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HELP........I want a very SMALL and basic SOLAR set-up.........Please.

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  • HELP........I want a very SMALL and basic SOLAR set-up.........Please.

    I don't even know what to ask for, because I don't have any grasp of this solar thingie stuff. I have several tiny shacks, they are 7 foot X 10 Foot or there abouts. They are backpack into only. They serve a trapping shacks and "Fall-Back" positions for SUPER-SHTF Events. First thing I want to figure out is the battery need. This would be several very small portable solar set-ups. But each shack would have a battery that stayed there at that cabin/shack.

    My idea is that I can safely move radios and NVD things from cabin to cabin, but don't want to be moving big'ass batteries in the ice and snow and -27 degrees.

    Is this enough information for you to advise me on the battery need. Or ask any questions. Does this sound reasonable....???

    The CB radio is a COBRA for a vehicle, and I assume it is 12 volt DC. All of the radios are hand held and take a lot of "AA" batteries. It would be nice if I could also run a very very very very small light, Just enough to find the door in the dark of winter. Smaller then a "Night Light".

    Ask question........and thanks for the help.
    Yes.......this is for the Alaska wilderness, if that matters.
    Radios would only be used to listen and NOT broadcast.
    Last edited by Sourdough; 07-17-2018, 09:10 PM.
    One day you eat the chicken.....next day the left-over chicken.....next five days you eat chicken feathers, head and feet.

  • #2
    1st thing that's required is to know how much power you want.. This is usually expressed in watts.. Lighting isn't a big deal but you should find out what the draw is on your CB Radio and all other devices and then list how much use per day you expect from them.. Once I have that info, we can get to work.

    2nd: Will the batteries be left in place and connected to the solar system? If not, this is a major issue and can cause big headaches for what you're trying to do. Most of the high energy batteries (NiCad, Lithium, NiMH) can not be charged at freezing temperatures, they CAN be used (discharged to power a device), but they must be warmed back up to charge them. Lead acid does much better in cold weather but they (Temporarily) lose their storage capacity in cold temps. For instance, if you have a 25 amp hour lead acid battery, it might only provide 5 amp hours of power when its zero degrees outside.. It will recover when it warms, but not until then.

    You should check out "BatteryUniversity.com" for some of the best battery information available to find the ups and downs of different batteries.

    You could go with a NiFe (Nickle Iron) battery, called "Edison Batteries", these are the super duper gold standard of tough, reliable, and durable... They last 20 to 50 years and some have been in operation for over 100.. Make sure you're sitting down when you see the prices as they are 20 times more expensive than even the 2nd most expensive.

    If I understand what you're doing, I think the best course of action is a permanently mounted solar panel and a lead acid battery.. But without the solar trickle charge, the lead acid doesn't work correctly.

    Winter in Alaska might also be a problem as I understand you don't get much solar radiation up there.. that means you'd need WAY oversized panels to prevent battery drain during the cloudy short days....

    You can NOT let a lead acid battery sit in a discharged state or they die quick.

    Comment


    • #3
      Murphy...........please be advised.........that is NOT what I wanted to hear.

      New information: I am nearly 72 y/o and my estimate is that I might be able to live this lifestyle a few more years, maybe only one more year. For sure not past age 75, not in this remote location.

      So I don't want to put thousands of dollars into this project.

      The way I have dealt with this up till now, is that I purchase a few hundred Lithium "AA" batteries for the radios. They have a use'by date 2032, which is long after I'll be dead.

      Maybe the answer is to just purchase another 200 Lithium "AA" batteries and call it good.

      OK........"What If" I figured to take the massive (and I do mean MASSIVE) batteries out of the Cat D-8 Dozer and the Case 450B Dozer and the Duce and Half, and other big trucks, when the SHTF and used the sled to haul them up the mountain. They would start fairly well charged.

      Could I use them and a solar trickle charger........for as long as they last, and save the Lithium "AA" batteries for long after the lead/acid batteries are dead.......Is this a direction to consider going........???

      Murphy.........thanks for the help.


      One day you eat the chicken.....next day the left-over chicken.....next five days you eat chicken feathers, head and feet.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sourdough: Here is some info on portable solar generators. Maybe this will help. There is a ton of info out there.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiaQT06On5Q
        The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

        Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the reason is you are stupid, and make bad decisions.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Sourdough View Post
          Murphy...........please be advised.........that is NOT what I wanted to hear.

          New information: I am nearly 72 y/o and my estimate is that I might be able to live this lifestyle a few more years, maybe only one more year. For sure not past age 75, not in this remote location.

          So I don't want to put thousands of dollars into this project.

          The way I have dealt with this up till now, is that I purchase a few hundred Lithium "AA" batteries for the radios. They have a use'by date 2032, which is long after I'll be dead.

          Maybe the answer is to just purchase another 200 Lithium "AA" batteries and call it good.

          OK........"What If" I figured to take the massive (and I do mean MASSIVE) batteries out of the Cat D-8 Dozer and the Case 450B Dozer and the Duce and Half, and other big trucks, when the SHTF and used the sled to haul them up the mountain. They would start fairly well charged.

          Could I use them and a solar trickle charger........for as long as they last, and save the Lithium "AA" batteries for long after the lead/acid batteries are dead.......Is this a direction to consider going........???

          Murphy.........thanks for the help.

          Ya, that's just going with the lead acid route.. you'd still need some way to keep them charged and get them charged back up when you use them. The bigger the battery, the bigger the panel you need to get them charged back up.

          Here's an idea, but not sure if this will work either... What is the soil temperature at 4 feet below ground level in the middle of winter? At 6 feet? 10 feet?

          It would be possible, at first thought, to use a post hole digger to dig a shallow sort of well, like a water well, insert a sealed pvc pipe, and bury a lithium ion battery pack.
          Remember, the only drawback to the lithium ion is that you can't charge them when they are freezing.. they CAN be left discharged for long periods.. and they have a high cycle count and don't care about what state of charge they are in, and they store a lot of energy.

          So as long as you can figure out how to keep them above freezing, you could make them work. I'm thinking of a bore hole 6 feet deep, slide in a bottom sealed 6 inch pvc pipe, and put the lithium battery at the bottom.. tuck in some insulation above the batteries, and the ground temperature should keep them warm.. You'd just run the wires up and out the pvc pipe like a normal well head and then hook your electronics to them.. Cover the well pipe with rubble and no one would know its there.

          Comment


          • #6
            Murphy..........Good idea. Yes, I can keep them from freezing. When I lived on Lake Clark, I kept my groceries under the ice in the winter.

            The value of these type threads is they really get me thinking, outside the box. I had never considered mounting a solar trickle charger on the CAT D-8 Dozer or the CASE 450B Dozer. I have two one thousand gallon diesel fuel tanks. One is way up the mountain for logging. They start all winter, and could be used to charge lead/acid batteries.

            There is likely a way to run a generator off the "Power Take-off" unit on the CASE 450B Dozer. They would be kind'a like portable power plants, I could move them any place in the winter.
            Last edited by Sourdough; 07-18-2018, 02:22 PM.
            One day you eat the chicken.....next day the left-over chicken.....next five days you eat chicken feathers, head and feet.

            Comment


            • #7
              For lithium, the idea is to just keep them above 32 degrees.. 40 or higher is recommended.. For lead acid, it doesn't matter what them they are at.. Heat will kill them, cold will temporarily reduce their capacity.. This is why cars get "dead batteries" in the winter mostly. For lead acid, you want to keep them above 60 degrees at all times but no more than 110 deg.

              I would dig a bore hole and stick a lithium battery into it... you could even get a cylindrical shaped unit to fit the inside pipe diameter nicely.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sourdough View Post
                New information: I am nearly 72 y/o and my estimate is that I might be able to live this lifestyle a few more years, maybe only one more year. For sure not past age 75, not in this remote location.
                If you have that many lithium's you're likely more than set. Maybe instead of lithium go to rechargeable, only ones worth spending your money on are the Enloop gen 4 can recharge them up a few thousand times. Maybe instead of solar with your limited daylight in winter a small wind mill(s) would be better? frozen batteries are still an issue unless like Murphy said, you can get them down below frost line. Though I'm not sure what parts of Alaska have frost depth vs permafrost in which case you'd be screwed.

                Not trying to be an ass about this but what do you think the odds are that realistically the SHTF in the next couple years? Especially up where you are? Maybe you're looking out further than you need to? What are your plans once you hit 75? And how do you see yourself prepping after that happens? From your various posts it sounds like you might not have any next of kin so what do you plan to do with all your stuff? From what you've mentioned it sounds like you have a lot of stuff scattered all over the place. Depending on your plans, I'm assuming they involve you moving to town, maybe you're better off to start downsizing and liquidating a bunch of your stuff if you can rather than investing even more. If you can and people will buy it, maybe try and get some of the value out to help with your future expenses and maybe allow you to set up say a single BOL that just isn't as remote that you can get to from town.

                Does $10-15k in guns and $1,000's in ammo, gear and supplies buried in the back country do you any good if you're living in town and can't get out to all those hide-holes you have. Again not knowing your plans or your expectation on how long your will live to, you will have a lot of costly needs for rent, food or maybe nursing or assisted living care. Does it make sense for those items to effectively go to waste and in know way serve you when you eventually do pass away, and it's all left there to sit in the ground for eternity. If all that stuff is out there and lets say when your 82 the balloon finally goes up, what good is it to you if you can't hike out there and dig it up? I've seen some discussions on other sites in regards to what aged preppers need to consider and think about as they enter the phase of their lives. You probably more than any here not how hard a lifestyle it is and I think you'd agree it's a younger persons game.

                Not trying to be a bummer, I just tend to be a realist.

                I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you!

                Comment


                • #9
                  A question: Does your site have a permafrost layer ? How deep does it go ? That would really complicate lead-acid battery storage.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nik View Post
                    A question: Does your site have a permafrost layer ? How deep does it go ? That would really complicate lead-acid battery storage.
                    OK..................Are you sitting DOWN.

                    Are you ready.........OK the ground here does not ........I repeat does not freeze. I am speaking of undisturbed ground, in its natural state. If you clear the ground it will freeze, but even then only down a few inches. If you clear the vegetation and put in a driveway, that will freeze down a few inches, maybe 4" or 6" "MAX", generally only 2" or 3" of frost.

                    It rarely gets down to 15 degrees above. Typical through most winters is 23* above at night and 36* above daytime.

                    Some winters we get nearly zero snow, but typical average snow on the ground is about 10" or 14" but we can get dumps of snow, but then it rains and the snow is gone. The weather has changed a lot in the 49 years I have lived in Alaska. Back in the 1970's we got real winter. Now it is more rain and with-in ten degrees of freezing.

                    Not what you were expecting..........I think.

                    We had a winter with a lot of snow about 7 years ago. This last winter we had no snow till about February.

                    This week it is continual sunshine and upper 70's blue sky, no clouds.
                    Last edited by Sourdough; 07-19-2018, 12:16 AM.
                    One day you eat the chicken.....next day the left-over chicken.....next five days you eat chicken feathers, head and feet.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This is what I have used for 15 years? I have the older version
                      http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/mo...2002p.html#srp

                      Canadian Tire does ship to the USA, btu you may be able too find the equivalent somewhere else. Amazon?
                      They have other models as well http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/search...=ELIM+POWERBOX but the 600 is the one I have used to power my phones, laptop, radio, run a light. It is what I bought when I lived in the bush in Canada as an intro to solar power, and it was one of the best investments I have made. I use a 15 wt panel with it, and when I was running long road trips and wanted to charge some things, the solar panel was in the back of the truck bed, run the cord though the window slider to the front seat to charge the main box.

                      I have used it for starting cars, inflating tires, doing something I cannot remember with my well pump (putting air into the pressure tank maybe?), charging alot of stuff over the years.

                      It is not heavy, but it is not light. It is not undoable to pack or use a skimmer to get to from Point A to Point B. They also make folding solar panels and I might recommend one of them over the one I have for it.

                      I lived in the Cariboo, BC with it, which tends to get colder than Interior Alaska, but I have only had to replace the gel battery once in all the itme I have owned it.

                      The only thing I dislike about the unit, is that the digital screen decides to die (on the older first models anyway) and you cannot see how much the charge is at. Otherwise I LOVE THIS THING!!

                      Cedar

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        So..........what about this.....???

                        https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075SSMR6K...f-ebf4fd37fa2c
                        One day you eat the chicken.....next day the left-over chicken.....next five days you eat chicken feathers, head and feet.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sourdough View Post
                          So..........what about this.....???

                          https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075SSMR6K...f-ebf4fd37fa2c
                          Most, but not all, of those types of "all in one" Chinese boxes are junk.. Lowest quality components wrapped in flashy plastic.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Are there any good ones available........??? Given that I will likely never use it...........unless a massive SHTF event. The concept is attractive in that I can buy one or two and move them around to different cabins as needed.

                            My ONLY super big issue is that in a grid down SHTF one of my most valuable tools, the FLIR RS-64 becomes worthless if it can't be charged. I consider the FLIR to be critical to meat procurement and security needs.
                            One day you eat the chicken.....next day the left-over chicken.....next five days you eat chicken feathers, head and feet.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sourdough View Post
                              Are there any good ones available........??? Given that I will likely never use it...........unless a massive SHTF event. The concept is attractive in that I can buy one or two and move them around to different cabins as needed.

                              My ONLY super big issue is that in a grid down SHTF one of my most valuable tools, the FLIR RS-64 becomes worthless if it can't be charged. I consider the FLIR to be critical to meat procurement and security needs.
                              You know, after reading all your postings, I think I'm going to suggest you just go get yourself a Renogy 12 volt solar panel in the 50 watt size.. Maybe pick up one of their PWM solar charge controllers.. Then, you could hook those to any 12 volt battery from any car, motorcycle, lawn mower, etc.. Add in a small vehicle type inverter, and it will charge your device batteries just fine as well as run an LED light.

                              Be sure to store some distilled water at each of your locations.. Its ok if it freezes, but you'll need it to add water to the batteries if you don't end up with sealed units.

                              Its simple and effective.. won't provide a massive amount of power, but should be enough to keep you going. Heck, they're cheap enough that you could buy several of them (backups?) and spread them around or stack them to charge a larger battery bank.

                              I believe Renogy is one of the better Chinese brands.

                              How do you like that FLIR unit? At what range is it effective?

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