Consider setting aside one or more Raspberry Pi 3 computers. They run on 5v and have a complete operating system with compilers, web browser, word processor, spreadsheet, database, etc. Combine with references on USB drives and we are much more quickly on our way back to civilization. Note: The Raspberry Pi needs a USB keyboard, USB mouse and any screen that takes HDMI for human interface. You do not need a keyboard to run it as a server (web server, file server, communications device, etc.) Applications to connect to the server, control it and program it are available for Android and iPhone (phone service is not needed, the Raspberry Pi can be the Wi-Fi server for the phone to connect). Essential – make sure you have set the device up how you want to use it and have tested it in your End of the World configuration before you need it. – T.R.
Love these little computers. They consume just a few watts per hour. A bonus: they come in an EMP resistant pouch.
A desktop OS for the RPI:
The different types of RPIs:
the raspberry Pi are awesome, and very useful. however, i would NOT recommend them for most of the self sufficiency group – the learning curve is often more than many care to go through. my suggestion is a “mini android pc” stick. these are about the size of a USB thumb drive, and plug into an HDMI port on most monitors or TVs. they are an Android computer, and can quickly (and easily) install the same apps on your smartphone. this has been a MUCH easier option for my parents and older friends. my kids love them too. they cost <$10USB and are quick, easy, and let you access your online documents, e-mail, and web surfing fast. They are very portable and low power. The Linux on most RasPi are more difficult and less user friendly, so just be aware. i've even got a thermal camera working on an Android stick, which is much lighter for my drone to carry about on surveillance 😉
As far as a ‘prep’ is concerned: Your Pi won’t be able to make water or food for you, but it could be used to store data, music, videos, ebooks or the like. Imagine an 5th grade full home-school curriculum served from resourced on a 64GB SD card, and one card per grade, just swap out for the next student.
Where to start? … That’s precisely what you should be asking yourself.
Does your monitor or flat screen TV also run on 5 volts? no. Do you have batteries for your bluetooth mouse and keyboard? Even at 5 volts (and now 2.5 AMPS), what software are you planning to run? what do you intend to do with it?
For some folks, having this kind of equipment will be similar to the stocked portion of your emergency med-kit or surgery-kit that won’t expire. (where you have a vague idea of how to use it, but it might be better to keep this around for folks who do know how to use it.) Like a doctor in the case of a surgery kit or a Tech as in my case. But if you hand me a Raspberry Pi with the power out, I’m going to give you a stink eye you won’t forget.
Presuming power is available, The Pi would do very well at automation. Consider a sensor array that makes sure your plans are getting enough moisture, heat, sunlight, and if not sounding an alarm. Get the sensor array to scale before you need it. Note: is doesn’t usually come in the beginner’s kit.
I can see lighting being valuable: LED night lights, security for perimeter alarms… (it’ll take a lot of wire to go from here to there) internal window and door magnetic switch detectors or cameras. I’ve seen it used well as a chicken hutch automatic door opener/closer based on sunlight.
In the Jim Rawles book “Patriots”, there was mentioned a laptop used for “movie night” and potentially the Pi could be used as a media center or a music station, retro gaming box for the ‘relax’ part of staying alive.
Then just as soon as you get proficient with the Pi, you’ll realize there is an even better dedicated platform out there for there repetitive dedicated operations that don’t even need Linux to run. the microcontroller motherboard Arduino.
Except for the media center the Ardino Uno is far superior to the Pi in that it does one thing, one program over and over again. (or two or three programs over and over: you get it)
Get the Python instruction books, multiple 8+GB SD cards, wiring, drivers, and the apps now before they aren’t available at any price – or just forget it. Know that it almost always takes a computer to fix another computer.
In my imaginations I’d like to see it run encrypted CD/HAM communications or a battery of automatic paintball markers.
When you opt to get the Raspberry Pi definitely get the Pi 3 Model B (or the newest & fastest available if you’re reading this in the future DEC 2017 +) as IT IS SIGNIFICANTLY FASTER than it’s predecessors. Better yet, it’s still only $35 bones, the same exact price it has been for years.
You can use your old smartphone you upgraded from 2 years ago (and promptly forgot about) to make it an offline wiki for free. Go on, download the latest version of the internet. It comes with it’s own battery, 5.5″ screen and touch keyboard. What’s not the love?
You’ve put this in proper perspective – Beans, Bullets, Band-aids, and then… computers.
These little micro computers are just down right epic. In no time you can put together proximity, movement and water level sensors. Build gps systems that you can physically power off and control RX, frequency scanners that warn you if someone is using a two way radio near by. And you can do all this with almost no electronics and minimal computer knowledge, just by following a fritz diagram and running some example code. Google “Arduino sensors” almost all work for Arduino and Raspberry PI’s.
The biggest problem I have with my Arduino’s is knowing what breadboard project will use up my last Arduino and PCM board.
I’m looking forward to a bunch of attiny85 chips I just ordered, maybe save me some Arduino’s by shrinking a few projects.