Wednesday, October 21, 2009

10-15-09: It's Electric!

I finally finished building our electrical cabinet and wired up the 24v battery bank and inverter. Gungnir wired the generator, service panel, breakers, and grounding rod; while I wired outlets and switches for the overhead lights. As soon as I find a pendant light I can live with, we’ll wire up the center indoor light, and then the front and back porch lights… but for now it’s just nice to have a bedside lamp and be able to recharge our appliance batteries without going to town or kicking off the generator every time.

I realize it may seem strange to some to actually wire an electrical system into a tent, but we’re going to be living in the tent for a year (+/-) and wanted some of the conveniences (and safety!) that a few electrical appliances can offer. In our case, light is definitely a key necessity this winter since we’ll only get about 3-4 hours of daylight in December and January. Sure, we have oil lamps, candles, flashlights and headlamps… but nothing beats being able to turn on a floodlight on the porch when you hear something creepy in the dark! Besides, doing everything by flame light or headlamp can get pretty old. Not to mention that you look like a Cylon walking around with your headlamp on… and you tend to blind the person you’re talking to if you look directly at them!! Come summer, we may actually need a small refrigerator/freezer… but for now, the back corner of the tent is our fridge (yes, it stays below 40F) and anything left outside stays frozen.

Once we finally decide which site we’re going to build the house on, then we’ll invest in solar panels and a wind turbine so that we don’t have to worry about running the generator so much. As it stands, we can run lights and recharge our computers for almost 3 weeks before kicking over the generator again… can’t beat that. All I can say is that it’s a darn good thing we went on that energy diet and got rid of most of our electric stuff… it’s amazing what you can really live quite happily (and easily) without.

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