DIY Solar Generator – Plexiglass Cover and Improvements

In this update to our DIY Solar Generator how-to series, I am going to show you how to build an acrylic Plexiglass cover for the inside of the solar generator, so that we can store things like jumper cables inside the case without worry about shorting out or damaging any of our wiring connections. I will also show you some updates and improvements that I have made since the original videos, including a way to automatically disconnect the solar charger from the battery when the solar panels are unplugged. This will keep the solar charger from slowly running down the battery while in storage, without having to remember to turn on or off a disconnect switch. I will also show you a better solution I have found for the solar cable wire including heavier gauge cable, for less cost, and a built in cord wrap.

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How To Build a Large Solar Generator – Part 4 – Wiring

This is the fourth part in our series on how to build your own large solar generator. In this part we will be completing the wiring for the generator, including the solar charge controller, AC inverter, LED work lights, and USB outlets.

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How To Build a Large Solar Generator – Part 3 – Component Mounting

This is the third part in our project series How To Build a Solar Generator. In this part, we will be mounting all of the components into our case, as well as some of the preliminary wiring.

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Yazoo Mower

Yazoo Mowers are becoming increasingly rare, but they have an almost cult following of fans and owners.  They are very unique in their design, allowing them to have a zero-degree turning radius way before the modern hydraulic zero-turn mower was invented, and they have a gear shift lever that allows quick transitions from forward to reverse.

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Installing Heat Control Solar Window Film

We recently moved into a new house, which has quite a few windows. We also have had a very warm June and early July. As a result our house has been pretty warm and uncomfortable lately. Especially since I prefer to use the AC as little as possible… usually meaning none!

I am a big fan of upgrades that will reduce our energy footprint, and especially ones that have a lasting effect of several years or more. I began researching window films that I could install myself, and eventually decided to give the Gila Heat Control Residential Window Film a try. It is available on Amazon, in several sized and varieties. I opted for the 36″ x 100′ foot roll in the Platinum color. The manufacture claims an impressive reduction in cooling costs of up to 50%. They also state it rejects up to 99% of UV, and 67% of glare. I also found that the vast majority of customer reviews were very pleased with it, some stating that it has held up well even after 10+ years of use.

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My Favorite Strippers… Wire Strippers That Is

I have used a lot of wire strippers. When I first saw this type of wire stripper, I was skeptical, because every type of auto-stripper I had used before would work sort of, but seemed like they were more hassle than they were worth. They would either only work well with a small window of wire sizes, or they would need constant adjusting between wire sizess.

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Converting a Ford Power Stroke 7.3L Diesel Engine to Vegetable Oil

Most diesel engines are capable of running on a wide variety of fuels. Several years ago I converted my 2002 Ford F250 with a 7.3L Powerstroke diesel to run on waste vegetable oil. The design was a collaboration of my own ideas combined with those of Jason Crawford’s. Since that time, Jason Crawford has continued to innovate his design, which was later to become the Vegistroke™ available from Biofuel Technologies.  This is an overview of my original conversion for those that are considering building their own conversion, or just curious how they work.

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Earthminded RainStation Rain Barrel

The Rain Barrel collects rain water from the roof and its drainage system. The water it collects is not potable, and should not be used for drinking or cooking without filtration & disinfection.

Besides the ability of providing a source of emergency reserve water, the rain barrel provides a great source of water to use to water your lawn and garden.  Any way to reduce your dependency on the utilities is a great thing. The rain barrel is one such way to reduce that dependency and save money on your water bill as well. Continue reading Earthminded RainStation Rain Barrel

Gerber LMF II Infantry Knife

The Gerber LMF II Infantry Knife [22-41463] is a good quality, versatile survival knife in the sub $100 category. This particular knife is considered to be the among the best bang for your buck when it comes to survival knifes.

We selected the Coyote Brown version  for our review. The knife is well made and feels very sturdy in your hand. The rubber over-mold offers good grip in dry and wet conditions, though we have noticed the rubber over-mold can get nicked up with use, and is the first part to start showing wear. We don’t feel this will affect its performance for its intended use and it is mostly cosmetic damage. Even using the included sheath will overtime damage the overmold as can be seen the photo below. The grip itself is shaped nicely for a positive and secure grip in several positions.

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