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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Whether it is due to an EMP or increasing grid instability (or a hack), I am starting to think about what preps would be worth making in the case of the grid having issues. I have a basic generator, gasoline stored, usual food and miscellaneous supplies, etc. I just ordered a hand crank radio combo. What else should I be thinking about without going overboard?
 

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The usual. Air, water, food, shelter, security, comfort.

In this example, shelter would include heat, if you are in a temperate zone. Heat which doesn't rely on grid, better if it simply is wood fueled.
 

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I have control issues
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Solar/wind power setup, plus the batteries to store the energy. If you have a well and a septic system, so much the better, since municipal water/sewer services need electricity to run. If you are on municipal water/sewer, then you'll need a way to harvest/store/sanitize water, as well as a toilet bucket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Solar/wind power setup, plus the batteries to store the energy. If you have a well and a septic system, so much the better, since municipal water/sewer services need electricity to run. If you are on municipal water/sewer, then you'll need a way to harvest/store/sanitize water, as well as a toilet bucket.
Have the toilet bucket, but water is a weak spot. Living in the suburbs in the southwest, I am on muni water and rainfall is rare much of the year. Not sure what I can do about it. I have some stored water, but clearly it would not last long.

I should probably get some solar panels and batteries.
 

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Wile E Coyote, Genius.
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Spare parts for your generator. (Carb, plug, shutoff valve etc).
Might want to get 100% gas for the generator. Ethanol will gum things up during downtime.

You might try jetting your own well.
 

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Yeah, in Texas, it looks like we're gonna have to. ERCOT issued an OCN due to a potential projected capacity shortage for Monday, June 14, 2021 [HE 12 – HE 22]. We hit 100 degrees here today, and, apparently, some wind production fell. I'm scared man! Like mesoscale told me on previous thread, yes, the Texas Power Grid's will likely collapse, yes Texas will probably resemble Maduro's Venezuela by fall...and I might as well accept it!
 

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Have the toilet bucket, but water is a weak spot. Living in the suburbs in the southwest, I am on muni water and rainfall is rare much of the year. Not sure what I can do about it. I have some stored water, but clearly it would not last long.
If you're in the SW desert, water is your #1 priority. If you can't store much, then be prepared to collect as much as you can out of your municipal source as soon as the power goes down. You might keep one or two of those water bobs on hand. Also, any totes, pots,etc, that you could fill as soon as the electric goes off but before the water stops.

You know that in a long term grid down, you won't be able to survive without a resupply of water. If you can't store a good amount, then you should have plans for getting out. If you can store a good amount, well, you'll probably be a target from others who are entitled to your water because they'll die otherwise.

I'm not being sarcastic, just facing reality. In the Little House on the Prairie books, The Long Winter specifically, people were dying of starvation. One of the main characters "visited" someone in the area who he knew was storing wheat but wouldn't share it with the others. He had prepped, they hadn't prepped enough, why should he share? Main character and friend forced the man to "voluntarily share" his wheat with the others.

The way the book was written, you felt sorry for the Ingall's family and everyone else, and thought the man who had the food but wouldn't share it was selfish and greedy. The people were going to die!

Looking at it from a prepper standpoint, the man had prepared well and others, not so much. But the others felt they were entitled to his food because "people were going to die!"
 

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Whether it is due to an EMP or increasing grid instability (or a hack), I am starting to think about what preps would be worth making in the case of the grid having issues. I have a basic generator, gasoline stored, usual food and miscellaneous supplies, etc. I just ordered a hand crank radio combo. What else should I be thinking about without going overboard?
If you want to prepare for an EMP attack, then you are going to have to go "overboard".

Read the book "One Second After" if you want to understand what the world after an EMP attack might look like.

If you want to prepare for the grid in your area to go down for only a week or two - then the preps for that are more simple.

But since you live in suburbia, you need to consider this:

The only reason the place you live is habitable for humans is the inputs of water, food, gas and electricity that come in and the sewers and trash collection that take waste out.

Only a tiny proportion of the people around you are prepared for those things to fail for even a couple of days. Every extra day that those services are down, changes the challenges you will face from things you can store to stopping people around you from taking the things you have stored. People will quickly become the main problem. Otherwise normal people "will do anything to feed their kids".

Realistically, if the grid is down for a few weeks, you would be better off getting out of there and going somewhere the grid is still working or going somewhere away from other people.

When people list the key survival capabilities, they often leave "mobility" out of their list. But in human history, more people have survived major crises by evacuating than by any other single act.
 

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Yeah, in Texas, it looks like we're gonna have to. ERCOT issued an OCN due to a potential projected capacity shortage for Monday, June 14, 2021 [HE 12 – HE 22]. We hit 100 degrees here today, and, apparently, some wind production fell. I'm scared man! Like mesoscale told me on previous thread, yes, the Texas Power Grid's will likely collapse, yes Texas will probably resemble Maduro's Venezuela by fall...and I might as well accept it!
Just buy a basic generator sized for the power requirements you need. I live in the southeast and we lose power due to tropical storms or any time really due to trees taking down power lines. I actually have 3 generators, one diesel and two gasoline fueled.
 

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Just buy a basic generator sized for the power requirements you need. I live in the southeast and we lose power due to tropical storms or any time really due to trees taking down power lines. I actually have 3 generators, one diesel and two gasoline fueled.
Yes, I have a backup generator, that's true. Trouble is, we're not talking about just a tropical storm or an EMP attack here. We're talking about a hopelessly unstable power grid that will probably crash, resulting in a blackout crisis that could drag on for, I'd estimate, 6 months. Mostly because nobody's done anything since the Feb. freeze. I don't know if I can sustain myself THAT long for half a year.
 

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better start wrapping your head around multiple multiple multiple SHTFs - all combining and overlapping and inter-relating >>> it's always been probable and likley - making an initial SHTF look like peanuts .- coming for sure now..

you can ABSOLUTELLY count on quite a few of the probable man-made SHTFs being thrown on top by the evil players of the World - Prez Trump & Company was aware and guarding during Covid times >>>> somebody is going to have to shake Biden awake just to get a disoriented grunt ....
 

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For cooking and water treatment I'm looking into getting one of these:


It requires minimal time and fuel, and can be used over an open fire.

For your situation, you can really only plan for short term outages and there have been plenty of good suggestions. For long term outages you need to plan on leaving.

One poster mentioned living in areas where tropical storms regularly disrupt the grid, I grew up in a hurricane-prone area too. Something we who live in such areas don't realize is that the local culture has adapted to that and doesn't self destruct after 3 days of no power. The people in your area may completely lose their ever-loving minds when they wake up on day 2 and the lights are still off. You'll have to figure out what "long" and "short" term means for the people around you, because the people around you are what determines how bad things get.

I'd also address security and OPSEC, after the first grid hiccup people are going to notice your generator, lights, A/C, and water usage. Especially with no electronics to distract them.
 

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Wile E Coyote, Genius.
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If you are really thinking about power being out 6 months or more, consider that most home generators are not built with long term operation in mind.
That home genny might become a worn out pile of junk before 6 months, unless you bought one that was built to last.
 

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Just buy a basic generator sized for the power requirements you need. I live in the southeast and we lose power due to tropical storms or any time really due to trees taking down power lines. I actually have 3 generators, one diesel and two gasoline fueled.
Upvote on having multiple Generators for Sure for a couple of reasons...

- Redundancy, If one fails you're still not in the dark (Pun Intended).

- Also it's good to have both Larger and Smaller Generators, esp if for whatever reason you don't or can't store a large amount of fuel, use the larger only when you need to and the smaller for lighter loads which will conserve your fuel.

- I have used a 2kw during storm outages and ran both a 20 cuft refrigerator and a similar sized freezer at the same time off of it (Stagger starting them because your inrush current when you first plug them in is much greater than the normal operating current). and added in charging electronics and a couple of box fans on low with no problems.

Some other things to think about -

- If you don't have a generator, and not a lot of money a basic smaller Non-Inverter 2kw / 2000 watt (Or larger) will give you a lot of bang for the buck even if not the best choice. You can always upgrade later and use the first as a backup (this is what I did).

- An Inverter Generator is a good Upgrade because it doesn't have to run at full speed and will vary throttle based on load - It will save fuel and also be quieter at low loads (on cheaper generators they have to run full speed to keep the frequency at 60hz which is what the grid runs at in the US... 50hz in Most of Europe, Inverter's control the frequency electronically instead of based on engine RPM so they can throttle down), many also have an ECO or Economy more that will even further conserve fuel (which may also lower max output so read the manual and know your generator).

- A Pure Sine Wave Inverter is what you need for running sensitive electronics and is highly recommended. The reason for this is that non-inverter generators have fluctuations in RPM when load changes (add a load and the rpm will drop momentarily until the governor can respond and rev back up) which changes frequency which can damage electronics / sensitive devices.

- Keep in mind there are Inverter Generators out there that aren't "Pure Sine Wave" which are NOT suitable for electronics because their Inverter's produce a clipped / notched sine wave (Modified Sine Wave - which doesn't provide a smooth voltage transition + to -. It's actually clipped and more like pulses) ... These will damage sensitive equipment and it might not be immediate, similar to hammering pipes on your water system where the pressure (voltage) spikes might or might not immediately break something, but will over time esp. since the power supplies in most electronics are minimally rated to save manufacturing costs.

- Diesel is Good! for several reasons but in terms of being able to store fuel it eliminates having to rotate fuel and a whole lot of headaches and is also much less volatile, but you will pay for that privilege (I'm not there yet).

- 4 pole vs. 2 pole generator. Especially in a Diesel if possible get a 4 pole generator, especially for longer term use because it will run at half of the RPM (1800rpm vs. 3600) so Quieter and Should Last Longer. The portable diesel generators that I have seen are not inverter types (haven't dug into them a lot .... Yet!), but also diesel's tend to be more stable for RPM and handle load changes better and I have seen some advertised with power conditioning that is supposed to be Ok for electronics etc (I've not had experience with them, so I can't say one way or another).


As far as the portable Solar Rigs Just a couple of thoughts -
  • Very Expensive for What you Get, and Lot's of "Hype" that give folks unrealistic expectations.
  • Most use SLA (Sealed Lead Acid) or AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat - which is still a lead acid battery type), which are heavy for their capacity and deteriorate rapidly with heavy use.
  • Due to Battery Storage Limitations expect only to run LED lights, Charge electronics, Run a Laptop etc... Bare Minimum.
If you're going to build a portable solar rig I would highly recommend really digging into and understanding exactly what you need with realistic expectations and building your own "Kit" and understand that you are building a "System" and everything from wire size to charging ability (amount of solar wattage), your battery's charging and discharging currents, and inverter size all have to be spec'd to work together. It's a lot of work and it's not cheap. I have done this and got the parts for a 12v 125ah / 600watt output system using LiPoFe4 batteries with up to 400w Solar feeding it (haven't built it out yet) and the parts ran approx. $1,200-1,500. A few thoughts on this if you plan on getting into it are:

NOTE: I'm going to throw out a lot of Rough / Approximate numbers, and depending on what you read and specific items you absolutely WILL find all kinds of conflicting information, to this info is generic and based off of multiple information sources and mentally averaging this so please don't flame me on any of this, like everything else do your own research and come to your own conclusions, and any feedback or thoughts are welcome.

- Lead Acid vs. LiPoFe4 - LiPo's are much more expensive, but if you are building something for longer term use they are worth it. The way I look at it is that most Lead Acid batteries are heavy and if you discharge them heavily (say 80%) they generally have a life expectancy of around 500 discharge cycles before you start to lose capacity. If you want them to last much longer (more sustainable long term) you need to limit the level of discharge to roughly 30% of capacity and this is for "Deep Cycle" batteries (NOT automotive etc, they are very different in design and purpose). And Lot's of Hype by most Deep Cycle battery manufacturer's with most not giving hard specs on their stuff (which makes me question their durability)... If you want to get a feel for this go to the Trojan battery website and they have all the cycling specs etc (good source of info!).... For the LiPoFe4 batteries most are rated for 1,500 - 2,000 discharge cycles and that is full capacity discharge (though I believe 80% is more realistic)... so for say a 100ah system realistically for long term use that equates to 30ah usable for Lead Acid and 80 usable for LiPoFe... Huge Difference, then there is the Weight Factor with LiPoFe4 weighing less than half and being more compact. Add in greater charging efficiency and other benefits can make them well worth the cost depending on what your goal is.

- Storage Capacity ... Keep in mind when sizing that a 120ah / 12v system will only give you about 1 amp for 10 hours at 120vac using the full capacity (not the 50% - 80% talked about above), and also keep in mind that most 12v to 120v inverters are approx. 85% efficient, so Yes a typical portable system isn't going to give you much! (and that's what the manufacturer's of these systems won't tell you! and most use Lead Acid batteries because LiPo's do cost significantly more).

- Solar Capacity ... 1st you have to look at where you live get an idea of the Average solar output (which varies by season) for a given size panel and size your panel capacity accordingly. For my build and living in NC (pretty good for solar) for an approx. 150ah LiPo system I chose 400w of solar panels and can go up to 500w so that I should be able recharge the system to 75-100% on most days. Keep in mind that there are also two types of charge controllers for panels and the cheaper ones are not as efficient so they have to be factored in to your charging setup in addition to the panels, as well as making sure that the maximum rate of charge of your batteries can handle the output from your solar array. (another "hit" on the most of the portable systems on the market, most do not have what I would consider adequate solar capacity needed for full use of the system though many do have input cables for adding more solar panels).

- Inverter ... Go Full Sine Wave (for the same reasons covered earlier), and they are significantly more expensive buy worth it. Just as an aside I have a number of inverters for automotive use etc. and on some of the budget ones the power isn't even stable enough to run a fluorescent light... food for thought.

- If possible use 12v output power as much as possible... Remember that you lose about 15% going through most inverters, so instead of using a 120vac LED light, use a 12vdc light, etc. every little bit helps especially on a small system.

Lot's more to it, but hopefully some will find value in this information.

One last parting thought on Solar... I work in the power industry (which doesn't make me an "Expert"), and from a generation standpoint one of our large frame Gas Turbine Generators which are primarily fueled by Natural Gas can put out roughly 150mw or 150,000 Kilowatts sustained. Just for fun one day at work while discussing solar and it's impact (it's wreaking havoc in the industry because of it's peaking and varied output causing utilities to cycle large units which increases the cost, wear and tear and run operations staff ragged considering most utility have thin staffed their plants already) we did some rough calculations to estimate how much solar it would take to equal just one of our 150mw units and at approx. 5 acres per MW (estimates vary from roughly 2.5 acres per MW just for panels, not the sight, with 5-10 acres being the normal range for a Solar site) the number we came up with a 5 acres per MW (best case) was literally 750 acres or almost 1.2 Square Miles of Solar! ... and that is when the Solar is at Maximum Bright Sunny day output. Lot's more to it, but that kindof puts Solar into perspective comparing it to modern gas turbine generation and for home type systems the same general rules apply.

Just my Opinion ~ Your mileage will Vary!
 

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IMO, once you have some of the basics (sort of) covered; i.e. once you have food + a source of potable water (close creek and a combination of (large) virus level filtration + carbon filters, or other method of assuring potable water, well, cistern, etc) you need to assure adequate sanitation (what goes in must come out; and must be disposed of safely; hopefully you have sufficient back yard, and tools, to dig a 2 holer.
To address electrical power you obviously need solar for more than very temporary preps; generators need long term fuel and lubrication/parts; far better, IMO, to link to the local fusion generator (sun) and assemble your own solar system with battery bank.. Lighting is relatively cheap easy and a good place to start; BE AWARE that some say solar panels are prone to EMP damage, the sensitivity of solid stae devices is well documented and LED bulbs seem to be especially ESD fragile (one possible solution is to maintain duplicates in secure protected (Faraday cage) storage) ...My latest modified tiny (80 watt_modified sine wave inverter for lighting cost slightly less than $20. Lead acid batteries, even deep discharge lead acid batteries, are relatively are cheap. A typical automotive stating battery contains; about 35 amp hours and will power a 40 watt equivalent 120 volt LED bulb for several days; a step up is a deep discharge battery, a step up from there is a lithium iron phosphate battery. Some will argue that 12 volt LED bulbs are better but they are not compatible with most current light fixtures and non technical people may not be able to wire or replace them. Even my 90 year old mother can chage an LED bulb and plug in a light or extension cord. Be aware that successful solar system use depends on controlling the energy usage. Turn the inverter and light off when not needed. Waste fullness will lead to darkness.
A small solar panel (14 watts), in a south facing window can support an inverter powered 350 lumen LED bulb by trickle charging a lead acid battery, a larger system will likely need a charge controller to keep from damaging the battery (boiling it dry).
Be also aware that people will see the lights and will likely be jealous.

A smallish, medium sized solar system (100 to 200 watts of solar, a charge controller and a 100 amp hour battery) can support a portable refrigerator
A relatively large solar system can support limited use of a small microwave, or limited use of a small inductive (more efficient) hotplate, note; requires magnetic steel or iron pots and pans.

Assuring winter heat is a bit more difficult; remember that the pumps pressurizing the gas lines are likely electric, no electricity may equal no gas pressure eventually.
I favor, as a TEMPORARY interim step, for short periods, a purely mechanical thermostatically controlled propane, or natural gas heater run from either tanks or the natural gas line...Be aware of the dangers ; not just of carbon monoxide poisoning but also of oxygen depletion.
Most folks will not have several acres of woodlot to sustain long term wood cooking and heat (a solution used in the Midwest by people up into the 1950s-60s).
If all else fails I have found that good sleeping bags can assure sleeping warmth in the mountains at subzero temperatures without a heater in an uninsulated tent (when in doubt layer).

Enjoy!
 

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Interesting comments. The OP originally mentioned a hand crank radio. I have read a couple of threads here in the past year and no one recommends them.
 
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