Alternative power and Household appliances

Submitted: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 20:18
ThreadID: 4764 Views:2129 Replies:11 FollowUps:12
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We are building a hideaway holiday shack in the bush miles away from main power,looking for ideas from experienced bush travellers, for home comforts with inexpensive alternative power and household items, especially 12volt. We have a small 900watt generator to be used when all else fails, so as we can enjoy the quietness.
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Reply By: Eric - Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 22:47

Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 22:47
Geoff.
Interesting subject. I have had such a shack for 30 years and have used solar and wind but if you are not there full time things go wrong or get stollen so I use a very old and heavy generator that is almost silent. Eric.
AnswerID: 19316

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 10:09

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 10:09
G'day Eric, Thanks for replying, wind sounds a great idea, can you enlighten me to how this works. This shack will get well used by family and all the tagalongs from our family so I can see it nearly being fully occupied. We are thinking of either solar (and now wind) for pumping water through the place from a tank. Any ideas? Geoff
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Reply By: flappan - Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 11:30

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 11:30
I would suggest having a look at the Rainbow Power Companies website.

They aren't cheap, but they may top quality gear.

Solar/Wind, I think they do it all.

They are based in Nimbin.
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Follow Up By: twandy - Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 12:21

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 12:21
We have tentatively installed a Rainbow solar system at Easter. Only a couple of lights up as we are going to add a room to our shack/shed. Up till then we had gas and coleman's. Quite a difference. The unit we purchased was about $1400 plus two batteries about $200 each direct from supplier. Any other comforts came gradually over 10 years. An old gas fridge (from trading post), a gas stove from an area that had just had natural gas put in. Car fridge used as freezer when we are up there more than a week. Water pump to get water from creek up to tank (melted in fires) then down to shed. Module shower found on nature strip. Gas hot water donated by neighbour. 44 gallon tank turned into the most effective heater I have ever used. Heavy drapes for windows to keep out cold/heat works wonders. Lots of books and games. A creek, kookaburras and nearest neighbour 15 mins away. Well, that is my list of things to have. Oh, don't forget the bandage near the front door for snake bites (just in case, we have never used it). And chain saw comes in handy together with the winch. Come to think of it I just might keep the electric winch. That is all I can think of now.
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Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 13:42

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 13:42
Thanx Flappan and Twandy sounds the way to go.....back to the old basics......We appreciate this challenge to live for a time without the pressures of modern equipment and yet have more time to enjoy and use what is around us. We will look into all the ideas you have suggested. Thanks Geoff and Jen
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Reply By: shaky - Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 20:18

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 20:18
Geoff,
look at www.otherpower.com
list run & used by people who are miles from mains power.
AnswerID: 19395

Reply By: Member - Bob - Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 21:16

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 21:16
Geoff, my first thought was gas for lighting and cooking, but then I wondered which home comforts you are planning?
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Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 22:12

Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 22:12
Bob, we are going to use gas for cooking, fridge and today picked up a second hand cheap gas hotwater system. We also picked up a 12 volt marine pressure pump which is quite strong enough to pump water from the tank. We found the generator will run 2 fluros for lighting, so the only thing we lack is a pump from the dam for septic toilet use.
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Reply By: Eric - Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 23:29

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 23:29
Geoff.
Wind mills for pumping water have bean around for many years, they cost$500-$5000 depending on condition. Wind mills can destroy themselves if left unatended, if you are confident that there will be someone there most of the time it may be worth the effort to set one up. My expereance with shared huts is that things are not left in working order so I have everthing with me except the big old generator. It is a lot easier to change you habits than to make the shack just like home. Eric.
AnswerID: 19411

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 22:47

Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 22:47
Eric, Will keep our eye open for a windmill, our family is quite handy in repairing so we may pick up one which needs a touch up. Will be good to pump water from the dam. Thanks Geoff
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Reply By: Busta - Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 03:03

Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 03:03
I found this site today, plenty of info on alternative power projects.

http://www.acs.comcen.com.au/projects1.html
AnswerID: 19414

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 22:28

Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 22:28
Busta, we have looked up this site and it very interesting and informative we have stuck it in our files and will definitly use it for a few setups, Thanks Geoff and Jen
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Reply By: Member - Tony- Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 19:02

Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 19:02
Hi Geoff I grew up on a farm with a kero fridge, woodstove,tilley lights and a wood copper for a bath on friday. Now have a bush shack and not much has changed gas fridge and of course the one in the truck, wood cooking inside and mostly out, shower is a canvas bag and hoisted up full of warm water heated in a drum permanetly next to the fire, and lighting is 12 volt fluoro,s wired in and plugged into the truck, lasts for ages. Our Oldies lived this way and I have done with kids for the past 30 years and now they do to, enjoy.The Ghost
AnswerID: 19446

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 22:43

Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 22:43
Thanks Tony for the info, it is a great life with all the gadgets from the so called "dark ages". We live in the bush on a small farm with no neighbours and yet still too close to the city. We have a chip heater for hot water here, and yet we cannot seem to be able to pick up another, so maybe they have quit making them. When we first shifted here we had no power and used a 8kva diesel generator,it was turned off when not needed as the thumping of the engine was disturbing. This had us going to bed with the chooks and getting up with or before them. We were much healthier and had more fun as a family with no TV etc, so this is why we want to go bush and have the quietest of holiday with a little comfort . Today we have picked up a few things very cheap in gas and 12volt secondhand. Pleased with our bargains! Thanks again to everyone who help with their ideas. Geoff and Jen
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Reply By: Member - Bonz (Vic) - Friday, May 09, 2003 at 21:30

Friday, May 09, 2003 at 21:30
Geoff, try this idea on for size. Go to the nearest electricity company and ask them for a cost to get the mains power to your block. When you get their quote, and recover from the shock of the cost, go to your state government and enquire about remote power systems (called RAPS systems) grants which you may be able to access. It might help you defray some of the cost of setting up your own system.

I have seen the best systems work off solar and a battery bank unless you are in a windy place it can be unreliable.

All the best________________________________>
Fraser Island Dreaming
________________________________>
AnswerID: 19543

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Saturday, May 10, 2003 at 11:07

Saturday, May 10, 2003 at 11:07
G'day Bonz, We have already had our fright and taken a while to get over the shock symptoms, the cost was just over $20,000, so we will do as you say and try another avenue, could be very interesting. We want to eventually live up there in retirement (one year) and just at the moment testing the waters. By the way keep dreaming of Fraser, you'll get there, thats all we will ever do, as we live on the Fraser coast and yet seem to travel south into SA and everywhere else. This Sept is our trip to the Top End and maybe we will leave Fraser for retirement too:-) Thanx for your advice, much appreciated. Dream On Geoff & Jen
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Follow Up By: Member - Bonz (Vic) - Saturday, May 10, 2003 at 17:08

Saturday, May 10, 2003 at 17:08
Geoff,

At $20000 I would seriously look at the mains power. 15 years ago when I worked in the electricity infrastructure area I always recommended mains power if the quote was 12-15 grand, thats got to be close to $20k now with inflation. If you are thinking of retiring up there then the convenience vs the running costs of a remote area power setup outweighs in favour of the mains. I would stop the power 150 metres short of the house and run the rest underground as you wouldn't want an ugly transformer and pole up where you live.

All the best________________________________>
Fraser Island Dreaming
________________________________>
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FollowupID: 12416

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Sunday, May 11, 2003 at 11:47

Sunday, May 11, 2003 at 11:47
G'day Bonz, The thing is, the 54 acres was not much more than $20,000 to buy, so to get our money back would be a gamble. By the way when I look back on the last thread I had sent it looked as if retirement was one year away, but sad to say, No, it is many years away, so what happens between now and then especially in this area as there is no industry to boost economy. Although where we live now and more coastal areas have almost doubled, if not more, so we may have a ripple affect come over the whole area. Not willing to take the plunge yet of spending too much especially when the working $ is getting eaten away by the mighty tax rat at the moment. So might stick to what you said before and look into the RAPS and other alternatives, that way we can sell it all again and not have a big loss, if we want to move on. Thanks Geoff
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Reply By: twandy - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 21:22

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 21:22
Geoff, Like you our place did not and still does not look like being a place where the economy is going to take off. We started off 10 years ago with a tent, then a small caravan, then built a cover over the caravan that got out of control and became a room, then a composting toilet and so on. Over this time we have come to love the area and whilst not investing large amounts of money (solar was the only big outlay) we have managed to make it comfortable with what we were given, found, garage sales etc. It is good fun making do and we know that come retirement we will probably build because it will be worth it to us. Not a big house, but rather a small open plan. So go slowly, within budget and enjoy it.
AnswerID: 19800

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 16:41

Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 16:41
Twandy, Good on you!! I am glad to hear from people with humble lifestyles, without being too way out. We have now ended up with a gas fridge, gas hotwater, gas stove, 12volt lighting, 12 volt water pump from the tank, plus generator fluro lighting which runs 2 fluros and a 100 watt outdoor light. We feel we have done well with all or most things secondhand and in good nic by just asking around. We know it doesn't take money to make a house a home so are looking forward to many relaxed family fun times together.
Thanks Geoff and Jen
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Reply By: rodeoowner - Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 10:39

Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 10:39
My parents have a shack wothout mains. It has gone more modern over the last few years with solar power. Gas lights (equivalent to 60W) are available and reasonably cheap. Gas hotwater of course and the fridge. The old man put in a 12V 220 litre fridge, but wished he hadn't. It draws too much power from his relatively small battery bank. We had a 3/4 size (not sure on litres) gas fridge which worked great. Oh and if the septic is a problem you can always go with a gas toilet (no, I'm not joking). Cheers.
AnswerID: 20354

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 16:50

Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 16:50
Rodeoowner, Your parents seem to have all worked out to be comfortable, I think that is the key to a making a shack a home. Seeing you are not joking, tell us more about your gas toilet, sounds different, although we have bought a new septic system recently which was quite reasonable in price. I have just replied to the thread above and that will let you in on what we have found recently. Thanks Geoff and Jen
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Reply By: rodeoowner - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 22:27

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 22:27
Geoff,
try www.ehcambridge.com.au

I think that's it. They retail for $3960 which seems expensive but considering you don't need a spetic tank it's reasonable. I have installed 2 and they seem to be working quite fine. Australian made too.

Cheers and goodluck.
AnswerID: 20487

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