In this time of upheaval and unrest mutual aid is of the utmost importance.
Many of us are in need of the tools and resources to maintain community resilience and autonomy in the face of state violence, systematic racism and oppression, poverty, and the looming threat of mass evictions and a destabilized economy.
Likewise, COVID-19 and the need to adhere to social distancing measures presents challenges to community organizing and events in traditional spaces, as gatherings must be outdoors without easy access to grid power or infrastructure and mobilization is key.
Recently a member of our team has been building DIY battery packs from recycled electric car cells for an off-grid solar system. Each pack is 24 volts and can reliably supply up to 3000 watt-hours of power (!!!) for a fraction of the price, size, and weight of comparable commercial batteries. It’s been an extremely successful project so far and has already been put to use in mobile applications around town.
Now we wanna share this with the community!
In collaboration with whateverSpace and Hedron Hackerspace , we would like to build some mobile Community Power Pods!
We have now constructed a prototype Power Pod to lend to select organizations and demonstrate the power and usability. We intend to publish all plans and materials open-source, so that this project can be replicated and built-upon by other groups and in other cities.
Each pod will contain:
+one 3000 watt-hour battery pack.
+one 1500 watt DC>AC pure sine wave inverter.
+protection and monitoring equipment to ensure safe functioning of all components.
+a secure enclosure with wheels and a handle for easy transportation, luggage-bag style.
Each pod will be small enough for easy transportation and weigh around 55 pounds.
⚡️⚡️What can you do with 3000 watt-hours of power? ⚡️⚡️
+Charge a cell phone for 600 hours
+Run a sound-system and PA for 6-12 hours (depending on loudness and amount of equipment. Yes it can even handle a 1000 watt sub).
+Run a microwave oven for 2.5 hours nonstop (why would you do that???)
+Run a 100 watt mini fridge for 30 hours.
+Run a 200 watt projector for 15 hours.
**to determine use hours of any device, figure out it's wattage (voltage * amps) and divide 3000 by that. Real-world mileage may vary, but devices often use less than their rated wattage anyway**
A 1500 watt inverter is sufficient for most uses, so long as multiple high-powered devices are not used at once. One standard wall outlet can usually supply only 1800 watts maximum, for reference.
+To build an initial run of -5- Community Power Pods that could be rented out on a day-by-day basis.
Priority to queer and BIPOC organizations and individuals working to further the causes of Black Lives Matter and non-commercial community resilience and engagement. Details on how this will be organized/enacted forthcoming (we are discussing a donation-based model).
+To construct a solar charging array to promote clean, renewable and “free” power and ensure resilience and autonomy of our system.
We estimate each Power Pod can be built for around $600, including the battery, inverter, and enclosure (!!!). The remaining $1000 is for the solar array and charging infrastructure, or any unforeseen expenses to realize this project effectively.
Donations of solar equipment and panels absolutely welcome. The larger our solar system the faster and more reliably we can recharge these Pods!!
If the first run is successful, we would absolutely love to build more. We want to give power to the people!
- celia guzi
- Logan Vickery
- Chris Diana-Peebles
- Betsy Zucker