Tuesday, July 29, 2014


or the son of the return of the revenge of the vampire hippy electricians from mars in the land beyond the valley of

I lost my train of thought there somewhere..

oh, yeah, Awareness.

One of the issues in an affluent society is being blissfully unaware of where things come from and where they go.  I'm reminded of a black and white short called "When you throw something away, what does AWAY mean?"
Still pretty effective.

It's been a real experience here on Floating Empire to HAVE to become aware of .....well....everything.  What is the weather doing?  How much power is in the batteries?  When will we get sunlight to recharge them?  How much water is on board?  How much food?  Not only how much, but WHERE, the weight distribution being an issue.

Everything from laundry to contact lens solution, you have to be aware of.  Run out of fuel, you don't cook.  Run out of cold, things spoil.  You take nothing for granted.

Interesting object lesson.

Our recent experiences with managing battery power (see IceCapades I and II) are a great example.  We've learned by experience and liberal use of a volt meter how much power we have to play with, when the sun will actually provide us a boost, and how to preserve what we've got.  The inverter, it turns out, consumes power all on it's own.  So to charge, say, your phone, if you use a traditional plug-into-the-wall charger, means you turn on the inverter (to make 110v, AC, which consumes power) then plug in your power adapter (to make 5V DC, which consumes power) to plug in the phone (which, of course, consumes power).  In a modern American dwelling, this is inconsequential.  You just plug the damn thing in and worry about the miniscule amount of power it draws when the bill comes.

But if you're GENERATING that power, and have a limited amount, everything:  phones, tablets, computers, radios, navigational gear, lighting....everything you plug in is one less burst of wattage that you have available for, say, refrigeration, or the blender, or the sabresaw.

You become aware.

In this case, we've found this little toy useful:

Recognize it?  It's a 12V car adapter for USB plugs (which, happily, run and charge most of our electronics).  Plugging it into a 12V circuit on the boat means no inverter and no adapter to suck down voltage, and saves us...well....a little.

But a little adds up.

So we charge the phones and tablets and other detritus of modern communication using this directly linked to the 12V system, and keep the inverter for refrigeration and blenders and saws and the like.

Like I said, you become aware....aware and really freaking frugal.

stay tuned.

And check out Morgainne's blog by clicking HERE


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