Sunday, January 4, 2009

"Some call me... Tim"

We name things, the wife's medical equipment is called Harvey, our portable 12 volt battery pack is R2, we even have a wooden chest we call George.

Now we have added the newest member of our none-fur family. Please say hi to Tim. Tim is 100Amp hours of 12 volt deep cycle power. Tim puts poor little R2 to shame. In fact I'm thinking of changing R2's name to R0.5 because it performed so poorly.

We named Tim after my nephew, the doctor. (Phd in Electrical Engineering) It was his christmas present that allowed us to aquire the heart of our off grid power system.

Using batteries as a main power source is not as straight forward as I thought it would be. Who would have thought that you would charge a 12 volt battery to above 12 volts. One of our neighbors says I should charge it up to about 14 volts using the 50 amp setting on our charger and then top it off at 2 amps for about an hour. I'm going to try that tonight.

We have a 750 watt inverter that converts the battery's DC power to AC. The inverter has 3 information displays, battery voltage, watts in use, and output voltage. The watts display has me a bit confused. Last night it showed our little 27 watt (CFL) light was pulling almost 100 watts. I don't know if our light bulb is going bad, the lamp itself has a problem, or if there is something in the whole process I just don't understand.

Working with limited power brings a whole new way of looking at power conservation. You need to really examine what your priorities are. For us the number 1 priority is the wife's sleep apnea machine. Our 2nd priority is charging our gizmoes, cell phone. iPod, R0.5, my PDA, and our laptops. The wife might disagree and say the number 2 priority is our one little light, but I'm good with just my head lamp.

I'm having to get use to doing any heavy computer work only when the genarator is running. Likewise, if we want to watch a DVD, we need to do so while the genarator is running, the laptop battery doesn't last for a whole movie.

I'm learning to adapt, this blog is being written on my PDA and I'm trying to keep myself busy with things that take little or no electricity. It's hard to be a geek in the backwoods.

The (twitching in power withdrawal) Geek of Treehaven

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