Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Going off grid and off politics.

I've been watching a bit of American politics lately. The live debates for the Repulsives and the speech by the leader of the Dumbicrats, who also happens to be president at the moment. I can't predict who will win the next election. The best outcome would be none of the above. However after watching a few hours of current American politicians, I can safely make this prediction: If you live in the US, you are going to be screwed for some time to come. If you live in a country that has anything to do with the US, things don't look good for you either.

The other night was my first yoga class. Power yoga. I tell ya, that shit ain't easy. At least not for a 6'3", 220lb pixel pusher. I'm sure it will get easier with practice though. My fitness goal is to end up a 5'10", 180lb jaguar. We'll see. Mrs. Mud is awesome at the yoga. No surprise, she excels at everything she takes on. I really like her yoga outfit.....

This winter is crunch time. Got to figure out the rest of the systems for the earthbag house we're building. I thought I had pretty much figured out the off-grid electrical stuff but it's turning out to be pretty complicated. Matching the estimated power useage to the ability to recharge the batteries, the right size generator, wiring, fuses, line losses and a whole lot more. I kind of wish Sixbears in the Woods was my neighbor. Sounds like he has helped several people setup their solar systems as well as his own. The Outback user's forum is proving to be quite helpful. My system will be based around an Outback Flexpower One 24 volts. I've pretty much settled on four 6 volt Surrette batteries with a 20hr rate of 680 amp hours. We have 2kw of solar panels and about 3 hours of insolation in the deep of winter. Well, that's one good thing about Canadian prairie winters. (If I can think of another I'll have to put it in another post.) There will still be times a generator is required. Especially when it is time to equalize the battery bank. Our system has to provide enough power for the basics and for me to continue working from home with various computer equipment. And for Mrs. Mud to do her thing, which also requires computer power. And of course to maybe plug in a vehicle for a couple hours so it will start at 40 below.


  1. If I was closer, I'd stop in and play a while. Off grid systems are fun.

    Do your best estimates, but the final test will be living with it. That's when the final tweaks will take place.

    If you can take care your basic functions off grid, then you are on the right track. Picture your generator not being able to start. Will the solar provide enough power for water, lights, and work? Just a little thought experiment.

    Have fun and enjoy the adventure.

  2. Sixbears,
    I've played the 'what if' game till I've driven myself loopy. What if the well pump dies (again - 4 grand)? We will have two storage tanks for water inside the house totaling 2000 gallons. That should give us a buffer. What if the entire electrical system fails? The wood stove and rocket mass heater will at least keep us from freezing to death and provide hot meals. What if the garden fails completely? Well, that's why we have food storage. What if the entire economy collapses and there is no more consumer marketplace? I believe that is when not if and that's why I'm on this path in the first place.
    You're right, it is quite an adventure. And certainly not one I would trade for anything.
    Glad to see you are getting lots of sailing in...!!

  3. You'll be fine. Relax and just go with it. The unexpected will happen. Look at it as part of the adventure.

  4. Thanks for the post! I have been enjoying your blog and patiently waiting for another post. I just designed and installed a 1kw system for the motorhome and it was a lot of fun. I don't have to rely upon mine in the same sense as you, but I know you'll do fine. You two have done a great job so far!!
    My Mrs. has been my inspiration and best bud through the whole process....sure helps!! Keep 'em happy :)

    Keep those posts coming....

  5. Dome,yep America is screwed!Along with the rest of the world. I think Ron Paul is our only chance but looks like the big money are gonna put their boy Mitt in there. Bro you are light years ahead of most of us just keep at it like you're doing and you will be fine! Yoga? I tried it but smoke from my cigs keeps getting in my eyes.


  6. Anon, Feb. 6,
    Congrats on doing your own system. Empowering eh?

    Wow, what can I say? Thank you so much! I really enjoy your blog too.

    It's sad that this no longer resembles what our grandparents fought for and worked so hard to build. I'm like you, i'd smoke during yoga if I could, but it's in the local school. Can't smoke in schools anymore.

  7. Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Yes, if power yoga is like pilates it can be very strenuous, As a matter of fact, pilates was developed by an army ranger to help soldiers increase their core strength. So not for sissies!