridiculously expensive LED lights.... I'm thinking one for each outside receptacle and 1 per room inside. Truth be told, the wiring already exists, and if I were really in that type of situation, I wouldn't think twice about jerry rigging my breaker box so I could run a few key lights from a small inverter/battery bank. (Main breaker locked in the off position off course... As if there is linemen to worry about in SHTF.)

Under normal circumstance, the power difference between CFL and LED is negligible. But in SHTF, it matters. Heck, as I look around and count it up. Thinking < 20 watt per LED bulb, I could run 15 bulbs off a dinky 400 watt car inverter. Probably not for long, but, better than nothing. The only thing that could be better in my mind would be 12V DC lighting. Now obviously I am not going to actually bother changing my homes existing wiring, i'm not that crazy. Would be sweet though if there were a 12V DC LED bulb i could rig up to adapt to a regular light bulb socket.... Then just run 12 V through the existing wiring. (Just thinking out loud here.)

So what do you guys think? Would you buy the crazy expensive LED bulbs just to have, just in case? Any fancy 12V systems that you have used? Other thoughts?

Thanks
 

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I bought an LED light bulb for the heck of it; you can get them for about 10 bucks on Amazon. They use half as much power as CFL bulbs (like 6-8W) so that's nice. LEDs are also much more tolerant of inconsistent power levels than CFLs are. Assuming you have the wiring skills, maybe buy one or two to light up a couple of key rooms in the house.

I would consider LED strip lights as an emergency lighting option as well. The nice thing about rope lights is that you can run them along stairs, corners, etc. and they will be out of sight until you need them. I'm not an electricity buff, but this one appears to take 12V input (note they expect you to wire it yourself):

Annoying amazon link below, just click the title of the box:

http://www.amazon.com/Flexible-Strip-LED-Ribbon-Ledwholesalers/dp/B002QQ1YOM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364095786&sr=8-1&keywords=LED+light+ribbon

I have also seen rope lights designed specifically for car or camper use, which would take power from a 12V cigarette outlet or a battery pack. It won't fill a room like a lightbulb would, but it can provide enough ambient lighting to keep you functional at night.
 
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I stock and use both. The LEDs draws 4 (four) watts and produce about the same light as a 40W or so incandescent bulb. The CFLs draws 13 watts and produces the same light as a 60W incandescent. Costco carries the LEDs, about $18. for a four pack.
 

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i actually have been looking more into battery operated LEDs and rechargable batteries. might be another option to look at. i got a ~$6 set of LED lights that operate on 3 AA batteries from amazon. they are small and give off about the same light as a couple candles or so but definitely usable. they are also rated at 48hrs of run time on the batteries. my actual experience was about 30 hours of usable light at which time they were approximately half as bright as at startup. when you figure needing them for a few hours a day at night, this will last a week or so at least. i wrote a review of this here as well but dont have a link to it off hand. will add it later if interested. someone had also mentioned AA powered motion detector lighting in that thread as well, iirc.
 

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I have a complete off grid e-back up system installed including stand alone e-lighting. I use LED's for the occupied spaces as the light is better than CF's (IMHO) and uses half or less power. I do have 60watt LED floods for "lighting up" the security perimeter. Do be careful regarding LED and CF's on inverters. If not a pure sine wave inverter the LED's and CF's may either not work at all, fail immediately, or have a very short life.
 

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I don't get it.:confused:

IMHO, any type screw in "bulb", LED or not, run from household lamps, receptacles, and wiring, especially area lighting, will be the most inefficient way to provide illumination for survival. Also, the use of such common household area lighting, which usually have very limited capability to dim, will be like a neon billboard advertising the fact that you are prepared, inviting all sorts of the unprepared to visit your home.

I would suggest getting some good efficient LED flashlights with Li-ion or NiMh rechargeable batts, with a broad of modes (esp dim modes), and camping accessories like lantern diffusers and headbands for area lighting or specific task work with your hands. I'm camper, that sometimes camps where he shouldn't, and find that the dim modes (like 0.3 and 3 lumens), which are actually more costly to implement, to be the most important. I think you should act like the rest of the suffering masses. :(

I know dim modes are counter-intuitive in the flashlight world, but for camping and in a SHTF situation, they rule by: maintaining your night vision (you'll be able to see as well as your potential aggressor), maintaining your stealth (the unprepared won't notice you, or care about your light with what appear to be "near dead" batteries), and your batteries will last forever - I use 1xAA per week of camping/Hurricane Sandy outage, per person. With dark-adapted eyes, I happen to find a 0.3-0.5 lumen "moonlight mode" to be the perfect level for reading and close task work, and running ~200 hrs per AA it makes the ultimate emergency mode for me. If you have to bug out and can't take your all your electrical generating gear, the ultra efficient sub-lumen levels will be able squeeze many hours of illumination from "dead" batteries others have discarded. Last point is that it's just an option.... most lights that have a good sub-lumen level, also happen to have the brightest max modes as well (FourSevens, Eagletacs, Zebralights, ThruNites).:thumb:
 

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I don't get it.:confused:

IMHO, any type screw in "bulb", LED or not, run from household lamps, receptacles, and wiring, especially area lighting, will be the most inefficient way to provide illumination for survival. Also, the use of such common household area lighting, which usually have very limited capability to dim, will be like a neon billboard advertising the fact that you are prepared, inviting all sorts of the unprepared to visit your home.
so? not every need for emergency lighting is based upon a double a battery 'budget' nor is every need going to be TEOTWAWKI... if someone wants to spend a few hundred bucks and have a night or two worth of pretty much normal levels of lighting in the house, then so be it.

preparedness is NOT one size fits all.


on topic - look for a bulb with a lumens per watt (LPM) of at least 100. some older style bulbs may be as low as 30-50. that means substantially less light production per watt used.

if you use high efficiency bulbs, your average 100$ deep cycle battery, and a highly efficiency small inverter, you can run maybe 6 bulbs of 60w incandescent equivalence for 24 hrs..
 

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My emergency lighting consists of oil lamps & lanterns, battery powered LED lights and lanterns, a portable solar rechargeable deep discharge battery that I use for Jeep camping and finally multi-fuel Coleman lanterns.
I recently used the last of my stock of CFLs so I am going to switch to LED lighting for normal home use.
I still use a couple of first gen CFLs, the cheaper/more recent ones did/do not last well, hopefully the LED replacements will come close to their advertised life.
The only place I used incandescents is out door lights that must be switched on in cold weather (CFLs do not want to light in cold weather) in the stove and the icebox, although there are some rarely used ones in assorted fixtures.

Enjoy!
 

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so? not every need for emergency lighting is based upon a double a battery 'budget' nor is every need going to be TEOTWAWKI... if someone wants to spend a few hundred bucks and have a night or two worth of pretty much normal levels of lighting in the house, then so be it.

preparedness is NOT one size fits all...
Fair enough... Guess I just got thrown off by some of the "max conserve" and "security concerns" comments from the OP. I suppose more options are always better less.
 

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I am about 90% off the grid and working on 100% and my daughter is 100% off the grid for close to 2 years. (Solar)
I use all LED's lights. Small 1 watt X 3K, LEDs for low light places like beside the bed. The rest of the inside the house lights are 7.5 watt, 480 Lumens, 5K (white light,very bright). Outside lights are 7.5 watt, 3K lumens,( yellow light like an incandescent) New low drain LED TVs and new 1.2 amp ref,and freezer. In my workshop over the work bench for very, very bright lights, I use 9 watt, 900 lumens, 5K, and 15 watt, 1480 lumens, 5K. All LED lights work great on a cheap, Non- Sine wave inverter for lighting.
My electric bill this winter has been between $25-$35 a month, mostly for 2- NG furnice blower motors and one "big hog" of a double door Ref that I am about to throw away.
 

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http://dx.com/c/home-garden-1099/lightings-1045/led-light-bulbs-1072

I love DX. Yeah, it's all chinese, but it's cheap and they have unrestricted customer reviews, so you can read about what good and bad items and make your purchase based on that. I've ordered a lot of LED pills for handheld flashlights from them.

side note: they also have other good prep items like solar charge controllers, tiny battery operated alarms (modify with fishing line to make perimeter alarms) security cameras, flashlights, etc.
 

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I use 10 watt LED spots around the house in africa.That means six of them around the (tiny) house. Sums up to 60 watts of consumed power.

They are build for mains voltage, but with a simple switch I can run them from a 12V 150Ah battery bank. This bank is charged either by the gen system or from the solar bank.
Twelve hours of darkness consume 12hx 60W= 720Wh
720Wh : 12V= 60Ah
So the battery is drained after one night down to 90 Ah if fully charged. Which is good for the charge cycles. I never run down the battery more than 60% remaining charge.
Recharge of the battery bank by mains / gen supply is done via a C-Tek 25A unit. you need something powerful and reliable. Don't forget, you need your batteries!

The difficulty in africa is that the electric power companies are totally unreliable. So having electricity 6 hours per day can be claimed as good.( In return 6 hours are more than enough to recharge the battery bank!)

We have to run mostly a diesel gen. Even in the event of no power from the area is well lit during the darkness.
Due to fuel related problems( dilluted, engine oil in the fuel) the generator availability is limited. These hours must be bridged with the battery bank, backed up by the solar system.

Africans are known to to fear light. This makes live really easy. Make sure you spend some money in a good (did I repeat 'good'?) solar charger module- It does pay off.
Orientation is maybe important in a low lit area. Here in africa I simply drop them on the roof with some space below for ventilation.

Using this set up now for a year without difficulties (of course the batteries are stored inside to prevent theft and to much heat).
 

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Hi All

Today I picked up a spotlight for my shed outside the back of my house. Also got a remote switch, so I can turn it on at will and light up my backyard to see whats going on. This got me thinking about SHTF lighting/security.

I have a decent generator setup with transfer switch, a deep cycle battery, and a solar panel is in the future. In theory, I have a way to run that generator so its somewhat protected/hidden, so maybe it would be available, but in a SHTF situation, anything run with fuel is questionably available at best.

Now if your like me, and can do basic math, you have figured out the CFL's are the most cost efficient bulb. I still use incandescent in the attic etc, where I barely ever use the bulb and want max light. This is the points in my life where I scream loudly with the crazy people up in arms about the light bulb ban, which is of course complete C#[email protected] Moving on... So ya, CFLs have some "Disposal Requirements" which of course I follow to the complete letter of the big government law every single time, and you should too... Sorry back on topic.

So, SHTF, electricity has been off for a month, and its not coming on anytime soon. Everything and everyone is in max conserve mode. Only running the generator for absolute necessity. By this time I have probably pulled the batteries out of the cars, and am trying to keep them trickle charged off of solar. So, best case scenario, I have a small battery bank of lead acid batteries, and 1 deep cycle. Not much to work with. Now I want to be able to light up my house/outside on an emergency basis, mostly for security concerns. So now every milli amp counts. Now don't get me wrong, I have no illusions of "lighting up the killing fields" or anything, far from it. My house actually stinks tactically. > 180 degrees of view is almost essentially blind, at least close in, and I have a corner lot in the suburbs, so everyone can see me fur sure. But something is better than nothing. So I want whatever outdoor light I can muster, and at least something indoors. Now obviously an inverter will waste lots of precious power, however, as I look around my house, it seems my best option would be to buy the ridiculously expensive LED lights.... I'm thinking one for each outside receptacle and 1 per room inside. Truth be told, the wiring already exists, and if I were really in that type of situation, I wouldn't think twice about jerry rigging my breaker box so I could run a few key lights from a small inverter/battery bank. (Main breaker locked in the off position off course... As if there is linemen to worry about in SHTF.)

Under normal circumstance, the power difference between CFL and LED is negligible. But in SHTF, it matters. Heck, as I look around and count it up. Thinking < 20 watt per LED bulb, I could run 15 bulbs off a dinky 400 watt car inverter. Probably not for long, but, better than nothing. The only thing that could be better in my mind would be 12V DC lighting. Now obviously I am not going to actually bother changing my homes existing wiring, i'm not that crazy. Would be sweet though if there were a 12V DC LED bulb i could rig up to adapt to a regular light bulb socket.... Then just run 12 V through the existing wiring. (Just thinking out loud here.)

So what do you guys think? Would you buy the crazy expensive LED bulbs just to have, just in case? Any fancy 12V systems that you have used? Other thoughts?

Thanks

The thing is if your area is out of power for a month or more your gen. and car will most likely be useless because there will be no way of getting gas to run them.Unless you stock up a couple of 55gal drums of gas.
I would look into getting a few outdoor solar spotlights to light up the outside. Also get a few good LED lanterns that take D cells and get a few solar battery chargers to power up some rechargable batteries.

I like this lantern

http://www.amazon.com/Rayovac-Sportsman-LED-Lantern-SE3DLN/dp/B0018S4XIS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364835820&sr=8-1&keywords=rayovac+sportsman
 

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When I had a stint urban homeless stealth camping in a tent, I had really good luck with one of those wind up weather radios with a light.

Just be sure you have a decent one. On the cheaper models, the hand crank has a tendency to break like one of mine did. Still, even if you have to go on only battery, 3 AAs lasted me about a week of nightly use reading and listening to Coast to Coast to help me through a difficult time.

The LEDS work good, too.
 

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I dont know if it has been mentioned before but solar powered garden/path lights are an option. Just bring them inside during the evenings and you can have a well lit home. They can be had for cheap, $20.00 for a set of 4 and generally last a long time.
 

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I dont know if it has been mentioned before but solar powered garden/path lights are an option. Just bring them inside during the evenings and you can have a well lit home. They can be had for cheap, $20.00 for a set of 4 and generally last a long time.

They look nice inside a glass Mason Jar with the lid cut out so light can get to the solar cell. Pops
 

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We used strings of Christmas clear LED lights, during Hurricane Sandy.
It ran off of our car charger/battery back up and ran for 2 days on one charge.

This allowed the tri-fuel genset to run the refrigerator, television, converter box and fans.
 

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I have all kinds of lanterns, solar, crank, rechargeable, solar charger for batteries but the simplest method are the garden path solar lights, except that I bought mine at Walmart for $3 each, some $2 end of season. I've had them outside for 5 years, right now they are a few feet under snow and the ones where the snow started melting are already lighting up. I also use some inside (charge them by a sunny window). YouTube has all kinds of project to turn them into lanterns, with zero expense using things you throw out. Depending on the type (larger, smaller) some hold the charge for most of the night.
 
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