Tag Archives: alternative energy

Lithium Batteries In The Cold: A Guide.

      7 Comments on Lithium Batteries In The Cold: A Guide.
lithium batteries

Mother Nature flips the switch. Where I live in the upper Midwest USA, we were unusually lucky to have an extended warm Fall season. In early November we were still seeing highs over 70F (21C). I was raking leaves wearing shorts and a t-shirt! But ahhh yes, everyone knew the… Read more »

Reversing Course On Solar Generators.

      15 Comments on Reversing Course On Solar Generators.

After further review…. I’ve trash-talked “solar generators” before. Besides having a dumb marketing department name, solar generators are underpowered for what they cost. Furthermore, the claims made by some sellers of these devices are fantasy if not outright fraudulent. At least that’s how it used to be. Lately, after further… Read more »

Conventional vs. Inverter Generators.

      9 Comments on Conventional vs. Inverter Generators.
generators

A necessary spare tire. Off grid amateurs have a love-hate relationship with gas engine generators. Due to generators requiring constant refueling and ongoing maintenance, they are not a realistic long-term power solution. Most of them are noisy, many are poorly made, and all of them are dirty. Yet, they are… Read more »

Exploring Ohm’s Law.

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OHM'S LAW

Law school, continued. A while back we took a dive into Kirchoff’s Current Law. It’s just one of dozens of scientific principles that explain how and why electronic circuits work. Though one does not need to have deep knowledge of these principles to enjoy amateur radio, having a basic understanding makes… Read more »

The Secret Life of Solar Panels.

      10 Comments on The Secret Life of Solar Panels.
solar panels

It’s not magic, it’s science. Few hams who use solar panels know how their panels work, or how they are made. Of course, it’s not necessary to know any of this in order to use them. Still, having a basic knowledge of solar panels makes one a more well rounded,… Read more »

Add a DC Power Monitor To Your Off Grid System.

dc power monitor

More than just bling. Charging, discharging, watts in, watts out, current, voltage, and other values can tell you what your off grid system is doing. Having data helps you plan your power usage and forecast problems before being caught short. A DC power monitor addresses all these issues and is… Read more »

Lithium Batteries vs. The World!

      23 Comments on Lithium Batteries vs. The World!
storage batteries

Battery envy. I recently received a very nice email from Mike in Missouri where he described converting his home off grid system to lithium batteries, at a cost of over $7000.00 USD! My own home system is still on old school flooded batteries because I have not recached a point… Read more »

Solar Panel Buffet.

      12 Comments on Solar Panel Buffet.
tariff

They’re all (mostly) the same…on the outside. Solar panel technology has gotten so inexpensive that even the tightest budgets can do it. The solar panels on my roof cost about $2.50/watt ten years ago. Today I could replace every one of them for less than half that. In some cases… Read more »

Summer Roundup & Ham Radio News.

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ham radio news

Greater than the sum of its parts. Along the summer I’ve collected bits and pieces of topic suggestions and ham radio news. Any one of them by itself is not worthwhile as an entire stand-alone Off Grid Ham article, and a few are not even directly ham radio-related. But collectively… Read more »

Revisiting Inverters.

      9 Comments on Revisiting Inverters.
ac inverters

It’s been a while. It’s been quite a while since I did an inverter article. Inverters have not changed a lot since then, but there’s still some new material to go over. It’s also a good opportunity to review older concepts. Most hams know what inverters do but don’t know… Read more »

Getting Out of the RFI Maze

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RFI

One of the hardest problems to understand. Amateur radio is full of difficult challenges, but few of them approach the hair-pulling level of radio frequency interference, or RFI. It’s a hard issue to address because there are so many variables. For example, sometimes moving a piece of equipment just a… Read more »

Buying A Ham Radio? Good Luck!

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USED RADIO

Everyone is asking. buying a ham radio As I roam the internet keeping up with others’ thoughts about ham radio, the number one theme that seems to come up, by a very large margin, is “I want to get into amateur radio, but I can’t afford it!”. The sentiment is… Read more »