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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All, I grew up being taught by grandparents that married and raised seven children through the great depression of the early 1900's. They taught me to live off the land, how to grow and can in summer for food in winter, make my own cloths and basically how to survive in the worst of times. In February 2020 my wife of 35 years lost her battle with cancer and I was left with little savings, no job and just my wits to survive. Covid hit shortly after her passing and I began to look at ways for me to survive until my retirement age came around. I have spent the last year living on under $160.00 a month but haven't missed a meal, I've had a roof over my head (I own my home) and cloths on my back. I'm not a prepper but do have the skills to survive if I need them. Now with the way our country is going, I'm thinking I should begin to find new way to survive should the worst actually happen. I began this year with putting in a garden and adding animals to my small property. I tend to stockpile ammo, when I can afford it, or barter my work for items I think I may need to survive future needs. I have not needed any utilities since I generate my own electricity, drilled my own water well and found ways to get around lack of phone, internet and TV. I have weapons to use for protection should the worst happen or to put meat on the table (my priority at this time). Does this make me a prepper? I don't think so, I think it makes me a survivor. And, since there are no Survivor Forums, I joined to see if there are things I haven't thought of or prepared for in the future of these uncertain times. That being said, thank you for excepting me in this forum.
 

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Welcome from Florida.
26 years ago my wife and I moved from the rat race of South Florida, where I grew up, and moved to rural North Florida.
We have a garden, chickens, and peace and quiet. We have been retired for 5 years now.
Stock pile canned food. Every time you go to the store, check the sales ad. When green beans or peas or corn, or whatever, is 2 for $1 - buy 10.
Before you know it, you will have a stash to fall back on.
Right now, my wife has us up to three years worth of non perishables.
And we do this on Social Security supplemented by me working part time for little more than minimum wage.
We are dirt poor, but we'll never starve.
 
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Welcome to PF. The world is changing so fast.
 
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Hello All, I grew up being taught by grandparents that married and raised seven children through the great depression of the early 1900's. They taught me to live off the land, how to grow and can in summer for food in winter, make my own cloths and basically how to survive in the worst of times.

In February 2020 my wife of 35 years lost her battle with cancer and I was left with little savings, no job and just my wits to survive. Covid hit shortly after her passing and I began to look at ways for me to survive until my retirement age came around.

I have spent the last year living on under $160.00 a month but haven't missed a meal, I've had a roof over my head (I own my home) and cloths on my back. I'm not a prepper but do have the skills to survive if I need them. Now with the way our country is going, I'm thinking I should begin to find new way to survive should the worst actually happen.

I began this year with putting in a garden and adding animals to my small property. I tend to stockpile ammo, when I can afford it, or barter my work for items I think I may need to survive future needs. I have not needed any utilities since I generate my own electricity, drilled my own water well and found ways to get around lack of phone, internet and TV. I have weapons to use for protection should the worst happen or to put meat on the table (my priority at this time).

Does this make me a prepper? I don't think so, I think it makes me a survivor. And, since there are no Survivor Forums, I joined to see if there are things I haven't thought of or prepared for in the future of these uncertain times. That being said, thank you for excepting me in this forum.
Sounds like you have a very good story.

I took the liberty of breaking your post into paragraphs for easier reading.

Care to share pics of your electricity generating system? Solar or otherwise?

Thanks
 

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Welcome from Iowa. We all just want to survive in these uncertain times. So sorry about your wife.
 

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My mom and dad, and my grandparents were prepard because they had to be. Both lived thru the depression. Throughout my childhood, I was raised the same way. It took me almost another 40 years to realize it is the only way. You may already be a prepper, using a different handle. Welcome to the group from southern AZ.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Care to share pics of your electricity generating system? Solar or otherwise?
I don't have pic at this time of my solar setup but will get them for you later this week. I use trips to town to stop by my local Walmart to use their free Wifi as my internet connection. Phone is a burner style that cost me $20.00 + tax for unlimited talk and text with one gig data each month. Solar is used on a 26 FT 14 year old camper that I bartered my labor for two years mowing a neighbors yard to keep it looking like they are home during the warmer months. I also collect their mail and other services to keep it looking like they are home while living up north in the cooler regions.

My solar equipment is: twelve 100 watt Renogy panels wired 4 in parallel and those three groups are wired in series running 40 FT through 10 gauge solar wire to my Midnight Solar 200. Power is then sent to four 200 AH Renogy AGM batteries wired as a 12V system. Power then goes to an Aims 3000 watt inverter and connects to the 30 amp breaker in the distribution box of my camper. The external plug was disconnected from the power panel and then wired into the Aims inverter shore power connection point. That gets plugged into my generator to help recharge my batteries as well as running my camper when battery power falls below what will recharge during the next day or is close to being dangerously low. Usually it only requires about one half gallon of gas to bring everything back to the fully charged level. During this past winter my generator ran once every 3 or 4 days just before sun set when clouds were 100% sun blocking for the full day. A half to three quarters of a gallon of fuel gives me a run time of about four and a half to five hours on a 3200 watt pure sine generator on power saver mode.

For backup on really cloudy or overcast days I have a second setup I can turn on to assist with charging. It consist of two 255 watt Poly panels, one Renogy 40A controller. A 40A Renogy charge controller can handle up to 600 watts without over loading and burning out the controller. A 60A controller can handle up to 800 Watts with no problems.

I have a third setup that consist of one 20A Renogy water proof controller connected to one 100 watt panel that is connected to my battery that is used to power my camper interior lights.

All panels get repositioned every three months to be at the correct angle for that season. I have upgraded one set of panels on my main charging source with a solar tracker. Cost was just $130.00 for the tracker and I plan to do the same upgrade to the other panels as funds allow. It really does add more power for charging with the panels moving with the sun. I live in the middle of an open field. There are no trees within a mile of my home in all directions. I can see people coming before they even know I'm looking for them.

I have an extension cord that runs from my camper exterior plug into my home (I no longer live in) to power my frig, freezer and washing machine. I only unplug the frig and freezer to do a single load of cloths once or twice a week. That long without opening the doors on them will not have a drop in temperature in either of more than one or two degrees, even on the hottest of days.

If I had it to do all over again I would have purchased 3 - Trina Solar TSM-410 watt mono panels in place of the 12 Renogy panels. That would have given me a savings of around $800.00 U.S. dollars on the main system. I would have spent the saved money on the 60A charge controller and three more of the Trina panels. Another savings of around $200.00 U.S. dollars. Total savings for me would have been somewhere around $900.00 after all the swapped items were purchased. The only other upgrade I would make is to go for the extra cost of lithium batteries which would add a cost of around $2,700.00 (minus savings from already mentioned upgrades) to my project. It would lower my camper weight, lithium batteries last 10 plus years vs. five for AGM batteries. They charge faster, cut weight by around half and can withstand a full discharge with minimal damage to the battery. AGM batteries can only use about half the stored power before you start damaging the battery. AGM's were around $600.00 each and Lithium can be purchased for around $900.00 to $1200.00 depending on the brand you purchase. I have talked to people that have had lithium that are about 80% efficient after 14 years of use on a daily schedule. I can't verify this myself but do trust my sources.

For those who may think I seem to have it all together, thank you but I am still learning to live when times get rough. This was my first camper and my first try at solar. I was very lucky with all of this and if I would have had someone else depending on me I don't think I would have taken the chance of failure. I grew up in a very poor family that depended on each other to survive so I had a good head start preparing for this life. Teach your children so they have a chance in the future. Poor only counts when money is involved. Rich are those who have prepped and have the skills to survive in any possible future or disaster. Learning should never stop until they lower you into the ground. Who knows what you may contribute to your fellow family or group member if you keep learning new ways to get to the finish line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Okay, here is pic I said I would offer. The one on the 4X4 pole is set at summer angle with single axis tracking. The two panel setups on the ground are showing the difference between summer and winter angles. Spring and fall angles are somewhere in between and are the same for both spring and summer.

Material for the elevated panels was salvaged from a friends burn pile. Angle iron was scrap from a project I had back a few years ago. I used a video from YouTube that was posted by James Biggar to design and build my mount for the tracking panels. Most of the info for my solar build was provided by Missouri Wind and Solar in Seymour, Missouri USA. My tracker was purchased off Ebay from a company in New Jersey USA and runs off 12V power supplied by my battery bank.

Another note if you are thinking about adding solar where you live, angles change depending on where you live on the planet. There are places on the internet that will tell you the correct angles for your general location. An example is the panel on the pole is the angle year round (winter, spring, summer and fall) for solar in Panama and the different angles I have shown on the ground are the different ones in my area of the USA.

I hope this helps anyone wanting or thinking about adding solar to their place. It will be a little expensive in the beginning but will pay for itself in a few years. OH! Panels are generally good for 25 years or more and there are tools to verify if they have gone bad. Mine have made it through one really cold spell and two hurricanes that came within 50 miles of me. Unless they get a direct blow or impact they generally can withstand some really hard blows without breaking.
WIN_20210718_19_11_57_Pro.jpg WIN_20210718_19_12_27_Pro.jpg
 

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Howdy and welcome, from Texas!

That's an impressive solar setup. You're gonna fit in just fine here. ;)
 
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