A Good Generator Made Better

When my daughter Ginger had her Type 1 diabetes onset last March, one of the first preps I put in place was getting a backup to our backup generator. Insulin is life, and the supply must be protected at all costs, and since insulin must be kept cold, refrigeration is crucial. I can’t allow any single points of failure in my insulin supply and delivery system, so we have multiple stashes of insulin in multiple fridges with multiple sources of […]

Another Storm, Another Outage

I’m beginning to think that I’m not getting my money’s worth from the local electrical monopoly. We had a line of thunderstorms move through today, and despite the severe warnings issued by NOAA, they didn’t amount to much. Lots of rain, a little wind, and some decent lightning. It had pretty much blown itself out by 6:30PM or so, and we were just getting dinner prepped when a rogue lightning bolt hit somewhere nearby and knocked out the power. Or […]

A quick video showing my test of components for the next version of my portable battery bank. Version 1.0 was a bust – even though it was nicely laid out and well engineered, the inverter was terribly undersized. As built, the bank was not capable of starting any of the refrigerators in the house, and was basically good for not much more than running a string of Christmas lights. Pretty disappointing. In this test, I was able to show that […]

Generator Redundancy

Recently, I almost had to surrender my membership card to our little group. I experienced an epic fail in my preps when we were caught by an unexpected power outage. We weren’t just caught with our pants down – our pants were totally off, had left the building, were dirty, out in the woods somewhere, being used as a blanket by an enterprising skunk. For most of the power outages we’ve experienced there has been some warning. Sometimes days, or […]

AAR: Power Outage

I’m sitting at my desk at 11:45 on Tuesday, minding my own business, like I always do. Clear skies, no wind, no rain, sunny and warm(ish). Everything seems normal. Then, the lights in my office went out. A split second later, I heard a loud BOOM! Uh-oh. This exact evolution has happened several times over the last 10 years here. There’s a fuse on a power pole at the corner of our road and the main road, and when something […]

Generator Hack

Being the first weekend of the month, today was generator maintenance day. The usual monthly procedure is to haul the genny out, run it under load for 20 minutes or so, and put it away. I also take the opportunity to do my monthly gas swap procedure to keep my supply fresh. I’m pretty good about the monthly maintenance, but I’ve been a little lax on the longer interval stuff. I’ve been overdue for an oil change for a while, […]

The finished battery bank, for better or worse. It’s good for what it is, given the design constraints, but there are plenty of things I’d do differently next time. I’d probably select a different inverter – pure sine was a waste of money, and I’d rather have more wattage. I’d also select a different charger, although Schumacher seems to have that market somewhat cornered. And if I had deeper pockets, AGM batteries would have been nice. As for a larger, […]

I hate my generator. There, I said it. My generator is a great big old Briggs and Stratton branded Generac – 13.5kW surge, 8kW running, 240/120V. Big, heavy, and LOUD. It ties into a subpanel I had installed while we were building the house, knowing that not having a way to pump the well was not a good idea for a homestead. The generator powers the well, plus the fridge and deep-freeze, the furnace and air handlers, and a few […]