Mar 18

SOLUTIONS FROM SCIENCE: The PowerSource 1800 Solar Generator (without the hype)

Posted on Mar 18, 2012 under Uncategorized| 2 Comments


Do NOT click on this banner ad… yet!

I thought long and hard on how to present the PowerSource 1800 Solar Generator from Solutions from Science, here in this blog. The truth is that the first time I visited the sales page for this solar generator, I didn’t get the usual video sales pitch auto-starting in my web browser, but two sales videos starting-up simultaneously, resulting in a lot of crosstalk. Needless to say, I found that very irritating, and not the place I would want to send visitors from my site.

I pleased to report, however, that this problem has been remedied. My recent visits to the sales page have been much more pleasant: only ONE well-produced video starts up, extolling the benefits of this 1800 watt solar generator. Yes, there is still an exuberant presentation of the product, but that is to be expected: it is a sales page, after all!

Solutions from Science caters to the “survivalist” market, so they sell a broad range of products including survival gear, storable food, seeds and fertilizer. And, of course, the “solar generator” product line, which they market on a separate website, mysolarbackup.com, sporting their well-known slogan:

Amazing “Solar Generator” Is Like Having A Secret Power Plant Hidden In Your Home!


Clicking on the link above (or any of their banners) will take you to their website, but first, I’d like to talk a little more about Solutions from Science, and their PowerSource 1800 Solar Generator.

As I stated in my earlier post, New Feature: Product Reviews at My Solar Backup Depot, I find that buyers are frequently disappointed when their system does not meet expectations. With that thought in mind, I would caution my readers to learn as much as possible about solar backup systems and photovoltaics on this site. Then scan through the sales pitch, but don’t skip the section that gives system specifications and capabilities. Read carefully here, and understand what’s really being said. And maybe even more importantly, understand what’s not being said. Generally speaking, I find it easier to find truth in the equipment spec’s and data.

Enough about using your “critical thinking” skills: Let me tell you what I know about Solutions from Science‘s PowerSource 1800 Solar Powered Generator. The unit is very similar to the Ecotricity 1800W Solar Power Generator, discussed in my post of February 15th, except that the Solutions from Science version of the product has been subject to much more critical review on the internet. I believe this is a good thing, because it makes it easier to understand the strengths and weaknesses of this (or any) product. Perhaps the best information on the internet regarding the Solutions from Science PowerSource 1800 can be found in the following Northern Arizona Wind & Sun forum thread, where the Product Development Engineer from Solutions from Science, David Fink, faces the critical review of other engineers (and self proclaimed “experts”):

Northern Arizona Wind & Sun Forum thread: Solar Generator – should we buy one?

I spent nearly two hours reading through the entire thread (it’s an extensive thread!), and I’m impressed by David’s reasoned approach in defense of the portable “power plant.” The forum debate is “spirited”: in fact it’s downright contentious in places. Persevering, David makes the following points regarding the PowerSource 1800:

  • in order to keep the system portable, battery size is necessarily limited
  • the system is meant to supply a few critical needs where there’s no power
  • proprietary 90 watt high efficiency mono-crystal panels are manufactured in China
  • Solutions from Science extends warranties as an authorized reseller of Xantrex products
  • pricing is competitive (even if the “do-it-yourselfers” on the forum could build one cheaper)

There is also extensive debate about whether Solutions from Science‘s marketing is “misleading.” On that question, I would have to respond, “What advertising is not somewhat misleading?” I would simply characterize Solutions from Science‘s marketing practices as “aggressive.” I don’t believe they “cross the line,” but let’s just say that they certainly try to create a “sense of excitement,” especially in their videos, hosted by Brian Brawdy. (Perhaps you’ve seen the infomercials?) In the case of the PowerSource 1800, most of the performance claims are precisely the same claims that are made by Xantrex, the original manufacturer of the UPS (uninterruptible power supply).

My take-away from this reading? In the end, my regard for Solutions from Science was elevated. I found David’s challenge to the other forum members especially convincing as to where Solutions from Science stands with respect to their potential customers:

Everyday our sales representatives turn away potential customers when we know that our products cannot satisfy their requirements or expectations. Test us! Make up a fictional application that you know cannot be satisfied by our systems as represented on our website. Call one of our sales reps and ask them about your application. Call me personally if they try sell our system to you…. It won’t happen!

Okay… I think I can recommend clicking on this post’s links and banners now…!

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Dec 31

Ecotricity 1800W Solar Generator Review (Buy It on Amazon!)

Posted on Dec 31, 2012 under Uncategorized| Comments are off



UPG 87530 Ecotricity Portable Emergency Backup Power Solar Generator, Plug and Play

Today, I am planning to review the Ecotricity 1800W Solar Power Generator. We have actually promoted this particular item previously, however I would like to mention the point that this particular electrical generator can be bought right from Amazon online. Like I have observed before, some vendors feature comparable gear; however, the unit examined here in this article depicts the sort of unit I imagined at the time I authored my post in the fall of 2011, 1800 Watts… and I’ll Take My Solar Backup System to Go! The Ecotricity ECO1800S includes the following features:

  • (1) 80 watt photo voltaic panel
  • (1) Xantrex PowerSource 1800 inverter
  • (3) 18Ah enclosed SLA batteries
  • (1) battery status readout
  • (5) 120 volt electrical outlets
  • (1) 12 volt DC port
  • (1) 50 ft cord to go to photo voltaic panel

The solar power generator is “plug-and-play” to simplify setup and operation by the end-user (no electrical contractor needed!). The 80 watt panel is mounted on wheels for ease of portability and placement. A 50 ft cord is furnished to hook up the photo voltaic panel to the PowerSource 1800 inverter. The panel also folds, making it very easy to pack in your automobile or pickup.

The unit is transportable enough to be a feasible supply of electricity for use on a camping expedition: the equipment weighs approximately 105 lb. The measurements of the PowerSource 1800 are 19″ high, 28″ deep and 10″ wide.

The enclosed electric batteries are rated for 54 amp-hours, and may be recharged in 12-15 hrs when hooked up to your household electricity. Solar charging requires approximately the same charge time, but bear in mind that only full sun hours can be counted. Therefore, the amount of time necessary to completely charge the electric batteries may be extended over a couple of days.

During storm conditions, the system can furnish electricity for high-priority requirements; similarly, at the time of a wide-spread electrical failure. The system could deliver electricity for basics including lights, sump pumps and garage door openers, or possibly a fridge, radio and mobile telephone charger could be powered, avoiding a lot of the aggravation posed by the common electrical outage. A completely charged system could produce sufficient electric power during an emergency situation to power a T.V., clock radio, cordless telephone and light (for up to 4 hrs). As an alternative, a few small business office demands may be powered, including a notebook computer, printer, wireless modem and cordless telephone (for up to 10 hrs). The maximum continuous load spec is 1440W (1800W peak), all provided free of the noise and fumes connected with gas powered electrical generators!

To go to Amazon’s webpage for the Ecotricity 1800W Solar Power Generator, just click on the image link below:

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Nov 11

All the Best This Veterans Day… and Thank You!

Posted on Nov 11, 2012 under Uncategorized| Comments are off



Hospital with Red Cross ID-10020280

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I just wanted to express a my gratitude to all our military personnel this Veterans Day. On a personal note, my family was so happy to welcome our son back from Afghanistan! (This was his first overseas tour with the US Army.) I would also like to wish every one of our readers all the best from us at My Solar Backup Depot.

As promised in my Hurricane Sandy post last time, I just sent in a donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. (The donation came to a whopping $22.06, all from Amazon.com sales commissions). Once again, I’d like to encourage everyone to donate to the Red Cross. I’ll provide that link once again: Please click here for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

This coming Saturday will mark the first anniversary of My Solar Backup Depot. On November 17th, 2011, I published my first blog post: My Solar Backup Solution. Back then (prior to 2012), we didn’t even have any product offerings on this blog! Looking forward, I hope my readers will continue to find useful information on this blog, mixed in with occasional product reviews and promotions. During most of the past year, we have enjoyed generous search engine rankings from Google, Bing and Yahoo! Lately, though, our search engine visibility is not what it once was, so we will be attempting to remedy that situation in the near future. There’s little point in writing what nobody will be able find and read! With that said, if you like what you see here, please bookmark our site or perhaps subscribe to our RSS feed. We may also add buttons for Facebook, Twitter and Google+ etc. to generate “social signals” for our site. I certainly hope My Solar Backup Depot will see its second anniversary!

As always, try to stay warm and safe until next time!

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Oct 30

My Two Cents (or More?) for Hurricane Sandy Victims

Posted on Oct 30, 2012 under Uncategorized| Comments are off

As Hurricane Sandy bore down on the east coast of the USA, I could not help but think back to advice and solutions I’ve given out on this blog during the past year. (Yes, My Solar Backup Depot is nearly one year old!) The above You Tube video from ABC News reminded me just how challenging it can be to keep our electric grid up and running, and how dangerous a storm-related power failure can be. Coming from the Department of Energy (DOE), east coast electric companies have reported that outages from Hurricane Sandy affected more than 8.2 million homes and businesses.

As I enjoyed our sunny west coast weather, I heard radio reports about the widespread power outages out east. I heard people voicing their concerns about the availability of gasoline (since gas pumps won’t work without electricity). I thought about all those unprepared folks dealing with the cold and darkness.

I wondered how many accidents, and deaths, would be attributed to the storm. I hoped that nobody would foolishly think that they could safely run a gasoline-powered generator indoors. I prayed that no one would be hurt trying to set up a makeshift source of electricity in the wet, stormy weather. (Wet generators and extension cords are dangerous!)

I also thought about some the products that have been reviewed here on this blog, and how they might help in a situation like this. No doubt, at times like these it would be great to own an Ecotricity 1800W Solar Power Generator or any of the portable solar generators from Solutions from Science
(Yes, these are affiliate links, but please read my next paragraph where I explain my intentions!)

ANNOUNCEMENT: In order to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy, I will be donating 100% of the sales commissions from this blog to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund from today, October 30th, through one week from Saturday (so that will be Sat., Nov. 10th). So please use this opportunity to peruse this blog, read some of the “Featured Posts” (see right-hand side bar) and perhaps find a product to purchase. As a side benefit, you might even pick-up a few emergency preparedness tips along the way! So it’s all good.

Or if you prefer, to give financial assistance directly to the Red Cross, please click here to donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund.

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Sep 1

Exclusive Labor Day Savings at Earthtech Products!

Posted on Sep 01, 2012 under Uncategorized| Comments are off

Another solar savings alert from My Solar Backup Depot

Say farewell to summer and put up all your white clothes: Labor Day is upon us! And say hello to the to the Labor Day Sale at Earthtech Products! Just visit Earthtech Products and explore the site; there you will find Labor Day Sale prices listed throughout the site. But for our readers, exclusive deep discount codes are available here for an additional 10% or 20% off! Simply check out the products listed below, and make sure to note the discount code*. The discount code will be either “LD10” or “LD20“; note, however, that these discount codes will expire on Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 3rd). To trigger the additional savings, simply enter the appropriate Coupon/Promotional Code in your “Shopping Cart” prior to checkout, in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. (Don’t forget to click “Apply” to see the calculation of your savings.) For prices and more information, please click on the links or images below.

Voltaic Amp Portable Solar Charger for Cell Phones & Other Electronic Devices

The Amp Portable Solar Charger by Voltaic Systems is a small but very powerful solar phone charger that not only charges most popular cell phones like iPhones, Blackberrys, HTC, Motorola and many more but also charges other devices such as digital cameras, portable gaming devices and Portable GPS units. With room enough for the Voltaic battery, adapter cable and a small phone or camera, the Amp makes it quick and easy to carry and charge your devices on the go!
Save 20%!
*Must use code: LD20 exp. 9/3/12

Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit

Whether you are camping, building a shed, or experiencing a power outage, the Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit offers you all the power you need. Silent, clean, safe, and easy to use indoors or out.
Save 10%!
*Must use code: LD10 exp. 9/3/12

Goal Zero Extreme 350 Adventure Ranger Base Camp Solar Kit – Starter

When your mission is to maintain power for longer periods of time in the world’s most extreme conditions, the Extreme Ranger 350 rechargeable power pack delivers exactly what you need to succeed. Capable of powering a facility up to 1,200 square feet, it’s designed for base camps and long-stay environments.
Save 10%!
*Must use code: LD10 exp. 9/3/12

Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit – USB Solar Charging Kit

Before heading out for your next adventure, slip a Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit inside your backpack and be prepared for anything you might face in the wild. With this amazing solar kit, you never have to waste your money with Alkaline batteries again.
Save 20%!
*Must use code: LD20 exp. 9/3/12

Voltaic Solar Backpack – Off-Grid Solar Backpack – Solar Bag

The Off Grid Voltaic Solar Backpack gives you the ability to pack up, carry and charge your devices on the go! Whether you are going camping, hiking or backpacking this solar bag is a great way to keep your electronics charged and safe. (If you are looking for solar backpack like this one but just a little smaller, check out the Converter Solar Backpack, below.)
Save 20%!
*Must use code: LD20 exp. 9/3/12

Voltaic Converter Solar Backpack – Solar Bag

Solar power is the future and it’s here now. Did you ever think there would be a day when you could charge your iPhone with solar power? With the Voltaic Converter Solar Backpack you can now charge your iPhone, Blackberry, HTC Evo, Palm Pre and many other popular cell phones and smart phones to Garmin GPS units or portable gaming devices such as Nintendo DS or Sony PSP! (Click on the Compatibility tab to see more compatible devices). The portable solar charging options are endless with a Voltaic Solar Backpack like the Converter.
Save 20%!
*Must use code: LD20 exp. 9/3/12

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Aug 27

Install Your Plug and Play Solar System? Easy Peasy!

Posted on Aug 27, 2012 under Uncategorized| Comments are off

Our primary mission here at My Solar Backup Depot is to show our readers some of the easiest ways to get started with solar power generation and power backup systems. In this post, we will feature one of the simplest solar solutions on the market today: introducing the DeckPower and LawnPower product lines from SpinRay Energy! The DeckPower system has panel mounting brackets which allow the solar panels to simply be hung from a deck railing; likewise, the LawnPower system has mounting brackets so that the solar panels can be set up in your yard. What makes these systems really unique, however, is that the connection to your home is made by simply plugging the panels into standard electrical outlets. If you’re looking for an easy way to get started with solar for your home, you will quickly see the advantages of the DeckPower system by watching the following two videos (total viewing time for the videos is just 5 minutes.).

First, a brief walk-through:

Here you will see the “guts” of the system (micro-inverters and wiring) and brief demonstration of the system in use:

These systems are scalable, since each panel has its own micro-inverter. This allows you to start with a single panel and build your system one panel at a time, up to a maximum of 5 panels. These are 240 watt multi-crystalline panels with 220 watt micro-inverters, so the maximum output for a five-panel system will be 1100 watts.

To use these systems with backup batteries (as highly recommended by My Solar Backup Depot), it is a simple matter of connecting an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) between the DeckPower or LawnPower system and the home’s outdoor electrical receptacle. Recommended UPS units include the PowerPack 1500, the PowerSource 1800 or the PowerHub 1800 (see links below):


Cables and connectors for UPS units are available through SpinRay Energy in their Solar Panel Battery Attachment Kit.

Before installing these systems, be certain to refer to the Safety and Installation page on SpinRay Energy‘s website, which specifies the electrical requirements for your home’s circuitry, to ensure a safe installation. These requirements include the following, to comply with National Electric Code (NEC):

  • an AFCI receptacle/breaker should be used with a continuous use cover
  • the 120 or 240 Volt receptacle should be attached to the main panel with a dedicated line via a 15 Amp fuse or breaker
  • the 120 or 240 Volt receptacle should be attached to the main panel with a dedicated line via a 15 Amp fuse or breaker
  • the inverter and solar panel should be properly grounded

When in doubt, consult with a professional electrician or contact SpinRay Energy for more information. As with any generating system which is to be tied to the electric grid, these solar modules are designed to cut power to the grid the instant utility power goes out or becomes unstable. So these units must be properly installed, not just to keep your home safe, but also for the safety of utility line workers. Note that this same functionality stops the male plug end from being “live” once unplugged from the outlet. It should also be noted here that the safety of these “plug and play” devices has been a subject of debate on various industry forums.

For more information and reviews on Amazon.com regarding the DeckPower and LawnPower systems, simply click the text links below or the Amazon links at the beginning of this post.

SpinRay Energy “DeckPower120″

SpinRay Energy “DeckPower240″

SpinRay Energy “LawnPower120″

SpinRay Energy “LawnPower240″

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Jul 30

Power Luggage! Wagan Tech’s Solar e Power Cube 1500

Posted on Jul 30, 2012 under Uncategorized| Comments are off

Solar e Power Cube 1500 – Portable Solar Generator – 1500 Watts – Model# 2546

from: Earthtech Products

Introduced just this year from Wagan Tech, the 84 lb. Solar e Power Cube 1500 looks like the “big brother” of the Solar e Power Case 450, which was featured in my April 8th post, A “Solar Suitcase” from Earthtech Products. While the suitcase handle and shoulder strap of the “Power Case” allowed for hand carrying, the heavier “Power Cube” utilizes pair of wheels and a collapsible pull handle, similar to wheeled luggage. As with the Solar e Power Case 450, the Solar e Power Cube 1500 can be purchased at Earthtech Products… and both are currently available at a special summer sale prices! Check out the following features:

  • Designed for Portability – collapsible handle and wheels for easy transport
  • Powerful Solar Panels – includes 5 fold-out/slide-out 16 Watt monocrystalline solar panels
  • Superior Battery – stores energy safely in a 55Ah hybrid AGM-gel battery
  • Digital voltmeter for checking battery status
  • Multiple Charging Capabilities – recharge via solar panels, AC outlet or DC connection
  • DC Compatibility – 2 universal AC outlets and DC recharging adapter (fused)
  • AC Compatibility – 2 DC outlets with auto-reset, circuit breaker and AC recharging adapter
  • USB Compatibility – 2 USB Power Ports: charge cell phones, MP3 players, tablets & laptops
  • Hidden storage compartment
  • Comes with a 1 Year Manufacturer Warranty

The following You Tube video from Wagan Corporation introduces the new Solar e Power Cube 1500:

Like the smaller unit, the Solar e Power Cube 1500 is scalable. The standard battery capacity of 55 amps can be doubled by connecting a second battery. The built-in solar panels supply 80 watts through a 10 amp solar controller, but an additional solar panel (not included) can be connected to shorten solar charging times. It is important, however, not to exeed 150 watts: that is the limit of the solar controller.

Also like the smaller Solar e Power Case, there are 3 ways to charge the Solar e Power Cube. First, you have the directly wired solar panels. A second option would be to plug the unit into AC power, when available. Or thirdly, the included DC to DC socket cable could be used to tap into power from your car or boat, when you’re on the go. This flexibility will help ensure that you have a fully charged unit when you need it.

As I mentioned above, the “Summer Sale” is on at Earthtech Products. Act now, and you will save 18% on the regular price: just click on the link below:

Solar e Power Cube 1500 – Portable Solar Generator – 1500 Watts – Model# 2546 – $1,142.00
from: Earthtech Products

Unfold and Slide Out Solar Panels

Solar Panel Configuration – Solar e Power Cube 1500

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Jun 30

PowerHub Dilemma: Plug and Play or Assembly Required?

Posted on Jun 30, 2012 under Uncategorized| Comments are off

In this post the “PowerHub” is featured, as My Solar Backup Depot continues to look at specific products available in the marketplace. The following video was provided courtesy of Earthtech Products, “1800 Watt Solar Generator” (by PowerG):

These units originate in China, but are marketed in North America by Sumac NA under the brand PowerG. All manufacturing takes place in Nanjing High Tech Zone, Nanjing, China, while research and development, product design and product testing are done at the European Union (EU) headquarters in Switzerland. Sumac NA is headquartered in Texas, with additional facilities in California and Georgia. These units have also been sold under Sumac‘s Phono Solar brand, and are also commonly sold with Schneider Electric‘s Xantrex label. Both Earthtech Products and Solutions from Science (SFS) offer variations of the PowerHub with Xantrex branding. Below is a brief overview and comparison of their PowerHub product offerings. Regarding the PowerHub, the primary difference between SFS and Earthtech is that SFS offers fully equipped “plug and play” units, while Earthtech sells a basic kit with optional components that can be added, in “a la carte” fashion. As stated in the video, up to 4 batteries can be installed with the addition of a second battery box, mounted to the opposite side of the inverter unit. Two configurations for the PowerHub are offered by SFS: a 2-battery, 2-panel system; or a 4-battery, 4-panel system. The maximum output for the solar panels is 150 watts each. The 12-volt batteries included with the SFS units each have a capacity of 100 amp-hours. The basic PowerHub 1800 Watt Solar Generator from Earthtech Products includes the following items:

  • (1) PowerG 1800SG Phono Solar 1800 Watt Solar Generator
  • (1) 140 Watt Solar Panel
  • (1) 50′ solar cable
  • (1) 10 Amp Charge controller

From above, note that these solar panels are 140 watts each, and that the included charge controller for the single-panel system is just 10 amps. If you plan to add more solar panels, a 30 amp charge controller is offered which can handle up to four 140 watt solar panels. As stated above, Earthtech sells various add-on components for the PowerHub system individually, with the important exception of the batteries. Earthtech states that “batteries are not included,” but recommends purchasing Exide RoadForce AGM-200 RF-31D batteries in from an Exide battery dealer in your locality (or equivalent). All the rest of the components can be purchased through Earthtech Products. Earthtech’s “extras” include the follow items:

  • Additional 140 Watt Solar Panel Kits
  • Extra Battery Box
  • 30 Amp Solar Charge Controller (required if solar panels are added to the system)

A Word to the Wise: For those who shun products where assembly is required, the Solutions from Science “plug and play” product may indeed provide the best solution. But keep in mind that the cost savings will be quite substantial for those willing to take on some light assembly. Earthtech Products‘ competitive prices will account for large savings. Also, by purchasing your batteries locally, you will save 1/3 to 1/2 of the overall shipping costs, depending on whether a 2-battery or 4-battery system is ordered. A very nice overview of the required assembly is included in the video above, so be sure to check that out. You will also find more guidance on Earthtech‘s website. Below, you will find links to the product pages for both Earthtech Products and Solutions From Science.

Earthtech Products 1800 Watt Solar GeneratorSolutions from Science PowerHub and PowerSource Solar Generators

At My Solar Backup Depot, “blogosphere transparency” is promoted and encouraged. To that end, a current list of our market affiliations will always be maintained on our “Disclosure Statement” page.

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May 15

Earthtech Products Spring Sale, and Introducing Promo Zone!

Posted on May 15, 2012 under Uncategorized| Comments are off

A spring savings alert from My Solar Backup Depot

Check out all the latest exclusive promotions Earthtech Products has to offer in their new PROMO ZONE! Everyone loves discounts and free stuff, so Earthtech Products decided to run some incredible limited time promotions in appreciation of your business. If nothing catches your eye, then be sure to check back at the PROMO ZONE, because Earthtech Products is always adding new, exciting offers. (But if something does tickle your fancy, be sure to snap up the deal before it’s gone!)

Click the PROMO ZONE icon for GREAT DEALS & FREE STUFF!
Promo Zone - Limited Time Offers!

For prices and more information on these featured SPRING SALE items, please click on the links or images below:

Soulra XL Speaker System – Solar Powered iPhone and iPod Speakers – 22W

Experience a different kind of sound with your iPhone or iPod Touch. The Soulra XL Loudspeakers System is a new eco-friendly way to experience your favorite tunes.

Mobius Solar iPhone 4 Charger – iPhone 4 Case with Backup Battery and Solar Panel

Double the power of your iPhone 4 with this amazing mobile phone case and solar charger combo. The Mobius Battery Power Adapter is an amazingly designed iPhone 4 accessory that’s sure to give more functionality to your precious iPhone.

Raptor Solar Charge Radio – Multipurpose Digital Weather Radio with USB Phone Charger

Gear up and be prepared for the ever changing weather with the Raptor Solar Charge Radio. This fantastic multipurpose weather radio is capable of giving you accurate reports on atmospheric conditions and the like.

SolarLink FR600 Digital Radio – Solar and Crank Radio with NOAA Weatherband – American Red Cross Edition

Get the official American Red Cross SolarLink Digital Radio. This handy self-powered gadget is guaranteed to make all your outdoor adventures a little bit more easier.

SolarLink FR360 Digital Radio – Solar and Crank Radio with NOAA Weatherband and USB Cellphone Charger – BLACK

Get the amazing SolarLink Digital Radio. This handy self-powered gadget is guaranteed to make all your outdoor adventures a little bit more easier.

SolarLink FR360 Digital Radio – Solar and Crank Radio with NOAA Weatherband and USB Cellphone Charger – American Red Cross Edition

Get the official American Red Cross SolarLink Digital Radio. This handy self-powered gadget is guaranteed to make all your outdoor adventures a little bit more easier.

MicroLink Radio – Solar and Crank Radio with NOAA Weatherband and USB Cell Phone Charger

Always be prepared for any emergency. The Eton MicroLink FR160 Radio is a self-powered wonder that’s essential for all outdoor activities.

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May 9

Today, Southern California Edison Customers Will Pay to Avoid “Death Rays”

Posted on May 09, 2012 under Uncategorized| 1 Comment

Today marks the beginning of an era for Southern California Edison (SCE) residential customers. This is because starting today the utility is “enabling” customers to opt out of the Smart Meter program—for a fee. SCE had been waiting for a final decision from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). On April 19th the CPUC approved an opt-out arrangement similar to the one that had been approved for approximately 12 million Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) customers in northern and central California (for more details about the earlier PG&E decision, refer to my February 7th post, Smart Meters: Opting Out Will Cost You!).

Details of the final decision are as follows: Customers who opt out of the Smart Meter program will pay a one-time set-up fee of $75, plus a recurring charge of $10 monthly. For “income-qualified” customers, the one-time charge is reduced to $10; the monthly charge, reduced to $5. As I mentioned in my previous post, many of the residents here in California’s Antelope Valley and surrounding areas had requested to “opt out” of Smart Meter installation. I can tell you from speaking with some of these folks that they are not pleased at the prospect of paying more money just to keep things the way they are.

One woman I spoke to complained that she will be forced to pay the standard rates ($75+$10/mo), even though she is the only one in her household earning (hourly) wages. The reason she feels compelled to opt-out of the Smart Meter program relates to her husband’s health. He has a heart condition requiring him to wear a pacemaker. To be fair, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) both claim that pacemakers have been subjected to extensive testing for electromagnetic interference (EMI). Note, however, that the focus of all this testing related to cell phone usage. It did not consider (and probably predated) the specifics of Smart Meter installations. Apparently, the conclusions for Smart Meters were “extrapolated” from the cell phone testing.

As I wrote previously in last year’s December 1st post, Smart Meters: What the Power Company Won’t Tell You, many people are affected by “Electro-Hyper-Sensitivity” to radio waves. A significant 3% are “severely” affected, but 35% of the population is “moderately” affected by this sensitivity. In that post, a video from consulting engineer Rob States was featured, where he explained how PG&E’s Smart Meters work and why they endanger health and privacy. Today, I have included another You Tube video, which features Rob States speaking “on location” at the Sutro Tower, overlooking San Francisco, California. The video is an Anthony J. Hilder production, which he entitles, “20 Million Death Rays Hit San Francisco—What Else Can You Call It But Murder” (yes, he inspired this post’s title, too!):

Here Rob States has summarized the findings of the same Sutro Tower study that was discussed in “The Dark Side of ‘Smart’ Meters” (the video included in my December 1st post). In this study, incidence of childhood cancer from 1973 to 1988 was plotted as a function of distance from the tower. The findings of the study were troubling. As hypothesized, childhood cancer cases were more frequent near the tower, and less so at further distances from the tower. This study was conducted in 2002 by Dr. Neil Cherry of Lincoln University (New Zealand).

At My Solar Backup Depot we aim to provide alternatives to big utility power, taking a stepwise approach. I write about Smart Meters not only to raise awareness of the associated health and privacy issues, but also to show how we are being “conned” into paying ever higher rates and fees just to have power safely delivered to our home. As I see it, the best way to avoid new fees (such as the “opt-out” fee) is by making a regular investment in a residential solar system. Your system’s capability can be expanded as allowed by the budget you set. This way, home energy costs gradually come under your control (as opposed to the utility’s control) as you increase the wattage of your system. Of course, taken full gamut, you may someday bill the utility company for your power under a “net metering” program… and hopefully, under the right circumstances, your savings will be recorded on a good old “analog” meter, spinning backwards!

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Apr 30

At Last… Easy “DIY” Rooftop Solar Kits Available Online!

Posted on Apr 30, 2012 under Uncategorized| 2 Comments


AC 235 Watt Solar Panels – COMPLETE “DO-IT-YOURSELF” KITS NOW AVAILABLE THRU AMAZON!

In this post we will be discussing Westinghouse’s solar panel kits which are now available through Amazon.com (see product links, above). But first, I want to highlight a couple of points: First, please note that these panels do not feature the “Smart Connect” technology discussed in my last post, but otherwise they do offer the same innovation from Westinghouse Solar that “requires 80% fewer parts to install and maintain.” Secondly, since this blog is primarily devoted to solar backup systems, it should be pointed out that the panels discussed in this post are “AC” solar panels (i.e., alternating current is output by micro-inverters built into the panels), rather than the traditional “DC” panels (direct current), still typically used in battery backup or off-grid systems. Using AC solar panels in a backup system is not totally unheard of, though. For those who are interested, an AC based backup system is discussed in the following article from altenergymag.com:

Canadian-designed Battery Backup System Maximizes Solar Power

The Westinghouse Solar kits are available in various panel quantities, ranging from smaller kits of 1 and 4 panels, to the larger 20 panel kit. The product description on Amazon‘s page says the 20 panel system “can provide up to all the energy needs of a standard size home.” I would caution the reader that the resulting 4700 watt panel array may fall short of that goal, especially if you’re considering a battery backup system (which is inherently less efficient than grid tied systems), like the one mentioned in the altenergymag.com article. The manufacturer does claim, however, that these AC panels will produce from 5% to 25% more energy than “other” solar panels.

Basic quantities for the solar kits are as follows (adjust appropriately for multiple-panel kits):

  • (1) Westinghouse Solar AC 235 watt panel
  • (4) composition shingle roof mounting brackets
  • (2) interconnection splices, for multiple-panel installations
  • (1) 240 VAC wiring connector
  • (1) Westinghouse Solar installation wrench

Note that optional hardware can be purchased from Westinghouse Solar for other types of roofs. Besides the standard hardware for composition shingle roofs, there is hardware available for flat concrete or cement tiles, S or barrel tiles, and standing seam steel roofs. There is also a 5-degree-angle mounting system suitable for flat roofs with asphalt, EPDM, foam, mod bit, PVC, TPO or tar & gravel. This system’s wind-friendly profile and innovative design guards the system from the corrosive effects of the weather, to provide decades of optimal performance. The Westinghouse Solar warranty will cover the panels for 25 years, and the inverters for 15 years.

A scalable, modular design allows you to install your solar system incrementally over time, or all at once. Below, I have included a You Tube video from Westinghouse Solar showing a time lapse for a typical installation (starting from 1:15 into the video, after a brief “Solar Power Overview”).

This video really does make the installation look simple, doesn’t it? Note that these solar panels can be installed either vertically or horizontally (in “portrait” or “landscape” mode), or a mix of both. Note that portrait mode is favored because it minimizes roof penetrations and AC wiring, resulting in a speedy installation. (But perhaps not quite as fast as those guys in the video!)

Additional links to the Westinghouse solar kits are provided below: note that simply hovering your mouse over the links will reveal current pricing information provided through Amazon.com (for more information, click the links below to visit Amazon.com).

1 Pack – AC 235 Watt Solar Panel Complete Installation Kit

4 Pack – AC 235 Watt Solar Panel Complete Installation Kit

20 Pack – AC 235 Watt Solar Panel Complete Installation Kit

As always, I invite your comments or questions regarding this system, or any other system or gadget featured here at My Solar Backup Depot. We also welcome discussions of “alternative energy in the news.” (Hint: I sense a news item may be the subject of my next post!) To comment on a particular post, simply click on that post’s title, and scroll to the bottom of the page where it says, “Leave a Reply.”

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