Solar Power 101 — Batteries: Part 1

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #87 • May/June, 2004 This article is the first in a series of what will be a beginner's course in solar electricty. Simultaneously we have instituted a Home Energy Information...

Is steam power in your future?

By Skip Goebel Issue #43 • January/February, 1997 If you're thinking steam is old-fashioned, consider this: Almost a century ago, steam cars and ships attained speeds and efficiencies which are still difficult to attain, even with...

Hydronic woodstoves

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #105 • May/June, 2007 Do you realize there is an entire field of woodstoves that the general public rarely hears about, even though there are specialty woodstove stores in every...

Making and using a solar cooker

By Joe Radabaugh Issue #30 • November/December, 2004 Solar cooking is a delightful alternative to conventional cooking methods. The solar cookers available today really work and they deserve serious evaluation by a much larger audience. For...

Keep the Ice On

By Jeffrey R. Yago, P.E., C.E.M. Self-Reliance, Fall 2019 When I ask most people why they own or are looking to buy a generator, most will say it is to keep a refrigerator or freezer operating....

Build your own solar-powered water pumping station

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #91 • January/February, 2005 In the last issue, there was an excellent article by Dorothy Ainsworth on water pumping using mechanical windmills. In this issue I will address another form...

Build Your Own Car Wash

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #133 • January/February, 2012 Completed car wash in operation If someone told me a year ago that I would have a commercial car wash behind my garage, I would have laughed....

Solar power for farm and ranch

By Jeffrey R. Yago, P.E. It may be surprising to learn that there are now all kinds of do-it-yourself solar powered devices specifically designed to make farmers and ranchers lives easier and safer. Many of...

Design calculations for no-head, low-head waterwheels

By Rudy Behrens Issue #17 • September/October, 1992 (This is the second of our three-part series on waterwheels. The third installation (Issue No. 18) will deal with overshot wheels. -- Editor.) For those of you who are...

7 Solar Water Heating System Designs

By Michael Hackleman Issue #65 • September/October, 2000 (Rob Harlan is a general and solar contractor with 25 years of experience with solar water heating systems in Mendocino County, California. Rob primarily designs and installs photovoltaic...

Amateur Ham Radio – The Ultimate Tool for Survival Communications

By Jeffrey R. Yago, P.E. N4LPE During any major disaster or grid-down event, communications will not only be critical for coordinating rescue efforts, but could actually save your life by receiving alerts and evacuation instructions. Unfortunately,...

Solar-powered refrigerators

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #102 • November/December, 2006 In Issue #99, I discussed the importance of using the most energy-efficient appliances you can buy for any remote cabin or off-grid solar application. I also...

Water: a safe supply when you’re off the grid

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #71 • September/October, 2001 That remote mountain property seemed like a steal until you found out you could not drill a well. Four years ago we were approached by a...

An $89 backup generator

By Jeff Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #159 • May/June, 2016 While I strive in all of my articles to only recommend products of high quality and reliability, I realize many of us are on a fixed-income...

Solar-Powered Electric Fencing

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #147 • May/June, 2014 A new electric fence attached to older traditional wood fencing   More and more people are turning to electric fences as the cost of standard metal and wood...

Don’t discount a generator, especially a diesel generator, as your primary power source

By Skip Thomsen Issue #28 • July/August, 1994 There are three major reasons that wind, solar or hydro-electric systems are impractical for some folks: not enough wind, too many cloudy days, and no stream. In that...