Tag Archives: #goals

DIY Energy

In the spirit of Earth Day last week, I wanted to talk a little about some green energy sources. Not because I think the earth has a temperature and I feel we owe it to her to reduce our carbon footprint, but because in all the research that I’ve done, so called green energy sources are most conducive to long term personal or family energy sources. Sure anyone can buy a gas generator but it only provides energy as long as the gas holds out. Coal_transformationSince gas degrades over time, in a TEOTWAWKI world after several months gasoline will gum and drop octane, making gasoline generators a poor long term alternative energy source. Considering how 90% of modern American electricity is produced in power plants using a type of fossil fuel to create steam, which is used to turn a turbine, thus creating the electricity. Since the process takes place on such a massive scale, the burning of the fossil fuel becomes not only cost effective but actually cheaper than most other forms of electricity production.

The problem with producing electricity for your household in this manner is that due to the small amount you’re producing and the cost of the fuel and equipment, it becomes very expensive. The average American household consumes almost 11,000 kilowatt/hours per month, according to Consumer Reports there are two types of home generators, portable and fixed and they are capable of producing 2,500-20,000 watts. The problem, other than the cost, is that few of these generators are designed to provide power on a full time basis.

hydropowerIf you could replace the gas motor with another means of turning the generator, you would eliminate the cost of the fuel and the wear on the gas motor. In a perfect world it could be replaced by a fast moving stream or waterfall. Another possible replacement is wind, if you are in an area that has a perpetually strong wind.

What could we use as a generator? I’m speaking here about the device that will actually create the electricity. To generate electricity through induction all you need to do is spin a magnet or group of magnets, inside a wire coil. The amount of electricity created is affected by length of wire, strength of the magnetic field, and velocity of movement inside the magnetic field. I’m not going to get into the science behind this because that is beyond the scope of this discussion. But I will give you some ideas on where you can find some generators relatively inexpensively.

how-solar-energy-systems-operateBefore I get into suggestions on generators, let’s talk a little about power delivery. You will want a place to store your generated energy and it’s not like you can hang it on a hanger in the coat closet or put it in a box in the guest bedroom closet. A battery compartment will be required and of course the electricity you create will be stored in 12 volt batteries. Which brings us to the next part of the system you will need, a charge controller. A charge controller protects your battery,windmill how well it protects the battery depends on the quality of the charge controller and the features that it has. If you’ve read anything that I’ve previously written, you’ll know that I’m a huge believer in layering; layer your clothes, layer your plans, layer your defenses. Why would your energy grid be any different? If you’re using wind or hydro or both, you can add solar to your grid for relatively low cost. Since the batteries store DC power and your home runs on AC, you will need a sine wave inverter to convert the power from DC to AC. Unless you want to live completely off grid, in which case you could look into replacing all of your devices with a 12 volt DC equivalent. There are definite pluses to being off grid but there also pluses to being on grid. In fact some power companies will actually pay you for excess power that you produce.

Where can you get these generators? batteryWell we are charging 12 volt batteries, what else runs on 12 volt batteries? Cars and trucks use a 12 volt battery, and it is recharged by the vehicles alternator. We can use air or water to turn the alternator and use the alternator to charge our batteries and 10 batteries connected in series will be 120 volts which will power most homes.



New Year, Fresh Look

So… 2016 ready or not here we are! As I look to the new year and wonder what life has in store for me, I’m filled with hope and resolve. Resolve, because only victims leave their lives to chance alone and I will not be a victim! Hope, because no matter how prepared we are luck is always a factor! All of us should have a plan, then a backup plan, a contingency plan and an emergency plan for every situation we can imagine. That’s a lot of planning, well yeah… and like in a fight your main plan goes out the window the first time you get hit!


I heard a saying many years ago and I don’t remember who or where I heard it but it’s kind of a mantra for me…

“If you continue to think what you’ve always thought, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got”

Let that just sit and sink in for a second.

The only way to effect change in your life is to change your current paradigm, the way you think or see the world! If you smoke and want to stop… be a non-smoker! Don’t try to stop… In the immortal words of Robin Williams in The Fisher King, either do it, or don’t do it! Trying is just a pussy that can’t commit!

Crossed dream word and plan word chalk drawing over blackboard

Oh we can come up with all kinds of excuses to let ourselves off the hook! My wife, or my boss, or the promotion didn’t come through, or that professor doesn’t like me… WHATEVER! That is all victim mentality, somebody stopped me and I wasn’t strong enough to persevere! So what does this have to do with the new year? Start setting goals! But Dave I don’t do New Years Resolutions… Did I say make a new years resolution? NO! I said set goals! And Goals not written down are just dreams, and dreams are vague ideas that disappear in time. Goals on the other hand have a timeline and a plan… oh wait weren’t we talking about plans earlier? Just in case you aren’t a goal setter and haven’t ever done so, I’ll go over the way its done…


First, identify your long term goal, with a timeline. Since we’re talking about survival… How about, I want to be completely self-sufficient in 10 years.

Next, identify what steps (3 to 5) will take you to the above long term goal and a timeline for each… I want to be off the energy and water grid in 5 years. I want to have a self sustainable food source with 6 months of food storage within 3 years. Within 7 years, I want to have access to a steady supply of meat in the event of a catastrophe. These are your medium range goals.


Next identify what steps will take you to your medium range goals along with your accomplishment timeline… To be energy independent I need to research and identify 3 ways to produce energy this year, along with the feasibility of self maintaining these energy sources in the long run. Possible energy sources to be looked at are solar, wind turbine and water turbine. We will break down each of our medium range goals in this manner.

Finally, we set our “to do” list mile stones… How much energy do we consume monthly? This week, Identify from past electricity bills how much energy we consume. By months end fact find: Is past electricity use a realistic baseline for an emergency situation? How much energy is produced by one solar panel? Do solar panels come in different sizes? What is the cost per panel? Will the panels work during a storm or cloudy day? How do I store energy for use when the panels don’t produce energy?

In this last step we’re trying to find out how much we don’t know, how much we do know, what we need to learn and we want to assign everything a deadline. If you don’t meet your deadline, take a knee, do a reevaluation. What caused you to fail? Was your goal or deadline unrealistic? Was there an outside force acting upon your goal accomplishment? Can you reevaluate and realign your timeline?


Above all, be honest with yourself!

Now go set your goals and make your plans! Have fun and we’ll see you next week…