Archive for March, 2012
I just got The Off Grid project started tonight. The countdown is ticking. On May 1st, the Off Grid Project experiments will begin. In early Fall the project will be completed. The final goal of the project is to show you how to get your home fully off the grid on a budget. Anyone can get off the grid with very little investment.
Some of the projects will include how to make a windmill from things you may already have laying around the house, and it really works. How to make a solar panel for about a dollar per watt – yourself. How to make passive solar heaters with household materials that really work. How to make a dollar store solar oven. A dollar store solar distiller. And many more budget projects that really work.
You can get fully off the grid on a budget. You can be independent from the electric company, water company and sewage.
You can get an average home fully off grid for about $5,000 or less. Do it all at once, or take your time and get off the grid piece by piece. No matter how you approach it, the goal is attainable.
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I am moving into an off grid trailer full time for The Off Grid Project, which will start on May 1st. So I am doing some upgrades to the trailer in order to make space for all my stuff. These upgrades include adding some more shelving. The kitchen cabinet over the stove was huge, but seemed like wasted space with just a single shelf. The shelf is shown below. (You can click on any image for a larger view).
So I had a piece of plywood laying around waiting to be put to use. I got out my battery powered circular saw and jig saw and measured the cabinet space. If you look at the photo above, you can see a frame halfway up on the right and left side, sort of like they wanted to put in a shelf, but changed their minds at the last minute.
With a couple “C” clamps and a straight piece of wood, you can make a nice guide to make a straight cut in a board.
My battery powered jig saw came in handy to cut a notch out of each side of the board in the back to fit around the frame. These are Black and Decker Firestorm 18 Volt tools. I love them for my off grid projects because my camper only has a single homemade 65 watt solar panel right now and I can slow charge the batteries off solar and then use the tools later when needed. Normal power tools would drain my camper battery bank in minutes. These cordless power tools can be charged by plugging their normal plug in wall charger unit into a power inverter hooked up to the battery bank of the solar power system. This drains much less at one time than the power tools would directly.
In the photo above I am trying the shelf to see how it fits. Perfect. You can see the original framing better in this photo. But, notice the lack of support all across the bottom of the shelf along the back wall. I want to put dishes up here, so it needs to be strong.
I used a “C” clamp again to hold a piece of wood in place that I cut to fit. I first pre-drilled some pilot holes to make the screws go in easier. Then put the shelf in place with the new frame piece and screwed it all together. Again, my handy cordless tools were used.
In the photo above you can see my new heavy duty shelf above the stove hood. Notice the extra 2 inch thick board across the back of the shelf for a support. And the 2 inch thick legs underneath the back for extra strength. There was no frame behind the paneling in the back wall of the shelf, so I had to improvise and make sturdy legs underneath the shelf. And it looks pretty good too.
Now comes the real test. Can it hold up to all my stuff?
It looks great and now holds double what it could before. And it is very strong. This was about a 30 minute job. Not bad.
Anyone can upgrade, renovate or repair a camper with ease and a bit of skill with tools. Campers are quite easy to work on and because everything is so light, it is very cheap as well.
You can read more about camper and RV repair, waterproofing and severe water damage repair on The DIY World main page. READ MORE. This is a multi part series about camper, trailer and RV repair and patch ups.
Stocking up for survival or disaster readiness does not need to cost an arm and a leg. You can stock up on a budget, if you apply the ideas I will show you here. Stocking up is not necessarily only for “Survival” either. You never know if you might loose your job, your car or home one day due to nature or the economy. Having a supply of food is very important if that ever comes.
I know first hand. Having recently gone through a period with no income, I ate through some of my stock that I have been building up for years now. I am thankful to have had the three months food supply on hand that I used. Fortunately, I still have a lot of food put away, even after living off it for three months. But the point is that it was there and it helped. Anyone can end up in the same situation at any time.
When you go shopping, take a few dollars extra with you. Also, if you go shopping for the sales, and not just what is on your list, you can come home with a whole lot more food for your money. When I go shopping, I do not take a list. I get what is on sale that I like. I just got about 30 cans of vegetables at 50 cents a can. Where I live, that is pretty cheap right now. And they have a shelf life until about 2014. If you keep your cans underground, cool and dry, you can keep them for many more years past the sell date. I know that from experience as well. One time a friend gave me a few cases (5-6) of canned fish that was expired. There were tomato, mustard and other types of flavors added to the fish. Various types. Anyway, I ate those cans of fish for three years after that. They had been kept underground, in a cool, dry place and were perfectly edible, three years past the expiration date.
Back to shopping. Look for deals. When you get paid, go shopping for sales and specials. You will be amazed how much you can stock up in a short time. The dollar stores (the real ones) are very good as well. I get canned fruits and treats that normally cost two to three times as much, all for a dollar each. Sometimes you can get brand name foods for a dollar there. Frozen fruit and veggies are dirt cheap at a dollar per pound at the dollar store. Anywhere else, unless you manage to catch a rare sale, are over $2 per pound where I live. I get the dollar store frozen foods and dehydrate them to be vacuum sealed and put away for later.
Another important point. Get food you like to eat. It will do you no good at all to have a huge surplus of food that you don’t like. I once bought a ton of canned string beans. Good stuff. But for a single person, those huge cans are hard to use up at one time. Beans, corn and tomatoes are great to toss into a pot together and have a sort of Mexican soup. But a huge can of green beans is just not easy to use up. I still have a lot of them.
If you have a sweet tooth, visit your local grocery store the day after a huge holiday. Easter, Christmas, Valentines Day are some of the ones with special shaped and colored chocolates and candies. They are deeply discounted after the holiday.
Shop the discount racks at the grocery store. They usually have 50% off an item that is out of production, or nearing the sale date. If kept cool, it will last many more years.
Start stocking up for your family next time you go shopping. It will add up soon.
Animal feed grain, as long as it is pure, plain grain, can be perfect for low cost long term food storage. If stored properly, whole grain can last for 30 years or longer and retain its full freshness. Whole grain “animal feed” can be a perfect low cost survival food. Often, “feed grain” is fine for human consumption if it is just pure, whole grain.
No matter whether you are stocking up on food for long term survival or putting away for disaster preparedness, an affordable source of whole grains is an important addition to your larder. Whole grains store much better than processed or crushed grain. Most of the grain you can find in the grocery store has been processed to some degree. Once the grain kernel has been broken open, the grain starts to loose its freshness. Processed wheat flour will not last more than a year or two, at best. Whole grain wheat, on the other hand, can last hundreds of years if stored carefully.
You can find free food grade plastic buckets at your local ice cream shops or restaurants. These make perfect long term storage containers for your whole grain. They are food grade, so there is no problem with leaching chemicals into your food. And they can be sealed to keep out rodents, insects and dirt. They are also somewhat moisture proof as well.
You can visit your local animal feed suppliers and find pure corn, wheat or oats for about $10 for a 50 lb bag, about a tenth of the price if you bought grain at the grocery store. Look up the company online and visit their website for information about their grain. If you cannot find what you are looking for, then call them and ask. Make sure there are no additives such as medicine, vitamins or preservatives and you will have a great source of grain for human consumption.
The DIY World has put together a video about purchasing and storage of whole grain animal feed for survival food.
You can watch the video here:
Well, I ran my car for two years with a homemade hydrogen booster and saw good results. Then it got burnt out with use. Last year I did not drive as much, so the project went on the side burner. Now, with rising gas prices, and me driving a lot more, it is time to build a better H2O booster to increase my vehicle gas mileage.
The previous version was good, and it worked very well. The only problem is that I could not find stainless steel crimp on eye connectors for inside the H2O booster, so there was constant corrosion on the electrical contacts inside the booster. Every couple months I had to take it all apart and rebuild it again with clean connectors. Also, the arcing between the contacts caused excess heat, which melted the plastic booster lid with time. It still works, but I want a new design.
Above you can see the old H2O booster after two years of use. The cheap connectors were arcing inside and caused some problems with the plastic warping a bit. Again, it still worked, but needed constant maintenance. I do believe that the plastic container itself is not a problem if I could get stainless steel connectors.
But now I am planning to use a steel pipe inside another steel pipe. The outside pipe will be capped off with threaded end caps. The inside pipe will have nylon screws threaded into it, spaced evenly around the outsides. The screws will act as spacers when the pipe is inserted into the larger diameter pipe.
I have drawn up an idea here using a graphic editor and some photos.
There will be six nylon screws around the edge of the smaller pipe. Three near the top and three near the bottom, evenly spaced around the pipe. These will be threaded straight through the pipe. The heads will be shaved until the pipe fits snugly into the outside pipe.
The metal rod sticking up from the top of the smaller pipe is a threaded rod that will act as a positive terminal for the device. The inside pipe will be positive. The whole outside of the H2O booster will be connected to the car chassis ground. It will be placed in front of the radiator to cool it and keep the inside water temperatures down. This will help prevent what is called thermal runaway. As the water heats up, it conducts more electricity, which heats up the water more, and so on.
The bottom end cap will be steel and the top will be plastic. The plastic top will allow the positive terminal screw to pass through with no electrical contact to the negative terminal. The screw will be threaded securely into the inside pipe somehow. Or I will get it welded on the inside of the pipe for an even better fit. Then I will dip the weld into some liquid rubber. The stuff you dip tool handles into. After it cures, it should be chemical and heat resistant. This should make a solid, long lasting contact.
The top will also have a hose connector for the gas output.
Fill the whole thing with some water and caustic soda and it should work well. When I get my tools out of storage, I will finish the project. Hopefully very soon. The gas prices are starting to hurt.
View the original Hydrogen Booster Project Here
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