From void into vision, from vision to mind, from mind into speech, from speech to the tribe, from the tribe into din.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My Solar Bedroom

My bedroom is now basically off-grid.

For years my bedside radio has been a solar/dynamo flashlight/radio. This particular one has been modified to charge AA batteries besides the hard-wired internal battery it was designed to charge. It gives me about two months of radio for an hour or more a day before running down. Then I place it next to the window for two days and have the use of a radio for another two months. In a pinch, a minute of turning the crank gives me about ten minutes of radio.

Of course, since I have been experimenting with these things, I have a few solar/dynamo flashlight/radios so I always have one charging in front of the window. You can see an example of a solar/dynamo flashlight/radio at It's not the one I'm using but it looks to be much the same, without the ability to charge AA batteries in the battery bay, and is close to half of what I paid.

Now I've installed two solar powered LED lights above my bed so that my reading light is off the grid as well. Came in handy just the other day when we had a black-out for a couple of hours. The lights are attached to solar electric panels I place in the window and have batteries in the base of the lamps that provide power for up to 24 hours on a full charge. You can see the specs and order them at

This system is still a work in progress but for about $150 I've got one room that is independent of the grid, that provides me with radio and reading light for the foreseeable future without the use of coal, oil, gas, or nuclear energy. I have one room running on sunlight. 

Now on to the next.

Update: Take your spare room off-grid! ( describes a solar electric system that powers two lamps, TV, Stereo, satellite box, dvd, vcr, and XBox, and a battery charger for the rechargeables in the battery powered clock.

This 600 watt hour system includes solar panels, batteries, and inverter and prices out at $1300.

I think that's a little pricey. A few years ago I assembled the parts for a one window solar electric system. It consisted of a 2 foot by 2 foot Kyocera panel, peak wattage around 64 kw, a power controller, battery, and wiring. The cost for those pieces was around $500, but I have yet to built the frame, hang the panel, and connect the system. In fact, I've since given the pieces to a friend in the hopes that he can finish the project before I would probably get around to it.

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