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Greetings :),

I'm currently homeless going into the teeth of a SE PA winter and trying to figure an optimal solution for powering various important devices (electric blanket, laptop, phone, tablet). I have access to places where I can plug in something to charge for a while (work, laundromat, etc) and a few places where I can sleep relatively securely, but which lack power. I also have a vehicle (1996 Oldsmobile Bravada), which I've resorted to sleeping in with the engine running on some of the colder nights, but that presents it's own range of problems (potential exhaust contamination, fuel consumption, damage to the engine from excessive idling, not to mention attracting curious police officers at 2am).

I was hoping someone would be able to either provide guidance or direct me to resources where I can learn how to read the labeling on my various devices and on potential power packs, etc to figure out what will serve best. Ideally, I'd like to find a portable battery pack (even a bulky one, as long as it's carry-able in one hand) that can sustain the electric blanket for 8-12 hours and be recharged from either a wall socket or the car (when driving). If it can recharge my other devices at the same time, that'd be great, but that would be a bonus...the blanket is critical.

Specific power pack recommendations would be appreciated, but I really want to learn how to calculate this sort of thing myself. I've run into problems with this or that device not charging with this or that adapter, etc and I'd like to know how to predict this sort of thing as well as be able to accurately assess my power needs and potential future solutions like solar chargers, perhaps setting up a stationary bike with a generator attached, etc.

Thanks :),

Mark Beatty
 

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I have no idea. But I have to say it is nice having another member here that can write well as in using punctuation, paragraphs, spelling, etc..

Oh crap, I suspect I'm in for it now. Before everyone jumps on me - I was thinking of the person using pink fonts and a couple of others that don't capitalize anything. I certainly wasn't thinking of you.
 

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Ok I'll bite

1. If you really are homeless then move south, the weather is milder.
2. An electric blanket? really? You can keep warm at sub zero weather with 2 good down comforters, you don't need electricity to survive, trust me and about 4000 years of human existence to prove this.
3. On a homeless budget you can't find a system that will keep you "warm" using electricity unless you are comfortable using someone else's electricity to accomplish it (read beggar)

But it brings me back to point 2, with a little begging for money and some planning you can survive anything the lower 48 can throw at you with a decent sleeping bag

4 Piece Modular Sleep System MSS Military Sleeping Bags Ecws 30 USGI EXC | eBay

Another point I need to make, as I have been homeless in my short life. Get a membership to a gym. When I was very young I lived in a camper but still had a full time job, I parked my camper in the woods and left it there and drove to the city VERY early in the morning and showered at the gym. Went to work, looking very dapper and did my job, then drove to the mountains and had a nice dinner.

For $40 a month you can have all the showers you need at the local gym.
 

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well I don't know where to start... been homeless sucks

if you can afford to, try and get a 2nd car battery in your boot (with a voltage cut off, so the car will still start)

next 12v chargers (cigarette lighter) will get you by

try and shop for 12v electric blankets (try camping stores) but these are high load items, and if your not careful you will wake upto a flat battery

but any good 4wd or camping store will have plenty of items, and will give you better real time advice that will help you out
 

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First of all, GODBLESS you, Mark Beatty. I wish you the best.
Second, like MR said, ditch the electric blanket, go to nearest salvation army or catholic charity, and purchase a "wool type" military blanket, and a used comforter. Then purchase a hoodie or two, and a scarf. Remember, most body heat is lost from the head, followed by the feet.
Check on youtube, there are numerous videos of portable solar gennies, and battery packs, one of our moderaters has some great gennies and inverters and things. My knowledge is zero, but I want to help.
Goodluck. I see you said work, so I PRAY things get better for you.
 

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First of all, GODBLESS you, Mark Beatty. I wish you the best.
Second, like MR said, ditch the electric blanket, go to nearest salvation army or catholic charity, and purchase a "wool type" military blanket, and a used comforter. Then purchase a hoodie or two, and a scarf. Remember, most body heat is lost from the head, followed by the feet.
Check on youtube, there are numerous videos of portable solar gennies, and battery packs, one of our moderaters has some great gennies and inverters and things. My knowledge is zero, but I want to help.
Goodluck. I see you said work, so I PRAY things get better for you.
This is fairly new information but we do NOT lose most of our body heat from the head/neck, it is actually a small percentage overall.

But I still don't swim after eating so I'm not surprised you didn't know that.

hehe.
 

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I really hate to do this on a forum, but...I would suggest going to Cheaprvliving.com for some ideas on how to best deal with your current Situation. The folks there have a lot of experience in living in various types of vehicles and "boon docking", some by circumstance but many by their own choice.

Frist I would suggest ditching the electric blanket idea unless you have some way to plug into a outlet using an extension cord. Items such as these use entirely too much wattage without having a sizable deep cycle type battery bank. Adding a genset is probably the next most feasible idea but your gonna need a place where you can safely park and run it without it being stolen or attracting unwanted attention. That's a pretty tall order to fill. Solar is not an option given the amount of wattage you are looking at using daily. Another option may be a couple of deep cycle batteries that can be put on chargers while you work and recharged. Your best bet for staying warm at night is a good set of thermals and a thick sleeping bag/comforter. If your not locked into staying in PA, I would definitely consider a move to the deep south where the winter weather is considerably milder in the winters making the cold much easier to deal with.
 

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Mark,

I agree with others that you might consider moving to a warmer winter climate but if not...

You insinuated that you work and that is good, you also mentioned electronics so you must have some luxury items. Like others have said, ditch the electric blanket idea, its just not efficient. Find some down comforters at Thrift Stores etc.

Now on to the REAL PROBLEM that you should focus on solving and that is SHELTER.

Since you work I assume you have some money, so dedicate your non working time to finding a small travel travel to be your temp shelter. I have seen thousands of unused or abandoned small travel trailers in every city and town across this country. Find one. Some people may simply give them to you just to get them off their property. If not, trade some labor to get one or see if you can strike a deal and find one cheap.

Propane tanks can be rented cheap and small inexpensive heater attachments are available. Propane is a much more efficient heat. Once you get your shelter situation improved, start looking at ways to earn more money. If you are not working at least two jobs, then my judgement is that you don't want to improve your situation.

Hope your situation improves.
 

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Mark,

I agree with others that you might consider moving to a warmer winter climate but if not...

You insinuated that you work and that is good, you also mentioned electronics so you must have some luxury items. Like others have said, ditch the electric blanket idea, its just not efficient. Find some down comforters at Thrift Stores etc.

Now on to the REAL PROBLEM that you should focus on solving and that is SHELTER.

Since you work I assume you have some money, so dedicate your non working time to finding a small travel travel to be your temp shelter. I have seen thousands of unused or abandoned small travel trailers in every city and town across this country. Find one. Some people may simply give them to you just to get them off their property. If not, trade some labor to get one or see if you can strike a deal and find one cheap.

Propane tanks can be rented cheap and small inexpensive heater attachments are available. Propane is a much more efficient heat. Once you get your shelter situation improved, start looking at ways to earn more money. If you are not working at least two jobs, then my judgement is that you don't want to improve your situation.

Hope your situation improves.
what he said, may need to find the tow bar and plug set up, but this is the best possible option suggested
 

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That is a pretty valid suggestion as I am a full time RVer and you can find small cheap RV's often times at a song and dance. They may be well used and in some degree of neglect but they are out there and available, just look some place like craigs list for them. Parking it some place might be a challenge though. There are places where you can park them cheap though at RV lots especially this time of the year in your location. If you know of a storage unit area that is kind of relaxed in their security surveleince you could rent a parking spot there and possibly fly under the radar till it gets warmer. This is often frowned upon but I do know folks that do this. If you can get away with this then you can have a little more comfort and space than you currently have. RV's are pretty dang cheap to heat with propane and pretty dang safe for this type of heating too. As far as thinking outside the box...I do know of one guy who for several years rented a storage unit to park his van in and at the rear of the unit build a bit of a studio apartment that was rather accommodating to the point I was a bit jealous! The guy had money, he was just that much of a tightwad when it came to spending it.
 
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