The DIY World Store

Make your own solar panels for $1 per watt
Get the book
The Complete DIY Solar Panel Book

Help us keep posting valuable experiments.

Posts Tagged ‘off grid trailer’

PostHeaderIcon Living off the grid, updates on the off grid RV

I have been living fully off the grid for 3 months now. All of my electricity and water supply are provided by my own hands. Homemade solar panels provide energy to run my electronics and lights. Rain water collectors provide water for daily living. In the beginning, it was a hard time. It was like a rough camping trip at first with very little energy and hand carried water jugs for drinking and washing. But now things are settling down into a relatively comfortable life.

The Off Grid Project has been progressing quite well. I left my apartment and moved into a trailer in the woods on 90 acres of wild land near the foot of the Catskill Mountains in Upstate New York. The owners of the property were kind enough to let me use the land for the duration of the project. The original concept of The Off Grid Project was to show you how to get your own home off the grid on a budget. It does not require tens of thousands of dollars in order to get your home off the grid. I made the move into a trailer in order to prove this point. You can also do it step by step as your budget allows.

During the last few months, I had to increase the available electricity to run lights, laptop, cell phone, charge batteries, power cooling fans, run the water pump and anything else I needed. At first I only had enough electricity from a single homemade 65 watt solar panel to keep my laptop charged. And that was only if the sun was shining well. It was rough. Now I have 5 large homemade solar panels, a homemade solar charge controller and a nice power inverter to run appliances.

I started out hauling one gallon water jugs from the creek for drinking and bathing. There was nothing to spare. Since then I have made a very nice, although simple, rain water collection system which provides enough water for all of my needs. I am not yet taking 30 gallon half hour showers, but I am comfortable.

The solar panels run my water pump which keeps the lines in the camper pressurized. It is so nice to wash your hands in the sink with running water rather than using a tub of water sparingly to wash in.

I have also made a lot of changes to the trailer. Since I am alone, I did not need the six sleeping spaces provided in the original camper. I removed one of the beds and turned it into a nice desk and work space. This is where I conduct electronics experiments and solder my solar panels together. I have converted every light in the trailer to LED bulbs in order to conserve energy. Some of the light bulbs I have made myself. You can make your own LED light bulbs and save money and energy.

I have also added a wood stove and solar heating for winter use. I also built a DIY Water Boiler Heating System in the trailer to distribute the heat throughout the whole 32 foot camper.

I have also added more lights over the desk in order to work better and record my work with a video camera. Most of the work I have done can be found on the The Do It Yourself World Youtube Channel.

Another side benefit of The Off Grid Project is that I have learned that you can move out into the forest in the wilds and live a natural, clean life. Many preppers and survivalists talk about moving into the mountains one day if the need arises. But most people never get to test out their theories. It is a good and reassuring feeling to be actually testing out all of my theories. Now I know that if disaster ever strikes, I can still live in comfort with no problem.

The project will continue throughout the year. More experiments will be carried out on off grid living and shared through The Do It Yourself World and The Off Grid Project websites.

Keep following and learn how to get off the grid cheap.

PostHeaderIcon Got running water in my off grid trailer

I finally got running water in my off grid camper. It may be something you never think about and take for granted on a daily basis, but go without it for a while and you really learn to appreciate the nice comforts of modern living.

The trailer has a 40 gallon fresh water storage tank and a 12 volt water pump. You can turn the pump on and off with a switch over the kitchen sink. Turning the pump on for one minute pressurizes the lines enough for for a while, if you are sparing with your water usage.

I have a spare camper water tank and tossed it on the back of a lawn mower trailer (I know, I cheated). It was too heavy to carry by hand. But anyway, being off the grid does not need to mean living like cave men. I will one day convert a gas engine to run on home brew alcohol.

Anyway, I filled up the spare tank and ran the water into my trailer tank. Turned on the pump and I have fresh, running water. Now that I know it works, I will start working on the rain water collection system. That will simply be two 55 gallon drums buried in the ground at the base of a hill. A lot of water runs down that hill when it rains and pools at the base of it. A screen will filter out any junk and then another fine filter will keep out the smaller particles. Another 12 volt pump will bring the water to the trailer storage tank.

To have running water is so nice after being so long without.

The next project will be to make a solar hot water heater. The original 120 volt hot water heater is still in the trailer. Useless for now with solar power. But I will use it for a solar hot water heating system for showers and washing.

See the video here:

PostHeaderIcon Living In The Off Grid Camper

I am staying in the Off Grid Camper full time now. I am still improving the trailer every day, making it comfortable for long term living. There are a lot of life changes to be made when moving off the grid, but it is a satisfying feeling when you sit back and look at all of your accomplishments.

I am writing this blog post, fully off the grid. My cell phone provides an internet connection for my laptop. A pair of golf cart batteries are kept charged by a homemade solar panel. Later a second solar panel will be added. Then I can run a small fridge in here. For now, it is all canned food or small quantities of fresh food. Just enough that I can eat in a couple days so it does not go bad on me. No milk or dairy products for now. Not without a fridge.

Except for the rain outside right now, it is totally silent and peaceful out here. I am far from any other houses or neighbors out here on 90 acres of wild, wooded land.

Just got the bathroom closet finished today. It was totally ruined from water damage. My clothes are hanging up in there now. I will post an article about it later.

It was raining hard a little bit ago. Reminds me of my childhood, staying in the tiny little camper we had. When it rained, it meant a long, sleepless night. It is not so bad in a 32 footer, but you can sure hear the rain pounding on the metal roof. Much louder than in a house. Wish I had the rain water collection system built already. It would be nice to have the water tanks full. Tomorrow I will probably fill up from the creek. I have a spare trailer water tank I will fill up and then hook up to the trailer for a fresh water supply. For drinking I will filter it well first. It is torture to hear all of that fresh water pouring down and no way to catch it yet. Soon….

I will keep you all posted on updates and improvements to the Off Grid Camper.