Being self sufficient in your lifestyle is very helpful when you live off grid in a remote area, When I speak of self sufficiency, I refer to physical needs and not emotional, since we all need to be part of a community of others (peers, family or believers). Anyway, one of the key elements of self sufficiency is the understanding that everything you plan may NOT work as expected and you may need a backup plan.
I find the word “backup” kind of interesting because it implies redundancy. When you have ‘it’ you are back – up and running in whatever didn’t work out, or failed. When you choose to become your own power company, its good to have a backup plan or equipment. When you choose to be your own personal transportation company (we all do) its also a good idea to have a backup plan. When you choose to become your own computer or data company (i.e. own a computer), it is wise to have a backup of your important data. When something breaks or fails you always have ‘one more step’ to try before panic over any situation.
Last week we had the chance to try out two of our backup plans! Without backups our lives would have been uncomfortable and complicated. Instead we just have a couple more chores to attend to!
Last Thursday night we were running the generator to charge the batteries in our winter time genverter system and I heard the inverter beeping. It was the familiar sound of it complaining about low voltage. The 12V bank was at 10V while I thought we were charging! Turns out that that relialbe Honda motor was running but no charging! I studied the generator and wiring and couldn’t find anything obviously wrong. Now this was a bad situation. Night time, battery bank flat, inverter about to shut off. Kind of frustrating because usually its the motor not the gen. set that fails. [ note this unit has run 3 yrs, or 3338 hours without any incident other than replacing starter cords.]
Anyway, I pulled out the old inexpensive Champion generator I purchased years ago from Shucks auto parts. Last year, we had the retired generators tuned up before putting them away I had to cut an extension cord and used duct tape to hook up this unit, but it works! It doesn’t charge as fast, and the AC voltage is low, ~100Vac, but it works. Sure nice to have a backup.
EXTRA tip: My daughter just had problems starting the backup generator. I tried awhile then realized it was low on oil. Never buy a generator that doesn’t have a low oil cut off switch!!
Sunday morning we’re getting ready to head to church and one of the snowmobiles decides to act up. Temperamental two stroke motors! I quickly tried a new spark plug to no avail. Backup plan, hook up the cargo sled to my faster snow machine and the teens ride on it. Our day ending in a Superbowl party was saved, and we were only 15 minutes late that morning!
OK, now I have two more chores to attend to this week, but our family’s weekend was redeemed by having backups or backup plans!
Lesson: Off Grid comfort requires planning and backups for the important aspects of your lifestyle. For example, if we were hit with a very cold winter and ran low on heating firewood, our small propane kitchen heater CAN heat the house if necessary. We always have 2yrs of propane in our tanks, just to keep this option open.
What kind of Back – Ups do you have in your life? What kinds to you plan on having for your move? What other backups do you suggest? Please leave your comments and suggestions below!