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Archive for May, 2014

PostHeaderIcon Poweradd Pilot 2GS 10000 mAh USB Portable Battery Pack

The people at Poweradd kindly sent me their Pilot 2GS 10,000 mAh USB portable battery pack to try out at my off grid homestead. Being on the go as often as I am, I always look around for a good battery pack to use when I am away from a power source. Although I am living off the grid, having communication is important at all times in this day and age. Especially if you travel a lot or are hiking in the mountains. Having a fully charged cell phone or GPS is a valuable thing when you are alone and away from civilization.

Poweradd 2GS mobile power pack

This power pack is made of aluminum and feels quite solid in the hands. It seems to be made of high quality materials and packs a powerful charge compared to most travel battery packs on the market. This 10,000 mAh battery pack is actually one of the largest I have ever seen.

The Poweradd battery pack has a Li-Polymer battery inside with protection circuitry and smart charging. It has four LEDs on the front display panel to show its status of charge. When you plug it into any USB charging port, the lights blink showing that it is charging. When you want to check the state of charge at any given time, you can press a small button on front of the battery pack and see the LEDs light up. All four LEDS of course mean a full charge, two equals roughly a half charge and so on.

This power back can be charged with any USB port on your computer or wall outlet. You can use a standard cell phone USB charger to charge this up as I did. I am living off the grid using solar power so I use a cigarette lighter adapter with a USB output to charge my battery pack.

I must be honest and say that the tiny cable that came with the battery pack is a bit short so I used my own cell phone cable to charge the power pack. It takes a standard mini USB cell phone cable so that was not a problem for me at all. You can also plug it into your computer and charge the power pack from the USB port.

The 2GS portable battery pack has two standard sized USB outputs. There is a USB 1 and a USB 2 output port for charging various small electronic devices.

I used it to charge up my new cell phone which has a 4,500 mAh battery inside. The first day my phone was actually off because the battery was fully discharged in the night. My phone had absolutely no charge at all. I plugged my phone charging cable into the USB output of the portable battery pack and within about an hour or so my phone was fully charged. I also checked some emails, sent some text messages and made a couple phone calls while the phone was plugged into the battery pack charging.

The next day my phone was down near 20% charge and needed a full charge again. I plugged the phone into the portable battery pack and let it charge up fully again. I again made some calls, checked emails and sent some messages while the phone was plugged into the portable battery pack.

The phone charged up fully and the 2GS battery pack still had a bit of a charge left in it. I could get a small partial charge the next day with my cell phone.

As heavily as I use my smart phone, this portable power pack is a blessing for me. I make a living from working online and take my smart phone with me everywhere. I am always checking emails, answering YouTube comments or working on my forum with my smart phone. This mobile battery pack is a very handy device to have on hand for the often long trips I take. As much as I have been flying the past year, this power pack will certainly serve me well. I have had numerous occasions where I had to shut my phone off in order to conserve battery power for emergency phone calls.

If you are hiking or camping in remote areas this will also be very useful and could help save your life. I will be taking it with me hiking, camping and on survival trips to make sure I have battery power for my cell phone in case of emergency.

I can honestly say that this is the absolute best mobile power pack I have ever tested and I am very satisfied with it.

It is also on sale as of this writing and is the most affordable battery pack I have ever seen in its size range at under $30. That is less than half the price of power packs I have seen from competitors and with more power.

You can find it here on the Poweradd Amazon page:
Poweradd 2GS Portable Battery Pack

You can watch my video review and testing of the Poweradd 2GS Pilot portable battery pack here:
Testing the Poweradd 2GS mobile battery pack

PostHeaderIcon Off Grid Automatic Chicken Watering System Using Rain Water

My chickens are now drinking between one and two gallons of water per day. I had been getting along well with a small one gallon chicken watering container all spring but now my chicks are getting bigger and drink a lot of water. I needed to find a way to provide water for my chickens without the constant filling of containers two or three times per day. I also want to have the possibility of going away for a few days without fear of losing my birds.

My free homemade off grid automatic chicken watering system

I am on a low budget so I need to use recycled materials whenever possible. I looked around until I found an old automatic dog watering container in the woods near where I live. If you are not up to date on my situation, I live off the grid, in the woods near an elderly couple. Their property had been used as a dumping ground for rubbish for many years before. Now it is my back yard shopping mall.

Automatic dog watering dish

The dog watering container connects to a standard garden hose. But it was loaded with ants. There was literally a full ant colony living inside the container under the lid. I did not know if it worked or if I could get it cleaned up properly but gave it a try.

This automatic pet watering dish works like a toilet plunger in the bathroom. There is a floating plunger which turns on and off the spout to allow water to run into the dish when the water level gets too low. When the water in the dish is high enough, the float raises up and the spout is turned off.

Inside the automatic chicken watering dish

I scrounged around until I found a piece of an old garden hose with the attachment that fit my automatic dog watering dish. After washing out the watering dish I put the hose onto the input of the dog watering container and filled the hose up with water to give it a try. When I lifted the plunger, nothing happens. When I push the plunger down, water runs out of the hose and into the dish. Perfect. The automatic pet watering dish works.

I have an old RV water tank with a 30 gallon capacity which I had from gutting out an old truck camper a few years ago. This is perfect for my automatic chicken watering system. I put the water tank on a couple of cement blocks to keep it off the ground and then found an adapter that connects two pieces of hose which happens to fit both the hose coming from the water tank and my piece of garden hose.

I used another piece of garden hose to stuff inside the filler neck of the RV water tank and then used a funnel on top of that. Using a 5 gallon plastic bucket, I got water from my large 275 gallon rain water collection tank and carried it over to my chicken watering system. I poured in a few buckets full of water into the RV water tank and then went inside the chicken coop to check things out.

The automatic watering dish was working perfectly. The level in the dish was slowly rising. The water rises very slowly because the pet watering dish was designed to be connected to a high pressure water line in a standard house. I am off the grid and collect rain water from the top of my RV into a 275 gallon IBC tote. I am hand pouring buckets of water into the 30 gallon RV water tank inside the chicken coop so this is a low pressure system. It is pressured by the weight of the water inside the tank only.

But the automatic chicken watering system works well and it cost me nothing at all to build using only recycled materials.

Now I only have to fill up the container once a week instead of bringing water out to my chickens three times a day as before.

In the near future I plan to cover the RV water tank so that algae will not grow inside. I also need to insulate the tank for winter so that the water will not freeze. In the winter I will have to keep the water dish inside the chicken coop and find a way to keep it from freezing. I will post updates later when I deal with that problem.

See the video here: Making an automatic chicken watering system

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