Bitcoin donations to: 1CE9UfWJcHBYkWPns7iqBqZgKhd5xfqEaM thanks!
Buy Bitcoins easily by clicking HERE!


Use coupon radiopreppers for 20% off on the above site.

Author Topic: Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.  (Read 10139 times)

underhill

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 51
  • SMeter: +4/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2014, 04:15:20 PM »
Somewhere I have a link to a site where a guy built a gasifier and ran an engine on it but I'll be damned if I can find it now :( . It may have been the same guy you're referring to Wally. And yes, he had a lot of problems with byproducts causing engine failures, definitely something you'd have to perfect long before the SHTF. I'll keep searching for the link and post it here if I find it.

Just a question, as right now I don't have the answer, but the differences between a wood gassifier and a steam driven generator, has anyone ever looked at the differences?  I know that they were running woodgas driven busses in london during ww2, and autos were using steam early on,  anyone ever consider if any advantages of using a small steam powered generator for electric?  or would it eat more fuel  for the same amount of wood input, I haven't done the energy calcs between wood gas and steam, derived from burning wood.

Inquiring minds, (or just confused?)

Allan
« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 04:17:06 PM by underhill »

KK0G

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 914
  • SMeter: +23/-0
    • View Profile
    • Efficient Combat Training Inc.
Re: Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2014, 04:46:28 PM »
Somewhere I have a link to a site where a guy built a gasifier and ran an engine on it but I'll be damned if I can find it now :( . It may have been the same guy you're referring to Wally. And yes, he had a lot of problems with byproducts causing engine failures, definitely something you'd have to perfect long before the SHTF. I'll keep searching for the link and post it here if I find it.

Just a question, as right now I don't have the answer, but the differences between a wood gassifier and a steam driven generator, has anyone ever looked at the differences?  I know that they were running woodgas driven busses in london during ww2, and autos were using steam early on,  anyone ever consider if any advantages of using a small steam powered generator for electric?  or would it eat more fuel  for the same amount of wood input, I haven't done the energy calcs between wood gas and steam, derived from burning wood.

Inquiring minds, (or just confused?)

Allan
Without looking up the efficiency numbers of one versus the other I don't know the exact difference, but external combustion (steam) is far more efficient than internal combustion.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

Luigi

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 118
  • SMeter: +2/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2014, 05:45:54 PM »
Where are those commercial off the shelf steam powered generators?
The closest that I can come up with something is here: http://www.cyclonepower.com/index.html
It looks like the site is displaying vaporware.

Quietguy

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 168
  • SMeter: +8/-1
    • View Profile
Re: Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2014, 05:57:22 PM »
I looked at the possibility of steam power a few years ago and sort of backed away from it.  I didn't look at efficiency, but the main disadvantage of steam is that it involves high pressures and high temperatures.  The penalty for a mechanical failure can be severe - as in serious injury.  Of course, people do it all the time and utube is filled with home made systems, but I started thinking that a commercial system might be preferable to homebrew stuff.  But then you get into some serious money; a 5 hp steam boiler and matching steam engine coupled to a generator will set you back a fair amount of cash.  Most of the hobby steam systems are propane fired because propane is easy to regulate - wood isn't so easy.  You could convert a gasoline genset to propane and store an awful lot of propane for what you would have in the steam system.

There are no good answers; all of these alternative systems have major drawbacks of one sort or another.  A lot depends on what your goals are and what level of mechanized living would be required if the grid went away.  I realize many people live off the grid today, but most seem to do it where there is abundant solar energy.

Edit to add:  Luigi, when I was looking into steam it appears that most commercial stuff available today is hobby oriented.  There are small steam boilers and engines available for small steam launches, which appear to be popular in the Puget Sound area.  Coupling a generator head to a steam engine would probably end up being a home project even if you used a small commercial boiler and engine.  Here's a guy who builds steam stuff, but it isn't cheap:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Steam-Speeder-Locomotive-Railroad-Engine-Boiler-with-Pump-whistle-gauge-oiler-/261496830131?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3ce26cf8b3

Wally
« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 06:06:19 PM by Quietguy »

Luigi

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 118
  • SMeter: +2/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2014, 07:19:32 PM »
Yeah. No thanks. I will stick with a diesel generator.

KeyBoardMine

  • Guest
Re: Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2014, 11:29:27 PM »
As do I  ;) (have the pills in the BOBs)
« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 11:32:22 PM by KeyBoardMine »

gil

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2872
  • SMeter: +75/-3
    • View Profile
    • Radio Preppers
Re: Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2014, 01:12:05 AM »
Quote
As do I  ;) (have the pills in the BOBs)

Glad I am not the only one :o for sanity's sake.

Speaking about power generation...

Why bother with generating huge amounts of power burning whatever fuel and making anyone within a couple miles raise an eyebrow at the noise when you can use solar panels? We are so power hungry. After a couple weeks without grid power I am convinced our needs would dwindle to essentials. Maybe a few LED lights, a QRP radio of course. What else would we need? Refrigiration? There are many ways to preserve food without a fridge. It used to be the only way not long ago. Same for air conditioning. Houses used to be built considering natural cooling. Make some shade and let a breeze in, you'd be fine even here in Florida. A wood burning stove can take care of the cold, assuming you can get wood. Even in cities, since most American homes are made out of wood, it shouldn't be too hard if most houses get abandoned. It might be important to have power in the first couple weeks of an all-out emergency, but that would change quickly. A solar panel can recharge a big enough battery to run a drill or a saw. You won't need much more.

Vehicles are another story. Gasoline goes bad after a while... Gasifiers were used in WWII Europe when gasoline was not available. A viable alternative in my opinion.

One important thing to store would be oil. Not only to replace diesel fuel in some engines, but lubrication of machinery and tools, including weapons and knives, even for oil lamps. Good machine oil would quickly become very valuable. Don't forget cooking oil.

Gil.

Joe

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 157
  • SMeter: +5/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.
« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2014, 11:02:32 AM »
Totally agree Gil.

When bringing up emergency power with my friends, they always go to the biggest generator they think they need. We usually get into a pretty good debate. Don't get me wrong everyone's needs are different some want them for camping to have all luxuries while camping. But when it comes to emergencies power its a different story.

Think of what you need not what you want. I went around my house to all appliances I wanted to run during a power outage. And the biggest load is my freezer at 3.1 amps. So I went looking for a generator that will run a max load of around 6 amps. After reading many reviews, and mind you I work at a Honda generator dealer. I got the Harbor freight 2 cycle generator, max load 6.3 amps.

http://www.harborfreight.com/engines-generators/gas-engine-generators/900-peak800-running-watts-2-hp-63cc-gas-generator-60338-9057.html

I picked mine up during a parking lot sale and got 50% off. Changed out the spark plug to a NGK, applied lock tite to all vital nuts and bolts, and stuck a spare spark plug in the tool bag. It is a 2 cycle engine which I prefer because it will burn some pretty crappy gas.
Its not to load for a 2 cycle, running it in the shed you can't hear it at the road (100 ft away), I know this will be different during grid down. But it will keep my freezer frozen, and recharge my battery bank when there is no sun for weeks at a time in the winter. I have roughly calculated I would need to run it about 3-4 hours a day to keep freezer frozen and top off battery bank once a day, this is roughly 1 gallon of mix. My total investment in generator $80.00. I like to kill all power to house during the different seasons for atleast 24 hours to test my prep's and find out what works and what need improvement.

Gil brings up another good point oil. You will need oil for everything when the grid goes down. From food prep to repairs, And not one type will do it all. I keep a good supply of cooking oil including my used cooking oil. Engine oil for all my equipment, Hydraulic oil, ATF oil, cutting oil, 2 cycle, and high temp grease.

73
Joe


Luigi

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 118
  • SMeter: +2/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.
« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2014, 12:33:57 PM »
Your power needs drop when you do not have power. Gil is right. There is no need to attract attention to yourself by being the only house lit at night.
If you are going to store fuel, store diesel and kerosene. These fuels do not go bad like gasoline and the are not as volatile. A little bit of biocide is needed to prevent sulfur eating algae from proliferating in your storage tanks. Obviously propane does not go bad, however, you are going to have a tough time refilling a tank in a disaster. A bottle of scotch offered to someone from the national guard (during a disaster) will get your tanks filled with fresh diesel.

Oil is available from cars that are not in service due to fuel shortages. It can be filtered if you are patient. The process involves rope and capillary action. The rope allows oil to be transferred from one container to another and it acts as a filter. It takes a very long time but it works. Someone I knew from the Philippines used this method in Mindanao during WWII. He had a lot of ideas like this but he has since passed away.

Kerosene is great for heat, cooking and lighting.

It is not necessary to run a generator 24 hour per day. If you loose power in the winter, heating needs can be taken care of, so all you need is light and some refrigeration of food. Running a generator a few hours per day will keep food cold especially if your home is a bit cooler inside. Shutting down at night saves a lot of fuel and prevents your generator from being stolen. In the summer, the same is true, refrigeration is the key. A few hours is needed to keep things cold. It is suggested that the refrigerator be stocked with lots of items to hold the temperature. I keep my deep freezer's empty areas filled with blue ice. If power runs out and the fuel starts to get low, blue ice acts as a buffer for additional time. You can get by for at least a weekend with now power this way.

It is a bit surprising to see people put their air conditioner, stove and dishwasher on circuits covered by a generator. Why do that? It is a waste of a limited number of circuits in a transfer panel. When power is lost, a dishwasher makes a great drying rack for hand washed dishes. A Kerosene cooking stove will use far less fuel than a generator will go though to power a stove.

If you are in a situation where fuel is going to be an issue, the proper planning is to have foods that do not require refrigeration and concentrate on heat for warmth and cooking. Forget about power. The solar option is nice for recharging batteries for lighting and such, but the convenience of 120/220 power will be over.

If all of this (major disaster) is happening and you happen to pull out your radio, I bet the traffic will be much different. There will be a lot less tolerance for contesters.  8)

Quietguy

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 168
  • SMeter: +8/-1
    • View Profile
Re: Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.
« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2014, 06:51:28 PM »
The reason for considering alternatives is to think through the process rather than making assumptions.  Solar is not a viable option for me (and many other people) because of climate and shading from many trees - but I have access to lots of wood.  Showing lights at night is not much of a concern for me since I can't normally see my neighbor's lights anyway (nor can they see mine) - I don't live in suburbia.  My well pump wants 240 volt power and it would be handy to be able to use it.  I have a large water storage tank that would allow me to go several days between fill cycles.  If I have renewable power to charge batteries maybe I can cut a deal with a neighbor to get eggs in return for charging their batteries - that is more likely to be the scenario in my neighborhood than hordes of zombies looting and pillaging.  I am not physically able to farm, but I may be able to do other things in exchange for what other people produce.  My old blacksmith tools might come in handy in that situation.  Isn't that the way life worked before the Industrial Age?

I am not assuming we will go from everyday normal to TEOTWAWKI overnight - I am assuming there are a multitude of scenarios that can range from power outages of a few minutes to a year or so and then on up to forever.  In my opinion, each situation calls for a different solution, or range of solutions, and I don't see any point in taking cards off the table without at least looking at them.

I believe Options Are A Good Thing (tm) but that requires exploring options, even if ultimately they sink farther down the priority list or drop completely off the list.

I'm familiar with life in Florida without air conditioning - Florida is my home state and I'm old enough that very few homes were air conditioned when I was young.  I was in my third year of college when I moved into an air conditioned apartment in Gainesville and decided that was an improvement over living without it.

Wally

gil

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2872
  • SMeter: +75/-3
    • View Profile
    • Radio Preppers
Re: Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.
« Reply #25 on: June 26, 2014, 08:13:06 PM »
Quote
Solar is not a viable option for me (and many other people) because of climate and shading from many trees - but I have access to lots of wood.

Good point, I often forget not everyone lives in Florida! After you cut all those trees though, you'll have sun come through ;)

Gil.

Jim Boswell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 121
  • SMeter: +4/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.
« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2014, 12:09:56 PM »
Camping, fishing and hunting serve as excellent "practice" for preppers, along with being good family activities. Something to remember, propane can be stored for a very long time and still function 100%. When I refill my propane bottles I refill 6 or 9 bottles at a time and the propane dealer charges me the bulk gallon price, cheaper than the price for each cylinder. Most gasoline goes bad in about 1 month if you don't add stabilizer when you buy the gasoline.
Part of your practice should also be to remember to check the dates on your food stores and rotate food stocks. This is one short coming in my current system, I don't have near enough food stores. That will be on my hot sheet for 2015. Think about 50 lbs of rice and beans should be a good start. 73'S  KA5SIW

RadioRay

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 777
  • SMeter: +43/-2
    • View Profile
Re: Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.
« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2014, 09:48:36 PM »
MDMC - Oysters!  We have oysters, that only require a set of waders, crabs - plenty, fish: tons.  I love fish of almost any kind, so should get my self down to the water more.  It's maybe 200 feet to the waters' edge for me.  I might use two poles:

1st  For fishing

2
nd To use as an antenna support.   :D

-- Power, Refrigeration and all that stuff --

I lived on a wonderful, Dutch made, 27' 'pure' [ no engine ] sailboat for several years, where I generated all of my electricity using only a 20 Watt folding panel and a single deep cycle battery.  Naturally CONSERVATION is what made this work.  I changed out every incandescent light with LEDs and so dropped my power consumption to 1/10th of what it was before.  In general had only one or two LED lights on at a time inside the cabin.  The ship's radio for ham was an FT-857 and the marine SSB was an Icom M700, older, but used less power. Again, I watched my consumption and when possible, listened to my shortwave broadcasts on my handcrank , plastic radio, so that I would not use a lot of power running the big radios.  For marine weather, I had the VHF and/or HF weather fax using my laptop, which I recharged using the 12 volt 'mobile' power supply meant for cars, or when I would duck ashore to go to work (cheating - I know!  ha ha )

---

When I knew that I was going to marry, I bought a 32' , cutter rigged sailboat.  Heat was from a small woodstove, for electricity I installed two 65 Watt, Kyocera panels, charge controller and almost 400 Amp/hour of 'house' storage, plus the starting battery, which was hardly even used, because I hate engines and would rather drop anchor, than start an engine. As above, I removed all but one incandescent light, and that was over the dining table, for 'warmth' of color. All navigation lights, reading and etc. were LED's. We had MUCH more solar capacity and the engine had an 80 AMP alternator, so in a pinch, I could recharge from that - which I maybe did twice in 3 years. That radio station was the same 150 Watt marine SSB, an IC-7200 for ham, and 2 VHF marine radios. We were never without electricity. 

It's a matter of expectations.

Now - living ashore, and no boat in our future (long story - bring Kleenex...  :'(  )  besides the portable solar 14 A/h in a Pelican case, I have my workshop with a 140 Watt panel mounted, 600 Watt Xantrex Pure sine-wave inverter and  use standard 110vac appliances.  I was just out there a few minutes ago, using my standard soldering iron, building a little HF receiver.  Nice to know that if we loose electrical power, I can solder, run lights and run a 110vac power cord over to the house for basic lights and etc. I'd love to solarize the house, but it's not in the budget at this time, though I can always CHARGE batteries in the workshop and carry them to the house for 12 vdc lights.


de RadioRay ..._  ._





« Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 02:29:59 PM by RadioRay »
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

RichardSinFWTX

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 325
  • SMeter: +8/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.
« Reply #28 on: August 05, 2014, 08:38:38 AM »
Hey Ray, that's the next thing on my build list, a battery box built in a Pelican case.  Any chance you can post some pics of yours, inside, outside, ya know detail stuff? 

DCJon

  • Guest
Re: Practice, practice, practice...non radio stuff.
« Reply #29 on: August 09, 2014, 09:46:14 AM »
Ray, that sounds great.