Make your own biodiesel for 80¢ per gallon

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #101 • September/October, 2006 My Ford F-250 diesel crew-cab pickup did not cause me to become interested in making my own bio-diesel fuel. No, the final straw was when I...

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...

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...

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...

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-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...

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...

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...

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....

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...

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,...

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...

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...

Homemade electric power

By Jim Van Sant Issue #131 • September/October, 2011 Ever wonder how you could live off the grid when the sun isn't shining on your solar panels? Our homestead alternative energy system is based on 12 volts...

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...