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19.02.2016 admin
In March of 2014 we (me, my wife, and our little dog) moved from San Diego to a little house in Yucca Valley, close to Joshua Tree National Park. We still have the luxury of the microwave, but I like to make fun by saying that our microwave is gas powered.
Even though we do live in the desert, it is the high desert, and to my surprise, it rains a LOT out here.
Once the battery voltage drops below acceptable range (42V for this bank), usually after at least 2 days without any direct sunlight, we hookup the generator, and set it into charge mode. But aside of its cheap price, my system has a few key benefits over the traditional heavy duty RV extension cord option. Aside from the occasional need to run the generator, which only happens once or twice a year, it might look at first glance that this system is very environmentally friendly. You might write a check for your water service to the City of San Diego, or whatever your local municipality of water company is.
The speed of the satellite link isn’t bad at all, about 18-20 Mbit down and 5-10 Mbit up. I use Mosh to make it a little easier to get things done, but Mosh only works well directly in the shell prompt. If we stay here for longer than the originally planned 2 years, I think we are going to investigate shooting a WiFi connection 8 miles or so from a landline connection in town. I hope you enjoyed reading some of my thoughts and rantings about living off the grid in the high desert of California.
When the weather’s right the owner takes his baths in a nearby river with a small waterfall. There are concrete piers that support the house and the deck which are hidden by stacked local bluestone. Newkirk, the owner, travels frequently so he’s outfitted the house with furniture and decorations from all around the world. Is it the angle from which the photo was taken, or is the ladder access to the upstairs something you would need to be very slender and careful to navigate without sucking in your tummy or slamming the top of your head, or your face, into the floor support beam, going up or down?
I am a designer who always wanted to design and build my own house, but I couldn’t find a way to afford it. My design has 140 sf of living space (based on 8’ x 20’ trailer) and is wholly self-sufficient. I created my tiny house design with my own aesthetic, reinterpreting the traditional cabin with a modern, clean look. Hi Craig – The house is on solar panels for the undercounter refrigerator, lights (LED), laptop, etc.
What I am trying to figure out is the walls, its that sheets of some kind of white wood or is it wallpaper or sheetrock? Nicely done – would love to see shots of the bathroom, floor plan and ladder type used.
Its adorable but cant believe 35K we are building a cabin 22×40 in maine for less than half of that. In addition to the solar power, I got a few items to make the van experience more comfortable. After three years of heavy use, I can happily report that the van is perfect for me and makes my lifestyle pretty comfortable. Hi Cody, the solar power doesn’t make the van go places, it just powers plug in devices for use inside the van. Hi, Ive got the solar set up and a honda generator but had I had it to do all over again I wouldve just charged up my 6 deep cycle batteries up from the alternator.
I agree that the power from the alternator really puts a lot of charge into the batteries, much more so than the one solar panel on Vanifest. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van and on a sailboat with my superhero husband, Brian. Filed Under: Cabins, DIY, Homesteading, RV Camping, Sustainable Living, Tiny Houses Tagged With: back country tiny homes, back country tiny house, basecamp tiny house, mountaineer tiny house, tiny houseFALSE! Apr 4, 2016 by Off Grid World A small tiny house village for the homeless in Eugene, Oregon goes solar with portable solar systems.
Dec 15, 2015 by Survivor This is a new version of the modular or mobile homes of the past.
Jul 9, 2015 by Off Grid World The Wohnwagon is a cute little solar powered off grid tiny house with it’s own solar power system, battery energy storage and a travel trailer all rolled into one.
Nov 23, 2014 by Off Grid World Couple built this cute modern tiny house on wheels for less than $23k. Filed Under: Cabins, Homesteading, Sustainable Living Tagged With: tiny cabin, tiny house, vastu cabinWould You Live in a Tiny House? Jul 11, 2014 by Shannon This unique take on a tiny shipping container home was built by Hartman Kable in Seattle, inspired by a New York architect. May 29, 2014 by Shannon Most of us are well aware of how expensive it can be to buy or build build a house or cabin, which is just one of the reasons that tiny houses are an attractive alternative to larger dwellings. More and more people are turning away from grocery stores and utility companies in favor of their own back yard. Maintaining a vegetarian diet of 2300 calories per person, per day requires .44 acres per person. If you wish to add a little bacon to your self-sustained diet then starting off with 3 pigs can feed a family of four twice per week, for a year. If you wish to add dairy to your diet forget about getting a cow for they are not land-efficient.
Corn is a multifunctional produce that is necessary when growing animals in your backyard farm. If our family of four was willing to buy flour instead of growing their own wheat, they??d only need about 1.5 acres to have a mixed diet of veggies, eggs, meat, and milk. During the day a bank of 20 GE solar panels pump out 2.2kW of electricity (at peak efficiency) into a set of 8 huge 6 volt batteries, and at night the batteries power the entire house.
And there are also those days, especially in the winter time, when you don’t see the sun for days on end. On the generator side I installed a heavy duty 3 socket plug, wired directly to the main generator breaker.
First, I now have 3 nice extension cords, which I can use for other purposes when I am not using them to recharge our house. Though I haven’t done the calculations yet, I am not so sure about the environmental benefits of living completely off the grid. The ones we have went up back in 2005, I believe, and I think they should be good for 18-20 years or so. Its ceramic and cast iron construction allows it to quickly build the temperature inside to extremely high levels.

It’s not something I would recommend, if you have another viable alternative, take it. At the moment we are on a plan that gives us 15GB per month of any time traffic, and unlimited traffic between hours of midnight to 5 AM. I have a small server at the house where I queue up all of the files, shows, You Tube videos, and NPR broadcasts I want to download, and at midnight a cron job starts the various download scripts and downloads everything for us. But the real killer is the latency, which makes it hell to do any kind of SSH work on remote servers I administer. As soon as you open any program, like vi for instance, all the advantages of Mosh disappear.
I already designed the antennas, just need to figure out good placement, and test them out. I know this was a rather quick overview, so if there is any aspect you find particularly interesting, feel free to let me know and ask questions.
There’s an outhouse with a composting toilet and an outdoor water heater in case you want a warm shower. It’s a great place to live peacefully and get away from it all with beautiful views, a nice breeze, and wonderful outdoor space.
He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories.
But the most recent one I found was : Handmade Houses A Century of Earth-Friendly Designby Richard Olsen, Lucy Goodhart and Kodiak Greenwood from 2012 and can be found on Amazon. Craig- I understand that the cost is high for some, but I built this house so I can live in it forever.
Being a computer geek, it was important to me to keep my electronics safe while plugged in. I can power a 1500 watt appliance for about 5 minutes each day, such as the electric kettle at left which boils water in just a couple minutes. It’s best to just sip 50% of the power and only on rare occasions take it lower than 50%. These items have made the van lifestyle so much better for me and I think most van dwellers would benefit greatly from these items. I don’t have any desire for the stress of searching for a bathroom early in the morning, hair rumpled, looking homeless. Yes, you can sleep with this heater on but I usually just turn it on in the morning or evening when I relax in the van. A passive solar water tank on the roof of the van sounds like a great way to have a warm shower.
You could try van life with your mom’s house as a safety net or a place to go between trips. If you’re looking for the perfect tiny house with everything you could ever ask for this is it.
The Opportunity Village is a tiny house community for the homeless which helps them with life’s necessities. It is a very modern prefab home.  The unit is movable via a crane which can place it almost anywhere.
Christian and Eric Hoffman are the father son team who created and built this cute tiny cabin.
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In order to maintain that diet of wheat you must allow for at least 3,003 square feet of wheat per person.
Assuming a family of four, here are the land requirements to sustain yourself for one year. On the rare occasions when we just HAVE to microwave something, we get the generator going. Our battery bank, when fully charged, is usually good for 1 1⁄2 to 2 days without sunlight. Yeah, we could have purchased a stand alone unit, but the RV generator has 2 key advantages.
But when you are pumping 30 AMPS of current through an extension cord, you can’t just use any extension cord, you have to use the heavy duty, 8 gauge, super thick type.
Your average orange extension cord, the kind you find in Home Depot or Walmart, will carry 15 Amps of current for 50 feet, and should carry at least 10 Amps all the way to 100 feet. Second, the generator now has 3 standard size heavy-duty plugs, good enough to plug a welder or any other heavy duty electrical toy. He drives his overloaded 35,000 lb truck to our house and offloads 2,500 gallons of water into our storage tank every 6 weeks or so. At some point I actually looked into installing a foot activated solenoid, to make it easier to turn on and off the water as we use it quickly. Once it’s up to the operating temperature, we can close the oxygen inlet valve and activate the recirculator. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. This appears to be more of a retreat or summer cabin but could be converted to full time living. Equipped with a fireplace and skylights and bathed in natural light, it feels luxurious living tiny!
The water is hooked up to a spicket with a garden hose to recycle all my water (shower & sinks) for a simple greywater system. I wanted to have white walls to contrast the wood ceilings and floor, but still have the wood grain of the plywood show through.
Vanifest is the longest model of Dodge Ram Van (19 feet) and had been converted to 4×4 before I purchased it. It was a good price for the large amount of wattage it provided and that was why I chose it over a specialized vehicle solar panel which tend to be smaller and more expensive. I had a custom plywood box built for it to enclose it, but for smaller batteries plastic boxes are available. I have it hooked up to my sealed battery and it’s draw is so low I hardly even notice it. This porta potti is always ready when I need it, doesn’t smell at all when properly closed, is easy to empty in an outhouse and fits right under the sleeping platform. This one seals completely and doesn’t leak, is easy to pour from, and has a flat surface for food preparation. I rappel big waterfalls, drive from Idaho to Alaska solo, live and work in a van in the wilderness and dodge encounters with wolves and bears. My solar panels were intended to constantly trickle charge the batteries so they stay as close to 100% as possible.

During the first year of living in my van I rented a parking space for $100 per month at a house with some really fun roommates, you may consider that, too.
I rappel big waterfalls, scuba dive with sharks, dodge encounters with bears and wolves, and work remotely as a full time computer programmer. Built for $22k ($33k including all cabinets and appliances), our tiny house feels spacious, roomy and totally livable. In an ideal setting, suitable farm land can also grow fruit trees to provide a well rounded diet.
For a family of four eating 1,000 eggs in a year, it would require 13 birds to put scrambled eggs on the table in the morning.
I know, it’s not the most ecologically friendly option, but when you have to microwave, you have to microwave. At least with an RV you can never become homeless, or at least that was my justification when I convinced my wife we needed to buy one.
It has an electric start, and it sips gas from the same huge fuel tank the RV’s main motor gulps the stuff down from. The total cost for the system was roughly $45, $12 x 3 for the extension cords, and $9 for the plug tripler. We do have the option of building a well, but local wells are drying up nowadays, and drilling 200 feet plus, about how deep we would need to go to get to the water, costs a lot of money. Unfortunately, this house was designed and built by a true artist, someone who clearly never expected that someone one day might need to change any of the fixtures. The recirculator valve keeps the extremely hot smoke in the burning chamber for longer, allowing for a more complete combustion, and much more heat generation.
You can usually get someone from Exede on the phone in less than 5 min, and it’s usually a US-based operator with ok technical knowledge, and authority to right away solve most problems.
By base latency I mean latency from my house to outer space, around 22,000 miles, and then back down to earth. What amazed me was that one day I found out totally serendipitously that very soon after the article was published the owner sold the property. I’d get tired of all those hard benches and a good mattress might be nice to sleep on.
I dont like on overly red or dark stains unless its done by someone who knows what they are doing. It has some neat safety features, too, like automatically shutting off if tipped or if the CO2 sensor detects that there is too much CO2 due to the heated area not being vented enough. In my Dodge Ram Van, it’s easy to position the spout at the side door over the plastic step. I do rely on dump stations or outhouses to empty the toilet, faucets to refill the water, and propane to run the heater and camp stove.
I also find a cell phone signal booster helps me get even further out and still enjoy good cell service. I’m wondering if you have ever tried or if you do use passive solar to heat up water. Assuming the house is facing south and there is 7 hours of sun light, it would take about 25 solar panels (using panels of average efficiency) to fulfill those energy requirements, which would take about 375 square feet of roof space. For instance, your average coffee maker will easily pull 1.2kW and a 50 inch flat screen LCD TV will happily consume 250 watts or more.
And it can charge the battery bank at that rate while splitting off what necessary power to run the rest of the house. That’s compared to $150 for the heavy duty extension cord and another $20 on each end for the specialty plugs you have to use with those types of cords. I am not talking about the financial cost, which is substantial, around $12k nowadays if you do the install yourself, probably closer to $18k or more with labor. The lead in the batteries does get recycled, but the acid and the other chemicals, I am not so certain.
From there, you have to add in whatever latency you get from normal internet communication. Hopefully the new owners are making changes to actually use the place and not just stage it for a photo shoot with NY magazine. The plywood box is bolted to the floor under my bed and vented to the outside through a small, plastic vent. I also have plenty of power for smaller items like my laptop (and curling iron, blow dryer, haha) whenever I want. Ice is expensive and so is ruined food, so I feel this expensive fridge was a good investment.
I only need to worry about these things once per week at most, and could go much longer if needed.
Thats something i would love to do to mine but i don’t know how much it might cost, and does it still have enough power to go fast for interstate travel? The kitchen and water heater run on propane, which we purchase roughly once a year, and it’s also delivered on a truck. Before moving to an off the grid house, I never bothered to read those little tags on the back of electronics, the ones that tell you how many watts and amps the device in question will pull. But those who know me well, know that I am a cheap bastard, and I wasn’t about to spend $150 on what amounts to a bunch of wire. For instance, I administer a server in Amsterdam, and roundtrip latency to that server is around 800ms. I have only been approached twice while boondocking in my van, and I’ve been sleeping in random places since 2010. In the unlikely event the sealed battery offgasses, the gasses go outside through the vent and not into the sleeping area.
The amount of power available is highly variable based on the sun and amount of driving I do, but for my lifestyle it has worked out well. I considered trailers in a mobile park and 5th wheels but each require a stay in a park, which for a single person, may not be too safe for me. You can find vans that are already converted, and then you wouldn’t need to customize the van yourself or deal with unknown costs.
I did a lot of calculations to decide how much power I needed, and I recommend you do the same. I also wonder about convenience of bathing and using the toilet because if I am not stationed at home with the vehicle, it can be hard to find places to shower, etc.
I plan to do this mobile thing, but want to be stationary until I decide to set off somewhere and I am planning to quit teaching and find work more suited to my passion.

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