Thinking about emergency power

Recently someone sent me a link to a video about creating a relatively inexpensive battery pack that recharges using solar panels. While I’m not sure I’d trust the way that it was made, in theory it sounds like a great way to deliver emergency power to someone in need. With more and more large scale natural disasters, being able to rapidly deploy emergency power is vital to helping people get back on their feet. While governments and companies are building ways to help a large number of people at once, I think the concept of having personal portable power for any emergency is something worth considering.

I’ve started looking at systems that I could use and GoalZero makes a number of systems that can provide adequate power in an emergency and recharge using solar. The systems, however, are just a tad too expensive for me to purchase right now. I could see myself getting one of the 400W units as it could power vital electronics in an emergency; vital being cell phone (if it even worked), portable radio, recharge flashlights (my flashlights pretty much all recharge via USB), and maybe a laptop to keep in touch. Of course, I’m sure I’ll kick myself if I need it and I was too cheap to purchase it, but for now I’m just going to leave it on the nice to have list.

4 Replies to “Thinking about emergency power”

  1. Scott:
    My ham shack is 98% finished and I prewired for solar power, as it will be off grid capable for EMCOMM/MARS, etc operations. You would be amazed at what you can do if you go with a traditional solar battery and a panel for a shack. I use a company called Renogy, and you can buy their products on Amazon, or direct. They are very helpful in helping you select your needs, without going over. I have an MPTT controller currently, and soon will be adding the deep cycle battery, and a couple of 100W panels. Depending on your location and how much sun you get, they have calculators online on how much you may need. For about $1,000 you can have a very sufficient power supply (and less if you don’t plan on 100W HF transmissions, etc) that would keep your shack running for days, and charge all of your devices, and charge those portable LiPo battery chargers as well. Feel free to hit me up directly if you would like some guidance or pictures. I can tell you the “Wish I had done this” type of thing. Your IC-7100 won’t use much, and even if you went with an IC-7200 (My favorite HF radio) you could power it quite adequately.

    1. Thanks, Paul! I like the concept of portable power as opposed to having fixed solar/backup power as I could take it wherever I need to go. I’ll keep my eye out for different solutions and take a look at Renogy!

  2. I liked that video a lot, less because I want to make one, more because it’s a real attempt to help folks in Puerto Rico bootstrap power.

    Hopefully it will helps make Tesla power walls cheaper. We do t have enough solar around here to make that part of it work, but I’d love to have a big battery I can use when our power goes out, which it may in the next 12 hours as were in a snowstorm now that might drop a foot of snow fast.

    1. I do hope battery backup systems on a small and large scale become cheaper as there are so many uses, not just for emergency power.

      Good luck with your snowstorm!

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