Prepper’s Total Grid Failure Handbook Will Help You Power Up When the Grid Goes Down – Part 2

What would you do for electricity in the event of a total grid failure? How about taking advantage of free energy from wind, water or the sun?

Setting up a solar power system for your whole house might seem out of reach at first, but Alan and Arlene Fiebig show us how it can be done in Prepper’s Total Grid Failure Handbook. DestinySurvival Radio features a two part conversation with Alan Fiebig.

If you missed the first half of our conversation, click here for part 1.

Keep reading for highlights of the second half of our visit as well as a few more thoughts on the book. And, of course, below is a link to hear the podcast.


Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook


Switching Over

If you had to live totally off the electrical grid, you’d need alternative ways to power devices and small appliances.

You wouldn’t try to power energy hogs like a washer and dryer. You’d find ways to do laundry and dishes by hand.

You’d have fans instead of an air conditioner.

You’d find alternatives to an electric stove, such as a wood burning stove and a sun oven. You might be able to use a microwave oven on rare occasions.

You’d use people-powered generators to charge phones or other small electronics.

You’d do it like the Fiebigs have done.

The bottom line is, you’d use less power overall. And that’s the power the Fiebigs can guide you into providing for yourself.

Alan says doing laundry by hand was the biggest adjustment they had to make. They miss central air conditioning, but they’ve come up with other ways to keep reasonably cool.

He reminds us that the worst application for electricity is to create heat of any kind. For example, forget about using an electric toaster oven. Don’t even think about a clothes dryer.

How the Fiebigs handle refrigeration makes for fascinating reading in their book. Alan described it in our conversation as well.

Spending Less

It’s a myth that solar power has to cost thousands and thousands of dollars. The Fiebigs’ system cost about $2,500.

That’s a good price for getting energy from the sun. It’s also a good deal compared to what you’d pay for other alternative power options.

Alan says a solar power system shouldn’t cost $10,000-$20,000 for a system like theirs. He advises you and me to walk away from anyone who offers financing.

Stepping Carefully

Alan and Arlene wrote Prepper’s Total Grid Failure Handbook to give you the guidance you need for becoming more self reliant where electricity is concerned. And they want to help you avoid the mistakes they’ve made.

For example, one of the mistakes they hope you’ll avoid is the use of thin film panels. The kind of panels they use are much smaller and more efficient. They give specific component recommendations because they know they work, but they’re not promoting a turnkey system.

Speaking of efficiency, the Fiebigs’ system is a winner. They use one tenth the Wat/hours the typical home uses. And they’re not suffering. They have the electricity they need for survival.

Fiebigs have done workshops on why they use 12 volt DC power for nearly everything in their home, but Alan concisely packed critical information into a few minutes durin our chat. The biggest advantage to doing it their way is efficiency. Alan’s comments are sensible and convincing.

Sourcing Higher Power

On the book’s dedication page you’ll find the mention of Noah of Bible times and a reference to Hebrews 11:7. The Fiebigs wanted to dedicate their book to the Savior, Jesus Christ, who they believe has guided them along the path they’re on.

In the King James Version, that verse says:

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

People in Noah’s day likely thought he was crazy for building an ark, but he was proven right for doing so. So it is with getting prepared. Those who are ready will one day be vindicated.

I appreciate the verse cited above because it shows Noah had both faith and fear. Faith and fear aren’t mutually exclusive. The lesson for us is to keep moving forward because faith can overcome fear.

Seeking More Knowledge

If you’ve heard the first part of my visit with Alan Fiebig, you know how well he makes the complicated simple. I invite you to hear the conclusion of our conversation by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for May 4, 2017. (Right click to download.)

Get Prepper’s Total Grid Failure Handbook by clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. Keep up to date with the Fiebigs by going to


Prepper’s Total Grid Failure Handbook Will Help You Power Up When the Grid Goes Down – Part 1

What if you could build a solar power system for your home that would give you all the electricity you need for survival?

What if it cost just under $2,500?

And what if your home used only a fraction of the Watt/hours used by most American homes?

Think it’s impossible? Alan and Arlene Fiebig have done it, and they tell about it in Prepper’s Total Grid Failure Handbook.

Alan Fiebig was my DestinySurvival Radio guest for what turned into a two part conversation. In this post I’ll share highlights from that conversation and the Fiebigs’ book.

A Glimpse of the Power Team

Here’s background info on the Fiebigs..

“Alan and Arlene Fiebig (aka Off Grid Geeks) leaped off the grid in 2012. Their goal in this pre-emptive bug out was to become as selfreliant as possible while still maintaining their high-tech lifestyle and work-from-home jobs. While Alan’s 40-plus years of expertise in all things electronic and Arlene’s degree in mechanical engineering proved to be beneficial in their new lifestyle, their ability to think outside the box allows them to come up with inexpensive alternative solutions for costly projects.

“This husband-and-wife team lectures and consults on a wide range of off-grid and self-reliance topics and are appreciated for their ability to explain technical subjects in an easy-to-understand manner. You can learn more about going off the grid at their website,”

Alan was an articulate, knowledgeable guest. During our chat he went into teaching mode a couple of times. I believe you’ll find it enjoyable because I think you’ll understand what he said when you’ve heard him.


Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook


A Glance Inside the Book

Prepper’s Total Grid Failure Handbook is a fascinating read.

Fiebigs have made an effort to make their subject matter understandable to you and me. Even if you’re not pondering the possibility of going off grid now, this is an informative book to get you thinking.

If you’ve forgotten what you learned in school about electricity, you’ll be glad for the simplified explanations the authors give. For example, do you know the difference between a dynamo and an alternator? An engine vs. a motor? Wiring in series vs. parallel?

This book is meant for both preppers and homesteaders. The Fiebigs want to help their readers make fewer mistakes than they did. Thus, they give specific component recommendations.

If you’re not sure if you want to build a solar power system yet, you may find the material later in the book to be challenging. Much of it went past me.

But if you’re serious about going off grid, I’m confident you’ll get what you need from this book. Start from the beginning and go through it. You should be able to follow instructions and descriptions given. Have a highlighter marker handy as you read.

Here’s a ray of sunshine on what the Fiebigs show you how to do…

  • Create your own power
  • Manage energy storage
  • Choose cost-efficient solar panels
  • Select durable battery banks
  • Rewire for energy efficiency
  • Control energy consumption
  • Install a high-efficiency refrigerator and LEDs
  • Charge laptops and cell phones

You’ll find a number of black and white photos throughout the book. Some are small. You’ll also find helpful charts and tables.

Appendices deal with zoning codes, the charge controller Fiebigs recommend, and keeping batteries healthy. The last appendix lists resources mentioned in each chapter.

A Nod to a Possible Threat

The prologue is a brief, fictionalized account designed to get you and me to think about what might happen in the event of a CME (coronal mass ejection) from the sun. What if a massive EMP (electromagnetic pulse) knocked out electricity and fried electronics everywhere?

What about an EMP or solar CME? Would the Fiebigs’ system stand up to one? Alan thinks it will.

He further explained why an EMP might not be as devastating as some predict. He’s no longer actively seeking to buy a pre-1980 car that doesn’t have today’s computer technology.

Of course, no one knows what will really happen until it happens.

An Overview of the Possible Solutions

Here’s something to keep in mind. Energy can’t be created. It can only be transformed. What’s the best way to transform that energy into something usable?

Alan and I discussed the merits of solar power compared to wind and micro-hydro power. Your location will be a determining factor as to which should be your primary alternative power source.

These other methods are touched on first in the book. The authors point out drawbacks compared to the advantages of solar power.

For example, if you use a generator, you’ll need the right kind of fuel. How will you store it? How long will it keep? How and when will you be able to use it to get the most out of it?

One of solar power’s greatest advantages is that there are no moving parts.

Solar power can be economical, too. The price of photovoltaic technology has come down considerably over time.

Decreasing cost and improved efficiency have made solar power more attractive and useful today. Alan hopes for continued improvement in storage battery technology.

But what about a string of cloudy days? Believe it or not, they don’t present the problems for the Fiebigs you might expect. They’ve figured out ways to have enough power to get by.


Spring with Sunny Background


The Way It’s Done

Fiebigs started with a goal of becoming as self reliant as possible. Their book is for anyone else who wants to move in that direction.

Fiebigs began with only one solar panel, but they eventually ended up with four. They decided to go cold turkey and worked themselves up to the system they have now.

Alan and I talked about why they went cold turkey. In their situation they didn’t have much choice. The two of them agreed that, if you start with nothing, it’s easier to come up with solutions you can live on,rather than having to wean yourself off of what you’re used to.

If you’re thinking of setting up a solar power system that lets you sell electricity back to the utility company, you need to hear Alan’s comments first. Also read what Fiebigs say in their book.

The Fiebigs aren’t trying to equip you to use 100% of the electricity you use now. Rather, they want you to have enough power to survive should the grid go down. This means adapting your power usage to your power production capability.

In chapter 5 they walk us through the activities that might take place on a given day using their solar power system.

Chapter 7 and following chapters describe components needed–batteries for a battery bank, charge controller, an inverter, and, of course, solar panels.

Incidentally, if you’re thinking you need to put solar panels on the roof, Fiebigs tell you why you shouldn’t do that. They’ll tell you where to put them instead, since they must be repositioned at least twice a year.

Fiebigs give specific guidance on batteries–which ones to use and what to do or not to do to keep them going.

As for smaller electronics, which rechargeable batteries are best? How can you deal with all those wall warts that call for different voltages?

What about lighting? Fiebigs use LED lights which require much less electricity to produce the amount of light we’re accustomed to from other bulbs.

Fiebigs make a strong case for operating as many of their electrical devices as possible from 12 volt DC. Alan and I discussed that in the second half of our conversation.

The Path to Greater Enlightenment

Reading the above is no substitute for hearing the first part of my conversation with Alan Fiebig. You’re invited to listen to DestinySurvival Radio for May 2, 2017. (Right click to download.)

Get Prepper’s Total Grid Failure Handbook by clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. Keep up to date with the Fiebigs at

Click here for Part 2.


Have the Right Battery Powered Devices When the Power Goes Out

whether you experience a local power outage because of a major storm, or the whole grid goes down, you’ll need to have the right battery powered devices when the power goes out. Jeff Yago gives us guidance in the January/February 2017 “Backwoods Home Magazine” (Issue #163).

He covers four areas of concern.

  • LED hanging lanterns
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Battery pack and solar charger
  • Digital battery charger

Find a list of recommended products and suppliers in the article as well.

An excerpt of the article follows. Click on the link below to read all of it.

Grid-down battery devices

By Jeff Yago, P.E., CEM

Most of my past articles and my just-released new book titled, Lights On, drive home the importance of having multiple battery-powered devices during an extended power outage. I also keep reminding everyone that having a generator during a power outage is great, at least until you run out of fuel. Whether you are without power from the start of a utility outage due to not owning a generator, or you are well into an extended power outage but ran out of fuel, the results will be the same unless you own battery-powered devices. There are many battery-powered devices that will make life easier and continue to operate during an extended power outage, but there are four specific battery-powered devices that everyone should have.

LED hanging lanterns

Of course lighting is our primary concern, but I am not talking about having a flashlight. A flashlight is handy to illuminate a small area directly in front of you, assuming you have batteries. However, during an extended power outage you need room-filling lights, at least in the room or rooms where most of the family will be congregating. I recommend having several of the new LED hanging lanterns.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. (541)247-8900.


Solar Power for Your Bug Out Bag

You will likely want to take small electronic devices with you in the event you have to get out of Dodge. Things like an AM/FM radio, cell phone, flashlight, and a GPS unit would come in handy. Have you considered the possibility of using solar power for your bug out bag devices?

“Backwoods Home Magazine” for July/August, 2016 (Issue #160), includes an article to give you guidance on keeping your electronics powered up. Here’s an exerpt. Click the link below to read the whole thing.

Power your bug-out bag

By Jeff Yago, P.E., CEM

More and more people are starting to see the advantage of having a bug-out bag for each member of their family. Normally these bags are kept in a closet near the front door with everyone instructed to grab theirs if forced to evacuate due to an approaching forest fire, tornado, chemical spill, or other disaster. Most preppers will also keep an additional bug-out bag in each car or truck in case disaster strikes while they are away at work or school.

There are numerous articles and books describing what each bug-out bag should contain so I will not repeat that advice here. I will point out, however, that a bug-out bag is not a camping backpack designed to hold a tent and a week’s supply of food. The main purpose of any bug-out bag is to contain just enough emergency supplies and equipment to evacuate from where you are to a safer location when disaster hits. A bug-out bag for someone living or working in a city might include a fold-up dust mask, loud whistle, Bic lighter, thermal rain sheet, and universal tool; while a camping backpack may not include any of these emergency items.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. (541)247-8900.

You may also want to check out the solar power products from companies featured on the Alternative Energy Solutions page in the DestinySurvival Prep Mart.

Life After the Generator

Powerful storms prompt many of us to think about getting a generator, if we don’t already have one. But is that enough? What if the power is out for weeks or months?

In “Backwoods Home Magazine” for January/February, 2016 (Issue #157), Jeff Yago offers good advice on solar power alternatives. Check out the article exerpt below, then click on the link to read the entire piece.

Generators alone are not enough

By Jeff Yago, P.E., CEM

When talking to fellow preppers at self-reliance expos across the country, I am always impressed by how many already have long-term food supplies, stored water, medical supplies, an emergency radio, guns, ammunition, alternative cook stove, fire starting materials, and bug-out bags. However, as soon as the conversation turns to emergency power it’s apparent they are totally relying on a backup generator.

Most believe their portable generator solves the problem — end of story. But what happens if the generator fails or the power outage lasts longer than their fuel supply? Most residential-size generators are not designed for an extended power outage and their warranty usually indicates a runtime in hours per year, not months. Even larger whole-house generators have runtime limitations, not to mention the ability to drain a 500-gallon tank of propane in a week of continuous operation. Parts of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and Long Island after Hurricane Sandy were without power for months, not weeks. Can your emergency backup plan meet a utility outage lasting this long? Perhaps it’s time to reassess.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. (541)247-8900.

See the Alternative Energy Solutions page in the DestinySurvival Prep Mart for companies offering renewable energy products.

Solar Power – Make Sure You Use the Right Solar Charge Controller

If you use solar power in your home, you’ll want to make sure you use the right solar charge controller. This has a bearing on the life of the batteries you’re using. And that’s significant.

I confess, that’s the extent of my knowledge on the subject. I love the concept of solar power, and I wish you all the best if you’re making use of it. But I have to refer you to an expert for the relevant details.

Jeffrey Yago has written an article which appears in the May/June 2015 “Backwoods Home Magazine” (Issue #153). Below is an exerpt with a link below to the full article.

Solar charge controllers
myths, hype, and facts

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM

Most people with a basic understanding of solar power are aware they need a solar module and a storage battery to power an electrical device using the sun. Anyone facing a long car trip with a teenager also knows an inverter is a device that can produce 120-volt AC power when plugged into the car’s 12-volt DC utility outlet — which will power video games and DVD players.

However, while the function of these electrical components may be understood, many people planning do-it-yourself solar projects do not understand why they need a quality solar charge controller. Many view a solar charge controller as just a device with limited function to connect a solar module to the battery, so they buy the cheapest charge controller they can find.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. (541)247-8900.


Find solar power devices and supplies from companies featured on the Alternative Energy Solutions page in the DestinySurvival Prep Mart.


A Solar Powered Bug Out Kit?

Jeffrey Yago shares an interesting concept in the November-December 2014 “Backwoods Home Magazine” (Issue #150). It’s not just portable solar power. It’s a solar powered bug out kit.


You’ll want to take a look at the photos, diagrams and charts accompanying the full article, which is linked below.

Solar suitcase

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM

From time to time, people call to ask what we have for emergency solar power suitable for a bug-out bag. Naturally, my first suggestion is one of the many fold-up flexible solar modules available in multiple sizes. However, since these are made for daytime recharging batteries and electronic devices, they provide no power at night and during storms. These people didn’t need a fold-up solar charger that fit into a bug-out bag — they needed a fold-up solar charger that is a bug-out bag!

This article will show you how to make a solar power system in the form of a portable suitcase. This design is easy to build since it is made using two identical solar modules of almost any size, depending on your power requirements and storage or vehicle trunk space. While I have access to almost any size solar module, I decided to use two Kyocera 40-watt modules as these are the size of a typical suitcase, yet together provide 80 watts of solar power, which equals 7 amps of 12-volt battery charging power.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. (541)247-8900.

Find what you need for portable solar power from companies featured on the Alternative Energy Solutions page in the DestinySurvival Prep Mart.