This post will be added onto over time and I’ll keep sharing it when it gets updated.
•Fan Questions about Solar
What would you suggest for a solar power unit for beginners? Maybe something to run a lamp or fan?
Sorry for the delay. It has been kinda crazy around here.
For starters, house solar isn’t cheap. Small solar devices aren’t too bad but to run house power requires a bit of equipment, good sun exposure, and a very basic understanding of electricity. Most kits can be built by a 12 year old if the instructions are decent. The hard part about solar and specifically running 120volt house power from solar, is that it isn’t very efficient. You’re taking the sun, using an already inefficient solar panel, storing that energy in a battery and then using an inefficient power inverter to convert 12volt battery power to 120volt house power. Think of it like a bucket of water. You have to transfer the water from one bucket to another…with a towel. Every time you convert power, you lose some. The bad news is, you’re filling (charging) the bucket with a straw. So, here’s where the financial investment comes in. You either need a LOT of solar panels and a LOT of batteries (very expensive) or you have to buy some 12volt units to use around the house. The bad news about 12v systems is that they are usually more expensive than 120v units. This Amazon item gives a decent description of their system and also illustrates the problem of inefficiency.
And depending on your budget, $300 might not be the “beginner” kit you are looking for. If you want to look at smaller units to run a lamp or fan, you can do this USB at 5 volts and be more efficient on your power usage but these usually come with a smaller panel and require 8-16 hours of sunlight to charge. That usually depends on panel size and battery capacity. Something like this unit:
will take 14 hours to charge but it does have a good size battery for charging devices or running USB powered items. The good news is that you can charge this unit off house power before hand (or off a generator) and have it ready when needed. Then just charge it in the sun during the day.
Lights like this:
Could run for over 12 days straight off that solar battery pack above.
Here is a small USB fan:
One nice thing about the portable unit, you can take it wherever you are.
I hope this helps answer your question.
•Fan Questions about Food Storage
1) Pasta – Do you know how you should store it? Can it be in the boxes as it comes from the store? Should you take it out of the box and seal it up in a Food Saver bag?
2) Same question with Minute Rice and Instant Potatoes. And oatmeal?
3) Have you read this series? Do you think it could really happen like this?
Thanks for reaching out. I’m still posting to the FB page, I just won’t be interacting much. All of the posts get scheduled ahead of time and I only check in once a day or so. Email is the best way to get in touch.
Now, to your questions:
1. Pasta stores for about 2 years in the factory packaging. It will store for 10-30 years if vacuum sealed in a good Mylar bag with an oxygen absorber. The trick to getting the most life is to buy the freshest box and repackage it immediately.
2. •Instant Potatoes – be careful with the ingredients and cooking requirements. It may require more than just water, so plan ahead. Storage life should be 10+ years if repackaged in Mylar. •Minute Rice is a bit of a mystery. If repackaged you should get 5-10 years easily. Beyond that, the answers get pretty varied. Another note on Minute Rice, it yields less than regular white rice. One cup of regular rice makes more than one cup of Minute Rice. You’ll save cooking time but not storage space/calorie. •Oatmeal – This is a conundrum…regular oats store VERY well. 20-30 years. The more “processed” they are, the shorter the storage life. Quick Oats type, if Mylar packed with an oxygen absorber should last 5 years. Remember, CLEAN HANDS and workspace when packaging. Temperature of storage is still a factor. Keep it as cool as you can. I love Mylar bags! I try to package in two sizes, family meal size and meal for two. Sometimes I package things in one week quantities. That way you aren’t opening a big package each time you need some.
3. That is a great series! Love Marshall Raines! While the scenario is plausible, maybe even to the point of potentially likely, I don’t buy the mutants part. Other than that, it’s a great look at what a collapse of resources might look like.
Check out, 299 Days – By Glen Tate. I believe that a partial collapse is the most likely. Either from a disaster/attack or just a financial collapse. The premise makes sense in so many ways. I listen to the audiobook version at work. I just don’t have a lot of time to read. The narrator is really good.