Sleep apnea/CPAP machines at Burning Man?

A place to discuss all things involving power and technology (including cameras). Generator tips, alternative energy, lighting your camp/bike/art/self, sound systems and more.
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mizducky
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Sleep apnea/CPAP machines at Burning Man?

Post by mizducky » Sun Apr 18, 2004 4:39 pm

Howdy--newbie here. I have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine, and am trying to figure out how to deal with these at BM. Any advice/experience is most welcome. Specific questions I have: will a CPAP machine even be able to survive conditions on the playa? (especially the fabled dust?). And, if I do bring mine, I'll of course need to have electricity to juice it up--I've scoured this website and the Alternative Energy Zone and a bunch of other on-line venues for ideas about generators, solar power, etc. etc. etc., but I'm a bit of an electrical ignoramus so would be grateful for anybody who's rigged up a power source for their CPAP and could explain it to me in words of one syllable or so. Oh yeah, and cheep/low budget solutions are always preferable to big bux solutions, all other things being equal.

In fact, all these problems would be solved if I could hook up with someone taking an RV w/generator to BM (power, low-dust sleep space) ... I'm starting to network w/burners in the San Diego area, but again, anyone who wants to throw suggestions/leads my way will be sincerely appreciated. Thanks!

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Captain Goddammit
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Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Apr 18, 2004 6:24 pm

Well, I can tell you about power...
First, the good solutions aren't super-cheap and the cheap solutions....
How many watts does your machine need? It should have a tag on it somewhere that will tell you.
Solar is nice, but if you're gonna sleep while it's dark, you'll need batteries big enough to run your machine all night and charge them during the day. Enough solar panels to make a bunch of power are expensive...
If you go the generator route (I do, and would definitely if I were in your position) you just GOTTA get a Honda EU2000. They are super-quiet, small, light (under 50 Lbs.) and a little pricey... about $1000. You can rent one for somewhere around $150/week, check locally.
Make sure it's a Honda EU model (there's an eu1000, I have one, great but not powerful enough for much, eu2000, I have that and love it as does everyone, and eu3000, expensive and very heavy (140 Lbs.). These are the QUIET ones. The others are LOUD.
Dust can be a real problem for sensitive equipment. The dirt at Black Rock Desert is also pretty corrosive, so thoroughly clean your stuff as soon as you get back. (Despite your logistical issues, you ARE coming, you'll be missing one of the greatest things life has to offer if you don't.)
If your CRAP machine (I don't really know what that is, I'm guessing some sort of breathing apparatus) has replaceable filters, bring shitloads of them. If you can keep it in an RV you should be fine. Maybe a U-Haul trailer with some furnace filters taped across the slightly-open door would be a way to protect it.
Most RVs with built-in generators have 4000 to 7500 watt units that will need a lot of gas... if you're gonna go this way make sure to bring a lot. (Advantage EU2000 Honda.)
But absolutely do whatever you have to, and I'll see you on the playa and maybe take you for a cruise on my artboat, I'm at Johnny & the Playa Cruisers 9:00 & Esplanade.
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

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ZenRascal
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Post by ZenRascal » Mon Apr 19, 2004 4:04 am

mizducky, I have very mild sleep apnea. I tried a CPAP device but the discomfort was greater than I liked, so I don't use one. But I'd like to give you a little additional power info.

There is a very handy and inexpensive device for measuring AC power consumption. It's called KILL-A-WATT Compact Digital Power Meter. I bought one online (Froogle, Google) for less than $40. In addition to what a device's label says, with this you can determine AC power consumption at home. Some appliances don't draw steadily. An example is a coffeemaker which can draw perhaps 1000 watts while brewing and then only occassional 1000 watt pulses to keep the carafe warm.

As pointed out, solar can be expensive, but it depends how much. I have a single 15 watt solar panel I put on the roof of my van. There is a small charge controller unit you use to connect to a 12 volt battery. Many solar folks say to use deep cycle batteries which are the best but expensive. For BM I simply borrowed the battery from my 2nd car and put it in the van to use with the solar panel.

Most of my electrical needs were 12 VDC. I'm a neon maniac and incorporate neon into my costumes including small rechargeable batteries, high voltage supplies and strobe electronics. All this stuff is standardized at 12 VDC so I could recharge during the day & use the batteries at night.

I had only small needs for 110 VAC. As I said, I don't have a CPAP machine. I had a soldering iron for electronics work, my electric shaver, a small electric drill. A small 175 watt power inverter (12 VDC to 110 VAC) from WalMart only cost about $35 and took care of my needs.

Hope this info is helpful. I'd be glad to be of more help if you need.

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gilmore
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Post by gilmore » Mon Apr 19, 2004 12:18 pm

mizducky,

If you don't get lined up sleeping in a RV, you' probably have your CPAP machine outside. I would think you would want to protect it from heavy amounts of dust, since it will be creating a negative pressure (drawing in air) as it creates the positive pressure (air to your lungs).

I would suggest making a small (wooden?) box with one side or the top of the box being made from filter material (think-changeable furnace filter). Whenever the machine is on and running inside the box, any air that gets to it, will pass thru the furnace filter first, protecting the machine.

Determining your power needs with that gizmo ZenRascal mentioned would allow you to pick the size needed for an inverter, which you could run off your car battery. Re-charge the battery daily, ask a fellow burner for a jump if your car won't start.

Gilmore
P.S. ZenRascal, THANKS for the info on the KILL-A-WATT. I'm going to pick one up.
Eat till you're tired, sleep till you're hungry

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shitmouse
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Post by shitmouse » Mon Apr 19, 2004 7:20 pm

i don't mean to sound negative here at all, but there's a part of me that wants to say "if you can't live without it on the playa, re-think about going". -(your health is more important than........)

we have gone through 3 generators at BM because of the physical conditions/elements/heat, out there, and if you *had* to have something to *survive*, make sure you have a back up or alt. solution. -(the ravers across the way let us plug-in to them, and we hooked them up with baked pizza. so we had electricity, but i would never have count on it.)

---just so you don't end up shooting yourself in the foot at the end of the day. it's worth going and fighting for. just be smart about it, and i know you are.

-b
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mizducky
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Post by mizducky » Mon Apr 19, 2004 8:02 pm

Veeery interesting! Thanks for the info, guys.

Heh--I do sometimes call my little machine the "CRAP" machine; sometimes I also call it Darth Vader. For those who've not encountered such a gizmo, CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure--it pumps a metered amount of regular ol' air into your airways while you're sleeping, keeping them open so they don't block your breathing (that's what an apnea is, an episode of stopped breathing). I do sleep without the CPAP occasionally; it's nice to not have the damn mask strapped over my face, but I don't sleep as well without it. And there were all the years before I was diagnosed that I managed to munge along without it--though getting more and more tired and rundown. It would sure save a lot of bother to do without it for BM; but I honestly don't know what going a week without it would do to me. I think my next move is to check in with my doctor. If she says "no way," then I guess it's time to start building filter-boxes and calculating power needs.

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Captain Goddammit
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Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:51 pm

Call me a sissy, but I wouldn't be without an airconditioner for my camper at BM. That makes sleeping during the day REAL nice... I bring 2 generators, spare parts, and a spare airconditioner! Redundant systems put men on the moon. I've never needed the spares, but ...
I don't know how much a CPAP costs, or if you can rent one, but if it's that important, I'd bring backup. I bring spare everything.
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dingo
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Post by dingo » Mon Apr 19, 2004 10:06 pm

Yeah I have sleep apnea too. I don't use a cpap though. My airways get clogged up anyway from the dust. Stanford Sleep Center considered me to be a person who critically needs one. Do you think you can make it for a week without one? If not, get a small quiet Honda generator. Read some threads on muffling generator noise pollution.

Last time I checked CPAP's were like 2 grand.

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Tue Apr 20, 2004 8:46 am

shitmouse wrote:i don't mean to sound negative here at all, but there's a part of me that wants to say "if you can't live without it on the playa, re-think about going". -(your health is more important than........)
Mousie, I hear you and I resist. I am in favour of people with serious health conditions going to the playa.

However, she should still partner close with her doctor. Have a real plan to take care of herself. Have a back up plan and be willing to leave the playa if she has to. (If it turns out to be a temporary thing, she may be able to have the re-entry fee waived.) Be real upfront with her campmates. Consider a medic alert. (The medical staff has a sat phone and will be able to retrive the information in an emergency.) Think, think, think it through, communicate with everyone, get a real idea of conditions from experienced burners. Be real careful to keep current with any medications, playa time makes it easy to forget.

For a perspective, my Sweetie almost died in 2002 from an asthma attack, and was back again last year. Other people with serious health conditions also attend. I'm sure that there are illnesses that cannot be managed on playa. But I'm happier if the option is explored and rejected than if someone just decides from the get-go that it's impossible when it may not be.

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III
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Post by III » Tue Apr 20, 2004 9:46 am

i've talked to someone who used a cpap machine on desert camping trips. i'm not sure what his setup was, but doing a quick google search for "cpap battery" gives a motherlode of hits that are probably all applicable.

spend some time between now and then making sure your system works. try it out for a week in a row, without relying on wall power to help it out. there is still the potential for the unexpected, at which point cryptofishists adive comes into play, but you'd be surprised how many people think that being able to do something in their backyard for 5 minutes with a couple of extension cords translates to adequate proof of concept for the playa.
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calsur
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Post by calsur » Tue Apr 20, 2004 10:38 pm

mizducky,

Trey's post is right on the money. Test your equipment BEFORE you do anything as remote as the Black Rock Desert. Test it to destruction. Have absolute confidence in it before you commit your life on it.

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Post by mizducky » Tue Apr 20, 2004 11:02 pm

Thankee muchly, folks--lots of grist for the mill.

Right now I'm seriously leaning towards renting an RV, the smallest I can find with an on-board generator. Then I'd have all the pieces in place in one unit, and won't have to worry about the dust-in-the-CPAP issue. It would also solve a related issue I haven't even touched on here--funky arthritic joints that might be a little the worse for wear after setting up tent and pounding rebar into playa and etc. (Heh--I'm just a fountain of body-spazz issues, aren't I?) I think I can swing the expense of renting an RV if I recruit a fellow passenger or two. And the peace of mind would be priceless.

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AntiM
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cpap

Post by AntiM » Wed Apr 21, 2004 6:29 am

My brother uses a CPAP, he has major problems without it. We had a huge power outage a couple weeks ago ... and he knew he wouldn't get any sleep without the machine. So my hubby grabbed the deep cell marine battery and the little power inverter and hooked him up. Ran his CPAP and an alarm clock all night no problem. The 12v battery is one of our playa beasts, we have a little suitcase solar panel to charge it during the day for use at night (bike lights on the 4wheel bike).

An rv and/or a generator and a dust box filtration system would probably be wisest, but you can run a CPAP off 12v if you need to. And be sure to test whatever system you are going to use thoroughly. Twice. And have a back-up plan.

Heck, I have asthma and one year I forgot my inhaler and lived. Hurt like hell lung-wise for a week afterward, but hey, it was worth it. I now pack two inhalers.

Hope you find the perfectest solution!
anti m

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shitmouse
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Post by shitmouse » Wed Apr 21, 2004 11:42 pm

theCryptofishist,
yes, it's hard to say that, but when i saw my wife fall to the floor unable to breath from a built-up reaction to owning a hedge hog, -(via protiens in hairs, epidermis) i had to take her to the emergency room. she stayed in there for 8 hours in intensive care, and she has no lung issues at all.
--(without proper attention she would have died).

i have been floored by playa dust one year due to mask integrity, weather, etc., and i'm healthy. coughing blood is FUN!

i'm just trying to bring some 'real' here. yes do everything you can to go, and your rv idea is not a bad idea provided you can keep your prescious lungs from the playa dust that will enter your life anytime it wants, and at the best/worst times.
i'm batting for you to go. i also wish you luck and a safe time.
-b
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Kamakhya
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Post by Kamakhya » Thu Apr 22, 2004 8:46 pm

I know of two people who use CPAP's at Burning Man and neither has an RV. One uses a generator to power up a deep cell battery (and a backup) and sleeps in the open (under a shade) with the machine in his sleeping bag. Obviously, an RV would be ideal, but I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and that it can be done without an RV. On the other hand, the expenditures just to get a generator and deep cells might be more than renting an RV, but they will last for many years.

If you would like to talk with my friends, I am sure they would be happy to share their experiences with you. Send me a private e-mail and I will try to introduce you to one or both.

I would also like to recommend trying to hook up with a larger camp. Having the extra support of multiple people with multiple skills and resources can be really important, especially for people with health issues. It is worth the extra effort of contributing to the group.

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Spokes
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Post by Spokes » Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:04 pm

At the 2004 burn I used my CPAP without any problems. I used a kill-a-watt to measure actual load and determined I needed approximately 20ah of capacity per night. I brought a 125ah deep cycle battery and a 6 amp charger with the intent of either draining the battery over four to six nights depending on actual conditions and how much I actually tried to sleep. Or attempting to charge it with any available source since there was supposed to be a generator in our camp running some undetermined amount. It turned out the generator was run for other reasons every day for several hours and recharged my battery enough to use the machine for the whole event. The CPAP I have has a 12 volt option so no inverter was needed.

For filtering I inserted the machine in a heavy duty 2 gallon baggie. I cut out the section around the filter and with heavy duty clear package tape I sealed the baggie to the unit around the filter cutout and the air hose. Then I placed a good quality facemask over the filter and taped it to the baggie as well. After a weeks use without changing the outer filter the inner filter was about as dirty as it would be after a week use at home. I used it in a tent that was relatively dust proof when zipped up.

An added bonus is the machine is the bomb for inflating an air mattress.

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shitmouse
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Post by shitmouse » Wed Sep 15, 2004 6:00 pm

hey Spokes!
nice to see your back in one piece. hope you had a nice burn this year.
see you next year on the playa. take care, and i'll be polishing the magnifying glass just for you, with drinks of course.
cheers,
-b
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Spokes
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Post by Spokes » Thu Sep 16, 2004 4:27 pm

Yep, I had a great burn. Could have been better if we had gotten together and burned something. Next year, baby.

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More CPAP Help

Post by savagetheater » Thu Aug 18, 2005 4:53 pm

I'm coming to BM2005 and decided to bring my Bipap Machine along.

First of all thanks for all the help in the posts above. You really set me on the right path.

Here's a couple of links that I found useful

http://www.healthyresources.com/sleep/m ... wer02.html

I decided that I needed the adapter, a battery and a battery charger.

Here's where I got the adapter (respironics 1001979)

http://cpap-supply.com/aspcart/prodetai ... =&page=110

The battery freaked me out : how much power, How many Amp Hours (AH), and they're expensive! And they're Heavy!

I called Respironics, which makes my Bipap machine and talked to Technical Support 800-345-6443 The Support guy told me my machine draws 4.5Amps per hour. We calculated 4.5 X 6 hr per night X 7 nights = 189AH Shit... Those batteries cost $250 and they weigh 160 lbs! No way

So I decided to buy a 51AH battery and a 10A charger and hope I can plug in during the day from somebody. 51AH is about 2 nights sleep and the battery weighs 39lbs. It's a Gel Battery and requires a special gel charger. I bought it at Batterymart.com....

It was expensive! $75 for the battery. 59 for the charger. 49 for the cables, and about 50 for shipping.... SHeesh... Maybe I can sell them when I'm done and get some money back...

Wish me luck... I'll report back how it went...

Mark Savage
Yet to have a playa name but hoping to be christened next week

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Post by phil » Thu Aug 18, 2005 6:53 pm

I camped next to a guy last year that had sleep apnea and he had his gear with him. Seemed to have no problems.

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Post by AntiM » Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:28 pm

We set my brother up with a spare 12v battery, charger and inverter at his house for when the power goes out. He's only had to use it twice, but is very happy to have it on hand. Of course he cannot sleep without his machine at all so he really needs the back-up.
It was expensive! $75 for the battery. 59 for the charger. 49 for the cables, and about 50 for shipping.... SHeesh... Maybe I can sell them when I'm done and get some money back...

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Don't use a generator

Post by bradtem » Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:55 pm

A generator is about as bad an idea as you can get for this. Noisy, smelly, likely to conk out in the night.

Read my essay at www.templetons.com/brad/burn/burn-power.html

I believe there are many CPAP machines that take 12v directly. That's going to be twice as efficient as running one through an inverter. One that takes 12v directly will use around 12 watts, or call it 100 watt-hours , or 8 amp-hours, in a night. Thus the 85AH battery at costco for $43 would last you an entire week, with no need to recharge, though a recharge is always good.

If you have to go with an inverter, I would venture based on the specs you would use about 20 to 25 amp-hours per night.

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Post by Flux » Wed Aug 24, 2005 9:01 pm

My wife uses a CPAP. In 2003 we powered it using a small, super-quiet Yamaha generator (EF1000is), which worked flawlessly.

This year, I'm still bringing the generator for other purposes, but am planning to run the CPAP from the car battery, then use either the generator or the car engine to keep the car battery topped off.

I did a test last night using an inverter; the CPAP ran fine all night, and the car started without any hesitation this morning. If I have time tomorrow, I may pick up the necessary wires to run the CPAP on 12vdc straight from the car battery without wasting power running it through the inverter.

As far as filtration, I bought a Rubbermaid type tub, the kind many people use to bring their stuff to Burning Man, and drilled a hole in the side for the electrical cord to come in. I drilled another larger hole for the air hose, and picked up a few miscellaneous plastic plumbing fittings from the hardware store. I cut a rectangular hole in the lid and put a furnace filter over that and duct-taped it on. Voila! Worked like a charm.

Of course, it helps that we have a pretty dust-proof carport canopy with walls and a floor; if you have a dustier tent, you may need more layers of filtration.

Anyway, there's no reason at all not to go to Burning Man with sleep apnea and a CPAP! Enjoy!

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bradtem
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Post by bradtem » Wed Aug 24, 2005 9:09 pm

Point is it's a terrible waste, and rude to your neighbours, to run a 1000 watt generator all night -- even at its lowest setting -- to power a device that uses 12 watts on average. It's bad in just about every possible way.

Now your car battery can provide the 10ah, or even the 20ah via an inverter but car batteries are not designed for deep discharge so charge it back up the next day. However, do it when you, or somebody else within 100' of you is running a generator for some other reason.

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Post by Flux » Wed Aug 24, 2005 9:26 pm

bradtem wrote:Point is it's a terrible waste, and rude to your neighbours, to run a 1000 watt generator all night -- even at its lowest setting -- to power a device that uses 12 watts on average. It's bad in just about every possible way.
Running the CPAP alone on the generator would be wasteful of energy compared to using the car battery. However, for part of that time the generator was used to power other things as well, so it was not as black-and-white as you seem to be assuming.

As to it being rude, given our location, the way I had the generator placed, and the quietness of the unit, I could barely hear the thing, let alone anyone else. My neighbors had no complaints, so I think I'll stick with their judgement of my rudeness instead of yours, thanks anyway.

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Post by Kinetic IV » Wed Aug 24, 2005 9:56 pm

I was his neighbor, in fact Das Bus and I were on either side of him and neither one of us had any complaints. And this year just like I did last year I'll have my genny running 24x7x7 and the only reason people said anything about it last year was when they asked to tap into it or they didn't realize I had one. So there goes that rudeness comment. It doesn't fly around this group.

And Flux, it's damn good news to know you'll be there this year. You were missed last year.
K-IV
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Thank you for over 7 years of eplaya memories. I have asked Emily Sparkle to delete my account and I am gone. Goodbye and Goodluck to all of you! I will miss you!

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Post by Flux » Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:19 pm

Kinetic IV wrote:I was his neighbor, in fact Das Bus and I were on either side of him and neither one of us had any complaints. And this year just like I did last year I'll have my genny running 24x7x7 and the only reason people said anything about it last year was when they asked to tap into it or they didn't realize I had one. So there goes that rudeness comment. It doesn't fly around this group.

And Flux, it's damn good news to know you'll be there this year. You were missed last year.
Hey Kinetic! I was just thinking about you earlier today!

I haven't been on the ePlaya in a coon's age, and just checked it out in a break in the frantic packing process...and here you are!

Where are you camping? Is Tiffany coming as well? It'll be great to see you!

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Post by Kinetic IV » Thu Aug 25, 2005 8:16 am

I have no idea where I'm camping...I was going to go with a theme camp and got some great offers but I decided to just go and let the karma gods work something out instead.

Tiffany can't go, she's got school, tennis team, soccer, and a bunch of other stuff going on. She's wanting to come back next year though and she was asking about you.

I heard you'll be close to Das Bus again....if so I'll definitely come by. And you were really missed last year.
K-IV
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Thank you for over 7 years of eplaya memories. I have asked Emily Sparkle to delete my account and I am gone. Goodbye and Goodluck to all of you! I will miss you!

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