Standby battery charging techniques can ensure engine startups

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #83 • September/October, 2003 Those of us living beyond the suburbs own various sizes and types of yard and garden machinery. From the mandatory riding lawnmower for those weekend warriors...

Radiant floor heating — Alternative to forced-air heating is solar-powered, too An interview with...

By Michael Hackleman Issue #64 • July/August, 2000 Hydronic, or radiant floor heating is a method of heating a home, shop, or other building with the heat concentrated in the floor. It works by embedding special...

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....

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...

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...

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...

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 Building Design

By Steven Heckeroth Issue #63 • May/June, 2000 Solar building design has been used since ancient times. In the more recent past, it has been more or less ignored as impractical, complicated, or too expensive. Incorporating...

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...

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...

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 Power 101 — Batteries: Part 2

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #88 • July/August, 2004 This article is the second in a series of what will be a beginner's course in solar electricty. Simultaneously we have instituted a Home Energy Information...

Build your own battery charging station

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #142 • July/August, 2013 Completed charging station after sanding and painting Let me guess — the reason many of you do not use rechargeable batteries is that every time you need...

Keep those gadgets working after the power goes out

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #84 • November/December, 2004 The recent 2003 northeast electric grid failure taught the residents of many large cities what most rural residents learned years ago: Lights, air conditioners, televisions, stereos,...

Walden Pond — the solar version: Part 2

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #100 • July/August, 2006 In the last issue I provided the initial steps required to design your remote cabin or retreat for off-grid power. We also reviewed the types of...

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...