JJ with Reality Survival talks about what a get home bag is (it’s not exactly the same as a bug out bag)…
I rather enjoyed this article on Food Storage for 30 Days where a guy was tasked with providing two adult males with enough food to feed them for about two weeks (hence, the 30 days reference). I guess the engineer in me just likes the math and planning involved… oh, and he used a spreadsheet, I’m drooling now. Fortunately, there’s no calculus involved… never could understand that stuff.
This inverter is one that Steven Harris of Solar1234.com recommends as being a viable option for powering a refrigerator if the power goes out. And, to be honest, that’s the sole reason why I choose to purchase it as I have no other major appliance that I feel MUST be powered during a grid-down situation. That said, I could have procured a larger inverter to power more appliances but I figured I should take Mr. Harris’ word for it and not get greedy. Likewise, he also stated that 800 watts is about the right power output you need from an inverter in order to operate most refrigerators and freezers. In other words, a much smaller 200 watt inverter isn’t going to cut while a larger one is probably wasted money.
So, about THIS inverter. It couldn’t be much simpler to operate. Just connect the two provided cables (a positive and negative) to the screw-in terminals on the inverter and then clamp the other ends to your vehicle battery (or any 12-volt source for that matter) just like you would a set of jumper cables. I did notice that the clamps did not provide as firm of a connection as I’m accustomed to with typical jumper cables but they stayed well enough to get the job done… just don’t breathe too heavy around them.
Before reading the instructions, I choose to connect everything as I suspected it should be, plug in the refrigerator, start the engine, and voila… nothing! I got red lights, lots of beeping, and no power. What’s up with that? I didn’t know what was wrong but I decided to try again, this time with the engine off and everything worked like a charm.
Only then did I choose to crack open the manual but didn’t read anything that said I did something emphatically wrong. In fact, the manual says I should start the car about every hour and run for ten minutes and that it’s ok to keep the inverter connected. Anyway, I let the inverter power my refrigerator (it was a 10 cubic foot unit) for about an hour, occasionally checking that nothing was on fire or seemed excessively hot. I started the car and ran into the same problem. So, I disconnected the inverter, charged the battery for roughly 10 minutes, turned off the engine, and then let the inverter run for a while longer like I did the first time.
I did notice that over time the inverter’s fan would kick on more and more but I really had to pay attention because it was fairly quiet. Granted, if I had the unit mounted inside the vehicle’s cab then maybe it would have been more noticeable.
I also occasionally checked my car battery’s voltage as I was concerned that relying on the inverter to tell me when it needed charged was asking for trouble since the owner’s manual stated that the inverter would shut off when the battery voltage reached 10.5 volts which is what I always considered a “dead” battery. Happily, however, my battery never reached that point even though it seemed the refrigerator that was connected to it ran continuously… but probably did not.
What else to know?
Well, the inverter has two A/C plugs and a USB slot. I’m not sure if I could power two refrigerators at one time (or maybe a refrigerator and a freezer) but I wasn’t going to press my luck this time. I did also notice that the owner’s manual stated I should NOT use extension cords longer than 50 feet, which mine assuredly was longer than that. I didn’t seem to have any problems doing so, however.
Again, I didn’t try to power anything else like a television and certainly not a hair dryer or coffee maker (they use way too much power) for this inverter. Overall, I would say I’m pleased with the unit. It does what’s expected and didn’t cause me much trouble other than my own mistake. I can, however, understand why Steven Harris prefers the Duracell 800 Watt Inverter as it includes a built-in voltage display which would make monitoring my battery’s health a lot easier. The problem is that it can be difficult to acquire.
Like I said, as for this particular Whistler 800 Watt Inverter, I can say I recommend it just fine.
SP1 asks what your plan is if you had to quarantine family or outsiders and how you can better isolate yourself from deadly disasters…
I’ve always wanted to make a fire piston some day, perhaps this will get me to do it…
I figured I would spend this week (three total posts) talking about OPSEC concerns. We need to have a plan on how to minimize the ability of others (the bad guys) of detecting our presence as much as possible. In particular, we need to consider our three most important senses: sight, hearing, and smell. Today we’ll focus on sight.
The ability of humans to see things like movement and light are pretty darn good. Sure, we’re not as capable as a cat in the dead of night but humans don’t need to be that good, just good enough to detect the presence of other people, in this case, YOU and your family. The fact is that it’s probably not that hard at all, unless YOU take serious steps to make being seen difficult.
Just consider that a human can see the glow of a single candle at night from over a mile away… that’s pretty amazing! Now consider how easy it would be to see a flashlight or lantern from inside an open window and, voila, your cover is blown.
The way I see it, however, is that we’re not trying to be completely invisible to an up-close and personal inspection. That is, if somebody is literally snooping around the outside of your house then you’re not going to be able to “pass inspection” for the simple fact that there WILL be other giveaway signs that there is human activity here. In this case, people shouldn’t be allowed that close to your house, but that’s a topic for another day.
The point here is that we need to be able to pass a “cursory inspection,” one where somebody (or a group of people) may be walking down the street scanning houses for any sign of activity.
The most obvious answer is to put up blackout curtains, which I certainly suggest (I’m sure there are a few links in the How-to Knowledge Base about constructing them). But, I must then emphasize how important it is to ensure your blackout curtains work as anticipated. You might be un-pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to see light through any number of substances, from window blinds to window blackout film to garbage bags and curtains. Even a combination of various things still won’t do the trick. As an example, we have very dark window film, blinds, and occasionally curtains drawn in our bedroom and you can still see light at night. And, to make things worse, even a small speck of uncovered window WILL allow precious light to escape, which means all of your efforts were for naught.
So, the moral of the story is to check your plans, and do it soon. Things like several layers of newspaper or several layers of black plastic should work but you need to test it. Put up your blackout curtains in a single room and then use your brightest lantern to test… adjust accordingly. And, you need to ensure you have enough of whatever it is you plan to use to cover ALL of the windows that need to be covered. The typical house has dozens of windows, which means A LOT of something to get the job done. Do you have enough? Do you have the tape needed to put it all up? How long might it take you?
And, let’s not forget about the cracks around doors. You may find need to cover those as well, especially around french doors and even sliding doors too.
While I’m thinking about it, this could be a good time to consider exactly what area or rooms of your house that you will occupy in such a situation. Rather than trying to blackout all rooms of the house, if you focus your efforts on a single floor or maybe a few rooms then your blackout job–among others–will be a bit easier. Of course, this also means strict discipline in the use of lights and lanterns too.
Oh, and just to be sure you understand precisely how dark it will be inside without lamps and lanterns, find a room in your house that has no exterior windows or doors (maybe a bathroom) and close the door… yeah, it’s going to be like that every night all night, so you will be using something to light the interior… just in case you thought you could get away without doing so.
I should also touch upon the use of directional lighting while outdoors, you know, a flashlight. If you thought a light from inside your house can be seen from a long way away, just think about how easily a flashlight might be seen when you’re pointing it all over the place. In order to combat this problem, consider fashioning a simple lens filter over the end, red seems to work out well. Or, consider very judicious use of it by turning it on only for short periods of time and perhaps even covering most of the light output with your hand. Heck, anything has to be better than doing nothing at all.
That said, probably the best way to avoid detection is to utilize some form of night vision goggles, but that can get very expensive very fast. The least expensive option would be something like a night vision monocular, which would be my first choice with cost in mind.
Basically, lighting OPSEC isn’t that difficult as it mostly depends on being aware of what you do and how it might be seen from afar. Think about it and consider your actions accordingly.
The following article helps you make a better compost: Organic Composting 101: Making Compost That’s More Nutritious. The article discusses what should go in your compost pile and how to “make” it.
Although for wilderness use, here’s a nice way to make a quick firewood carrier from two sticks and some paracord…
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