A little light and power

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I don't have much $$ but I want to get a solar battery charger. I saw some battery operated lights in a catalog (used for closets or nightlights) and I wondered if this would be good to buy. They wouldn't be good for reading or much, but if they could keep me from falling over things in the dark they migt be useful.

Also, Iwas wondering about the portable power inverters to use in your car which converts 12 volt into 110 AC. I could power a small appliance (non heat producing) off the car if I desperately needed to. Would this be worth the $50?

I am no electrician or mechanical engineer so I need my fallback options to be straightforward, simple and easy to use. I'm learning more, but the learning curve for this is incredibly steep.

-- Kay P (Y2kay@usa.net), June 15, 1998


With a slight twist...

I just saw an ad from either Hechingers or Home Depot (local warehouse-style hardware stores) selling solar-powered lights for the yard. It uses some sort of LED "light bulb" which draws very little power.

Maybe these could be left in a sunny window during the day, and used at night?

-- Phil (pperucci@mindspring.com), June 15, 1998.

I went to walmart and picked up some oil lamps and oil. Also, I plan to buy an inverter of 1500w capacity so I can run my ham base unit and use it to recharge recharagable batteries. I will use a car battery and a solar power battery charger to charge the car battery. Damark has solar battery rechargers and inverters at quite reasonable prices. Also, you may want to check radio shack. They have a catalog of all their items. Hope this helps.

-- Dr. R. (flyingwing@aol.com), June 19, 1998.

Go to an RV supply house, they carry solar panels to recharge batteries, etc. Also, if you have an RV and it's in storage, maybe this would be a good time to get it out of storage and be prepared to live in it when the power goes out. At least with the solar power onm the RV, you would have some light. Also, there's a radio out called the Ben Gen radio. No power needed, you just crank the handle for 30 seconds and it plays for 1/2 hour. I plan to order one Monday morning! Beats having to use batteries!

-- Barb Douglas (bardou@yahoo.com), June 21, 1998.

The small inverters are excellent for short-term use for small appliances run off the car battery. During the reporting one of the CA earthquakes, we watched the events off a 5" b&w TV, powered by our car battery via a 140-watt inverter. The TV drew 8 watts -- we ran it for four or five hours at a stretch, then went out and started the car and ran it for 10 mins or so (to recharge the battery). We've got a solar trickle recharger now, which we'd use instead of burning gasoline to boost the ol' 12-volt. BTW, at that time we were totally off-grid. It takes a certain amount of adjustment, but it can be done. See my book, HOW TO LIVE WITHOUT ELECTRICITY AND LIKE IT at amazon.com. Questions? Anita E.

-- A. Evangelista (ale@townsqr.com), June 21, 1998.

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