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Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics => Homesteading and Self Reliant Living => Topic started by: Penny on January 23, 2019, 04:10:56 PM

Title: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: Penny on January 23, 2019, 04:10:56 PM
Hello all,

New to the forum here although I am a long time podcast listener.

We are moving to some raw land in March to develop a new homestead. We will be off grid, using solar, and so I'm downgrading from a desktop PC to a laptop as they use less energy and our old PC is quite the dinasour anyway.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a fairly simple laptop that we could buy?

We'd like to stay away from Apple since we didn't want to learn a new system and I like the convertible style where the keyboard folds under the screen and then we could put the screen up at eye height and have a regular keyboard to plug in or bluetooth to it.

We really only use the computer for e-mail, web browsing, and you tube videos. So we don't need anything fancy.

Any suggestions appreciated.

Thanks,

Penny
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: FreeLancer on January 23, 2019, 04:39:12 PM
You might want to look at the Chromebook concept.  Cheap, secure, simple to manage and keep up to date, great battery life, and perfect for the low intensity use requirements you listed. There are a bunch of different manufacturers who make them, I’ve liked the ASUS and Acer models the best.  I gave them to several of my family members and they hardly use their “real“ computers anymore.
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: surfivor on January 23, 2019, 05:34:06 PM
 I like Dell and HP laptops.

You can surf the web and use email pretty well with a $50 amazon fire tablet which uses very little power. I sometimes like to use mine at my camp because of the low amount of power it consumes. It's also good for using in bed and for reading ebooks and pdf files. You can easily convert any web site content into pdf and put it on a tablet. I think it has 8 gig storage but pdf files and ebooks use very little space. I got my friend in Maine to use one of these as she can't afford a laptop. She hated it at first until I helped her figure out how to use it. I believe it is a 7 inch screen. It looks like there is an 8 inch with 16 gig for $80

https://www.amazon.com/All-New-Amazon-Fire-7-Tablet/dp/B01GEW27DA/ref=asc_df_B01GEW27DA/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=198138936631&hvpos=1o5&hvnetw=g&hvrand=10860436587405064908&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1018288&hvtargid=pla-337167261740&psc=1
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: slingblade on January 24, 2019, 01:12:03 PM
You might want to look at the Chromebook concept.  Cheap, secure, simple to manage and keep up to date, great battery life, and perfect for the low intensity use requirements you listed. There are a bunch of different manufacturers who make them, I’ve liked the ASUS and Acer models the best.  I gave them to several of my family members and they hardly use their “real“ computers anymore.

I'll second this.... times 10.  I now default people to Chromebooks unless there is a very serious reason not to.
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: creuzerm on January 27, 2019, 03:12:02 PM
I love my chromebooks! I have 3 working at the moment. I've tried touch-screen and non-touch screen and the last 3 we have bought are touch screen (winner of THAT test). We've tried 15 and 12 inch, and the last two we bought are the smaller screen.  The Asus Chromebook Flip is our home computer of choice. We love that they can use Android apps. I have't power consumption tested these yet. A lot of chromebooks are actually using Cell Phone computer chips, so they are low power.

My work computer is a Microsoft Surface Pro. LOVE THIS MACHINE. It is NOT cheap.  Power consumption for a quad core i7 16gigs of RAM, half terabyte of storage is 24 watts under use, 54 watts in use AND charging a dead battery.


Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: Wraith on February 20, 2019, 12:03:21 PM
Personally I am partial to the lenovo yoga and carbon series. Mostly because I can get a discount through my employer. That said I have a X1 Yoga that will fold over and go into "table mode" with a styles that I use for layout work in One Note when I am trying to organize my plans for our property. It also only pulls 20V at 2.5Amps peak so the consumption is pretty low for off grid usage and the battery last for a while as long as you arent doing anything super processor heavy.
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: Smurf Hunter on February 20, 2019, 12:36:09 PM
My work issues Apple Macbook pros.  There's lots to love, but terribly expensive and fragile.  The huge redeeming feature however, is it charges via USB port.
In fact all the I/O ports on the recent model are the USB-C (like newest android phones).  Ironically my android phone charges faster connected to my apple laptop USB than the supplied OEM phone charger.

I highly recommend you get a laptop that can somehow charge directly from a DC power source.  Maybe a 12vdc adapter, or USB (use a charge charger with enough amp rating)

I'm a software developer, so need more horse power than a tablet, but I'm seriously considering a portable form factor laptop with the features above.
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: kid_couteau on February 21, 2019, 10:47:32 AM
My concern with Chromebooks is they don't have a lot of storage on them do they?
Aren't they designed to work with the cloud for most of the storage?
Kinda tough to do if off grid.

Just a thought
Kid
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: FreeLancer on February 21, 2019, 01:11:54 PM
My concern with Chromebooks is they don't have a lot of storage on them do they?
Aren't they designed to work with the cloud for most of the storage?
Kinda tough to do if off grid.

Just a thought
Kid

All true.  But......

We really only use the computer for e-mail, web browsing, and you tube videos. So we don't need anything fancy.
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: kid_couteau on February 21, 2019, 01:21:13 PM
All true.  But......


Ahhhhh ok
For me I like to keep a bunch of movies on my system so I figured storage
But if they do not need that............
Nope I would still not go with a Chromebook  ;D

I have a Tinkerboard setup that is pretty sweet and can be powered by a car battery or a powerbank  ;)
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: Smurf Hunter on February 22, 2019, 08:33:34 AM
wait - if you're on the internet for email, web browsing, etc. then you also have access to your cloud data.

Get a small capacity SSD, 256GB or whatever and use your online storage of choice.
That'll take less battery life and be considerably faster in most cases.
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: slingblade on February 22, 2019, 08:35:41 AM
My concern with Chromebooks is they don't have a lot of storage on them do they?
Aren't they designed to work with the cloud for most of the storage?
Kinda tough to do if off grid.

Just a thought
Kid

A USB external drive solves that problem for very large (terabyte) storage.  Also, most come with a microSD slot as well so you can easily add several hundred gigs of internal storage that way.
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: kid_couteau on February 22, 2019, 08:47:25 AM
wait - if you're on the internet for email, web browsing, etc. then you also have access to your cloud data.

Get a small capacity SSD, 256GB or whatever and use your online storage of choice.
That'll take less battery life and be considerably faster in most cases.

Yes this is right as long as you have a lot of unlimited internet access.
But being in a remote off grid area I have to ask if this is so. Otherwise you will want more space so you dont use up all of your bandwidth in accessing storage.
Not trying to be a jerk, just need more data before I am comfortable making a total decision  ;)
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: FreeLancer on February 22, 2019, 03:56:14 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/31SNkP0PtCL._SL500_AC_SS350_.jpg)

You can get these little guys in 500Gb capacity for $100 (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073GZBT36/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1).  I use them with MacOS, Windows, Linux, and Chromebooks without any problems with both USB-C and USB-A cables.
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: kid_couteau on February 22, 2019, 04:17:10 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/31SNkP0PtCL._SL500_AC_SS350_.jpg)

You can get these little guys in 500Gb capacity for $100 (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073GZBT36/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1).  I use them with MacOS, Windows, Linux, and Chromebooks without any problems with both USB-C and USB-A cables.

They pretty robust being Solid state?
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: FreeLancer on February 22, 2019, 04:56:27 PM
Very robust.  I've never had a problem with any of my Samsung SSDs, internal SATAIII, M.2, or these externals.  Money well spent!
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: Smurf Hunter on February 24, 2019, 11:42:03 AM
Unless you work with media, video or audio production for example - you won't have hundreds of GB that you regularly need to access day to day.

My personal google drive is loaded with product manuals, family photos, howto guides for all kinds of prepper related content, as well as boring personal stuff like insurance policies and appliance warranties. I just don't get that real often.  If I was a homesteader offgrid, sure I'd download that to a portable SSD or something.

My main point is the laptop itself really doesn't need 1TB on board to be a good fit for the OP requirements.
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: Carver on February 27, 2019, 07:49:38 PM
You can we browse and do email and lots of other stuff, YouTube etc with a $39 Amazon Fire Tablet. That is all the man asked for. Not word processing, data base worksheets, video editing... just that, that is all you need. Will charge on a 12v power outlet on your vehicle as you're driving into town and back. Takes pictures too.
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: surfivor on March 04, 2019, 04:31:58 PM
You can we browse and do email and lots of other stuff, YouTube etc with a $39 Amazon Fire Tablet. That is all the man asked for. Not word processing, data base worksheets, video editing... just that, that is all you need. Will charge on a 12v power outlet on your vehicle as you're driving into town and back. Takes pictures too.

Yea, those are good. I have one that I use for reading e books, pdf files etc. It's power requirements are pretty minimal. You may need some app for youtube but it probably works fine. Email, web browsing all work pretty well and you get your multiple tabs etc.

 My friend in Maine uses one of those, once she figured out how to use it she was fine but for a while she was frustrated with it. Some people are not particularly technical
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: creuzerm on March 04, 2019, 08:42:22 PM
I have half a dozen of the Kindle fire tablets between the kids and such.  The 100 watt solar panel on my van roof handles charging them all without issue.

I prefer a Chromebook,  particularly the Asus flip series. My eldest (8) does too.

Both the Kindle and the Chromebooks need Internet to be useful.
Title: Re: Recommendations for a laptop for off grid home?
Post by: kid_couteau on March 05, 2019, 08:02:42 AM
Sighhhhh ok you win
Go with the Chrome book or Fire or similar
I will still tinker with my raspberry Pi, Tinkerboard and solar panels  8)