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PSM 11-14-2012 14:33

3 Attachment(s)
I'm thinking that, since we only use about 100 gals. a day, running the pump off the solar system for about 10 min. a day is doable.

Some pix:

PSM 11-14-2012 14:35

2 Attachment(s)

The Reaper 11-14-2012 19:49

Destrier and PSM:

Very nice set ups, gents.

Concur with PSM, better to do your big loads (or charging) with the occasional generator run and use the batteries for the heat circ, fans, lights, etc. The refrigerators and freezers will probably be fine with an hour or two twice a day, if you fill the excess freezer space with nearly full water jugs.

Obviously, solar is a lot easier and more practical in AZ than in NY, and vice versa with the gassifier.

Heckuva battery bank there, PSM. What is your system, if I might ask, and what is the life span of those batteries?



PSM 11-14-2012 20:53


Originally Posted by The Reaper (Post 474894)
Heckuva battery bank there, PSM. What is your system, if I might ask, and what is the life span of those batteries?



On the roof we've got 15 220w (3.3kW) Sanyo panels, feeding 24 2v Surette 1380 (1075ah) batteries for a 48v system. The charge controller and inverter are Xantrex XW series with a Xantrex power distribution panel.

With heavy use (over 50% drain) the batteries are supposed to be good for 8 to 10 years. We have all LEDs for lighting and all Energy Star appliances. Our heat pump is a Daikin 1.5 ton mini-split. Even in the worst of the Summer heat, battery voltage never dropped below 50v, so we may get 10 to 12 years out of them.

We have all the regular appliances except an upright freezer. We wanted to see how things went for a year just in case we needed to go to a propane one. It looks like a regular freezer will be fine.

My only unusual chore is topping off the water tank once a week. And I may be able to do away with that soon.


Badger52 11-15-2012 04:25

Very nice indeed PSM. Thought, work & money, efforts rewarded. Thanks for the details on that. Remain interested to see how Destrier's setup continues to work. And this remains a great thread.

As TR indicates solar a very workable thing in what is one of my favorite areas.

Shortly up here as the mercury drops it's gonna be "ok, guys, is there anything we need to get down to Huachuca for?

Beef 01-25-2013 15:48

Last night I attended an Advisory Council (school board) meeting at our small local Catholic school. The principal proudly announced that within a day or so after the Sandy Hook murders, our school had an "active shooter" policy in place. I asked her how many drills or scenario practice sessions the students had participated in. Deer in the headlights. "The sheriff's dept. and assisant police chief helped formulate the policy," was the reply. Yes, but have you actually practiced it? "Uh, no, but we will!" Typical bureaucratic response. As former and current SF soldiers, most of us have encountered "active shooters" from VC/NVA to Taliban. We should have a pretty good response system in place. To incude personal EDC firearms, knives, etc. However, what about your wives and kids? A lot of wives won't carry guns and my 15 year old can't take my 1911 to 5th period algebra. So I believe we need to ensure that our family members and local schools and churches are ready for an active shooter scenario. A plan is good, but if you don't rehearse it....... IADs, IADs, IADs. Until it becomes automatic. Starting with basic situational awareness to last ditch counter measures. The local Chamber of Commerce had an open to the public class on active shooters. It was geared to everyone from kids to people with CC permits, as my state is heavily armed. My family attended. After the course, when we went to a restaraunt, I started asking them where were the exits? Why did you sit here? What would you use for cover? etc. My kids enjoyed it and still talk about SA, etc. There is also a pamphlet available from Amazon called "Navy SEAL Tips, How to survive an Active Shooter." By Brandon Webb. (Damn SEALS saved the world!) It's geared toward regular civilians and isn't bad. Of course, none of this stuff will guarantee survival, but we all know that a plan and some training is better that making it up as you go. I would encourage all of you to contact your local schools and ask them what kind of plans they have made and humiliate them it these plans aren't rehearsed like the mandatory monthly fire drill.

pyreaux 01-25-2013 22:38


Just to let you know some places are taking this more seriously. A plant I have been working with recently is currently developing their plan with local, state, and fed LEOs. Once developed, they intend to share and practice this plan with everyone on site to include contract and temporary personnel. I let them know that I have personal contacts that provide this type of training as well and they were quite enthusiastic about getting in touch with them as well. Should I work there long enough I will share whatever results come of this effort.

Beef 01-31-2013 07:31

I'm glad to hear that. Of course a chemical/POL plant in South LA is not a place I personally would want to intiate a mass shooting. I image several guys named Boudreaux would take exception and my efforts would be short lived! LOL! Commercial and industrial people seem to be more proactive on this than our schools. Which is problematic.

mugwump 09-01-2013 11:26

Mountain House has suspended their minimum advertised price for September. Safecastle, Ready Made Resources, and others have deals with 40-70% off and free shipping. Various restrictions apply, usually full-case (6 can) multiples only, but there are some legitimate deals out there.

The Reaper 09-01-2013 13:42


Originally Posted by mugwump (Post 521103)
Mountain House has suspended their minimum advertised price for September. Safecastle, Ready Made Resources, and others have deals with 40-70% off and free shipping. Various restrictions apply, usually full-case (6 can) multiples only, but there are some legitimate deals out there.

Great deal!

Thanks for the tip.


mugwump 09-01-2013 23:35

Happy to help.

mugwump 09-30-2013 12:51

Emergency Comms Revolution
There has been a price revolution in handheld ham transceivers (requires a ham no-Morse technician’s license or better). The latest generation of Chinese handheld dual band (2m/70cm) transceivers match the Japanese Yaesu and Icom models feature for feature at a fraction of the cost. For example, I just purchased a BaoFeng UV5RE Plus off of Amazon for less than $40 delivered. If you’re willing to go the Ebay route I think you can get them for less than $35. The user’s manual is unintelligible chenglish, programming the presets manually is a total pain and it won’t take a 3 min, 3m bath like the Yaesu can and still survive. That said, it’s the bomb, otherwise. I’ve been having great luck using it even in hilly, forested terrain.

Note that you can get yourself in trouble using the UV5RE. Freqs that you shouldn’t have access to (and people put a lot of effort into accessing via circuit surgery in the high-end HTs) are available out of the box. You can transmit on GMRS, FRS, and MURS frequencies at full power--4W-5W depending on who’s doing the testing. (That’s against all the rules for those freqs and according to FCC device certification you’re not even supposed to have access to all of those on the same transceiver.) It includes a Sanyo scrambler chip that is normally found in wireless phones. Using this feature is optional and can be assigned on a frequency basis, but even so voice scrambling on ham bands isn’t legal, either. The no-no list goes on.

All that said, if you pay attention and have a tech license you can use all of the (legal) frequencies and features without violating FCC regs. For example, you can program a FRS preset and specify it uses the appropriate low power setting with no scrambling—perfectly legal. It has scanning capability (2 freqs/sec vs. 100/sec in a dedicated scanner and no trunk-tracking, but still, it scans), accessories are dirt cheap (battery packs, speaker mics--$9 wtf?, AAA and AA packs, antennas, 12v adapters, etc) and there is a large pool of users to smooth out the bumps (accessory modification advice, some guy wrote a ridiculously good user manual, etc.). And there is an outstanding free program called CHiRP that gets around the convoluted manual programming of presets by allowing everything to be entered into a spreadsheet and uploaded to the device—but you’ll need a $7 programming cable (everything associated with these things is inexpensive).

Check them out, there’s tons of stuff on Google. Be aware that there are a boatload of different versions (some of the older ones can be had for $15, new!) and some of the early teething problems are solved in the later models. Search for UV5RE Plus…I’d start w/ the Amazon reviews.

mikec71 09-30-2013 13:09

I have been using mine as a Fire scanner in my local area in Michigan. For the price it was cheeper than buying a scanner at Radio Shack! Cool acceseries.

Father in Law who works on radios for the FAA is impressed too.

albeham 09-30-2013 13:11

Heard of a few that had issues with theirs.
A buddy has one, seems to work good.


mugwump 09-30-2013 15:34

I've also purchased 10 of the Baofeng "BF-888S UHF FM Transceiver Walkie Talkie Two-way Radio CTCSS/DCS" tranceivers, with chargers, for $160. (That's the total cost--$16 a pop for a single-band FM UHF handheld tranceiver.) At first flush they all seem to work. They're quite simple with only 16 channel presets, which I see as a big plus given their intended use. There's an amazingly well-written review on Amazon.

They are pre-loaded with GMS, MURS, FRS, and Marine frequencies out of the box but they are illegal for anything other than the 2M band operated by someone with a technician ham ticket. (They transmit at 5W and aren't FCC hardware-certified for GMS, MURS, FRS, Marine.) The plan is they won't be used in anything other than extraordinary circumstances (grid down, WROL, etc.) when they'd be handed out to neighbors to create a cheap "AGRIC Alert" system as used by Rhodesian farmers during the troubles there.

They're kind of a pain to program but a guy has figured out the proper incantations for computer interfacing HERE. See the RollingJ post, #10 in the thread. Once you set one up the rest should be easy to clone. Haven't done it myself with the 888 yet.

One BF-888 ($16) with an add-on j pole antenna and one Argent ADS-SR1 simplex repeater ($80), along with a cheap 10W mono-crystalline solar trickle-charger (charger should be sub $100 w battery and charge controller from what I can see--should all fit, less the panel, into a 30 cal ammo can) placed on a 1100 foot hill near my place should make all of the local farms accessible. The ADS-SR1 has a pretty amazing feature set that opens a world of possibilities for creating a cheap, medium-range comm net in even hilly, wooded terrain.

I'll post an update when I have the repeater assembled and tested.

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