generator on the cheap: : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

--everyone who drives already has a generator, it's that alternator in your vehicle. In the olden "back to the land" hippie daze, this was our "juice". We ran lights, 8 tracks, radios, tv's, etc. from car batteries. You need 2 good batteries for this. You already have one. Get another. Yes, yes, it's not the "right" kind. Well, for this purpose it IS. Anyway, two batteries. You pull one, use it in your unheated, no utilites apt or condo like before. If you have trouble humping batteries because of the weight, get a small two wheel hand truck to get them in and out of the house. Try to keep the batt flat and level as possible at all times. Try not to spill it.

Now the trick is to not discharge the battery bone flat, or not even close, this will wipe it out quickly, and you're back to no juice. Serious bummer then. Learn to judge your usage, figure at about 1/2 batt gone, that's enough, you have to leave enough for starting the motor, plus to not destroy the batt. You ALWAYS have one completely full batt in reserve, this in case you misjudge, and don't have enough juice left to crank your motor for recharging. Rotate these guys back and forth. You always have one full, not being used, and one in use, see?

Modern 12 volt stuff is very friendly on usage. They have nice 12 volt fluorescent "trouble' lights in the auto section of the stores for cheap, they come with positive and negative clamps for the terminals. Sell that energy hog big color you have now(finally, a use for DGI's!), use the loot to get a small 4-5" black and white. With the rest of the loot, get thee a multi band radio (good quality, am/fm/sw) that will accept and has a 12 volt input jack. Goto radio shack, get whatever adapter you need, explain to the dude what you are trying to do, you want two alligator clips going to a jack that fits into the radio or tv. some already have this, but it ends in a male cigarette lighter plug, for sticking it in your dash. You can either cut the wires and attack alligator clips(red=pos, black=neg), or they make a female receptacle that will clip on, and your device plugs into that. Me, I just like the clips, get 6 for 2$, I can strip wire.

Anyway, sell that stereo NOW. It's christmas time, some fool DGI will buy it from you. You can always get a better, and cheaper big color and stereo LATER, IF nothing happens.

Try not to use any sort of 12 volt motors off the batts (like fans), they suck the juice down quickly. All you really NEED is some light, and run a couple of small devices. forget powering up that triple throwdown pentiumx monster with expensive inverters, etc, for now, printout what you need to access, buy the books, and get over it for awhile. Heck with it. this is CHEAP, remember?

For an example of usage, all summer we were using a marine deep discharge/combo starter batt while camping. I think 50$ it was. Running a 12 v fluorescent, and the b/w tv, we got about a weeks worth of evenings before needing recharging off the van. Great mileage. Plenty of light to read, and the tv usage, several hours a night. I didn't run the radio off the batt, just used the built in flashlight batts, but could of, probably would have knocked one day off the recharge cycle.

Gas. The crap they sell at the pump is fulla evil smog b.s. chemicals, that scientists first say helps reduce pollution, then ten years afterward they find out it doesn't, and it actually makes it worse. Your tax money and at the pump money at work..... Coleman camp fuel in the one gallon square metal cans is pure unleaded gas. It lasts a LOT longer than any pump gas, without having to use additives, which are of dubious quality, anyway. Wally world and kmart have store brand equivalents for a buck a gallon cheaper than coleman. PLUS, it's in a metal container, much better than plastic. Last week, wally world's was 2.50$ a gallon. If you look at the price of multiple gallon containers for gasoline, it's running about a buck a gallon, so buying the one gallon metal cans is almost the same as buying pump gas and filling a big heavy 5 gallon container, plus, like I said, it's better quality, and you don't have to hump around those heavy dudes, and spill it all over the place.

Some cars are recommended that you don't idle them for more than a few minutes or it will screw up one of those *amazing* devices under the hood that costs a lot of greenbacks and they can never fix it anyhow, or you won't pass emissions testing or something. Well, in a survival situation, no juice until some vague unforseable future, you make the call. Either idle it a little high for about 15-20 minutes for a recharge, or drive around the block or something. Better bet is trade in that yokohama status cruiser now (AND YET ANOTHER USE FOR DGI'S!), and get an early 70's american made simple engine vehicle that runs good. Put the extra loot into those extra batts and some more chow, or a REAL water filter. The campfuel gas. You get the picture. While you're at it, get a new alternator, and ask for a "bigger" one than the stock size, shouldn't cost much more. You can get a 90 amp delcotron for like 60 clams, and that's a lot a juice quickly, for example. I got one, it kiks serious amp booty.

Check fluid level in batts before and after charging. Use only DISTILLED water, NEVER tap water. as in NEVER. Bring the fluid level to just under the plastic ring down in the cells. Don't get any of the batter acid/water mixture on your hands and then wipe it on your pants or something, unless you like air conditioned clothes. Don't light up a butt while hanging over a batt, especially when it's charging. Had a landlord did that once, permanent eye damage. No joke.

anyway, there's another budget tip

been there, done that zog

-- zog (, November 23, 1999


Great information Zog, May I add that for night-lights through-out the house (Bathroom, childrens room, etc...) stop at a junk yard, grap up all the old style parking lights you can. Those bulbs are small, but put out alot of light in a otherwise dark room. You can get all the wire and toggle switches you need for under ten bucks at K-mart. I've left four run off a old lawn mower 300 amp battery, took two days to drain it enough to notice.

-- Silent Running (CanYouHearMe@Calling.You), November 23, 1999.

Hey Zog,

You sound like an old least that's what the "back to the landers" used in the 70's up here. Yeah, it works but everyone I know who went that route was glad to have "real power" like a generator because you can't store that much juice in any car battery. There used to be a company who sold some kind of kit. At the very least people should get a "whatever it is called" that RV people use to charge two batteries.

Still it's a thought for people with no budgets.


-- Todd Detzel (, November 23, 1999.

Thanks MacGiver, errr Zzoggy.

-- squid (, November 24, 1999.

--the device to charge two batts is called an "isolator". Your alternator will charge two batteries simultaneously, one is the normal starting battery, the other is a good deep cycle battery that runs your devices. You can't discharge the starter battery, the isolater isolates it from your twelve volt wiring. This is for a rig (RV slang for an RV or camper trailer) that has a place for two batteries under the hood or wherever already. I was just trying to show that everyone already has a generator and battery backup. It ain't perfect, but it ain't the pitch black dark, neither, and it's paid for and at home in the driveway, too. It ain't theoretical. It's almost december. Money. Lotsa stuff to get. Like that there.

Oh ya, can write anyway I want to, too....

-- zog (, November 24, 1999.

J.C. Whitney has a full line of rv stuff. they have a limited web site, however most news stands have their catalog. They even have a 12v hair dryer.

-- paul (, November 24, 1999.

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