Electricity where there is none

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This short essay is about how to make your own electricity.
Making your own electric power is very simple and very common. Almost all cruising yachts and sailboats make their own power in order to run their electrical systems while sailing and while at anchor. The systems for making power are the same for a home.

Electricity where there is none

There are two basic methods for making AC electric power, 110V or 220V. The easiest way is to do like the power companies do, just run a generator.

The better way to make power is to buy a set of truck or deep cycle batteries and wire them together. Then buy and connect up to the batteries an inverter/converter which will convert regular DC battery power into 110Volt or 220 Volt AC, even 440 Volt is possible from common 6 or 12 volt batteries.

Flick the switch and you will have AC power all day and night, or at least until your batteries run down and lose their charge. Here is where the generator comes back in. Every day you will have to run the generator with a battery charger for an hour or more to charge the batteries up. Using batteries as your power source is what the yachts do and this method not only allows for 24/7 AC power, as well, it saves money on fuel and running time of the generator since we are only using the generator now for battery charging. Ah, peace.

In order to save more money and limit or even eliminate using the generator, you will need to add another way of charging the batteries. Solar panels can do that job for you all day long—for free and with no noise. If you have enough solar panels, you will not need the generator except for the odd day where the sun didn’t shine through the clouds enough to get a full charge. Then, run the generator, which is good for it anyway now and then. So, adding solar panels is the trick for reducing the running time needed to charge your batteries.

Windmills can charge batteries too. Some folks use a combination of the “free” power sources in order to save running the more expensive generator.

Nevertheless, the generator is a good thing to have for it can add to your existing power sources and is a good back up to have standing by.

The easy way to make power, just running the generator for the AC power source is not as economical as using the batteries. But, a generator is still good to have. A good genset can cost as much as you want to pay and there are a lot of choices. Hyundai makes a huge 6000 watt (6kw) diesel with electric start that was selling at Carpenter’s Hardware for $1700 USD. This cost is just the tip of the iceberg if you are going to run the genset like the power companies do, all day and night. What makes generated power cost money is more the operation of the generator; fuel is expensive. If you don’t use the battery bank setup, you can select when you might want the AC power for one doesn’t need it all day and night, all the time. Even a refrigerator can take the night off and still keep things cold and frozen.

The generator is an excellent way to back up any power system, mains or your own. The battery system is the cheaper, quieter running day and night system, just like living downtown.