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 Subculture: Preppers

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soothsayer
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PostSubject: Subculture: Preppers   Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:00 pm

Introduction

I don't know if a prepper is an actual subculture or not.  It certainly isn't something akin to Furries or the Steampunk movement, but the people involved do tend to flock to specific sites and conventions, as well as participate in what 'normal society' would deem as odd or unusual behavior.

...

I guess after reading that, the prepper community would be a subculture.

So, what is a prepper?  A prepper, or a survivalist, is someone who prepares for an emergency situation.  This isn't your basic "toss an emergency roadside kit in the back of your car" type situation, but rather something a bit more.  As Wikipedia puts it:

Wikipedia wrote:
Survivalism is a movement of individuals or groups (called survivalists or preppers) who are actively preparing for emergencies, including possible disruptions in social or political order, on scales from local to international. Survivalists often acquire emergency medical and self-defense training, stockpile food and water, prepare to become self-sufficient, and build structures (e.g., a survival retreat or an underground shelter) that may help them survive a catastrophe.

Anticipated disruptions may include:

  • Clusters of natural disasters, patterns of apocalyptic planetary crises, or "Earth Changes" (tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, solar storms, severe thunderstorms, floods, tsunamis).
  • Anthropogenic disasters (chemical spills, release of radioactive materials, nuclear or conventional war, oppressive governments).
  • The general collapse of society caused by the shortage or unavailability of resources such as electricity, fuel, food, or water.
  • Financial disruption or economic collapse (caused by monetary manipulation, hyperinflation, deflation, or depression).
  • A global pandemic.
  • Widespread chaos or some other unexplained apocalyptic event.


As with any group, you can have a wide variety of participants, with some taking this notion to a high extreme. Myself, I consider myself a survivalist, as the term prepper tends to bestow an image of those who are creating bunkers and stockpiling years upon years of food. As a survivalist, I try to learn things that would help my survive in the wilderness. I do this not so much because I fear TEOTWAWKI (a term found on many prepper sites, it means The End Of The World As We Know it), but rather a disruption of the infrastructure. I'm learning to be a woodsman / mountain man, to live independently in case something happens (I still like the idea of an EMP or solar flare knocking out the power grid). Instead of stockpiling ammo and foodstuff, I collect working knowledge and practice it; I am comfortable in knowing that, if I had to, I could survive in the woods for an extended period of time.

The purpose of this thread is not to convert people into this lifestyle, but rather to show or to keep a log of the things I am doing. Like I said in the paragraph that I had deleted because it didn't fit in with the order of things, I've been buying books and magazines, and scouring the internet for important key survival techniques. You could easily do what I've done, or you could ask me something and I'll respond and tell you what I've learned. Or, I suppose, you could also just type it in any browser search bar and get the same thing.

Okay, so then this will be more of a record of my doings. If there is anything you wish to add or ask, by all means do so!
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PostSubject: Re: Subculture: Preppers   Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:52 pm

Battery Bank

My most current project is the creation of a battery bank.  This would be a series of batteries hooked up to supply a limited amount of energy to run and operate a device or group of.  This can be used, depending on how many batteries are wired up, to power anything from a series of lights to a television to a fridge to a home, in the event the main power supply goes out.  Coupled with a generator or solar panels, a battery bank's life can be extended.

I don't intend to supply power for my home.  The cost of batteries would be too much, and I'm already working on things to act as back-ups should the power ever go out (such as a solar oven and a wood burning stove).  No, what I am thinking of falls in between an emergency power pack or portable power station and a battery bank.

The device I am going to be constructing will primarily be used for camping or field investigations (please see my website for more information), although it can easily be used from the home.  With mine, what I am planning would involve either a dolly or luggage cart, a few batteries (around four I think), an inverter and a power strip.  If I think about it, I may hook up a pedal powered generator to it as a recharging option.

The device itself is simple: wiring the batteries in a series (positive to positive, negative to negative), you increase the number of amp hours, which increase the amount of life you have in the bank.  I don't know the exact math off hand, but there's a handy site that has a series of calculators to determine how many batteries you need, at what power level, and how to hook them up.  That site cane be found here, but you can just do a basic search online and find stuff that best suits your needs.

Anyway, the series of batteries needs to be hooked up to a power inverter.  An inverter converts DC to AC or vice versa.  Inverters come in two types, sine wave and square wave.  A sine is preferable, but is most costly.  Also, and more importantly, you want to make sure you purchase an inverter that is appropriate for the amount of power contained within the battery bank; should you get one that is not adequate for the job, there's a high chance of an electrical fire.  You can read more about inverters on the wiki page here.

In turn, this inverter will be connected to a power strip.  The whole assembly, at least the one I am planning, will be mounted on a dolly or luggage cart for portability.

When determining how big of a bank you'll need to make, you have to figure out how much power you'll be needing, and for how long.  That's where the above mentioned calculators comes in.  You can always increase or decrease the amount of batteries within the series, but just be sure that the inverter can handle the load.

Now, I haven't really checked to see what kind of power I'll be needing.  I probably won't need that much... at the most (as far as I can tell), I'll be running a few surveillance cameras or charging other batteries for recording devices or laptops, maybe run a radio or some lighting.  Like I said, not much.  However, it really isn't the amount of stuff I'll be running, but the length of time they'll be in operation.  With the surveillance cameras, I'm looking at 8 hours plus.  I've lucked out in that these particular cameras contain a microSD card, so there isn't any sort of DVR system involved.

There was something else I was going to add, but I've lost my train of thought.
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PostSubject: Re: Subculture: Preppers   Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:13 pm

Since the last post (almost eleven months ago!) I've purchased an emergency power pack: the Schumacher XP2260W Power Source. This was a hesitant purchase from Walmart for just under $100. I say hesitant because, while the majority of reviews are outstanding, there are some that are quite bad. So far I haven't had any issue with mine, and may consider buying a couple more.

The primary reason I bought mine was so that I could set up some surveillance cameras away from any power source (for investigations), to which it worked beautifully. Will be buying some plastic bins to act as weather proofing.

The second reason this was bought was for emergency purposes. I was able to test that a few months ago when Crivitz had a mini tornado go through the town. I was able to power up and run some (minor) electrical devices, including lights. I would have tested a heating pad for cooking purposes, but I didn't think about that at the time. I've also successfully jump started a vehicle AND charged up a laptop battery while the laptop was in use. All of this was just with one charge.

I hope to buy a few more, again primarily for my investigations. All the camping gear worked well for an emergency situation, but there's something about being able to pop in and watch a movie to keep people distracted or entertained that really works wonders.

...

My next purchase, or rather my next acquisition, is for a small wood burning stove, to be contained in our basement, with the exhaust running though our pre-existing chimney. This is going to be used for basic cooking and heating should the power ever fail in the winter time. It definitely won't be able to heat the 2nd floor of our home, but it will be big enough to heat the basement, and in turn, the heat should be able to radiate to the main level of the home; if not, at least it'll heat the basement. This spring, Gail and I are going through the garage in its entirety, and getting rid of absolutely everything we don't need or crap that has just accumulated. This should easily clear a third of the garage (easily), leaving enough room for wood storage, of which we already have a willing supplier (and the ability to harvest our own).

The funny thing about this is that Gail's all on-board with it. She loves the idea. She doesn't know if the chimney is good or not (but I figure we would just run the duct up through it anyway, so big deal); she's also a little paranoid about permits and whatever, but I'm assuming we just won't get one. The house had a wood burner when we bought it, but the previous owners took it with them. Way I figure, we're just restoring the house to its original condition. She's also thinking about burning wood while running the heater to help reduce costs, which is fine by me.

Already have a burner lined up. The friends of mine that own the bar? They had two in their basement, and are willing to give me one of them for free. Can't beat that!

...

Solar panels and bicycle generator. Been thinking about these a lot lately, trying to decide which would make more sense in getting. So far, I'm leaning towards the bicycle generator. The solar panels really aren't that cost effective to me, and they are really limited as to what they can charge, and for how long, whereas the bicycle generator can recharge anything that can plug into it... including my emergency power packs.

Huh. I guess I just answered my own question: purchase a bicycle generator. Operated by foot or arm power, a good generator can generate up to 20w. Hell, I've seen videos of someone hooking up a portable DVD player to one, as well as a guy running a small TV and a PS2, all while peddling. Having fun while exercising? And it can be used in an emergency situation? How can it be wrong?
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PostSubject: Re: Subculture: Preppers   Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:13 pm

As mentioned in the opening post, I've geared my prep work to essentially live off the grid, in the event there is ever a massive power outage for an extended length of time... whether that be a few days or a few years. This really isn't too far fetched, and as far as prepper mentality goes, is pretty reasonable.

For instance, I believe it was in the winter of 2011. where areas of New York were without power for a week plus. I can't imagine that, living here, with the winters we have, and the power being out for three to seven days. Heck, wasn't it last winter where there were parts of Wisconsin that were out of power for a couple days? No... no thank you.

This is why I've begun collecting and acquiring things to see us through. It isn't a survival prepper end-of-days mentality that drives me. It's wanting to get my family through any difficult situation that might arise. Whether that means we hold up in our home, or head out into the woods, so be it.

Now then, as you saw in the last post, there were a couple things I've been planning on doing. Both of those have come to pass, and that's what I'm going to talk about.

The first is my back-up wood burner. Seems like it is an essential 'must have' in this area; the majority of people I know have one. Its use is pretty self-explanatory: to act as a secondary heating source. Granted, I now have to get our chimney inspected, and I have to report this to our insurance company... or do I? I wonder, couldn't I just run the steel pipe / duct work through the chimney, and have an elbow coming out from the section in the basement with a cap on it? Wood burner isn't hooked up, so no need to inform the insurance company; with the piping, I'm not relying on the chimney, so no need for inspection. I should probably do so anyway, just in case.

The second is I just ordered the K-Tor Emergency Disaster Kit (which begs the question: what disaster isn't an emergency?). This consists of a hand crank generator that generates 10w at 120v, which can power up many small handheld devices; and the kit also includes the Power Box, a foot operated bicycle pedal style generator that produces 20w at 120v. Not included in the kit (but I purchased anyway) is an accessory for the Power Box, a 12 volt Charger that can be used to charge all sealed lead acid batteries at 13.8v .7amps. There was an additional accessory, an inclined platform for the Power Box, so that you can use the device more effectively when sitting on a chair, but after looking at that unit, I determined it wouldn't be hard to make one myself.

Been doing some window shopping for solar panels, and the best I've found so far would cost a few hundred / couple thousand dollars. These panels are for the RV community. They have cheaper versions, but the panel kits I'm looking at include a battery system and a bunch of little things that I can't recall at the moment.

I pick up the stove tomorrow; it's going to be sitting in the garage until I get the basement really cleaned. The K-Tor stuff should be arriving in the mail in a couple days; had it delivered to the company I work at, so the wife don't see it. She will eventually, but that's not why I'm having it sent here: don't know how big of a box this will be, and don't know if the mrs would be home on arrival day to accept the package.
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