Computers are becoming a necessity in recent times, even if you are living off-grid. Devices like laptops and desktop computers allow you to connect to the world, as using these machines can let you talk to your friend or loved ones from far away, or you can easily get updated on the latest news surrounding certain topics that you follow. If a person doesn’t have a computer at home, then he or she may have a difficult time catching up to how fast everything moves thanks to technology. If you are planning on setting up a computer on your off grid home, here are some tips to help you know what to do and what not to do for off-grid computers.
Use a Laptop Rather Than a Desktop
Laptops generally consume less power than desktops, which makes them the perfect computer for off-grid living, where you would want to minimize your energy consumption as much as possible. In addition, laptops can be taken almost anywhere, unlike desktops that are usually stuck in one place in your home. If you are comfortable using a computer on the bed, you can use a laptop, and you can even use it if you are in the bathroom. Unfortunately, getting replacement parts for laptops are significantly more difficult compared to looking for desktop parts. However, as long as you properly take care of your laptop, you probably won’t need replacement parts in the near future.
Get a Low-Power PC Setup
There are hundreds of different laptops to choose from, but to minimize your options, you should look for ones that consume less power. The first thing you need to look for in a low-power laptop is its processors, as that part of the computer typically consumes the most power out of all components. Thankfully, several companies have already produce processors that are low-voltage, with the best ones being the CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) Processor and the Intel Atom. Furthermore, there are also laptops that are low-power in general, which means that all their parts, including their processors, consume less power. According to reviews, the best low-power laptops are the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge, the Dell Latitude 13, and the Apple MacBook Air.
Be Wary of Vampire Draw
Vampire draw, otherwise known as standby power, is a term used to describe how devices can still consume power even if they are turned off. For example, most television sets are not really turned off when you press the power button on your remote, as some parts of it, like its light ON/OFF indicator, are still consuming power. Some computers would also perform a vampire draw on your home’s electricity, hence the reason why it is important to take the device’s plug out of the outlet so that it wouldn’t take power in a hidden matter. If you are utilizing a laptop, it is best that you take out the charging cable on the outlet if the computer is fully charged, so that you won’t consume unnecessary electricity for your device.
Buy Low-Power Accessories Too
If you prefer a desktop computer instead of a laptop, you would need to buy peripherals like monitors and keyboards to get the full package. Unfortunately, these accessories also consume power, so even if your computer is low-power, the peripherals that it has may render its power-consuming features useless. As opposed to finding energy-efficient computers, looking for low-power accessories is quite easy. For keyboards, those with no LED-backlit function are the ones that consume less power. For monitors, getting one with an LED display is much better. However, LED display still consumes quite a significant amount of electricity, but there are currently no better energy-efficient monitors, so the LED monitor is going to be your best option.
Use a Plug Load Meter to Check Power Consumption
To get a better look at how much electricity you are consuming while you are using a computer, it is recommended that you get a small plug load meter in an appliance store. A plug load meter is a device used to calculate the power consumed by one device. For computers, all you have to do is to plug it into the load meter’s integrated outlet, and it may take seconds or meters for it to read the device’s power consumption. Most plug load meters today can also be plugged into an electrical outlet, so you can use it as the “middle man” between your computer and the outlet so that you can still use the desktop or laptop while utilizing the plug load meter.
And there you go, follow the tips that we have enumerated above, and you will be able to use a computer without consuming too much electricity. Even if you are living off the grid, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t follow the latest trends in the world, as following your own path away from others will only make life harder for you. So, feel free to use a laptop if you need to talk to friends or family members living in distant places and build relationships while also having an off-grid life.