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An office on a desert island is a reality

It is hard to remember when and for what drinks we first had the idea that if it’s impossible to travel all summer, and in the break between trips, we still need to work, then we should do it in our favorite Ladoga skerries. But last year we did it - we organized a co-working office for a month on a granite basis. And we repeat this year. On the way, we gained some experience, which we want to summarize in this article. Who knows, it is useful to someone.

Office veranda

We are a few people united by friendship and the habit of traveling together. At the same time, we are part of the Northern Path multisport club , which in a fractal way is exactly the same, but bigger. And a gray cat and a red cat. And dozens of guests who come to us.
Our flag

Why is it possible for us?

Because we are idlers and parasites. Because we are freelancers. Mostly translators. This means that we do not need fast internet. Only stable. Our traffic is miserable - the translation program is exchanged with the memory on the server. But a PR colleague is sometimes worse.

Technical problem statement

What separated us from comfortable work? Communication and electricity.


It was known that MTS and Megaphone were caught at our favorite place. Last year we did not use MTS due to ignorance. We thought that the router that sold us Megaphone is locked. So far this summer I have not tried to unlock it and have not found that this is all branding husk, and there is order within it. And two such routers buy us strangled by a toad.

3G / Wi-Fi router Huawei E960

This is a router into which a SIM card is inserted on one side, and on the other a life-giving Wi-Fi takes off. We can’t estimate his work with 3G, because we only have EDGE here.

Purchased from Megafon for 9,000 rubles, of which a thousand was an unnecessary contract for us, which could not be waived at that time (June 2009). The device proved to be excellent in terms of basic functionality.But not without features.

Our reception conditions are as follows. Both Megaphone and MTS are sitting on the same tower, from which we are 8 kilometers away. The distance is small, but unfortunately, exactly on a straight line 250 meters from us ten thousand years ago, the glacier left a 50-meter cliff. This circumstance makes unstable telephone calls on our part of the island.

Therefore, it seemed to us that it was necessary to somehow strengthen this matter.

We tried three antennas, from a small non-directional last year to a meter directional one. Plus built-in antenna router. And so far the only conclusion we can make: in our conditions, the external antenna seems to be meaningless.

When our directional antenna hangs on a pine tree and is precisely aimed at a cell (through a rock), it gives the same result as the built-in router antenna. We note that we did not carry out detailed studies with measurements (nothing), but based on the empirical “there is an Internet, the speed is such and such”.

That is, it seems that our limiter is not the reception quality, but the capacity of the cell. This is confirmed by excellent communication at night and mediocre day and deterioration on weekends compared with weekdays. In addition, after the recent cooling, the observed number of people in these parts has fallen sharply and the quality of communication has increased during the day, which again confirms. Considering that GPRS traffic has a lower priority in GSM networks than voice ... in general, locals and gardeners, what do these phones mean for you? Watch better tv.

MTS is almost always worse than Megaphone, but sometimes it helps if the latter subsides.

By the way, the quality of communication has increased over the year.

Speed, traffic and money

Well, it's getting easier every year. If last year we paid a ruble for a megabyte, then in this we bought anlim on both sims. Moreover, MTS has cheap anlim at low speed, and we have never seen high speed here.

Nevertheless, we try to save traffic and not to over-channel the channel. For this, most people use Opera with the turbo feature enabled (traffic goes through the Opera server and is compressed there; including pictures are squeezed). Last year, we also chose NetLimiter as a firewall, convenient for accounting and control. He's a bit keen, but he works.

On average, the speed ranges from 3-4 kilobytes per second during the day to 15 at night, sometimes falling to 1 Kb / sec. Upload 1-10 Kb / sec. The average ping at night is about 500 milliseconds, in the daytime around 1000, sometimes it sinks to 4000. Yes, up to four seconds. Fortunately, this happens infrequently.

After a cold snap and in general as the deepening in August, the day speeds come close to the night ones.


The power supply scheme, as it was conceived before last year’s event, is as follows. There is a generator and battery. We charge the battery from the generator, work from it through the inverter until it sits down, then work from the generator and charge the battery at the same time. And so on. This is how it remained in general.


At the heart of the entire gasoline generator Hitachi E24SB. Diesel models work longer and buzz a little louder, but lower, i.e. they interfere less, but they are significantly more expensive, and at least fifty dollars still weigh. Silent diesel with liquid cooling, we did not consider at all because of the exorbitant price and weight. Gas also did not look: budget models are very unreliable, and gas is not as easy to extract as gasoline, which is poured into a handful and brought. Absolutely cheap gasoline was not interested because of low motor potential (we would have already left without a generator), and inverter because of the high price at very low power (and you never know, then it will come in handy for garage cases).

The operating time was pleasantly surprised: instead of the 3 hours declared by the manufacturer on a full tank (3.8 liters), with our average load of 150-200 W, this engine produces 5 hours and 15 minutes of reliable power; with a load of 1 kW (fan heater + laptops, light bulbs, etc.) - 3 hours. The choice of this particular model Hitachi was due to several reasons. First, this is a four-stroke engine with overhead valves (OHV) manufactured by Mitsubishi, whose service life is not inferior to inexpensive diesel models; so at least the users say; our experience so far confirms (for 250 hours we changed only the oil, the candle and the filter were not even cleaned (hands did not reach), and the generator does not just work like a clock, but it also starts with half a starter turn). We probably do not have enough lifespan for our life, but it’s definitely enough. Secondly, it weighs only 37 kilograms, this is at 2.1 kW of the rated power of the generator. For this, he has a small tank and is not the best muffler, but we are not afraid of this: it's not laziness to top up, but we hide the noise behind the hillock mentioned below. Thirdly, it is not very expensive (about 20 thousand); about as three two-stroke, but at the cost of an hour of service life and a kilowatt of power there is practically no equal. Fourthly, this is Hitachi, hence pleasant surprises with the operating time from a full tank (they probably thought it was under nominal load, and not the maximum, although they wrote “maximum”), and (I want to believe) reliability.

Another important factor that we underestimated at one time was the uniformity of the fuel. Generator, outboard motor, chainsaws and personal cars of the participants - everything works on 92nd gasoline. When choosing a generator, we took this into account, but it did not seem crucial to us. Now it is clear that as a result, we are spared from a large number of completely unnecessary trouble and can keep records and forecasting gas mileage just for the remaining fuel in cans.

generator in its socket

We took the generator over a hill of 50 meters, laid it on a log cabin and covered it with an awning. In the camp, the generator noise is perceived as a distant motorboat - low and quiet, rather quickly you stop paying attention to it. Excellent device, we recommend.


We did not want to live all the time with the generator turned on - neither the noise nor the excessive consumption of gasoline in the forest is encouraging. Therefore, we have planned some of the time to work on batteries. We bought 2 copies. 132 ampere-hour "Kursk battery" and 48 ampere-hours Optima YellowTop (AGM). The Kursk battery is a simple starter battery and requires careful handling, but the second one (purchased initially for the car of one of the participants) is a traction starter, it can be cyclically discharged almost to zero and there will be nothing for it, therefore we have it as a backup for a rainy day , as a start-up for the car, as a reserve, if it is necessary to refine a couple more hours, and the generator is reluctant to start.

Last year, we used almost exclusively a 132 ampere-hour battery and it turned out that the work from the battery and from the generator was divided approximately in half. This year there are more people, August has become, so in the evening I want a light bulb; so the generator spun a little more. However, somewhere slightly in the middle of the event, a large battery quickly and decisively died. After that, we had to completely switch to a small one, that is, to start the generator much more often (it has a charging current of 10 A, and four charging laptops eat more than 20 A).

In general, we could solve the electricity issue by adding 50–60 thousand for four batteries at 200 Ah and a 80 A charger to the budget, but this budget scared us a little, along with the weight of 200+ kg and the uselessness of such an arsenal in everyday life. Then we would be able to start up the generator for just one or two days at a time. But we do not mind gasoline, and money, on the contrary, is a pity.

View from the camp
View from the camp towards the open Ladoga

We charge the batteries while the generator is running using the Pendant 715d charger. This charger states that it gives a charging current of 15 A, allows you to adjust the current and voltage, and also talks about the whole process on a convenient screen. We charged a large battery with a current of 13.2 A, and a small one - 10 A (it is gel, so it can be used). Charging a large battery from 50% to full takes, thus, about 7 hours (by the end of charging, the current is reduced so that the battery does not boil), the average work from this is also 7 hours (this is an inverter, router and charging two laptops). Often it turns out that electricity is needed for a short time or only for the Internet, then the battery fairly saves us gasoline and the lifespan of the generator.

Last year, this very Coulomb showed itself perfectly - it was charging, it was not buzzing and did not complain about a hard life. In this, almost immediately, one terminal came out of overheating from us (the nut loosened), then the next one, then we had to replace the wires (apparently, a part of the wires burned out, the voltage drop from charging to battery increased more than a volt), and then the charge began to stop charging periodically . What is the matter, we do not know, but certainly not in overheating; helps to disassemble, angrily look at the contents and collect back. The conclusion can be made as follows: to charge the battery from the car in the winter is an excellent device. Expect that it will work smoothly and properly charge large batteries in the forest, where you will not have a way to get another charge ... not worth it.

To monitor the state of charge and current consumption, we use a multimeter with current clamp. It would be more convenient to connect an ammeter in series, but where can I get it, or even better would be a device that distributes the current consumed and the remaining battery capacity through the web interface ... But this is another tale.

Cats spend time on the island for the second year. Thoroughly undermined the population of small rodents.


The inverter is needed because the battery gives 12 V, and the devices consume 220. In fact, many of the devices would even prefer 12 V, and then you could avoid losses on the inverter, but then you would have to make non-standard power supplies and lay the second low-voltage wiring with thick wires, which is also partially functional, because it implies large losses from a distance. So when we work from the generator, we stick the "main plug" into the extension cord, and when from the battery - into the inverter.

Inverters during this time we tried three.

The first (last year) was a Chinese device of the trademark "Soyuz" with a rated power of 400 watts. He served us a little faithfully and then burned out.

We drove to the beach and brought the device from the car of the same manufacturer, but 300 watts. It worked, but did not pull a Dell laptop power supply with a nominal power of 90 watts (the most powerful of all).

This year we bought a 600W Industrial Well inverter A301-600-F3. He looks brutal and has been working for three weeks without the slightest criticism.

View from the camp to the strait

Other farm

Through the island from the generator to the batteries stretched inflexible wire with a cross section of 1.5 mm 2 , it is enough. For extension cables to tents and for wiring under an awning, a flexible wire with a cross section of 1 mm 2 is used . In total, we use about 70 meters of wires and still have stock. From the inverter to the battery go the wires with a cross section of 16 mm 2 , just in case. On batteries, we fasten the car terminals, it is reliable, durable and (complete with technical petroleum jelly) eliminates corrosion from moisture.

For the sake of saving energy, we were going to work via ethernet, but after the first measurements, it became clear that the savings were cheap, and we were reluctant to mess around with wires.

What can / should be improved

Battery. It seems that a starter battery from a truck in our mode cannot be a long-lived one. It is designed to give the inrush current and relax, well, and sometimes in an emergency it can be somehow seriously discharged. In fact, his entire large lead-acid capacity is for the sake of a large starting current.

Therefore, if we get together again - you need to buy a gel of 200 Ah. Of course, it will cost three times more expensive, and weighing one and a half to two times more (60 kilograms when loading on a wave, for example, is unpleasant), but the advantages outweigh. Such a battery is designed to maintain the life of the cottage, that is, to cyclically full discharge. In addition, the surrendered current from it falls more slowly with capacity, which means that we will not face the situation when there is still an ampere-clock inside, and the inverter is already against.

Perhaps a charger. There are intelligent chargers, which also include an inverter. That is, we plug the plug into the outlet and, ideally, at the command of the electronic brain, we go with the gas canister to the generator. However, even this could have been avoided by changing the generator to an instance with electronic starting and an external tank. But we are not so rich / lazy, and indeed, it’s sometimes necessary to get up from a chair.


Last year we worked as it should. I'm tired. Therefore, as can be seen from the title picture, this year we built ourselves an office veranda with folding walls and a long work desk for four places.

Office veranda

It is very simple, it requires pre-purchased tarpaulin measurements, some hands are not from the ass and 200 kilograms of boards (floor and table).

Some more tips

Another useful and pleasant


And, yes, I almost forgot. Of course, we will be happy to sponsors and those who wish to provide us with equipment for testing.

It can be:

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/103137/

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