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Communications: Power System


Getting the Juice We Need

For our first two Onriver-Online trips we were well served by a special solar powered system. This year, however, we're using another system for two reasons. First, the unit worked very well -- in direct sun light -- but Labrador is known to have a lot of... well, let's call them battleship grey days. We could not take the chance of having a cloudy trip rob us of enough working power. Second, we have more stuff along this year that requires power -- i.e. two satphones, a video camera, and a 25cu ft Sub Zero. Plus we want to be able to send you more images.

With all that in mind, we chose a great little generator weighing just under 30 lbs: the Honda gas-powered EU1000. It was the ideal alternative because it has been designed to provide very efficient and consistent power, which essential for computers and sensitive instruments. Equipped with a sine-wave inverter, the EU1000 provides the truest power level of any generator. It has a special eco-throttle that runs the engine at the lowest speed possible -- and at 52 decibels (the same loudness as jets being launched from a carrier deck or a Fender guitar at 11... actually more like the sound level of an average office). The unit can handle 7.5 amps of draw, which is more than enough for our computer, satphones and battery chargers... or so we hope! And it can run for almost four hours on a single tank (about two litres).

We will also take a back-up system of a small gel cell battery and an inverter. This will provide a minimum amount of power should our generator fail. Back up systems are essential. On our last trip we lost a computer, the one we mainly relied on and had to run most of the trip with our less powerful one -- which had everything on it for just such emergencies.

Of course, we have to carry all this stuff and the entire power outfit, with gas and battery and generator, weighs in at about 80 pounds. If only we could get our own energy from it!

Email the paddlers with your questions and comments