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Preppers the power is out and your portable power generator is waiting for you to crank it up. If you are going to back feed power from your generator into a receptacle in your home be sure to shut off the main power feed ( main circuit breaker ) in to your home first.
Don’t run your generator in your home or garage Carbon monoxide will find its way into your living area and it does kill, it is a colorless, odorless killer. This entry was posted in Power and tagged emergency power, power for preppers, prepper power by lledslinger.Bookmark the permalink. I finally found myself at a point I felt its was time to take the backup-power to the next level. Sooner or later you will find its time to jump to the next level of emergency power and in my way of thinking a solar power project is the next step.
Batteries and Grid Tie Inverters are next which I will share more information on in the next update on my off the grid solar power project.
This entry was posted in Power and tagged 600 watt grid tie inverter, DIY solar panels, DIY solar power, DIY solar power project by lledslinger.Bookmark the permalink. This week on wegrowours, we talk to Chris Frye from AEI (Alternative Energy Inc,) about solar. Texas is known for a lot of things – delicious BBQ, horse-back riding, but one of the most unfortunate things the Lone Star State is also known for is flash floods.
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I discussed in Part 1 the many reasons why preppers need to think more long-term about providing reliable electric power. Whole-house generators provide great short-term backup power, but most have a limited fuel supply.
The easiest way to find this out is to take a weekend and just shut off the main utility breaker supplying power to your home.
Communications: While wide-screen televisions and whole-house sound systems are great entertainment, you can live without them. Water: Although you can get by for a few weeks taking a bird-bath in cold water, you and your pets cannot safely go more than a day without fresh drinking water.
Food preparation: Anyone with a wood stove, BBQ grill, or campfire can always cook a meal, but there are still many ways electricity makes food preparation much less labor intensive.
Refrigeration: I am sure all preppers have a well-stocked pantry, but all the milk, butter, and eggs in the refrigerator, and all that meat, even in a well-insulated freezer, will still start to spoil in less than two days without electricity. You need to purchase two or three quality LED flashlights and several packs of spare batteries. For emergency lighting for an entire room, there are now lantern-size LED lights available from RV and camping supply stores. I own a high-quality battery charger that can recharge different sizes of batteries at the same time. There is no way around it, pumping water and powering a conventional refrigerator or freezer using solar power is expensive.
Although a DC to AC inverter in the 2 to 3 kW size range should be able to handle the high startup power requirements of most deep-well AC pumps, these more rugged inverters are expensive and will require several hundred pounds of deep-cycle batteries and 1 to 2 kW of solar modules to keep them charged. There are many sizes of 12- and 24-volt DC well pumps that do not require an expensive AC inverter to operate.
I have a high-flow 240-volt AC pump positioned near the bottom of my 300-foot-deep well, and I installed a smaller low-flow DC pump higher up in the well.
However, if the grid and generator both fail, the AC pump will not operate so when the water pressure drops to the lower setpoint of the second pressure switch, the DC pump will take over.
Outback 3.6 kW inverter, eight deep-cycle batteries, and a roof-mounted solar array powers a SunDanzer freezer, microwave oven, a deep-well pump, and lights for this off-grid cabin. If this plumbing solution is too complex for your needs, you could install the smaller DC pump in your well or cistern for backup water pumping and connect it directly to a long garden hose instead of the house plumbing, then use the ol’ bucket method of water distribution. Portable battery backup systems on carts will keep some lights and small appliances operating for one or two days, but are only able to keep a conventional kitchen-size refrigerator or freezer operating a few hours and are not intended to provide long-term backup power for major appliances. This will give you a freezer that is always powered by solar charged batteries, with the AC battery charger serving as backup.
By increasing the charge capacity or quantity of golf cart batteries and solar modules, the same solar system could also power a DC well pump and a small portable 12-volt DC to 120-volt AC inverter powered by the same solar-charged batteries. If you want to build this combination solar and grid backup power supply for a 12-volt DC freezer, it’s important to use the correct components.
SolarJack 12-volt DC deep-well pumps provide great backup pumping with minimum power requirements. Depending on where you live and the cubic foot size of the freezer, the solar module needs to have a minimum of 100 watts capacity.
Selecting a 120-volt AC automotive-type battery charger is usually where most people make the biggest mistake. To keep wiring losses to a minimum, you will need to locate the batteries and both chargers close to the freezer and do not undersize the interconnect wire.
The price of solar modules has dropped significantly in the past few years, but whole-home solar power systems still cost thousands of dollars. And if the grid fails and this solar backup system for your generator backup system both fail, you better keep a few candles and matches around — just in case!
Jeff Yago is a licensed professional engineer and certified energy manager with more than 30 years experience in the energy conservation field.
The main problem is that people have unrealistic expectations of how the solar powered generators will actually perform in a GDE (grid down event). One might think that making homemade solar generators would be as simple as ordering up the parts and slapping them together but the key to a system like this working efficiently is in the proper selection of each component so that they will all work in harmony.
Now, for the sake of keeping things simple, let’s assume that you have 10 hours of good sunlight per day. Keep in mind that these ratings are under ideal conditions when the solar panel is perfectly aligned with the sun and there are no clouds in the sky. So, based on the three examples that I found in less than five minutes on the Internet, let’s do the math again using the one with the highest rating. The second reason that a solar powered charger might not meet your expectations is because of the way 12 volt deep cycle batteries actually take a charge.
As mentioned above, a charge controller is an essential component to this type of a system. During the bulk charging phase, the charge controller allows the maximum amount of current that your solar panel is capable of producing to flow into the battery. During the absorption phase, the controller will decrease the amount of current that the solar panel will be able to put into the battery which will prolong the theoretical amount of time that it will take to fully recharge the battery.
The third state is called the float stage and during this part of the charging cycle the voltage is reduced or completely cut off to the battery. The other little hiccup that you may have not thought about is that the temperature of the battery has a direct relationship to its charging rate, as well as to its storage capacity. A cold battery is incapable of holding as many amp hours as a battery that is at its ideal storage temperature.
If your solar panel isn’t large enough to produce enough current to completely charge your batteries after you use them, they will almost always be only partially charged. Now, taking into account all that I’ve written in this article, you CAN buy a small scale portable solar powered charging station that may not be as susceptible to these limitations. Fortunately most of these kits come with 2-3 panels so you can wire them in series and boost the watts up to 30 or 45 potential watts and after degradation from environmental factors is accounted for you will have plenty of juice. It varies by latitude and local weather patterns but as a rule of thumb you want your panels voltage output to be twice the battery voltage and then let the charge controller do the rest. Yes, bigger is better when it comes to solar panels (meaning the amount of current they output) but I think the mistake that a lot of people make is in trying to keep their solar powered charging station as portable as possible and that leads to the use of too small of a solar panel. As far as charge controllers go, I could be wrong but I wouldn’t think that a solar panel that puts out 30 volts would work with a 12 volt battery.
Like, I said in my article, solar power is a bit of a complicated matter and balancing a system is tricky. If you have one 15 watt panel and are trying to charge on an overcast day, the panel will only be producing (estimate) 7 volts and your 12 volt battery will not charge, period.

If you use one of my 240 watt panels 30 volts at 8 amps, my 12 volt charge controller would adjust the volts down to 14 and the amps produced would go up.
And yes your premise is right, most people don’t have enough panels or the basic understanding on how to employ them.
I run a 3,750 watt array at 48 volts for almost 2 years, so I series 3x 240 watt panels and then have 5 sets of those run in parallel. One point I want to make on batteries is that the depth of discharge really shouldn’t exceed 50%. Funny, I built my system, 4 100 watt panels, Xantrex inverter and charge controller, 4 deep cycle batteries, and I dont seem to have any of these problems. Your system is quite different than those that many people throw together using one little 15 watt panel.
I receive compensation as a result of affiliate links, ads, or endorsements found on this website. I also have gone through my home and figured out what receptacles I will be using and for what purpose. I have seen a couple of people either build a in closer in the garage as well as out that exhausts to the outside. This includes diesel, although diesel is safer than gas it is still a dangerous thing to do. You never know just how long you will need the power and as of this date I know no Prepper that can store enough fuel for a in-definite period of time. I also plan on wind generation as well but this project will take my budget and time for quit some time.
I started with a solar panel kit for the first step and will add batteries and a 12 v to 120 v power inverter as well and a grid tie inverter soon.
We also talk to Chris about some of the innovation in the industry and how they are helping people plan to go off grid. We respond to some feedback about our political views later in the show as well as some new things happening with the podcast! Flash floods are rising waters that occur during heavy rainfall and can happen at any moment.
However, for keeping up with the news and relatives you will at least need a way to keep your cell phone, an AM radio, and perhaps a laptop computer fully charged. By all means have a backup generator and lots of stabilized fuel, but we are addressing what to do after the generator quits and it could still be days or weeks before the power is back on. Although you can find small LED flashlights for less than $4 at any gas station or thrift store, these are usually cheaply made and are not suitable for a long-term emergency backup plan. The unit I purchased has a 120-volt AC power adapter that supplies 12-volt DC power to the charger. These devices consume lots of electrical power each day, and that includes using extra stored battery power at night and during days when the sun is blocked by clouds. Of course any solar system large enough to power a well pump will also be able to keep your refrigerator operating as well as most interior lights and small appliances, but there are other ways to do this that will not drain your bank account.
Since most residential size inverters only produce 120-volts AC, you would need to either install two 120-volt AC inverters designed to work together to produce 240-volts, or add a heavy120 to 240-volt step-up transformer when using a single 120-volt AC inverter. Although these smaller pumps will not provide the high flow rates needed to wash your car, they will provide more than enough flow for your kitchen and bathroom needs, even with wells over 200 feet deep.
Since the smaller DC pump has a much lower flow rate than our larger AC pump, our system also includes an oversized expansion tank to provide extra reserve capacity. If all of your power sources fail, these smaller 12-volt DC pumps can be temporarily powered by your truck or car battery. A more cost-effective method is to buy a DC freezer that is always operating on battery power, even when the grid is working.
During an extended utility outage when your regular AC refrigerator has stopped working, it can still function as a well-insulated ice chest using ice supplied from the solar-powered DC freezer which will still be working normally. I do not recommend connecting an inverter larger than 600 watts to these small off-grid solar systems since any large AC loads will totally deplete the small battery bank in just a few hours if you tried to power a microwave oven, toaster, or conventional refrigerator. Referring to the wiring diagram, you will need a solar module, solar charge controller, batteries, automotive battery charger, fuse, and DC freezer. In areas with less sun-hours or for larger freezers, you may need two or more modules in this size range. These are also the lowest-cost deep-cycle battery you can find in the high amp-hour capacity this system requires. Having a charger with a battery voltage display located near the freezer also makes it easier to monitor the charging process and avoid a freezer full of spoiled food if something failed and you have not recently opened the freezer to check.
If you do have a generator, keep it well maintained with plenty of rotated cans of fresh fuel.
He has extensive solar photovoltaic and emergency preparedness experience, and has authored numerous articles and texts.
I teach why prepping is so important for those who are interested in emergency preparedness.
There are tons of YouTube videos about how to make your own and there are plenty of companies that will gladly sell you one. In this article, I’ll be explaining 5 reasons that these products may not live up to your expectations when it comes to providing you with the amount of electricity that you might be expecting to have in a survival situation.
Many of the solar panels that I’ve seen on DIY solar powered generators are inexpensive 15 watt panels. If you don’t take the time to turn the panel throughout the day so that it continually gets direct exposure to the sun, the output will be lower and if clouds pass by, the output will also be lower. Just like before, we’ll assume that the battery has been depleted to 10% of its capacity meaning that we will need to put 90 amp hours back into it for it to be fully recharged. If we again assume that we will have 10 hours of good sunlight per day and that we’ll be diligent enough to turn the solar panel so that it is always facing the sun as it moves across the sky, it will theoretically take 9 days to charge the battery!
Think of charging a deep cycle battery like water going through a pipe that is slowly getting narrower in diameter. This device regulates the amount of current that is delivered to the battery to prevent it from becoming overcharged and permanently damaged. The purpose of this stage of the cycle is to simply keep the battery fully charged once it has reached its full capacity.
If you have a 100 amp hour battery when it’s fully charged, if you connect it to a load that draws 1 amp of electricity per hour, you should be able to use that device for 100 hours, right?
The first reason is that even though you may be using a deep cycle battery, you should never completely deplete the battery before recharging it. This means that during the colder times of the year, you may think that your battery has the capacity of storing 100 amp hours but that’s just not the case.
Essentially, this means that they will never fully be recharged because before they have a chance to become fully charged you’ll most likely put a load on them and use some of the electricity that they have stored. If your charging system isn’t adequately sized to fully recharge the battery between each use, your 100 amp hour deep cycle battery will lose its ability to be charged to its advertised capacity. For example, if the battery pack in your solar power generator is lithium-ion based, my understanding is that these batteries do not develop a memory if they are not fully recharged after each use. If you add any environmental factors like clouds, smoke, water vapor haze, or heat (which lowers panel output), the voltage output will likely not be above the 12.5 volts you will need to charge a battery unless it is almost dead.
Mine gives me 30 volts at 8 amps on a perfect day, using a 12 volt system your charge controller would be ramming around 20 amps per hour output, but the real world average would be 10-15 amps.
If you have 2 of the panels wired in series that doubles the voltage to 14 volts and your battery would charge.
The wise Prepper  will avoid danger whenever possible, survival is after all the purpose of being Prepper in the first place. Don’t forget to drain the fuel before you store your generator and re-stock fuel, oil and filters. Being a well prepared Prepper is a time consuming way of life not to mention the money you spend but it is worth every bit of both. Even with my electrical knowledge and a lot of electrical supplies I’ve gathered over the year this solar power project will consume a lot of $$. I started this construction tonight and felt it was time to start posting about my progress.

Sometimes I get to wanting sometime so bad I don’t think it through and it almost always cost me time and money. I looked into it and researched it for months and my conclusion is its just not worth the time and money.
This is only a test area and am in the process of collecting all the hardware I’m going to need.
One is hooked direct to the 2-100 watt solar panels and the other will be connected direct to battery bank. If you are considering putting solar onto your home as an alternative energy source, or maybe as part of you preparedness plan, Chris is your guy. AEI is also working on building trailers and other preparedness items that will help us all out in emergency situations. I purchased a separate 25-watt solar module and added a plug that fits the same connector on the battery charger as the AC power adapter.
If you can afford a whole-house battery-based solar system then by all means this is the best of both worlds. This means it will take several flushes of a toilet or a long shower before the water pressure drops enough to start the smaller DC pump. Two deep-cycle 6-volt golf cart batteries will keep a mid-size Sun Frost or SunDanzer DC freezer cold for several days just using battery power. This guarantees you will have ice and frozen meats stored indefinitely in the DC freezer, while still keeping milk, eggs, and butter cold in a non-operating AC refrigerator or ice chest.
However, a 600-watt inverter should be able to power small 120-volt AC kitchen appliances, a laptop computer, or small flat-screen television and satellite receiver. Be aware that solar modules larger than 100 watts typically are designed for 24-volt multi-string arrangements that use a totally different wiring layout, which is why I suggest staying with modules in the 75- to 100-watt range as their nominal 17-volt output is perfect for charging 12-volt batteries. Deep-cycle batteries are also available in a sealed gel version for locating in occupied areas and these do not require any maintenance, but they will have a substantially higher cost. Although a 10-amp output charger is usually satisfactory to keep the batteries fully charged during extended periods of minimum sun-hours, without the automatic shut-off feature it will continue to charge the batteries at a full 10-amp output until it boils all the water out and permanently destroys the batteries. However, start thinking in terms of what loads you will still need to power once the generator quits and your area is still weeks away from getting grid-power re-established.
The problem with these panels is that they won’t produce enough electricity to recharge the batteries that people plan on using.
If you have a 5 gallon bucket and you add 1 gallon of water per minute, it would take you 5 minutes to fill the bucket.
When a battery is deeply discharged, the diameter of the pipe will be very large and it will allow a lot of current to flow into it. Over time, this will result in your 100 amp hour battery being reduced to 90 amp hour capacity, then to 80 amp hour capacity, then to 70 amp hour capacity, and so on.
They look at the home’s average daily electricity consumption and then they use that information to determine how large the battery bank needs to be as well as how many solar panels will be needed in order to fully recharge the bank on a daily basis. If the battery pack is made up of NiCad batteries, it will be susceptible to the same problems that deep cycle flooded lead acid batteries are susceptible to. If you used 3 panels as I suggested wire in series, now you have 21 volts which is too much but your charge controller would drop the voltage down to around 14 volts and you would have an increase in the amps produced through the process. When I purchase a new generator I run it with a load for a few minutes before I drain the fuel and store it. This is not a high quality panel but it does include a small charge controller and 40 feet of wire. The failure rate and longevity of DIY solar panels compared to a new quality unit not to mention any mistake made by the do it yourself kind of person which I am one of puts it into the not worth it category.
This is only temporary as soon as I get a few more components, I have changes in mind which I will share with you later. Something like a solar power air to water machine could be the difference between life and death in a bad situation. Better-quality LED flashlights will cost more than $20 each and are easy to identify as they will have a single 1 or 2 watt LED chip, and not multiple smaller LED lamps. I also recommend selecting a LED lantern model that includes a solar charger, or buy rechargeable batteries and use a solar-powered battery charger. This modified system has far more battery-charging capacity than the small hand-held solar chargers, and I can power the same unit from the solar module, the lighter outlet in my car, or from grid power. However, I am going to assume most of you are looking for a less expensive way to power at least a water pump and freezer without spending the price of a new car. The large expansion tank will supply high flow rates for brief periods which allows the lower flow rate DC pump time to refill the pressure tank.
These batteries are connected to an AC battery charger which will keep the batteries fully charged and the freezer working during normal grid-power operation and the fully charged batteries will be ready for the next utility outage. Although there are several manufacturers of DC refrigerators and DC freezers, for extended power outages the DC freezer will be more functional than a DC refrigerator even if it will require more solar power to maintain the colder temperature. There are many low-cost solar charge controllers in this smaller size range, and some include digital displays which are helpful to monitor the battery and solar charging operation. A solar powered DC freezer and backup DC well pump can operate indefinitely without the utility grid or a generator, and should be part of all preppers’ emergency backup planning.
If you plan on connecting your homemade solar power charger to a 100 amp hour 12 volt deep cycle battery, you’re going to be quite surprised when you learn exactly how long it will take to charge it up. I just did a quick Internet search for 15 watt solar panels and in less than five minutes I looked at three different models that were being sold online.
A little research and you’d find the windmills very effective and very reasonably priced. If you don’t tern off the main you could cause a voltage feedback problem when the power comes back on.
This until will later be a portable solar unit and will not be part of my home solar power system.
If you just want to do it yourself just to see if you can do it then by all means go ahead. Have you thought about a small system to run your refrigerator or maybe your aquaponics systems and well? The single-chip LEDs are a newer design and provide much more lighting output and longer life. Being able to quickly re-charge multiple sizes of batteries at the same time with one unit is also more cost effective during a long-term utility outage since rechargeable batteries can be used over and over.
Normally the higher pressure 240-volt AC pump supplies all of the water we need, so the second pressure switch controlling the smaller DC pump never allows it to run. By adding a 100- to 200-watt solar module, this DC freezer with both a solar battery charger and grid connected charger is much less expensive and more reliable than trying to power a conventional 120-volt AC refrigerator using a 120-volt AC solar power system. A 100-watt solar module will require a solar charge controller with a 10-amp capacity when used on a 12-volt battery system. You will need to cut off the alligator clips that come with most battery chargers and replace with crimp-on ring terminals that will fit the large battery posts. Working around the world and with many non-profits he cares about his customers and the industry. For electronic devices with non-removable batteries like cell phones, iPads, iPods, and laptop computers, a portable fold-up solar module in the 25-watt size range is simple and very reliable. We discuss ways to reach some basic goals without spending $20,000 on a whole home solar setup. We learn what to look out for when picking a company to install your solar system, we also discuss financing options that come along with the solar industry and how people may sell you a plan that could prevent you from selling your own home. Chris also talks about a commonly overlooked way to save you thousands on your solar install.

Home survival preparedness gear
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