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Thread: Question and an Observation about living off GRID

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  1. #1
    us
    Jan 2017
    East of snowflake Arizona completely off grid
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    Question and an Observation about living off GRID

    My question how many out there really feel they could go off grid and make it any length of time,my wife and I have been living off grid since 2012 and I will tell you it is not easy nor cheap we purchased a property that already had a proven well and septic's in place the first thing we did was to put together a solar system for our electricity we walked into one of the local solar companies and told them exactly what we were going to be running and the first thing that came out of the salesman's mouth was that would be $34000 I told him not today or any other day so we made friends with some people in our area that the gentleman was vary knowledgeable in generators and solar systems he helped us to put our solar together for a third of the cost of what I was quoted,we had already purchased a generator while living in Ohio a 75 KW generator and for those that do not know how much power that is it would run a small city 75000 watts with the solar we have we can run quite a bit a TV to watch videos Hughes net for internet a small electric refrigerator and run lights we can stay up till 1-2 am if we want and still have power from the batteries,the batteries are another story most people think they can do what we are doing using just a standard 12 volt deep cycle battery an you can but you need a tremendous amount of them to do what we are the batteries we use cost $350. each we have eight of those rite now with plans to double that amount in the future, the eight we have gives us a total of 900 amp hours solar panels we currently have six 480 watt panels most people think that once you have all that set up its no work but I will tell you living off grid is a full time job checking batteries and just maintaining everything it is no easy thing it is a job water I do not worry about as I pump it out of the ground and fill a 1300 gallon tank but food you always worry whether you have enough in the event of a major event again I can not stress it is not a life of laying around once everything is set up it is a every day job

    My observation is this most people even though they say they would love to do what my wife and I do in reality they could not I have had friends come out to visit and stay a few days and almost always the vary next day they are packing up and heading back to their lives in the rat race they will make statements before coming out how they would love to be able to do what my wife and I do but then they come out and get a severe slap in the face reality check and they will always make a statement before leaving saying I do not know how you two do it there is no way I could live like this so my observation is in reality most could not survive if they had to live off grid for any length of time

  2. #2
    Charter Member
    us
    TerryrSoloman.com

    May 2010
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    I know exactly what you're talking about OldKoot. I did it for a year as a young man after the Service, without the aid of solar energy (1976-'77), up near Payson. You have to be healthy, and hearty! Me? Too old and lazy. God Bless!

  3. #3
    us
    Jan 2017
    East of snowflake Arizona completely off grid
    Mine-Lab X-Terra 705 with three coils 5x10 hf,9 inch 7 mf and 6 inch hf Garrett AT pro
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    289 times
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Soloman View Post
    I know exactly what you're talking about OldKoot. I did it for a year as a young man after the Service, without the aid of solar energy (1976-'77), up near Payson. You have to be healthy, and hearty! Me? Too old and lazy. God Bless!
    well I am getting old also Terry and my wife has some issues going on that just may end this life for us she is in the early stages of a rare form of Dimencha which is not good it was her idea to do this so we did I see changes in her every day and worry wheather I am going to wake up some night and she has unlocked the door on the cabin and went out and gotten lost so I do not get much sleep because of the worry

  4. #4
    Charter Member
    us
    TerryrSoloman.com

    May 2010
    White Plains, New York
    Minelab GPZ 7000; Equinox 600 -- Tesoro Mojave -- Grave Digger Tools Nemesis shovel, Sidekick hand digger -- Bunk's Hermit Pick
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    Just said a prayer for you and your Mrs. buddy. God bless and be with you!

  5. #5
    us
    Jan 2017
    East of snowflake Arizona completely off grid
    Mine-Lab X-Terra 705 with three coils 5x10 hf,9 inch 7 mf and 6 inch hf Garrett AT pro
    286
    289 times
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Soloman View Post
    Just said a prayer for you and your Mrs. buddy. God bless and be with you!
    Thank you Terry all prayers are greatly appreciated I know the future is in gods hands and what will be will be it has been a great adventure though.

  6. #6
    us
    Jul 2015
    Southwest PA
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    Hi oldkoot. I have first hand knowledge of solar and can tell you it isn't as easy as people think. I'm not off grid, but I have backup using a sinewave inverter and quite a few agm batteries. My solar is in the middle of a change, but it's only a few hundred watts. The agm batteries are maintenance free, but are a bit more expensive. Even at that one has to learn to conserve power because you don't know if the next day will be sunny enough and if you get a string of cloudy winter days it can get real rough as the sun's output is less. PVs do output a bit more power when colder, but the sun's output is smaller in winter too. Some things do happen like edge of cloud or snow and lake reflections that up the light intensities. It gets tricky and can be expensive. Even with the solar you have to have a generator to back up your off grid system because you can't always plan for a system big enough for all worst case scenario.

    FYI, I used to be a moderator on Northern Arizona Wind & Sun's forum.

  7. #7
    us
    Jan 2017
    East of snowflake Arizona completely off grid
    Mine-Lab X-Terra 705 with three coils 5x10 hf,9 inch 7 mf and 6 inch hf Garrett AT pro
    286
    289 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    yes you are correct in everything you state like I stated its a job every day and a learning process every day when we started out we had a cheap charge controller and like to of burnt everything down around us that was a severe learning experience cheap is not always good

  8. #8
    Charter Member
    us
    Nov 2012
    Maryland
    XP Deus, Tesoro Cibola
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    I admire your courage for sure. I am truly sorry to hear about your wife's problem. We live in an age (in this country) of easy shelter, clothes, food, medical care, at least for most people. I guess the old days were off the grid for people in the US in 1900, well, their life span was an average of 48 years.

    For the immediate problem, you can get a battery operated motion alarm, they kind you hang on a doorknob then set to go off it someone tries to open the door. That will solve that. One for each door. I'm getting older and realize that without the "grid", in case of a major emergency I would probably not last long. Age does that to us. The grid offers advantages.
    oldkoot and RGINN like this.

  9. #9
    us
    Jul 2015
    Southwest PA
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    I agree Smokey as I too would be in trouble health-wise without electric.

    So oldkoot, do you plan to stay off grid or will you surrender to the ease of just paying an oversized electric bill like the rest of us do? Sorry about your wife, but IMO it won't be much easier in relation to her with another place on the grid.
    Last edited by Swaveab; Feb 07, 2018 at 07:40 PM.

  10. #10
    us
    Jan 2016
    North Saguache county between Gunnison and Monarch Pass
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    We've been off grid since 09 and it's worth it. A little more work but it's good for ya.
    We went 5 years without electricity but installed solar a few years ago. It was easy and I did it myself for less than $1500.
    We dip our water from a spring, heat with a wood stove and snowmobile in and out during the winter. It's a great time. The out house seat is cold this time of year.

  11. #11
    us
    Jul 2015
    Southwest PA
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    How many watts of PV are you guys using? Battery capacities and voltage?

  12. #12
    ca
    Feb 2009
    Deus, Minelab 3030, E-Trac,
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    My hat goes off to each of you for doing it off the grid. I know of a fellow that has a horse farm, windmill, solar and a large bank of batteries.
    That's where I like to maybe lead you to a cheaper source of power (batteries)
    The hydro changes out their back up battery systems, great zinc acid batteries that have a long life to them. He just bought them from the scrap yard giving them more than they would from the recycler, so he got them for a great price still.
    I had a scrap yard, and had contracts with electrical power companies that would switch out the large back up batteries for the UPS systems at the credit card companies brain centres.
    So these batteries had to be switched every few yrs for them to have a secure back up power source at max charge.
    I would get the batteries then flip them for $25-40 ea. to folks that had systems.
    My friend just bought 200 hydro batteries and he was selling them for $150-200 each. They were new never used but were date coded out of service.

    Just an out of the box option, as saving money isn't a bad thing.

    For ourselves I just got a 20KwH propane generator with external disconnect for hte house and it was $15K and I had the trenching, pad, regulator, line charges to absorb. 25KwH diesel on a trailer that would be power for my shop and emergency back up for hte house would run $25K.
    So still looking for options myself for back up system.
    oldkoot likes this.

  13. #13
    us
    Jan 2017
    East of snowflake Arizona completely off grid
    Mine-Lab X-Terra 705 with three coils 5x10 hf,9 inch 7 mf and 6 inch hf Garrett AT pro
    286
    289 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by Swaveab View Post
    I agree Smokey as I too would be in trouble health-wise without electric.

    So oldkoot, do you plan to stay off grid or will you surrender to the ease of just paying an oversized electric bill like the rest of us do? Sorry about your wife, but IMO it won't be much easier in relation to her with another place on the grid.
    I really have not decided as of yet I just take it day by day my wife and I do a lot of exploring of our property she is always with me I take the detector,her and our dogs and we just wander about our property detecting and seeing what we can find, I know without her I will probably be lost so I keep going on vary little rest for her she has always been there for me and I have to return it or pay it forward if you will she has been there for me when I was in the darkest place anyone could find themselves I do not want to go back living and depending on being on grid but I may have to for her just not yet though I am always searching the internet for different things that might help her but so far haven't found much and her neurologist is not giving much hope neither the drugs they prescribe for dementia are almost worse then the decease itself
    Last edited by oldkoot; Feb 07, 2018 at 09:23 PM.
    Swaveab likes this.

  14. #14
    us
    Jan 2017
    East of snowflake Arizona completely off grid
    Mine-Lab X-Terra 705 with three coils 5x10 hf,9 inch 7 mf and 6 inch hf Garrett AT pro
    286
    289 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by Swaveab View Post
    How many watts of PV are you guys using? Battery capacities and voltage?
    I have 8- 6 volt batteries the 16 L interstates each battery is 420 amp hours my system is a 24 volt system so I have two 24 volt banks which is a total of 840 amp hours we charge those with six 285 watt 24 volt panels we also have a backup battery charger two charge controllers the way I hooked it up was one charge controller per four batteries thought about going to a 48 volt system but it takes double the batteries which means with the batteries we currently have we would only have one 48 volt bank and if we were to lose one battery we would have no power except generator which runs on propane thus the reason we went with the 24 volt system if I do lose a battery I can jump out that bank and still be running my electric
    Last edited by oldkoot; Feb 08, 2018 at 10:16 AM.
    Swaveab and pepperj like this.

  15. #15
    us
    Jan 2017
    East of snowflake Arizona completely off grid
    Mine-Lab X-Terra 705 with three coils 5x10 hf,9 inch 7 mf and 6 inch hf Garrett AT pro
    286
    289 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I can not really even figure out why I even posted this up or for that matter kind of just told whats going on in mine and my wife's life rite now other then I was starting to feel kind of over whelmed by things but I will say this has helped me a lot just stating what was and has been going on for me and my wife guess I just needed someone to talk to about everything

    it seems when things bad start happening to you so called friends disappear so just thought I would put this post up and its helped to talk about things even if it was on the PC
    Swaveab, DizzyDigger and pepperj like this.

 

 
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