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Comment: Re:Solar is here to stay (Score 1) 137

by Hadlock (#49505549) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

First to market (or second to market, with an improved interface) with that control unit is going to make bank. You don't even need a real battery, you just need a small bank of ultracapacitors designed to take the initial hit of the AC compressor kicking in (15-30amp current spike). Ultra Caps are nearly free already. I have space on my fence to mount put up 600w of panels and wire in to a 10,000 btu AC unit which, while wouldn't cool the whole house below about 80F/27C instead of 89F/32C, like you said, would dramatically drop the cost of cooling the house down to a very comfortable 77F/25C.
Without the constant load of an AC unit, yes for most people living just above the sustenance level, a couple hundred watts of electricity would meet all their needs and more.

Comment: Re:Me personally? no.. (Score 1) 197

I remember reading an article on building a cheap dipole antenna, is that still the smartest thing I can put up with minimal effort? Is it worth it to put it along the inside of my attic, or do I really need to have it outside? My home is on a rise. I have a HR2510 I scored for ten bucks and I want to see if it works. If it does, perhaps I'll learn how to use it :p

Comment: Solar is here to stay (Score 4, Interesting) 137

by Hadlock (#49504861) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

I was island hopping in the Philippines last week. Coal there is very expensive. Oil there is very expensive. Power, in general, is very, very expensive. An AC unit is within financial means of many people who already own a flat screen TV and/or western game console. Yet they live without air conditioning in very hot/humid conditions. Malls there are really popular as a result.
The first thing i noticed when I got in a taxi from the airport was the number of Solar + Wind advertisements. Solar has already arrived in SE Asia, and it is here to stay. There's about a billion people in SE Asia outside of China. Solar makes a heck of a lot of sense in the developing world or disconnected parts of the world, where a surprising number of people live. That's right you don't have to go back one sentence, I said a Billion with a 'B'. There's about 30 million people living in the Metro region of Manila without air conditioning because electricity is too expensive. The other half of the country is lucky to have reliable electricity.
These places exist, and they're prime candidates for distributed solar in a big way. Solar is already cheaper than mains electricity, even installed, even with big import duties. Now they're just waiting for the products to arrive en masse.
Why does this matter?
America is still waiting for price parity of mains electricity and home grown solar, but while you can stem the tide of Solar in America temporarily, the price is going to drop like a rock as manufacturers race to supply the third world with Solar, and soon American electric companies will be competing against the price of affordable solar in the third world. It may be five or ten years before Solar truly takes off in the US, but as soon as someone rolls out a $500 "Air Conditioning assist" kit that tells your AC to run at full tilt whenever the solar panels have enough juice to keep it running (who doesn't love coming home to an icy cool house when it's 100F/35C out? especially if that AC was free?), the reasons not to go Solar are going to fall like dominos.

Comment: Re:Look at previous disasters (Score 1) 197

People with amateur licenses are helpful for some things, but they're absolutely useless for disseminating information over a wide area that's otherwise disconnected

Useless is a strong word, and "absolutely" is a strong modifier. Neither is warranted here. People with amateur licenses can put the word out manually to other people who can do the same. Meanwhile, those people are likely to have disconnected power sources, while many radio stations are in urban areas and are legally prohibited from having inexpensive, functional backup power.

Comment: Re:Obvious (Score 1) 197

Jokes aside, most of us live in areas that are not prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, or Godzilla. If you do choose to live in such places, it is important to be prepared, and have an emergency kit. In which you can just pack in a good ole' FM battery.

It would be much wiser to pack in a good ole' hand-crank FM radio. Prices range from just a few bucks on up. Around $30 will get you a halfway-decent radio/flashlight combo.

Of course, $5 will get you a hand-crank cellphone charger...

Comment: Re:What? (Score 1) 197

It's not just you, but I'm guessing you've never been in a tornado/hurricane shelter without power huddled around a battery powered radio listening to storm updates.

I bet you're right. I haven't either, but I still own a wind-up radio that's stored with all my disaster relief supplies. (That's not mine, mine is not for sale, just the first link I found with the same thing. I got mine at a yard sale.)

Comment: Re:Obvious (Score 1) 197


1. Global Warming has increased the amount of hazardous weather. Such weather can affect infrastructure such as Power, telephone, and cell service.
2. Data plans are expensive. So they are used sparingly. You are not going to waste it streaming audio, digital data also takes more power off your phone.
3. Your local radio stations (notice that we have that in plural, even in remote areas they are multiple stations available) being that they are local they have information about your local community. Google will not cover the fact that the river overflowed on Route 7 and it is closed. As well they can give you real time data.
4. Radio is usually in your car. A lot of people do not have normal radios.... Everyone has a phone, the fact that they can support FM, and using the FM chip uses a lot less power. Makes it valuable.

Sure the real intent is so Radio Stations don't loose to the global streaming market... But the fact is we need local services as well. We don't have emergencies every day. But the phones have the feature and I am sick of the greedy Cell companies blocking features just so they can milk more money from me.

Comment: Me personally? no.. (Score 3, Informative) 197

I am a ham radio operator, I have a significantly higher chance of survival than the rest.

If people really cared about safety they would take the time to learn CPR, basic First Aid, and things like ham radio or gain knowlege in how to increase their odds.

Dancing with the stars and Americas got Talent are far more important to the general population.

Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening. See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.