OFF-GRID LIVING

Battery Power

The house we have in the Costa Blanca is set up with a full solar power system, enough power to run a normal house without big electrical appliances. The set-up includes 400amps of batteries, a 1500W inverter and 2 100W solar panels (ideally 3 with the 400amps of batteries and a charge controller). There is then a 2200W generator to run washing machine, hairdryer etc with a 25amp charger connected to give the batteries an extra charge at the same time.

But since being at the field in our horsebox/ campervan I have realised what we really can manage with...
We currently have a 75amp leisure battery which is only charged via a 25amp relay off the engine when we run the van. We charge all our phones, laptops etc off this and have a light on in the evening and we never run out of power! We have a generator as emergency back up which we only use for Gaz to use power tools and when we have it running (not very often at all) we run a 25amp charger at the same time to give the battery an extra charge.

This has made me completely rethink the setup we will finally have when we finish our pallet building. It seems the more power we have, the more things we have to buy and the more things we have to fix if they break!

Cooking on Gas

All winter we have cooked using only a one ring auto-ignite gas stove. Unfortunately it runs on Butane which is terrible when its cold but the bonus is we never have to hunt for a lighter and its easy to move outside to cook to prevent condensation.

Mobile Internet - Spain

We are currently using a mobile internet dongle from Carrefour http://www.carrefour.es/telecom/internet-movil-prepago/tarifa-diaria/. It costs 1 euro plus IVA for each day we using it upto 100mbs per day after which the speed reduces. It was pretty terrible before but was the best of a bad lot in Spain but it now seems to have jollied up and is very fast during the day but still pretty crap at night. We are looking at getting a ZTE Mifi so we can pop it outside for better signal and maybe add a high gain attena. I´ll keep you posted!

Mobile Phone - Spain

Gaz and I both have o2 contracts in the UK with ´My Europe Extra- Spain´ bolt on. This costs an extra 5GBP per month and means that we can both receive calls for free in Spain on our normal numbers. For 10 GBP per month we can have ´My Europe Extra´ which doesn´t limit us to only Spain so great when travelling. http://www.o2international.co.uk/callingfromoverseas/myeurope_extra.aspx

We have Spanish PAYG phones with Llamaya http://www.llamayamovil.com/. If you top up by 20 euros you get 30 and can call each other for free for a month. So if just one of you does that top up the other one can just call and hang up, otherwise you get a connection charge.