Emergency Power Generation/Storage, EMP Protection, Heating/Cooling, Handy Tools and Tricks

Cosmos

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
What follows is a shorter version of the setup I build that you can build relatively easily yourself too if you have a bit of money at your disposal. [I'll include the rough price in brackets at the end of each item/setup]. After that I also share some stripped down versions/ideas of the said setup that you could try as well which are more "low-cost" options. I will also try to not get into too many specifics to make it more concise. If anyone has any questions about anything, feel free to ask, and I can for example expand on the given subject, how I found the information, how I came to the given conclusions and why I choose certain products/approaches etc.

The reason I say that is because with each approach/product, there are a lot of considerations/calculations/experiments/research/ideas that have been applied to why and how I choose that specific device or approach. Also, be careful, because my setup is based around German/EU Plug/AC requirements and "powering a house" with three people, and it is meant to provide fairly reliable energy for longer time in which bigger power drains can also be used from time to time for "longer periods". That means if you live in the US for example, there are other Plug/AC standards for certain products. But everything mentioned is also available in those non EU Plug/AC standards. It also means that it might be too overkill for most.

In a roundabout way, my setup is meant to fulfill/prepare for the following scenarios (among others):

- Emergency Short-term energy/heat/cooling independents and generation and protection against EMPs at the same time
- Long-term energy/heat/cooling independents and generation in case of prolonged power outages and/or EMPs (many years - lifetime)
- EMP protection for key elements of the setup
- EMP protection and energy input for key electrical devices that would be good if they can function under power outage conditions
- Worst-case scenario considerations and priorities in terms of energy management and conservation

Doesn't mean anything like that ever happens, just that it might be good to be prepared if it happens. That's how I think about it and why I set it up as I did. Also keep my previous post in mind. Also, in everything I do here (and in general also) I'm always trying to find the best solution and always prioritize quality over price. IMO it is always better to research stuff thoroughly and use/buy only the best quality product you can get (within your budget) which usually means you have to pay more. I always apply that principle to things that are a bit more expensive and that need to run reliably. For stuff that is pretty cheap in itself I sometimes break that rule. I'm always looking for the best (and believe me, I research a lot before making a decision). I'm perfectly willing and happy to pay a good amount of money as long as the product has a very good quality and meets my high requirements in terms of quality and durability/compatibility. In other words: I would buy a quality product for a high price any day over a cheap one that could break any time and likely needs to be replaced again and again and isn't reliable. I also like to always cover all possible angles/scenarios that I can think of. A good example of this is the topic of solar panels: I did A LOT of research on it over the years and I found IMO the best solution out there (keeping scenarios such as bad weather conditions and many others in mind) that is a bit more pricey but IMO the best you can get unless you are very rich.

I realize that not everyone can or is willing to spend that amount of money, thus I will present much cheaper, stripped down solutions revolving/based around my basic setup later on.

My basic setup (excluding many other additional things not mentioned):

1 -
"
Bluetti AC200P" AC/Solar/Car Generator/Battery= 2000Wh/2000W = Fast Charge = Surge Power 4800W [1,699€]

2 - "Champion 2000 Watt LPG Dual Fuel Inverter Generator" = 2000W Petrol / 1800W LPG (and/or Propane). [939,99 €] Notice that the Propane tanks mentioned below will/can also be used for cooking/heating if you have a cheap Gas oven/stove/heater as mentioned in the previous posts!!!
  • 1 Motor-Oil= "FANFARO FF6505-5 SPX" [13,82 €]
  • 8 times 11kg Propane Gas Tanks + 8 times Gas [8 x 35€ + 8 x 22,80€ = 462,40€]. Notice that refilling one bottle costs 22,80€ and you only pay for the bottle itself (35€) once (to own it).
  • 2 times 5kg Propane Gas Tanks + 2 times Gas [2 x 29€ + 2 x 11,55€ = 81,10€]. Notice that refilling one bottle costs 11,55€ and you only pay for the bottle itself (29€) once (to own it).
  • 3 times 20L Petrol Tanks + Petrol [3 x 32,94€ + ca. 1,60 € x 60L = 194,82 €]. Make sure to use/replace the Petrol at least once a year with new petrol (but preferably, more like every half year or so). Petrol degrades over time!

3 - "EcoFlow RIVER Pro Portable Power Station" AC/Solar/Car Generator/Battery= 720Wh/600W = Fast Charge = Surge Power up to 1800W with the so called X-Boost mode! See example here, here, here, here, here, here or here! [749€]

4 - 2 times EMP proof Faraday Bags: "OGT Large Faraday Bag 126L, Room for all of your Electronics". [2 x $369.99 = $739,98]. Notice that I have put every single electrical device mentioned above (including all cables) into those two bags with still quite some space left in there (even though I haven't even mentioned all the electrical devices, cables, batteries, small power banks and tools I have also in there that are not listed above!). That means even if a comet induced EMP or CME type frying happens there is at least potential hope that you can power important things! But that is no certainty of course.

Some basic things to consider in terms of EMPs:

Do some research on EMPs and really think it through! You will realize for example that you have to protect not only the power generator and solar panels mentioned above against an EMP but also the devices you want to power after that emergency, including such critical things as cables! You will also realize that especially newer devices such as cellphones, Laptops etc, are charged via USB-C type of cables that have chips in them! So, that means your devices are basically useless if you don't put the charging cable in the EMP bag as well! What good is a functioning cellphone and the needed power generator for example if you have forgotten to put such a loading cable that has a chip build in into the bag? None! You can't recharge the Cellphone! Same for date transfer between your cellphone/laptop/GPS device etc and other devices such as hard drives. Also, make sure that you put all necessary batteries and power banks into the bag! The mentioned Faraday Bag might also be able to protect against some effects of CMEs but as with the comet or nuclear induced EMPs, nobody really knows. It depends on the severity among many other factors (many of which we might not even be aware of). IMO at least it is worth a try.

Maintaining all Batteries!:

Make sure that you create a list (such as this rough template I created around my setup (I excluded many things for privacy)) in which you list all items in the setup that have batteries in them or use batteries and you want to work if you don't have power and/or there is a EMP. Batteries need to be recharged every couple of months in order for them to not degrade and/or drain. If you don't do that and think you can just store those batteries for years you will wake up with a bad surprise, because at best they are degraded/drained substantially and at worst are kaputt! Depending on the type of battery, the timespan you can store it before you should recharge differs. In my setup for example, "for the worst" type of batteries, it is recommended to charge them every 3-6 months for storage. Thus, I figured it would be best that I recharge ALL batteries in my setup every two months to cover all eventualities! It is also a good way to ensure that every battery/generator/device is fully loaded/functional when an emergency hits.

[(04.08.2022) Edit to the "Maintaining all Batteries!.:" part above: As I have found out by now, depending on the type of battery you are using (for example: NiMH, Lithium Ion, LiFePO4 etc.), and the specific brand/product; if you store them long term, the way you have to maintain them can be quite different from what I said above! Best way to look for how to maintain your specific battery is by looking for what the manufacturer of the product recommends for long term storage (sometimes but not always found in the users manual). If you can't find a recommendation from the manufacturer, the next best thing you can/should do is to look up how you need to maintain your specific type of battery (Lithium Ion, for example) for long term storage, on the internet. Be aware that if you don't follow those long term maintenance/storage recommendations for your specific battery/product and/or you are using a wrong method (always keeping it fully charged, for example) for your type of battery/product, that you can do serious damage to the battery and even destroy it in a fairly short amount of time! You can find a rough guide here for example, for how to maintain different types of battery chemestries.]

Finally, I'll include some pictures.

What follows is just one of the two 120W "OFF Grid Trek" solar blankets powering the "EcoFlow RIVER Pro Portable Power Station" via two 5-Meter extension cables (all mentioned above in Point 3), through a window into my room in the house, on a fairly good weather day in the October morning hours around 49th parallel north:

View attachment 50988

Close up of the solar blanket in action:

View attachment 50989

Inside the hose powering the Ecoflow:

View attachment 50990

Close up:

View attachment 50991

Next, all key electronics stored in the above-mentioned two EMP bags from "Off Grid Trek" (Point 4). In those two bags all electronics (batteries, power banks, cellphones, walkie-talkies, kindle type readers cables, GPS devices, Flashlights, lighters etc) including the big Bluetti Power Station, the smaller Ecoflow power station, 5 times 120W Bluetti Solar Panels , 2x 120W OFF Grid Trek Solar Panels, 2 smaller 28,5 Watt Off Grid Trek Solar Panels and a bunch of other stuff is stored. And still quite some space left in both bags! Notice how little room/space is wasted (see cup for size reference):

View attachment 50992


Next, I'll explain some of the advantages that our big setup provides for different types of scenarios. And then I'll present a number of lower cost setups/ideas depending on budget (very cheap to moderately expensive).

Just a short but important note on the quoted post above, from earlier in the thread;

A couple of days ago I added the following note to the „Maintaining all Batteries!:“ section:

[(04.08.2022) Edit to the "Maintaining all Batteries!.:" part above: As I have found out by now, depending on the type of battery you are using (for example: NiMH, Lithium Ion, LiFePO4 etc.), and the specific brand/product; if you store them long term, the way you have to maintain them can be quite different from what I said above! Best way to look for how to maintain your specific battery is by looking for what the manufacturer of the product recommends for long term storage (sometimes but not always found in the users manual). If you can't find a recommendation from the manufacturer, the next best thing you can/should do is to look up how you need to maintain your specific type of battery (Lithium Ion, for example) for long term storage, on the internet. Be aware that if you don't follow those long term maintenance/storage recommendations for your specific battery/product and/or you are using a wrong method (always keeping it fully charged, for example) for your type of battery/product, that you can do serious damage to the battery and even destroy it in a fairly short amount of time! You can find a rough guide here for example, for how to maintain different types of battery chemestries.]
 

Neil

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
I've thought off and about having some kind of off grid solar system as a backup, but I'm not sure how far into the doomsday prepper mentality I really want to go. It sure would be nice to generate my own electricity and have a modicum of comfort if the grid goes down, but would I realistically stand a chance in that kind of a world? This is basically the setup I'm looking at, but due to supply chain issues I will probably piece it together on my own: 1920 WATT SOLAR 6000 WATT PURE SINE INVERTER CHARGER 120/240VAC 24VDC SOLAR KIT The main reason for such a large system is that I need enough horsepower to run my well pump and have water. I also have freezers that I would need to keep running for awhile, and some A/C would be nice. The system would only be practical for long-term power outages, as I already have a gas generator for the short-term stuff. Also, it's only useful if there is NOT an EMP event. While I might be able to insulate the system itself, saving all of the peripherals will be impossible short of building a bomb shelter. I don't have the $10K to spend on it, but I have plenty of available credit! But I don't like credit card bills either. If money is going to be worthless anyway, might as well get it while it's "on sale"...maybe. Decisions, decisions...
 

LQB

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I've thought off and about having some kind of off grid solar system as a backup, but I'm not sure how far into the doomsday prepper mentality I really want to go. It sure would be nice to generate my own electricity and have a modicum of comfort if the grid goes down, but would I realistically stand a chance in that kind of a world? This is basically the setup I'm looking at, but due to supply chain issues I will probably piece it together on my own: 1920 WATT SOLAR 6000 WATT PURE SINE INVERTER CHARGER 120/240VAC 24VDC SOLAR KIT The main reason for such a large system is that I need enough horsepower to run my well pump and have water. I also have freezers that I would need to keep running for awhile, and some A/C would be nice. The system would only be practical for long-term power outages, as I already have a gas generator for the short-term stuff. Also, it's only useful if there is NOT an EMP event. While I might be able to insulate the system itself, saving all of the peripherals will be impossible short of building a bomb shelter. I don't have the $10K to spend on it, but I have plenty of available credit! But I don't like credit card bills either. If money is going to be worthless anyway, might as well get it while it's "on sale"...maybe. Decisions, decisions...
Neil - I've been trying to help some folks to minimize cost with objectives similar to yours. Take a look at these components:

4X AGM and Lithium Deep Cycle Batteries and Accessories

Charge controller Power Inverters, DC To AC Inverters & Solar Panels | AIMS Power

Inverter 48V 48-volt-pure-sine-inverter-charger

Remote: Power Inverters, DC To AC Inverters & Solar Panels | AIMS Power

DC breaker box: Midnite Solar Baby Box for 4 Breakers

Breakers (2X): Din Rail Mount Circuit Breakers (for 6-panels)

AIMS is pretty good for the major components. I prefer 48V battery bank to keep the DC current down (4X - 12 V batts wired in series). The AIMS remote (wired) can be placed anywhere in the house and is great for monitoring the system without having to go outside and is very useful as you adjust solar useage to what the system is capable of (depending on solar conditions, night/day, etc) You can get your solar panels here (from Alt-e):

Heliene 360 Watt Black Mono

You can start off with 3 panels wired in series and add panels in sets of 3 at a time. Each set of 3 panels is input to the DC breaker box prior to connection to the charge controller.

You will need one of these to interface with your existing panel box:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012DHO4A4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This manual Xfer switch will allow you to run your 240V pump plus 4 more house circuits (your choice).

The batts are AGM sealed but I would build an enclosure near the panels to house the batts, inverter, charge controller, and breaker box. You can line the internal of the enclosure with a cheap metallized (both sides) insulation and screen a couple of vents for temp control. This will give some solar EMP protection.

Keep in mind that when the sun is high you will have extra day-time power to burn above what is needed to charge the batt bank.

Prices keep going up but right now the total of the above is about $5k ($6K for 6 panels).
 
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