Episode-1907-Jeff Yago On His New Book “Lights On” — 11 Comments

  1. I don’t remember my pre internet source of this but John D had supposedly written a book entitled ‘The Black Border’. This was to be published after his death. The story subject was Travis McGee’s death. Haven’t seen any sign of it. Too bad.

  2. Going with straight DC for your backup or off the grid house is something that I looked into a great deal when researching my power source for my off the grid house. I would say it depends on what you are trying to do, as whether go with DC or AC. I have a different perspective on this. When I researched everything, I found using DC for your entire off the grid house, it was far more complicated than wiring your house for AC, as a normal residential house is done. First electricians are far more familiar with doing things with AC, you can get normal appliances, if you have to sell DC is going to be far harder to sell than an AC wired home, and getting your system cleared and approved by the city is going to be very difficult if not impossible.

    Solar has come way down, compared to what it used to be 5-10 years ago. I disagree with, you will not get your money back with an AC set system with inverter and batteries. If you get it approved and done to code per county requirements you will have a way, way easier time reselling your property, getting insurance, home equity line, and such. Don’t get me wrong DC is a much more efficient system, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds when you look at the entire picture of living comfortably off the grid. It just depends what you are doing, such as do you want to do it for as cheap as possible, is it for backup only, or you plan on staying at the property very long term.

    For me if you are going to use DC only, why not just by a big ass 5th wheel and live in that on your property, as it is already set up for everything such AC, DC, solar backup, generator backup… etc.

    Great topic for off gridders and preppers, as there are so many ways to go with this lifestyle.

    • I think you are missing the point between “back up” and full off grid.

      “I mean if you did every single thing in this book, you could put it all in the back of an SUV or Pick Up”, Jeff Yago

      When you get into wiring a house AC is cheaper from a copper cost alone, every few feet you move DC, the thicker and more expensive the wire gets alone.

    • I agree, like I said it just depends on what you are doing. Having a simple cheap backup is definitely a different animal and he gives a great solution.

  3. You do not need to buy an expensive ’12 volt’ TV. Many small TV models can be run from a $6 12 volt plug if it has an AC adapter with a standard DC barrel plug.
    Many smaller Best Buy Insignia models as well as Samsung and other models do this.

  4. Gary, I went AC also. The ele engineer who designed my system gave me a strong thumbs down on DC for about the same reasons you listed. My mid sized system is 5 years old. Cost in round numbers was 30k, tax credit 30%, cost to bring power would have been 5-7.5k. I’m happy with it except that the backup propane gen, Generac, doesn’t want to start, wish it had a Honda engine. The well is next to the array, always gets oohs and ahhs with visitors.

    • Steve, going on the cheap sounds great until you really dig into it, for me it seemed like a big headache and there was no way I would be able to do all the things I wanted to do going the DC way. 5-7.5k to bring power wow it was going to cost me 80k plus to bring in power, that is why I plan to be completely off the grid probably for the entire time I own the property. I have yet been able to figure out why tied grid systems cost so much more than total off the grid systems. My entire system was around 15k to include electrical wiring the house. It is not a big system, but it runs everything I have so far. I will be experimenting more in the next couple years and fine tuning, but that is how it goes off the grid 🙂

  5. Shawn, thanks for posting the JDM link. I went thru TM’s while overseas, George from Salmon if you’re out there, thx for telling me about the series. Shawn, have you run across Walter Mosely’s Easy Rawlings? He is bad as* as well.

  6. I think many of the above posts miss the entire point of my book. I am not saying you should wire your house for DC power or that battery power is better than going the route of a solar powered house using an inverter, after all, I live in a solar powered house with large inverter, battery bank, generator, and two solar arrays costing a small fortune.

    If you have the money, space, location, and some technical ability then go ahead and install a full offgrid solar power system. However, there is a huge number of people in this country who do not. I just wanted to show these folks how they can achieve a basic level of lighting, communications, entertainment and water pumping long after the grid and any generator have failed using only off-the-shelf low-cost DC powered devices, and without spending thousands of dollars or hiring a contractor.

    There are plenty of excellent books out there with more advanced solar wiring and sizing information for those of you wanting to design and build an off grid solar home powered by a central battery bank and AC inverter to allow using your standard 120 VAC appliances. I list several of these titles in the Appendix of my book, “Lights On” which was written for everyone else.