by Justin Gray
We're mentioned around the web quite often and wanted to share that news with everyone. We've compiled a less-than comprehensive list of some noteworthy news from around the web*.
To help you prep your 4x4 (and yourself) for the cold winter season, we’ve got a bundle of gear and products designed for getting through the cold months, including ones that offer better performance and traction. You’ll also find items for the exterior and interior as well as comfort for your person. And we also asked Four Wheeler readers for their real-world survival tips!
Heated Seat Cushion
What: Body-warming seat cushion.
Some tech: You get both high and low heat settings, and there’s an inline controller.
Bonus info: Comes with a 4.3-foot power cord.
They said: “Secure strapping system. Safety-fused.”
Price: MSRP of $29.95.
How to get: Wagan Tech
While reflectors can help warn passing vehicles, inclement weather can greatly reduce visibility. Emergency lights should be used alongside reflectors to better ensure your safety. The Wagan EL2639-3 FRED Flashing Roadside Emergency Discs are a great, durable option to have stowed just in case.
When you’re living out of a vehicle, or even just traveling out of one, power quickly becomes a big concern. You need it for lights, to charge your various devices, to run your coffee maker and other appliances, and possibly even to store your food if you’ve got an electric refrigerator. You could do what many RV owners do: rely on campgrounds with electrical hookups plus a couple of car batteries to get you from one campground to the next. But, those campgrounds are pricey and often amount to glorified parking lots. Wouldn’t it be better if you had the freedom to camp anywhere, without having to worry about finding somewhere to plug in?
That’s exactly what we’re going to be covering in this article: off-grid power on the road. There are two major methods for doing this: with a portable gas generator, or with solar. Gas generators have long been the preferred method, as they provide a large amount of power reliably. However, they’re also fairly expensive, cumbersome, noisy, and obviously require that you bring along fuel. Luckily, major advances in solar technology over the past decade have made it very practical to use solar energy as your sole source of electricity on the road.
Whenever you’re starting a new project, it’s always important to clearly define your goal. This is never more true than when you’re going to be relying on the outcome for your personal well being. So, first, we’re going to discuss what the average overland traveler wants and needs for power. The most obvious first requirement is lighting.
Luckily, efficient LED lighting is pretty ubiquitous these days. It’ll probably take less than 50 watts to completely light up your vehicle with 12V LED lighting. Most modern televisions will use a similar amount of energy.
Next up, you’re going to want to be able to run at least a few basic appliances. For us here at Hackaday, a coffee maker is at the top of that list. Unfortunately, coffee makers use a lot of power — a Keurig can use up to 1500 watts while heating up. Other appliances use similarly high amounts of power. A microwave will use roughly 1200 watts while running, and a toaster oven uses even more.
This chart, provided by WAGAN, lists some common appliances and their power consumption (though TV power consumption has been dramatically reduced in recent years)
Then there are the really high energy consumption appliances, such as air conditioners and heaters. Both of these require a lot of power to run, and also need to be run for long periods of time. While it is technically possible to run both from a solar setup, it would require a massive investment in solar panels and batteries for storage. In that case, a generator would be more cost-effective.
So, for the sake of brevity, let’s say you’ve decided to forego the air conditioner (or will only use it when you have access to shore power). The heater, water heater, and refrigerator will all be run off of propane. That leaves you with a setup that will only be consuming ~100 watts most of the time, and occasionally will peak close to 2,000 watts when the appliances are in use. Now let’s talk about what you’ll need to buy to make that happen....
Wagan Tech Inverters
Wagan (EL6224) 12V Cooler Warmer
This might be as close as you get to having a refrigerator or oven in the car. The $84.55 Wagan 12V Cooler Warmer plugs into the 12-volt DC direct for power or to recharge the battery. It shifts with a switch between hot (140 degrees Fahrenheit) and cold (36 degrees). Its 24-liter capacity holds the equivalent of a 24-pack of 12-ounce cans of soda, or four 2-liter bottles.
Sure, you can bring that old beat up cooler you've had since college, or you can step up to something like Wagan's 12V Cooler/Warmer that can keep your beverages cold or your food warm until you're ready for a lunch stop. It's big enough to store four 2L bottles upright and can get up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit on the warm setting or 32 to 36 degrees below room temperature when switched to cool.
Keep everyone's drinks chilled on the road with the Wagan Cooler, which has enough capacity to store 27 cans or up to four 2-liter bottles. The cooler gets as chilly as 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can also keep food warm with the flick of a switch, heating up to 140 degrees. The device plugs into your car's 12-volt outlet, and has a 7.5-foot cord.
From the first zombie-infected bite much of what makes smart homes so appealing will fail: phone lines, cellular networks, and power grids will go down. Of course, smart home technology will run without networks–but it will not function without electricity.
To power a smart home and all of its essentially prepared people will likely already have a store of fuel and a gas generator or even a car using an DC/AC Power Inverter. Take a look on Amazon.com for one of these; it’s worth having one even without zombies scratching on the door.
The only problem: generators and cars are loud and use up fuel.
To keep the house powered and make sure all the smart home electronics keep running we’d suggest solar power with some sort of battery for night time or rainy days (wind power could also be a go-to here.)
For solar there’s a few solutions out there... There’s also this interesting product that’s a portable solar charger kit called the Wagan Solar ePower Cube 1500 that bundles up a nice set of solar panels into a portable cube-like kit.
New plug-and-play solar modules from Wagan Tech. At the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Wagan Tech unveiled its new Solar e Power™ Cube 1500 and Solar e Power™ Case 450. More from the news release:
According to Alex Hsu, Wagan Tech Vice President of Sales, the Solar e Power Series is expected to empower the developing world, where access to electricity is unreliable. Remote villages can now access electricity instantly.
The two solar generators are self contained power sources which makes setup quick and easy. They are equipped with solar panels, an AGM/Gel Hybrid battery and one of Wagan Tech’s legacy power inverters, all packaged together in a rugged case.
The larger and more powerful of the two units is the Solar e Power Cube 1500. It boasts a 1,500 watt AC inverter and a 55 AH battery packaged in a sturdy, wheeled case. Once wheeled into place the solar panels unfold and slide out providing 80 watts of solar charging to the onboard battery.
The Solar e Power Case 450 is a smaller more compact unit. It features a 450 watt inverter and a 26 AH battery contained in a sturdy metal case with shoulder strap. The 40 watt solar panel unit attaches to the side for easy transport.
Both units can accommodate additional solar panels and batteries if quicker charging or more storage is needed. “We like to think of these units as a ‘home base’ for a solar setup as you can add more panels for quicker charging and you can add more batteries for prolonged use. The scalability of the units allows them to be easily customized to the end user’s needs,” said Alex Hsu, Wagan Tech’s Vice President of Sales.
Cole Kolasa is kayaking for conservation. The nineteen year old environmental engineering student, who attends University of Central Florida (UCF) has been in the water most of his life. Cole’s long-term goal is to study the nearshore reefs and living shorelines to determine how they how improve coastal resilience and increase fish and wildlife habitat...
Cole obtained four sponsors who donated various supplies to make his trip a success: Travel Country Outfitters of Altamonte Springs, Sun Bum Sunscreen, Wagan Tech Solar Products and Chuck Morton of Coastline Realty in Hernando Beach. Responding to his GoFundMe campaign, over $3000.00 was donated to purchase the materials for the artificial reefs...
Cole was presented with a Certificate of Achievement at the July 25th Board of County Commissioner’s meeting, and said that more expeditions are possible in the future. Details of Cole’s last paddling expedition are posted on both his Facebook page and blog site listed below.
Cole’s Kayak Tour Facebook page:
Wagan EL2273 Mini Stepper Master 4.1 stars, 130 reviews
“This was an excellent purchase at a crazy low price. Very easy to assemble in 20 minutes. It works very well. A couple of things to consider: The footstep distance is a little short, but it’s easy to adapt your stepping to match it. The hardest setting is for me about average as I’m pretty fit. But I still work up a good sweat in 30 minutes by speeding up stepping speed. The build quality is excellent too. The little computer works great. It automatically rotates the display through several readings, or if you tap the button for a second or two it stays in a display mode you like which is what I do. … Anyway, I highly recommend this stepper. One of my better purchases.”
To get the lowdown on best 12 volt vacuum cleaner, we’ve consulted top experts who has in-and-out knowledge about the 12 volt vacuum cleaner.
An increasingly popular option is a BLACK+DECKER BDH1200FVAV 12V Flexi Automotive Vacuum – Corded, which comes with amazing features you’ve never heard before. More than 355 verified buyers have rated this product 3.8 star on Amazon. It is undoubtedly the best 12 volt vacuum cleaner available in the market today. However, if you don’t want to spend big on 12 volt vacuum cleaner, then you should absolutely go for Wagan 750 12 volt vacuum cleaner which comes with all the basic features one could expect in a 12 volt vacuum cleaner.
While you’ll find 12 volt vacuum cleaner that are less than $10, you’re far likelier to have problems with these models than somewhat more expensive 12 volt vacuum cleaner. Generally, a good 12 volt vacuum cleaner with desirable extra features will cost between $10 to $120.
If you are ready to choose a new 12 volt vacuum cleaner, check out our recommendations for the best 12 volt vacuum cleaner. But if you’d like to learn more about the various types of 12 volt vacuum cleaner available and how to choose the right one for you, read on.
So here is our list of The 10 Best 12 volt vacuum cleaner:
#2 - Wagan Tech’s Wet and Dry Ultra Vac is a must have item for every driver. On average, people spend at least an hour per day in their vehicles, so it makes sense to clean it thoroughly.
This 12v DC powered vacuum is compact and lightweight, yet is powerful enough to clean up dirt, debris and liquid. All vehicles, trailers, motorhomes, and RVs can get dirty inside from all the people coming and going through them to get from one place to another.
Its compact size can be stored inside your vehicle or in your trunk for quick and convenient access.
As shown above: wide nozzle, crevice nozzle, inflating adaptor and detachable bristle brush for upholstery. The Wet and Dry Ultra Vac’s flexible hose is 40-inch long.
You’ll never need to replace a bag! Simply open up the Vacuum, dump out the debris, rinse the reservoir, allow to dry and re-assemble.
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