Generators and Power Supplies

Ranch Weather Station
Ranch Webcams
Ranch Operations
Ranch Wildlife
The Indians
Stealth Cam
Ranch Photography
Cedar Fire 2003


RV Trips

Idaho to Home

Salton Sea

Arizona 08'


When you live in the country you're eventually going to need to work with electricity. It's a very close second to plumbing in required skills.  I'm not a trained electrician but with the help of my neighbors, I've attained at least a handyman's level of knowledge.  Rural neighbors are the friendliest people in the world and if you have a  problem, you can bet that one of them has already learned how to cope with it.

During our first year on the ranch, we learned that the power goes off quit regularly.  Lightening, wind, rain and snow have all killed our power at one time or another.  Our worst case was when the fire of 2003 came through and burned every power pole within a 50 mile radius.  They had to bring in crews from all over the united states to get the job done but we were still without electricity and phone for almost two months.

Generators - I'll start with generators and because the subject can get quite complex I'll just stick to what I use. As I said above, I'm a novice so I kept it simple with a run-of-the-mill gas powered Briggs & Stratton  5500 watt Wheelhouse generator.  I even bought it from home Depot and it's your generic "contractors generator".  A jack of all trades, it comes on a stand with wheels and it is good for those emergencies that won't go over a day or two. At that size it can run several lights, microwave and television for 12 hours.  Though not at the same time as the house appliances, I also used it to power our well which uses a 5 horsepower 220 volt pump.

There are different methods for supplying power to the house from the generator.  If you know that the power will be off for some time, some people will wire the generator right up to the service entrance of the house (the box with all the circuit breakers in it).  I would consider that "advanced" wiring and there are too many precautions to be covered here.  I did it during our long stretch after the fire but for most purposes, just run an extension chord into the house.  Baring major disasters, the power usually isn't off that long and the extension chord is more convenient and expedient.

Solar Power - For solar power enthusiasts, this subject can take on the feel of a discussion on philosophy. For them it's an alternate way of life that says something about their values and beliefs.  For me, solar power is the last resort when you can't afford to have the power company run expensive wires to a remote area.  I've found that when going solar, there are so many  "gotch-ya's" and little hidden snags and complications that it isn't worth it if you have conventional power available. The price of the equipment is very high and the time required for it to "pay for itself" is lengthily.

On the other hand, I am a gadget person and I have run into some of the equipment in the RV world. I like the "idea" and I'm experimenting with some of the gear.

(My Journal Entry about Solar Power)