Black Friday 2014 Ads, Sales and Deals
Menu
Top 20 Black Friday 2014 To Buy Today

Top 20 Black Friday 2014 To Buy Today

Walmart Black Friday Pre Sale launched Online

Walmart Black Friday Pre Sale launched Online

Amazon Black Friday 2014 Deals Week has launched

Amazon Black Friday 2014 Deals Week has launched

Walmart Pre-Black Friday Ad released

Walmart Pre-Black Friday Ad released

Amazon takes orders on Black Friday Samsung TV Deals

Amazon takes orders on Black Friday Samsung TV Deals

6 Tips For Living Well on Solar Power

Jun 26 2011, 12:49pm CDT | by , in Reviews | Technology News

6 Tips For Living Well on Solar Power
 
 

It's easier than you think.


So, you've decided it's time to go off the grid. Time to disconnect yourself from fossil fuels and really get lost somewhere peaceful and isolated. But there's one problem: you're still a nerd. And still addicted to the shiny gadgets that make life in our bustling, noisy concrete swaps so hard to give up. It's time to start looking into solar power.

I've spent almost every weekend of the last several months out camping or working far away from power sockets and gasoline. Two panel kits- the Sherpa 50 and Sherpa 120 from Goal Zero, have accompanied me. Here's what I've learned about living off the sun:

1. A Little Discipline Goes a Long Way:

Together, both of my panels are capable of generating a little more than 40 Watts per hour. Both batteries can store up to 200 Watts at a time. Keeping my phone or tablet trickle-charged throughout the day doesn't require much thought. But my box fan draws about 60 Watts per hour on high. So- with this limited set up- how was I to stay cool in my tent on a Texas morning in June?

The answer is diligent use of my alarm clock.

Texas is relatively tolerable from about 9 PM to about 7 AM. Every night, I'd go to bed at around midnight and set my alarm for 6 AM. When it went off, I'd turn on the inverter attached to my battery stack and turn on the fan. Then I'd sleep for another three hours in total comfort, free from the oppressive, sticky tent heat that makes camping in the summertime such an ordeal.

With a relatively affordable solar set-up, you can have most of the comforts of home if you're willing to exercise care and discipline in when you use them.

2. Charge Before You Leave.

Do yourself a favor and make sure your batteries are all charged to full before you leave the house. More than once I went off on a camp-out with drained batteries, certain that I'd be able to charge them on the hike or as soon as I set up my tent. Rain, overcast skies and late arrivals can make all of that impossible. Which could leave you without music or heating or lights when you need them most.

Camping well is about setting yourself up for success and anticipating your needs before they happen. Charging your batteries up the day or two before your trip also gives you an opportunity to check all your cables and your inverter box. If something shorts, you'll be grateful it happened at home and not in the middle of Yellowstone. Which brings me to tip #3...

3. Bring Back-Ups.

You probably can't afford to bring 'back-up' solar panels and batteries. In my experience, it's the cables that crap out first anyway. If you can't afford to be without power wherever you're going, bring spare cables. And at least one spare inverter box. All your back-up bits should be stored in a waterproof bag or container.

Goal Zero's solar panels and batteries are, in my experience, nearly indestructible. But I've still had to replace several of their adapters and one inverter box. I've also had to replace one replacement inverter box. I'd recommend spending a good chunk of money ($50-ish) on your box. If at all possible, check the sockets beforehand to make sure they aren't too loose around standard plugs. That's a problem endemic to cheap inverters.

4. Minimize Draw, Maximize Capability.

When I set out on my last five day camp-out, I had two basic power needs that depended on my panels: Music and Air Conditioning.

For A/C, I had box fans. Even used sparingly, those wouldn't leave much juice for my music set-up. Rather than bring along my computer speakers or a plug-in iPod dock, I went with a AA battery-powered bass amp with rechargeable batteries. My original plan had been to bring my laptop along to drive the music, but I realized quickly how silly that was. My laptop could get 6-7 hours at most out of a charge. It wasn't efficient in stand-by and it required a lot of power to charge.

My PlayBook, on the other hand, was able to go all five days as a media player with only one short trickle-recharge. I was able to get around the 16 GB storage limit by loading several different playlists on my laptop. Whenever one got old, I'd whip out my notebook and switch them out. It required very little power and kept my beats fresh for the whole trip.

5. Solar Devices Take Stress off your Battery:

The week before one of my longer trips into the woods, I came across a rack of little solar powered lights at Home Depot. They stick right into the ground and turn on as soon as it gets dark outside. 

You can find dozens of different types of solar lights out there, some for as little as $2-3. My camp purchased about a dozen of them. We'd leave them in the sun during the day in a sort of 'solar garden' and place them around our camp in the evening before dark fell. If at all feasible, I'd recommend doing all of your lighting this way. It's cheap and it frees up your main array for real work.

If you aren't wildly concerned with volume, a solar boom box is another great way to free up power.

6. Don't Be Afraid to Build Your Own:

I love Goal Zero's products, and I recommend them for everyone. But they aren't at all cheap. If you're just doing wilderness hikes and need something to strap to a backpack, their kits are ideal. But if you have more long term plans in the bush, it might be time to look into building your own. You can construct larger arrays- 100 to 200 Watts, for a relatively low cost. These kits won't be as tough as something you'd buy pre-made, but they're more practical for permanent emplacement.


The Bottom Line: Going solar is practical. For under $1000, you can have A/C, music and a fully charged phone or tablet at all times, wherever you wander. Beware though. Solar charging is an addictive hobby, and you'll soon be tempted to go further than any pre-built kit can take you.

Black Friday 2014 Sales Toolbox

Black Friday Alert:

Walmart Black Friday 2014 Sale is Live

Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale is Live

The Essential Black Friday Ads:


Walmart Black Friday 2014 Ad Target Black Friday 2014 Ad Best Buy Black Friday 2014 Ad

Black Friday 2014 Deals:

Deals by Black Friday Store:

Amazon Black Friday Deals Week
Walmart Black Friday Deals and Ads
Best Buy Black Friday Deals and Ads
Target Black Friday Deals and Ads
Apple Black Friday Deals and Ads
Sears Black Friday Deals and Ads
Dell Black Friday Deals and Ads
NewEgg Black Friday Deals and Ads
Kmart Black Friday Deals and Ads
 

This Could Also Interest You

Hunger Games Mockingjay: What the Critics Say?

Hunger Games Mockingjay: What the Critics Say? This is the first part of the final Hunger Games franchise.

1 minute ago

Lana Del Ray’s Rape Video Leaked; Marilyn Manson is Not Involved

Lana Del Ray’s Rape Video Leaked; Marilyn Manson is Not Involved Marilyn Manson has denied any involvement in the Lana Del Ray’s leaked rape video.

42 minutes ago

The Amazon Black Friday 2014 TV Deals to Watch Out For

The Amazon Black Friday 2014 TV Deals to Watch Out For The Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale has launched. As announced yesterday, The Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale starts...

49 minutes ago

$354.99 Asus D550CA-RS31is Hot Amazon Black Friday Laptop Deal

$354.99 Asus D550CA-RS31is Hot Amazon Black Friday Laptop Deal The Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale has launched. As announced yesterday, The Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale starts...

1 hour ago

Top 20 Black Friday 2014 To Buy Today

Top 20 Black Friday 2014 To Buy Today Black Friday 2014 has launched. The Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale and the Walmart Black Friday 2014 sale have begun in...

2 hours ago

First Jurassic World Teaser Trailer gives a Glimpse to All Jurassic Park Movies

First Jurassic World Teaser Trailer gives a Glimpse to All Jurassic Park Movies The theatrical trailer will unveil on November 27 and movie will open in cinemas next year.

2 hours ago

Republican Politician Linked to Jack Johnson Bankruptcy

Republican Politician Linked to Jack Johnson Bankruptcy Republican Politician Linked to Jack Johnson Bankruptcy

2 hours ago

Best Buy Beat the Rush Black Friday Sale Underway

Best Buy Beat the Rush Black Friday Sale Underway Best Buy is offering 6 Black Friday deals advertised in the Best Buy Black Friday 2014 Ad today. The Beat the Rush sale...

2 hours ago

Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul to start in February 2015

Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul to start in February 2015 The show that is going to be a spinoff from the hugely popular “Breaking Bad”, will first come to screen on 8th...

3 hours ago

Walmart Pre-Black Friday Sale launched in Stores at 8am

Walmart Pre-Black Friday Sale launched in Stores at 8am The Walmart Pre-Black Friday Sale starts at 8am in stores. This is now on the East Coast. Walmart has already launched...

3 hours ago

Mike Golic spoofs Kim Kardashian for the #GolicButtPhoto

Mike Golic spoofs Kim Kardashian for the #GolicButtPhoto Twitter has multiple hashtags to reveal the Mike's butt photo to public.

3 hours ago

Greer Grammer, Daughter of Kelsey Grammer, becomes Miss Golden Globe 2015

Greer Grammer, Daughter of Kelsey Grammer, becomes Miss Golden Globe 2015 Kelsey Grammer’s daughter has been made Miss Golden Globe 2015 and the news was first released by Hollywood Foreign...

3 hours ago

$197.99 32-inch Samsung UN32EH4003 TV Deal offered in Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale

$197.99 32-inch Samsung UN32EH4003 TV Deal offered in Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale The Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale has launched. As announced yesterday, The Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale starts...

4 hours ago

Kmart Black Friday 2014 Sale for Members starts 11/22 5am CST

Kmart Black Friday 2014 Sale for Members starts 11/22 5am CST Shop Your Way Members get access to the Kmart Black Friday 2014 deals on Saturday.

4 hours ago

Bill Cosby still Silent on Sex Scandal while his Lawyers call New Rape Allegations Utter Nonsense

Bill Cosby still Silent on Sex Scandal while his Lawyers call New Rape Allegations Utter Nonsense The comedian Bill Cosby is still silent on matters having to do with his sex scandal. For Cosby’s information there has...

4 hours ago

Penelope Cruz to star with Ben Stiller in Zoolander 2

Penelope Cruz to star with Ben Stiller in Zoolander 2 Penelope Cruz is going to be featuring alongside big stars like Ben Stiller. Paramount Pictures are going to be...

4 hours ago

Frozen Sing Along Edition DVD is $14.96 in Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale

Frozen Sing Along Edition DVD is $14.96 in Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale The Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale has launched. As announced yesterday, The Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale starts...

5 hours ago

$99 Keurig K40 with $25 Gift Card is on Sale Now Online

$99 Keurig K40 with $25 Gift Card is on Sale Now Online The Walmart Pre-Black Friday 2014 sale on Friday 11/21 matches Black Friday deals of competitors or even beat their...

5 hours ago

 $19 Canon MG2920 Wireless Printer is selling now Online at Walmart

$19 Canon MG2920 Wireless Printer is selling now Online at Walmart The Walmart Pre-Black Friday 2014 sale today matches Black Friday deals of competitors or even beat their deals. Get...

5 hours ago

Walmart Pre-Black Friday Sale: $698 58-inch Samsung UN58H5202AFXZA is on Sale now Online

Walmart Pre-Black Friday Sale: $698 58-inch Samsung UN58H5202AFXZA is on Sale now Online The Walmart Pre-Black Friday Sale starts at 8am in stores, but has already launched online at walmart.com now with the...

5 hours ago

 $648 60-inch Walmart Black Friday TV deals are Sony KDL60R510A and LG 60LB5200

$648 60-inch Walmart Black Friday TV deals are Sony KDL60R510A and LG 60LB5200 The Walmart Pre-Black Friday 2014 sale will offer Black Friday deals of competitors. Get the details of these deals.

5 hours ago

 $115 40-inch Emerson LF401EM5 and  $115 40-inch Element ELEFW408 are on Sale Now

$115 40-inch Emerson LF401EM5 and $115 40-inch Element ELEFW408 are on Sale Now The Walmart Pre-Black Friday 2014 Ad revealed the lowest priced 40-inch LED TV of Black Friday 2014 beating the Target...

5 hours ago

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus