What do you do when you have no sun and are not charging, whats your backup device?

So, living in Oregon has it's drawbacks when it comes to solar.  We have more rain and clouds than anything else.  On those cloudy days panels make a small charge but not a ton. 

So, if you were strictly using solar to power your things and your battery bank is running close to 50% what do you?  Do you fire up the generator for a while and charge your batteries up while running your things?  Turn everything off and hope you get enough charge to last you until the next good day of sun?  Go out and buy a few more HF kits?  Add a few more batteries to the battery bank?  What are your thoughts on this? 


Stupid Oregon weather.

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For me the obvious answer is more amourphous [Harbor Freight, Sunforce etc.] panels. Every system deserves some mono crystalline panels but don't forget, our inexpensive amourphous panels do better in cloudy condition then their more expensive mono counterparts.


Larger system seems like the answer!

Thanks Ray.  I am expected to buy another three kits before the month ends.  I should focus on getting some more batteries too.
my cabin is 100% off grid.  When the batteries get low the generator come into play.
I have 3 kits and a single HF 15 watt panel, 10 actual panels in all....I have found on cloudy days, my 3, 125Ah deep cycle batteries get a deeper, better charge then in full sun, as the controller severelly floats the voltage at the top end in full sun, but in clouds, the controller gets to a higher charge before starting to float...of course, I don't use the batteries in that scenario, it's just a charge day, no usage, so that may not work for you, just an FYI....In full sun, I use the GTI to recover money on the electric bill, in clouds, I charge batteries in the event of a power outage, as the clouds restrict a lot of power going to the grid via the GTI, so I'm not making electric bill payback anyways, so a charge day makes more sense...it seems to work
HF sells a small 800 watt generator.  If you watch the ads, you can pick it up for $89.  I have one and it works great for just lights. 

I am gonna have to look at the adds, thats a smokin great deal.  Thanks Don..

I have this generator & it works great.  It is really quiet too.
My wife bought one for me a few weeks ago.  She was going to use a 20% Off coupon, but the fine print says that it can't be used for generators.  She still bought it at the sale price of $129.95.  I mixed up the gas/oil mixture, check all of the bolts and fitting for tightness and fired it up.  It started on the second pull and ran like a champ.  She heard how quiet it ran and promptly told me that she decided to keep it for herself.  Luckily we live in the same household, so I figure she can share.
Word on the street is that it's a good idea to upgrade to an American made spark plug and these things run forever.

If it's an off the grid thing, and you're not too limited on space, I'd just go with a bigger battery bank. Whenever you get bored and have the money, go buy a new battery. More panels doesn't hurt, either. If you also want a little project and have an old car sitting in your yard, yank the alternator and make a little windmill, for day and night charging. If it comes down to it, you could always do what Don said and grab yourself a little generator. Just some ideas, there are plenty of alternatives.


Of course, if it's an urgent thing, you could always get a good set of jumper cables and charge 'em up with your car. Just don't do it too often or you'll fry your alternator.

I just grabbed the HF ad and that generator is smack dab right on the front page on sale 89.99 just like Don said.  So this is a two stroke generator.  I have neighbors on each side of me, would you say that it's quiet enough to not bother the neighbors?


My goal right now is to purchase another three kits, couple of extra batteries and maybe that generator.  Looks like a lot of folks are saying to go out and buy a better spark plug and thats pretty much the only complaint they have, cant complain.

It would be nice to have a setup where I can run my electronics even on cloudy days and not really worry about the battery bank.  Thats the dream here.  Enough to power things, charge and store.

@Christoper - don't own one, (mine is the model 66603), but here is a Youtube video - sounds about like a 2 cycle lawnmower to me.  There are a surprising number of videos on them, search for "Harbor Freight Generator". ;)

Sound of the $79 Harbor Freight Generator


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