Monday, December 20, 2010

Backups for backups for backups

I blame the Boy Scouts. That's where I learned the whole "be prepared" way of life. There are times when I wonder if I've taken things a bit too far.

For example: backing up grid power is a good idea. The grid goes down, be it from wind, snow, floods, non-payment of past due bills -all kinds of reasons.

A moderate sized solar electric system backs up my grid systems. Actually, it's the grid that backs up my solar electric system. Should they both fail, the electrical system in the truck could be tapped. I've three inverters than can run off the truck, a tiny 75 watt system, a small 200 watt system, and a significant 2000 watt unit.

The truck itself runs off diesel, and waste vegetable oil. I usually keep at least 100 gallons of WVO. In a pinch, the truck can also run on #2 home heating oil. Those inverters can run off the truck a long time. Truck die completely? Well, I do have one of those portable batteries used to jump start cars. Then there's a spare car battery kept fully charged.

A friend of mine just gave me a 2000 watt generator. It could be used to power electrical things directly, or it could be used to charge up the battery bank of the solar electric system. The generator has stabilized gas in the tank. Right now, I don't have a lot of gasoline dedicated to the generator. Then again, there is the stabilized gas for the sailboat outboard. When that's gone, I still have a couple gallons of Coleman fuel. That'll work just fine too.

So . . . at this point you are thinking: what, no hydro or wind power?

A good windmill would be nice, but my location isn't the best -too many tall trees and mountain turbulence. That doesn't stop me from searching for a way to make it work. There are possibilities.

Wish I could use hydro, but my water supply would only be good for a handful of watts. Even I have to draw the line somewhere.

That's the chain of backups for just one system. All my "mission critical" systems have backups and work arounds -water, heating, cooking, defense, food, and so on.

The backup mania is extending to the sailboat I just bought. One could say the motor is backup for the sails, but it doesn't end there. GPS will be backed up with a compass and charts. The large VHR radio will be backed up with a hand held. Last week I bought an electric bilge pump, and a hand pump too, of course.

My backup lists go ever on.

Some of these things were design, but others seem to have just grown out of a general attitude. Looking back, it's definitely the Boy Scouts that got me started.



  1. what kinda boat did you pick up?

  2. Back ups are a great thing, especially when they are needed.

  3. dirtbag: check out my earlier post:

    Dizzy, when you need them you need them.

  4. Don't blame the Boy Scouts. Thank them!

  5. The Boy Scouts used to turn little assholes like me into the old guy that to this day looks after little old ladies and neighbors.