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Archive for June, 2016

PostHeaderIcon ThruNite TH10 Headlamp ~ The Best Headlamp I Have Used

ThruNite has sent me their TH10 headlamp to test out during the last few weeks and I can tell you that this is my current favorite headlamp. It is Rugged, reliable and very bright with a turbo mode of 750 Lumens and a very long battery life.

One of the first things that impressed me out of the box is the quality of construction. So far all the ThruNite products I have seen are of high quality. They give you spare O rings with each light. This TH10 headlamp even has a spare power button seal and headlamp mount.

ThruNite TH10 Headlamp Accessories

ThruNite TH10 Headlamp

The charger excited me the most at first due to its ruggedness and versatility. The charger is a power pack and a universal charger. It is designed for use in rugged environments which means that I can take it hiking with me. It comes with a belt clip so that you can attach it to your belt on the go. The charger takes just about any battery you can throw at it. It is auto sensing and automatically charges your battery.

Another thing I love about this battery charger is that it takes both 12 and 5 volts DC input. I charge my batteries out in the field using my folding solar panel so I never run out of power.

The battery charger is also a power pack. When you insert a battery into this device it turns into a power source to recharge your small electronics such as cell phones or cameras. A little blue LED turns on in the output to let you know that it is now in power mode. This is awesome!!!

ThruNite Battery Charger

Yet another cool feature of this light, which you hardly ever see, is that it takes a variety of battery packs. The TH10 headlamp takes 1×18650 battery, 2xCR123 batteries or 2xRCR123A batteries!! This is so versatile!

I charged up the battery that came with the TH10 headlamp and gave it a try.

I have used this headlamp in the woods hiking and camping as well as nightly use in the woods back at the homestead. We often have predators after our chickens and this headlamp stays on a hook by the door ready to grab and go in a hurry.

My favorite feature of this headlamp is the memory function. The TH10 headlamp has a memory which makes it turn on in the last mode that you used. This is very good for fighting predators in the night. I hate searching through various modes in a headlamp in a hurry while something is attacking my animals. I love the fact that I simply press the power button and this light is at the setting I prefer. No flashing modes and blinding yourself while furiously trying to get the right settings.

The TH10 headlamp has many functions. It has the typical ThruNite firefly mode with .2 Lumens which lasts about 65 days straight. Then there is the low mode with 11 Lumens and lasts 107 hours. Next is the medium mode which I use the most with 172 Lumens and lasts 9 hours. Then there is the high mode which I use a lot as well with 490 Lumens and it lasts 178 minutes. There is also a blinding bright turbo mode with a whopping 750 Lumens and it still lasts 118 minutes. And finally the SOS mode with 750 Lumens flashing and lasts 270 minutes.

To cycle through the modes you simply turn the light on with a press to the power button and it turns on in the last mode that you used. Another long press of the button cycles through the three main modes of low, medium and high. If you double press the button it puts you into turbo mode for 750 Lumens of light. Another double press gives you SOS mode. Turning off the light and then back on again puts you into your last normal used mode. When the light is off, a long press gives you the firefly mode which is useful for tactical settings or to save your night vision. This is surprisingly useful in camp at night so you do not blind your friends.

I once used the ThruNite TH10 headlamp all night long while camping in the woods with my wife set on the low mode. There were animals all over the place that night and we left the lite on low all night as a comfort light. And it still lasted for days on a charge back at the homestead for daily use.

I generally run around with the ThruNite TH10 set on the medium mode for most nights as I look for predators around the chickens. But if I spot something further away, I can quickly switch to the high or turbo mode as needed in order to really pierce through the night. With 750 Lumens of power this thing really lights up the night.

When running out the door in a hurry in the night you take some bumps and spills and the ThruNite Th10 headlamp has taken a lot of bumps. It has taken many falls and impacts and still works well. I have used it in all types of weather with no ill effects on the light at all. It is rated waterproof at 1.5 meters for 30 minutes so I can trust this light in a thunderstorm if needed and I have often used it in the rain.

I am not one for a lot of specs and details but I can tell you that it feels comfortable on the head and is not too heavy. The light has a beam range of 148 meters which is about 150 yards range.

You can get your ThruNite TH10 headlamp here:

Official Website: (5% OFF Coupon Code:THRUNITE , limited time!) ThruNite
Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon UK

Watch my full video review of the ThruNite TH10 headlamp here: ThruNite TH10 Headlamp ~ The Best Headlamp I Have Used

While you are over there please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow our daily videos as we strive to become self sufficient and off the grid on a budget.

PostHeaderIcon Connected Wind Turbine & Plumbing Rain Water System

I finally have all the plumbing supplies necessary to connect the 275 gallon IBC totes to my rain water system. Chris and I are finishing the rain water shed so that we can install a second IBC tote water tank and connect the plumbing. I also connected the wind turbine to my off grid tiny house battery bank.

Long ago someone sent me a wind charge controller with a dump load connection. This is simply a solar charge controller with a large solenoid connected to it. When the voltage reaches a certain point, the solenoid is turned on which sends the excess power to a dump load.

I screwed this wind charge controller to the wall above the off grid battery bank and then connected the controller to the battery bank. Last I connected the wind turbine to the charge controller inputs. Now when the wind is blowing I will get a little bit more energy into my off grid battery bank. With all the trees around here I will not get very much power from the wind turbine at any given time due to the turbulence of the trees. But when you are fully off the grid every little bit helps.

Unfortunately when I connected the power to the charge controller, the dump load was turned on. This is because the MPPT solar charge controllers have the battery bank in absorption mode. The voltage for absorption mode is too high for the cheaper solar charge controllers to it turns on its dump load. I have to later open it up and see if I can adjust the dump load settings inside to a higher voltage.

Chris and I finished the back wall of the off grid rain water and battery shed. Chris had been finishing the insulation as I worked on the wind charge controller. By the time I was finished with the charge controller he was done with the insulation.

Connecting Wind Charge Controller

Next we put up the last two pieces of plywood on the wall back there so that I can put in a second IBC tank for our off grid rain water supply.

I bought the plumbing to connect multiple water tanks many months ago already. I had it all planned out ahead of time. I have PVC quick disconnects with valves so that I can remove a tank from the system on the go without disrupting the water supply to the tiny house on wheels. Each tank will have its own valve and quick disconnect. The only problem was that I did not have a fitting for the large 275 gallon IBC totes. I had ordered some “universal fit” ones off amazon a while back but after paying it showed that it was coming from China. After a month of waiting impatiently, I received them only to discover that they did not fit anything I have at all.

So I waited and put the project back on hold again.

Someone in the comments on YouTube suggested that I get a Gator Lock fitting from TSC to fit my 275 gallon IBC totes. They told me to ignore the threads on the fitting and just put the Gator Lock right over the top of them and lock it on and it will work. So I immediately ran out to TSC and picked up one. It fits! Now I can finally finish the plumbing on my off grid rain water system for the tiny house on wheels.

Gator Lock fittings

Now all I have to do is to lay out the plumbing in place, cut the PVC pipes to fit between the totes and glue it all together.

I connected all the fittings that go from the IBC tote to the PVC lines. There are multiple pieces that have to go together in order to reduce the Gator Lock down to a one inch PVC pipe but it will be worth it in the end. I used teflon tape on all the threads before hand tightening them all together.

Next I cut the PVC pipes to fit inside all the connectors, valves and fittings to try it all on for size. I am dry fitting it all together first to make sure I get it all right before I begin to tighten or glue anything.

Connecting PVC Pipes To IBC Tote

Watch the full video of today’s work here: Connected Wind Turbine & Plumbing Rain Water System

While you are over there please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow our daily videos as we strive to become self sufficient and off the grid on a budget.

PostHeaderIcon Tying Up Grape Vines & Growing Fire Wood Pile

I am tying up the grape vines on the other side of the garden so that I can train the grapes to grow along the wires neatly for a better harvest. Chris is working on the fire wood pile out back. And Melanie is beautifying her flower beds around the off grid homestead this year.

Melanie made some awesome pizza rolls from scratch and we tore it up. We loved it very much and not a piece was left over. Melanie is very amazing in the kitchen. She gets and idea and just makes it herself.

I got some T posts at TSC so that I can string up the grape vines off the ground like the pros do. This will prevent pests and disease and allow the grapes to get more sunlight which equals more and better grapes.

Chris helped me line up the T posts in a straight row with the other half of the garden. When we had all the posts lined up, then I drove them in using a post driver.

Next I got some scrap electric fence wire and ran three strands between all the posts. This gives the grapes three levels to grow on. I had to wrap the wire tightly around each T post so that it would not slip down later on under the weight of the grapes as they grow heavy.

Then I was able to tie up the grapes off the ground using Jute Twine. I used this all natural fiber so that it is gentle on the grapes and it will slowly rot and fall off after the grapes have been fully trained onto the lines. This will allow the grapes to continue to grow unhindered later.

Tying up grape vines

This is a tedious job and takes quite a bit of time but it is very much worth it in the long run. You have to take a random chaotic mess of grape vines and decide which one goes where. Then attempt to untangle them all and try to form each vine into place without breaking the fragile bark. But I got them all done just before it was time to head off to church for the night.

Chris has been working in the fire wood piles. He is sorting out the various types of wood depending on what needs to be done. Some needs to be spit. Some needs to be cut with the chain saw. And some needs to be cut with the chop saw. He has been stacking the fire wood in the wood shed as he works.

Melanie is laying rocks around the inside border of her new flower bed. She loves using the rocks as borders out along the gardens. And we sure do have enough of them around this homestead.

Melanie Working Flower Beds

Watch the full video of today’s work here: Tying Up Grape Vines & Growing Fire Wood Pile

While you are there, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow our daily videos as we strive to become self sufficient and off the grid on a budget.

PostHeaderIcon Mulching Garden & Making Flower Beds & Chick Hatching

I am putting in two flower beds in front of the garden, one on each side of the entrance. Then I am mulching the pathways along both sides of the grape vines and around the new flower beds to give everything a nice appearance. We have a chick hatching from our incubator that I am trying out.

I am putting my restored TroyBilt garden tiller to good use this year. If you missed the video where I restored a completely frozen up old tiller, please go see it here: Restoring an old seized up garden tiller

There you can watch the video series as I restored it back to full operation.

I spent quite a bit of time tilling a strip out in front of the garden for the flower bed. The soil is very rocky and the going is slow. I have to till a bit. Then pick out rocks. Then till a bit and so on. Each pass gets a little bit easier. It takes about 5 to 8 passes to get the soil churned up deeply enough for planting. I pulled out a lot of rocks just from this little area alone.

Tilling Garden Flower Bed

Finally I got the tilling done and Chris helped me get a load of mulch on the bed on the truck. I drove it right over to the new flower bed and put down cardboard first, then mulch. I laid on a few inches of mulch over the entire area in front and behind the grape vines at the front of the garden. I also mulched around the new flower bed.

New Garden Flower Bed & Mulch

I plan to do the exact same thing on the other side of the garden, giving us two beautiful flower beds out in front of the garden.

I have two sets of solar panels connected to my off grid tiny house on wheels right now. At any given time one of the sets of solar panels is in the shade. I am cutting down trees to expand my solar power production and sun hours. But this is taking very long. For now I am bringing in about 800 watts out of 1,200 watts of solar panels at any given time during peak sunlight hours. This is because, as I said, some of the panels will always be in shade at any given time.

We have also cleaned up around the truck camper and put up a screen tent for outdoor summer meals without bugs joining us. It is looking very good at the off grid homestead these days.

Melanie made her own dinner rolls for dinner and boy they were good! Chris and I tore them up. We all agreed that they are better than store or restaurant dinner rolls because they are fresh and made from scratch. Melanie is amazing in the kitchen.

I put 9 bantam eggs in an incubator that I got on discount at TSC about three weeks ago. Sadly the cats unplugged the machine just a few days earlier so I did not think anything was going to survive at all. It was on the coldest night we have seen so far and the eggs were down to 65 degrees F by the time I found them in the morning. But I plugged the system back in and gave it a try to see what would happen.

Tonight a little chick is pecking its way out of its shell.

You can watch the entire video of the day here: Mulching Garden & Making Flower Beds & Chick Hatching

While you are over there please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow our daily videos as we strive to become self sufficient and off the grid on a budget.

PostHeaderIcon Chicken Expansion ~ Cutting Fire Wood ~ Garden Work

Chris and I moved the chicken runway over to the rabbit hutch and connected the two for our young chickens to live in for now. We are cutting and splitting firewood for the off grid homestead already this year. I am cleaning out an area for a flower bed in the gardens.

We moved the new chicken run that Chris and I made the other day. We had used all free lumber and recycled chicken wire to make this chicken run. There was zero cost involved in making this chicken run. It was serving us well for a young chicken day run area where they could eat grass and bugs. Now it was time to move the chicken runway over to the other chickens and attach it to the rabbit hutch for a more permanent home for the young birds.

Expanding Chicken Coops

We shoved the chicken run up against the rabbit hutch and put the chicken ladder inside the runway. Then we used some recycled chicken wire to enclose the area underneath the rabbit hutch. This gives the chickens three huge areas to live and play. They have the large chicken runway. Then they have the two room rabbit hutch. And then they have the area underneath the rabbit hutch.

We then brought over the young chickens and released them into their new home one at a time. Each bird flew happily into the home and started clucking and scratching at the ground looking for bugs. This is where they will stay until they outgrow this home, which will be soon enough. We are going to separate the birds by breed and purpose this year so we keep making chicken coops until we get the job done. Some birds will be for eggs and some will be for sale.

Putting Young Chickens Into Coop

Chris and I keep cutting and splitting fire wood already for this coming winter. We are going to have plenty of cured fire wood this year. The new pallet wood shed will hold six cords of cured wood when it is filled up. We will have way more than that when we are done clearing trees out of the way.

Off Grid Heating Fire Wood

I took the wheel barrow and started picking up rocks from the area where the old garden fence was. I plan to lay down mulch around the grapes and on the walkways. I am also planning to make a flower bed for Melanie right out in front of the garden area on both sides of the center walkway.

You can watch the full video of today’s work here: Chicken Expansion ~ Cutting Fire Wood ~ Garden Work

While you are over there please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow our daily videos as we strive to become self sufficient and off the grid.