# The good life off the grid: the wonders of 12 volts.

Let me start out by saying that COUNTRYSIDE readers are a great group of people. The many emails I received have shown me how truly good people in this country are. Thank you all!

Here are photos of my 12 volt set up. Very useful if the power goes out, as has happened in the northeast and other places. You will be glad that you have something like this in a natural or national emergency.

In the background (photo, top right) is the 12 volt lamp I made (see article last issue). Charging can be done by solar, homemade 12 volt generator, or just take it for a ride in you car or truck. Charging up is quick in a vehicle. If you have access to the grid, charge it up then. It takes about three to four hours to charge, either by AC or vehicle DC. The charge will last from four to 10 hours. Depending on how much power you use. The thing to look for in a battery is the Amp Hour Rating.

That is usually expressed as four or more amp hours (AH). That means, if you draw one amp, you have a four hour supply of 12 volt power. Since many things are rated at watts, to find the draw, just divide the voltage by the watts.

As an example:

You know that P = 50 watts, and V = 12 volts. So you can rearrange the equation to solve for I (current).

What would happen if you use a 12 volt battery and a 12 volt light bulb that uses 50 watts of power?

50 W/12 V = 4.16 amps. So, on a 4 amp hour battery this will last about four hours.

I paid \$20 for the 5", 12 volt black and white tv; \$29.99 for the 4-in-1 power supply; and the 12 volt car Fan purchased at a flea market for \$1. The 3-to-1 converter stuck into the power supply is (\$1) so you can plug more than one appliance in at a time.

The remote control boom box (pictured below) was given to me by my late mother, the scanner was given to me by an old girl friend back about 1985, and the short-wave radio was purchased at a flea market for \$20. The three little gray things that look like they fit in a cigarette lighter are 75 watt inverters. The inverters power low wattage AC things like the boom box, scanner, short wave radio, etc. I bought the first one for \$19.99 the second for \$12.99, and the third one was free. You can hook any of these items into the 12 volt 4-in-1 power supply shown, and they all work fine. Or you can hook all three in at the same time. But lessens battery life. Besides who would want to listen to all three at the same time.

The 75 watt inverter is my emergency set up. I also use this rig if I'm where there is no 110 volt service, or if the power goes off. As on the land, or in the backyard, I hate extension cords.

Thanks to all the readers of COUNTRYSIDE for their comments, and suggestions.

DAVID JOHNSON

RSTCO@MSN.COM