A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs - On the political side, there is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side there is naivety and over- complexity

My videos are on these two youtube channels visionontv 3,832,876 views and undercurrents 22,689,976 views


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Entries with tag battery .

Support reviewing offgride tech

Would like to test some bits from banggood for cheap offgride life. If you would like to push me a donation on the button on the left would help to make this happen.

Here are 2 potentially useful pieces of off grid kit

12000mAh 12V Car Jump Starter Car and laptop/USB Power Supply Battery

In theory this should charge off a portable solar panel, and run a laptop and any USB device. Almost all of these will fail to charge off 12-14v needing 16-19v to charge properly, this one says it will charge off a boat/car (12-14v) so good to test if this is true so I can recommend it as a backup winter boat/summer travel power source.

Nitecore MH20 CREE XM-L2 U2 1000LM USB Smallest LED Flashlight 18650

This would not only make a good flash light for dark nights on the tow-path it would make a good anti mugging device to scar away undesirables 1000 lumen is blighting bright. The current touch i use for this is only 70 lumen which works fine. This charges by USB so easy plug and forget no battery’s to replace.  Will it work? Hands on testing is the only way to tell.

If you would like to support reviewing these products and many others click the donate link on the side bar

Review of Goalzero adventure pack - Solar power

UPDATE: they sent a replacement panel and battery pack and am awaiting a bag to send back the old ones so they can test them. Good company.

Nomad 7 (7 watts) Solar Panel and Guide 10 Plus battery pack

This is a high power 5V usb solar charger that works as well as plugging your phone into the wall in good sunlight. With 1 amp of power it will efferently charge all but the latest huge phones such as the note II which it dose struggle a bit at.

An excellent products that I have been using for the last 2 years. In that time with about 9 months of hard use both parts of the set-up have finely failed.

It had been well used in over 7 country’s and over the summer of its failer was used for 6 months In Poland, Slovakia, Crimea before finaliey failing on a 2 month trip to the Canary islands.

The Guide10plus battery pack melted the plastic rappers off a set of Mignon Hybrid NiMH AA 2100mAh battery’s. They were finger burning hot, then with a fresh set of battery’s it gives off pungent white smoke from one of the internal components and dose not charge or function.

The panel failed at the same time, this time the failer was less final. Originally the panel worked fine in a good sunny position it could could charge 3 devises in a day with power to spare.

Now it is lucky to ¼ to half charge a devices in a days good sunshine. I think an internal cable may have broken if goalzero don’t come back with a solution might try to cut the fabric open and examine each join to check this. Both products had exposer to due and some light rain in north Europe in the south Europe the was a lot of fine blowing sand and volcanic dust. The panel had the cover folded back which might have stressed the internal cables? Neither had any “abuse” beyond normal hard use.

To sum up the products are excellent but not indestructible and am now reaching out to the manufacturer golazero to get feedback on what might have coursed both components to fail at the same time. Watch this space for a reply.

Boat battery bank

Am working out how to put in an upgraded battery bank for my boat in the space left by removing the air cylinders. (I also need the weight for ballast)

Am looking at installing 2 or 3 of these in the space opened up under my floor (need to be low hight)

Then running 5m of this cable black and red through the centre section of the boat (it is 7.2 long over all)

Connecting it to the battery’s with these

Then putting junction boxes at both ends and feeder lines off to plugs, lighting ect.

Then running the solar charging cable to the battery’s.

(Can use existing one, but need new charge controller soon)

Adding a second alternator in place of the water pump to bulk charge this battery bank.

(need alternator and mounting bracket)


Bought 2x 250amh banner battery’s doing installation under the floor (making the battery box now)

This is the first part of the order I put in:

Thank you for placing an order with us for the following items: 

P01038      1    Product code: P01038 
Part Number: MFB1-1
"Mega & Midi Fuse Power Distribution Box" 
Price: £20.87
P01023      1    Product code: P01023 
Part Number: CM35R
"Extra Flexible Tinned Copper PVC Battery Cable - 35mm² 240A" 
Colour: Red,  Length: By the metre 
Price: £7.49
P01024      1    Product code: P01024 
Part Number: CM35B
"Extra Flexible Tinned Copper PVC Battery Cable - 35mm² 240A" 
Colour: Black,  Length: By the metre 
Price: £7.38
P00125      6    Product code: P00125 
Part Number: CTT35/08
"Copper Tube Terminals - 35mm² Max. Cable" 
Stud Hole Dia: 8mm 
Price: £0.69
P01067      1    Product code: P01067 
Part Number: HRN1002
"Universal 12V Low Tone Disc Horn - 105dB" 
Price: £7.39
P00616      1    Product code: P00616 
Part Number: BIS1014
"Marine Battery Isolator Switch - 2 Positions" 
Price: £19.78
P00513      2    Product code: P00513 
Part Number: MD30
"Midi Link Fuses" 
Current Rating: 30A 
Price: £1.95
P00527      1    Product code: P00527 
Part Number: MF200
"Mega Link Fuses" 
Current Rating: 200A 
Price: £3.48
P00609      2    Product code: P00609 
Part Number: BT461P
"Positive Battery Terminal Clamp - Vertical M8 Stud & Nut" 
Price: £2.69
P00610      2    Product code: P00610 
Part Number: BT461N
"Negative Battery Terminal Clamp - Vertical M8 Stud & Nut" 
Price: £2.69


Boat Life - Battery power

Need at least 4 big battery’s http://www.alpha-batteries.co.uk/boat-batteries/225-ah-xplorer-leisure-battery/ could have more depending on space under the floor. Then cabling to put them all in series and charging for solar arrays and wind turbine, would need a selection of charge controllers and heavy-duty cabling – then lighter cabling around the boat for LED lighting

The battery’s will need to be put into a battery box with external ventilation.

Manually charging a 110 amh 12v lead acid battery

London hackspace is a creative space, I got the idea of manually charging the battery on the spur of the moment as the was a friendly guy doing the same "it better to do it manually" so took up the challenge, added a do-not hack sticker with contact info. Someone comment that you should mail the list, as it would be left overnight.

The "hack" bring a long term low battery back to life. It's about 5 months old and has been running on nearly empty last 3 months due to winter sun and horizontal mounted 100w solar panel.

Observe amps coming in and voltage stability - how much has this period of light use and low power state affected it. The battery charging is more to do with learning the charge cycle of 12v lead acid battery.

Set me alarm to come back to the space at 5.00am in the morning to check: it had been charging (13.4v input) at about 1/2 amp. Somebody turned it off in the night, had left a don’t hack sticker! After turning it back on its charging at 1.14 amp so it's recovering.  It holds voltage at 12.77 (up from 12.43)

Turn the voltage up to 14.2 in the morning and keep an eye on it, at over night rate of .5amp it would take more than 100 hours to charge to full... the ams goes up to neary 1.2 at this voltage.

Am practical learning volts and amps and charge cycles for lead acid battery's

My gasing detector if the water goes down in the pipe... (and it dose if I increase the vots to 15 and amps to max 2.8) at low charging it doesn’t move, no need for the fire extinguishers (:

knowledge in theory solidified by knowledge by practice - exactly what a hackspace is for.

Looking at wind turbines as little sun in winter

Anyone had any expirence? was looking at this one http://www.leturbines.com/products/le-300-wind-turbine/

With solar and battery’s to buffer (with engine final backup) I should be able to get reasonable reliable power for my boat http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermittent_energy_source

Heat, light and water on the boat

Next stage on boat (1):

Find friendly boater with a generator and good backup tools

Find a disc changing tool for B&D angle grinder

Mark off 2” cutting on the ceiling bulge

Extra mask and overall – find safety glasses.

Cut the fibre glass, using a hover to reduce dust

Then wood saw to remove the bulge – convert into tender?

Buy box of stainless steel screws and long 2x1' wood and fix to roof, then apply insulation and floor laminate to make new ceiling.

Soughes trolley to bring down to fake stone slabs from building yard in dolson.

X Buy and wheel down, cut wood for base and make metal braces for holding the vertical slab.

X Order stove to hackspace (send message to list) and flu trolley down to boat.

X Buy sandbags, place in bilge to cushion concrete blocks and in the bow space.

Move boat under bridge, cut 6” hole in roof for flue

X Put stove in place (fix down after testing in place for a week)

Add more vertalation 

Fix flu in place, make metal plate for roof of bout with support.

Get wood

Test fire, carbonmonoxide detecter.

Remove big box, use this to store my non boat positions (need place for this).

Next stage (2):

Think about doing the whole floor with hackspace laminate

Think about using cork tiling as insulation, might not be an issue after wood burner in place.

Buy water bladder for the water box – move the box forwarded under the bed. Basic plumbing in place.

Build a wooden platform for the bed, find a mattress.

Bring down Steve’s cassette toilet – put in place with a curtain.

Put a battery box in place and a number of batteries, fit a second solar panel and wiring for charging from the boat battery’s.

Put LED lighting in place, run cables length of boat, buy on/off switches and put in place.

Next stage (3):

Buy anker and store at front of boat

Fit or build navigation lights

Fit a spot light

More solar panels

Windmill 12v

Balcombe - power use

I have been at Balcombe anti-fracking camp for two weeks now (DRAFT)

Broken inverter box of shame

We have come a long way in the tech tent in helping to change the mindset of the camp to be more environmental. The camp is moving more slowly towards being in tune with the wider natural rhythms of the seasons. Our next challenge in this is to get the camp to recognise that there are seasons and that autumn is coming. As a natural shift, power generation will start to move from sun to wind and other more experimental energy generating.

What have we achieved:

We moved peoples' perception on to be aware that where power comes from affects when you have it. The current power is solar and it comes from the sun so any power we have is available when the sun is brightest and strongest – so we have power between 11-4 o’clock to use laptops and charge phones. Before and after this only core and emergency use is available.

We managed the transition from inefficient inverters powering 240v AC hungry household appliances to native 12v DV low powered equipment. This is a basic green issue of energy use: use less and use it better. The inverting is costing more then 40% of the power coming in when you take into account battery efficiency.

WHY? It's about the efficiency of the battery/wire/voltage converter technology. Storing the power then retrieving it has a cost. We decide not to pay this cost. We use the power as much as possible directly from the sun. The batteries are used as floats, they buffer/moderate the power. If you use the batteries as floats and buffers you can use this power with little loss. As soon as you shift use of the power to other times you have the energy cost of charging, storing and retrieving the power – this can be as much as 40% of the total coming in. When you add to this the inverting (DC-AC-DC) of power which we were doing at the start this makes no sense at all unless you are connected to a coal or nuclear power station. The reality was that the batteries in the camp were shipped out by car each day, charged on the grid then shipped back by car, drain and repeat.

We are still working on the respect and longevity of the environmentally damaging batteries that we use and are donated. 6 have been destroyed so far and most of the rest damaged/degraded. This is a ecological cost in polluting with dangerous lead and acid. It's a mission that we will have more time for after the basic set-up is in place.

We cleared the tech space of the mad rip-it-apart-every-night energy and replaced this with more clear and safe sorted people (well, as sorted as you get at protest camps). This led to semi-permanent working set-ups rather than the draining of energy of having to re-build everything from scratch each day. It's interesting that it's hard to move people beyond the black and white thinking of solving problems to the more holistic thinking of respect for diversity of strategies. This mad creative/destructive energy has a space in the camp – and we have to nurture a space for it, rather than try and use a lot of energy failing to exclude it.

We face the basic green issue of energy use, use less and use it better in the case of batteries. The core space is now working, the next challenge in power is diversity of sources. Can we move investment away from solar as the summer comes to an end and the daylight hours shorten and fade.

For any power you take out in the evening about twice as much power has to be put back in the morning, so it's a bad way of borrowing shifting use times. It's an education building a power station at a protest camp.

The best voltage regulator/battery for portable laptop solar power

You need to buy this exact model myPower ALL Plus MP3450i R3 External Instrument Battery as the cheaper ones in the myPower range do not allow power pass through, that is you can only charge OR power you cant do both at the same time. It also regulates the power in from 12-24VDC to charge the battery. A one stop solution for medium powered portable devices when combined with a 20-30 watt solar panel. 

myPower ALL Plus MP3450i is a lithium polymer battery (16% more capacity than MP3450) for use with portable, laptops, instruments and equipment as portable power, or as an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) for battery backup. This universal battery provides power for equipment between 5V and 19V. 

16.5 oz

6.85" (L) x 3.32" (W) x .9" (D)

Portable power pack

This looks quite usefull, next time we get some funding in I will get one to try, has anyone used one?

PortaPow Premium Dual Emergency USB Battery Extender External Pack here

The capacity is 6600mAh, 203g and 110x88x15mm

The pack outputs 2.1A from one socket and 1A from the other, a total of 3.1A of power which will alow fast chargeing. the only issue seams to be that it whont pass charge through (need to test this).


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