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Steve's Power Toys

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Posted by Steve Spence on January 5, 2005, 5:16 pm
Steve's Power Toys

Here are a few of my toys I use in our off grid home.

Starting with the NiMH battery Charger, it holds 4 AA or AAA NiMH
batteries, and charges from 120vac or 12vdc native. About $0 from
Walmart, and came with 4 AA NiMH batteries.

Next is my Kill-A-Watt, a 120vac, 15amp, monitor for volts, amps, watts,
hz, watt hours, power factor, etc. indispensable in an off grid home for
determining how much power an item uses and for how long it runs. $0
from J&R Music World.

The last item in the picture is my new Power Center, $9 from BJ's
Wholesale. It contains a battery, a 400 watt inverter, jumper cables,
air compressor, flashlight, two 12vdc power receptacles, and two 120vac
receptacles. Great for portable, emergency power, or, as we are using
it, as a temporary UPS to keep the satellite box from losing sync and
the clock radio/stereo from losing programming during
inverter/generator/inverter switching. We will plug a 20 watt PV panel
into it shortly, and give some real life run time/load numbers.

See more at http://www.off-grid.net

Posted by George Ghio on January 6, 2005, 11:57 am

Well you got the title right, Toys

Posted by Steve Spence on January 6, 2005, 4:57 pm
 Still not learning, are you george?

1. battery charger - you advocate buying non-rechargeable so the
landfill has more trash? Might ungreen of a "solar consultant" if I may
say so.

2. Kill-A-Watt - A common tool used by real solar consultants to show
end users how much enrgy their equipment consumes.

3. Jump start pack - Nice jump starter, air compressor, and portable
ac/dc power pack. Handy thing to have around when a tire is flat, the
battery is dead, or I need to use my handheld drill outside the house.

"Toys" are useful, hence my reason for having them. You aren't, so I
don't. I hope some day you'll grow up to be a real solar consultant, not
just a net troll.

Steve Spence
Dir., Green Trust

George Ghio wrote:

Posted by DJ on January 6, 2005, 6:30 pm
 While rechargable batteries are the most expensive type of energy, I
seem to have read recently, I do certainly have a mess of them around.
Mostly for power tools, but yeah, around. I sleep well at night,
though, knowing that they're either charged with my solar panels (which
I haven't heard a peep from in months, by the way, due to the pitiful
sunlight) or my wind mill.

As per kill-a-watts, I bought a case of them a while ago direct from
P3, and sold some, but use, as Steve suggests, a good half-dozen or
more when we do a house power consumption audit for a client. They're
great for getting *actual* totals for power hogs, like entertainment
centers, because for some reason, clients tend to seriously
underestimate their useage (especially TV viewing ;-) as well as for
getting real time weighted numbers on fridges and freezers. Plug 'em
in, leave 'em for a week, go back and record it. Very handy little

As per building a mobile power center, always a good idea. Inverters
fail. Fuses blow. Having a fall-back is always nice to keep the glycol
heating pumps running, or powering the satellite to call/email out.
Sometimes, just a little power is all you *really* need in a pinch,
until you get the rest of it sorted out.
With a solar panel on it, it resembles the system, actually, I have on
my workshop for light and minor tools. Too far to run cable from the
house, so I built a cheapie "stand-alone".
To each their own, though, I guess!


Posted by George Ghio on January 6, 2005, 11:44 pm

Where do your "re-chargeables" end up at the end of their life. I use
small regulated power supplies.

Must work really well. Maybe almost as well as my clamp meter.

Funny thing. My compressor (12V) works just fine. As does my maines
powered one. If I need a drill outside I can 1) plug it into the house
system(12V) 2) plug it into the car, truck or tractor electrical
systems. 3) Flat battery, just plug it into the system, no worries.

The thing is that YOU called them toys. This shows your mind set. You
bought them to play with and impress people.

I buy tools.


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