Day 7.  We are only a good night’s sleep and a wake-up from being on the off-grid emergency preparedness test for 1 week.  Honestly the first week has gone by pretty fast.  Food, water and even power have not been a problem.  Power has been something we have to watch.  We are running everything off of 720 watts of solar panels.  I have to make a confession, if I used my laptop more and not my Desktop computer with a 690 watt power supply, the power would go even further.  Plus, confession #2, we watch our 46” flat screen for 3 or 4 hours a night for entertainment.  If we watched less or used a smaller TV our power would go even further.

This week I’m setting up a 200 watt Renlogy solar panel system in the windows of my office.  It will consist of two 100 watt panels, each 47” x 21”.  One panel will be in a south facing window and one in a west facing window.  I’ll hook them up to two 125 amp hour batteries with a 1500 watt inverter.  At 60% efficiency, the system should give me a 1000 watts of power each day.  I’m going to try to run everything in my office off the new system.

I’ve used several stoves and grills for cooking the past few days.  Here is a run down.

Coleman 413F 2-burner stove. I inherited this stove when my parents died.  My family used to go up the canyon on Saturday morning and my dad would cook breakfast on this stove.  This model stove was made between 1961 and 1964.  In a past post I mentioned that a stove was not working so I had to go to a backup.  Well, this was that stove.  Luckily all it needed was some cleaning and some maintenance.  It is working fine now on both gas and propane.


Eco Zoom Rocket Stove.  When all the propane is gone, this is the stove to have.  You can use a small 6” bundle of sticks that are 12” long and no bigger round than my thumb to cook a complete meal.  Boiled 2 cups of water in 6 minutes.  If you are interested in them, check out some of the YouTube videos people have posted.  The Deluxe model (shown) can use wood or coal.  Stove Tec makes the same type of stove.  Both brands are good but at this point in time Eco Zoom stoves are build a little better and have a few more features.


Volcano Stove.  I really haven’t used this stove very much.  All I did today was boil some water.  It took 8 minutes to boil 2 cups of water using the propane attachment.  I’m going to use this stove one more time before the test is over to cook a complete meal.  I’ll let you know how it goes.


Road Trip Grill.  For $150 to $200 price tag, this was disappointing.  I’m glad I picked mine up at a Thrift Store.  It’s heavy, a little complicated to set up (if you use the stand), and for such a big beast, each burner has no more BTU’s than a $28 single burner stove.  For the same money you can get a Coleman 2-Burner camp stove and an Eco Zoom Rocket Stove.

As I said, we are supposed to get a couple of day of rain starting tonight. In preparation, I’ve jimmy-rigged a simple rain catchment system on my balcony.  The tarp is 9’ x 7’ and slopes down to one corner where the water will drain into a 5 gallon bucket.  Just one-quarter inch of rain could give me 10 gallons of water, just from this little tarp.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

If the weather is as bad as they say over the next two day, I might not write a blog tomorrow.  I’ll blog again when the sun comes back out and recharges the battery banks.



I think that’s it for today.  One week and counting.


Ed Rogers
Copyright “Keep It Simple” 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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