Katrina response, private and public

Eric Brunner-Williams brunner at nic-naa.net
Sat Jan 16 06:48:12 CST 2010


On 1/15/10 11:52 AM, Bill Woodcock wrote:
 >        On Fri, 15 Jan 2010, Eric Brunner-Williams wrote:
 >      >  After the Katrina landfall a diverse group of wireless 
people started
 >      >  organizing a relief effort...
 >
 > There are quite a lot of us working on it, is there something specific
 > you're volunteering to do?
 >
 >                                  -Bill
 >
 >
 >

Thank you Bill,

As I'm in Geneva this morning so the only thing I can share that is 
immediately accessible is the experience of living for four of the 
past five years off-grid.

My best generator was the Honda 2000 watt, 120V, super quiet, 15 
hours/gal unit. My second best was the (PRC knock-off) Pony 1000 Watt 
120V super quiet. Everything begins at the generator. Gas is useful.

For batteries a series of 6V AGM. A single 6V AGM can power a VSAT 
(HughesNet) for several hours. With three and even a 1000 watt 120V 
genset a VSAT link can be kept up a large part of 24/7. They are heavy 
and never pre-positioned (gensets aren't either), but they are the 
stable, long-term uptime must have.

An efficient pure-sine wave inverter completes the electrical basic of 
a mobile programmer's electrical infrastructure. Non-pure-sine eats 
voltage and phase delta sensitive gear.

Learning about Electrical Cost of Link Characteristics (ECLC, a low 
energy pun on the PILC WG abbreviation) was the most important thing I 
learned going off-grid.

Some of these points are made within the larger ICT donor framework, 
at 
http://www.inveneo.org/download/Inveneo_ICT-Sustainability_Primer0809.pdf
, the Inveneo ICT Sustainability Primer, which is worth the read 
(particularly on why "donated kit" and Windoz are wicked expensive to 
field), see pages 2 and 3.

Things overlooked in the Inveneo paper is the role of portable 
generators, 6V battery management, and VSAT, which are what I see as 
the "off-grid" critical toolkit.

I had educational and medical requirements in addition to my 
always-connected-to-my-racks-in-Maine needs.

I'm wicked pleased to see the NSRC kit in route, and as I'm in Geneva 
I'll start on our IRC PoC and our own donor commit. When I get back to 
Cornell I'll start there too, as I know there is an interest at 
Cornell Law in the Maison des Infants de Dieu orphanage in Port au Prince.

Eric




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