How to select the right backup generator

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #82 • July/August, 2003 Now that the threat of terrorist sabotage to our utility infrastructure has been added to our basic concerns about storm related power outages, this may be...

Build a passive-solar food dehydrator

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #143 • September/October, 2013 The finished passive-solar dehydrator maintained a fairly constant temperature of 150° F throughout most of the day without any repositioning, which shows that this design can...

Water pumping windmills

By Dorothy Ainsworth Issue #90 • November/December, 2004 Standing tall like a giant sunflower in a sea of undulating prairie grasses, or in any rural setting, a windmill is a thing of beauty. Not only are...

Solar-powered chicken coop

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #132 • November/December, 2011 Pre-manufactured chicken coop with roof-mounted solar module I am sure many of you have raised large flocks of chickens for years as a normal part of rural...

Dim bulbs in California

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #107 • September/October, 2007 By now many of us have heard that under a bill proposed by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine (D), the state of California is about to become the...

Build a simple solar-powered outdoor light

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #92 • March/April, 2005 Figure 1. Pole-mounted street light showing a front view of the solar light In our last issue, I discussed how to use solar energy to power a...

Sunny Solutions for north slope applications

By Michael Hackleman Issue #61 • January/February, 2000   Solar-powered pumps have proved their worth for many installations worldwide, anywhere under the sun. However, in the northern hemisphere, a year-around spring located at the base of a...

Energy class: Part 3

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #113 • November/December, 2008 In Part I of this series of articles, we reviewed how home utility costs will be the next energy source expected to have major cost increases...

Waterpower for personal use

By Rudy Behrens Issue #16 • July/August, 1992 (This introductory overview to waterwheels is the first of a three-part series. The second installment will be about undershot and no-head wheels, and the third installment ...

Phantom solar — The crucial invisible system needed before you install solar

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #78 • Are you planning to install a solar photovoltaic system to reduce your utility bills? How would you like it if your first solar electric power system had invisible...

A solar primer — How it works, how it’s made, what it costs

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #72 • November/December, 2001 Buying a solar power system is not like buying a kitchen appliance or power tool. These, unlike a solar system, have published capacity and performance data...

Get the most out of your vehicle and your maintenance dollar

By Len Torney Issue #116 • March/April, 2009 Let's face it—we all own vehicles. Our rural lifestyle pretty much leaves us dependent on our vehicles for all of our daily transportation needs, as well as the...

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...

Solar power trailer Part 1

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #108 • November/December, 2007 Many of us like to go camping, but as we age it's much easier if we have a bathroom, kitchen, refrigerator, microwave oven, television, DVD player,...

Powering medical equipment during a utility blackout

By Michael Hackleman Issue #70 • July/August, 2001 Most people consider blackouts a nuisance. However, for some folks, a blackout can be paralyzing or even deadly, particularly if a critical piece of medical equipment lacks electricity....

Power-up bag

By Jeffrey R. Yago, P. E. During any emergency or related power outage, the most important electronic device you need to keep operating is your cell phone, at least as long as cellular service is...