With electric power– Without electric power

A. 10 Things People Will Miss Most Without Electricity At Home
22 July 2014, Modern Survival Blog, by Ken Jorgustin
Pasted from: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/preps/10-things-you-will-miss-most-without-electricity-at-home/#more-28882

With electric meter

To go without electricity for a couple of hours is a bad enough experience for most, but imagine the horror if the power grid were to stay down for days, or even weeks!

Can you imagine the unthinkable and challenge yourself to consider life without electricity for 1-year or more (e.g. SHTF after an EMP cluster)?

The resulting shock to today’s modern man (and woman) would not only be an emotional jolt, but could quickly turn into a life threatening reality for those who have not prepared for such an occurrence. It could be life threatening even for those who have prepared!

Without electricity (even for a short time), these ten things will be high on the list for most people; the things that will be missed the most based on the modern lifestyle of today. 

The most basic of luxury that electricity provides is our light at night, and even during the day. How long will your batteries last in your flashlights? Then what? Do you have a plan for that?

Most of today’s communications revolve around our cell phones / smart phones. They are the lifeblood of our social networks and the primary means of communicating with our family and friends. How will you cope without that ability to communicate?

This category should almost go without saying… it is probably the most relied upon resource in our modern lives today. It is crucial to our communications, our finances, our economy, and our entertainment. Many people won’t know what to do without it.

The average adult watches 4 hours of television a day while the typical child watches 6 hours TV per day including their video-games. It will be a shock to the (emotional) system without this distraction.

I mention this category due to the observation of so many people walking around with ear-buds attached to their iPod (and other) devices while listening to their music. There will be no recharging these little entertainment devices. Like television, music is a major part of the background (and foreground) entertainment for many people.

Many modern buildings will be completely uninhabitable without it, due to modern day HVAC design into large multi-story buildings. We have lived for many decades with the convenience of air-conditioning, and being without it will be a shock. Not sure how many could survive without it these days. If electricity were to fail in the winter, there will be even more grave consequences!

This appliance is in its own category due to the important role it serves in keeping your food fresh longer and the ability to keep you supplied with fresh food for a time. Without electricity your frozen foods will be thawed within 24 hours and will need to be consumed immediately or tossed out. Then what?

How will you handle first thing in the morning without a cup of coffee brewed in your electric coffee pot? Think about ALL of your kitchen appliances that run on electricity and how you would manage without them. No dishwasher? No appliances to assist?

The majority of people rely on an electric stove, oven or microwave for cooking their food. Let that sink in a moment…

Keeping our clothes clean is something that we completely take for granted. It would not take long for this situation to become unhealthy.

Observations and considerations…
Entertainment. Some of the categories listed above are really subsets of “Entertainment”. It WILL be a major emotional factor for many people when they lose it because most people rely on it for daily distraction. When things go “quiet”, it will be jarring for most who have become accustomed to the constant ‘noise’. They will be forced to deal with the reality of their own life and circumstances, and may not know what to do. It could even result in a rapid escalation of social chaos, particularly in densely populated areas as tempers flare while people are forced to deal not only with the loss of their distractions, but they will be forced to deal with survival itself.

Communications. My observations of the world we live in today reveal that many people, if not most, always seem to be on a cell phone talking with someone else – everywhere they go. In the car, in the store, at home, on the street, at work… It seems to reflect an insecurity of sorts. The need to be in constant contact with their circle of friends. Without this emotional support structure of constant communication, these people will have a very difficult time coping (with real life). Even if cell towers are up for awhile during a power outage, when your cell phone battery drains, that’s it… Silence.

Kitchen. You better start thinking about how you’ll manage without your electrical appliances – your stove – your microwave – your refrigerator and freezer – even if only for a week. Do you have the ability to put food on the table without them? Do you have food that doesn’t require cooking? Do you have any food at all? Think of a power outage or grid-down scenario in terms of various lengths of time. While it’s pretty easy to survive a few hours or even a day or two, start thinking about a week or more – and what you would do.

Water. While this resource is pretty much #1 for survival, during short term power outages you will not lose your water pressure. This will only become a critical issue if electricity is lost for a significant period of time. All water municipalities have power generators for their pumps, and so long as they can get fuel for their water pumps, they can keep the water flowing. A severe enough disaster however could throw a wrench in the works. This is similar for sewage treatment. A long-term outage will prove disastrous in the water and sewer category.

Hopefully these thoughts have given you something to think about. If you are inclined to become better prepared for such things, spend a day keeping track of everything that you do and see how many of those activities involve the requirement of electricity. Then imagine life without it. Figure out ways to survive without it.

with electric tube vs solid state


B. Off the Grid – Solar Power, part 1
3 August 2012, Prepping To Survive, by Mike
Pasted from; http://preppingtosurvive.com/2012/08/03/off-the-grid-solar-power-part-1/

The following article has been contributed by a fellow prepper named Mike. It has been published with permission of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of PreppingToSurvive.com.

“So, what happens if and when the grid goes down for an extended period of time? Aside from the aggravation of not being able to determine what is happening through traditional media channels, for the Average Joe, his problems have only just begun. Our dependency to the grid doesn’t just stop at lack of electricity in our homes to power our appliances or an inability to charge our cell phones; it is much broader and affects every aspect of our lives”.

Oh how true that statement is; most people could not survive a day without computers, refrigeration, cell phones and TV. Most people have never had to live off the grid unless they were primitive camping; and even then it was probably only for a weekend. But for some of us people planning to use our yachts as a refuge for when the SHTF, using solar is already being practiced. Some of us have already taken the steps necessary to keep the power flowing; we have built our own power grid. We have tested it in the actual real world environment and have been using it when we are away from the dock for pleasure, so we know the application and technology works.

Solar panels have been successfully used since the mid 1950s, originally used in manned space exploration. They have been dropping in price since about 2004 when their popularity really took off. And now with the Green movement afoot, solar panels are as popular as ever. After evaluating my yacht’s energy consumption, it was obvious that we must make some changes to be able to survive during and after the SHTF. So a couple years ago, I set out to research them and determine how to buy and install one; boy was I was in for a shock.

with electric pv1

You can find many retail suppliers online that will sell you a solar panel but nowhere could I find a detailed description of how to determine what to buy and how to install it; much less aboard a yacht. So these articles were born as I made my way through the process; thus was a truly a learn-as-you-go article. If you are thinking about installing one at your home versus on a boat, the principles are still the same.

 What is a Solar Panel and How Do They Work?
Solar panels are in theory any panel that uses the sun’s thermal energy to produce electricity. A solar panel can be described as a photovoltaic panel, the term used in the industry, for panels designed to produce electricity from the rays of the sun. Despite the category of solar panel being discussed, almost all solar panels are flat. This is because the face of the panel needs to be at a 90 degree angle from the sun’s rays for the most favorable angle to absorb the sun’s rays.

Solar panels are able to take in energy from the sun through an array of solar cells on their surface. Much like how a plant is able to soak up energy from the sun for photosynthesis, solar cells perform in a comparable manner. As the sun’s rays hit the solar cells on a photovoltaic panel, the power is transferred to a silicon semiconductor. The power is then changed into (dc) direct current electricity and then passed through connecting wires to finally enter a storage battery.

with electric a panelTypical 150 watt solar panel

 Types of Solar Panels
Types of panels most normally used in boating applications have either multicrystalline or amorphous thin-film cells. Multicrystalline panels are the oldest technology available and also the most powerful. When sized appropriately and matched to suitable batteries, these are the panels to use for operating large loads such as refrigeration.

Amorphous thin film solar panels are only about 50% as effective as multicrystalline panels, but can be bought in flexible forms so they can roll or fold, or correspond to the shape of a yacht cabin top or bimini. They don’t normally have enough output for significant energy replenishment, but can be used to trickle charge a battery bank.


 C.  Off the Grid – Solar Power, part 2
7 August 2012, Prepping To Survive, by Mike
Pasted from: http://preppingtosurvive.com/2012/08/07/off-the-grid-solar-power-part-2/

The following article has been contributed by a fellow prepper named Mike. It has been published with permission of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of PreppingToSurvive.com.

This article is the second in a three-part series on off-grid survival using solar power. In the first installment, I talked about how solar power works and the types of solar panels available. In this article, I’ll share with you how to calculate how much energy you’ll need to support your home or boat. In the third and final post, I’ll share how to mount and wire your new panels.

with electric pv2

 How Much Power Do Solar Cells Make?
Generally, we measure solar panels by wattage and that is how we buy them. You can buy solar panels for boats as small as 10 watts to as large as 200 watts or even larger. But it is easier to understand when we convert watts to amperage.

We arrive at these values by multiplying the number of hours the panel spends in full sun (usually defined as 8 per day in Florida) times the panel’s wattage.
For a 195 watt solar panel the output would be 195 x 8 hrs = 1,560 watts/day. Taking it step further, 1,560 watts/12 volts = 130 amps per day.
Keep in mind that solar panels produce DC power which means that you will need a deep cycle battery bank to hold the charge. Batteries are rated by the amp hours they hold.

 So what is Needed in a Solar Panel Setup?
Obviously one or more solar panels are necessary to make the system work. In addition, you will need:

  • a large bank of deep cycle batteries, the bigger the bank the better
  • an inverter, choose between pure sin or modified (to be discussed in another article)
  • a controller and
  • proper wiring and fuses to wire the parts together.

with electric 500 Ahr battery bank

Energy Consumption – A
My guiding principle on how many panels to buy is simple; buy as many panels as your budget and mounting location will allow. You cannot have too many. But you should complete an energy audit to make sure you are buying enough for your needs.

Example, if you have 3 interior lights that draw 2 amps each and you leave them on for 4 hours per day, your consumption would be 3 x 2 x 4 = 24 AH/Day.

You can generally find the amp load for appliances on a label inside a door etc.

 Electrical Loads

Amps Hours AH/Day
House Lighting
Total Amp Hours


Inverter Loads – B
An inverter is a device that coverts battery DC power to household AC power; without an inverter, unlike on a yacht, your solar panel will have little value if used at a home. But with an inverter you can use your hair dryer.

Inverter loads use DC power but they are powering AC appliances and equipment. If you need to convert watts to amps use (12watts/12 volts = 1amp).

Amps Hours AH/Day
Hair Dryer
Total Amp Hours
Calculate your total daily energy consumption AH/per day

 Solar Energy Production – C
Alternative sources of power such as solar panels can replace the amp/hrs drawn from the batteries. But like the energy budget that calculated your usage you will also need to calculate your re-supply of amp hours. Remember the formula – (12 watts/12 volts = 1 amp). But keep in mind, the formula is only a gage; absolute accuracy can only be where the panel output is constant and a solar panel may at times operate inefficiently due to shading by clouds.

Watts Amps X – Hours Sun Exposure = – AH/Day
Solar Panel 1
Solar Panel 2
Total Amp Hours Production

 Solar Panel Needs
Compare the daily energy consumption in AH/Day to the solar energy production. Your solar energy production ( C ) should be greater than the consumption ( A, B ). If not, select a larger wattage panel and recalculate. Always purchase more solar panel output than you will think you will need; some planners recommend at least 30% in excess.

We bought our panel from Sun Electronics in Miami, http://www.sunelec.com as they had the best pricing I could find anywhere online. But remember, panels must be shipped via freight as they are heavily packed to reduce the chance of damage so be sure to calculate those costs in your purchase.

(Survival Manual/ prepper Articles/With electric power–Without electric power)


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