Aniket

Aniket is a solar engineer who has been working, teaching, writing and speaking for the clean energy sector for nearly a decade. He has experience working in the European, Asian and North American solar markets and looks forward to the solar singularity.

Guildbrook Farm – Who Are They, and Are They Any Good?

Guildbrook Farm - Who Are They, and Are They Any Good?

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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Guildbrook Farm is a YouTube channel about homesteading and off-grid living. Many channels discuss these topics, but Guildbrook Farm’s instructional videos are clear, practical, and often fun to watch.

Let us learn more about the channel and the people who run it.

Who Is Guildbrook Farm?

The Guildbrook Farm channel was started by Jaime and Jeremy, an American couple who live with their two girls, Marina and Ilaria. In their own words, the channel is about a “modern mountain homestead in pursuit of developing a more self-sustainable way of life.” 

Jaime and Jeremy’s journey feels inspiring, from planting, growing, canning, and preserving their own food to managing their forests and land resources. It demonstrates preparedness, DIY projects, strategies, and ideas that you can practice to help increase your self-sufficiency and balance with the land.

Jaime and Jeremy from Guildbrook Farm

The couple transitioned to this lifestyle after a job loss and surviving the devastating earthquake in Nepal in 2015. They wanted to opt out of the rat race and live a more grounded, debt-free lifestyle.

Jaime and Jeremy spent the first couple of years learning skills such as canning, preserving, raising livestock, and off-grid cooking while living in their suburban home. In 2017, they finally sold everything and moved off-grid to a 1960s 600 sq. ft. trailer in the most rural part of Appalachia. In the next couple of years, they built their modern homestead.

Guildbrook Farm YouTube Channel

Guildbrook Farm’s YouTube channel started in 2016 and has come a long way. It now has over 335,000 subscribers. The channel’s videos also have a total of about 33 million views.

The channel has videos about food storage, chicken coop building and cleaning, building an ICF (insulating concrete forms) home, food preservation, pressure canning, etc. The couple also discusses solar power, other renewable energy systems, and other aspects of self-reliance.

While most videos on the channel are about living a sustainable lifestyle and prepping, the couple also hosts a series of videos called the dirt. The dirt features discussions on topics that are a bit more specific and personal to the family.

Where Is Guildbrook Farm Located?

While the exact location of Guildbrook Farm is unknown, Jaime and Jeremy tell us that it is in the forests of the Appalachia mountains in North Carolina.

The family’s postal address is a PO box in Hiddenite, NC.

Guildbrook Farm Website

Jaime and Jeremy also run a blog on their homesteading website, guildbrookfarm.com. The site has informational content in six different categories:

  • Eat
  • Stuff
  • Critters
  • Make stuff
  • Hacks and tips
  • Inside scoop

It also has a section where you can buy merch with cool designs the couple created themselves.

Guildbrook Farm on Instagram

You can join the 16,000 people in following Guildbrook Farm on Instagram. The couple is also available on Twitter with about 500 followers.

Guildbrook Farm Top Videos

Here are Guildbrook Farm’s three most popular videos:

  1. Chicken Starter Guide: The couple’s video for beginners trying to raise backyard chickens is the most viewed, with almost 2.5 million views. 
  2. Canning 101: The second most-viewed video on the channel instructs beginners on canning basics and has about 1.5 million views.
  3. How to Start a Prepper Food Pantry: Prepping is becoming increasingly popular, and it requires more than just an organic garden to be well prepared. The third most popular video is about a prepper food pantry and has around 1.3 million views.

Summary

The world is changing faster than ever, and more and more people are turning to lives celebrating sustainability and solitude. However, off-grid living brings its own challenges, and having someone with homesteading experience helps.

Jaime and Jeremy’s Guildbrook Farm YouTube channel is a perfect resource for beginners wanting to learn the basics of living on a farm and managing their own food and energy.

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Who is Tito on RV with Tito, and Is He Legit?

Who is Tito on RV with Tito, and Is He Legit?

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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Tito from the YouTube channel RV with Tito is not legit. Why? Because he is not human! Tito is the name of the happy dancing dashboard mascot in the RV of Brian Pursel, an incredible YouTuber who shares RV maintenance and upgrades tips, tricks, and how-tos.

Let’s find out more about the channel and Brian himself.

Who Is Brian Pursel from RV with Tito?

Brian and Melissa, a couple from Washington, began RVing in 2007. They started living in the RV with their two children. As Brian puts it, the kids grew up and are now living their own lives. 

Brian and Melissa loved the RV life so much that in 2018, they both retired from their corporate jobs of 30 years and started on a new journey of full-time RVing. The couple now spends part of the year traveling and the rest at their home in Silverdale, Washington.

In 2021, they upgraded their Class C motorhome to a 2003 model Class A motorhome. For 30 years, Brian worked as a software engineer, and along the way, he developed construction, woodworking, and electrical skills. 

Brian Pursel and his wife, Melissa

His love for helping fellow RVers made him start his YouTube channel. Here, he shows them how to maintain or upgrade their RVs in a DIY fashion. Tito was the name his kids gave to the dashboard mascot, which seemed a unique name for the channel.

His wife, Melissa, pursues her own path in health and fitness coaching.

RV with Tito YouTube Channel

The YouTube channel RV with Tito started in 2010, aiming to help RV owners become self-reliant and save money through DIY projects. The channel shares various instructional DIY videos on topics like solar installation, boondocking, RV upgrades, RV maintenance, etc.

Brian‘s goal is to create the confidence required to work on your own RV and save money. As of mid-2022, Pursel’s channel has over 116k subscribers and an admirable 16.5 million total views.

The channel shares videos about solar systems and generators, chargers, inverters, e-bikes, gas heaters, water purification, and general RV maintenance and upgrades

For instance, Brian can be seen in some videos speaking about flexible solar panels or the Renogy solar generator. In some videos, you will find him talking about the perks of a lithium battery or simply giving instructions on effective RV roof cleaning.

RV with Tito Website

You can also find Brian’s content on https://www.rvwithtito.com. The website is mainly divided into three sections:

  • Solar and boondocking
  • RV maintenance
  • RV upgrades

It also offers e-books and free resources to download and sells merchandise if you want to support Brian and Melissa’s journey.

RV with Tito on Social Media

You can also find RV with Tito on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with about 1.2k, 1.6k, and 2.5k followers, respectively. The social media accounts share plenty of RV tips and tricks while also sharing any new YouTube videos published by their channel.

How Does RV with Tito Make Money?

Brian and Melissa earn revenue from their YouTube channel by allowing the platform to showcase ads on their videos. 

They also participate in the Amazon Services associates program, which means they receive a small commission for every purchase you make using the link provided/recommended by Brian.

RV with Tito Top Videos

The following DIY RV videos on Brian’s channel rake in the most views:

  1. The Best Mouse Trap: Rodents can be frustrating in an RV, especially with the small space you have to share with them. Therefore, the most-viewed video on Brian’s channel is one about the best mouse trap and is slowly inching to the one million mark.
  2. 7 DIY Upgrades that Made the Biggest Impact: The second most popular video on the RV with Tito channel is about the essential upgrades you can make to your RV and has over half a million views.
  3. Boondocking with Lithium vs. AGM: The third most-viewed video on the channel explains which battery to choose for boondocking, particularly in an off-grid setting, and has over 500k views.

Conclusion

The use of RVs for traveling has shot up in the past few decades. Today, for many North Americans, travel is synonymous with RVing. Traveling and living in an RV or a camper brings incredible benefits, but it also brings some challenges.

Most of us are not well-versed in RV solar, maintenance, or upgrades. And going to a specialist each time may cost a fortune. Brian’s channel is a boon for boondockers and shares an array of helpful tips, tricks, and DIY videos that create confidence in anyone of any skill level.

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Who is Engineer775 and are They Any Good

Who Is Engineer775, and Are They Any Good?

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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Engineer775 is a YouTube channel that shares videos on prepping and sustainable living. The videos cover topics like homesteading, renewable energy, water pumping, gasification, and air conditioning.

Among the multitude of homesteading channels, what separates Engineer775 from the others is a professional degree and engineering experience. Let’s find out if Engineer775’s content is any good.

Who Is Engineer775?

Scott Hunt, AKA Engineer775, is the founder and owner of Practical Preppers LLC, a homesteading consultancy company. In 1992, Scott graduated in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He went on to work as a product development engineer for Michelin Tire Corporation.

Scott now works full-time as the owner of Practical Preppers. According to Scott, his ultimate goal is to be completely self-sufficient through the wise use of the resources available on any small farm.

Engineer775 YouTube Channel

Scott’s YouTube channel started in 2008 and now has over 316k subscribers and about 53 million views on his videos. The channel tries to offer unique and innovative approaches to sustainable living and independence.

Scott Hunt, AKA Engineer775, in his intro video

The videos usually depict Scott installing an inverter, solar panels, or a pump and sometimes even upgrading a truck. A few of the hundreds of videos on the channel have millions of views, while most others have tens of thousands of views.

Practical Preppers

Practical Preppers is a family-owned company started by Scott. It offers an array of sustainability services. These include:

  1. DIY Solar Systems
  2. Turnkey Solar Systems
  3. Off-Grid Water System Design and Installation
  4. Homestead Consultations

The consultations are with Scott and cost $200 for an hourly session. The company helps plan and design a system, which many other DIY YouTubers do not offer. 

In Scott’s own words, their goal is to “experiment, educate, and engage viewers to live an independent, sustainable lifestyle.” The office of Practical Preppers is in Pickens, South Carolina.

Practical Preppers Website

The Engineer775 website is also Scott’s company website – practicalpreppers.com. With a tagline that says “simply sustainable,” the website offers DIY solar kits, battery packs, radiation detectors, solar panels, inverters (mainly sol-ark), stoves, filters, etc.

The Practical Preppers website also has a blog section that shares informational posts on sustainable homesteading and a newsletter with over 10,000 subscribers.

Engineer775 on Social Media

Scott is available on most other social media, sharing helpful content for aspiring and existing homesteaders.

Engineer775 on Facebook

Scott’s venture can be found on Facebook and has about 14,000 followers.

Engineer775 on Instagram

Scott is on Instagram, too. Engineer775 is quite active, with about 2,000 followers. 

Engineer775 on Twitter

Scott also shares content about sustainable living and energy independence on Twitter and has over 3,000 followers.

Engineer775 Top Videos

  1. Endless Hot Water Without Electricity: With a staggering 14 million views, Engineer775’s most popular video explains how to make hot water using a simple wood-fired heater and a copper coil.
  2. Micro Hydro Power with Turgo Generator: Scott’s second most-viewed video shows how to use the energy of flowing water to generate electrical power and has close to 3 million views. 
  3. All About Wells: How a Water Well is Drilled: Scott’s third most popular video is an oddly satisfying video about drilling a well for water and has about 2.7 million views.

Final Words

There’s no doubt that Engineer775 and Practical Preppers are 100% legit. But more importantly, we’ll add that they are an excellent source of information for anyone looking to build their own solar power system or air conditioning/heating system.

In a sea of DIY experts who build or fix things through trial and error, Scott Hunt is a welcome change with his engineering background and proven track record in helping homesteaders through his company.

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Who is Jehu Garcia and is He Legit?

Who Is Jehu Garcia, and Is He Legit?

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Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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Jehu Garcia is an EV enthusiast and DIYer whose YouTube videos about building EVs and e-bikes have gained significant popularity. In 2021, Vice Media created a documentary on Jehu Garcia’s work and called him “The Battery King.”

But can someone without an electronics degree be good at building electric vehicles and teaching them? Let’s find out.

Jehu Garcia’s Story

As a child, Jehu Garcia came to the States from Mexico. Growing up, Jehu first found interest in photography and is still an aspiring filmmaker. He initially set up a photography accessories business, but things were about to change.

With Tesla revolutionizing the electric car market and eventually the home battery market, Garcia was inspired by electric vehicles and powerwalls. Around that time, he converted an old VW bus into an electric van.

Jehu started creating videos about how to build a Powerwall for cheap or build an e-bike from scratch. Soon, his videos started garnering thousands of views, and in just a few years, he became an authority on DIY battery stuff.

Jehu Garcia with the battery pack in his electric VW bus

A few years ago, he also raised $30 to 40k for Puerto Rico when hurricane Maria hit the island.

Jehu Garcia YouTube Channel

As of mid-2022, Jehu’s YouTube channel had 422k subscribers. Interestingly, although the channel started over a decade ago, over half the subscribers were added in just one year. 

Without any formal engineering training, Jehu has become an authoritative figure in DIY battery stuff, with over 52 million views on his videos. His channel shares videos on DIY powerwalls, battery build, lithium batteries, BMS, etc.

Jehu Garcia Website

Jehu also has a website – http://jag35.com. The website primarily acts as a place where his followers can buy an array of battery-related stuff, including e-bike batteries, chargers, headway cells, scooter battery packs, inverters, vlogging essentials, and even some merch.

Aside from that, you can also purchase his products on some other websites, such as kit.co and pcbway.com.

The Jehu Garcia Podcast

Most influencers on YouTube are also exploring the podcasting world, and Jehu Garcia has also started a podcast. The show aims at spreading info about “ideas and technologies that empower.” He interviews industry experts and scientists from the battery world to provide informational content about innovative tech.

Jehu Garcia on Other Platforms

Besides YouTube, Jehu is quite active on several other social media.

Jehu Garcia Instagram

You can find Jehu on Instagram, where he shares photos of his projects and anything else he finds cool. He has about 11,000 followers.

Jehu Garcia Facebook

Garcia is available on Facebook as well and has over 5,200 followers.

Jehu Garcia Twitter

Jehu is also available on Twitter, where he mostly shares non-project-related stuff and has about 10,000 followers. 

Jehu Garcia Patreon

Patreon can be a great place for creators to receive financial support from their followers. Jehu Garcia is available on Patreon and has 56 supporters. 

Those who support Garcia on Patreon can receive bonus video content and a chance to win giveaways, such as a LiFePO4 battery.

Jehu Garcia Top Videos

Here are the three most viewed videos on Jehu’s YouTube channel:

  1. $300 DIY Tesla Powerwall: This video is likely the one that shot Garcia to fame. It’s the highest-viewed video on his channel and has about 2.2 million views.
  2. DIY Tesla Car: It would be a surprise if Jehu did not try replicating Tesla’s most iconic product, the electric car. This video has about 1.5 million views on YouTube.
  3. How to Get 1200 km on a Single Charge: EVs are mainly limited by range compared to traditional cars, but when Jehu Garcia shows how to get 1200 km on a single charge, the video is bound to become popular. The third most-viewed video on the channel has about 1.3 million views.

Final Thoughts

For someone without a college degree, influencer Jehu Garcia is an impressively knowledgeable individual. Being a self-taught carpenter, photographer, and electric car builder is far from easy. 

While there are plenty of YouTubers who share videos about battery modules and electric cars, what differentiates Jehu is his ability to explain things easily. As Vice puts it, he is far easier to relate to than a tech executive or professional engineer.

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Kyles Cabin YouTube Channel: Is It Legit?

Kyles Cabin YouTube Channel: Is It Legit?

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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YouTube may be full of channels about off-grid living, but Kyles Cabin is unique for several reasons. 

First, the channel takes us on a cabin-building journey in the beautiful but uncompromising Alaskan wilderness. Second, the channel’s founder and host is a 24-year-old man who grew up in a city. 

Let’s take a look at what the channel has to offer and whether it is any good.

Kyles Cabin on YouTube

Kyle joined YouTube way back in 2010, but his off-grid adventure began about three years ago (2019), and that is when the channel officially started. In a relatively short period, the channel gained 117,000 subscribers, while its videos have been viewed over 18 million times.

Kyle in front of the log cabin he built

The videos mainly chronicle Kyle’s off-grid cabin living adventures with his girlfriend Cierra and their dog, Skeeter. Some videos show the building of an off-grid log cabin, while others explain how to restore a wood oven or which solar generator to use.

Where Is Kyles Cabin Located?

Kyle’s first cabin in the wild was in Alaska. However, he returned to his hometown in Northern Minnesota and bought a 10-acre wooded property with Cierra, where they have built their current off-grid homestead. Remember not to confuse it with Kyles Landing cabins in Arizona.

Kyle and Cierra have spent just about $10,000 on the cabin and enjoy a self-sufficient, simple way of living in their tiny house

They get their own water (rainwater/melt snow) and create their own heat (wood stove). The couple also bakes all their food from scratch and generates its own power with solar. They power their entire cabin with an EcoFlow Delta Max.

Who Is Kyle from Kyles Cabin?

Kyle Helmberger is a resident of Minnesota. When he was 12 years old, he was deeply inspired by a documentary about legendary outdoorsman Dick Proenneke. Entering adulthood, he followed Dick’s footsteps and built his simple log cabin in Alaska

He later moved to Minnesota and lives with his girlfriend Cierra Justine on the 10-acre property they bought together. Cierra herself loves the off-grid life and has a website – offgridwithcierra.com. Her YouTube channel also has about 7,000 subscribers.

Recently, Kyle and Cierra also built a tiny camper home on an old snowmobile trailer.

Kyles Cabin on Social Media

Besides YouTube, Kyles Cabin is also active on Instagram, having about 4,000 followers. Cierra also has an Instagram account with over 6,000 followers, although it does not cover a lot of off-grid stuff.

Kyles Cabin’s Top Videos

  1. Arriving at the Cabin in a Blizzard: A significant fear that deters people from living off the grid is the lack of protection from the elements. Perhaps that is why Kyle’s video about arriving at the cabin in extreme weather is his most popular, with 1.5 million views.
  2. 24 Year Old Builds Mortgage Free Off Grid Log Cabin in the Wilderness: A video title that highlights several unique things, such as being a young age and living mortgage free in the wild, is sure to interest a lot of viewers. In this case, about 1.3 million.
  3. -34F At My Remote Off Grid Log Cabin In The Wilderness: The third most-viewed video on Kyles Cabin is also about braving the harsh weather. The full video is just over 10 minutes long and has about 1.3 million views.

Final Words

Many of us crave an experience of remote and simple living that goes beyond just tent camping. Kyle and Cierra have actually given in to this craving, building a beautiful, minimal cabin in Minnesota.

The channel’s videos are informative and even inspiring. They are helpful for anyone wanting to pursue a similar goal and entertaining the rest of us.

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Who is Silver Cymbal and Are They Legit?

Who Is Silver Cymbal, and Are They Legit?

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Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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If you are into DIY home improvement, especially lawn care, you’ve undoubtedly come across Silver Cymbal

Meant for “helping you take care of your home inside and out,” Silver Cymbal is a YouTube channel that shares information about landscaping, weed control, air conditioning, solar generators, plumbing, etc.

Let’s learn a bit more about the channel.

Silver Cymbal on YouTube

The Silver Cymbal YouTube channel started in June 2012. Since then, it has amassed around 674k followers. It also has an impressive 237 million total views.

The channel’s description reads, “Do it more – do it yourself,” which is what the channel helps thousands of homeowners with. It shares a new video every few days.

The videos are tips, tricks, and procedures for plumbing, heating, generators, landscaping, and gardening.

Silver Cymbal’s video showing how to level a lawn

On the channel, you will find videos about fixing an ugly lawn, taking care of crabgrass and brown grass, changing valves, cleaning vents, etc. It also shares reviews of related products, including bestsellers and lesser-known ones. Product reviews include lawn mowers, gas and solar generators, solar lights, DIY bathtubs, and a lot more. 

Silver Cymbal Website

Silver Cymbal’s official website is silvercymbal.com and is basically a blog. It contains posts under six neatly listed sections:

  • Fix your lawn
  • Get rid of weeds
  • Edge beds
  • Generators
  • Air conditioning and heating
  • Plumbing

Every article is complete with images of the work, making it easier to understand. However, we find their YouTube videos to be the easiest to follow. 

Silver Cymbal on Instagram

Silver Cymbal can also be followed on Instagram, although they are not very active there. The page has close to 200 posts and about 4,300 followers. 

The posts on Instagram are a mix of short videos of tending to the lawn or a garden bed and images showing lawn care, solar, and air conditioning components.

Who Exactly Is Silver Cymbal?

All we know about Silver Cymbal is that it is a channel operated by a gentleman named Chris that has nothing to do with a drum set. It is evident from the videos and blog that Chris is well-versed in what he does, and the hundreds of thousands of followers are proof.

While the exact location of the channel is unclear, it can be seen from the Instagram photo locations that Chris lives in the vicinity of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

How Does Silver Cymbal Make Money?

If you have a decent number of followers and valuable information to share, YouTube can be a great place to earn money. Silver Cymbal probably participates in YouTube’s partner program, wherein it can make a small commission from the ads that YouTube runs on its videos.

Silver Cymbal also has an Amazon recommendations page, where it is an affiliate partner. If you purchase a product recommended by Silver Cymbal through the link it provides, they will receive a small commission from the sale.

Silver Cymbal Top Videos

 Here’s a list of Silver Cymbal’s top three videos:

  1. Never Solder Pipe Again: Silver Cymbal’s top video is a plumbing tips video that discusses easier alternatives to soldering pipes for joining them. The video has nearly 15 million views.
  2. How to Make Windshield Wipers Like New in 30 Seconds: Old, screeching windshield wipers that don’t wipe away all the water on your windshield can be seriously annoying. The second most viewed video on the channel gives us a DIY hack about making old wipers like new instantly and has 12 million views.
  3. How to Solder Wires Together: The third most popular video on the Silver Cymbal channel is a general, informational video on how to solder wires like a pro. The video has already been viewed 11 million times.

Final Words

The condition of your lawn can make or break your home’s curb appeal, and if you’re a homeowner, it also helps to learn basic air conditioning and plumbing tweaks. 

The Silver Cymbal channel, however ambiguous the name, is an excellent resource for practical tips on creating the perfect lawn and tackling basic heating, AC, and plumbing needs.

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Love Your RV: Is the Channel Any Good?

Love Your RV: Is the Channel Any Good?

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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According to Google, usage of the word “wanderlust” has more than doubled in the past four decades. Obviously, not only the word’s usage has shot up. It is also an emotion that is increasingly prominent among people nowadays.

As a result, hundreds of people will give up their comfortable homes to live in an RV and travel full-time. One such couple is Ray and Anne, who wander the North American landscape while living full-time in their RV. They share their story through YouTube videos on their “Love Your RV” channel. 

Let’s learn a bit more about their story.

Who Is Love Your RV?

In 2011, Ray Burr and Anne McKinnell, residents of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, decided to sell their house and go on a year-long RV trip around North America. They loved living in a mobile vehicle so much that over a decade later, they are still living and loving the RV life.

Ray and Anne with their trailer

The couple has a 30-foot Keystone Cougar fifth-wheel trailer. Now in their 50’s, they have logged over 80,000 miles and enjoyed hundreds of amazing locations. They spend their summers on Vancouver Island and head southwest to California or other warmer places in the winters.

Ray’s wife Anne is also a photographer and writer, with her own channel with over 4,000 subscribers and a website with over 50,000 followers.

Love Your RV on YouTube

Ray and Anne started their YouTube channel in 2012 when they had just started RVing full-time. As of mid-2022, their channel has about 90,000 followers and 24 million video views.

The couple shares RVing tips and tricks, how-tos, mods and upgrades, product reviews, and cool places to RV. On the channel, you can find videos about solar panels and generators, RV camera systems, Starlink wifi, and other gadgets, as well as general tips about RV maintenance and RV travel.

The couple often chooses the option of boondocking, meaning they don’t pay to stay at an RV park. They can set up their RV anywhere and use energy from their solar panels and batteries, saving them a lot of money. 

Love Your RV Website

The website loveyourrv.com is an extension of the YouTube channel. It has more information about the couple, their journey, and several other vital resources.

You can find blog posts detailing their travels and photography, product reviews, boondocking tips, mods, etc., on the site. The website also offers free tips eBook for aspiring RVers.

Love Your RV also has Amazon pages where you can purchase products recommended by the couple.

Love Your RV on Other Platforms

You can also find LYRV on other social platforms. They are pretty active on Pinterest, with about 50,000 followers, and on Facebook and Instagram, which have a few thousand followers.

Love Your RV Top Videos

  1. 10 Must-Have RV Gadgets: From tire chocks and waste valves to vent covers and surge protectors, Ray shares many essential gadgets in Love Your RV’s most-viewed video.
  2. 5 Stupid Things I Have Done to Damage My RV: The channel’s second most-viewed video is almost a decade old and features some of Ray’s serious RVing mistakes.
  3. 7 Bonehead RVing Mistakes Made: Speaking of RVing mistakes, the third most popular video on LYRV is also about the same.

Besides the above three, many other Love Your RV solar power videos are pretty popular. 

How Does Love Your RV Make Money?

Besides participating in YouTube’s partner program to earn revenue from ads, LYRV also makes some money through its website and the Amazon affiliate program.

Ray also resurrects his mobile electronics repair business during their summer stay on Vancouver Island.

Final Thoughts

Ray and Anne speak of friends who died from a sudden, unexpected ailment. And then they talk about how important it is to explore this world while we can.

An RV life is delightful and adventurous but isn’t always easy. Every person who starts RVing makes several mistakes, and watching Ray’s channel will help you know those mistakes beforehand and avoid them.

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Martin Johnson Off-Grid Living: Should You Follow the Channel?

Martin Johnson Off-Grid Living: Should You Follow the Channel?

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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You may wonder what a middle-aged couple with no off-grid experience has to teach about living in the woods, but Martin Johnson’s YouTube channel gives you an answer: a lot. 

Today, there are dozens of off-grid and homesteading channels on YouTube, but Martin and Julie Johnson’s simplicity and relatability have gotten them hundreds of thousands of viewers. Let’s look at their story and see if their channel is any good.

Martin Johnson’s Off-Grid Living YouTube Channel

Martin Johnson started his YouTube channel in July 2013. Originally titled Riding Java, it chronicled his motorcycle journeys in Indonesia and neighboring East-Asian countries. 

Over time, Martin and the family decided to quit the city life and live in the forests of Sandpoint in North Idaho, which is how the current version of the channel began. 

Martin and Julie with their kids Sarah and Seth

Choosing seven acres of raw land, the family first lived in tents for six months. During this period, the couple and their two kids built their DIY, off-grid homestead and shared their entire journey with the viewers.

Martin’s channel shares information about many things related to an off-grid cabin build, including building a root cellar, hand pump installation, and reviews of solar generators. The channel often has videos about simple home construction stuff such as flooring, laminates, and kitchen counters.

The channel’s cover photo says, “Debt free. Off-grid. Modern homesteading”. There are new videos published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. As of mid-2022, the channel has 414,000 subscribers and over 63 million total views.

Martin Johnson’s Off-Grid Website

Martin and Julie also have a website called “Down to Earth Homesteaders,” where they share more information about their journey through a blog. 

The resources section on the website is particularly helpful. You can find wiring diagrams for an off-grid home solar system and links to items useful for an off-grid cabin.

More About Martin Johnson and Julie Johnson

In the couple’s words, they haven’t retired Silicon Valley types or trust fund babies. They are just regular average middle-class conservative folks looking for a change. Martin has previously worked as an HVAC technician and Julie at a daycare center. 

According to the couple, in the 19 years they’ve been married, they have lived in two countries, six states, and over 15 houses.

They have served in Indonesia for nine years as missionaries, living off-grid in New Guinea for about four of those years. They have two kids, Seth and Sarah, who also live on the homestead and appear in several of their videos.

Julie also has a channel of her own where she shares cooking videos and has almost 25,000 subscribers.

Martin Johnson Off-Grid Living Top Videos

Martin and Julie’s off-grid life has millions of viewers on YouTube, but their three most-viewed videos are as follows:

  1. Easiest Off-grid Solar Power System Battery Bank: Getting energy is one of the biggest challenges when living off the grid. Martin’s channel’s most viewed video proves how many people want to know about using solar panels for their off-grid needs. The full video is about 25 minutes long and has been viewed more than 4.4 million times!
  2. Timelapse: House Built by Family in 15 Minutes: All of the family’s efforts in building their own off-grid home crammed into just 15 minutes. The second favorite video is a timelapse of their work, and has 4.3 million views.
  3. We Built a Well and You Won’t Believe What They Pulled Up: When the family decided to drill a well, they pulled up (spoiler alert!) a massive amount of glacial silt – grey and clay-like. A video detailing this is the third-highest viewed with over 1m views.

Final Words

Martin Johnson and his family may not be trained survivalists, but their experience living in the wild while building their own house is worth watching. 

Their videos are not only entertaining but also full of valuable tips and tricks that will help make building your off-grid home easier and perhaps even more fun.

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Who Is Erik Grankvist, and How Legit Is He?

Who Is Erik Grankvist, and How Legit Is He?

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Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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Admit it. At some point, you have thought of how nice it would be to take a break from civilization and live in the woods in a simple log cabin. Young Swedish YouTuber Erik Grankvist took this feeling more seriously and built a log cabin in the Swedish woods.

Many people, particularly YouTubers, have ventured into the quiet woods and built homesteads like the Deep South Homestead or Jake and Nicolle. But Erik Grankvist is unique in that he built his cabin in the ancestral method, using no automatic tools or vehicles. Moreover, Erik was just 18 years old when he started work on his cabin.

Let’s get to know Erik Grankvist and his channel a little better.

Erik Grankvist YouTube Channel

Erik joined YouTube on September 22, 2012, but has been sharing videos about building an off-grid log cabin since 2019, when he graduated from high school

He was 18 years old when he set out with just a backpack full of simple tools to build the cabin full time, without any previous experience. He had started studying what he calls “the old arts” from his grandfather and mentor, Åke Nilsson. 

Erik building his log cabin

Erik shares videos about several aspects of a log cabin build, such as wood peeling, log splitting, birch bark roofing, etc. 

Over the years, he has shared almost 50 videos of building and surviving in the Swedish wilderness. The videos have a total of about 103 million views. His channel has gained significant popularity in the past couple of years, reaching over 870,000 subscribers.

Erik Grankvist on Other Social Media

Erik is also available on Instagram and has an admirable 36,000+ followers. He also has a Facebook page with close to a thousand followers.

Erik Grankvist Merchandise

Erik Grankvist has a cool logo that says “The Great Outdoors” and sells merchandise with it, including hoodies, coffee mugs, and masks, mainly in white and black. 

You can find his merchandise on https://shop.spreadshirt.com/erik-grankvist. He is also an ambassador for the outdoor clothing brand RevolutionRace. 

Where Is Erik Grankvist Located?

Erik hasn’t shared his exact location, but he mentions his log cabin in the “forests of Sweden.” Erik lives in the log cabin with his dog, Barr.

Erik Grankvist Top Videos

All the videos in Erik’s one-man traditional log cabin series are pretty popular, but the following are the highest-viewed:

  1. One Year Alone in Forest of Sweden: Building Log Cabin Like Our Forefathers: A compilation of all the main clips from his year building the log cabin, this video ranks at the top with a staggering 34.5 million views.
  2. Two Years Alone: Building Log Cabin Like Our Forefathers: Erik’s second year’s log cabin video takes second place in his most viewed videos.
  3. I Spent 200 Days Prepping Secret Underground Food Storage: The third most popular video on Erik Grankvist’s channel is about preparing an underground chamber for food storage.

Conclusion

A young lad building a complex log cabin in the wilderness is not just fascinating; it’s also useful for those who are looking to repeat the experience for themselves.

Erik’s videos are well-made, and although we would have liked him to talk some more about the process, we love the simple, minimal process videos. For those who want to build an off-grid cabin of their own, this channel is a great resource to watch and learn from.

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City Prepping: How Legit Is the Channel?

City Prepping: How Legit Is the Channel?

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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“Equipping city dwellers to survive in times of crisis,” reads the text on the City Prepping’s YouTube channel page. With the multitude of channels about surviving in the wilderness, there had to be a channel about survival and preparedness in urban environments.

The City Prepping channel describes its “chief aim” as “helping provide survival basics for everyday people that are practical and easy to implement to be prepared should calamity strike.“ Let’s learn a bit more about what the channel has to offer.

City Prepping on YouTube

The City Prepping YouTube channel shares videos about prepping, such as SHTF scenarios, food storage, emergency preparedness for potential threats, and related survival skills

The channel was started in July 2015 and has amassed over 800,000 subscribers and nearly 12 million video views.

Interestingly, the City Prepping channel seems to have taken a lot of inspiration and elements from the Canadian Prepper channel. The CP logo looks oddly similar, while the video thumbnails have a very similar design, along with the large, bold, often sensational-sounding headlines.

Where the channel differs is its target audience – the urban populace. According to the channel, over 80% of Americans live in an urban or suburban environment. Many lack the basics to ensure they have the necessary food, water, medical skills, and security during a catastrophe.

City Prepping on Other Platforms

While most popular on YouTube, City Prepping also has an Instagram account with over 14,000 followers and a Facebook account with about 11,000 followers.

City Prepping Website

Aside from the YouTube channel, City Prepping also has a website that sells many preparedness materials such as bug out bags, rocket stoves, survival kits, water storage kits, etc. The website sells anything that can make you self-sufficient when a disaster strikes.

The website also has a blog section that discusses several aspects of emergency preparedness.

City Prepping Course - The Prepper’s Roadmap

City Prepping also offers a step-by-step course on how to be prepared for an urban emergency. It includes 18+ hours of video tutorials and costs $297. The course aims to achieve three things for the participant on completion: peace of mind, protection, and survival.

The course includes the following five steps:

  1. Risk Assessment
  2. Your 3-Day Survival Kit
  3. Your 3-Week Survival Supply
  4. Your 3-Month Survival Guide
  5. Conclusion: Creating Your Very Own SHTF Gameplan

Who Is City Prepper?

The founder of City Prepping is named Kris, who lives in California. According to the website, Kris spent his childhood in the outdoors learning practical skills in Boy Scouts, earned a degree in Microbiology from UT Austin, and has spent time with non-profits and NGOs working in nations such as Afghanistan and impoverished areas of Mexico. He currently works in the tech industry.

City Prepping AKA Kris in a video about food storage

Kris claims to have spent many hours studying and preparing his own household, living in southern California under the threat of “the big one,” AKA earthquakes.

City Prepping Top Videos

  1. The 3 Rules to Become a Gray Man: The channel’s most viewed video has over 5.1 million views and was published in 2016. With a new Ryan Gosling movie coming out with a similar name, the video may enjoy even higher views in the coming days. 
  2. Cargo Ship Dilemma: The second most popular video on the channel spoke about the impact of the cargo ship stuck in the Suez Canal and has 2.4 million views.
  3. 10 Items to Buy Before a Great Depression: The third most-viewed video on City Prepping sums up the channel’s overall tone and is viewed more than 2.2 million times.

Besides the above, City Prepping solar generator videos also enjoy significant viewership.

Final Thoughts

Life in cities has always offered an incredible level of convenience, comfort, and security. But history has taught us that even the most powerful and stable civilizations can collapse. 

Recent political and environmental events have proved that it is good to prepare for a crisis, even in cities. From that perspective, the City Prepping channel offers good information.

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Off-Grid with Jake and Nicolle: Who Are They and Are They Legit?

Off-Grid with Jake and Nicolle: Who Are They and Are They Legit?

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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Search for videos for homesteading in the wilderness, and you’ll surely come across Jake and Nicolle’s YouTube channel. Off-Grid w/ Jake & Nicolle depicts the off-grid adventure of a young couple living in the Canadian wilderness.

The couple shares several interesting things from their journey, from building yurts and showers to handling pregnancy far away from civilization. Let’s dive a little deeper into Jake and Nicole’s world.

Jake and Nicolle’s YouTube Channel

The couple’s vlog offers informational videos about their experiences living in a temperate rainforest homestead. While they started the channel in October 2017, their off-grid journey began in 2019. 

Over a short time, the couple has built their own carport, yurt, two log cabins, brick and cob wood-fired pizza oven, wok stove, custom salmon smokehouse, hot tub, log shower, wood shed, and outhouse.

Jake and Nicolle

Initially, the channel began as a fun look at the couple’s life. It had videos about travel, cooking, etc. In 2019, the couple started living off-grid in a van, followed by life on a full-fledged homestead.

As of August 2022, the channel had an impressive 1.53 million subscribers and nearly 382 million views.

Where are Jake and Nicolle Located?

Being off the grid, Jack and Nicolle do not have or share an exact postal address. For convenience, they use a post box in Port Hardy, which suggests that their location is somewhere near the Northeast region of the picturesque Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

Jake and Nicolle’s Website

Besides the YouTube channel, the couple also has a website named Komorebi. Originally a Japanese word, Komorebi means the dappled sunlight appearing through the leaves and branches of a tree – a fitting name!

The website has some information about Jake and Nicolle’s adventure but works mainly as an e-commerce site selling merchandise. You can purchase hoodies, T-shirts, and similar stuff from the site.

Jake and Nicolle’s Top YouTube Videos

  1. Hot Water Shower from Forest Log and Trees: With 26 million views, the couple’s video about building a shower room from wooden logs is the most popular video on the site.
  2. 6 Months Pregnant in Off-Grid Cabin: Pregnancy is a significant concern when couples think of off-grid wilderness living. Therefore, Nicolle’s video about pregnancy ranks second in the highest viewed list, with 20 million views.
  3. 3 Years Alone and Off Grid in the Canadian WIlderness: Jake and Nicolle compiled all the essential bits of their videos into a single, nearly five-hour-long video, which also happens to be the channel’s third most viewed.

Other than the above three, several other videos by the couple have gained millions of views. These include videos about bushcraft, yurt living, DIY stuff, and their adorable puppies, Puma and Kai.

How Do Jake and Nicolle Make Money?

If you have a good number of viewers, YouTube can be an excellent place to make money by sharing videos. Jake and Nicolle’s video blog have a striking 382+ million views, meaning they earn a considerable portion of their income through YouTube.

Aside from that, the couple also generates revenue by selling merchandise on their website. Viewers can also support the couple through Patreon or PayPal.

Jake and Nicolle on Other Platforms

The couple might have a strong following on YouTube, but that’s not all. Jake and Nicolle are pretty active on social media platforms. Their Instagram page “komorebioffgrid” has over 35,000 followers curious about an off-grid life

Nicolle’s page (nicolleoffgrid) is even more popular, with close to 94,000 followers. Jake Mace was active on Twitter as “jakeoffgrid,” but the account no longer exists.

Summary

Individuals and couples who have a longing for the peace and quiet of woods will find Jake and Nicolle’s channel inspiring. While living off-grid can be adventurous and fun, it comes with its own challenges. 

As such, if you want to take the step, Jake and Nicolle’s channel can be beneficial to map out your journey to building an off-grid homestead and living there.

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Who Is Hobotech and Is He Legit?

Who Is Hobotech and Is He Legit?

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Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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YouTube is full of weird and wonderful stuff, and weird and wonderful often combine into something remarkable, such as Hobotech. Hobotech is a YouTube channel that reviews a wide variety of off-grid solar products – solar generators, panels, batteries, inverters, fridges, etc.

The channel is hosted by the quirky Professor Hobo, a middle-aged tech-nerd sporting a lab coat, a long goatee, and a ponytail. He does this with a unique style and tone, sometimes acting as a “crazy genius” scientist. 

The videos often have 90’s sci-fi music and pop culture references, such as an exciting dialogue with “Marty” when speaking about the future (any Back to the Future Fans?).

What Is Hobotech About?

The Hobotech channel was started about four years ago. Initially, the channel did not focus on solar, and Professor Hobo, a.k.a. Tom, covered stuff like e-bikes, porch lights, window repairs, and PC installs. Over time, the Professor started sharing videos about solar panel installation on an RV, especially since his foray into the van life.

The turning point came when a representative from the solar generators brand Jackery saw his video and approached him for a product review. Since then, the channel has reviewed dozens of solar power stations, including Bluetti, Ecoflow, BougeRV, etc.

The Professor testing and reviewing the Ecoflow Delta Pro solar generator

Hobotech on YouTube

Today, Hobotech’s YouTube channel mainly reviews solar generators with modern features like LFP batteries, modular designs, etc. The professor even does in-depth, technical reviews where he tests the functionality and even the limits of the products.

In less than half a decade, the channel has gained an impressive 150,000 subscribers and over 16 million video views. Viewers and commenters also include Will Prowse, a popular DIY-solar influencer with over half a million subscribers.

The channel’s viewers can often avail discounts when buying through Hobotech’s Amazon links.

Hobotech’s Top Videos

Although all of Hobotech’s videos garner thousands of views, its viewers particularly love the reviews of Ecoflow, Jackery, and Bluetti’s products. Here are some of their top videos:

  1. EcoFlow Wave Portable Battery Powered AC review: Although it’s not a power station, EcoFlow’s AC generated a bit of a buzz, which is evident in Professor Hobo’s video, too. This video reviews the portable AC by Bluetti and seems to have gotten a lot of people interested in the product.
  2. Jackery 2000 Pro 2200 W UPS Solar Generator review: With a preview image with “Best Jackery ever” written on it, it would be a surprise if this was not one of the most viewed videos on the channel. Jackery’s massive 2160 Wh battery and Professor’s witty commentary on the same have gained the video nearly 132,000 views and counting.
  3. Bluetti EB3A UPS LiFePO4 600 W Solar Generator review: Bluetti’s 600 W micro inverter with a 268 Wh battery capacity also takes a spot among the viewer’s favorite videos. For such a thoughtfully designed product, the video’s popularity makes sense. 

How Does Hobotech Make Money?

  1. The Hobotech channel is likely registered in YouTube’s partner program and earns revenue through ads since so many viewers flock to the channel. More importantly, the maker(s) also participate in affiliate programs on Amazon and other retailing platforms.

    So, when you purchase a product through an affiliate link the influencer provides, they receive a certain commission. It’s not much, but it stacks up to a pretty impressive amount every year when hundreds of people buy products this way.

Final Thoughts

As experts in the DIY-solar field ourselves, we have found Hobotech’s videos to be on-point, covering the essential aspects of solar products. The channel is unbiased, highly informative, and of course, fun.

Hundreds of the channel’s viewers have been able to buy the perfect solar product for their needs, thanks to Professor Hobo. We, too, believe that it is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to buy or simply learn more about DIY off-grid solar products.

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Who is Canadian Prepper and Is He Legit?

Who Is Canadian Prepper and Is He Legit?

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Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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Canadian Prepper is a YouTube personality and seller of emergency preparedness gear. His YouTube channel publishes informational videos to “help more people get prepared for emergency situations”. After eight years of publishing videos, the channel is nearing its one million subscriber milestone.

The idea of preparing for doomsday or societal collapse may seem ridiculous to some. However, recent years have seen many unpleasant things, including a horrifying pandemic and a war that threatens to change the course of the world. 

As such, the Canadian Prepper’s content is gaining more relevance and more viewers. Let’s take a look at what the channel has to offer.

Canadian Prepper on YouTube

Canadian Prepper publishes videos on YouTube about “innovative gear reviews, discussions about the collapse of civilization as we know it, self-defense and all things preparedness from a Canadian perspective.”

Canadian Prepper in one of his YouTube videos

The videos can be put into several categories such as SHTF and prepping, climate change, gear reviews, self-defense, and fitness. Occasionally, the channel also publishes videos about solar power and power outages.

The channel has thousands of videos and over 800,000 followers. Interestingly, the channel’s follower count doubled in the past two years.

The videos have been viewed over a staggering 170 million times, with many videos having over one million views.

Canadian Prepper’s Website - Canadian Preparedness

The Canadian Prepper might be most popular on YouTube, but what seems to be his main business is the family-owned online store, Canadian Preparedness. In their own words, the website “seeks to bring top quality emergency preparedness products to campers, preppers, hikers, survivalists, first responders, and wilderness enthusiasts.”

The website has hundreds of prepping items covering saws, backpacks, bug-out rolls, first aid kits, flashlights, gasmasks, freeze-dried food, multitools, survival medicine handbook, water filters, and other survival tools.

The website is based in Canada, but, like the YouTube channel, it caters to customers in both Canada and U.S.

Canadian Prepper’s Top Videos

  1. Toilet Paper Tablets: With toilet paper being the most sought-after commodity in the lockdowns, it’s no surprise that a video explaining toilet paper tablets is the channel’s most popular, with more than six million views.
  2. 10 Survival Gear Items that Last Forever: Being a channel primarily about emergencies and survival, a video about the top survival gear takes the second spot on the most-viewed list, with 2.3 million views.
  3. The Best Tent for the Apocalypse: We’re speaking about the Canadian Prepper’s most popular videos, so one with the word “apocalypse” has to make it to the list! An apocalypse tent video takes the third spot here with 1.9 million views.

How Does the Canadian Prepper Make Money?

YouTube’s partner program allows influencers like the Canadian Prepper to earn revenue by hosting ads on their videos. The Canadian Prepper podcast also brings in some income in a similar fashion.

But as we discussed before, the primary income source of the Canadian Prepper seems to be the website and store.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Canadian Prepper

We looked over the web, and many people are curious about the Canadian Prepper. Here are some commonly asked questions and the answers we’ve dug out:

The Canadian Prepper is a man in his mid-to-late thirties named Nate Polson.

The Canadian Prepper lives in Martenswan, Saskatchewan, Canada.

The channel publishes videos multiple times a week, so the newest video changes every few days!

Final Thoughts

With increasing competition, the Canadian Preppers videos seem to take on more sensational headlines. However, some videos offer sound advice on what gear to choose for a real-world survival scenario.

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Deep South Homestead

Deep South Homestead: Who Are They?

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Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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Utter the word “homestead,” and it creates a longing, almost transporting you to a cozy house surrounded by farmland, woods, and perhaps a pond. Deep South Homestead is a YouTube channel about homesteading life. It’s run by Danny and Wanda King, for whom the longing for a quiet lifestyle was powerful enough to go and live on a homestead

Driven by their love for peace and raising their own food, the couple escaped the rat race and now live a sustainable lifestyle. They grow their own organic food and are fully prepared to live off-grid, with solar panels, a solar generator, and other devices. 

Deep South Homestead is one of the most popular YouTube channels about living on a farm and has a staggering 246,000 subscribers. Let’s learn a bit more about their unique life.

What Exactly is Deep South Homestead?

In their own words, at Deep South Homestead, Danny and Wanda “show you how to live a simple life by providing knowledge about all aspects of homesteading”. 

The couple educates off-grid enthusiasts through YouTube videos, podcasts, booklets, and products designed for off-grid living. They cover gardening, canning, smoking meat, animal care, repairs, DIY projects, gluten-free cooking, frugal tips, herbs, and woodworking.

The couple with their home

Danny and Wanda share an incredible amount of homesteading knowledge through their experience. Starting from scratch, they built their own house on the farmland, followed by an off-grid cabin, an outdoor canning kitchen, and greenhouses that produce food all year-round. 

The couple uses old-fashioned row cropping, permaculture, hugelkulture, raised beds, containers, vertical planters, and simple foraging from the surroundings.

In addition to videos and podcasts, the couple offers unbiased product reviews for off-grid products such as solar generators, batteries, and panels. They also review books about sustainability, off-grid living, and homesteading in general.

Danny reviewing a solar generator

Where is Deep South Homestead Located?

As the name suggests, Deep South Homestead is located in South Mississippi, somewhere in the woods near the southern coast of the U.S. The place does not have an exact address, perhaps since it is a bit remote. However, the couple has a postal address. They use a post box located in Wiggins, Mississippi.

Deep South Homestead on YouTube

Danny and Wanda started the Deep South Homestead YouTube channel in 2015. Since then, the channel has attracted an admirable 246,000 subscribers and a striking 40 million views! In general, the channel depicts the life of a middle-aged couple living on a working homestead while providing a ton of helpful information to aspiring homesteaders.

Most of the videos speak about growing food at different times of the year. Besides that, Danny and Wanda also hold a live chat every Saturday night to answer questions of the channel‘s viewers. 

The couple occasionally shares videos on carpentry, septic tank installation and maintenance, and energy independence through solar power. Once in a while, you also get a light-hearted video about their farm animals or favorite recipe.

A few years ago, Danny also hosted “Porch Time“, a series of videos exploring life’s spiritual side in general. The concept comes from the idea that many a good conversation can be had on a quiet porch surrounded by nature.

Over time, Deep South Homestead has garnered thousands of followers on social media, including Instagram and Facebook.

Deep South Homestead on Other Platforms

Although the channel is the most popular on YouTube, Deep South Homestead has a decently successful podcast on Apple Podcasts, Deezer, and iHeart. The podcasts act as a good source of passive income, coming through several podcast affiliates relevant to the couple’s work.

Aside from that, the couple also sells merchandise, books, and homesteading products on Etsy and other online outlets such as https://growerssolution.com

For example, you can buy Danny’s book trio about growing sweet potatoes, carrots, and English peas at around USD 38 or the growers solution high tunnel kits for growing your produce.

Danny’s books on Etsy

Final Words

Living on a homestead feels dreamy – it offers an incredible level of freedom and quiet from the rush of a city. That said, it also demands sacrificing the conveniences of urban life, like a last-minute drive to the supermarket.

Deep South Homestead aims to make this shift easier by providing information on various topics. The channel combines new ideas and a unique lifestyle with the old ways that make life peaceful and livable.

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Off Grid Solar System

What to Look for In Off Grid Solar System Packages

What to Look for In Off Grid Solar System Packages

Off Grid Solar System

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Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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If you have contemplated installing an off-grid solar power system, you have probably searched online for information. It’s likely left you feeling utterly confused at the ridiculously large variety of everything sold under the name of solar power kits.

On the one hand are basic $1000 kits that include a solar panel or two, a tiny inverter, and some cables and connectors. On the other hand are complex, full-fledged systems with dozens of big and small components and a price tag of tens of thousands.

While it is easy to get lost in the sea of options, a slightly technical understanding of your own requirements and a basic understanding of solar power packages and their components and specifications can help you feel confident in making a perfect choice.

Steps in Picking the Right Off-Grid Solar System Package

1. Understanding Specifications

If you were about to buy a car, it would help to spend some time familiarizing yourself with specifications, such as engine capacity, brake horsepower, and fuel economy, to help you understand which model is more suited to your needs.

Similarly, different components of a solar power system have different specifications, and it is essential to understand what they mean if you want to choose the right solar system package for your off-grid requirements. Let’s take a look at these specs:

a) Power (W)

In physics, power is simply the rate at which work is done. So, an athlete running faster is consuming more power than someone slower than they are.

Power is measured in watts and tells us how much energy something is consuming or generating per hour. For example, a solar panel with a 200W power rating produces 200W (every hour), while a TV set with a 200W power rating consumes 200W of power (every hour). 

Different electrical appliances have different power ratings, and your solar panels and batteries must be capable of providing the total power consumed by all the appliances you will run at any point.

b) Energy (Wh)

Often confused with power and used interchangeably (wrongly), energy is the total power consumed over a certain period, such as in a day, month, or year.

Energy is an important factor in load calculations because getting only power consumption is incomplete information when designing a solar power system. Since energy is a product of power and time, its unit is watt-hours (Wh). Most batteries available in the market today specify their energy capacity in Wh.

c) Current (A)

Electric current is the flow of electrons from point A to B or in a circuit that facilitates the transmission of power. Current rating is important in solar system specifications since it helps select the correct size of cables, correct charge controller, etc.

d) Voltage (V)

To define voltage in simpler terms, one can say that it is the force with which current travels or power is transmitted.

All electrical devices have a specified voltage rating, and when connecting things, it is important to match their voltage ratings. For example, when connecting solar panels and batteries to a 24V inverter, the panel array rating and batteries rating should also be 24V.

2. Understanding Your Requirements

Getting an off-grid solar system package should be as easy as buying a TV. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and you have to spend some time learning how to choose wisely.

When it comes to solar kits, there is no one-size-fits-all. The first and most important selection criterion is how much power you need from your system and when you need it.

One way to calculate this is to find the power rating (W) of every appliance you have and the hours (h) of operation of each, then find the energy consumption (W x h) for every appliance, and sum it up for the total energy consumed.

Here’s an example:

Sr. No.ApplianceWatts (Power)Duration of Use (hours)Energy (watts x hours)
1Lights1006600
2TV2004800
3Water Pump4001400
4Refrigerator20061200
 TOTAL900W 3000 Wh

Another option is to use an online load calculator, which has the power consumption values of several appliances pre-fed into it.

Example of Online Load Calculator

Example of Online Load Calculator

Once you have the total energy consumption in Wh, divide by the number of sunshine hours per day at your location, and you will have your required solar panel rating.

For example, if your location receives an average of 5 hours of sunshine daily and your total Wh consumption per day is 5000, then you will need

5000 Wh ÷ 5 h = 1000 W solar panels

Next is a simple calculation for batteries. Since you’re building an off-grid system, you will need batteries, but, the battery does not need to store every Wh of energy produced by the panels. A considerable amount of the energy generated by panels is consumed instantaneously during the day, while the consumption during darker hours varies from person to person. For instance, if you need about 60% of your energy overnight, you can choose a battery with an energy capacity that is around 60% of your calculated daily consumption value. In our example,

60% x 5000 Wh = 3000 Wh battery capacity

Similarly, when selecting an inverter, choose a power rating that is slightly higher than the size of your solar panel, such as a 1200 W inverter in this example.

Lastly, you will need a charge controller, which optimizes the charging of the battery. Based on your inverter’s voltage rating, choose a controller that has a similar voltage rating (12V/24V) and a current rating that is slightly larger than your system’s current rating (total amperage of your solar panels)

Another way of ensuring that the system is right for you is looking for a section in the product description that says something like, “What can you power with this?” This section usually appears on the seller’s website and often outlines the types and quantity of devices that you can run using that particular solar kit. Here’s an example from a well-built solar kit:

What Can Your Solar Kit Power?

3. Comparing Parameters

Calculating the size of your solar power system is only half the battle. Once you have noted the specs, you still need to choose among the myriad options available in the market today. Not all solar power systems of the same capacity are the same. Some might produce significantly less power if the component efficiencies are low. Some might have poor build quality, or some might have too few features for the cost.

Here’s a quick list to help you decide what to look for in an off-grid solar power system from the features point-of-view:

Monocrystalline solar panels

Solar panel efficiency has constantly improved since its invention, but the last two decades saw large technological leaps that took the efficiencies of panels from less than 15% to well over 20%. 

The more efficient a solar panel is, the less space it will occupy. Among the major types of panels in the market, monocrystalline silicon panels are rapidly gaining popularity because of their higher efficiencies compared to multi-crystalline panels.

Lithium batteries

Just a few years ago, bulky lead-acid batteries were the norm for off-grid solar systems. They were not only difficult to handle but also required regular maintenance.

In recent years, lithium-ion batteries have become mainstream, thanks to their notably higher energy density, which makes them much lighter than lead-acid batteries. 

But the advantages of Li-ion batteries are beyond just weight. Most of them are highly efficient, meaning you lose very little energy when charging or discharging the battery.

Even in Li-ion batteries, we recommended going for Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) or LFP batteries, which offer strikingly long life (thousands of lifecycles), much better fire resistance, and higher current rating.

Functionality

Suppose you have narrowed it down to a few contenders with similar price points, one of which gets to become your off-grid solar power system. All the specs and major features such as panel type and battery type are similar, how do you choose one?

At this stage, we look at what a component can provide above and beyond its basic role. Many inverters/generators come with several useful ports, such as an RV plug, wireless charging pads, etc.

Some companies offer solar panels that have integrated mounting stands, saving you the hassle of fabrication and mounting structures.

Other things to look for are the weight of the inverter/battery, the build quality of components, etc. Last but not least, you should receive a wiring schematic and even an installation guide that guides you step-by-step in the entire connection and installation process of the solar system package you have purchased.

4. Optimizing Consumption to Optimize Size of Solar System

Prices for solar equipment have plummeted over the past few years, and going solar is easier than ever. Despite that, off-grid solar power systems still require a sizable investment. A wise way of minimizing the cost of a solar power system is to optimize power consumption.

For example, replacing a 300 W air conditioner with a 50 W fan reduces energy consumption by a factor of 6. For an operating time of 5 hours, the AC would use a staggering 1500 Wh, and a fan will use 250 Wh. This approach not only reduces the size of solar panels required but also the battery capacity. It is one of the most decisive factors in the pricing of the system.

Other tweaks include using LED lights and as much natural lighting as possible.

Summary

Off-grid solar system packages are becoming wildly popular, thanks to how much financial and ecological sense they make, plus their ability to power virtually anything anywhere. As a result, many companies have launched off-grid solar power kits, and it is more difficult than ever to choose the perfect kit per your needs.

The main steps to choosing the right kit for yourself include understanding the basics of a solar PV system, calculating your energy requirements, and understanding and comparing key features.

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How to build off grid solar system The Definitive Guide

How to Build an Off Grid Solar System

How to Build an Off-Grid Solar System: The Definitive Guide

How to build off grid solar system The Definitive Guide

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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Table of Contents

Today, going off-grid is almost synonymous with going solar. And this is no surprise, given the impressive flexibility of solar power systems as well as the simplicity with which you can install them.

As long as you have the space, you can equip nearly any off-grid structure with solar. With the plethora of different component options readily available in the market, building an off-grid solar system is not so difficult – all you need is a little understanding of system design and some basic electrical know-how. 

We will try to cover both of these in this article, so you can be one step closer to building your own off-grid, solar-powered system.

What You Need

Four main components go into building any solar power system:

1. Solar panels 

Solar panels are the power-producing component of the system. They convert the energy in sunlight into electric current, hence the name “photo-voltaic”. Solar panels are available in two main types – polycrystalline and monocrystalline. 

Polycrystalline panels are cheaper, but monocrystalline panels are more efficient. Monocrystalline is the recommended choice since the prices of solar panels have fallen significantly in recent years.

2. Inverter

Thanks to its similarity in function and importance, the inverter is often dubbed the heart of a solar system. An inverter converts the direct current (DC) coming from the panels into a more usable alternating current (AC) that most of your appliances need.

If you are running only DC loads, you may be able to set up a system without an inverter, but this severely limits your ability to run a variety of everyday household appliances. 

When looking for an inverter, always look for one with a pure sine wave output for proper efficiency and reliability.

3. Batteries

Although solar systems can operate without batteries, it’s difficult to do so in an off-grid setting. Powering your loads at night or on very cloudy days becomes a challenge.

Batteries are chemical devices that are capable of storing electrical energy through chemical conversions happening inside of them. Batteries have evolved a lot, and today, the most advanced are lithium-ion batteries, which pack more energy capacity per unit volume.

4. Charge Controller

As the name suggests, this is an electrical component that controls the charge, or in other words, monitors the current flowing from the panels to the batteries for optimum charging and efficiency.

You can choose between PWM (Pulse Width Modulator) and MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracker), but we recommend the latter for better efficiency.

Besides the above four major characters, the stage for a solar power system requires a bunch of supporting characters as well, also known as Balance of System (BOS), which includes:

  1. Solar Cables
  2. Breakers / Fuses
  3. DC Busbars / Fuse Box
  4. MC4 Connectors
  5. Cable Ties
  6. Metering Device
  7. Terminal lugs
  8. DIN rails

Lastly, you will need tools that will help you install the solar system:

  1. Wire Stripper
  2. Crimping Tool
  3. Plier
  4. Screwdriver
  5. MC4 Spanner
  6. Spanners

Now that we have everything we need, let’s jump on to the step-by-step process of designing and installing an off-grid solar power system.

Steps in Installing an Off-Grid Solar System

Designing and installing an off-grid system isn’t necessarily complicated, but it is complex, involving a more or less fixed sequence of steps.

1. Load Calculation and System Sizing

Before purchasing or installing the components, determine the specifications and quantities you need based on how much energy and continuous power you will be using. 

There are two ways to calculate this. The slightly time-consuming way involves listing all your electrical appliances, their power consumption, and duration of use, as shown in the following example:

Sr. No.ApplianceWatts (Power)Duration of Use (Hours)Energy (Watts x hours)
1Lights 1006600
2TV2004800
3Water Pump4001400
4Refrigerator20061200
 TOTAL900 W 3000 Wh

Based on how much energy you will use during the day and the night, you may need to store this entire 3000 Wh in a battery or a part of it. It is safer to assume you will store all of it in the batteries, meaning you need a battery with about 4800 Wh energy capacity.

As for the solar panel size, it depends on the location. Some areas receive up to 6 hours of full sunshine on average, while some receive only about 3. You can refer to one of the many sources on the internet for average sunshine hours in the USA.

Assuming you are in a region with four hours of average daily sunshine, you will need a total of 3000 Wh / 4 h = 750 W.

These basic calculations can provide you with a rough approximation for the size of solar panels and the battery required.

Alternatively, you can also use an online load calculator that allows you to calculate your load and system size in a few clicks, saving a significant amount of time and give you accurate numbers with sufficient reliability.

2. Installing the Batteries

As mentioned before, batteries come in various types and sizes. The best choice today is a lithium-ion system for better efficiency, safety, and lifespan. 

Li-ion batteries come in more than one type – the Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt (NMC) chemistry is a pretty common type, but the more advanced Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) is rapidly gaining popularity due to its significantly longer life and safe operation.

Most batteries are rated 12V by default. Depending on your system voltage, you might need to connect the batteries in series or parallel. The input voltage of the inverter you choose to install governs your system voltage.

Series and Parallel Connection for batteries

Series and Parallel Connection for batteries

3. Connecting the Charge Controller

A charge controller, as discussed before, is necessary to optimize the charging of batteries and protect the solar panels from reverse current. For the best results, we recommend choosing an MPPT charge controller.

Controllers come in 12V or 24V ratings, and you can choose the correct one based on your system (inverter) voltage.

As for the current rating, the device should handle the entire current coming from the solar panels and have a little safety margin. We can consider a safety margin of 30% in this case. You can thus calculate the current rating for the controller by a simple calculation:

Solar panel current rating x 1.3 = charge controller current rating

If the system rating of your solar panels is not known, use the following equation instead:

(Solar panel total watts/system voltage) x 1.3 = charge controller current rating

For example, if you have 600W solar panels and a 12V system, your charge controller rating will be 12V and

600/12 x 1.3 = 65 A

4. Installing the Inverter

Unless you are building a purely DC setup that runs only DC loads, you will need an inverter that converts the electricity coming from the solar panels or batteries into a usable form (AC).

Inverters come with a predefined voltage rating. Smaller sizes usually have a 12V or 24V rating. When setting up the entire system, select the solar panels, charge controller, and batteries so they configure to this rating. 

As far as the wattage is concerned, select an inverter slightly larger than your calculated system size. For instance, a 1000W inverter is sufficient if your load calculation says you need an 800W system. Among the modern inverters available, we recommend choosing one with a pure sine wave output for the best efficiency.

5. Installing Your Solar Panels

Your load calculation gives you the solar panel rating required, and you have selected the batteries, controller, and inverter. The next step is choosing and installing the correct solar panels based on the voltage rating. 

If your inverter input rating is 24V and your solar panels are 12V, you will need to connect two panels in series. If you need more than two panels, you can connect multiple pairs of two panels in series and then connect the pairs in parallel. For instance, if you are setting up an 800W 24V system and have four 200 W, 12V panels, you can connect two pairs in series and then both the pairs (technically called “strings”) in parallel.

Solar panels connected in series and parallel

Solar panels connected in series and parallel

When installing the solar panels, make sure they face south (north if you are in the southern hemisphere). Also, ensure there is no shade on the panels during the day from neighboring trees or buildings.

6. Connect Everything Together

The final step is connecting the panels, batteries, and inverter to the charge controller’s terminals. Following is the wiring diagram for the connection:

Off-grid solar power system wiring diagram

Off-grid solar power system wiring diagram (source – ZHC Solar)

While connecting components to one another, ensure that the polarity of the connecting wires is the same throughout (i.e. connect the positive terminals of one component to the positive of another and the same for negatives). It is good practice to use different colored wires for positive and negative, usually red and black respectively, to avoid mix-up.

When you finally connect the solar panels to the controller, cover the panels with a dark cloth so the sudden incoming current does not damage your other components.

Should You Build an Off-Grid Solar System from Scratch?

From the previous section, you can see building an off-grid system is not too difficult and involves only six steps. However, when installing the system, each of these six steps has a dozen sub-steps involved, and however general the procedure might sound, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to building a system. 

Depending on factors specific to you, the installation procedure may require some frugality and last-moment innovation, which is not natural to everyone, especially those new to the world of DIY or even solar power.

Another important thing to consider is the availability of simpler options. While installing modern inverters, batteries, and charge controllers is a little easier than a decade or two ago, you can eliminate a lot of complexity by choosing ready-made complete solar power kits

A typical, custom-built solar power system will include correctly sized panels, supporting hardware, and most importantly, solar generators that integrate the battery, charge controller, and inverter into one unit, massively simplifying the system.

For instance, you can choose a powerful kit that includes a Bluetti AC200P solar generator that boasts a top-of-the-line LFP battery and plenty of ports for easy connecting and disconnecting of loads and/or solar panels.

Bluetti AC200P Hex Kit

Conclusion

Sustainable, off-grid living is catching up fast, and there is hardly a better option for your off-grid energy needs than setting up a solar power system. Thanks to the incredible flexibility and noteworthy simplicity of solar equipment, building a DIY, the off-grid solar power system is a great idea and often an enjoyable experience.

By using four main components, doing a few basic calculations, and understanding the basics, you can build an off-grid solar unit.

On the other hand, technology has advanced at terrific speed. Building an off-grid solar power system might not be necessary, thanks to the availability of well-designed solar generators which combine three crucial components of a solar system into one device.

There are several complete solar kits on the market, impressively put together using the above-mentioned solar generators. If you want to seriously reduce or even eliminate the complexity and hassle of installing a full-fledged solar power system yourself, these solar kits can be a blessing for you!