Posts tagged: low power

Returning to the Light

By , December 13, 2019

Wednesday afternoon, wind from the north developed, driving our wind generator, and returning power to the homestead. After much of a week of low power, our battery charged up, and life began to return to normal for us.

We had relied on oil lamps for most of our light. Michelle began hauling headlamp batteries into town for recharging. We struggled to begin our Christmas season without music on the stereo, or lights on the tree or house. We barely managed to keep the basic electrical functions of the cabin moving forward, as the battery’s charge level slipped down to 30%.

Zeiger family homestead wind generator

A good, steady north wind drives the homestead wind generator (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

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Analog Days, Oil Lamp Nights

By , December 6, 2018

Our 21st century homestead seems like a 19th century homestead lately. As often happens at this time of year, we’ve entered a period of “doldrums.” Our weather has remained steadfastly cloudy and calm, reducing our power generation to bare minimum. Our battery bank has dipped close to the 20% minimum charge we’d resolved never to reach.

Even when we get clear skies, we don’t get the solar power we need. We’re so close to the winter solstice that the sun stays low enough on the horizon for the southern point to block it as it transits. We’re only getting a couple hours of direct sunlight on the solar array at most.

Usually, we can rely on our region’s abundant winds to make up the difference by driving our wind generator. These last weeks, though, we’ve hardly had more than a light breeze now and then, mostly from the north, a quarter that gives us little power.

We felt like we’d entered unknown territory at mid-November, when we fell to 40% (see Testing the Limits). Now, we wish for that much power!

Snow on the Chilkat mountains

I took some photos of the Chilkat range, across the Chilkat River, on our way to town Wednesday to write this post (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

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