I have modified the US Military M-45 tent stove so that I can fully control the burn rate and stove temperature. Before the modification the tent stove burnt out of control and was off the scale of my digital thermometer. After the modifications I can now control the burn rate and temperature of my M45 military tent stove.
I had first set up the tent stove outside for a test burn. I fully assembled the stove and set up the stove pipes on top of the barrel stove. I loaded it up and burnt it for a while. This day I did not get the proper results though because it was outside and windy. Later I set up the M-45 barrel stove in my off grid rain water and battery shed. I installed the included stove pipes properly through the ceiling of my off grid battery shed. I also used a wood stove flashing on the stove pipe on top of the shed roof to keep rain water out.
Back inside the off grid water and battery shed I tried a test burn of the wood stove. It was scary hot. The stove burnt out of control and was out of range of my digital laser thermometer. I could not use it like this.
You can watch the video of the assembly and first scary burn here: Installing M 45 Tent Stove In Off Grid Water Shed
I picked up some wood stove fiberglass gasket material and some wood stove cement in a tube. Back at the off grid homestead I took apart the tent stove into its two halves. I had seen a lot of fire though the gap between the two halves during the last test burn. So I ran a bead of wood stove cement around the edge of the bottom half of the M45 tent stove. Then I cut a piece of fiberglass gasket to fit and pressed it into place.
Next I put the two halves of the barrel tent stove back together and screwed down the fasteners. This should seal off the middle of the M-45 barrel stove nicely. Looking inside the stove you could see that it makes a good seal all the way around.
Now I put a bead of wood stove cement around the back access door of the military tent stove to seal it off. I closed the door. This door will not be used when I am burning wood in the tent stove.
Finally I put a bead of the wood stove cement around the opening of the front access door. Then I cut some fiberglass gasket material to fit the door opening. I put the gasket in place and closed the door to press the stove cement into place. I want a good seal but do not want the stove cement to stick to the door later so I left it open.
I ordered a 4 inch wood stove damper and waited for it to arrive in the mail.
Later when I had time, after the package had arrived, it was time to finish putting my M 45 tent stove modifications in place.
With the help of Chris who was passing by at that time we removed the bottom section of stove pipe from off the top of the tent stove.
I drilled a hole into the stove about 4 inches up from the bottom to fit the rod that goes through the damper. I put the rod through the hole and fit the damper into the stove pipe to center it. With a hammer I pounded the rod through the other side gently to make an indentation for the hole on the other side.
I drilled out this hole as well. Then I put the damper into the stove pipe and reassembled the stove pipe.
Now it was time for a final test burn of the converted M45 military tent stove to see if I could control the burn rate.
I loaded it up and lit the fire. It burnt hot at first but then when I had a good bed of coals I loaded the stove again and closed down the access door on the bottom and the damper on the stove pipe. The stove settled down into a nice, gentle burn.
I can now control the burn rate of the M-45 military barrel tent stove. It burns longer on a load of wood. And I can control the amount of heat radiating off the barrel stove. It is now safe to use in the off grid battery and rain water shed.
I stayed in the shed and checked all the temperatures with my digital laser thermometer for a couple hours to be sure that everything was going to be ok. All the temperatures were in the safe zones. I felt good about the modifications I have made to the tent stove.
You can watch the video of this work on YouTube here: Gaskets & Damper On M45 Tent Stove Burns Slower Now
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With winter coming on fast and the cold setting in I have to heat my off grid battery and rain water shed or lose it all. I am also working on the Suzuki Quadrunner 500 to find the water leak so we can use it here on the off grid homestead.
It was a rare and mostly sunny day so the solar panels were topping off our tiny house battery bank nicely. We need this very badly after a long period of clouds. But it was cold and windy outside. The temperature never got above 33 degrees today.
In the off grid rain water and battery shed it was about 33 degrees F. It is time to get some heat out here in order to prevent the water from freezing. And the warmth will be helpful for the batteries and help them provide more usable energy.
It took me some time to measure out where I can put a 120 mm computer fan through the wall of the bathroom into the shed. I want to blow warm air from the cat litter area under the bathroom sink into the shed to help keep it warm in there. I finally ended up putting the fan down by the floor behind the cat litter. This will blow the smells from the cat litter out of the tiny house on wheels and also push warmer air into the shed to keep it from freezing.
I marked out where the fan will go and then started to drill holes around the markings so that I can cut it with a reciprocating saw. After drilling holes in a circle pattern I got my good old Ryobi reciprocating saw and cut out the circle.
Next I drilled through into the bathroom all the way around in the circle. I had to go inside to cut out the hole from under the bathroom sink.
When I had the hole cut out I could push away the insulation and then mount my little computer fan. I connected the wires to the water pump wiring because this is a fused line and the fan only pulls 6 watts of power. Now I have warm air blowing from the kitchen to the water shed. The fan causes a negative pressure in the cat litter box area under the bathroom sink. This draws air from the cat crawl space in the kitchen which leads under the bathroom sink area. Now warmer air from the tiny house bathroom enters the rain water and battery shed to help keep it warm. I could smell the food cooking in the kitchen from the fan blowing so I knew lunch was getting ready even before Melanie called me.
While I was working on the off grid water shed heating situation Chris was outside taking the shrouds off the Suzuki quad. We are looking for the water leaks so that we can get this machine running to use on the homestead.
After lunch we went out to the quad and tried to get it running. It is sputtering but will not fire up and run well due to the extreme cold right now. The head gasket is blown and the machine cannot get enough compression to run. I need it warmed up and running though so I can make sure I find all the water leaks.
The radiator has taken a bad hit in an accident and it is leaking again in a few places it seems. My theory is that is where the water was coming from but I will not be sure until I have it running and warmed up some.
Back in the off grid rain water shed I am finishing up my M45 military tent stove conversion. I put gaskets and seals on the doors and seams in an attempt to get control of the barrel wood stove and slow down the burn a bit. I also put a damper into the 4 inch round pipe.
Test burning the stove for the first time after the work turned out well. The stove still gets quite hot but it is not as dangerous as it was without all the gaskets and seals. After I get a bed of coals going and fill up the M45 US Army tent stove with chunks of scrap pallet wood the stove burns gently. The temperatures are all in safe ranges for the off grid water and battery shed.
I brought up the temperature in there from about 30 degrees to 60 degrees in a couple hours.
The off grid freezer has not been on in a few days. We lost our power inverter when it blew out a couple weeks ago. Now we have nothing to power it with except for a generator. This is temporary until we get another inverter in there. But when I am running larger wood power tools and equipment in the off grid wood shop I power up the freezer. Although it was not running in days it was still about 22 degrees inside. It is a very good freezer.
Out in the off grid winter greenhouse I put some bait stations for mice. While we were gone for Thanksgiving mice moved in and devoured our plants in the greenhouse. We were hoping to have some winter vegetables to help bring us through the winter and offset our food costs. I put some bait stations with Tom Cat brand mouse baits in them. I was putting out solid baits but the chipmunks haul off the entire thing and put it away for later use in winter. This is not at all desirable. I need to get rid of the mice now and not chipmunks later although the chipmunks are as bad as the mice out here at the off grid homestead.
We will have to rebuild and restart planting food in our winter greenhouse.
You can watch the video of today’s work here: Heating Off Grid Wood Shed ~ Quad Work & More
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Unigear sent me their MOLLE medical first aid pouch to try out. This is a nice sized pouch with elastic straps which holds things in place. I put it on my Bug Out Bag and use it for my mobile kitchen.
The Unigear MOLLE EMT first aid pouch is shipped with a pair of surgical shears. I immediately put these into my first aid pouch on the back of my BOB.
Unigear MOLLE First Aid Pouch
I put my mobile kitchen into the Unigear pouch. With dimensions of 8 x 6 x 3 inches it is large enough to hold my entire mobile kitchen on the back of my bu out bag. The Unigear MOLLE pouch has elastic straps which hold things in place. I put two granola bars each in two of the straps. In a third I put my folding camp silverware. These items fit on the one side like the pouch was made for them.
On the other side I put a fast dry camp towel and a tea strainer. In the center I keep my folding cup and bowl. Plus I carry my Emberlit titanium folding camp stove in there now as well.
Unigear MOLLE First Aid Pouch Used For Mobile Kitchen
You can see in the image above that this pouch is large enough to hold my entire mobile kitchen with no problem. Compared to my hand in the image you can get an idea just how large this pouch from Unigear really is.
The PALS straps and snaps hold the pouch firmly in place. With cheaper pouches I have had trouble with the straps falling off while hiking. This could be disastrous if you lose your gear in a survival situation. With the Unigear pouch I have no fear because the snaps are tough and hold the pouch in place well. I have taken my backpack out on many trips since receiving the Unigear MOLLE pouch and it has served me well.
The outside of the Unigear medical first aid pouch is covered in MOLLE straps to allow you to attach more gear to it with no problem. This further increases your storage capabilities.
This pouch is made of 900D military grade nylon in black and tan colors and 1000D nylon in red and green colors. With silent pull zippers you will not give away your location when using this in the field. The pouch opens fully and folds flat open which is convenient for accessing your gear with ease.
Get your Unigear MOLLE first aid pouch here: Unigear Tactical First Aid Pouch
You can watch my full video unboxing and review on YouTube here: Hardcore Field Use Of Unigear First Aid Pouch On Bugout Bag
I made a rustic looking potting bench for our off grid greenhouse using all reclaimed lumber from an old barn that was demolished. The wood was left here for us to use as needed. The potting bench is built to a convenient height for my wife Melanie so that she can work in comfort in our winter greenhouse.
I first took a tape measure into our off grid tiny house on wheels and asked Melanie to walk up to our counter and table top to get a feel for the height that she wanted the potting table to be built at. We came up with about 32 to 34 inches for her comfort.
I hauled out a mess of old barn wood from the barn wood pile and cut the framing to size. I made the back legs of the potting bench 48 inches high. Then I cut the front legs at 34 inches high.
Next I cut the boards for the bench itself and then the top shelf. I used two pieces of 2×10 barn wood at 36 inches wide for the table top. A piece of 2×6 lumber formed the top shelf above the work bench.
I used scrap 2×3 lumber under the bench top for added strength to support the heavy pots and soil that will be used on the work bench.
I used 3 inch deck screws to hold it all together.
When I had the main part of the potting table together, I took the entire thing into the greenhouse for final assembly. Otherwise it would get way too heavy to carry myself.
I cut some treated lumber for the battery bank table down under the work bench. This potting bench will double as a battery rack to keep the off grid solar greenhouse batteries off the ground. I used recycled treated lumber that I had on hand for the battery bench. I figured it would resist any chemicals from the batteries better if anything ever spilled.
I ran out of screws so I had to fire up the generator and air compressor and use the framing nailer to finish the project. I figured that screws and nails give the table extra strength anyway. The screws give pulling strength to keep the wood together and the nails give sheer strength to keep the shelfs from ripping apart under load.
When I had it all finished I put it into its final home and leveled it off with treated lumber scraps. This both keeps the potting table off the ground and keeps the legs from rotting with time.
When I had it all finished I brought in some old Alpha Cell solar batteries and put them on the bottom table of the potting bench. I connected them in parallel to increase the total usable current of the greenhouse battery bank.
Next I connected a solar charge controller and a set of solar panels to complete the greenhouse solar power system. I then connected the aquaponics air pump which provides air for the fish in the large 275 gallon IBC tank. I will soon be connecting water pumps and finish assembly of the aquaponics system.
You can watch the videos of the assembly of the greenhouse potting table here:
Part 1 – Awesome Solar Power & Building Potting Bench
Part 2 – Finishing Potting Table & Set Up Greenhouse Solar Power
While you are over there please subscribe and follow our daily videos as we strive to become self sufficient and off the grid on a budget.
Sunjack has sent me two of their remote control, multi color, daisy chainable USB LED camp lights. These lights are really cool with many different color combinations and a remote control. The LED lights are powered through a standard USB port so they are very versatile.
I have worked with Sunjack products before and actually used some of their products while trying out these LED camp lights. I used the Sunjack folding solar panel to charge up their USB portable power pack. The power pack I then used to run the LED camp lights while out camping and tenting.
I like the fact that these LED lights have so many colors. I was expecting maybe a four color LED light but I was surprised to find all the colors of the rainbow when I connected this to power.
Sunjack USB LED Camp Light
The remote control is easy to use. You can turn the LED camp light on or off, set colors or choose a program. The programs cause the LEDs to cycle through the different colors at varying rates.
I have been using these multi colored LED camp lights literally everywhere since I got them. We use them in the off grid tiny house on wheels at night for extra living room lighting or for mood lighting. We have also taken these hiking, camping and fishing. Everyone who has seen them loved them instantly and ask me where they can get one.
Sunjack Multi Color LED Camp Light
These USB powered LED camp lights are daisy chainable which means that you can connect them together in series on a single USB port.
Another cool feature is that one single remote control works for multiple LED lights. Just point the remote at the LED that you want to control.
Sunjack USB LED Camp Light In Tent
These amazing lights weigh only 2 ounces so they can easily be packed and taken with you on camping or hiking trips. With an equivalent light output of a standard 40 watt light bulb and a 7 foot power cord these are powerful little lights and convenient for hanging up in trees or inside your tent.
Sunjack Daisy Chain USB Camp Lights
You can run these off the USB port of your computer or use a portable power pack like I do. With the Sunjack 8,000 mAh USB power pack I can run one of these for days before I need a charge. And with the Sunjack folding solar panel I can recharge the pack on the go at any time for free.
See the full video review I did on YouTube here: SunJack USB LED Multi Colored Light Daisy Chainable
While you are over there on YouTube please subscribe to my channel and watch our daily videos as we strive to become self sufficient and off the grid on a budget.