Search

The DIY World Store

Make your own solar panels for $1 per watt
Get the book
The Complete DIY Solar Panel Book




Help us keep posting valuable experiments.

PostHeaderIcon ThruNite Ti3 Mini Penlight Give Away & Review

ThruNite has sent me one of their Ti3 min LED penlights to give away to one of my viewers. The little Ti3 penlight is quite bright and takes a single AAA battery. It lasts quite a while on a battery too. I have mine permanently on my Bug Out Bag.

ThruNite is a good company with high quality products. I have one mini LED penlight to review and one for you. The Ti3 mini penlight has four modes of operation and up to 130 Lumens of light on a single AAA battery.

ThruNite LED Flashlight Give Away
ThruNite Ti3 Mini Penlight Review & Drawing

To turn on the Ti3 LED flashlight you simply twist the front end. To turn it off again, twist in the other direction. To switch through modes, you twist the light on and off and back on again.

The Ti3 mini penlight flashlight has a CREE XP-L V6 LED for a super bright output.

First you get the firefly mode with 0.08 Lumens of light. In this mode it lasts for 120 hours on a battery. This is bright enough for map reading or for reading a book. In a dark forest it is actually enough light to get around camp without disturbing others. I know this from experience. The firefly mode is also good for stealth or survival situations when you do not want to be discovered but need a light to see in the dark.

The medium mode has 10 Lumens and lasts 6.5 hours on a single AAA battery. This is surprisingly bright when you are out in the woods using the light.

The bright mode has a whopping 130 Lumens from a single AAA battery and lasts about 30 minutes. This is quite bright for such a small flashlight.

And finally you have the strobe light with 130 Lumens of output. It lasts an hour in this mode. To get to this mode you have to turn on and off the light six times.

The ThruNite Ti3 flashlight has a memory which I love. It turns back on in the last mode you used.

The ThruNite Ti3 mini penlight is impact resistant to one meter and waterproof to 2 meters depth.

Now you can have your own ThruNite Ti3 LED penlight for free. All you have to do is leave a comment below saying “I want a ThruNite Ti3 flashlight” and you will be entered into the drawing. After five days there will be a computer generated random number. The winner will be chosen based on the number of comments and the order in which they commented. The first person to comment being number one. The second being number 2 and so on.

You can see the video review on YouTube here: ThruNite Ti3 Mini Penlight Give Away & Review

PostHeaderIcon Mounting 11 HP Engine On Antique Log Splitter For Our Homestead

I got this old log splitter for free a couple years ago. It was in sorry shape but I got everything freed up and put a little 3 HP gas engine on it to get it working. Now I have recently repaired an old 11 HP Briggs & Stratton electric start gas engine for the log splitter.

If you missed the previous articles where I cleaned the carburetor and gave the old engine a tune up, please visit them here: Repair & Tune Up of Old Gas Engine

Now that the engine is running well it is time to mount the old beast to the log splitter. I first removed the little 3 HP gas engine which I have been using on the log splitter. This little engine served me well but it was too weak for larger logs. I needed more power on the log splitter.

Chris removed the wheels so that we can take them into town to get swapped out with new rubber. The tires were both blown out when I got the machine a couple years ago and I just finally got some replacement tires from a friend. We need to have them mounted for us because I do not have the tools to do it myself.

As Chris worked I removed the old Briggs gas engine from its original mounting platform that it came on. In its former life it was a water sand blaster.

Mounting Engine On Antique Log Splitter
Mounting Engine On Antique Log Splitter

I had to place the larger engine on the platform of the log splitter and mark the mounting holes with a screw. I scratched out the holes with the point of a screw to leave a mark for drilling. Next I drilled out the holes and made them a bit larger to allow for some fine adjustment of the belt tension.

The old 11 HP Briggs and Stratton gas engine did not have a pulley so I mounted one on the shaft before mounting the engine to the log splitter. But when it was time to put the screws in the base to mount the engine in place I realized that my screws were too short. The larger engine has a much thicker base plate than the little engine and I had not thought of this beforehand.

I had to make a run into town for some bolts and washers.

I put the V belt on the pulley and then mounted the engine in place. Before tightening the bolts down I put tension on the belt and then tightened the bolts. This keeps the V belt tight.

Now it was time to fire up the old engine and see what it could do. I have a deep cycle battery which is on a two wheeled hand cart which we use around the homestead for starting engines and running my electric boat trolling motor. I rolled that over and I hooked up some jumper cables to the engine. The engine sputtered into life and my log splitter was running nicely.

I split some logs that had given me trouble with the smaller engine and the machine cut through them with ease. The only problem I have is that the wood is stringy and sometimes hangs together. I have to sometimes turn the log over and split it again to break up the fibers and this does not always work. I then have to split it the rest of the way with an ax.

Now I have a real log splitter for use at the off grid homestead. With all the trees we are cutting out here this is a very valuable tool. We are clearing out land on our 56 acre homestead to make more space for living out here.

Please watch the video of today’s work on YouTube here: Mounting 11 HP Engine On Antique Log Splitter & Test Run

PostHeaderIcon Tune Up An Old Briggs & Stratton 11 HP Gas Engine

I finished cleaning the carburetor of the old Briggs and Stratton gas engine and put it all back together. Next the old beast needed a tune up in a bad way. So I cleaned it all up and replaced everything I could to get it running nicely again.

If you missed the previous post about me cleaning out the carburetor on the old engine, please see it here: Cleaning Carburetor On Old 11 HP Briggs & Stratton Engine

This is an old 11 HP electric start Briggs and Stratton gas engine that I picked up at a garage sale last year. I wanted this engine for my antique log splitter. Last year I did not have much time for the project nor did I have much fire wood to split. But this year we are clearing out trees on our 56 acre plot of land to make more space for our homestead. Each tree equals fire wood for the off grid tiny home so I cut them into logs and then they must be split to cure for next year. Now the log splitter is necessary.

I finished cleaning up the carburetor in the previous blog post and video on YouTube. Again, please see the link above if you missed it.

Next I put the carburetor back together again. I have seen some comments about why I did not pull out the brass tube from the carburetor before attempting to disassemble it. In my experience many of the older carburetors are seized up inside and the little screw that holds these parts in are often frozen up. An attempt at removing the screw often ends up in stripping it. These days I just clean out the ports and leave the screw in place. I have never had a carburetor fail on me after cleaning it out in this way yet.

I took the carburetor over to the old engine and put it all back together. This was the easy part since I knew how it went back together. Next it was time to fire this old machine up and see what happens.

Tune Up Briggs & Stratton Gas Engine

I hauled over a deep cycle battery on a two wheeled cart that we keep on the homestead for jump starting vehicles and for my electric trolling motor for our boat. After connecting jumper cables the engine sputtered a few times and then fired into life.

I let it run a minutes and then shut it off. Now it was time for an oil change. I always change the oil after getting an engine running. But this oil was about the worst I have ever seen. The poor engine was full of water and the oil came out gray colored.

I put in clean oil and then ran the engine a few minutes. Then I changed the oil one more time. I will run it through a tank of gas next time and then change the oil yet again to make sure all the water gets out of the engine.

The old 11 HP Briggs and Stratton engine ran but it was sputtering a bit. It probably has oil in the valves and crud in the cylinder and head. I have some Sea Foam in the gas so that should help clean it out. That and running the machine a while. I am a strong believer in Sea Foam and running an engine to clean it out.

We had to go into town for some tune up parts. I picked up a new fuel line and fuel filter. And a spark plug. I had to order an air filter for now because nobody had one in stock.

Back on the homestead I put in the new gas line and filter. Then I put in the new spark plug. I used a T-Shirt as a temporary air filter for now. I want to run the engine a while to clean it out.

I left it running for an hour or so. It run smooth sometimes. Sputtered and smoked sometimes. This is the engine cleaning itself as it runs. In time it started to run smoother and smoother. This is the easiest way to clean the inside of an engine without removing the cylinder head. I use Sea Foam in the gas and just run it until it comes clean. Usually this works for me.

Next I will be mounting this old engine to the antique log splitter.

You can watch the full video of Today’s work on YouTube here: Cleaning Old Small Engine Carburetor & Tune Up PT2

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

PostHeaderIcon Cleaning Carburetor On Old 11 HP Briggs & Stratton Engine

I have this old Briggs & Stratton 11 HP gas engine I bought at a garage sale last year to use on my antique log splitter. But the engine has been sitting around for a while with old gas in it. And I discovered later that it needed some more care as well.

I have an antique log splitter that I got for free a few years ago. It was rusted up and nothing moved or worked. All but the antique cast iron 12 HP Wisconsin engine that was on it. The wood platform under the engine had rotted through and the engine was sitting on a slant halfway through the bottom of the log splitter. But the Wisconsin engine still turned over freely and it came with the original hand crank starter handle.

You can see the original YouTube video where I brought home the log splitter here: Snow And My Huge Craigslist Haul For The Off Grid Homestead

And here is where I fixed up the antique log splitter and put the little 3 HP gas engine on it: Restoring An Old Rusty Gas Powered Log Splitter

The little 3 HP gas engine from Harbor Freight did the job but it was too weak for larger logs. Eventually I wanted to replace that engine with a stronger one. Last summer I found this old 11 HP Briggs engine at a garage sale for only $50. It is an electric start only engine so I will need a battery for it later.

Now is the time to put the larger engine on the log splitter because we are clearing out trees on our 56 acre homestead to make space for our animals and equipment. Trees become fire wood so each tree we drop gets cut up into logs and then eventually has to be split and stacked to cure. Since we are working with so many trees recently the time has come to really beef up the antique log splitter.

The engine was sitting with old gas in it so first I have to clean out the carburetor. At first glance the air filter looked good because it was soaked in motor oil. Well, the prefilter is supposed to be soaked but not the air filter. I later learned that the entire thing was saturated with motor oil and had to be replaced.

Cleaning Brigs & Stratton Carburetor
Repairing Old Briggs & Stratton Gas Engine

I had to analyze the carburetor linkages and connections to be sure how to take it off the engine. And you have to remember how things go back together again. The choke cable was long gone from this engine so I only have a throttle cable to deal with. There is a throttle plate under the carburetor with all the linkages and springs so all I have to remove is a single throttle linkage. There is also a crankcase breather tube on the carb which had to be removed.

And three screws held the carb onto the engine. Next I took the carburetor over to the work bench to clean it out.

First I always clean a carburetor on the outside before I do anything else. I do not want to clean out a carb and then have a piece of dirt fall into it when I am putting it all back together again. I did this one time only and never again.

So I sprayed the carburetor down with carburetor cleaner and then used a stiff brush to gently clean off all the dirt from the outside of the carburetor. I also use a small flat tip screw driver to clean off any stubborn dirt and to get into crevices. I fired up the generator to run the air compressor and spray down the carburetor with compressed air to remove any loose dirt before proceeding.

Opening the carburetor is easy – normally. In this case it was different. But first I removed the jet screw from the bottom of the carb. Next I removed the four screws that hold the carburetor together. Now I found out that this carb was a bit tough to open up. The bottom and top pieces fit snugly together. One metal ring fits snugly into another. And a brass tube goes from the bottom of the carburetor up through the top half. This makes it a bit tough to deal with especially since the air filter mount is in the way a bit. But eventually I got it open.

Cleaning Small Engine Carburetor
Cleaning Old Briggs & Stratton Carburetor

Inside I found some old rust particles but the carburetor was generally in good shape. I have seen much worse before. I soaked the fuel bowl in carburetor cleaner and carefully scraped out the dirt and rust particles with a small flat tip screw driver. I work carefully so I do not scrape the metal at all.

The main body of the carburetor had a bunch of melted gunk in the bottom. I had to spray it out and scrape out all the garbage. You do not want any dirt or particles in your carburetor or they will clog the jets in a hurry. So I used the air compressor again to help clean it out fully.

Thank you for reading. Watch for part two of the article coming soon….

You can watch the full video of today’s work on YouTube here: Cleaning Carburetor On Old 11 HP Briggs & Stratton Engine

PostHeaderIcon BYB E430 LED Desk Lamp I Use In My Off Grid Tiny House Study

I was sent the BYB E430 LED desk lamp to try out and review. I was impressed the moment I opened the package. This is made of aircraft grade aluminum and has touch controls, 4 LED color modes and 6 brightness settings. Plus it has a memory so it always turns on in your favorite setting.

The BYB E430 desk lamp stays put where you place it. This is absolutely the best desk lamp I have ever used, hands down. Not to mention that it is an LED desk lamp and only uses 8 watts of power. This lamp comes with tools to adjust the hinge points. When you set it, it stays. The clamp is the best one I have ever seen on any clamp on desk lamp to date. I put it on my 1/2 inch wide space on the edge of my antique writing desk and it is still there months later. This light has seen bumps, spills and even cats running around. It never budged once. Not one bit.

I am sure you have all seen those clamp on desk lamps that keep falling off or swinging around. The hinges do not stay in place and the lamp never stays on. But this LED desk lamp from BYB will stay where you put it. I am very impressed.

I mentioned it above but this light only uses 8 watts although it is super bright. This light is the perfect match for my off grid tiny home because of the high LED brightness but the low power consumption. For off grid homes and energy conscious people this is perfect.

One cool feature on this lamp is that it has touch controls. There is a physical power button as well. You plug in the power pack to the wall and then turn on the physical inline switch. Now you see some subdued LED lights on top of the desk lamp which show you the way. When you touch the power on button the light turns on. Touch it again to turn off.

byb-led-desk-lamp-off

There is another touch button which cycles through the 4 color modes. This has four LED color settings ranging from cold white light to warm white. This means that it is perfect for everyone because you are sure to find the color setting that you prefer.

Another feature that I love on this LED desk lamp is the touch slider dimmer switch. By sliding your finger on the dimmer, you can make the light brighter or dimmer. There are six brightness settings built into this LED desk lamp. This is another great feature for energy savings or off grid living. I keep it on the lower setting most of the time because it is super bright and lights up my tiny house study just fine on low. On bright I can light up the entire tiny home upstairs loft. By using it on the low setting I am saving even more energy.

byb-led-desk-lamp-on-dim
BYB E430 LED Desk Lamp On Dim Setting

byb-e430-led-lamp-on-high
BYB E430 LED Desk Lamp On Bright

One more thing to note is that this BYB LED desk lamp is powered by 12 volts DC. I have not yet tried it but I plan to plug it into 12 volts DC directly and save even more energy. I will ask the manufacturer first to be certain that there is no current control in the wall pack before I just plug it into DC directly.

Thank you guys for a super awesome light that is also fit for off grid living.

You can get yours here: BYB E430 LED Desk Lamp

Watch my full video review here: BYB LED Desk Lamp In My Tiny House Study

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