[Stargate] [Gatesedge] Alternative power for computers and cell phones at long camping events

Steve Scott (Dietrich) dietrich.strobelbart at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 15 11:46:41 PDT 2010


I did not mean to suggest that this was an efficient way to charge your cell 
phone!  But, if you have the setup for your laptop (or other nice things like 
lights, showers, and medical devices), you could do like Eadric says and use a 
car charger cord for your cellphone.  For that matter, I have a charger for my 
phone that runs on 4 AA batteries.  It will charge it up from dead to full 
charge 2.5 times on one set of batteries.  They are available for most 
cellphones, I think, if you look hard enough. Here's the one that I use for my 
 It only cost about $15.00!

As to the microwave, I was mostly joking, though it was nice having one in our 
trailer at Gulf Wars 2009!  We prefer getting away from that stuff at SCA events 
too, but, it sure was great for warming up single meals! ;-)  Also, I did point 
out that you would need a larger inverter and more solar panels to make up for 
the extra draw with a microwave.  As Eadric pointed out, it can be done, but you 
need a big inverter, (at least 1500W, like this one 
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200422348_200422348 for $199.99) 
and a SMALL microwave.  The one we had at Celtic Harvest was our "big" 
microwave.  We have a smaller 600W one that we used to use in our camper 
trailer, while we had it.  You could easily run a small one (like this 600 watt 
one from Walmart 
 that costs $55.00) on the 1500W inverter. 

By the way, we no longer have the trailer, it was a means to an end, and had 
served it's purpose.  We hope to be going to Gulf Wars 2011 with a nice, roomy, 
period tent, with lots of amenities from Longship Furniture in it!

The whole point was, that for about  the same cost (+/- 10% or so) as a similar 
output gasoline generator, you can put together a portable solar setup to do the 
same thing, with no noise, exhaust fumes, or gasoline!



Numerus vestri pluma!
Number your feathers!

From: Eadric Anstapa <eadric at scabrewer.com>
To: Barony of Stargate <stargate at lists.ansteorra.org>; gatesedge at ansteorra.org
Sent: Fri, October 15, 2010 11:36:11 AM
Subject: Re: [Gatesedge] [Stargate] Alternative power for computers and cell 
phones at long camping events

I take two deep cycle batteries to war each year.

One runs my CPAP and it does it all week easily.  Actually it does it for more 
than a week since I am usually on site for 10 days or so.  The second runs the 
pump on the shower  and it always last a full week.    So far I have never 
either during the week.

I always have my cellphone and laptop for emergencies but I try not to use them 
at war unless the is real need.  I am at at the SCA event to get away from that 

For cellphone recharging dont plug a home cellphone charger into the AC 
inverter.  You waste power in converting from DC to AC and then from AC back to 
DC for the phone.  Just get yourself a car charger for your cellphone and make 
sire you have a 12v DC outlet connected to your battery so it can plug in there 
without having to do DC/AC/DC conversion.

It certainly is not cost effective to do this just for cellphone  recharging.  
It is much more cost effective to simply go on ebay and buy an extended runtime 
battery  and a spare battery for your phone and when you get out of your car 
just make sure they are fully charged.  Unless you are spending a lot of time on 
your phone a couple of batteries should last all week and if during the week you 
ever get in a car to take a trip to town  just make sure you  take em with you 
for a top-off and recharge.

I would caution people against thinking they could run a microwave without 
spending a bunch more cash on a significantly more robust setup.  Microwaves 
actually draw a good bit of juice and most affordable DC/AC Inverters aren't 
going to handle them  or will burn up trying to power them.  A typical low power 
microwave draws about 10A of 120V power or 1200 Watts.  The small Microwave that 
Deitrich had at Camwood last weekend drew 13.5A or 1620 Watts.  The $80 Inverter  
in the list below is a 750W inverter and one needed to power a Microwave is 
going to cost $200 or more.  But yes, it could be done as this is basically the 
way that off-grid 100% Solar and Wind powered homes do it.


On 10/15/2010 10:53 AM, Mike Dudley wrote:
> Won't run a microwave, but for longer events like Gulf Wars, we pack
> our Powerpack.
> http://www.duracellpower.com/portable-power/power-packs/powerpack-600.aspx
> It keeps the cameras and cellphones charged for a week.  Have an extra
> motorcycle battery that can be hooked up to it for extra charging
> power (as I usually end up charging other people devices also).   Its
> 28Ah, but its an alternative to the DIY version.  It charges via AC or
> DC (I think that solar panel would work on it, I  think I might look
> into that since the battery is pretty dead after a week of use), and
> has a DC outlet, 3 AC outlets, a radio, light, and comes with jumper
> cables.
> Have also used it during power outages.  During Hurricane Ike, we used
> it at night to power stuff, as I didn't want to run the generator
> while we slept. And I have used it plenty of times to jump start
> vehicals.
> - Mike Dudley / Collwyn O'Snowdon
>    http://www.jmtimeless.com
> On Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 2:11 PM, Steve Scott (Dietrich)
> <dietrich.strobelbart at yahoo.com>  wrote:
>> For those of you who find that they just cannot go a whole week without  
>> laptop; check out this alternative for charging a laptop or cellphone at long
>> camping events:
>> Deep cycle marine battery     $75.00--$150 depending on how big you want.
>> http://www.batterymart.com/c-deep-cycle-marine-batteries.html
>> 12vdc to 120vac inverter      $79.99
>> http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200422356_200422356
>> 15 watt 12v Solar panel        $79.99
>> http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200422042_200422042
>> Charge controller                  $29.99
>> Battery Box                          $10.00
>> http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200321559_200321559
>>     Total                            ~$275.00
>> This setup would be enough to pretty much keep your laptop going 
>> assuming at least some fair weather.  These solar panels are pretty good, 
>> on a cloudy  day.  A 32Ah battery will give you about 15 hours of charge time 
>> most laptops by itself, without recharging.  There is also a 5 watt solar 
>> with a built in controller and a smaller inverter if all you want to charge is 
>> cell phone.  For that you get out under $150.00!
>> Or you can get a larger battery, a larger inverter, and link several solar
>> panels, and run whatever you want!  How about a microwave in your tent at 
>> Wars? ;-)  You could pull that off for about what a generator would cost.  
>> all without the noise and stink of a generator!  And you don't have to buy 
>> gasoline!  Keep in mind that generators are rather frowned upon at Gulf Wars!
>> ;-)
>> Now, let all the screaming about "that's cheating!" begin!  ;-)
>> Just my 2  pence....
>> YIS,
>> Dietrich
>>   Numerus vestri pluma!
>> Number your feathers!

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