Showing posts with label Honda EU2000. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Honda EU2000. Show all posts

Friday, January 1, 2016

Honda EU2000 Winter Mountain Start

Recently I was up in the mountains. Above 4,000 feet with lots of snow all around. We needed to use a generator unexpectedly. Of course as all those things work it was about 9 at night. The temperature was about 20 degrees.

I went outside with the guy. He pointed at the shed the generator was in and it was mostly buried in snow. We had to dig out about 2 feet of snow to get to the generator. Not a good start. Thankfully when we got the generator out I found it was a Honda, specifically an EU2000.

He set the appropriate nobs and such then gave it a couple pulls. It wasn't starting and I saw the problem. He was pulling the cord strait. On those little Honda's you  have to pull the cord at about a 45 degree angle. I asked if I could try. After confirming the settings were right I pulled it 2 or 3 times and it started. That generator had been sitting without any use since 'summer'. It started right up and ran until we turned it off.

Out of curiosity I asked about the gas in it. He said that it was non ethanol gas and might have a preservative in it but he couldn't remember.

For those in the market for a small generator I would suggest that you consider the Honda EU2000. While there are certainly cheaper generators out there those little Honda's are pretty awesome generators. If you can afford it I would highly recommend the Honda EU series, specifically the EU2000.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Power Outage at Casa De Zero

Commander Zero talked about his recent power outage.

Since his setup is pretty similar to mine (Honda EU 2000, some Goal 0 lights, LED lanterns and flash lights I was curious about how it went for him.
I use Energizer brand lanterns.
Got the first one for Christmas or something and liked it. Think we have 4 or so of them.The newer ones made in the last couple years can take AA batteries or D batteries. This is significant first because more options are always better. Second and most significantly I can charge AA's either off solar or the genny so for a longer term scenario that is the obvious way to go. I have a more expensive Goal 0 lantern but the little energizers are great. They are durable too. My kids haven't even broken one yet and that is saying something.

The Honda EU2000 rocks. It was hard to spend the money but it is well a Honda. Easy to use, boringly reliable, quiet and fuel efficient. It will run everything in the house except the dryer and heat/ AC and I presume water heater. Of course it won't run everything at once but using to for one large draw (Fridge or Freezer) and a couple of smaller ones like a radio, goal 0 lights, charging batteries, etc is very reasonable and goes a long way towards providing power outage creature comforts.

I agree with Zero's comment on extension cords. I probably need to go out and buy 2 more good cords and keep them with the generator. For light indoor use a surge protector with 3-4 outlets helps if the things are close to each other.

I definitely need to get a chain and  lock to secure the genny. Not a big concern where I live now but down the road it may well be.

In Zero's post the fact that you can connect a second Honda EU2000 and effectively have a 4k generator came up. I am personally ambivalent about this. To me the benefit of this size generator is it can provide a good bit (though admittedly not all) of my needs and a couple wants with a compact size and reasonable fuel consumption. This is important especially if you envision a situation like Katrina were you might be out of power for weeks or months.

If I ever get around to buying a second generator it would be big enough to run most of my house. Probably a large diesel setup (or a dual fuel propane/ diesel if such exists) that is wired to some circuits in the house. Who knows if that will ever happen. Oh yeah and a bunch of solar too. It's nice to dream.

Agree on Zeros comment about soda bottles. I also use them as ice cubes in a cooler.

Anyway I'm glad Zero got to test his gear, albeit in a less than ideal way, and make observations we might all benefit from.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Trailer Discussion Continued

We talked about trailers awhile back. It is the plan for a good chunk of our tax return. I had thought about doing a sort of cargo trailer conversion type thing. This idea was pretty heavily inspired by James Yeager's sweet bug out trailer. Honestly after a lot of consideration this idea is just not practical for our situation. When Wifey and my goals were both factored in the end result was not viable within our budget and weight (towing) constraints. Our budget is realistic for a cargo trailer and some stuff but not for the high end ultra light travel trailers that would have everything we would like.

The end result is we went back to the original plan of just getting a cargo trailer. We fiddled with the used market but haven't really seen anything. Digging around in the general area we can get a 6x10 with a side door and the V front which helps a lot with drag brand new in the $2,300-2,600 range. Of course there will be taxes, registration, etc so the end result should be a shade under 3k which is well within the budget.

Basically I am looking at a 6x10 enclosed cargo trailer with a side door. I would prefer a V front and not black paint (due to heat) and if it has a light that would be great. Something like this.

Taking a step back I should better define my goals for a trailer. First and foremost we have two huge dogs so the cargo space in our (practical with one kid and no dogs, probably not so practical with two kids and two dogs) family hauler to do things like camping trips. Secondly I want to be able to move various large things on the occasions (say 5-6x a year) where I need to do that. Moving a big table or some firewood or a couch, the bi annual PCS or whatever. Third (intentionally) is some sort of a bug out scenario. Honestly my concern here is about some sort of a local/ regional event. Not the much talked about zombie apocalypse/ TEOTWAWKI but the sort of thing where it is prudent to pack up the things you really like and to see a sister in Houston or stay at a Holiday Inn in Arkansas. In case A) life support was not available where we ended up or B) A local/ regional event grew wider it would be nice to have say a nice car camping setup with a good tent, pots n pans, sleeping bags and clothes,  a stove with plenty of fuel, etc all, enough food to see ourselves and maybe some friends through a realistic worst case scenario of 4-6 weeks, guns sufficient for protecting ourselves and maybe gathering game with plenty of ammo,  some capacity for charging batteries n such via the Honda EU2000,  the chainsaw n such would be awful nice to have. The end result of the third goal is with a trailer we would have a whole lot of capabilities.

With  preparedness in mind my plan is to have the trailer packed and ready to go for a good camping trip. This means clothes, sleeping bags, diapers for princess, etc all. I plan to store fuel in it sufficient to give us plenty of range with some cans left over to fuel the genny.

So anyway I have a couple questions to pose. 1) Do trailer manufacturers matter? Presuming fairly common names (probably going to buy from Big  Tex) are most trailers basically the same for a normal end user who is not hauling vehicles or whatever very heavy stuff 100k miles  a year? 2) For a basic trailer beside a spare tire (ready to go on a rim) or two and a good jack with a stand (or a 1ftx1ft piece of 1/4 in steel) what would you add on to a trailer? If it doesn't come with internal lights I will get some of the battery powered stick on ones (the $25 ones that actually work not the $5 crap ones) would fill that role.

Input is appreciated.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Storms, Power Outages, Generator and Ancillary Thoughts Theiron

The weather in western central Louisiana was just plain nasty today. This morning we had lots of thunder, real nasty storms and a whole lot of rain. The power went out in short order over a wide area. It was out for several hours.

I came home at lunch time to check on things and run the generator for the fridge. 

Walker was running around holding a battery powered lantern. Princess was following him. They were doing well though their routine was off so things were a little tense.

Fired up the generator. It started on the second or third pull. Ran a cord to the fridge. Plugged Wifey's cell phone in.

Cooked grilled cheese for the kids to have along with some fruit for lunch.

Busted out the Goal 0 setup.  The power source was dead. It is apparent to me that this device does not seem to hold power well over the long term.

Went to charge the Goal 0 setup but both outlets were filled. Went and found a power strip. I need to include one or two of those in the general genny setup. Granted you do have to pay attention to total power load with a small generator but it is easy to see how I could easily want to charge 3-4 things at once. This will be added to my generator support package which lives in a big, rugged water resistant
Stanley box.

Ate my lunch.

Showed Wifey how to start the generator in case she needed/ wanted it later before I got back.

The plastic cover was blown off the chicken coup. Didn't have time to do anything about it then.

About that time the power came back on.

Later when I got home I put the generator away though didn't repack it in the box. Have a feeling we might need it in the next couple of days. While I was there I decided to start up the other small engines we have, the chainsaw and push lawn mower. I try to do that monthly just to keep everything in good running order.

Need to sharpen the saw before using it again. I got the stuff to do so but have to figure it out and get it done.

I did a repair on the chicken coup. Re tied my 'rock in the plastic wrapped in cord' white trash grommets. Also put another one in and a cord over the top to hopefully lessen the tension on the connections. Worst case it should work for a few days. If this was a permanent setup I would build a more durable roof but that isn't the situation so I'm making do.

So it was a busy day here. Tomorrow could be just as interesting.

Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 New Years Resolutions Review

This will likely be the last review of my 2014 New Years Resolutions. Completed resolutions will be lined through and notes will be in italics. Note I am piggy backing off the last review done in May and July.

Note: The stuff in light grey are long shots. By long shots I mean they are not realistically funded based on projected levels of spending. Admittedly this is pretty unscientific since I do not have an exact projected preps budget that is divided amongst different areas. It's probably more of a gut feeling based on the last few years of what I will realistically be able to do than anything else.

Shoot

Skills:
Attend a quality defensive pistol course. Work messed up a scheduled CSAT course. Going to try to get this knocked out next year
Try to attend an Appleseed if I can.
Following said defensive pistol course begin a dry fire regimen.
Shoot more often. Ideally at least monthly but certainly not more than bi monthly. Doing better.

Stuff:
Finish the 870 P project. Refinish, light, sling, ammo cards, ammo holding system to match.
 Get a .30 cal precision rifle almost surely a .308. 
 I have been semi casually looking for a single shot 12 gauge shotgun to go all Dave Canterbury. If I find one I will buy it.

 Maybe start on an AR pistol

Consumables and minor stuff:
250 rounds buckshot
250 rounds #4 shot
250 slugs
Get a quality kydex outside waistband Glock holster with mag pouches to match
4 Ruger 10/22 BXP mags actually ended up with 10 Butler Creek mags from Lucky Gunner
A case of 5.56 ammo
A stripped AR-15 lower receiver
Long shot a case of 9mm FMJ  purchased the 9mm ammo for a class and am keeping it set aside for such unless things get all wonky then it would of course be useful and a second case of 5.56 ammo
10 each PMAGs
 6x Glock 17 mags
I can always use another 10/22 or a Glock 19 but those are big time long shots.

Move
Fitness:
Run more, keeping better track of it. Maybe do a marathon or something. Been running and rucking more since the weather is cooling down.
Keep up a decent weight lifting regimen with hard circuit based body weight type stuff. I'm back at this with a vengeance. Setting a lot of near term (vs back in the day) maxes and some all time ones. Getting my swole on.
Generally keep on doing good things

Stuff:
Break in all extra boots that are currently accessible.
Not sure exactly where this fits but I want to firm up our heavy (vehicle) bug out packing list then have that stuff ready to go. Also continue developing all of our systems. This has been working. I won't say it is 100% but things are definitely better organized and more together than before.
Purchase a small enclosed trailer.  This isn't going anywhere and is likely being pushed a couple years down the road.

Communicate:
Skills: Get a ham radio license. Kinda bumping this to the winter when other stuff is not happening.
Get better with HTLM and web coding stuff (any advice would be great)

Stuff:
Get a ham radio, probably one of the little Baeofeng (spelling) setups to start.
 Get a set of 2 (4 would be better) good FRS radios with head sets. I have a pair in storage that might work but I've got to test them.
Get a scanner 

Sustain:
Keep building our food supply to the interim goal of having a year's worth for 4 people. We've put back a lot of food this year.
Get chickens. 
Start growing some herbs n stuff. Maybe sprouts too. Gardening has not been successful but I tried and learned some stuff.

Survive:
Continue to improve our cache situation. Set up the Operational Cache. Did some other things. This is ongoing but we are better off now then at the beginning of the year.
Work to develop primitive skills. Nothing has really happened on this.
Pick up another full tang medium sized survival/ general purpose knife or maybe two plus stuff to round out some of the redundant parts of my various kits. Picked up a Benchmade Bushcrafter. Looking to add a slightly larger knife to the inventory this summer. Ordered a British MOD survival  knife.  
Get 3-4 more wool blankets. Just ordered another which I think puts the tally up 3 this year.

Alternative Energy:
Skills: Use the stuff we have more to figure out how to make it work for our needs. This includes a good plan for charging Wifey's smart phone on the go.

Stuff : Wifey mentioned wanting to get a generator before hurricane season. We are far enough North in Louisiana so as to avoid utter destruction but can definitely lose power. A buddy up here lost power for a week during Rita. This worried Wifey. So we might just get a generator. Probably an EU 2000 like Zero has.

Stashing a half dozen or so military gas cans would be nice. Enough gas to completely fill up both our vehicles twice and run a genny enough to keep the freezer cold, charge batteries and watch a bit of news for at least 2 weeks (a month would be better) would be great. Got to do some math on that one.

Discussion:
The year was weird in terms of scheduling and plans due to some work stuff. That really threw a wrench in a lot of different plans. Anyway the year is not done but with just over a month left, spanning the busy Christmas/ holiday season, a whole lot more is not likely to get done.

An AR pistol didn't happen because I prioritized other guns that had more valid uses in a  CCW handgun and a 'precision rifle'. I really want an S&W Shield. Note I purchased a Kahr CW9 which fills this niche. 

Food is a continual process for all but the most well established survivalists.

I put some money into commo with the Baofengs. This is honestly long overdue. 

Looked at getting a scanner but the Police/ etc freq's in Louisiana are on LWIN which is a digital trunking system. I do not understand thee technical side but it means normal $80-150ish models would not pick up what I want to listen to. A digital trunking scanner is required. The most affordable and simplest one (also recommended by Spark 31) is the Uniden Public Safety Receiver (HOMEPATROL) but they cost just under $400. That will roll to next years goals.

Need to work on a more cohesive overall fitness plan. I know what to do (and if I didn't John Mosby wrote a good article on it at FO) and just have to do it. Most of the right things (running, body weight, lifting, some rucking) are happening now but not necessarily in a thought out way.
Recently got the Ruger mags, another wool blankr and the small game shotgun ammo, #4 shot

Realistically since it is mid December I am probably about as far towards this years goals as I am going to get. Overall it was a good year for preparedness.

How are you doing on your years goals?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

New Years Resolution 2014 Review

Figured it is as good of a time as any to review my 2014 New Years Resolutions which I really use yearly more as annual goals than anything else. Completed resolutions will be lined through and notes will be in italics. Note I am piggy backing off the last review done in May and July.

Note: The stuff in light grey are long shots. By long shots I mean they are not realistically funded based on projected levels of spending. Admittedly this is pretty unscientific since I do not have an exact projected preps budget that is divided amongst different areas. It's probably more of a gut feeling based on the last few years of what I will realistically be able to do than anything else.

Shoot

Skills:
Attend a quality defensive pistol course. Work messed up a scheduled CSAT course. Undetermined on when/ where I plan to reengage this goal.
Try to attend an Appleseed if I can.
Following said defensive pistol course begin a dry fire regimen.
Shoot more often. Ideally at least monthly but certainly not more than bi monthly. Doing better.

Stuff:
Finish the 870 P project. Refinish, light, sling, ammo cards, ammo holding system to match.
 Get a .30 cal precision rifle almost surely a .308. 
 I have been semi casually looking for a single shot 12 gauge shotgun to go all Dave Canterbury. If I find one I will buy it.
Set up the big wheel gun the way I want it. Grips, holster, belt, speed loaders, etc all
Put nice grips on the 642 like Alexander Wolfe's.
 Maybe start on an AR pistol

Consumables and minor stuff:
250 rounds buckshot
250 rounds #4 shot
250 slugs
Get a quality kydex outside waistband Glock holster with mag pouches to match
4 Ruger 10/22 BXP mags
A case of 5.56 ammo
A stripped AR-15 lower receiver
Long shot a case of 9mm FMJ  purchased the 9mm ammo for a class and am keeping it set aside for such unless things get all wonky then it would of course be useful and a second case of 5.56 ammo
10 each PMAGs
 6x Glock 17 mags
I can always use another 10/22 or a Glock 19 but those are big time long shots.

Move
Fitness:
Run more, keeping better track of it. Maybe do a marathon or something. Been running and rucking more since the weather is cooling down.
Keep up a decent weight lifting regimen with hard circuit based body weight type stuff. I'm back at this with a vengeance. Setting a lot of near term (vs back in the day) maxes and some all time ones. Getting my swole on.
 Generally keep on doing good things

Stuff:
Break in all extra boots that are currently accessible.
Not sure exactly where this fits but I want to firm up our heavy (vehicle) bug out packing list then have that stuff ready to go. Also continue developing all of our systems. This has been working. I won't say it is 100% but things are definitely better organized and more together than before.
Purchase a small enclosed trailer.  This isn't going anywhere and is likely being pushed a couple years down the road.

Communicate:
Skills: Get a ham radio license. Kinda bumping this to the winter when other stuff is not happening.
Get better with HTLM and web coding stuff (any advice would be great)

Stuff:
Get a ham radio, probably one of the little Baeofeng (spelling) setups to start.
 Get a set of 2 (4 would be better) good FRS radios with head sets. I have a pair in storage that might work but I've got to test them.
Get a scanner 

Sustain:
Keep building our food supply to the interim goal of having a year's worth for 4 people. We've put back a lot of food this year.
Get chickens. The golden girls are giving us 3-4 eggs a day. Enough to totally meet our egg needs. Right now I'm alone so I am swamped in eggs.
Start growing some herbs n stuff. Maybe sprouts too. Gardening has not been successful but I tried and learned some stuff.

Survive:
Continue to improve our cache situation. Set up the Operational Cache. Did some other things. This is ongoing but we are better off now then at the beginning of the year.
Work to develop primitive skills. Nothing has really happened on this.
Pick up another full tang medium sized survival/ general purpose knife or maybe two plus stuff to round out some of the redundant parts of my various kits. Picked up a Benchmade Bushcrafter. Looking to add a slightly larger knife to the inventory this summer. Ordered a British MOD survival  knife.  
Get 3-4 more wool blankets. It is hard to recall exactly when I bought minor item like blankets. I am up one or two since them.

Alternative Energy:
Skills: Use the stuff we have more to figure out how to make it work for our needs. This includes a good plan for charging Wifey's smart phone on the go.

Stuff : Wifey mentioned wanting to get a generator before hurricane season. We are far enough North in Louisiana so as to avoid utter destruction but can definitely lose power. A buddy up here lost power for a week during Rita. This worried Wifey. So we might just get a generator. Probably an EU 2000 like Zero has.

Stashing a half dozen or so military gas cans would be nice. Enough gas to completely fill up both our vehicles twice and run a genny enough to keep the freezer cold, charge batteries and watch a bit of news for at least 2 weeks (a month would be better) would be great. Got to do some math on that one.

Discussion:
The year was weird in terms of scheduling and plans due to some work stuff. That really threw a wrench in a lot of different plans. Anyway the year is not done but with just over a month left, spanning the busy Christmas/ holiday season, a whole lot more is not likely to get done.

An AR pistol didn't happen because I prioritized other guns that had more valid uses in a  CCW handgun and a 'precision rifle'. I really want an S&W Shield. Note I purchased a Kahr CW9 which fills this niche. 

Food is a continual process for all but the most well established survivalists.

I put some money into commo with the Baofengs. This is honestly long overdue. 

Looked at getting a scanner but the Police/ etc freq's in Louisiana are on LWIN which is a digital trunking system. I do not understand thee technical side but it means normal $80-150ish models would not pick up what I want to listen to. A digital trunking scanner is required. The most affordable and simplest one (also recommended by Spark 31) is the Uniden Public Safety Receiver (HOMEPATROL) but they cost just under $400. That will roll to next years goals.

Need to work on a more cohesive overall fitness plan. I know what to do (and if I didn't John Mosby wrote a good article on it at FO) and just have to do it. Most of the right things (running, body weight, lifting, some rucking) are happening now but not necessarily in a thought out way.

Need to make a final push to get some small game shotgun ammo like #4 shot and just maybe some buckshot. Overall we have a decent amount of shotgun ammo but am way below my desired ratios. One of the things I am working on this year is to get some of the goals that have been rotating from one years list to the next.

How are you doing on your years goals?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

New Years Resolution Review

Figured it is as good of a time as any to review my 2014 New Years Resolutions which I really use yearly more as annual goals than anything else. Completed resolutions will be lined through and notes will be in italics. Note I am piggy backing off the last review done in May.

Note: The stuff in light grey are long shots. By long shots I mean they are not realistically funded based on projected levels of spending. Admittedly this is pretty unscientific since I do not have an exact projected preps budget that is divided amongst different areas. It's probably more of a gut feeling based on the last few years of what I will realistically be able to do than anything else.

Shoot

Skills:
Attend a quality defensive pistol course. Work messed up a scheduled CSAT course. Undetermined on when/ where I plan to reengage this goal.
Try to attend an Appleseed if I can. Scheduled. Decent odds it will happen.
Following said defensive pistol course begin a dry fire regimen.
Shoot more often. Ideally at least monthly but certainly not more than bi monthly. Doing better.

Stuff:
Finish the 870 P project. Refinish, light, sling, ammo cards, ammo holding system to match. Get a .30 cal precision rifle almost surely a .308. 
 I have been semi casually looking for a single shot 12 gauge shotgun to go all Dave Canterbury. If I find one I will buy it.
 Maybe start on an AR pistol

Consumables and minor stuff:
250 rounds buckshot
250 rounds #4 shot
250 slugs
Get a quality kydex outside waistband Glock holster with mag pouches to match
4 Ruger 10/22 BXP mags
A case of 5.56 ammo
A stripped AR-15 lower receiver
Long shot a case of 9mm FMJ  purchased the 9mm ammo for a class and am keeping it set aside for such unless things get all wonky then it would of course be usefull and a second case of 5.56 ammo
10 each PMAGs
 6x Glock 17 mags
I can always use another 10/22 or a Glock 19 but those are big time long shots.

Move
Fitness:
Run more, keeping better track of it. Maybe do a marathon or something. Eh not much has happened on this one.
Keep up a decent weight lifting regimen with hard circuit based body weight type stuff. I'm back at this with a vengeance. Setting a lot of near term (vs back in the day) maxes and some all time ones. Getting my swole on.
 Generally keep on doing good things

Stuff:
Break in all extra boots that are currently accessible. Working on it. Going to need to start wearing a pair of old school black leather boots in my off work time.
Not sure exactly where this fits but I want to firm up our heavy (vehicle) bug out packing list then have that stuff ready to go. Also continue developing all of our systems.
Purchase a small enclosed trailer. 

Communicate:
Skills: Get a ham radio license. Kinda bumping this to the winter when other stuff is not happening.
Get better with HTLM and web coding stuff (any advice would be great)

Stuff:
Get a ham radio, probably one of the little Baeofong (spelling) setups to start.
Get a set of 2 (4 would be better) good FRS radios with head sets. I have a pair in storage that might work but I've got to test them.
Get a scanner 

Sustain:
Keep building our food supply to the interim goal of having a year's worth for 4 people. Put back a lot of food since we have been here.
Get chickens. The golden girls are giving us 3-4 eggs a day. Enough to totally meet our egg needs. Right now I'm alone so I am swamped in eggs.
Start growing some herbs n stuff. Maybe sprouts too. Got a decent little garden going.

Survive:
Continue to improve our cache situation. Set up the Operational Cache. Looking at some other ideas.
Work to develop primitive skills. Nothing has really happened on this.
Pick up another full tang medium sized survival/ general purpose knife or maybe two plus stuff to round out some of the redundant parts of my various kits. Picked up a Benchmade Bushcrafter. Looking to add a slightly larger knife to the inventory this summer.
Get 3-4 more wool blankets. It is hard to recall exactly when I bought minor item like blankets. I am up one or two since them.

Alternative Energy:
Skills: Use the stuff we have more to figure out how to make it work for our needs. Working this one. This includes a good plan for charging Wifey's smart phone on the go.

Stuff : Wifey mentioned wanting to get a generator before hurricane season. We are far enough North in Louisiana so as to avoid utter destruction but can definitely lose power. A buddy up here lost power for a week during Rita. This worried Wifey. So we might just get a generator. Probably an EU 2000 like Zero has.

Stashing a half dozen or so military gas cans would be nice. Enough gas to completely fill up both our vehicles twice and run a genny enough to keep the freezer cold, charge batteries and watch a bit of news for at least 2 weeks (a month would be better) would be great. Got to do some math on that one.


Discussion:
Many of my major goals have been met. I don't see an AR pistol happening though I will pick up a lower or two. Mostly this is  because I really want an S&W Shield. Also I  need a few hundred rounds of JIC .308 ammo as well as some match grade stuff and a reloading setup to turn used brass into my own home brewed precision .308 ammo.

Of course I'll keep stashing food away. 

Also I need to put about $300 into communications gear. This is honestly long overdue. I'll likely get a scanner first then a couple affordable radios after doing some studying and getting the license. 

Need to work on running more. 

Overall we are slightly over halfway through the year and I am doing good at knocking stuff off the list. 

How are you doing on your years goals?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Alternative Energy Levels of Capability, Foundations and Concepts

In our discussions on Honda EU2000 Generators and an excellent Alternative Energy Guest Post by Chris made it apparent to me that a more foundational post is needed.

Alternative Energy is sort of an umbrella term for all electrical power that is not from the conventional power grid IE the lines that run to most homes and businesses. In the most narrow sense generators that run on gas, diesel and propane are 'alternative energy'  though for some inclinations people are more inclined to lean towards 'green' options such as solar, wind and or water power.

People are interested in alternative energy for many diverse reasons. Some people have an application that simply not able to be met with grid power. Maybe they are in a place where grid power is not available or is prohibitively expensive. This is the case for many small home/ cabin/ retreat sites. Also there can be permitting issues that prohibit bringing available grid power to some alternative type (ie not conventionally built or necessarily permitted) structures.

Along these lines temporary applications that require a fair amount of power are often met by generators. This is big for contractors who might need to run power tools to build a shed, gate or structure where power might not be available. 

Other people are interested in alternative energy due to environmental and or 'global warming' and carbon footprint issues. I do not want to get into a discussion on the science (or lack thereof) any more than  I want to get into the politics involved. While I might disagree with a lot of things these folks think I respect that they are taking steps to help the causes that concern them.

Another reason people pursue alternative energy in order to meet their needs and wants during times when normal grid power is interrupted. At home in the PNW ice storms during the winter are a common culprit for power outages. In the Southern coastal regions hurricanes are the primary concern. Ice storms often knock out power for a week or more and hurricanes can go from a week to over a month. The emergency angle is where the majority of our focus is going to be directed.

It is often useful to break concepts down into levels of capability s they exist in my mind so we will do that. It is worth noting that I believe these systems should be acquired sequentially. Having a more robust setup doesn't detract from the benefits of a box o Duracell batteries and a couple kerosene lanterns.

I Dowanna

Concept of Use: Maybe you are not interested in alternative sources of electric power. Maybe you are interested but just haven't got there yet. In any case you are not currently putting resources into alternative energy.

Systems: Spare normal batteries to get you through whatever type event concerns you are essential here. Area lighting is probably going to be done via kerosene lamps/ lanterns. This leaves energy for stuff that really has to be electric such as radios and a few flashlights. If you are reasonable about goals and conservative about items used (# and amount of total use) a hundred bucks worth of Energizer/ Duracell batteries in a shoe box will go a really long way.

Limits: You are relying exclusively on disposable batteries. Works for a short period but once your box o batteries runs out you'll be back in the 1890's.

Cost: Maybe a hundred bucks in batteries. A bit more money to make sure other non electric systems can compensate. 

Absolute Bare Bones

Concept of Use: Getting started in alternative energy. This will be a very small/ light system with modest capabilities. This is a good place to start as it can become the redundant/ travel/ back up system if/ when you develop other systems.

Systems: A small compact solar charger, probably in the 5-7 watt range. This system will be able too rechargeable batteries to power small devices and potentially charge some small devices themselves. Most chargers will do AA and AAA batteries. If you pick carefully it is reasonable to power a radio for communication, some flashlights and maybe some Motorola type radios for inter group communication. You probably want 2-3 sets off batteries per device.

Limits: You are limited to recharging a few batteries and maybe some small devices. Use of all this stuff will have to be pretty limited due to the modest nature of your recharging capabilities.

Cost: Approximately $100 for a charger and $150-200 for batteries. Of course a harbor freight setup will be cheaper than say a Goal 0 setup.

Almost  Getting There 


Concept of Use: A more robust solar setup with some capacity for energy storage. This will allow for a larger amount of use (in the first setup charging time/ capacity off the small panel is a log jam), the capacity to charge some larger devices and storage to get through short overcast periods.

Systems: A 10-15 watt solar panel and a battery cell to store energy. You might want to pick up a few small lights and or individual devices (like a lantern or radio) that could be charged by the battery taking the strain off your rechargeable battery stash.

Limitations: (Edited the name from almost there to getting there after Chris brought up a good point about power use and functionality. While far better than the previous absolute bare bones level there are still significant limitations of total amounts of device use here even when we are just talking small electronics. This level will not let you run a base station type radio for communication all day long, talk to 4 family members all day on motorola's and watch dvd's on a laptop all night in a room lit up by 6 led lanterns or lights.)

Cost: Somewhere between $250 for a harbor freight type setup and closer  $500 for a ready made setup like a Goal 00. As a guideline name brand setups are more expensive and ready made portable setups are also more expensive.

Good:

Concept of Use: A small generator to power a variety of small devices up to fairly large household items such as a TV/ fridge/ freezer/ small AC unit. Typically these generators will run most household items (exceptions being water pumps, large heating/ ac units and other high demand items) but not all at once. Running a couple small lights, charging some stuff and powering a fridge/ freezer is reasonable.

These generators typically come in between 1,000 to 3,000 watts. Looking at the market and how people use them 1800-2200 seems to be the popular 'sweet spot'. This makes a lot of sense. The 1k units are on the verge of being too small for many applications and users will be pretty limited on using multiple items at once. The 3k units are almost too big to merit for a limited concept of use (especially due to lower fuel efficiency)  without being big enough to just run everything. These generators are generally pretty easy on fuel consumption which makes stocking sufficient fuel a reasonable proposition.

Limitations: Cannot run some larger household devices. You are limited in terms of how many smaller items can be used at once.  Obviously you need to store fuel and keep it fresh via preservation and rotation.

Cost: There are many options from $300ish Chinese made no name brands all the way up to the Honda and Yamaha's at about $1,000. The cheaper generators can work fine but a notable percentage do not. Finding horror stories about people having endless problems is not uncommon. There are issues with getting spare parts and maintenance.

The Honda and Yamaha are standard setters for small generators and roughly equivalent though minor differences might make one person choose a Honda and the next guy a Yamaha.

Chris mentioned the Hyundai 2200 watt generator.  I looked at the Hyundai a lot and we had some discussions about it. It is worth noting these generators are not made in Hyundai plants in the US or South Korea but are instead made in China. They are priced between $550 and 600ish. They are 2200 peak and 2k running load but also come in closer to 70 pounds than 50.Fuel consumption is similar to the Hond/Yamaha. They have been described as a middle ground between the cheaper Chinese made generators and the much more expensive Honda and Yamaha. There are however several factors that concerned me. First of the available reviews a notable percentage (10%ish) were very bad. Like 'opened the box and it wouldn't work' type bad. This was compounded by universally poor reviews of the customer service and warranty. Also of the good reviews nobody had used theirs all that much. Folks got them, used it a few times and are happy. This is notably different from the Honda and Yamaha who have a real following with the offshore sailing and RV community who use their generators an an almost daily basis for years.

Better

Concept of Use: A large generator sufficient to power any household devices as well as many items, including larger ones at once. Basically fire up the generator and go back to business as usual.

Systems: Power requirements vary but this range of generators is typically over 5,000 watts though of course the needs of one household may differ widely from another. These generators are widely available in gas, diesel and propane. Often they are hard wired into the house letting you use existing circuits vs running extension cords all over the place.

 Pineslayer brought up propane as having some advantages. I agree it does offer some good stuff but personally if/ when I look at a large generator like this I am inclined to go with diesel. I think that for a few reasons. First of all diesel engines are notoriously reliable.

Second and in my mind most significantly diesel is more divisible and portable for the average end user than propane. Can't exactly walk over to the neighbors with an empty can and say "Hey Brother could you loan me a gallon of propane?" let alone buy large amounts from most anybody except those set up for retail sale. Propane on a large scale (vs BBQ tanks, etc) is set up to be delivered into your tanks. I think the exception here is if you already are deeply vested in propane and have a few big tanks already.

Limitations: These generators burn through fuel. Stashing a few cans will let a small generator, especially an efficient one run for awhile. What would run an EU2000 for a week might run one of these for a day. It's sort of like saying you have 2 months worth of Whiskey, till Ron White comes over then it is a wild weekend's worth.

For all but those willing to store huge amounts of fuel these generators work best for very short term events or as an option in conjunction with a smaller generator and or very robust solar setup to run bigger devices for high demand times. Say you use a small generator to run the freezer, charge batteries and have a few lights then when you need to use a bunch of power tools and some big shop lights fire up the big generator.

Cost: From a few hundred bucks at the low end to many thousands of dollars for the generator. Fuel will need to be stored also and that costs something. I wouldn't go through the hassle and expense of getting a big generator then stock enough fuel to run it for 3 days.

Best 

Concept of use: Honestly this is getting out of the short to mid term emergency range into an alternative energy lifestyle that is handy for today and would let you maintain some capabilities over a long term energy shortage. For the long term you need to get past burning stored fuel to producing your own energy.

Systems: What works best depends on where you are. Usually folks use some combination of solar plus wind and potentially water power. In any case you are probably looking at multiple ways to produce power in conjunction with a robust battery bank.

Limitations: It is cost prohibitive to run a normal American home with all of it's high and or constant energy demands with solar. You need to expect a whole lot less power and make choices within the amount of power you will have.

Cost: From several hundred dollars for a good solar setup and a few batteries to whatever you can afford to spend.

In due time I will go over my Absolute Bare Bones and Almost There systems.

Thoughts?

Monday, May 19, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was an excellent preparedness week here.

Ordered a chicken coop. Hope to get it set up and acquire some fuzzy egg makers late this week.

Picked up a surefire flashlight. It was on clearance at Home Depot marked down from 70 something to $45. Needed one to go in the by the bed home defense fighting load. The discount pushed me to do it now instead of later.

While we were there a spare box of contractor bags was purchased. Those things are just so handy.

We went to Sam's Club where a variety of shelf stable foods were purchased to add to our stores.

Finally pulled the trigger on a Honda EU2000. Since this creates a significant fuel need I ordered 5 gas cans to feed it.

The chicken  coop and generator were funded by our tax return. Those little occasional lumps of cash are good for purchases that it would take a long time to save up for otherwise. Or you can blow em on a new flat screen tv, rim's or a weekend trip.

On the downside I fear Walker drowned our seedlings. He got a little over enthusiastic with the hose while Wifey and I were both temporarily occupied.

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Honda EU2000?

I'm pretty much sure solid on the choice and have hinted at it earlier but figured I might as well run it by you all. We are looking at purchasing a generator, specifically a Honda EU2000. Commander Zero recently purchased one which carries a lot of weight with me. Anyway.

I know there are far cheaper generators out there so don't bother letting me know. Knowing and accepting my current limitations I can do some very basic maintenance but am not a mechanic or in any way skilled in small engine repair/ trouble shooting. As such the various $400 chinese made POS options are not appealing. Especially given that my concept of use is almost entirely emergency based (vs weekend camp out's, construction, etc) I need the damn thing to work when I go to start it up.  The Hyundai 2200 had some appeal but reviews are pretty mixed and when I dug into them nobody had seriously used theirs. Conversely the EU2000 has lots of folks in the RV and sailing communities quite convinced it is the way to go. Folks are reporting 10k hours on them which is crazy for a small gas powered generator.

My concept of use is as an emergency power source to allow us to keep the freezer going, charge batteries and my Goal 0 power source, maybe run a few lights and potentially a small tv for short periods to catch the local news. If we could keep the fridge going even moderately cool that would be a big bonus. Obviously I would not be doing all of that at once; conceptually it would probably be either the fridge or freezer and maybe a light or some batteries charging.

I tried looking up detailed information on the our fridge and freezer's power needs but either the data isn't available or I am not power smart enough to understand it. Based on general info (by appliance) I should be fine but should ain't for sure. Note if you can seriously provide help here drop me an email @ theotherryan@yahoo.com and I'll send you the specifics of my freezer and fridge.

Fuel consumption is a concern for me in terms of finances tied up,  logistics of storage. and resupply. Based on our current situation my concerns (hurricanes and prolonged power outages thereon) are more about being able to stretch 3-4 5 gallon gas can's out to keep the freezer cold and batteries charged over two or maybe three weeks; by running the genny for short periods 2--3 times a day rather than a big 8-10k genny that could power the whole house but I'd have gas for 2-3 days.We will of course add fuel to run the generator. However if things got worse than planned I'm looking at the odds that I could purchase, if at a stiff free market price, fuel to keep our generator going at 2-3 gallons a day for a couple extra weeks.

Thoughts?

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