More Off the Grid items - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-29-2006, 01:35 PM   #1
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I seem to be obscessed with aquiring electronic items that do not require a standard AC outlet for recharging. I have 3 solar panels, totaling 22 watts and this seems to keep my house and little 20aH gel cells happy on normal days.

I already have a larger Grundig 4 band crank radio that works very nicely, and actually has decent fidelity for listening to music with extension speakers. It lacked a weather band tho.

I got a larger crank flashlight, 5 large LEDs that works really really well and for a long period of time with just a minute or two of cranking.

I was in Target yesterday, and saw on thier closeout aisle, a small portable Jensen Crank radio packaged with a small crank LED flashlight for 17.98. It has a weather band, so I picked it up. And you can always use another flashlight.

I couldn't find the Pack on Targets website, but here it is on eBay:

Jensen survival Kit

I intend to carry these two smaller items in my little survival box in the car. The radio works REALLY well and it has a spot for local weather info. Well worth it for under 20 bucks. The flashlight works very well too.

They had TONS of them in they elctronics area if anyone was looking.
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Old 03-30-2006, 07:34 AM   #2
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I saw a blender in a sporting goods/camping store that was powered with a crank. I even tried cranking it.

We are not blender cooks, so we won't be getting one, but it actually seemed pretty good.

We have several LED flashlights. They hang in various places to be used as temporary lighting. One is in the bathroom, another on the inside of the closet door. You wouldn't read or cook with the light of one, but for temporary use during the night, they are much simpler than running power and a permanent light fixture. We've had them almost 4 years and only one has needed the batteries to be replaced, so far.

On my to-do list is rig up a portable generator. I bought a sidewalk edger awhile back with a small Hona engine, about 2 hp, on close-out. I didn't plan to use it as intended, but to hook it up to a car alternator and stage it in the pickup or Blazer. This would be optimized for 12 volt and should be more efficient than using the standard Generator sets that are set up for 110VAC.
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Old 03-30-2006, 07:47 AM   #3
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Loren,
If you do some investigating, I think you'll find an automobile alternator is actually producing 120V AC which is rectified to 12V DC. If you add wiring prior to the rectifiers, you can have an un-regulated source of 120V AC power.
Kurt & Ann K.
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Old 03-30-2006, 10:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
...If you do some investigating, I think you'll find an automobile alternator is actually producing 120V AC which is rectified to 12V DC. If you add wiring prior to the rectifiers, you can have an un-regulated source of 120V AC power.
Kurt & Ann K.
Close, but I don't think this is quite the situation. It's called an "alternator" (instead of "generator", as they used to be) because it does produce AC power, but the frequency directly depends on the engine speed, and the voltage is about what is needed for battery charging. The rectifier diodes are built right into the alternator housing, and even the regulator to control the output voltage is often built in now.

Just in case anyone cares, letting unit produce AC then rectifying it, instead of setting it up to produce DC power directly, means that it can have two reliable slip ring and brush sets, instead of a much more wear-prone segmented commutator.

There are kits to produce 120VAC from automotive alternators, intended for people who want a lot of AC power in remote areas and don't want to carry a separate engine-driven generator, but I don't know how they force the output voltage high enough.
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Old 03-30-2006, 10:44 AM   #5
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...On my to-do list is rig up a portable generator. I bought a sidewalk edger awhile back with a small Hona engine, about 2 hp, on close-out. I didn't plan to use it as intended, but to hook it up to a car alternator and stage it in the pickup or Blazer. This would be optimized for 12 volt and should be more efficient than using the standard Generator sets that are set up for 110VAC.
Loren, I like this tiny DC-out genset idea too, since the automotive generator with regulator is already producing just the power we want, but got a lot of feedback when we discussed it earlier. While a Search would probably be worthwhile, the general idea was that a very small AC generator plus battery charger would be better because...
  • the advanced charger would do a better job
  • the housing of the integrated unit would make the setup much quieter
  • you can just buy it for a reasonable price
A 600W portable generator - as long as it is an "inverter" type of design - could produce all of the current needed by a 15A-output charger while running at a nice calm speed.

I still like the tiny engine / auto alternator idea, and look forward to seeing someone do it well. It is actually commercially available, as I mentioned in an earlier topic.
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Old 04-01-2006, 08:37 PM   #6
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I received the latest Princess Auto flyer yesterday, which features a hand-crank flashlight for $6.88 (that's Canadian dollars). It's their item # 8047714. The flyer says the sale for this item is only Tuesday April 4 through Saturday April 8, but it's at the sale price of the website today.

I understand from the Solar Flashlights topic that this might be a good price - I might pick one up. This is a three-LED model, which looks very much like the ones at Costco (sold in a two-pack).
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Old 04-01-2006, 11:43 PM   #7
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I just bought three illuminator wind-up flashlights (for fathers' day presents) for $12.95 each and under $5 for shipping.

Cheap Illuminator Wind-Up Flashlights

Nancy
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Old 04-03-2006, 04:08 AM   #8
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Overall I think you are right, Brian. But I got this brand new for about a hundred dollars, and I have several Delco alternators around.

My real purpose is in case I run the batteries down on my diesel Blazer. Did is once about ten years ago before I retired. Left the lights on while at work. As I remember, my wife came to rescue me with a jumper and it took about three hours to get enough charge in those big batteries to start that diesel.

I figure if for some reason it happens out in the boonies, I may find a good Samaritan, but not likely to find one with that kind of patience.

That little Honda gen set would be worth it's weight in gold in that situation.
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