Another angle to consider: get a small solar photovoltaic panel to
recharge the battery. Should cost significantly less than the 3 grand
you say the power company wants to run power out there. That way, he
could use an inverter to get 120 volts (which does waste some energy)
and still be able to recharge the batteries on sunny days.
One place to check might be Real Goods.
Just as McDonald\'s is where you go when you\'re hungry but don\'t really
care about the quality of your food, Wikipedia is where you go when
Many of the RVs have fluorescents or LEDs. LEDs are kind of directional
For power in mine I have a pair of 6 volt golf cart batteries (About
$50 each at SAMS) hooked in series. Gives over 200 ampere hours. For
long battery life I try to limit to 100 ampere hours or less between
Then I have a small Honda generator to keep it charged. Can also run
some 110 volt stuff off the generator when desired.
Try WalMart and RV stores.
There are some wide coverage LEDs out there now.
However, cost of LEDs remains a valid issue, especially for wattage more
than just a few watts.
Other LED issues:
1) Although there are now some with as much efficiency (more properly
"overall luminous efficacy") as high as that of most compact
fluorescents, most LEDs are not that efficient.
Meanwhile, LEDs have had all sorts of hype as to efficiency, with a
good bit of this hype being definitely untrue.
2) The more efficient white LEDs have color of "cool white" and
"daylight" shades. These can easily have a "dreary gray" effect when
doing room lighting with illumation level below the levels of near
or over 100 footcandles or 1100 lux common in offices and classrooms.
There are "warm white" LEDs, but so far in my experience they are
dimmer and less efficient than their relatives of "cooler" shades of
3) White LEDs mostly have color distortions roughly in the same direction
as most non-triphosphor fluorescents - making reds and greens darker
and more-brownish (sometimes more grayish). Thankfully their
color rendering is better than that of "old tech cool white"
fluorescents! Most non-dollar-store compact fluorescents have a
triphosphor formulation, and avoid these effects - my main color
rendering complaint of those is that many red objects are rendered a
However, I am all in favor of LED and other non-incandescent lighting
whenever and wherever it does work! LEDs are advancing but somewhat
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
I was thinking about taking a lawnmower engine w/horiz shaft and
rigging it to a GM alternator with built in regulator. Seems to me
that would be the cheapest way to charge batteries since the ting
could be built from junkyard parts, and requires less gas to run a
small engine than a car or truck. Has anyone ever tried this? As far
as I can see, there is no wiring othert than the ground to the
alternator shell and the hot lead to the battery. The rest would just
be the alternator, engine, and 2 pulleys and a belt. Possibly a belt
tightening clutch too, like on a clother dryer, or ir might be hard to
start the engine.
Should work - OK as long as you don't have neighbors:-). Trying to
charge by running a car or truck engine is a losing proposition. It
takes hours to fully recharge a deeply discharged battery.
The problem I see is that the alternator is made to charge car
batteries that normally do not get discharged deeply. For long life
Deep Discharge batteries need special care.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.