Back up power sources for your home or retreat.

Posted: August 11, 2014 by gamegetterII in preparedness, survival, Uncategorized

There’s a very god chance that during any SHTF event-the grid is going to go down.

How are you going to keep your food cold,frozen foods frozen,have lights,Tee Vee,internet-(if it hasn’t been shut down by TPTB)-and charge your cell phone,GPS,etc.?

Keeping your food cold is important-so is being able to re-charge the batteries for cordless tools.

The cell phone is only important if you have no other means of communication-it may well end up being useless after a short period of time. Most cell towers have back-up power at least the important ones. This means you may have some ability to communicate by cell phone for a day or two.

You do have other means of communicating with other friends family-and your tribe,group,whatever you call your friends who are aware of the chances of a SHTF event right?

Someone in your tribe has their HAM license and radio right?

Solar panels are a good thing to have-they just don’t generate much power in some locations.

Small windmills work great if you have a decent amount of wind in your location.

Micro-hydro works – if you have a stream very near your location.

A combination of wind and solar will work in all locations-with some planning.

There’s another thing to add to the combination as long as there’s some wind in your location. Windmills have been used for a couple hundred years to pump well water-what you need are two large plastic water tanks-250-500 gallons are an ideal size,tank size depends on power needs.

One tank gets placed at ground level-or in your basement-the other needs to be elevated,can use the attic of your house as long as you reinforce the framing,or just use the tower the windmill is on if you want to-all that you need is one tank higher than the other-the greater the height difference,the more power you can generate.

The system is based on having a fairly large bank of deep cycle batteries-that’s your biggest expense,and at least one power inverter.

Here’s the basics-the windmill pumps water to the upper tank,when there’s no wind,a small battery powered pump takes care of pumping water to the upper tank when there’s no wind.


Using the windmill to pump water from the lower tank to the higher tank when there’s wind,and using battery power provided by solar panels to power a small 12 volt pump-(think bilge pump from bass boat or ski boat)- when there’s not enough wind,then the water from the upper tank is drained through a series of progressively smaller PVC pipe until it hits just above the level of the lower tank. The stream of water then turns a small water wheel-(think old time mill on a river using river’s flow to turn the huge millstone to grind wheat and corn)-that’s placed inside a piece of PVC pipe that’s epoxied to the inlet to lower tank. The small wheel can even be a car or truck alternator-or it can turn a shaft that then turns a magneto type generator with a voltage regulator  to be sure the batteries do not get voltage higher than the 18 volts most car and truck alternators put out. The water wheel could also turn a generator that puts out AC power-but then it gets into more complicated electrical engineering.

With this type system-the water is always moving,always producing power-and there are two methods of pumping the water to the upper tank-the direct power from the windmill turning a shaft that turns a pump-and the battery that’s charged by both the windmill and the solar panels.

The greater your power needs-the bigger your battery bank needs to be-more batteries means more stored power. You also need to have a small gas powered generator-2500 watts or so-to charge the batteries when they are too close to being drained.

You can also have separate battery banks for the solar panel array (s). the windmill/water tank/battery powered pump setup (s),meaning if you need more power-build more windmills with water tanks,or just have smaller windmills with car/truck alternators charging a small battery bank,and/or place more small solar panel arrays facing south.


When you set up your battery banks-be sure to have each battery you add fully charged when you add it.

Another thing is you have to use the batteries,they have to be discharged and recharged.

Once you have the system installed-use it to run your home or retreat for the weekend-this way the batteries are getting used,they go through the discharge-recharge cycle a few times a month.

Yes,the batteries are expensive-you can either give up some extras now-or have no power when the grid goes down-it’s your choice…


If anyone wants more info on this type of a system,e-mail me





Do more PT.


  1. Brian R. says:

    Thanks for the insight guys!


    • gamegetterII says:

      Having multiple sources of backup power for times when the grid goes down is only common sense. I have a brother who’s a machinist,I’ve got mechanical and carpentry skills,and we have friends who have the other skills needed to build our own systems.
      The windmill/solar/micro-hydro is a great system to use,isn’t all that hard to build-you can even use the decorative windmills.You will have to modify them so a car/truck alternator is attached by welding or bolting a bracket to hold the alternator,and a pulley on the windmill’s shaft.Depending on size of windmill,you may be able to use it to pump water by using a pulley that holds 2 belts. Adjust the size of the plastic tanks to the power of the windmill,and you can still use the decorative windmills to pump water to the upper tank.If you live in cold climate-simply add antifreeze to the water in the tanks,as it’s a closed system anyhow.
      That gives you two means of generating power from one windmill-add solar panels-even the cheap ones from harbor freight work-and you should be able to have power 24/7.


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