2022 Suburban Survivalist

(started 9/10/2022)


Definition of "Suburban Survivalist": a person who lives in the suburbs with neighbors all around, but services such as electricity and the electrical grid fail often enough the suburban survivalist has purchased generators, whole house batteries, solar panels to charge the house batteries, small "Yeti Goal Zero" type devices, has their computer network switches connected to UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply), etc.  The suburban survivalists main goal is to live with as little dependency on the electrical grid as possible, out of disgust with the reliability of that grid.

Suburban survivalists may overlap with some of the groups below, but are a distinct group separate from these other groups (with some overlap in interests and technology):

  1. Money sensitive people - these are people trying to save money through the use of solar power.  Suburban survivalists don't necessarily care about saving money, but they do use solar power in an attempt to reduce their dependency on the grid..

  2. Environmentalists - these are people trying to lower their Carbon footprint, use less fossil fuel, etc.  Suburban survivalists want to use less fossil fuel because it depends on a steady supply being provided (which may become unreliable).

  3. Off grid survivalists - people not even hooked up to the grid, which is probably only legal/possible in rural locations.  Suburban survivalists prefer living where there is a grid (it just isn't reliable), and there are two or three Starbucks coffee shops within a mile or two.  But off grid survivalists and suburban survivalists overlap in their use of solar, batteries, inverters, etc. 

NOTE: suburban survivalists have no opinion on stocking up on guns and ammunition.  While we have no objections to it, it is not part of our particular philosophy.  However, depending on food shortages, it may or may not be a good idea to have a small .22 rifle to shoot small game.  It is up to the individual survivalist to make their own personal decision in this area.

Brian (the author of this page) has lived in Oregon, California, and now Austin, Texas.  In all three locations the power grid sometimes fails, and is sometimes totally "off" for 3 or 4 days.  One of the larger events was the "Great Austin Blizzard of 2021", you can read about Brian's experiences without power by Clicking Here.

Design A: Quick 300 Watts of Power at 110 Volts (for the absolute beginners):

Below is how I generated a precious 300 Watts of electricity in a power outage using my Smartcar as an electric generator.

  1. $29 - "BESTEK 300W Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Car Inverter" - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004MDXS0U/  - already owned so I could run a ski boot dryer in my car while returning from skiing.
  2. $299 - "CHAFON 346WH Portable Power Station,UPS Emergency Lithium Battery Backup" - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MA4YVNP/  - Technically this step can be omitted, but it can be charged with a portable solar panel during the day. This I owned because Katherine and I took it "off grid" to power our USB electronics, Picture 1 of the Solar Panels on top of the RV, Picture 2 of the Main Unit inside the RV
  3. $47 - "50 Foot Extension Cord" - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DDV89UK/  - this is just the first stage that runs from inside the car into the main house. There are over 200 feet of extension cord laying all over our house now distributing the precious 300 Watts to where we need it most in a power outage.
  4. $32 - "First Alert CO710 Battery Operated Carbon Monoxide Detector" - https://www.amazon.com/First-Alert-Monoxide-Temperature-CO710/dp/B011O2WW1C/  - one to see how toxic the fumes are in the garage, and one for our living room. A woman and her 8 year old daughter died near us of Carbon Monoxide poisoning in Texas trying to stay warm in their car in the garage so this is no joke, nothing to be taken lightly.
  5. $39 - "Anker 10 Port USB Charger" - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YRYS4T4/  - for charging our iPhones, iPads, flashlights, etc.

Ok, so during the "Great Austin Blizzard of 2021" I used the 300 Watts of precious electricity to power up our Google Fiber internet, the WiFi HotSpot we use, the piezoelectric lighter on our natural gas hot water heater, the 10 port USB device charger for all of our phones and iPads, my 11" Macbook Air, and I even powered up the garage Nest security camera to watch the car idling remotely. :-)

In the picture below, you can see my Smartcar operating as a generator. It is idling (notice the running lights are on in the garage), and the thing pointed to by the red 1. in the picture below is the "BESTEK 300W Power Inverter" plugged into the cigarette lighter socket in the car, the thing pointed to by the red 2. in the picture below is the "CHAFON Emergency Lithium Battery", and the thing pointed to by the red 3. in the picture below is the 50 foot yellow extension cable running into our main house under a door THAT IS CLOSED to keep the carbon monoxide out.


Design B: How to Power a Heat Pump Air Conditioner at 220 Volts "off Grid"

Below is a working design of off the shelf parts to power a 24,000 BTU (2 ton) heat pump air conditioner "off grid" in Austin for my garage:

  1. $8,999 - Battery solution - https://www.amazon.com/EF-ECOFLOW-Portable-Expandable-Generator/dp/B09W9KDYFN/
    "EF ECOFLOW Delta Pro 10.8KWh/3600W".  Produces 30 Amps at 220V:

  2. $4,000 ($1,000 each) - 4x Solar panels (each is 400W) to produce 1,600 Watts continuous - https://www.amazon.com/EF-ECOFLOW-Solar-Panel-Adjustable/dp/B09TKKYW7G//
    (four of those).  Not sure if I can utilize 4 of these in a  configuration.  I'm looking for 1,667 Watts of power during the day:

  3. Heat pump (2 ton, 220V):
    $3,798 - Mitsubishi 24,000 BTU Air Conditioner Heat Pump Split AC SEER 20.5: https://www.amazon.com/Mitsubishi-Conditioner-Split-Ductless-System/dp/B09PMLWK44/
  4. Other things (?)


IF YOU HAVE IDEAS OR INPUT, please email me at:


All done!

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