EMP Q&A: North Korea’s EMP Threat Explained

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The world we live in relies on electricity totally. The heating and cooling, the hospitals, and banks, the communications and transportation and even working land for food would go into chaos with only one killing EMP shot.

Humankind is working hard to make it possible, just take a look at North Korea. And before asking about Koreans’ capability to drop an EMP on US, remember the critics who mocked the Japanese before WW2.

History is prone to repeat itself. Prepare yourself in time to survive its lessons. Keep reading to discover how the North Korea’s EMP threat is explained.

This guide will help you survive more than an EMP!

A Threat Like No Other

Once people become aware of the threat posed by EMP, they naturally have questions about EMP preparedness. Actually, EMP is one of those subjects where the more you learn about it, the more questions you tend to have.

I was pleased to be invited back to PrepperCon 2017 to host EMP Survival Question & Answer Sessions again this year, on behalf of Survivopedia, and address some of these questions. Feel free to ask your own questions on EMP survival in a comment, and I’ll do my best to find the proper answer for each of them!

The types of EMP that present a threat to mankind are incredibly powerful pulses of energetic radio waves that can pass through the human body undetected, yet wreak devastation upon the systems mankind depends on to sustain life.

The electrical grid, fossil fuels, water, food, healthcare, banking, communications, internet and transportation are critical to our way of life. Even a temporary loss of any of these system is catastrophic.

When we consider how much these systems are interdependent, the loss of all of them at once would paralyze the nation to a degree which is difficult for most people to comprehend.

Why & How North Korea Can Drop an EMP On The US

Question: Is it possible that North Korea could pose a threat to the US?

I heard that they would need thermonuclear weapons, better missiles, bigger nukes or the ability to miniaturize them in order to be able to harm the USA.

Answer: Any country that has nuclear weapons and can orbit satellites has the technology and ability to carry out an EMP attack on the USA. I have noticed a great deal of ignorance on this subject in social media posts and blogs.

It does not take thermonuclear weapons, ICBMs or miniaturization to create a Nuclear High-Altitude EMP (HEMP). The USA created the first HEMP I am aware of with the Hardtack Yucca nuclear test. In that test, a small warhead was carried high enough to make use of the Compton Effect, resulting in a 1000-fold increase in EM field strength. The weapon does not have to be large, at most 10 kilotons, which is the size of tests North Korea has been carrying out.

To affect nearly the entire Lower 48 states with a single weapon, optimal height of burst would have to be 300-400 km, but still lower than the orbit of North Korean Satellites, which overfly the US. Dropping a nuclear weapon that would detonate lower in the atmosphere is certainly within the country’s capabilities.

The last two satellites have payloads sufficient to house a nuclear weapon. North Korea has committed a lot of resources to both satellite and nuclear programs. North Korea has also practiced launching missiles of cargo vessels just like Iran.

The US has few defenses to shoot down such an attack launched from international waters in the gulf coast unless we specifically station a carrier battlegroup there. Even a detonation at much lower altitude could affect a city or even an entire state.

North Korea’s latest test may have been a nearly 10 kiloton neutron bomb optimized for maximum gamma yield. This what we would refer to as a superEMP or enhanced radiation weapon. These points, taken together amount to quite a body of evidence that North Korea has been planning an EMP attack or to create the appearance of the ability of such an attack for over a decade.

Critics point to past failed launches, overlooking the fact that we also had failed launches early on and our first attempt to orbit a satellite also failed. They only need one to succeed. They also point to the fact that putting weapons in space is a breach of international law.

North Korea has a history of violating international law with abandon even when it has meant harsh sanctions so it puzzles me why anyone would see this as an obstacle. Miniaturization of nuclear weapons was not a serious obstacle to the US and was achieved within a couple of years even before we had microcomputers.

Critics mocking North Korea’s military capability sound very much like critics who mocked the Japanese before we engaged them in combat in WW2. History seems to be repeating itself.

Why Fixing the Grid Would Take Years of Survival

Questions: I heard it could take 3.5 years or longer to fix the grid. Don’t we have stockpiles of Large Power Transformers (LPT’s) that we could just swap out if they were damaged by an EMP? Why would it take so long to fix the grid?

Find out how to survive when the lights go out!

Answer: The 3.5 year number assumed that only the USA was affected, that the rest of the world was undamaged by cascading failure and that other nations would help us. In senate hearings, committees have the luxury of examining the question in a bubble.

In the real world, nations are highly interdependent and growing more so every year.  e.g. the loss of the US economy could bring down the world economy with it since the EU economy is closely tied to the US economy and without the US and EU, China would lose its consumer base.

Let’s say an EMP has knocked out the electrical grid and it is our job to fix our little part of it. We need a LPT (Large Power Transformer) to replace the one that was damaged by the EMP. An LPT at a power generating plant steps up voltage for transmission over long distances through transmission lines.

At the destination where the electrical energy will be consumed, another LPT then steps the voltage back down to a voltage that is useful to the destination city’s electrical grid, so we will suppose that our hometown needs a step-down LPT.

LPT’s are custom built, can weigh between 100 and 410 tons, can cost up to $10M each and take up to 2 years to build even in a fully functioning world. Considering the obstacles to obtaining a LPT in a post-EMP world demonstrates the difficulty of estimating how long it would take to get an EMP-ravaged grid running again with any degree of accuracy.

Ordering a New LPT After an EMP? Prepare to Wait!

Normally, we would create a request for proposals, evaluate the bids and award the contract to build our LPT. This will take longer with the phone system and computers down. The red tape would need to be sorted out somehow, and we would need to establish limited communications through radio operators.

The factory that would build our LPT would not be able to start production because they lack electric power to the run the factory, but we will imagine top priority is given to LPT factories and we are able to get power to build. Our order would normally sit in a queue, the factory would need incentive to rush our order past other orders just as urgent as ours.

The plant would want their $10M, but the world banking system could be paralyzed or even collapse. We might have to pay in gold or leaders might attempt to coerce cooperation.

The factory would have to get workers to leave their families in the middle of a protracted grid-down emergency. Even if it could, they wouldn’t work for funny money.

The workers would not be able to work without food, which could be a real problem because just-in-time inventory management virtually guarantees a food crisis. The world food system could collapse. But farmers would have no fuel to run giant tractors guided by GPS that also would not work.

Companies would likely have to pay workers in food.

A solar storm of this magnitude would also knock out satellites, meaning no satellite phones, communications satellites or GPS.

To build the needed LPTs, we would need vast stores of high grade electrical steel and copper which can account for more than half the cost of an LPT. The US produces no more than 20% of these raw materials annually.

Most LPT’s were built between 1954 and 1978. We would need to get the manufacturer copies of the schematics. While this might seem trivial with the aid of computers and telecom equipment, it would likely further delay replacement LPT’s.

Our LPT would probably be ready to ship between 6 months and 5 years after the order was placed. But even before the MHD EMP, special transport had to be arranged to ship a 410-ton After the MHD EMP there would not be enough fuel or functioning refineries. DoD would probably have to handle transport of the LPT, but most military bases are dependent on civilian power infrastructure.

The naval vessel transporting the LPT could run into bad weather or navigation problems because weather satellites would be down and GPS navigation inoperable.

With around 2,000 LPTs in service, the USA has more LPTs in service than any other nation, which also means the US grid has more major points of vulnerability than any other nation. The combined production capability of the entire world has never exceeded 600 units/year, even at its peak over 44 years ago.

The total combined LPT production of the whole planet has not exceeded 400 LPTs/year since 1973. It would take time to ramp that production back up.

Why to Fear the Power of Solar Storms Too

Question: How long could it take to recover from EMP caused by the sun?

Answer: The type of EMP that occurs due to solar activity can cause power surges in the electrical grid, overloading it and causing physical damage. This type of EMP is known as magnetohydrodynamic EMP (MHD EMP). Magnetohydrodynamics is the study of magnetic properties in electrically conductive fluids, like the hot, electrically conducting plasma the sun is comprised of.

Solar activity such as Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) can send a mass of solar energized particles toward the earth that can arrive in as little as a day, interacting with the earth’s magnetosphere and causing a geomagnetic storm. The result can be brilliant aurorae (Northern or Southern Lights), damaged satellites, disruption of radio communications and damage to the electrical grid.

Depending on the intensity and duration of the event, a MHD EMP event could affect an area as small as an Eastern state and the grid could be back up the same day. It is also possible that a severe MHD EMP could affect the entire planet.

Studies presented to the congressional EMP Commission estimated that the USA could have its grid back up in 1.5 – 3.5 years, but I am doubtful of this number. For starters, there is no manual on how to restart the grid. It has simply never been done. The electrical grid was slowly pieced together over more than 100 years. Fixing the grid will be delayed by a bit of a chicken – egg problem.

You can’t get the grid back up without Large Power Transformers (LPT’s) and you can’t build LPT’s without electricity, transportation, food, safe drinking water, security for the workers and their families and everyone who supports each of those systems, their families and so on.

Any way you look at it, recovery from a server MHD EMP event would be a process, not an event, and a long, non-linear process full of obstacles that we could not possibly predict, at that.

To Ground or not to Ground the Faraday Cage?

Question: I have heard conflicting answers. Should I ground my Faraday cage or not?

Answer: Yes … and no.

If your Faraday cage is the size of a refrigerator or smaller and is not wired with electric outlets and a breaker box like you have in your home, then, no, do not ground it. Grounding a small Faraday cage can do more harm than good.

You could think of it in terms that the ground could act like an EMP antenna, receiving the electromagnetic energy (radio waves) of the EMP, converting into power and possibly radiating into the space you are trying to shield.

If your Faraday cage is the size of a room or building or is wired for mains electricity (AC power), then yes, it should be properly grounded.

If You Still Have Questions About EMP Survival

EMP is one of the greatest threats mankind faces and I do not want you to leave your preparations on hold for lack of information. Please ask questions in the comments below or email them to us. Speak up, reach out and remember that imperfect preparations are better than none.

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This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia. 

Is There Life After A Nuclear Blast?

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The world is far less stable insofar as mass numbers of people are exposed to the risk of a nuclear event.

While Russia and North Korea have the bulk of people’s attention, every single nuclear reactor and other nuclear locations can be the source of disaster. That’s why it a bomb based nuclear war is a small problem compared to our electric grid being hacked/infiltrated and other situations that can be far more dangerous.

As for the nuclear event, if you survive the initial attack, you’ll face a different world in the aftermath.

But how are you going to survive? Here are 10 questions answered about how life is going to be after a nuclear blast.

Make sure that you can do as well as possible in a medium where the following changes are expected to occur.

1. Look for Safe Areas when Traveling

While explosions can easily take out roads and bridges, there are invisible threats that come with a nuclear disaster. Even if you won’t meet the heat found inside the Fukushima reactors, you’ll pass through areas where elevated levels of ionic radiation will pose a risk to your health. If you eat or drink contaminated in these areas, you’ll get very sick.

Traveling in the post nuclear world will not be as simple as trying to get across blocked roads or other common navigation issues. Instead, you will need to read the more subtle cues that radiation is present and needs to be avoided.

You’ll need the very best in mapping skills and the ability to read wind and air currents so that you know which places are most likely to be downwind of the radiation source. While avoiding these areas, take them into account within the larger context of other areas where nuclear radiation may be higher.

For example, if you are approaching an area with elevated radiation from a nuclear reactor, think what will happen if you head towards another reactor located within 100 miles.

Get this lifesaving information about surviving when doctors, pharmacies and hospitals are shut down!

To understand the level of radiation in the areas you travel, lookout for people or animals with unusual sores, animals and plants with unusual sizing, or deformed plants and animals. Also, take into account the elevated readings on a Kierny fallout meter (KFM) or Geiger counter.

2. Sheltering Underground Can Save You

In the direct aftermath of a nuclear event, you may have to stay underground for days to months. When your return to the surface, do not make the mistake of believing that buildings and other forms of shelter are safe to occupy.

Dust filled with radiation may still be all over the place as well as contaminated soot from fires. If you are in a more “silent” area such as one produced by a nuclear reactor melt down without an explosion, you will need to rely on Geiger counters or other radiation meters to find out if the area is safe to live in.

Overall, I would say your best bet for survival is to stay underground for as long as possible. It will be to your advantage to have a comfortable shelter and storage area beneath the ground. Today, there are all kinds of specialized LED lighting strips and other resources that can enable you to grow plants and have a good degree of lighting even if located underground.

If you can live underground and sustain that, you will be well ahead of the curve for nuclear disasters as well as many other kinds that may come to pass.

3. Survive Growing Food Underground

If you stored your food above ground, it will be contaminated by nuclear radiation, and your stockpile and all the hard work you put into it will be useless. By the same token, animals and plants in the area will not be a viable option for food consumption.

When it comes to obtaining and preparing food, here’s what to do:

  • Store your food and ammo for hunting far enough underground so that they will be safe from nuclear radiation.
  • Make sure that you can farm and garden in an underground cave or some type of bunker that you build for this purpose. This includes sufficient underground ventilation and air recycling systems in place.
  • Keep radiation shielded jars for micro gardening and insect farms, and make sure that all seeds are either stored underground or in a radiation shielded storage container. Water and other materials used for this purpose have to be kept free of contamination too.
  • If you are going to live underground, make sure that you have the right lighting for the plants you plan to grow. While hydroponic and aeroponic gardening require fewer resources, the plants still need plenty of light for optimal growth and disease prevention.
  • In the post nuclear world, bees may very well be driven into extinction. If there is one skill you should try to learn, it is making and caring for a small beehive. Even just a few dozen bees can pollinate crops growing underground or other radiation safe locations.

In the outer world, the safe game and fish will not be safe anymore, as radiation travels from the source of the event, it will contaminate everything in its path.

Even if you are a few years to decades past the initial nuclear event, you will always need to be on the lookout for signs of radiation related diseases and problems. This includes everything from genetic mutations to increased rates of cancer (including tumors found in plants), leukemias, and other disorders that aren’t commonly found in animal and fish populations.

Since you never know when the food supply will become unsafe to harvest or eat, store food away underground as well as the means to produce it.  From there, it will be up to you to decide if you want to evacuate once again or simply stay where you are and live underground.

4. Filter, Filter and Filter Your Water to Stay Clean

As with food, you won’t always find sources of clean water in the usual locations. Your stockpile of water will also be worse than useless if stored above ground. Large scale storms and other systems can carry all kinds of contamination and spread them for hundreds of miles. Once this water leaches into the water table, well water and other sources will not be safe to drink.

In fact, even if you are getting water from a flowing underground source, you need to test it on a regular basis for nuclear contamination even years or decades after the nuclear event. Depending on the source of the radiation, you’ll need different filtration systems.

Most forms of radioactive material can be filtered out by distilling the water because the contaminated particles will be left behind in the original vessel. Since Tritium is an isotope of Hydrogen, it won’t be removed by distillation. While Tritium cannot be removed by using this method, don’t worry unless the incident involves a nuclear reactor. Tritium is also very hard to detect, yet it is very dangerous if it gets into your lungs or other internal organs.

Boron, borax, activated carbon, and bone char can also be used to filter out radioactive materials. Remember, unless you are dealing with Tritium, it is not the water molecules that will be radioactive. Rather, it is the dust, microscopic debris, and other molecules that will carry the radioactive signature, and therefore pose a threat to your health. If you have a reverse osmosis system on hand, run the water through an activated carbon filter.

5. Switch to Light Colors in What You Wear

Anything that you were wearing during the nuclear event will have to be discarded. To be on the safe side, anything that comes into contact with any kind of dust may be harboring radioactive materials. As with everything else, the garments that will be the safest are the ones stored and worn underground.

Other than that, the way you dress will change in order to stay protected:

  • Even in hot weather, you’ll be covered from head to toe because most fabrics will prevent Alpha and Beta particles from reaching your skin.
  • You will be saturating your garments with perfumes or baby powder, both of which can prevent x-rays from getting to the body. Make sure these chemicals do not touch your skin since they can be as dangerous to your health long term as nuclear radiation. Ask a medical x-ray technician which perfumes cause the most problems insofar as preventing x-rays from passing through the body. Some herbal perfumes will do the same job without putting as much of a toxic burden on your body.
  • You’ll be wearing a mask / respirator capable of filtering out dust and other radioactive particles. Today, there are activated carbon masks that are no bigger than a surgical scrub mask. These are better than nothing, but without a better sealing wrap around the mask, they will only filter out about 50% of the particles in the air. Full respirator masks work too, but they can be expensive to maintain and they are very hard to breathe through.

Video first seen on BlackScoutSurvival.

  • You’ll need garments in light colors or white to reduce the amount of heat that reaches your skin. In fact, wearing white or light colors it may literally save your skin from being burned in the first critical moments of a nuclear event. If you wear a head or face covering, choose white, and wear an appropriate eye shield as well.
  • Learn about disposable paper garments that are sturdy enough to be worn and then disposed off on a daily basis. A full body suit capable of blocking nuclear radiation also helps, but remember you’ll have to decontaminate the suit and yourself before you go into any area that you want to keep clean.
  • Bone based gowns or other garments – as with perfumes and baby powder, X-rays also cannot penetrate through bone. If you can create some kind of exoskeleton from animal bones, focus first on protecting your vital organs and any access points to your brain.

6. Rely on Lye Soaps to Maintain Your Hygiene

What you need after a nuclear disaster, is cleaning agents that will remove as much dust and debris from your skin as possible. Typically, lye based soaps will do the best job. Learn how to make these kinds of soaps from animal and plant based sources. I do not recommend adding herbs to all of your lye soap batches as the herbs and oils may prevent the soap from doing its job.

Once you are sure that your skin and hair are clean, you can always go back and add herbal oils and skin conditioners. Just remember, however, that these products can still allow any remaining radioactive dust or debris to remain trapped next to your skin. While you will be rinsing and scrubbing vigorously to avoid these problems, they can still happen.

7. You’ll Have to Deal with Personal Illnesses

Of all the areas where you can expect major changes after a nuclear blast, medical care and personal illness may be the hardest to deal with. While modern medicine is filled with dangerous drugs, it does have some saving graces in the face of a nuclear crisis. Surgical procedures, dental care, treatment of sores, therapy for burns, and a source of knowledge on how to treat radiation sickness are all very important. Medical providers will become very limited or unavailable at this critical time.

Search for alternatives, since vital resources can be found in herbal remedies and vitamin related research. From potassium iodine tablets for your thyroid to Vitamin C, E and other antioxidant cellular shields, you never know what new studies will come out and help you figure out what to stockpile.

Make sure that you have a viable source of medicinal herb seeds as well as the means to grow them. Develop a complete and comprehensive library of binaural music to help you manage a range of medical and mental conditions. Learn more about acupressure and other forms of alternative healing.

It never hurts to store these things away to use in time of need. From Bible verse healing to crystals, reiki, and prayer systems, you never truly know what will work for you within the paradigm of your personal belief systems. In essence, what modern medicine calls a “placebo” effect, may, in fact, be a true cure for the disease under consideration by virtue of the fact that your particular belief system allows it to happen.

What modern medicine considers quackery today may actually be proven more effective and safer tomorrow. Consider that very recently researchers found a connection between the brain and the immune system by way of the lymph system. Up until now, it was believed the immune system had very little, if any access to the brain. This discovery alone may undo decades of dogma on how to treat  “immune disorders” and shift the treatments towards the kind of “mind-body” dogma associated with alternative methods.

8. Money and Exchanging Goods: How Safe Are They?

Depending on where you and others are in relation to the nuclear event, less or more people will survive. On the other side of the equation, government, and currency collapse might occur, and any form of paper or plastic money will be useless. An occupying force may also prevent you from using gold or other metallic money as a trade medium unless it is stamped from their mint.

Trade and barter won’t be easy, regardless of the number of people and resources available:

  • You will be as concerned with preventing theft of your goods and trading mediums as you are actually exchanging them with others.
  • It may be harder than usual to trade or barter without external interference from people seeking to control the flow of goods in order to make a profit for themselves.
  • Securing items that haven’t been contaminated by nuclear debris can be very difficult. You will need to know how to test all different kinds of materials so that you do not come into contact with goods that will endanger your health.

9. Social Changes: God, Bad, and New

In the modern world, people will shun each other over things that will not matter in the post nuclear world. While this may seem like something of a positive social change, other problems will come up.

For example, as people realize that there’s no fast solution to the nuclear problem, they’ll turn to rioting and looting. When important supplies become unavailable, stealing, and other related crimes are likely to increase beyond expectation. These problems can happen in any crisis, but a nuclear one can be even worse because there are few, if any ways to remove radioactive contamination once it occurs.

More than a few preppers today work with a small family group, or several families as they work towards being ready for any kind of disaster. When disaster strikes, people you from your survival group may be dead, while total strangers might contribute something to the groups overall odds of success.

Being able to gauge what other people’s social intentions are will be more important than ever in the post nuclear world. No matter how tempted you may be to veer towards suspicion, it may be not always be to your advantage. Things can also change very quickly in a survival situation, and  you may come to realize that both old and new acquaintances aren’t who or what you thought they were

10. Political Changes: Same Fight, Different Actors

When governing bodies collapse, a struggle starts to see which individuals will emerge as dominant political forces. The laws and values that we hold today may no longer exist, or change radically in order to meet many different needs. To make matters worse, if there is any usable and clean land left, foreign adversaries might occupy the area and use it for their own purposes.

Over the years, I have taken a long, and hard look at the words and facial expressions used by certain world leaders. What I found can be best described as chilling. While some are mainly concerned with being the biggest nuclear brat on the block, others seem to be driving our world into a nuclear crisis for the express purpose of selective reduction of the human population.

There is a much bigger picture than a simple demand for weapons, energy, and medical diagnostics that drives the usage of nuclear materials. Rather, a leader that wants to occupy a foreign land will limit the damage to the land itself, while taking the maximum toll on the resident population. This hidden agenda has vast implications for every area of modern politics. From trade to preventing a new world war, the politics of global nuclear materials is more dangerous than we may realize.

The Next Generation Is Born Underground

One of the most heartbreaking things is to see a child sick or in pain, and the children will suffer the most from any kind of nuclear incident, for sure. No matter how much you prepare the younger ones for surviving on their own, there are limits to what they can do in a time of need.

Once adults or children are exposed to nuclear radiation, they might not be unable to conceive, or future children will be born with all kinds of birth defects. While surviving children may still reach adulthood and contribute in other ways to the society, the problem of producing the next generation is a very serious one.

There is really only one way to deal with this problem, and it entails being part of a survival group that already lives independently underground. Children that are born in this setting and kept away from radiation have the best chance of bringing forward a new generation. Studying genetics and making sure that the gene pool remains diverse and strong will be a top priority.

As you may be aware, there are also different methods for preserving sperm and egg, as well as transplanting embryos into a viable uterus. Not only are these methods expensive, they are not likely to be available to people after a nuclear crisis. Therefore, your best bet remains using the earth itself as a shield from nuclear radiation so that the next generation will be as healthy and viable as possible.

Just about any kind of large scale disaster will cause serious disruptions in society. In most cases, however, the devastating effects disappear in as little as a few years. From there, people will be able to rebuild society, perhaps faster than expected.

But nuclear radiation continue to poison and kill for centuries on end, and recovery from a nuclear incident will not be as fast or as easy as other types. Think carefully about how the world around you will change and prepare to be a part of it .

And remember that knowledge is the only doctor that can save you.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

How To Turn Your Bike Into A Bug Out Vehicle

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The first thing that people do in the movies when there’s a catastrophic event is try to get out of town. They end up in gridlocked traffic and end up surrounded by panicking people abandoning vehicles that can’t go any further. Obviously, there was a lack of planning.

As preppers, we’re prepared to avoid these types of situations either by bugging in, or by having bug out vehicles that can navigate terrain, and will allow us to avoid major roads so that we have a better chance of getting safely away.

Though many people don’t consider a motorcycle a good choice for a bug out vehicle, don’t discount the advantages out of hand. After all, while all of those cars are gridlocked, you can ride the berm or split the lanes to continue traveling. This would, of course, come with the risk of somebody knocking you off your bike, so you’d have to be extremely cautious while also traveling quickly.

You can also travel off-road if you have the right bike and it’s properly equipped. Oh, and if you have an EMP room that’s at least 5 or 6 feet square, you can keep the bike right in there along with an extra motor and parts and still have plenty of room left for your other stuff.

Also, a motorcycle gets anywhere from 30-70 mpg. The average dual sport bike has anywhere from a 3-6 gallon tank, which means that you can make it 150-300 miles on one tank. They’re also versatile and do well both on the street and off-road assuming you choose a good bike and put knobby tires on it.

Many people like to use a 250cc for a bug out vehicle, but I like a little more speed and power – I’d recommend a 600 – it doesn’t weight that much more than a 250, though you will lose a little mpg. That’s negligible, though – 10mpg maybe. Chances are good that your bug out place is still going to be well within your tank range.

There are downsides. You can’t realistically take more than two people and will only be able to take the bare essentials with you. Ideally, you should probably use a bike to get you to a pre-stocked bug out location. Most sport bikes, enduros, motocross bikes and duel sports are light enough that 2 people can lift them up into the back of a truck.

However, there are a few modifications that you should probably make in order to optimize it for bugging out. These are just general suggestions – you’ll have to account for your individual terrain and bug out plans.

Put Headlights on Toggle Switch

Motorcycles typically have headlights that turn on as soon as you turn the key as a standard safety feature. Since you may need to hide, it’s probably a good idea to put the headlight on a toggle switch. Fortunately, the wiring on a motorcycle is fairly simple, so this is easy to do.

Paint to Match Your Terrain

I absolutely love the electric blue and neon green paintjob on my GSXR, but it doesn’t exactly lend itself to hiding.

Not only do you want to keep from being seen on it if possible, but you don’t want it to stand out for somebody to target as a potential getaway vehicle for themselves should you need to stop and be away from it. (i.e., bathroom breaks, etc.)

Fortunately, it doesn’t take much paint to cover an entire motorcycle. Choose a paint that will help you blend into your terrain. Whether it’s green or tan, or somewhere in between, camouflage that ride.

Cargo Racks

You can buy a cargo rack for behind the seat, or you can do what I did for my last bike and build it yourself. This allows you quite a bit of customization because you can add a little bit of storage here and there.

For instance, you can potentially add a rifle carrier that would ride under your thigh, or a storage rack in front of it. You can also buy or build saddle bags. We are, after all, the kings and queens of DIY.

Use Quiet Exhaust

On a standard day, I’ll preach that loud pipes save lives all day long, but not in this case. Your goal is to fly under the radar, so you want the bike to be as quiet as possible. Because of the way a motorcycle motor works, you’re not going to be able to get it whisper-quiet like a car is, but you can muffle it significantly by modifying the pipes.

Especially if you’ve opted to use a small-cc bike, don’t do too much in the way of modifying the heads to muffle the sound because you don’t want to restrict the airflow.

Have an Extra Motor and Parts in Your EMP Room

If you have an EMP room, you have room for a motorcycle motor. They’re small and fairly light – less than 150 pounds in many cases.

Discover how to assemble a simple device that will shield your electronics from the EMP!

Magnetic and Handlebar Bags

Once you start looking, you’re going to be surprised by how many places you can put a storage bag on your bike. There are handlebar bags made to sit in the triple tree. I put mine on the front between the forks when I carry it.

You can also get magnetic tank bags that will carry a surprising amount of gear and supplies.

Magnetic Holsters

These are great. The magnets are seriously strong enough to hold onto the tank even if things get rough. I had one on my last bike that I used when we went camping and I kept it on the front of my tank up by my gauges. You can, of course, always customize them or have them custom made.


This is probably my most important piece of survival gear because it stays right with me all the time. I don’t have to worry about it falling off or catching on things, or slowing me down as long as I’m on my bike. Put what you can’t live without in here, in case somebody steals your bike.

I always keep, at a minimum:

Sounds like a lot, but actually if you think about it, the only big item is water. It all fits in the bottom of one of my pouches, and I have a nice little “just in case” kit.

I also keep a toolkit underneath my seat that holds the main 3 sockets and small wrenches that work on my bike, a pair of pliers, and zip ties.


Depending on the bike that you have, you may need to adjust the suspension so that it’s fit to ride off-road. This is a topic best researched before you decide on a bike. I can’t really offer much advice that would be any good because everything depends on what you have to work with.


If you’re going to take your bike off-road, you need to have knobby tires on it. If you’re not, you need to keep your street tires in excellent condition because in the middle of an emergency is the worst time possible for you to have a blowout.

These are just a few tips to help you get your motorcycle ready to use as a bugout vehicle. I considered recommending armoring the tank and you can do that if you want, but truthfully, you’re using it as a vehicle that is light, nimble, and maneuverable. You want to avoid weight where you can.

Do you have any other tips to help prepare a motorcycle so that it will serve as a good bug out vehicle?

Click the banner below and discover how to survive more than an EMP!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Surviving Off-grid: Hot Water From Your Wood Stove

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Whether we’re talking about off-grid survival or just having the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of living in the 21st century in our cabin in the woods, having hot water for taking a shower, shaving, or taking a nice long bath is one of the yardsticks of well-being.

What can be nicer than enjoying a hot shower after working all day outside in the cold? And even better, if that hot water is completely free of charge? It doesn’t sound bad, does it?

Moreover, it would be pretty nice to have hot water at your disposal without being dependent upon a utilities company, whether we’re talking about electricity or gas.

We’re Reviving Ancient Techniques

What I am trying to tell you is that nowadays, heating water is one of the most overlooked functions when it comes to the archaic wood stove.

Just a few decades ago, many wood stoves were built with a water tank (it was called a range boiler) behind/beside the respective wood stove, for producing free and virtually limitless amounts of hot water. A two for the price of one kind of a deal.

Basically, whether you’re looking to save some dollars on your utility bills or get hot water in some place remote without breaking the piggy bank, the main idea is that you can use your wood stove for more than warming your homestead, cooking and whatever else wood stoves are usually good for.

Truth be told, domestic wood stove-based water heating systems are not new; they were invented centuries ago.

The Romans constructed incredibly clever central heating systems for public buildings (and the rich also had them, because they were too expensive for plebes) in an era sans electricity, and we’re talking 2000+ years ago. I know it sounds incredible, but yes, they actually had central heating through the floors 2 millennia ago; that’s how smart Romans were.

The Roman system was called Hypocaust and it worked by producing and circulating hot air below the floors (even walls in some cases) using a network of pipes. Hot air passed through those pipes and heated the floors/walls and obviously, the air was heated via furnaces burning wood and/or coal, because there was no electricity or piped gas back in the day.

In the event of a grid-down situation, how many of you are planning on heating their home with wood?

Learn from our forefathers how to install an emergency wood-burning stove!

How the Heater Works

Hence, getting hot water using a wood stove uses the same basic principle as a Hypocaust, but with a twist: water is used in our case instead of air, because it’s difficult to take a shower without water, right? I know – there’s an invention called dry cleaning, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Joking aside, to keep it simple: a regular water heater is nothing more than a tank of sorts, sitting on top or next to your wooden stove. As water rises when heated, hot water is drawn from the top and cold water is piped at the bottom via a piping system, obviously.

How does it work, you may ask? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: the stove water heater uses heat exchangers for transferring heat from the stove to the water. Depending on the design, the heat exchangers can be mounted inside of the stove, on the outside of the stove, or in the stovepipe.

Water is circulated through the heat exchanger when a fire is burning in two ways: naturally, via the thermosiphon principle which relies on water rising when heated or by using a pump.

The heat exchanger device is available in 3 main varieties:

  • a serpentine coil made of, in most cases, copper pipe
  • a small absorber, like a solar-collector
  • a box-like mini-tank. Most heat exchangers are mini-tanks or coils mounted inside the stove.

The heat exchanger can be built using copper, stainless steel, or galvanized iron, and they’re commercially available or they can be built in local shops or DIY-ed depending on your skills. For our intents and purposes, we’ll have to rely on the thermosiphon system, because this system works wonderfully off the grid and it doesn’t require fancy stuff like pumps and all that jazz.

The Tips that Lead to Success

“Keep it simple stupid” is the name of the game in a survival situation. As things get complicated, the probability of something failing rises exponentially.

Whenever the stove is used, water must circulate through the heat exchanger in order to prevent it from boiling. The storage tank must always be located higher than the heat exchanger and as close as possible to the stove.

Thermosiphoning-based systems are better than electrical-pumped ones not only because of their simplicity and availability, but also because in the eventuality of a power outage, the pump will stop working, leading to overheating the water in the heat exchanger.

This is a DIY project that can provide you with endless hot water without requiring electricity, as it’s based on the thermosiphoning process. This one uses a therma coil – a homemade unit – which consists of a serpentine made of copper, which is put inside the wood stove and connected via plumbing to a water tank.

This is a hot water-on-demand heater which can help you in a variety of situations. And best of all, everything is made using scrap materials, more or less (except for the copper piping, I guess).

Video first seen on engineer775 Practical Preppers

As a general rule of thumb, for best results, you should isolate all your hot water lines more than 3 feet away from the wood stove using slip-on foam insulation, which is designed for temperatures up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don’t forget to spend 10 bucks on a thermometer; it’s well worth the investment and it will help you with eliminating all guesswork with regard to determining water temperature.

Copper is one of the best piping materials out there, as it’s very easy to work with when building coils (the heat exchanger gizmo), but remember that when used with iron, the latter will corrode.

The second DIY job is made by the same guy but this time, instead of a copper serpentine placed inside the wood stove, he uses a simpler water coil made of stainless steel. The rest is basically the same, check out the video.

Video first seen on engineer775 Practical Preppers

The third project also uses the thermosiphoning principle (hot water rises) and copper tubing for making the serpentines, but this is a “larger scale job” compared to the previous two, and more complex.

Video first seen on convectioncoil.com.

The fourth and last DIY project uses an interesting design, i.e. a double-walled water heater (a double-walled 6-inch pipe, basically) and between the walls there’s copper water pipe circling the inner wall, thus transferring the heat from the wood stove to the water circulating through the piping.

Video first seen on thenewsurvivalist.

That about sums it up for today folks. There are still many lessons to be learned.

Remember that knowledge is everything in a survival situation and take our ancestors’ example – they survived when there was no electricity.

Click the banner below to uncover their lost secrets!


This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: Are You Prepared For An EMP Attack?

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As we all know, the U.S. power grid is in danger and one thing is for sure: when the power will go out, the economy, the defense infrastructure and more than that, our own safety and health will go down. The U.S. Government

In this situation, the only thing we can do is to prepare for that moment when the lights go down rather than wait and see what happens in the aftermath.

That’s why, for this week’s prep blog review I’ve gathered 5 useful articles for some off-grid scenarios.

  1. Gov’t Reports Warns: Power Grid In ‘Imminent Danger’


“ The U.S. power grid is in constant danger of a cyberattack that could cause widespread blackouts and impact millions of citizens, according to a new 492-page report from the Department of Energy that warns if nothing is done to protect the system, the nation likely will suffer.

“The U.S. grid faces imminent danger from cyberattacks,” the report, released Jan. 6, states. “Widespread disruption of electric service because of a transmission failure initiated by a cyberattack at various points of entry could undermine U.S. lifeline networks, critical defense infrastructure, and much of the economy; it could also endanger the health and safety of millions of citizens.”

The report, titled “Transforming the Nation’s Energy System,” notes that the electric grid in the 48 contiguous states is comprised of 21,500 substations and about 700,000 miles of power lines.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

  1. How to Protect Your Power System Against an EMP

electromagnetic-pulse“Hello my friend and welcome back! I received a letter from one of my readers who goes by the name of Dan.  What he wants to know is how he can protect his wind turbine and solar panels, as well as his electronics, from an EMP or another Carrington Event CME.  He also wants to know how deep his underground shelter needs to be to protect what he has there.  WOW!  That was a mouth full.  This is the subject of today’s post, so grab a cup of coffee my friend and have a seat while we visit.”

Read more on American Preppers Online.

  1. Living Off the Grid with Solar

“The moment you go off-grid, you rely entirely on a system that generates electrical energy and utilizes the same to support all your electrical solarappliances, either at home or on a business premise. For your system to be exclusively off-grid, it must have absolutely no link to the utility grid.

Going off-grid is possible, practical and beneficial to you in many ways. You will not have to pay utility bills and in the long run, you will save money! Other motivations include: environmental concerns and endeavoring to only use renewable energy; energy independence, you won’t have to rely on the blackout-prone utility; social values, which mean taking responsibility for your energy consumption effects; costs, when the distance to the grid is too big, your decision to go off grid becomes a lot cheaper.”

Read more on Ed That Matters.

  1. 7 Ways to Generate Power After a Disaster


“Whether it’s a nuclear holocaust, a deadly plague, the perfect storm, or a large-scale terrorist attack, when a cataclysmic event goes down you can guarantee one thing: the power will go out. And while you don’t need electricity to be a hunter-gatherer for the rest of your life, if you want to help return human society to its former greatness—or just be able to have a James Bond movie marathon again—you’ll have to figure out how to generate your own power.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

  1. 15 Things You Think You Know About Faraday Cages But You Don’t


“This article takes into consideration only the effects of a nuclear EMP, not a solar flare. A solar flare would only affect any electronics connected to the grid.

Will a microwave work as a Faraday cage?

No. If an EMP strikes, you will notice that all your electronic devices that you stored in a microwave oven will be rendered useless. The microwave is not a Faraday cage.

Will a refrigerator work as a Faraday cage?

No, most refrigerators do not work as a Faraday cage. I tested mine, and it’s definitely not a Faraday cage.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.


This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Surviving Off-Grid: 4 Recipes To Cook In A Haybox

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Haybox cooking

I have to admit, this was a new one for me, and I thought that I’d tried every method of outdoor cooking invented since cavemen sporked frogs and roasted them over an open fire. As it turns out, haybox cooking is a combination of two of my favorite cooking vessels – a Dutch oven and a slow cooker.

This method came about during WWII when cooking oil was rationed for the war effort. The air spaces in the hay trap the heat, as will anything similar, such as shredded newspaper or corn husks. You want the hay to be fine, though, so that you can pack it tightly. You don’t want stems and brambles.

The basic premise is that you heat the food in its own juices, or water, and then once you bring it to a boil, you put it in the haybox, which insulates it, and let it finish cooking all on its own. Of course, this is a method that requires food that is in a broth, but that’s about the only limitation that I can think of.

You can use it for roasting, boiling, simmering, or steaming; as long as there’s liquid to hold the heat.

This would serve you well if you were traveling and couldn’t cook along the way, or if you don’t want to use a ton of fuel by cooking it over heat all day. For that matter, it’s great just to help you save on your electric bill! All in all, it’s an extremely efficient way of cooking.

Learn the secrets that helped our grandparents survive the Great Depression! 

What Is a Haybox Cooker and How to Build One

HayboxA haybox cooker is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a box full of hay that you cook in.

The idea is that the hay is packed around a Dutch oven that has food in it that’s already cooked to boiling. You transfer it from the heat source immediately to the haybox, pack the hay around it, close it up as tightly as you can, and go about your business.

It’s a natural slow cooker, and just like cooking with its electric-dependent sisters, it takes several hours for food to cook. How long exactly, depends on the initial cook time of the dish, how long it’s already cooked, how tightly the hay is packed, and how air-tight the box is.

As you can imagine, it’s hard to give an exact time, but a good haybox will hold usable heat for up to 8 hours.

If you already have a trunk or old military locker/box that’s about 30 inches cubed, then you’re already good to go. If not, build one.

Start by building a sturdy wooden box that’s as airtight as you can get it – try to score some scrap tongue and groove from your local mill or home-improvement store.

Build a box with a sturdy, tight-fitting lid. Line the box with sturdy paper or cardboard to seal any cracks that remain so that the heat can’t escape.

To cook in your box, pack it with about 3/4 of the way full of hay, then form a little nest in the center for your Dutch oven and pack it as tightly as you can get it.

How to Cook With a Haybox Cooker

Bring your food to a boil or simmer, then transfer immediately to the hay box. Pack the top and remaining sides with more hay as tightly as you can pack it and shut the lid. Let it cook, and you’re good to go.

Note: You can even make you haybox in a hole in the ground – how handy is THAT for living in the woods in a survival situation? In that case, you could use dried grass and leaves, or whatever you could find lying around as insulation.

Oh, and did I mention that you can also use the haybox to make frozen treats such as ice cream?

Just make your favorite ice cream recipe and pour it into a coffee can with a lid. Find a bucket that’s 4 inches deeper and 8 inches (total) wider than your can. Put 4 inches of ice and coarse salt in the bottom of the bucket, put the can on top of the ice, and pace more ice and salt around the can. Put it in the haybox and seal it up. You’ll have ice cream in about 4 hours! 

Video first seen on Organikmechanic. 

4 Delicious Haybox Recipes

1. Hearty Beef and Cabbage Soup

This soup is especially filling and comforting. It’s a great meal-in-a-bowl for busy weeknights – just turn it on in the morning and come home to a wonderful-smelling pot of soup.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped red cabbage
  • 2 cups chopped green cabbage
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy skillet, cook the ground beef over medium-high heat, just until browned, breaking up with a spatula periodically until meat is crumbly. Drain all but 1 teaspoon or so of oil/drippings and return to heat.

Add the cabbages, onion, carrots, garlic, celery seed, paprika and cumin and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it reaches a rolling boil.

Add all to the Dutch oven and add bay leaf and broth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Transfer to hay box for 8 hours.

2. Steak Chili

Sometimes nothing hits the spot quite like a good chili!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds top sirloin steak, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 12-oz cans dark red kidney beans
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 2 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 10-ounce cans beef broth or 2 ½ cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder

In a heavy skillet, heat olive oil and then brown the steak (in batches if necessary) on all sides for about 4-5 minutes.

Add all of the vegetables to the Dutch oven, pour in the broth and add the seasonings. Stir well to mix. Add the steak, cover and bring to a rolling boil. Transfer to haybox and leave there for 8 hours.

3. Slow Cooker Beef or Venison Stew

There are few things that say “comfort food” better than a hearty beef stew. Slow cooking means the meat is always succulent and tender and you’re welcomed home with wonderful aromas.

  • 1 ½ pounds beef or venison stew meat
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut on 1-inch pieces
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh kale, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 cups beef broth or stock, with ¼ cup reserved

Trim the stew meat of visible fat and cut into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large heavy skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat and brown the stew meat, in batches if necessary, about 4-5 minutes until browned on all sides.

Add carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, bay leaf and parsley to Dutch oven, then add meat. Pour 2 3/4 cups broth over all. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes, then transfer to haybox for 8 hours.

4. Vanilla Ice Cream

Delight your loved ones with this classic and delicious frozen treat you can make in a haybox.

You will need:

  • 1 can sweetened milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Add fruits or nuts after it’s frozen.

Have you tried haybox cooking? If so, please share your experiences with us in the comments section below!


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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How To Prepare Your Tractor For An EMP

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Tractor EMP Survival

If you are living on a homestead or farm, then I bet that a tractor will form a central part of your plans. As with other types of motor vehicles, tractors can also be destroyed by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP).

Invariably, if you have a newer tractor, or plan to buy one, you need to know which parts are most vulnerable, how to make repairs, and how to keep the tractor as safe as possible from EMP related damage.

Keep reading to get this knowledge. You will need it, for sure!

What About Buying an Older Model Tractor?

Many people concerned about EMPs ruining their automobile have decided to buy older cars that do not have computers in them. If you happen to be a fan of older cars and know their value and durability, then you may be led to believe that you can do the same thing with a tractor.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages you might encounter if you try to buy, and then fix up an older tractor.

  • Even though a tractor may not be used every day, the time that it is in operation puts a lot of wear and tear on the engine, transmission, and drive train. While some old tractors, may, in fact, run for several more decades without trouble, others may break down and require extensive repair at the worst possible moment. You may even find that restoring an older model tractor may cost as much as trying to convert a newer one for the sake of EMP proofing.
  • You will find it much harder to get spare or replacement parts. This problem may be offset if you have metal working tools and parts from compatible tractors built around the same time.
  • It will be very hard to obtain shop manuals and schematics that could be used to help you rebuild or maintain the tractor. Before a major crisis happens, you may need to do patent searches for individual parts and also see what kind of information the manufacturer is willing to give you.
  • On the positive side, if you find a tractor that runs well and has no computers or electronic parts in it, then you will have to do a lot less work to prepare it for an EMP. As long as you take the extra step of storing it safely, then it should run when most other motorized vehicles fail.

Video first seen on ACES – Fresh from the Field.

Get the Right Information, Skills, and Tools

Even though tractors are more rugged than most vehicles, they can still be ruined by improper maintenance or shoddy mechanical repair efforts. On the other side of the equation, if you are going to be truly self-sufficient, then being able to repair any tractor you own will be very important.

If you do not have the right skills, tools, or information, it is very likely that you won’t be able to use your tractor for very long after a major disaster let alone get restore it to working condition after an EMP.

Take control of your home’s energy with this step-by-step System to Energy Independence!

2 Vital Sources of Tractor Repair Information

  • The best source of information for making tractor repairs is the shop manual that should be available through the manufacturer of the tractor. The shop manual will list all the parts found in the tractor, as well as how to remove and replace them. It will also give you plenty of detailed diagrams so that you know how all the parts fit together. You may have to pay a bit extra for this manual, however it is well worth the cost.
  • Your next most important source of information is a notebook that you will keep that gives details about all maintenance, repairs, and changes you have made to the tractor. For example, if you decide to remove a particular computer system for the sake of EMP proofing, that information should be listed in the notebook.

You should also have detailed schematics and other notes so that you can make repairs to the revised system without causing problems. Never leave these details to memory. Even if you are a skilled mechanic, years, grease, time, and mechanical wear can change things to the point where you may no longer recognize what was done.

At the very least, detailed diagrams and notes about each changed system can help you retrace your steps and restore the tractor to working order.

Essential Tractor Repair and Maintenance Skills

Tractor engine Aside from being able to manage every system in the tractor, you will also need some additional skills if you are going to EMP proof the tractor and continue to use it in the revised form.

You will need the ability to search through patents in order to find older technologies that can be used to replace computer modules. You should also be able to look at different alternative designs and choose one that will meet your needs and still offer the best in terms of safety and efficiency.

Given the number of variations on tractor and automotive systems, you are sure to find dozens of designs that may work. Picking the best one, however, can take a good bit of skill.

Some computer systems may be difficult, if not impossible to replace with alternative technologies. As a result, you will need to have a good understanding of computerized automotive systems and how best to manage them. This includes knowing how to get to various sensors as well as how to replace any module that may require it.

Important Tools

Depending on the size of the tractor, you may be able to do some or all of the work using basic hand tools. This includes engine hoists and other equipment that will make it easier and safer to dismantle every part of the tractor.

There may also be some specialized tools that will be of immense use to you. Since many of these tools can be affected by an EMP, you should either focus on possible alternatives that run on water, or try to store them away in a Faraday Cage for later use.

  • Air driven tools. If you are working with an especially large tractor, these tools can make mechanical repair easier, safer, and faster. The air tank and hoses should all remain usable after an EMP attack. The compressor and associated gauges may not survive an EMP. You can try looking into trip hammer technologies as they were first invented in China to see if you can modify them to provide compressed air; and then use spring loaded levers and weights to help with determining air pressure within the tank.
  • Computer diagnostic systems. If you do not have the time or skills to convert key computer modules in the tractor to alternative forms, then you will need to make sure you can diagnose and replace computer parts that may be damaged by an EMP. Even if you can purchase a low cost hand held diagnostic unit, that may not be enough.

Consult the shop manual for your tractor to find out if any computer systems need to be reset by an external computer. If you find that an external computer is needed, see if you can find some way to obtain the necessary computer, or build something on your own that will do the job.

In this case, you can try Arduino controllers, and then make sure that you have the proper connectors and software languages required to communicate with the computers and sensors in the tractor.

Video first seen on Matthew Reimer

Know Which Parts are Most Vulnerable

Basically, anything on or in your tractor that conducts electricity can be damaged by an EMP. The amount of damage depends on:

  • the intensity of the pulse
  • how well or poorly the items conduct electricity
  • the ease of transmission from one point to another.

Even though your tractor may be located several miles away from an EMP strike site, power lines and other conductors may deliver the pulse to an area close enough to the tractor to do more damage than expected. Oddly enough, if the tractor is located further away from the power lines, it may be far less damaged.

That being said, the most vulnerable parts of the tractor are similar to the ones at most risk in any other automobile. The computers, wire harnesses, the alternator, motors, lights, and computer sensors can be ruined by even a relatively weak EMP.

Convert From Computers to Older Technologies

The ECU (Engine Control Unit) is one of the most important computers you will find in modern tractors and other automobiles. Basically, this computer alone controls:

  • the amount of air and fuel delivered to each cylinder
  • the speed at which the engine will idle while standing still. This part of the unit monitors the crankshaft position sensor, which plays a key role in setting other aspects of the engine’s timing.
  • spark timing
  • valve timing
  • adjustments to water flow through the engine based on whether it is cold or warm (this helps with fuel efficiency).

There are also other computer modules for controlling the transmission, braking systems, lights, and any safety features that the tractor might have. To some extent, all of these computers require at least some input from other computers in the system.

They are all connected by the CAN (Controller Area Network). Usually, this module does not have its own microprocessor. Rather, it simply allows all of the other processors and controllers to communicate with each other.

That being said, depending on the tractor model and computers involved, you may also need to do some additional work to modify the CAN before the tractor will work properly. If you start modifying one system, you can expect to have to bypass other systems or adjust the other computer so that it does not prevent the tractor from running.

Modern tractor computers come with programming that is very difficult to hack and alter. To add insult to injury, many of these programs are protected by copyright law. While these laws may not concern you much in the post crisis world, breaking them now can lead to criminal prosecution.

The whole issue of computerized control modules in modern tractors is a serious problem for people now, and will be an even bigger problem in the post crisis world.

Rather than focus on changing or adjusting the computers that come with the tractor, you can look for open source programs that will do the same job. At the very least, if there are some computer modules and sensors that you cannot do away with, you will still be able to use any spares you have after an EMP occurs.

Make your home 100% immune from future power outages or blackouts with this DIY Home Energy System.

Is it Possible to Turn the Tractor into a Faraday Cage?

The answer to this question depends largely on:

  • how many electrically conducting attachments you have on the main body of the tractor
  • whether or not you can put a viable and sufficient insulator between these parts and the rest of the tractor. For example, if you have a grapple rake attached to the tractor, the connection points would have to be shielded in such a way that electricity cannot travel between the accessory and the rest of the tractor.

If the attachment is controlled in part by the tractor’s computer, you would also have to convert that system to a fully manual one. Preferably, these manual linkages would also need some kind of non-conductive spacer so that the EMP pulse does not travel into the rest of the tractor.

For the most part, it won’t be practical or possible to put the entire tractor in a Faraday Cage. On the other hand, you might be able to reduce the amount of modification needed by localizing all vulnerable parts to a shielded area of the tractor.

The most difficult parts will be the fuel line that extends from the engine to the fuel tank, and also the brake lines for each of the wheels. It may be possible to locate polymers that can be used as insulators, as well as other materials that can replace metal parts that would compromise the rest of the tractor.

Keep Spare Parts You Cannot Convert in a Faraday Cage

It is fair to say that if you have the time, money, and skills, you can more than likely convert any tractor so that it no longer uses any kind of computerized system. If you are on a budget or don’t have much time to complete so many tasks, this process can take months or even years to complete.

In the meantime, if society collapses or an EMP occurs, you will still need a functional tractor. At the very least, until you have fully EMP proofed the tractor, it makes sense to keep spare computer systems and diagnostic tools in a Faraday Cage. You should also keep extra wires, fuses, motors, and anything else that might be ruined easily by an EMP.

Video first seen on Big Family Homestead

These days, when people think of computers, lightweight tablets, cell phones, and other portable devices come to mind. By contrast, a combination of tractor computers, motors, wiring, tools, and other devices can easily weight several hundred pounds and take up quite a lot of space. This is actually one of the few places where I would recommend building a separate, building sized Faraday Cage to house all of the spare parts.

This building should be located underground and easy enough to get to from any underground bunker that you might decide to build. If you build the shelter more than 10 feet underground, there will also be some natural protection from the effects of an EMP.

As an added bonus, even a shallower depth will also protect you and the equipment from additional ground nuclear blasts that might follow a nuclear explosion that set off the EMP.

Use Cutting Edge Technology to Make Your Own Tractor Parts

Did you know that 3D printers are rapidly becoming very popular with people that want to build all kinds of devices? This includes motor housings, engine parts, and many other devices that would normally take complicated and expensive equipment.

If you do some research, you may be able to find a number of polymers and other compounds that can be turned into spare tractor parts using a 3D printer. If you are going to put other equipment in a Faraday Cage, this kind of printer and a computer to run it may be worth it.

Aside from making tractor parts, you may also be able to develop or purchase templates that can be used for other parts of your homestead.

Keep the Tractor in a Safe Location

Depending on where your farm or homestead is located, there is a good chance that you will not be using the tractor every single day. If you have winter seasons or other times when a tractor is not needed, the best thing to do is store it in a Faraday Cage.

An underground location would be ideal, however above ground shelters will also work as long as they are built correctly. Similar to other automobiles, it does not make much sense to keep a tractor if you can’t bring it out to the fields and use it for its intended purpose.

The best thing you can do is return the tractor to a safe location after you are done with it, and then hope that an EMP does not strike while you are using the tractor.

Simple Things that Might Minimize EMP Effects

In these difficult times, having a working tractor does not mean you have enough money or other resources to do everything needed for EMP proofing. If you cannot afford major modifications or a dedicated Faraday Cage for storage, here are some inexpensive things that might be of use:

  • Antennas tend to be some of the best and most overlooked conductors of an EMP pulse. Radios, remote control systems that feed into cell phone apps, and many other devices in the tractor may have antennas that will spell disaster during an EMP. Even if these antennas are tied to computer modules, it may be possible to remove the antennas without losing the basic functionality of the tractor. Without these devices, you may need to do more work manually, however it will be worth it if you can reduce the risk of the entire tractor being ruined by an EMP.
  • If you are near a power transmission substation, or very close to where the EMP struck, there isn’t much you can do to prevent damage to a tractor running in the field. That being said, if you are further away from the EMP, staying away from power lines or other large sized conductors might just reduce the amount of energy that gets to the tractor. In this scenario, it can mean the difference between computer parts being destroyed only, or those parts plus vital motors and wiring harnesses.
  • Always remove the battery and other sources of free flowing electricity from the tractor when you are done using it for the day. Do not just rely on shutting the engine because there may be any number of computer parts or systems that draw tiny amounts of current even when the tractor is off. Anything that draws power can also increase the risk of damage from an EMP.
  • If at all possible, it will also help to find out if any of the computers or sensors have power supplies that are independent of the main battery. These parts truly should be replaced at all cost because they present the most overlooked, and therefore greatest danger when it comes to prepping tractors for an EMP.
  • Pay attention to world news and global terror forecasts. When it comes right down to it, figuring out when or if a hostile group is going to launch an EMP attack is not an easy task. If you make a good guess and take the time to shield your tractor, then you will be ahead of the game.
  • Find, and follow a reliable space weather forecasting service. In all probability, an EMP may still more likely come from a solar flare or some other space related event. As such, a space weather forecasting service can be very valuable to you. If you hear that a large scale solar flare is expected to pass close to the Earth, this might be a good time to avoid running the tractor. Needless to say, if you want to minimize the number of times you disconnect the battery, these times might be suitable occasions.

Some New Technologies to Consider

Preppers aren’t the only people interested in finding as many useful and inexpensive ways as possible to reduce the effects of an EMP.

Here are some new technologies that may be of use at some point in the future.

Even if these specific materials cannot be used in a tractor application at this time, it may be possible for you and others to develop something that will shield tractors from EMPs.

  • Conductive Paints – Right now, these paints can be used in buildings to shield from all kinds of radio, microwave, and related electromagnetic frequencies. Work with an electrician that specializes in tractors or automobile electronics so that you can ground any kind of conductive paint safely. It is very important to realize that tractors and other vehicles are something like a huge circuit board. If you disrupt grounding points, it can cause shorts and other problems. At best, you may be lucky to come out of it with little more than some ruined parts. At worst, it can cost your life.
  • EMP Proof Concrete – If there is one innovation that promises to reduce or eliminate the risks posed by EMPs, a spray on form of concrete might just do the job. Although EMP Proof Concrete is not yet available to consumers, it is at the manufacturing stage and may become available in a few years.
  • Flexible Conductive Composites – these compounds are similar to the carbon and nickel layers used in paints and concretes. At some point in the near future, any one of these may make a viable spray coating that can be used to protect your tractor from an EMP blast.

No matter whether you purchase a new or used tractor, it is likely to be a large monetary investment.

If you are concerned about an EMP ruining your tractor, there are some things you can do to reduce the damage or prevent it. As with other automobiles, you will find that the best answers will also cost a bit of money and time.

At the very least, if you are determined to modify a newer tractor so that it does not have computer modules, take the time to learn everything you can about maintaining the tractor. This will help you to keep the tractor in good working order regardless of whether an EMP hits or society collapses for some other reason.

Slash your energy bills with this DIY Home Energy System!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 





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Survival Lessons From The Old: One Pot Meals

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For eons, entire meals from stews to casseroles have been made in one pot.

The cowboys and settlers did it because they only had the luxury of one pot on the trail, and we do it today because of the convenience and simply because there are so many recipes out there that are delicious as well as fast.

We follow their example, and learn from their knowledge. Here’s what we should know about this old way of cooking!

As preppers, it’s important that we know how to cook without electricity, and though I’ve included slow cookers in this article, the rest of them don’t require anything other than fire and the vessel.

There are some rules for cooking in a single pot if you want the meal to be delicious and safe to eat, but for the most part, they’re quick and easy to prepare and clean up.

Adjust Cooking Times of Veggies

First, you want your vegetables to cook evenly, so if you’re standing over the pot, you may want to throw hard veggies like carrots in 15 minutes or so before you add the rest.

For soft veggies such as cabbage and broccoli, put them in at the last minute since they only take 10 or 15 minutes to cook in a pot. This isn’t a necessity, if you’re throwing something in the crockpot and leaving, so just know that some veggies may be a little mushy if you put them in all at once.

Sear Your Meat

Next, searing your meat adds flavor to the meal. This is especially true of large pieces of meat such as roasts, pork chops, beef tips, and other meats that are thick and solid. You don’t have to do this, but if you do, it will add an extra layer of flavor. Hamburger and Salisbury steak has a crispier texture if you sear it beforehand.

Beware of Pathogens

You must make sure that your meat cooks all the way through, especially if it’s poultry. This isn’t such a big deal with red meat as long as you don’t mind it a bit rare in the middle, but birds carry salmonella.

Trust me – one bout of food poisoning from that and you’ll make sure it never happens again! USDA guidelines say that red meat should be cooked to 145 degrees F, ground meats should cook to 160 degrees, and poultry should be 165 degrees.

When you’re finished eating, make sure that you refrigerate it. Bacteria begin to grow quickly between the temperatures of 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, so too avoid the risk of food poisoning, refrigerate your food within 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees) after it comes off the heat.

Cold foods, especially ones that contain mayo or eggs, should be kept at 40 degrees, so just put them in a bowl of ice if they’re going to sit out, and stir it frequently to keep the entire dish cold.

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days as long as their stored in containers, and can be frozen almost indefinitely, but they’ll begin to lose flavor after a month or so depending upon the food.

Types of Cookers

There are several types of cookers that you can use depending upon the dish and the circumstances. Especially if you’re cooking over a fire, you’ll want to cook as efficiently as you can, and one pot meals are certainly the best way to do that.

Since our primary concern is cooking in a survival situation, we’ll start with those methods.

Dutch Ovens

This is one of my favorite ways to cook outside because you can quite literally cook anything that you want to in them. Whether you want to make stew, chopped steak, or breads, a Dutch oven will do the trick. They steam the food internally, which keeps it moist and tender. You can buy aluminum and cast iron Dutch ovens, though the cast iron, in my opinion, is far superior in nearly every way.

The history of the Dutch oven is believed to date back to Holland in the early 1700s, and was brought to America with the first settlers. They were popular with settlers and other people, such as ranch trail cooks, and were used in work camps during WW1. Paul Revere improved the design by adding a flanged lid and made some other modifications, likely to improve the strength and consistency of the cooking.

Joseph Lodge built a cast iron foundry in Tennessee that still produces arguably the highest quality Dutch ovens and iron skillets available today.

They come in different sizes and two primary designs – the bean pot or kitchen oven, best for use indoors or placing on a rack over an open fire, and the camp or outdoor oven, which has a flanged lid that can also serve as a skillet. It also has legs, a flat bottom, and a sturdy wire handle so that you can hang it or lift it from the coals.

They’re great for cooking indoors or out and can be used in the oven, over a campfire, or buried in the coals, depending upon your needs and what you’re cooking. Cooking with a Dutch oven is simple, too, once you get the hang of it.

Solar Oven

Cooking with a solar oven is a great alternative when you don’t have (or don’t want to use) electricity. Though you can convert many of your own personal favorites and use them with your solar oven, here’s a recipe written specifically for that cooking method. You will surely love this pot roast cooked on your solar oven.

Ingredients for this tasty recipe are:

  • 3 pound rump roast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 5 carrots, cut into 2 inch chucks
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 c beef broth (or 2 cups water with 2 bouillon cubes).

Put the roast in a roasting dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add the veggies around the roast and then pour the bouillon in. Place in your solar oven and bake for 3 hours or until tender.

Stop asking yourself if the solar oven works during winter, because it does, and here’s the proof!

Video first seen on jnull0.

Let’s celebrate the Winter Solstice with a special offer for Survivopedia readers!

Use the promocode SurvivoSolstice and get 10% discount to boost your cooking! 

Iron Skillets

Thank you again, Joseph Lodge for making iron skillets of the highest quality readily available in the US. The original iron skillet dates back to 1707, when Abraham Darby invented a process to make cast iron in large quantities so that they could be produced for common use.

Iron skillets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, often with lids, and are great for cooking one pot meals in smaller quantity. They’re not quite as versatile as the Dutch oven, but certainly have value, especially for cooking quick meals such as breakfast scrambles and meals that don’t require a deep pot or long cooking times, such as Salisbury steaks, cornbread, camp biscuits, and fried chicken.

Slow Cookers

Ahh, possibly one of the best cooking inventions of modern times. Just as with man, the slow cooker started as something quite a bit different than what it is today. In 1952, West Bend came out with the electric bean pot, which was just a ceramic pot that sat on top of an electric heating element. This wasn’t much different than cooking on a stove, but was perhaps the first commercial attempt at a portable cooking vessel.

Enter Irving Naxon. He had developed the idea of a portable cooker that would have a crock sitting inside a casing that contained a heating element, thus providing even heating. He applied for the patent on May 21, 1936 and received it in January of 1940.

Naxon credited the idea to his Lithuanian grandma, who told him about how she used to cook dish called cholent after hours at a local bakery. She would prepare the meal, then place it in the oven so that the fading heat would slowly cook it overnight. This provided his inspiration for “low and slow” cooking.

He brought his idea, called the beanery, to market in the 50s and in 1970, Rival manufacturing hired Naxon, rebranded his product as the Crock Pot, and put it on shelves across America for $25. Surprisingly enough, that price hasn’t increased by more than a few dollars for a standard version since then.

There are, of course, improved versions with fancier technology and higher capacity that cost more.

Slow cookers are absolutely fabulous for all sorts of meals from stews to ribs that you want to cook slow and low while you’re away from the house or busy doing other things.


As survivalists, we would be remiss to leave out this method of preparing one pot meals.

We’ve discussed in another article how to put these together and, like our other cooking methods, canning is a great way to prepare both meals and desserts. You can also dry-can meals using dry ingredients that only require that you add water.

The one benefit that makes canning stand out is that you can eat the meal right out of the jar. It is, of course, more delicious if you heat it up, but if you’re without power and don’t want to draw attention to yourself with a fire, eating straight out of the jar may be your only option.

Another benefit here is that you can prepare the meals years in advance as opposed to cooking them on the spot. In a survival situation, that’s a huge plus.

The Beauty of One Pot Meals

There are a ton of reasons why a one pot meal is so appealing, but from a survival perspective, the ease of cooking is probably the biggest one.

You can cook a pot roast complete with all the fixings in a Dutch oven and you can even cook such meals as chicken and dumplings. They’re not just for soups and stews.

Having a variety of delicious meals is a huge morale booster as well as a way to get all of your nutrition out of one pot. Though beans and cornbread are delicious and filling, it gets old after a few days and isn’t a well-rounded meal.

One Pot Cooking Ideas

A quick internet search will net you a ton of great ideas for one pot meals, but you can always just use your imagination. There are also some recipes that you should know by heart. They aren’t necessarily one pot meals, but they are essentials that will help you keep your crew full and nourished.

  • Want fried potatoes, eggs, and sausage for breakfast? Toss your potatoes in first, then add your sausage and cook both til they’re done and throw in your eggs. Scramble them all together, and you’ve got a delicious one pot meal.
  • How about beef tips with gravy and a baked potato? Toss your beef tips into your crock pot or Dutch oven, wrap your potatoes in foil and toss those in with it. When they’re done, remove the potatoes and add some flour and milk to the beef tips. Cook it for a few minutes until the gravy thickens and you’ve got dinner.
  • Soups and stews, of course, are obvious, but how about ribs with corn on the cob and roasted potatoes? Easy peasy. Cut your potatoes into cubes and toss them in your seasoning. Wrap them in foil packs. Do the same with the corn after you break the ears into halves, or cut it off the cob. Put your rub or sauce on your ribs and toss them all into your Dutch oven or crock pot and you’re good to go. You can also do the potatoes and corn in the coals.

One pot meals are, for the most part, only limited by your imagination. They’re easy to throw together, toss into your cooking vessel of choice, and forget about. Also, you’re getting many more nutrients than you would if you only cooked a single item. That makes them a great survival food.

There is a great opportunity for Survivopedia readers to prepare for cooking in the sun, so grab this offer available only for a few days!

Use the promocode SurvivoSolstice and get 10% discount to boost your cooking! 

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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11 Tips On How To Survive A Polar Vortex

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The term “polar vortex” isn’t one that most people became familiar with until just recently. We had to face it last winter, and we have to face it again these days.

Now, however, it’s a serious concern and needs to be figured into your potential disaster events if you live in areas that may be affected.

Read the following article to find out what a polar vortex is, what it isn’t (if you haven’t been affected by one), and what you need to do to prepare!

What is a Polar Vortex?

We have two polar vortexes – one around each pole. It’s an area of low pressure that circulates counterclockwise in the stratosphere around the pole all the time, but weakens in the winter time.

Sometimes it wobbles a bit and throws a surge of bitter cold south into the US, and other countries in equivalent latitudes around the world.

When this happens, it can drop temperatures below zero. It’s a phenomenon that is always around, but we just don’t notice it until it puffs a blast of freezing air toward us.


It actually plays a big part in the weather worldwide throughout the year. Think about it – how often do you ever hear of cold fronts coming from the south?

Usually, polar vortexes force temperatures down into the single digits in areas of higher latitude such as the Dakotas and Michigan, but the temperatures go up farther down the map.

Still, even if temperatures drop into the teens or twenties, even a light wind will make that temperature seem exponentially colder.

What a Polar Vortex Isn’t

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about polar vortexes, so let’s clear some of them up. First, they’re not a sign or result of global warming. Though many weather anomalies of recent years are linked to the warming of the Earth, polar vortices aren’t. They’ve existed exactly as they are since we started tracking them and the frequency or intensity hasn’t changed.

Next, a polar vortex doesn’t bring snow with it. Weather events such as rain and snow occur in the lower level of the atmosphere and polar vortices occur right above that. They bring bitter cold that can make snowstorms much worse, but they don’t actually bring snow or freezing rain with them.

What you need to Know about a Polar Vortex

The first and most important thing that you need to know about a polar vortex is that it can be lethal.

Even if you’re in a warmer part of the area that’s affected by the vortex, temperatures combined with wind chill can easily drop to temperatures that can cause frostbite and hypothermia quickly if you’re not bundled up.

Polar vortexes also tend to set in fairly quickly and hang around for at least a few days. If you don’t have to go outside during one, don’t. Avoid driving anywhere if you can, because it’s a guarantee that the roads are going to be icy even if it does snow.

If snow or freezing rain is going to happen right before or during a polar vortex, that danger is going to be amplified because temperatures that low can cause several disasters including car crashes, hypothermia, collapsed rooves, limbs, and powerlines, and burst water pipes.

Obviously, even one of those can be horrible, but they may also occur in tandem. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that your roof can collapse while your power is out. That’s why you need to take precautions and be prepared.

How to Prepare for a Polar Vortex

There are relatively small steps that you can take in advance that will help keep you safe. Other steps will need to be taken during/after the snow, but they’re relatively minor.

Technically, to prepare for just a polar vortex, you only need to worry about the cold, but since it often coincides with a snow storm, we’re going to assume that the worst case scenario and prepare for both a polar vortex and a snow storm.

1. Stockpile Food and Water

You may have a tough time getting to the store because of ice or snow, so make sure that you have at least a week’s worth of food and water stored back.

Yes, you’ll have access to plenty of snow, but if you want to drink that, you’ll have to filter and purify it. Stockpile at least 2 gallons of water per person per day. You’ll need to drink more because, oddly enough, water needs increase with extremes in temperature.

Regarding food, figure on at around 2000 calories if you’re going to be outside for more than just a few minutes at a time because your body burns a lot of fuel just to keep warm when temperatures drop that low.

You typically have several days of warning, so there’s no excuse not to be prepared.

2. Stay Inside

Seriously. If you don’t have to be outside, don’t be. In temperatures in the single digits, it only takes 15 minutes or so for frostbite to become a possibility, and when the temperatures are below zero, that time decreases even more.

Hypothermia is also a problem and, like frostbite, increases the colder it gets. Wind plays a big factor in the onset of both conditions.

Also, it’s a guarantee that there’s ice on the road, so there’s no reason to risk it if you don’t have to. Be prepared in advance, because crashing your car for a gallon of milk is bad, but dying for it just isn’t worth it.

3. Wrap Your Pipes

If you can access them, wrap your pipes to protect them from freezing. This tape keeps your pipes warm enough that the water in your pipes won’t freeze. If you don’t know how to do it, read our article about how to insulate your heating system.

This not only saves you a ton of money if your pipes burst, but also ensures that you have access to your water and heat as long as you have city water or a generator for your pump.

4. Trim your Trees

There’s nothing cozier than sitting around a tree limb that’s fallen through your roof and into your living room. Oh wait – yes there is.

This is a relatively easy disaster to avoid – simply keep your trees trimmed back from your house. Here’s a short guide on how to prepare your garden for winter.

5. Bundle Up

If you absolutely must go outside, bundle up. Make sure that your fingers, ears, nose, and toes are particularly protected because when you get cold, your body automatically pulls the blood flow to the center of your body to preserve heat. This leaves your extremities vulnerable to frostbite.

You also naturally lose more heat through the top of your head, the bottom of your feet, and your palms, so make sure they’re covered well to preserve that heat.

Mittens are actually better than gloves because they keep your fingers together and allow the heat that emanates from your palms to warm your entire hand.


6. Your Animals

Your animals are going to need some special attention depending upon what kind they are. Regardless of their species, they’re going to need to stay warm and they’re likely going to need extra food and water to meet the caloric needs required to stay warm.

Extremes in temperature can also cause animals such as milk cows and chickens to stop producing milk and eggs, so it’s especially important to keep them comfortable.

Winterize your barn and coop by sealing it up, but leave ventilation going through in order to keep the air fresh. Know your animals and adjust to meet their needs.

7. Check your Roof

Before winter even sets in, check your roof and rafters for damage and stability. This is one of the biggest risks you have in the case of a polar vortex and snow storm clashing.

If temperatures drop enough to make building materials brittle, then heavy snow is piled on top, the odds of your roof collapsing increases quite a bit.

8. Seal Windows and Doors

Your heating system is working hard enough to keep you warm even if your house is well insulated and sealed.

Cracks around windows and doors can really dampen that effort and make it nearly impossible to keep your house warm, so take care of that before winter sets in. It will also help save you money in the summer by keeping cold air in.

Read this Survivopedia article to find out how to build your own frames for insulating windows.

9. Winterize Your Car

This may not seem like a big deal, but it can save your life. You need good tires, but not as much for traction (nothing really sticks to ice though good tread does do much better in snow and mud) as to make sure that you don’t get a flat.

Chains for your tires, adequate anti-freeze, winter-grade thinner-viscosity oil, and just a general winterizing is important. Getting stranded in freezing weather is extremely dangerous.

On that note, make sure that you have a get-home bag in your car. You need a full change of clothes, extra socks and gloves, and even extra shoes. Also, have several bottles of water, hand warmers, several protein bars or MREs, and flares.

Blankets, at least emergency blankets, should be in there, too, and a fire-starter wouldn’t hurt. Besides these essentials, you just need to know your circumstances and build the rest of the bag around your needs.

10. Have Alternate Heat

If you rely on electricity for heat, you REALLY need to have an alternative heat source. Installing a wood burner is probably your best option, but a generator or wood for your fireplace (if you have one) are good, too.

Whatever you decide on, have plenty of fuel and the equipment to start it. Be realistic and base your heating needs on your house and your family, not some ideal version of them.


11. Include Games and Activities in your Stockpile

You’re going to get bored pretty quickly, especially if you lose cable and power. Make sure that you have several different games, books, or hobby supplies on hand to alleviate stress and boredom.

Being prepared for a polar vortex is extremely similar to preparing for a blizzard, except you need to make some modifications for the extreme temperatures that you may have to deal with.

If you have any suggestions or ideas that I’ve missed here, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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EMP Survival: 3 Ways To Build A Faraday Cage

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DIY Faraday Cage

Storing a few key electronics that would be of use in a protracted power grid failure will ensure that you’ll still receive information, communicate and carry out other critical functions in the event of an HEMP. It’s common knowledge that a Faraday cage is the safest way to protect them.

Faraday cages shield their contents from electromagnetic energy. If you have ever had a magnetic resonance imaging or you have been inside one, though you may not have even noticed.

How hard is it to build this device by yourself? Read this article to see three simple Faraday cage designs you can build at home!

A HEMP is a multi-pulse of strong electromagnetic fields generated when a nuclear weapon is detonated high in the atmosphere which could cripple the power grid of a city, or even the entire lower 48 states if more than one weapon is used, or a weapon is detonated at sufficient altitude.

Faraday cages are not necessary to protect most electronics from the type of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) caused by solar storms (magnetohydrodynamic EMP.) To protect most electronics from that EMP, you just need to make sure that your equipment is not connected to the grid and then have a renewable energy source to power it without the electrical grid.

I hosted a series of EMP Q&A sessions at PrepperCon 2016 for Survivopedia and a lot of people asked questions this subject there too. Given the importance of EMP preparedness, I would like to get as many questions answered as possible.

Faraday Cage Construction

One common thread throughout many readers’ questions is that there is conflicting information online about Faraday cages. While building a Faraday cage does not have to be a complicated endeavor (if you keep it small and simple with no penetrations in the shielded envelope), there are some gaps in the public sector knowledge on the subject and quite a bit of conflicting information online.

Faraday cages are EM (electromagnetic) shielding and must be properly designed and implemented or they can cause more harm than good by acting like an EMP antenna instead of an EMP shield.

How to Build a Faraday Cage

Building a Faraday cage can be very simple. Here are a couple of designs to build by yourself:

1. Aluminum Pressure Cooker Faraday Cage

Line an aluminum pressure cooker with a large heavy duty freezer bag. You’re done! Equipment goes in the bag. Secure the lid and you are good to go.

This cage is compact and an aluminum pressure cooker provides more shielding than any other object you are likely to have in your home that I can think of.

I like this cage because it is very simple and provides so much shielding that it should protect the contents against even a super EMP weapon even if sky zero was close by. Second hand stores such as Good Will, Salvation Army or Deseret Industries are great places to find an aluminum pressure cooker cheap.

Pressure cookers are also very useful multipurpose survival items long after a nuclear HEMP or should you experience some other catastrophe as opposed to HEMP:

  • Pressure canning: Pressure can food to store until the next growing season or future years.
  • Sterilization: Sterilize bandages, sutures and instruments for medical procedures.
  • Cooking: Loosen the lid and use a pressure cooker as a stock pot to create stews. Stews preserve more nutrients and caloric content than grilling foods and having fats and oils that are difficult to replace under survival conditions drip into your cooking fire.
  • Distillation of water: You can make a number still designs with a pressure cooker and some designs using pressure cookers are more efficient than with a simple stock pot if you store a little copper tubing and a collection vessel will be cooled.

2. Locking Lid Trash Can/Faraday Bag Faraday Cage

I like this build and use it often. Faraday Cage

It is easy to access the contents and they can store quite a bit depending on the size of trash you can get.

Step 1: Line a new locking lid, galvanized steel trash can with a tight-fitting lid, like the rodent-resistant cans made by Behren’s (often used to store feed or protect the contents form animals) lined with a rubberized, waterproof pack liner or dry bag.

Step 2:  Line the pack liner or dry bag with a large Faraday Bag. The pack liner or dry bag is a non-conductive layer which will insulate the Faraday bag from the conductive trash can and provide an added measure of waterproofing and dustproofing in case this is an outdoor Faraday cage or in case indoors becomes outdoors in the course of a catastrophe.

General preparedness will serve you better than the reality TV negative stereotype of preparing for a single calamity to the exclusion of all others. You should be able to find waterproof pack liners or dry bags any place that sells military surplus or sporting goods.

Step 3: Line the pack liner or dry bag with an XL Faraday Bag and place the gear you want to protect inside the Faraday Bag. The Faraday bag provides about 45 dB of shielding by itself, protects the contents from water and provides a non-conductive layer to insulate the contents of the bag from the conductive layers so lining it with another layer of non-conductor is not necessary.

Alternating layers of conductor/non-conductor is more effective than a single layer of the same thickness. Alternating conductive and non-conductive layers prevents the Faraday cage from re-radiating EM energy into the space you are trying to protect. Good Faraday bags such as the one I recommended incorporate alternating conductive and non-conductive layers.

Step 4: Button everything up tight. Zip up the Faraday Bag. Tie a goose neck in the pack liner or fold and buckle it, depending on the type of bag. Place the lid on the trash can, making sure that it seals tightly all the way around and raise the locking bail/handle. You’re done!

3. Ammo Can/Static Bag Faraday Cage

People use ammo cans every day and most survivalists have plenty of them knocking around. They are also frequently used to house battery systems and radios, so it sure would be handy if they could count on them to protect their radio equipment from EMP.

This would add a whole new dimension to some popular product lines so I’ll give them a few pointers. This is a slightly more involved, but still relatively simple build, if you have a few tools on hand.


Step 1: Remove the rubber gasket from the lid of the ammo can. It is held in place by 4 metal tabs. Use a hooked tool (like the one you see in the picture above) to remove it.

If you do not remove it, the rubber gasket is not conductive and will impede the free flow of electrons through the shielded envelope, re-radiating EMP into the interior you are trying to protect.


Step 2: Remove paint along all surfaces of both the lid and body of the ammo can where the lid will mate to the body of the ammo can and where you will install a conductive gasket to replace the non-conductive rubber gasket.

I used a rotary tool, some diamond coated bits and a small sanding drum. The corners are the most time consuming but it didn’t take long.


Step 3: Repaint mating surfaces with conductive paint if desired. If you don’t want to go to the expense, don’t. Government agencies and police departments pay big money for rugged Faraday cages installed in vehicles and the mating surfaces are unpainted and have no conductive paint or coatings so I am going to skip this step in my build.

Step 4: Install a conductive gasket. If you don’t want to go to the expense of buying conductive gasket material, you can just layer aluminum foil or sheeting and cut it to the shape you desire.




While a little harder to procure and more costly, a conductive metal gasket would be more durable and a nice touch.


Maybe I’ll build some ammo can Faraday cages for radio and battery kits with conductive gaskets but since most of you will use tin foil, I will demonstrate the technique in this build.

I used about 24 layers of heavy duty tin foil. If you use thicker foil sheeting, you will use fewer layers. I used a box cutter and a ruler the first time, but a pair of tin snips or multipurpose shears made future jobs a lot easier.

If you cut or bend the gasket and it doesn’t go in beautifully, you can either redo it or just patch it with some tin foil. The electrons won’t care, but you might. It may not hold up for as many opening/closing cycles of you patch it and you should check the gasket every time you close it.

The cage will be just fine as long as there are not any gaps greater than ¼” in any direction. If you use an adhesive, be sure that the adhesive is a conductive adhesive, or just don’t use adhesive if you use tinfoil. A tinfoil gasket will stay in place without adhesive thanks to the tabs that held the rubber gasket in place.

Step 5: Line the ammo can with a non-conductive layer such as a small pack liner or a 2-ply zippered-seal freezer bag to protect your gear from the conductive shielded layer.

If you have the space, this could in turn be lined with a Faraday bag, but for tight builds like radio kits, you may have to shave down some pieces a millimeter or so in order to nest the kit inside the non-conductive layer and still fit the assembly inside the ammo can, so you may not have enough extra room to line it with a Faraday bag.


Step 6: Seal it up tight. Close up the lining and lock the lid down, making sure that there are no gaps greater than ¼”. Pay special attention to the tinfoil gasket.


There you go!

Three easy Faraday cage builds are available at once!

A Note on Grounding

You may have noticed that these small, simple cages are not grounded. That is intentional. For a simple cage like this, built by a novice, grounding would cause more problems that it would solve. There is no need to ground a simple cage like this and it will do its job without being grounded.

There are some applications where Faraday cages should be grounded, so I am not saying never ground.

Large cages that could have their integrity damaged by lightning, and cages that have penetrations in the shielded envelope or which run mains power inside may indeed benefit from grounding, but those are more complicated builds well beyond the scope of this article.

After studying what our enemies, leaders and strategists have said on the subject and exactly what it would take to get the job done, for many years now, it is a wonder and blessing that we haven’t had an HEMP attack occur already.

Please do not waste the opportunity to protect yourself against this threat!


Be aware that protecting some basic electronics will make a huge difference for you after a nuclear HEMP attack. If you still have questions about your specific situation, please ask in the comments below!

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

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8 Things To Keep Under The Radar During A Blackout

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Things To Keep Under The Radar

Major blackouts are becoming more and more common, according to data from the National Energy Administration.

Our aging power grid, along with ever-increasing demands for electric power are taking their toll on the electrical industry’s ability to keep us all supplied with power.

Currently, the number of major blackouts per year doubles every five years. At that rate, we will soon find ourselves catching up with some third-world countries. We have an answer to help you out with this challenge.

While the major reason for this is our aging power grid, the problem is much more complex than that. Replacement of aging equipment is extremely expensive and the process filled with red tape. Energy companies find themselves bogged down for years in the quagmire of conflicting government requirements, on both a state and national level.

This problem is becoming worse, with the massive amount of regulations that the Obama Administration has promulgated through his presidency.

The EPA especially, has attacked the energy sector ruthlessly, especially the coal industry and coal power plants.

But even this isn’t really our biggest issue with the grid, although it is an important issue. The biggest issue is that the grid is highly vulnerable.

As a large, decentralized network, spanning the country, it is virtually impossible to protect. Even the minimal protections that are in place, have been proven to be ineffective.

The fact is, our electrical grid is highly susceptible to damage, and it’s common knowledge that it is.

Any number of enemies could take out the grid, or larger portions of it, either through direct, kinetic terrorist attacks, cyber-warfare or a high-altitude EMP. Even the sun could take it out, with a Coronal Mass Ejection. We had a near miss on that as recently as last year.

With so much risk to our aging power grid, it’s not a matter of if we’re going to be faced by a major blackout or even a semi-permanent one, but when we will be faced with it. Odds are catching up with us, bringing us to a place where we can all count on that happening to us sometime in our lives.

Clearly, preparing for such an event, regardless of how it happens, has to be part and parcel of our disaster preparation.

Anyone who chooses to ignore this possibility is merely putting themselves and their families in the massive group of people who don’t prepare, because they expect the government to take care of them. In other words, they are planning on becoming victims of the blackout, rather than becoming ones who overcome the blackout.


Blackouts instill fear in people, as we all have a little bit of natural fear of the dark. Mankind was created to live and function in the daylight, not the night.

While we have learned and adapted to doing many things in the dark, a lot of that has been by overcoming the dark with artificial light. We simply function best, when we can see what we are doing.

But what if you’re the only one in your neighborhood who can see what you’re doing? What if the lights go out, in a major blackout, and they stay out long enough that batteries in your neighbors’ flashlights go dead?

When they are sitting in the dark, cold and hungry, how are you going to protect yourself?

When the lights go out, so does everything else too. We depend on electricity for so many different things, that without it, society comes grinding to a standstill.

Not only do we lose the ability to do things at night, but we also lose our entire supply chain, because it depends on electricity for the flow of information, control, and even pumping the gas into the trucks and airplanes that make the deliveries.

So losing power means losing pretty much everything we depend on in our modern, technology-based lives.

We must always keep in the back of our minds that desperate people do desperate things. When the lights go out and the heat goes off, that feeling of desperation will begin to take root in their hearts. Bit by bit it will grow, fed by each and every thing that they find missing from their lives.

When they can’t get gas for their car, the desperation will grow a bit more. When they can’t buy food, because the grocery store shelves are empty, the desperation will increase. And when they turn on the faucet and nothing comes out, because there isn’t any electricity for the pumps, their cups of desperation may very well overflow.

The best thing that any of us can do in such a situation is ensure that we don’t let anyone around us know that we’re better off than they are.

OPSEC will have to become our byword, as we quietly try to survive in the midst of them. Specifically, there are a number of things we will want to hide from those around us.

1. The Means to Create Light

The first thing that people will notice is also one of the hardest to hide… light. That’s the first thing that anyone is going to turn on, when the power goes out. Whether it is flashlights, candles or oil-burning lamps, they’re all going to turn on some light.

The problem is, their light will go out after a short time, perhaps a day or two. After that, any light you have will be extremely conspicuous.

If the windows of every house on your street are dark and even a little light is coming out of yours, your house will seem like a lighthouse to those around. Their lack of light will make yours seem even greater.

Extreme light discipline will have to be the order of the day. You’re going to have to hide your light, and avoid using it in places where they can see. One key component of this will have to be blackout curtains on over all your windows.

Regular curtains won’t be enough, because they will look like they are lit up to people on the outside. You need curtains that are dark enough and heavy enough to block the light, so that your windows appear  dark, like theirs.

2. Power Generation

Power Whisperer

Many of us have invested in either solar power or wind power, both to augment the electrical power we buy from our local utility company and as a means of producing power in a blackout.

But a roof full of solar panels or a wind turbine sticking 30 feet up in the air in your backyard are easy to see, letting everyone know that you have power, when they don’t.

That’s going to attract people like moths to an open flame. About the only thing that could be worse is a gas powered generator.

Even those who aren’t looking for your solar panels will hear that, especially considering how quiet it will be without cars running down the roads and entertainment systems blaring out music.

While I wouldn’t want to dissuade you from investing in solar or wind power, in the midst of a blackout you’ll actually be better off with something stealthy. A portable system, with the solar panels at ground level would fit that bill, as a fenced backyard would hide it pretty well.

You can quietly provide power and keep your family safe during an outage with the right power generator. Hurry up and grab this offer right now to pay in monthly installments!


3. Solar Powered Anything

Speaking of solar power, pretty much anything that is solar powered is going to be in high demand. Even if all you have is a solar charger for your phone, you can count on everyone around you wanting to use it. More major solar powered devices, such as a solar oven, will become very high on the list of things that people will want to steal.

Of course, the longer the blackout lasts, the more people there will be who will be willing to turn to stealing. So the threat for your solar oven being stolen will actually increase as time goes on, requiring more and more diligence to protect it.

4. Food and the Ability to Cook that Food

FoodAs I already mentioned, the supermarket shelves will be bare, which will force people to use up whatever food they have stored within their homes. But what will they do when they’ve eaten the last of the popcorn and scraped the peanut butter jar dry?

Most preppers believe that people will turn to attacking one another and raiding other’s homes in search of food at this time. Small gangs will form, either neighbors working together or people who are friends who decide they can help one another.

In either case, these gangs will be looking for food, more than anything else, and they won’t be reluctant to break into homes and hit the residents over the head to get it.

Not only will they be searching for food, but for the ability to cook that food. A large portion of the things we eat need to be cooked in order to be edible.

But cooking in modern times is done with electricity or natural gas, both of which will be conspicuous by their absence. Barbecue grills will become the number one means of cooking… at least until people run out of propane or charcoal.

That’s when the solar oven is going to become popular. Even without knowing how to use one, people will be quick to steal an unattended solar oven, thinking that they can figure it out.

One of the problems with hiding your food is that cooking creates odors which will attract attention.

You’ll need to be careful about this, avoiding cooking in ways that create odors. Meats are the worst for this, as they produce the most odor when cooking. But by cooking them in soups, you reduce the odor that passes through the air.

5. Water and the Means to Pump it Out of the Ground

We really can’t talk about food, without talking about water as well. Water is a higher survival priority than food is, so people will be desperate for it much quicker.

If you’ve got a river, lake or canal near enough to draw water out of, you’ll probably be safe. But if not, and people find out you have a well, they’ll be knocking on your door.

At that time, you’ll have to make a decision. Will you provide water to your neighbors or not. A lot of that will depend on how good your well is and how effective a pump you have.

Sharing water might be great for public relations, but there’s a danger there too. Some will thank you, while others might see it as an opportunity to take over your well.

6. Heat for Your Home

One of the worst times to have the lights go out is in the wintertime. Then, light isn’t people’s biggest concern, heat is.

Every year people die during the cold northern winters, either because there is no power to heat their homes or because they can’t afford to pay for heat. Sadly, this mostly happens to the elderly, who are the most vulnerable people in society.

When the power is out and people get cold, there’s a natural tendency to gather together, seeking to share whatever heat they have, even if it’s only body heat. That means that they’ll come knocking on your door, if they think you have heat.

Depending on how you are heating your home, doing so might be difficult to hide.

Burning wood, which is what most of us are planning to do, produces smoke, as well as the smell of burning wood. Just like the steak cooking on the barbecue grill, that smell will attract attention.

One thing you can do to help alleviate this is to buy firewood that produces little smoke and odor. Different woods burn differently, producing different amounts of heat, as well as smelling differently.

You’ll need to experiment a bit, but if you can find a low-odor wood, it will help.

7. Fuel for Your Car

As the blackout progresses, one thing you can be sure of is that people will begin to migrate. The lack of news about what is happening elsewhere will cause people to wonder if things would be better, if they could just get out of the area where the blackout is. So, some will leave, trying to find a better place.

Of course, that means leaving in their cars and trucks. But without the gas pumps working, that’s going to be hard to do. Even so, they’ll try… mostly by stealing gas from others.

Some will siphon it out of gas tanks and others will try to pump it out of the gas station’s tanks with a manual pump.

The best thing you can do to keep from losing your gas and even your car is to hide them. If you don’t have room in your garage, then put them in the backyard.

If you can’t do that, then drain out the gas yourself and disable the car. Removing a tire and the battery, as well as allowing the car to get covered with a layer of dust, will go a long way towards making it look unusable.

8. Guns & Ammo

Finally, it would be a good idea to keep your guns and ammo out of sight. Some might think that being obviously armed would be a deterrent to attack.

While that might be true for the more timid in society, it would be just as likely to make others think that you must have something in your home worth protecting. For those people, your guns would be an advertisement, not a deterrent.

That doesn’t mean that you should be unarmed, merely that you shouldn’t advertise the fact. Those will be dangerous times and you may very well need your guns to protect yourself. So, keep them close at hand, but keep them hidden at the same time.

Most people who carry concealed are actually against open carry of firearms. That’s not because they don’t agree with the implied right under the Second Amendment, but rather that they want the element of surprise.

If someone doesn’t know what you’re carrying, they can’t prepare effectively to counter it. That gives you a huge tactical advantage, when the time comes and you bring your guns out of hiding.


This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: About Living Off-grid

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Living Off grid

People today have become overly dependent on energy and this is the main reason why starting living off-grid seems difficult. But it is not. Think about the fact that people lived before the grid even existed.

As we all know, an EMP attack is a disaster most of us are preparing for. When our electricity driven society will suddenly fall, how long will you survive?

From today’s Prep Blog Review you will find out how it is like to live off-grid for 37 years, how to build a faraday cage or how to build your off-grid cooking stove.

  1. Confessions Off A Man Who Lived 37 Years Off-grid

Living Off Grid

“Imagine if you can, a homestead nestled deep in the forest, fronting a beautiful lake. Oh sure… that sounds dreamy and might be reality for a lucky few.

But now let’s take it a step further. The homestead sits on the shore of a remote, pristine lake which is located 100 miles in the wilderness.

No roads, no trails, no neighbors. Only forest, water, animals and silence. Float plane is the only way in and out. When the float plane drops you off, accelerates down the lake, lifts off the surface and becomes a speck on the horizon, you then realize your last physical connection with humanity just left.

Standing on the dock, you have the overwhelming sense you are the only person left on the planet. Exciting!”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

  1. The Smokeless & Easy-To-Build Off-Grid Cooking Stove

Off grid stove

“Outdoor cooking is a major part of my off-grid experience, and so a reliable outdoor stove was a must-have. And with many options of wood-burning stoves out there, fuel-efficiency and minimal smoke were at the top of my list.

After much research, the rocket stove because our outdoor stove of choice. In this article, I will share with you the concept of the rocket stove, how we built two of them, and its advantages and disadvantages.

A wood-burning smokeless stove sounds impossible, right? Let me explain it this way. Smoke is un-burned fuel. The rocket stove makes use of all the fuel. Everything gets burned in the combustion chamber before leaving the chimney. This concept is also seen in the Dakota fire pit.

The rocket stove, when fired up, sounds similar to that of a rocket taking off – hence, its name.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

  1. How To Build A Faraday Cage To Protect Your Electronics

Faraday cage “One of the things that gives us the most troubled sleep of all is the risk of, and outcomes from, an EMP attack on the US.  In case you’re not fully up to speed on this draconian danger, we discuss EMP attacks – what they are, how fearsome their impacts would be, and how easy they are to stage – in several articles here.

Our sense is that the danger of an EMP event is steadily increasing.  To be blunt, the world is becoming an increasingly unfriendly place, and with growing sophistication of both nuclear weapons and their associated delivery systems (ie missiles) by both North Korea and Iran (as well as other countries that aren’t being quite so public about their actions) and some threats that translate quite clearly to ‘if we need to, we’ll use an EMP device to bring your country to its knees’, the thought of an EMP attack is far from impossible to countenance.

At the same time, our lives continue to become more and more dependent on electronics for everything we do.”

Read more on Backdoor Prepper.

  1. 10 Widespread Disaster That Could Happen At Any Time


“When preparing for a widespread disaster, it’s helpful to have a specific type of disaster in mind. Envisioning a particular survival scenario helps you to be more focused and think of preparations that might not have occurred to you otherwise.

How would a pandemic play out in your town? Or a terrorist attack? Or an economic collapse? What specifically would happen to your community, and how would it affect you and your family? And based on that, are there any other preparations you could make to ensure your family’s safety?

As you can see, mentally walking yourself through various types of disasters will help you to be more prepared. With that in mind, here is a list of the 10 most likely widespread disasters. You should seriously consider the possibility of experiencing these events. I’m not saying you should obsess over them–don’t spend your life in fear–but you should do your best to be ready for them.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

  1. Starting Your Off-grid Living With Solar Power


“Harnessing the sun’s power has become a popular trend in the last ten years and we now have a large array of options for powering our homes using solar power.

Living off the grid requires a lot of work and innovation in order to reach a certain level of self-sufficiency. Things get easier if you are able to harness the power of the sun and use it for all your needs.

From passive cooling to batch solar water heaters, everything is now available when it comes to DIY solar power projects.

People are beginning to understand that solar power is not as complicated as certain individuals would want you to believe.

This is a technology that has become extremely accessible in our modern times and you just need a few basic skills in order to make your own project.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

You can generate power and keep your loved ones safe with the right power generator. You can choose your right now.


This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Cosmic Weather Executive Order: What Does It Mean?

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Cosmic Weather Executive Order

Does the government know something that we don’t about what is going to happen to our power grid?

The latest executive order on cosmic weather certainly has some folks in the survival community scratching their heads. Do you know why? Because it doesn’t help you much, but leaves you survive on your own.

President Obama says he recognizes that naturally occurring EMP’s “could disable large portions of the electrical power grid, resulting in cascading failures that would affect key services such as water supply, healthcare, and transportation.

First off, understand that the type of EMP caused by cosmic weather would only affect equipment connected to the power grid, land lines or other very long conductors, so it would not affect your car … until you need to buy gasoline or you phone … until you need to connect to the internet or a cell tower.

What we are most concerned about with this type of EMP is damage to the infrastructure that we all depend on, specifically the large transformers in the power grid which are custom built (mostly overseas) and have lead times measured in years.

Why only address naturally-occurring EMP and not nuclear high-altitude EMP?

I think the answer to that is simply that existing executive orders, COG (Continuity of Government) and NIPP (National Infrastructure Protection Plan) already cover protection of key infrastructure in the event of acts of war or terror attacks, so that train has already left the station – no power or budget to grab or rights to infringe upon there.

Why is important, other than that your internet will be down and credit and bank cards won’t work, is that a severe space weather event could knock out the US power grid and reshape the balance of power in the world.

Russia claims its grid is hardened against EMP and China runs major EMP-response exercises. Every former superpower is making preparations in case of EMP attack and virtually all substantial enemies of the US either are in the process of developing or already have EMP weapons.

The US has EMP weapons programs and we have upgraded a few key segments of our communications infrastructure, so it is clear that our leadership is aware of the threat EMP poses, but we haven’t funded any significant national preparation.

Scientists have been beating politicians over the heads with EMP scenarios for decades now, but they don’t seem to care much about it.

Why hasn’t the US already made preparations in case of EMP?

According to Dr. Peter Pry, a member of the congressional EMP Commission and executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, the power industry is afraid of over-regulation.

That is why it is using its considerable power to lobby against any EMP preparation and crank out junk science a la “lead is good for you because it occurs naturally,” “smoking is not harmful to your health,” and “we would starve without GMO foods and high fructose corn syrup” only this time it’s “EMP only affects the power grid in movies.”

Don’t let the fact that the rest of the world is united on the matter that the EMP is a threat fool you. Here in the USA, we reserve the right to be ignorant and listen to K Street lobbyists and the best scientists they can buy instead of our best scientific minds.

Warning have yielded both grassroots and congressional efforts, such as the Shield Act, which have been blocked at every turn by the power lobby for well over a decade now. This opened the door for Barrack Obama, who claims not to need congress because he has a phone and a pen, to step in an issue the executive order.

In October of last year, the White House published the 2015 National Space Weather Plan, which sets two goals: to improve our detection capabilities (warn us a few hours before the EMP), and to strengthen our capability to respond to the needs of the people after an EMP has damaged the grid.

Why not a comprehensive EMP plan to harden the grid against both types of EMP?

Because existing executive orders already cover EMP of the nuclear high-altitude variety under war and terrorism, so there wasn’t any additional power or funding to grab.

At a glance, the plan seems like perhaps a step in the right direction, but dig deeper and its more social programs and less privacy, thinly disguised as a preparedness plan. About the only thing that could make this plan worse is if it was truly this president’s best effort to protect the nation from EMP.

Cosmic weather

Why am I not excited about the government finally creating a plan to deal with EMP, even if it is only naturally-occurring EMP?

  • The Obama regime used this as pretext to violate privacy rights by making GPS constellation data publicly available.
  • Obama’s plans for EMP preparedness don’t mean boo unless they are funded and they will not be funded without congress. Simply passing an executive order does not change that. Most of page 2 of the White House plan is basically a disclaimer that the plan is not a budget document and that funds to carry out the plan would granted through the budget process. An effective POTUS does not simply throw out an idea and then blame congress for not approving funds that don’t exist to implement a plan when there was already another, better plan on the table.
  • Instead of the one-time investment of $2 billion to fix the problem and harden the US electrical again against BOTH kinds of EMP that the Shield Act asks for, it would invest in capability to warn us a few hours ahead of an EMP and then attempt to put Humpty Dumpty back together again after our large transformers have melted. This is a reactive, “social aspirin and Band-aid” patch job that invests in social programs instead of a proactive permanent fix for the chronic problem.
  • No funding for joint DOD – FEMA Training Exercises. Instead he directs the heads of agencies to work together “consistent with their ongoing activities” referring to the 2015 National Space Weather Action Plan.

Somebody needs to tell the White House that it won’t matter if people have health insurance if they are going to be without electricity for up to 4 years. Maybe that is a length of time they can get their heads around.

The US has been operating in an utter leadership vacuum for nearly two terms now, arguably much, much longer. We could permanently fix the EMP threat to our grid for about what we spend on climate change research in a year.

The US could have long ago joined the growing list of nations making earnest preparations against EMP, but is not course our benevolent leader has chosen.

The FEMA – DOD turf war is going to cost untold millions of lives in a severely damaging EMP

Hurricane Katrina was a minor event when compared to losing the US electrical grid for years, but it serves as an example of the consequences of the FEMA – DOD turf war. The states tried to handle the disaster themselves to capture Federal funding and everyone had to sit on their hands until they asked for help.

But by then, they had trouble even contacting the Federal Government to ask for help, so precious time was lost, which translated to lives lost. Then the Federal government sends in FEMA, who sealed off the disaster area and takes its shot at the prize budget money.

The military still couldn’t do anything until they were asked. FEMA ended up running around like a chicken with its head cut off because it was also outclassed by the scope of the event, losing more time and lives until FEMA finally asks for DOD.

Why did the DOD need to be involved in Katrina and will they inevitably need to be involved in a large-scale EMP?

Because FEMA has thousands of employees where DOD has millions. FEMA can call subcontractors and pay them to deliver trailers or loads of supplies. DOD can coordinate colossal airlifts and entire fleets of ships. We cannot handle an emergency of this magnitude without the DOD, so FEMA needs to get let that sink in now, BEFORE an EMP.

The FEMA budget is not going to matter. FEMA is going to go down in history as crewing the Titanic in this scenario and the post-EMP agency that replaces FEMA will not resemble the pre-EMP FEMA, that is, if the USA even still exists as such after China lays down the terms for the replacement of our large transformers.

What would a competent leader would have done

  • Fund NASA and the National Foundation of Sciences Studies that would debunk the junk science funded by the power industry lobby.
  • Educate the public about the threat.
  • Pass the Shield Act and harden the grid against space weather and nuclear EMP alike instead of an unfunded plan followed by an executive order.
  • Get the DOD and FEMA working and training together before the catastrophe and give them funding to do it instead of just telling the directors to work together “consistent with their ongoing activities.”

So what does Obama’s executive order on cosmic weather mean for you?

It means that, as usual, you are largely on your own. The only preparations that you can count on are ones you have made yourself and with those you trust in your local community. This may actually be better for you than being lied to that your government has everything under control.

You are better off preparing independently as opposed to believing that Uncle Sam, or someone else, is going to bail you out.

Be prepared! Get your power generator. Click the banner below to grab this offer and pay in installments for the right power generator for your EMP survival!


This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia. 



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Product Review: Power Whisperer Pro Version

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The folks at Independent Living have done it again. They’ve taken their popular Power Whisperer emergency power generator and done a second upgrade, making it even better than before.

This new upgrade essentially doubles the capacity of the original unit, meaning that it will provide power to meet even more of a family’s needs, for an even longer period of time.

I’ll tell you more about this update so keep reading the article below!

One of the biggest risks we face today is that of an EMP attack. As a nation, we have enemies who are working hard to develop the technology necessary to allow them to hit the United States with such an attack. If they ever get to that point, a successful attack will set this country back over 100 years. Most electronic devices will be destroyed, but worse than that, the electrical power grid that we all depend on will be out of commission; probably for the rest of our lives.

The only electronics which will survive such an attack are those which are shielded from EMP. Outside of the military, there is little that is made, which is shielded in such a manner. Yet the Power Whisperer has been designed with this possibility in mind, and is encased in 5052 aluminum. That’s more than enough to stop the EMP from touching the unit, ensuring that you’ll have electrical power, when everyone else’s lights are out.

I was impressed with the quality of the original Power Whisperer and the M model. These are well-built, rugged units, designed to, as Timex says, “Take a licking and keep on ticking.” But I don’t think even the designer of the Power Whisperer realized how rugged a unit he built.

See below a video of a Power Whisperer M (Classic Model) that had a disagreement with a truck. Apparently the unit was being shipped when this happened. I don’t know if the truck was trying to take the unit to the wrong address and it refused to be shipped there or the two of them got into a political argument.

All I know is that the truck and the Power Whisperer tried to break a law of physics and occupy the same place at the same time. To be fair, the Power Whisperer was there first, and I really can’t say that the truck had any excuse, like not seeing the unit, after all, it hit it head on.

Well, the results of that altercation left the Power Whisperer looking like a pile of scrap. In the video, someone in the Independent Living warehouse decided to unwrap the pile of scrap and test it out. Amazingly enough, it still provided power. That’s after being hit by a truck, all but torn limb from limb and then sitting in the warehouse, being ignored for a couple of months.

I hope my Power Whisperer never has to be tried by fire like that, but it’s nice to know that the one that was survived its trial. Granted, it doesn’t look too good now, but at least it works. In an emergency situation, that’s what’s important.

So now they’ve decided to go ahead and upgrade this rugged beast. That intrigued me when I heard about it, because I really wasn’t sure what they’d upgrade. But I’ll have to say, they did it right. They didn’t add whistles and bells that you don’t need, they increased the capacity.

Let’s Upgrade!

As far as I’m concerned, electrical power in a grid-down situation is like memory in a computer… you’ve never got enough. While the Power Whisperer M (Classic Model) had enough power to make it through an emergency caused by a power outage, the new one – PowerWhisperer PRO, has double that capacity but also some other features that I’m going to address in seconds.

The Power Whisperer M (Classic Model) comes with a 100 amp-hour capacity. That means that it can run an electronic device that requires 100 amps of 12 volt power for 1 hour or that it can run a device that requires 1 amp of 12 volt power for 100 hours, or anything in between. There’s also a Power Whisperer M-Plus model that comes with an extra solar panel and battery that literally double your power, while all the specifications are the same.

The Power Whisperer PRO model comes with the same voltage inverter, so you still have 2000 watts of 120 volt power available at any one time. In addition, there is a 12 volt outlet, so that you can power devices which are intended to run off of 12 volts.


Do you have any camping equipment, tools or electronics which are intended for running off your car’s cigarette lighter/accessory connector? They’ll all plug into either the M model or the new Pro model as well.

To help with recharging the larger storage capacity, Lee Bellinger, the designer of the Power Whisperer has also added a second, 100 watt solar panel, increasing the charge capacity as well. You can either recharge the Model M in half the time or recharge both the M model and the extra power pack at the same time. With this extra solar panel, you can charge both in the time that it used to take to charge the Model M alone.

And the unit is expandable beyond that as well. The M model generator has enough connectors to attach up to four solar panels, increasing the recharge rate and total power available from the unit. You can also add another auxiliary power pack if you desire, increasing the overall power you have available in an emergency situation even more.

These units are totally safe, using proven battery and battery charging technology which avoids “thermal runaway.” I’m sure you’ve heard of the problems that people have been having with the Samsung phones, well the charge technology used in the Power Whisperer prevent the possibility of that happening. The unit is not only safe from being hit by a truck, but from exploding as well.

Seeing as the Power Whisperer was inspired by military technology and intended for survival use, it even comes complete with a camouflage net system, so that you can keep your unit away from prying eyes, whether you are using it for a bug in or you’re providing power to your survival retreat in a bug out.

This is a well thought out unit, which will provide the electrical power your family needs, when you are faced by the next disaster. Built in America and built to withstand whatever is thrown at it, the Power Whisperer Pro gives your family a level of security you won’t find just anywhere.

Now is the moment to get your power generator and solve your energy problem for years. You’ll also get 3 exclusive Survivopedia bonuses worth $150 when you invest in your Power Whisperer.

Click the banner below and grab the opportunity of paying in monthly installments instead of paying for it all at once!


This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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Surviving Off-grid: 5 Ways to Manage Chimney Creosote

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Manage Chimney Creosote

The government is doing everything it can to deter people from burning wood, it still remains popular with home owners that don’t want to use oil or other more expensive fuels. Wood is also very popular with off gridders, preppers, and homesteaders because it can be harvested from natural resources or grown for this purpose.

Many people that burn wood are plagued by creosote that builds up in chimneys. As dangerous as this problem can become, preventing or reducing creosote buildup is not as hard as it seems to be.

Here are five ways you can reduce or prevent creosote buildup in your chimneys.

Do not forget to inspect your chimneys on a regular basis and clean them even if the creosote only looks like it is in the early stages of buildup.

How Does Creosote Form?

Have you ever blown on a mirror or piece of glass so that some of the water vapor from your lungs condenses on the glass? If so, then you may also know that condensation occurs because the glass is cooler than the air exiting your mouth.

In a similar way, when hot gas and smoke enter the chimney, they are hotter than the stove pipe. If the pipe is not hot enough, then creosote will condense out of the smoke and be deposited in the chimney.

Video first seen on Corey Binford.

The Three Degrees of Creosote Buildup

As with many other situations in life, creosote build up may not be especially dangerous at first. However, if it is left unchecked, or not taken care of soon enough, it can become a very expensive problem. As you review the three degrees of creosote buildup, bear in mind that simply cleaning up the mess is only part of the problem. You will still need to take active steps to prevent or at least slow down further creosote buildup.

1st Degree

Just about every chimney will build up layers of soft black material known as soot. If you can easily brush the black layer of material out of the chimney, chances are there is actually very little creosote in it.

Many people consider this a good sign because it means the fire is burning hot enough to reduce the amount of temperature difference between the smoke and the chimney. While this stage isn’t especially dangerous, you will still need to clean out the chimney on a routine basis in order to keep good air flow.

2nd Degree

At this level, you will start to see more creosote in the soot. There will be quite a few shiny black flakes of material that can still be removed if you put some effort into it. If you see this kind of soot, it is very important to increase the air flow in the burning area.

3rd Degree

This type of creosote buildup forms layers of a tar like coating on inner surfaces of the chimney. If you think about how cholesterol builds up in arteries, then you have a pretty good picture of what I mean.

3rd Degree creosote also contains a good bit of unburned fuel. As a result, when it does catch fire, it can be quite dangerous. The third degree of creosote buildup is caused by cool burning fires with inadequate ventilation, or by a flue that is too large.

Here are five ways to resolve this type of buildup. You may need a combination of answers in order to reduce the level of creosote buildup as much as possible.

1. Keep a Robust Airflow

Have you ever lit a candle, and then put it in a glass cup? If so, then you have also probably seen soot build up on the sides of the glass.

When a fire burns under any kind of restricted air flow, the soot from the fire will also concentrate and condense into smaller areas. Typically, fireplaces that have glass doors, or are otherwise closed off will have the most problems with airflow.

Here’s what you can do to remedy this problem:

  • Keep the ash bin and grate area as clean as possible. Open the damper so that more air gets into the fireplace.
  • If you cannot get enough air moving in the fireplace, try using a fan or blower to push more air in through the damper. Make sure that the fan is made of metal or some other non-flammable material. Aside from purchasing a new model, you may also find some old, or vintage blowers at a flea market for a much lower price. Never underestimate the power or durability of these old, but incredibly durable blowers and fans!
  • In some cases, downdrafts from the outside can also cause poor air circulation inside the stove. You can try adding a partial cover to the top of outer pipe. Alternatively, add an insert with an inward curve that will also reduce the amount of downdraft that can get down the chimney.

2. Keep the Fire Hot

Even though you may think of a piece of wood as a single object, it is actually made up of all kinds of molecules. This, in turn, means that some molecules will have a higher kindling point than others.

If the fire is not hot enough, some of the molecules that require a hotter temperature will escape into the chimney and form a layer of creosote if the conditions are right. Later on, if the temperature inside the chimney gets hot enough, these particles will catch fire and burn.

The hotter the fire is, the better chance there is of these molecules being reduced to heat and ash in the fireplace. In addition, the hotter the fire is, the hotter the chimney will be. When the chimney is hot enough, all the gunk that forms creosote cannot collect.

Here are some ways to increase the heat output from a wood fire:

  • add a few handfuls of coal to the wood fire. Coal burns at a higher temperature and will also last longer. Without a question, anyone that has used a coal fire on a freezing winter night can tell you just how delightful they are!
  • install heat retaining bricks in the fireplace. This will increase the temperature inside the burn area and help keep the temperature steadier.
  • insulate the chimney pipe with bricks. This is especially important if you are using a metal chimney, as they will always be cooler on the inner surface. The insulation will help, however it will not entirely solve the problem if it is caused by using a metal chimney.

3. Check the Size of the Flue

Consider a situation where you want to heat up a cup of coffee over a campfire. Chances are it will only take a few minutes to achieve this goal. Now let’s say you want to heat up a gallon of water over the exact same campfire.

Heating up a gallon of water will take longer than a cup because there are more atoms to deal with. In a similar way, when the flue is too large, there is simply too much material for the fire to contend with. A wood stove should not have a flue larger than six inches.

When you reduce the size of the flue, it allows less heat to escape. Some people have noticed a 20% or better increase in heat produced by fireplaces that have an optimally sized flue. Therefore, you will be reducing creosote problems and get more heat at the same time.

Depending on the construction of the stove and chimney system, you may not be able to simply rip the whole thing out and start over again. Your best option will be to insert a sleeve into the chimney so that it has a smaller internal diameter. Even though these sleeves are usually made of metal, the surrounding brick in the chimney should keep it warm enough to reduce the risk of creosote build up. If you still get too much creosote, focus on increasing the heat produced by the fire and the amount of air flow going up into the chimney.

  • Remember, the more air flow you have going up the chimney, the harder it will be for particles to stay still long enough to attach to inner surfaces.
  • You may also want to let the wood season longer than a few months, and choose some type of wood other than pine. Look for wood that has less resin or sap in it.
  • It is also very important to stay away from pellets or other types of pre-manufactured wood because they may be designed to burn at lower temperatures than what you will need to heat up an over sized chimney.

4. Make Sure the Wood is Fully Seasoned and Dry


Have you ever tried to start a fire during or after it rains? If you are camping, chances are you use a number of methods to dry the wood out as much as possible so that it produces more heat than smoke.

In a similar way, when wood is not fully seasoned and dried out, it will produce more creosote. Fires that produce a lot of smoke also have the following problems:

  • there is less airflow, which reduces the amount of oxygen available to the fire
  • the fire will burn cooler because water impedes combustion
  • smoke is also a sign that more fuel is escaping into the air than you would get from a cleaner burning fire.

There is no substitute for time when it comes to seasoning wood. You can try keeping logs closer to the fire place for a few days before you actually burn them. Just remember to rotate them often so that the log dries out more evenly.

Chopping the log into smaller pieces might help too. This will increase surface area, which in turn will speed up water evaporation. You will still need to rotate the wood around to ensure the fastest possible drying.

When it comes to seasoning wood, many people make the mistake of covering the wood with a waterproof, air tight tarp. The wood will release water vapor, however it will fall right back onto the wood and be absorbed all over again.

You will be better served by keeping the wood loosely covered and in a warm, sunny spot while it is drying. As with drying the wood out indoors, do not forget to rotate the woodpile every few days so that the pieces dry out as much and as evenly as possible.

If the weather is especially damp, humid, or rainy, it may be of some help to cut the wood into smaller pieces. No matter how you look at it, increasing surface area always speeds up evaporation. It may seem like a lot of extra work, however it will pay off when you have hotter fires during the winter months and fewer problems with creosote.

5. Do Not Overload the Stove With Wood

When you have had a long, hard day, it is tempting to load the stove with as much wood as possible so you won’t have to add more through the night. On the other side of the equation, when you put too much wood in the stove, it reduces air flow.

Aside from this, when fires burn, they also release some water vapor. When there is too much wood in the stove, some of that vapor may just land on the wood and increase its moisture level. No matter how well seasoned the wood is, that increased moisture will cause the fire to burn poorly.

Here are some ways to resolve this problem:

  • start off by adding just one piece at a time to the fire. If the fire burns well, try adding a second piece. Keep adding more pieces as long as the fire burns cleanly. Do not forget that you may not be able to add as many pieces at one time on rainy days or ones where it is impossible to prevent a downdraft from the chimney.
  • install an automatic wood feeder. Even thought a wood feeder can take up a good bit of space, it may be a better solution than trying to manually feed the stove.
  • Use coal and other materials that might burn longer during times when you won’t be available to feed the stove more wood.

Wherever you live in (an apartment or a house), chances are the building will have a chimney, and there will also be a stove available for burning wood. Getting started with wood burning is not especially difficult, but avoiding creosote buildup in the chimney can be challenge.

Be careful about the condition of the fire, the wood, and ventilation issues that may lead to creosote buildup. Once you find a way to reduce the speed of creosote buildup, do not forget to inspect the chimney on a regular basis.

A clean chimney is not just a safe one, it is a valuable asset that will help you burn wood efficiently and get the most from it.


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Moving Your Computer Off Grid

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Moving Your Computer Off-Grid

More than a few preppers feel that as long as they can provide food, shelter, water, and basic medical needs for themselves and their families, nothing more is required. Other preppers may feel that self defense, power generation, education, and machine repair are skills that will be required in the post crisis world.

Sadly, many preppers and also off-gridders tend to ignore or underestimate the need to have a computer that can be used to help make it easier to survive.

In all likelihood, these are also the people most likely to have serious problems in the post crisis world because they do not have a computer available to help meet a range of goals.

Computers and Prepping Can Get Along

A computer cannot hunt a deer for you, boil water, or make a pair of shoes, obviously. On the other hand, any computer with a connection to the internet can help you find out how to do these things and much more. When you find good information, it is also very easy to store those files on your computer so that you can read them and work with them whenever you want.

And if you are in a situation where internet access is still available, you can use your computer to contact friends and loved ones as well as people that might be able to help you get through a crisis. Then you can certainly relate to the quandary of many preppers that are finding out it is becoming impossible to make or obtain raw materials that would be needed in a major crisis scenario.

On the other side of the equation, many of the items you need for basic prepping can still be purchased online. All you really need is a prepaid debit card and an internet connection so that you can find websites where you can place your orders. Not only will you be able to get the supplies you need, you will also have a much wider selection of other goods to choose from.

Regardless of whether you are interested in the best quality gun cleaning kits, need a certain type of fishing reel, or need good quality vintage hand tools, you can find them all online. In fact, even if you are disabled, you may be able to find customized materials and tools that have been modified to meet your needs.

Most people don’t realize just how important it is to network with preppers from diverse geographic regions and make plans for bugging out that include those friends and connections. Consider what would happen if an earthquake or hurricane strikes your area.

If you only have friends and family in a local, or small area, chances are everyone will be affected. If you have friends in other states that might be able to offer temporary shelter or help you make a new start, then you will be well ahead of the game.

In these times and beyond, both money and barter systems are vital for exchanging needed goods and services. A computer is very important for expanding your trade and marketing options. It is also very important for securing alternative currencies that may play a vital role in remaining solvent in the face of currency collapse.

Most people would be truly amazed at how easy it is for the average consumer to secure foreign currencies, keep a good supply of them, and even use them as down and dirty form of currency trading or flipping.

The Tough Choice on the Best Device(s)

Off grid devices

Obsolete devices may still be very useful because certain older technologies are easier to work with and may be safer than newer devices that are routinely overclocked or are based on unstable hardware platforms.

If you are interested in newer devices, here are some categories, brands, and models that you can start off with for each category of device:


If you are primarily interested in a conventional desktop computer, my own experience leads me to believe the best option is to build the computer yourself so that you know exactly what parts are being used and how best to optimize the BIOS (this is where you can determine how fast the computer will run, whether or not the system can boot from a USB drive, and other aspects of basic operation) settings.

Since modern computer chips tend to run hot, it is very important to provide plenty of ventilation and cooling options inside the case. If your CPU and motherboard kit come with sub-par heat conducting gel, do not hesitate to find the best on the market.  It is also very useful to add extra fans and other cooling devices right inside the case.

Always remember, the cooler you can keep the chips during operation, the lower your chances of erratic freeze-ups or even ruining the chips.

Insofar as other vital parts such as hard drives, CD/DVD drives, and video cards, it truly depends on your personal tastes.

You will need a dedicated video card to gain access to these specialized chips that will reduce wear on the CPU and enhance computer performance at the same time. Be sure to study gamer forums and video editing forums to find out which video cards work best with specific CPU and motherboard combinations. A bad fit between these parts can truly be a disaster.

Memory cards (RAM) are yet another tricky, yet vital area of the computer that you will need to think about. This is also one area where only the best will do. It is better to go with the fastest cards that the motherboard will take, and also from the best rated vendor.


Unlike desktop computers, you will have far less control over what parts are found inside the case. Before purchasing a laptop, be sure to find out the model number of the CPU and motherboard. From there, you will need to look up the chipsets to find out what the optimal clock speeds are.

I have seen more than one laptop burn up at around the 1 year mark because a sub-part mother board with a slower timing chip was paired with a faster CPU. Since most buyers do not ask about the motherboard model, there was no way for them to find out that they basically had an overclocked system that was going to fail very quickly.

Overall, I can safely say that I don’t recommend spending 3 – 4 times as much money on a laptop when I can choose a much cheaper tablet and optimize it with less intensive apps. The only advantage a laptop might have over an off grid tablet is that it is easier to customize the programs.


An unlocked tablet will give you just about everything you need for basic document access and communicating with others. You can also choose apps that will enable you to create your own apps and carry out other more complex tasks.

Tablets also have the advantage of taking far less  power than a desktop or laptop computer. They can easily be recharged on a portable solar pack, and it is also fairly easy to bypass the battery.

Insofar as brand names, I tend to favor Lenovo, but have also found Alldaymall tablets to work well. The Alldaymall tablets are also a good bit cheaper, so you can purchase more of them and put them in your bug out bag as well as other locations.

Smart Phones

When it comes to a comfortable viewing experience combined with relatively low power usage, larger tablets will work much better than smart phones. That being said, in a “something is better than nothing” or a vital tool for your EDC, few things can rival a good quality unlocked smart phone.

While I recommend a 10” tablet for bug out gear, a 5” smart phone is truly  more than enough for EDC. Not only a phone this size fit easily into a purse or backpack, it is even easier to power than a larger tablet.

They also work well for reading a range of documents and will give you a good sized window for viewing videos. You can also hook up a folding keyboard and be able to carry out a number of tasks that would be difficult using the screen keyboard.

The Challenge on Providing a Steady Source of Power

Today, the vast majority of computers have sub par power supplies that make them more susceptible than ever to fluctuations in power coming into the system.

As our electric grid continues to crumble, rolling blackouts, brownouts, and line voltage fluctuations caused by excess usage during peak hours will shorten the life cycle of many computers. If you are generating your own power, it is just as important to make sure you know how to keep the current going into your computer as steady as possible.

There are some things you can do now, as well as consider when building a power system that will help you get the most out of every computer that you own. CLICK HERE to subscribe to Survivopedia’s newsletter and get the free report on how to take your computer off grid.

Understanding the Impact of Utilization

No discussion about preparing your computer hardware for off gridding would be complete without at least touching on the resource cost involved in each program that you run on the system. For example, if you have a simple word processor program with no fancy graphics, it will take up far less processor and memory resources than one that has funny critters dancing around all over the place.

Apps that automatically play videos or programs that automatically play music also shorten the hardware life of your computer. Therefore, when it comes to choosing the best computer for your off grid or prepping needs, it is always important to study benchmark tests and hardware longevity tests under certain loads.

Once again, you will find some of the best and most accurate information in the gaming forums.

Important Parts to Keep On hand

For each device in your EDC, bug out bag, or other location, there are some important parts that can help double or even triple the useful lifespan of your computer. Even if you lose some functionality, the main parts should still work for 2 – 3 decades on desktop units, and up to 10 years on laptops, tablets, and smart phones.

  • Start off by buying all of your devices brand new and with the maximum warranty available. If something breaks down during the warranty period, let the manufacturer or repair center take care of the problem.
  • Buy at least 3 to 5 non-functioning devices that are compatible with the make and model of each device. Usually, you can pick these units up for around 10 to 20% of the cost of a brand new device. You can choose different manufacturers as long as the parts are fully interchangeable with your device. You will use these devices to learn how to make repairs, and also for spare parts if something breaks down on your main device.
  • Since RAM chips take the most abuse on any computer system, keep a few spare ones on hand.
  • Have at least one extra power supply for desktop units. Unlike other parts of the system, you should never open up the case on the power supply unless you have a good bit of experience working with electronic devices. Never forget that the capacitors inside these power supplies may not be fully discharged, and that touching them or a live circuit can cause death or severe injury.
  • Keep at least 2 USB hubs handy that also have the capacity to power any device you hook up to them. When connecting devices to the USB ports on your computer, try to never at least one pair of ports.

What Happens When the Battery Dies?

If you have been thinking about using a smart phone or tablet as a place to store important survival information, you may hesitate because you know that the battery can easily be ruined by over charging, or that it will wear out sooner rather than later.

While some devices will continue to work while the battery is “charging”, others will not. If you have a device that will not work while charging, you will need to remove the battery and apply current directly to the device.

In this scenario, you must know how to keep the voltage and amperage as stable as possible before they reach the device. You can make your own controllers for this purpose then hook them up to solar panels or anything else that you will be using as a power source.

Just remember that you power controller may also need to go safely from AC to DC current as well as match the voltage and amperage needs of the device. If you aren’t sure how much power to provide for laptops, tablets, or smart phones, just go by what the battery is rated for.

Video first seen on PrepareForTheUnexpected.

Basic Toolkit

It will not be of much use to have plenty of parts on hand, and then no way to install them or make good use of them. Here are the most essential tools you will need for building computers or making repairs:

  • chip extractors for chips that are installed in sockets
  • high heat conducting gel
  • anti static grounding strap
  • precision and larger size screwdriver kit
  • magnifying glass
  • low wattage solder iron, solder, and flux suitable for computer parts
  • desoldering bulb
  • pliers and wrenches
  • wire cutters
  • anti-static bags and mats for placing boards on while you are working
  • multi meter, port testers, and digital logic probe

If you become especially proficient at scavenging and rebuilding electronics parts, it may be to your advantage to include a copper board etching kit. You can use these to make new circuit boards in a time of need.

Scavenging and Repair Skills

If you take good care of your devices, they may last for several years without need for repair. Once they break down, however, you will need to put your toolkit and stored parts to use. Here are some basic scavenging and repair skills that you can use to fix your own devices, or trade as service with others:

  • understand hardware part numbers so that you know which parts are compatible across different manufacturers
  • be able to solder and desolder chips or other parts without damaging the parts
  • know how to diagnose problems and figure out the best way to solve them
  • how to recognize which parts (example what a melted down chip looks like) need to be replaced or repaired
  • how to use software diagnostics, driver programs,  and BIOS programs to resolve problems
  • how to find viable parts in a junk yard or other locations where discarded electronics may be found.

Video first seen on The Off Grid Family.

Where to Get More Information and Training

Overall, you will find it easiest and cheapest to build and test your skills on desktop computers. If you go to a flea market or do some research online, you can easily pick up dozens of obsolete motherboards, CPUs, power supplies, and just about anything else for a few dollars.

Start off by trying to build a complete and functioning system. This will give you plenty of practice with identifying basic parts and help you overcome any hesitance you may have in working with computer parts.

While you are exploring these parts, take a course on basic electronics and then one on computer hardware. You can also find plenty of good books on this subject. In total, you should spend about 4 months on this part of your skill development.

Once you master desktop computers, you can go ahead and choose the parts for, and build your own system. If you do not want to build a desktop unit, then go ahead and start working on building your stockpile of laptops, tablets, and smart phones.

You can always practice your skills on non-working units as well as get to know more about working with smaller devices that require a good bit more patience and care.  If you develop a particular interest in these smaller devices, it will be to your advantage to take courses on how to repair them.

Without a question, the first time you bypass a battery during a major crisis or repair a failing laptop monitor you will see why these skills are every bit as important as anything else you may be learning and practicing for a time of need.


This Article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Prep Blog Review: How To Generate Power Off-Grid

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Generate Power Off-grid

America’s power grid is ancient and in an advanced state of decay. The modern technology allows us to adopt a more eco-friendly attitude regarding energy and also to save money and become more independent and self-sustained.

After an EMP, you will have to know how to use natural resources – sun, wind, water, wood – to produce your own electricity. So, why not starting preparing right now?

For this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered some useful posts on this topic.

  1. How Future Technology Impacts Energy Saving

“The technology of the future that will allow for a more eco-friendly relationship with our environment is rapidly approaching. In order to better understand the impact of these technologies, we have outlined them into two distinct areas: saving at home, and saving on the road.

It was reported that there has been a 44% increase in primary energy consumption across the globe over the past 16 years (statista.com). As such, we are not likely going to make a drastic departure from our behavior of having high-powered homes and frequent use of transportation.

These technologies will allow us to curb energy usage without having to alter our accustomed style of living.”

Energy Technology

Read more on Save On Energy.

  1. Reasons Why Every Household Must Have A Backup Generator

black-out-300x200“In the recent past, we’ve witnessed extreme weather-related calamities that have caused immense destruction regarding property damage and loss of human lives.

Scientists are warning that massive disasters are not only currently occurring at an increased rate but also increasing in magnitude. To ensure your family stays safe all the time, you must invest in a good electric generator.

An electric generator, other than supporting your lighting systems, will support important appliances in your home, among very many other functions. Loss of electric power brings about many difficulties to homes, more so, households with persons with disabilities.

A generator provides an exceptional way of cautioning your family members against sudden lose electricity.”

Read more on Dave’s Homestead.

  1. Do You Know Why Your Emergency Generator Won’t Start in the Winter?Power Generator

“So, you’ve been diligent about starting your generator on a regular basis, you’ve kept fuel stabilizer in the tank, and then one cold winter day you go out to fire up your generator and it just won’t start.

You might be wondering what you did wrong so let me take a minute and explain what might be going on.

During the 8 plus years that our family lived off the grid our only source of electricity was a generator. Starting certain types of generators in the winter can be a real bear at times.”

Read more on Preppers Illustrated.

  1. Which Batteries Are Best for Survival Situation?

“When it comes to most survival situations, batteries are often overlooked. Too many people assume that all they need to do is make sure their battery operated survival gear is ready to go with new alkaline batteries and that they have a fresh pack of spares. This is an unfortunate assumption!

There are five primary battery sizes in the United States: D, C, AA, AAA and 9 volt. Most batteries fall into three categories: alkaline, lithium and nickel.”


Read more on Ask a Prepper.

  1. Relax and Enjoy the Next Power Outage

power-outage“For the past few years, Survival Life has shared valuable information with readers on how to prepare for and survive a major power grid collapse.

The number of power outages continues to grow, and people shake their fingers at the government and say, “Shame, shame”—blaming elected or appointed government officials—for not fixing the shaky electrical grid.

Those experiencing loss of electrical power are quick to condemn utility companies for not preventing these outages, but this may not be warranted.

The federal and state governments have known about these risks for decades, but they are slow to act. Utility companies can’t afford to rip out and replace expensive power lines, substations, and power generation plants.”

Read more on Survival Life.


This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Help – It’s Illegal to Live Off-Grid!

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Living Off-grid illegal

It seems like every politician spouts rhetoric about how they support sustainability and promote the use of clean energy, but it’s mostly bunk. In fact, it’s illegal in some states, such as Florida, to live off the power grid.

Even if you have enough solar or wind juice to run indefinitely, you are still required by law to be connected to the power grid and to pay your electric bill, even if you don’t use a single iota of power from the utilities company.

Your home must also be attached to an approved sewer and a clean supply of water, but this is often fairly easy to work around. It’s the power that gets you.

Now, just to be clear, it’s not illegal to power your house with solar panels or use your own water filtration system or composting toilets; it’s just that you still have to pay the money to Big Utilities, too. Any way that you look at it, it rubs. At best, you’re paying money you don’t need to spend. At worst, you’re chained to the electricity grid whether you want to be or not.

We’ve recently had a question asked of us by one of you, dear readers:

How can you live off the grid if it’s illegal in Florida? Can you homestead and still go unnoticed? How can you do it and still stay safe?

I have an answer to these questions, but they’re not exactly ideal. First, do your thing. If you want to run your house off of solar panels, then by all means, do so!

If you want to use rainwater and a filtration system to meet your water needs? OK, what are you waiting for?

Just Because You Are Connected, Doesn’t Mean You Have to Use It

The laws only say that you have to be connected; not that you have to use it. For the most part, there’s no reason that you can’t homestead if you live in a state that requires this. Yes, it’s true that you’re not allowed to have a permanent dwelling that isn’t attached to the grid, and many city regulations disallow the ownership of livestock in city limits.

Right now, unless you’re willing to buck the system (I believe somebody should), you’re just going to have to suck it up and do it, as long as you want to live on the right side of the law. You can always have the electricity connected, then not pay the bill, but if you do, it’s legal for them to revoke your certificate of occupancy.

In essence, these regulations are simply devices used to protect Big Utilities under the guise of consumer protection. As usual, they know better than you what’s best for you.

Unfortunately, there was a case a few years ago that was used over and over again to support this fact, but the bottom line is that I lived in that city at that exact time, and it wasn’t her right to live off-grid that was what got her shut down.

You have to live in a manner that promotes health and well-being. In other words, you have to have clean water and you can’t just dump your sewer down the drain, which is what was going on in that situation.

But some misguided, misinformed people got ahold of pieces of information and ran with it before they had the whole story. It didn’t do anything to help the cause other than just make people look dumb by those who know what really went down.

Still, it’s true that, by law, you have to be hooked to power and have a clean supply of water and a sanitary waste disposal method if you follow the rules in Florida.

Now that you know that you basically have no legal rights when it comes to refusing public utilities, let’s look at what you can do within the scope of the law. You always have the option of saying the hell with the laws, but do that at your risk.

Living off the grid

Trust me – if you do decide to go off-grid in Florida, or anywhere else you aren’t allowed to free yourself of the strong-arming, you won’t be alone. Many people in Florida live successfully off the grid – they just do it right so that they don’t get caught. They don’t go pouring their waste down public sewers.

My advice? Keep your house hooked up, but have your off-grid methods in use. Don’t let them tell you that you can’t use them because you can. Unfortunately, you’ll still have a nominal bill for the pleasure of looking at the wiring at the end of the month, but you won’t have the same expense as if you’d use it.

I’m not going to say “living off-grid” because that’s not legal, but you can certainly live independently and sustainably.

If you have property that’s out of the way and you’ve decided to say to hell with the law and do as you please, you may want to build an outhouse, collect rainwater and filter it properly to meet your drinking, cooking, and hygiene needs, and find a way to stay cool or warm. Many choose solar panels to meet that need.

One Step Further

The next thing that you need to do in order to successfully live off-grid is to fight the laws that restrict you.

For example, there’s a proposed Amendment to our constitution that supposedly advances the use of solar power, but in reality, it’s setting the Big Utilities up to continue their monopoly on power in our state. Start by voting NO on 1, and on any other proposed law changes that take more of our rights and give more power to the government or Big Utilities/Pharma.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that you own your life. If you want to live off the grid completely and risk getting caught, then do so. If you want to work within the parameters of the law and pay a few bucks per month for utilities that you don’t use, then go for it.

Regardless of what decision you make, make it for the best interest of yourself and those you love, because it’s a sure bet that you’re the only one who will.

There will come a time when you will face severe environments without power, water, fuel or means to buy food. The only way to survive is to learn how to live independently and sustainably.


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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EMP Survival: Is Your Home Ready For The Blackout?

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EMP Survival

Any prepper knows “the rule of three”, but I bet most of them think about applying it only in a bug out situation. Well, let me tell you what I think: in case of an EMP, you need a safe and warm shelter, clean water to drink, and also proper meals to preserve your energy and temper for the hard times to come.

Now that you know that, think about how your home would resist to an EMP blast. Would you have enough heat and food, and would your OPSEC be the same when left in the dark?

Let’s address these questions below, and find that answers that might save you and your family in case of an EMP!

How Do You Know it Was an EMP Strike?

There is at least one way to get an easy answer. All you need to determine whether you are experiencing a regular power outage or an EMP are only three transistor AM/FM/ Shortwave radios.

Using three transistor AM/FM/Shortwave radios, an improvised Faraday cage and a simple SOP, you can determine whether you are experiencing a simple blackout or an EMP and if it is an EMP, whether it is geomagnetic or nuclear in nature.

There are a few steps to take in order to find out the answer, and you’ll find them detailed in our article Total Blackout: How To Tell If An EMP Has Happened.

Can I have a Faraday Home, Please? And a Garage, Too!

Most preppers already know that the basic EMP proof tool to protect your electric and electronic devices is a Faraday cage. They’ll definitely use it

Since a box is still not enough to protect everything that might get broken by an EMP (solar panels included), here comes the question about EMP-proofing bigger spaces and even a whole building.

Yes, it’s doable, but there is much more to take into account than having proper materials for the job.

“Quonset Huts have a steel skin, and steel is a conductor, so they must provide some shielding against EMP. Almost 200,000 of the buildings were manufactured for WWII, some are still in use by the military to this day and many others are still knocking around as surplus, so maybe this could be an inexpensive way to build a shielded home or retreat or some sort. But the subject of EMP is complex, and a building is a major investment. For most people, it would be a considerable waste of resources to erect a building that did not serve its intended purpose.”

Some people would think about turning a Quonset Hut into an EMP-shielded house, like the reader whose question was posted above, but, as our writer Cache Valley Prepper thinks, with this question the devil is in the details.

If you decide to give it a try, read his article about how to turn your Quonset Hut into an EMP-shielded home before renting a crane.

EMP Proof CarAs for your car, there is such thing as EMP proofing. If you decide to create a viable EMP proof car and you have the time, money, and patience to make the car roadworthy, then you can truly start your search for pre-’80’s cars in the local scrap and junk yards. You’ll find the hints to follow in our article EMP Survival: The Essential List For Your Car’s Top Systems.

Think twice when buying a new vehicle, as most of the new cars are vulnerable to an EMP strike. We have a list that might help you, if you read our article about Top 10 Vehicles For Your EMP Survival.

The last but not the least – your energy stockpile. Start small to build big: get pocket-sized solar power solutions first, then man-portable solar energy means, and finally, think about larger alternative energy solutions. Find a guide to help you out through the process in this article about building your energy stockpile.

Heating & Cooling

When talking about alternative sources of heating, there is much more to explain than one single article might cover. You could start your research reading this Survivopedia article on heating without electricity and follow the links within, then build small heating devices like this candle heater that our writer Carmela Tyrell has made.

Don’t give up cooking just because the power grid is down! Read our article about how to cook without electricity for the basics about cooking off-grid, and you can switch to unconventional methods like cooking on your car’s engine. Theresa Crouse wrote an article that you shouldn’t miss about how to use your car for cooking, which also includes a few recipes to try on the road. Literally.

We almost have winter at the door, so the first thought about in case of a blackout is losing the primary source of heat. This is common sense in October, but you would think the other way in July: you need cooling for you, and at least a part of your food too.

As EMP-proofing your air-conditioner might not be an easy project, you will probably turn to other cooling devices, as these low cost 5 projects you can DIY.


You think your running water won’t be affected in case of an EMP, but you might be deadly wrong. Tall buildings reliant on most types of booster pumps will lose water pressure past the bottom floors. Buildings with rooftop tanks have water until the tanks run dry.

Entire cities will lose water pressure forcing boil-water advisories into effect for any water that does make to you or that you manage to scrounge up. But without electricity, most households will be unable to boil water. Remember that the NE US blackout of 2003 left millions of Michigan residents without any water.

This is the moment you turn to your water reserves. Reusing grey water is a back-up, but remember that most of the systems require a power source to work properly. This is one of the aspects to take into account sooner than that, when you start building your energy stockpile.


Considering the current trend of integrating microelectronics technology into everything that we have in our home, including security devices and firearms (especially those integrating lasers), an EMP will likely change the elements of your defense. Then what should you do? The answer is also a two-parter.

Part 1: Train without technology before you train with technology, which means among others:

  • Learn to use a map and compass first, and then a GPS.
  • Learn to shoot with open sights first, then with a red dot.
  • Learn to shoot in low light with tritium night sights first, then with night vision.

Part 2: Go through your SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) from a post-HEMP paradigm. Walk through them step by step from imagining what would go wrong if a HEMP had occurred. It might mean

  • swapping a battery powered keypad lock for a mechanical one,
  • “down-grading” from an LED lamp assembly in your Surefire tactical flashlight to an incandescent lamp,
  • selecting an ASP baton over a Taser or practicing using a secondary technique after your primary fails, just like you practice failure-to-fire drills when you learn to defend yourself with a side arm.

Turn to off-grid home defense methods, like traps, defensive bushes or spooky pets that will keep the intruders out.

Our power grid is old and vulnerable, and a long term blackout – whatever its cause would be – could easily change our world in the worst possible way one can imagine. Prepare yourself and prepare your home for an EMP, and then you could survive any type of disaster!

EMPCover2This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia.

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10 Ways To Harness Wind Power

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10 Ways To Harness Wind Power

Even though our society may be on the verge of collapse, the increased interest in wind power has resulted in some amazing new designs. Rather than build a wind turbine using conventional blade patterns, you can take advantage of these designs and generate more electricity with less effort.

No matter whether you are going to remain in your current location, build a homestead, or bug out to a prepper community, each of these designs can be built by individuals and small groups.

Modify the Blade Shape to Reduce Drag

Many people choose wind power over solar because it is easier to build a functional wind turbine from junk materials. It is also easier to maintain wind turbines and replace parts as needed. As you may be aware, solar panels require rare earth metals, and have electronic circuitry that can wear and be ruined easily.

A number of studies also reveal that generating power from the wind is more efficient at both the consumer and commercial power generation levels.

On the other hand, if you use a conventional blade system, you may run into several problems that reduce efficiency and create a situation where you may not be able to generate enough electricity to meet your needs.

Just because the blades on a conventional turbine move when the wind blows, that does not mean they are working as efficiently as possible. Depending on the shape of the blade, one of three things can happen:

  • If the blade is shaped just right for the wind speed and direction, there will be minimal drag on the blades, and no wind will get past without being converted into lift. As a general rule of thumb, thin, curved blades work better than wider ones.
  • If the wind speed is too fast for the blade shape, too much drag will be created. The faster the blade spins, the more disruption in air current there will be around the blade. Essentially, a blade that may only be 2 feet across and 10 feet long will repel the wind as if the blade were 4 or 5 feet across and 15 – 20 feet longer.

By changing the curve of the blade to match faster wind speeds, the drag will be reduced so that more wind moves towards the blades.

  • If the wind speed is too slow, wind that could be used to turn the blades will simply pass through instead of being used. Typically, blades that are curved for high speed winds will not work well in lower speed winds because there are no disrupted wind currents or a blade to capture the wind and harness it to lift the blades.

Some of these problems can be reduced by making changes to the blade shape. For example, the “Whale Power” blade design was developed after observing that Humpback Whales also have a problem with managing drag and stalling depending on the angle they move their fins at.

In order to get better lift at more severe fin angles, humpback whales have small, rounded nodules, or tubercles on their fins that help reduce drag while providing more surface area at the same time.

The “Whale Power” blade design basically has a wavy edge on the blade that does the same thing. Wind tunnel tests reveal that these blades can be used at wind speeds up to 40% lower than conventional blades.

Considering the number of polymers and other lightweight materials on the market these days, it is entirely possible for preppers to make their own wavy blade systems rather than wait for them to become available for sale to consumers.

Needless to say, if you already have a wind turbine and can gain access to the blades. Cutting a few waves into the edge might make it more efficient. In the video bellow you will find an interesting comparison between a humpback whale and a wind turbine.

Video first seen on WIRED.

Wind Lenses Redirect Wind Back to Conventional Blade Designs

Of all the innovations in wind turbines, the Wind Lens from Japan is one of my favorites. Basically, the lens uses 3 to 5 narrow blades with a circular band that goes all the way around the blades. The band, or “lens” is oriented so that wind escaping from the blades gets directed back to them. It is estimated that this simple innovation leads to 3 times the power output.

Here are some other advantages to building a Wind Lens:

  • Smaller blade systems will produce power from lower wind speeds.
  • Conventional wind turbines can be very noisy. If you live near one, the noise can make you feel very sick. The Wind Lens produces much less sound, and therefore can be installed in cities or other areas where you may not be able to put up a conventional wind turbine.
  • Unlike conventional wind turbines, it is very easy to keep birds from flying into the blades. Just put a net or cage around the lens and the birds will not be able to reach it. Even if you are only building a small wind turbine for personal use on a homestead, protecting birds that are part of the food chain you rely on will be very important.
  • Since the wind lens is more efficient than conventional systems, you may be able to mount them on a smaller tower, or even a rooftop. While the wind lens may not work as well as some other systems at ground level, you can still utilize smaller lenses to capture weaker air flow at lower levels.

This is especially important to consider if you cannot climb extensively, or have concerns about maintaining wind turbines mounted on taller towers.

If you have a wind turbine in operation right now, or plan on building one, you may want to see about putting a lens around it to see if you also notice an improvement in efficiency. Here is an example.

Video first seen on metal01234567890.

Capture Wind From All Directions

Another problem with conventional wind turbines is that they only work at optimal levels when the wind hits them from a specific direction. If the wind turbine is caught in a downdraft, or the wind comes in gusts, the blades may turn slower, or not at all.

The QR5, or Quiet Revolution 5, makes use of helical blades that are mounted on a vertical axis. No matter what direction the wind is coming form, these ultra curved blades will capture it and cause the turbine to spin.

Even though the helical wind turbines have been around for some time, they are mostly still used for generating commercial electricity in the UK.

You can still study the basic shape and see about building the basic blade shape for home use. As with many new designs, you will probably find that polymers or light metals will be the most useful.

Video first seen on Rubén Gutiérrez

2 Vertical Turbine Designs

When you feel a breeze or wind moving through, you may be led to think that horizontal wind capture systems will work best. Unfortunately, the vast majority of horizontal systems present an “obstacle” to the wind instead of working with it to produce the greatest amount of power.

Even though vertical wind turbines still have some drag, they are far more efficient at capturing the wind and also making the most use of it. Here are 2 designs that you may want to consider for your power generating needs:

Windspire – unlike several other wind turbines discussed in this article, the Windspire is available for home use in the United States. It is an industry leader that is capturing attention because of it’s small size and capacity to generate electricity with wind speeds as low as 12 mph.

Aside from that, the Windspire is so quiet, it can be installed just about anywhere. No matter whether you live in a city, town, or miles away from other people, this wind turbine is quiet enough to put right next to buildings without causing health problems associated with excess sound.

The Windspire is basically a cylinder shaped turbine with two vertical rails connected to a central axis. Aerofoils connect from the axis to the two vertical rails, plus two circles at the top and bottom. If you purchase one directly from the manufacturer, it will be made of metal alloys and special coated surfaces.

Surprisingly, these turbines are must sturdier than they look. They can withstand wind speeds up to 105 miles per hour. Since they have already been installed in many different climates across the nation and around the world, it is also safe to say they can easily tolerate a wide range of temperature and moisture conditions.

If you are going to spend money on a pre-manufactured turbine, or get financing for one, you will find that the Windspire is efficient enough and tested enough to be worth the extra expense.

Video first seen on www.windspireenergy.com

WePower – This wind turbine looks a little like the Windspire in the sense that the system is mounted on a vertical axis. The main difference is that instead of narrow vertical bars and aerofoils extending from the axis, WePower has curved blades mounted between two disks. It is well suited to city and town settings, and can also be used in less populated settings.

WePower is quieter than many other wind turbines on the market, and it is also safe for birds and other flying creatures. As an added bonus, if you purchase a unit from the manufacturer, it comes set up with everything you need to connect it to the commercial energy grid.

If you are interested in making money on wind power by producing your own electricity, this system may be one of the best on the market for your needs.

Even though WePower is also growing in popularity with off gridders, do not forget that it is only guaranteed to last for 20 years (according to the manufacturer). If you are interested in long term disaster prepping, this system may work for some time, but you may have to replace it sooner than later.

That being said, if you take the time to learn how it works, then you may also find ways to make your own models or repair existing equipment.

Video first seen on WePOWER

Tesla Turbines

When I made my first Tesla Turbine, I found that it worked best with running water. With improvements in materials and inlet design, the Tesla Turbine also works very well with air. Here are a few advantages to using a Tesla Turbine as a wind turbine:

  • Virtually indestructible – unlike other turbines, the Tesla Turbine has very little internal friction that would wear out bearings and other parts.
  • You can build Tesla Turbines of all sizes from many different materials.
  • You will not need a motor for generating electricity. Just add some magnets to one disk and then put a coil of wire nearby. Aside from being cheaper, you will never need to worry about replacing a motor.
  • Depending on how you build the air inlet, the Tesla Turbine can be used in both high and low speed winds. Just remember that the inlet system will look something like a funnel in the sense that it will be larger in the capture area, and then get to a smaller size near the turbine in order to concentrate the wind as much as possible.
  • Of all the wind turbines listed in this article, the Tesla Turbine is one of two that can be used in an indoor setting. These turbines are very quiet and do not require poles for mounting. You can run them from drafts coming in from a window, or mount them on the roof much as you would an antenna. Because of their small size, capacity to be used at near ground level, and lack of noise, it should be possible to use them in cities as well as other areas where conventional wind turbines are not allowed.

Since the moving parts of the Tesla Turbine are housed in a casing, you will also never have to worry about birds or other animals getting sucked into the blades. Just be sure to put a screen over the wind collector so that animals don’t get sucked into it.

  • As you may recall, Tesla Turbines also release “exhaust” in the form of whatever propelled them (air or water) exiting the center region. You can easily build a tube to catch this exhaust and then feed it right back into the turbine intake for greater efficiency.
  • In most cases, people working with Tesla Turbines have too much spinning to deal with as opposed to too little!

Oscillating Membranes

It is fair to say that if you are going to generate enough electricity for a homestead, or even a conventional household, it will take some time and money to build or purchase large enough devices. Even if you decide to build Tesla Turbine units, it can take some time to get all the modules built.

That all being said, if you are in an emergency situation and need to scavenge in order to generate small amounts of power, a device that uses oscillating membranes, or Wind Belt may be of use.

Basically, the Wind Belt makes use of a thin strip of material mounted in such a way that the material will vibrate if a breeze passes it. As the material vibrates or “oscillates”, it pushes magnets up and down located on each side of the belt. These magnets pass through coils of magnets as they move, which generates electricity.

Systems like this are being used in third world countries to provide lighting and other basic needs in rural areas where other systems are not available. The Wind Belt will power LED lights, and can also be used to charge small batteries. They cost as little as $5.00 to build and will work with wind speeds as low as 10 mph.

You can build your own Wind Belt to see how they work, and then store away the materials to make more devices as needed.

If you have little more than a magnet, a few coils of wire, and an old VCR tape, you can make a Wind Belt. Thus, they are ideal for both short term and long term crisis situations for powering low drain devices. Since they can run on breezes from a window, and will not harm birds or other animals, they can be used just about anywhere. Unfortunately, larger sized devices may be a bit noisy.

You can easily build a Wind Belt, and also innovate on the design to produce more electricity. For example, you can try using a frame that will accommodate multiple strips, or membranes. From there, simply connect more magnets and coils, then combine their power.

You can also experiment with different membrane lengths to come up with more optimal sizes. Something that would be about the size of a small car radiator may just give you enough power to run small camping equipment gear.

Video first seen on Vic Aguilar aka UpBeatnik

Nautilus Shell Wind Turbines

There is no such thing as a device that generates absolutely no noise while it is running. Unfortunately, advancements in wind power have often been halted because conventional wind turbines make so much noise.

Even though there have been many innovations that reduce sound to a level where wind turbines can be used in cities and towns, few match the quietness of nautilus style shell turbines. These designs are also far more efficient than conventional turbines and easily match or exceed other designs listed in this article.

Nautilus style wind turbines were invented in Holland by a company called The Archimedes. As you may be aware, the common Nautilus shell creates a perfect spiral that is found in just about every part of nature.

When it comes to capturing wind power, this design has very little drag and will spin in even slight breezes. Regardless of where the wind is coming from, it moves easily along the curved blades and causes them to spin. The shell system can also be mounted in such a way that it will turn and bend in order to capture wind from every direction with ease.

Unlike other systems, this design does not require motors or computers to find the optimal direction. It moves much like a wind vane and easily finds the optimal direction for generating power.


Video first seen on Windvoordeel

Vortex Bladeless Wind Turbine

If you understand how a Dyson Vacuum Cleaner with a wind tunnel works, then you have the basics of how the Vortex Bladeless Wind Turbine works. Basically, this is a vertical wind turbine that captures wind that moves along a spiral path, or vortex until it reaches the bottom.

No matter what direction the wind comes in from, it is optimized by the spiral so that it is just right for spinning the motor at the bottom. Since the vortex column also tilts with the wind, the shaking motion helps optimize the wind power.

Even though this wind turbine works well as designed, you might want to try using it to drive a Tesla Turbine instead. This will give you all the advantages of concentrating and optimizing the wind flow and also the benefits of not needing a motor to generate electricity.

You may also want to use the vortex wind turbine with oscillating membranes or other devices that can replace the motor assembly.

Video first seen on Vortex Bladeless

Nano or Tiny Wind Turbine

Consider that tiny drops of rain in enough quantity can create a flood, while snowflakes can create blizzard and piles of snow that reach several feet in height. No matter how small some things may be, they can amount to huge things if assembled correctly. Nano Wind Turbines take that basic idea and apply it to capturing wind.

Basically the “Nano Vent Skin” is a fabric made up of tiny turbines that look similar to the QR 5. As these tiny turbines spin, they generate small amounts of electricity that can be pooled together to run all kinds of devices.

Perhaps best of all, a breeze from cars passing by, or just about anything else will set these tiny turbines in motion. The fabric can be mounted on window shades, building walls, or even to your own clothes. If you are interested in wind turbines that operate primarily at ground level, this design or modifications of it may be the ones you will be best served by focusing on.

As innovative as this design is, you will not find it available for sale to consumers. In addition, nano technologies are still very much in their infancy. That being said, if you study the orientation of the wind turbines and their axis carefully, you may be able to build a grid of 1” turbines that will generate electricity with ease.

Instead of using a QR5 helical design, you may also want to try the Nautilus shell design to see if it improves efficiency.

Video first seen on aotegui

A Note About Power Storage

It should be noted that no power generation system is truly complete unless you can store the power and produce an even flow of current. While these topics are beyond the scope of this article, do not forget to keep up to date on innovations such as the cotton battery and other systems that may work better and last longer than rechargeable batteries currently on the market.

If you can find a battery system that you can build for yourself from scavenged parts, or with a minimal amount of effort, you should also know how to integrate those batteries into a more conventional system.

If you have been thinking for using wind power for emergency and long term survival needs, you may also be spending most of your time learning how to optimize, build, and maintain conventional wind turbine systems.

As you can see, focusing on these old, outdated systems will more than likely require building systems that are at least twice the size, break down easier, and will not last as long as some of the newer innovations emerging in this field.

Take some time now to look at some of the vertical, helical, and shell designs to see which ones will best suit your needs. At the very least, you can try building small models to see if they offer an advantage to something you may have been planning to build or buy.

In an upcoming EMP disaster, knowledge is power. Click the banner bellow to find out more about how to build your own survival sources of electricity and much more!


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 









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Surviving Blackout: 12 Survival Alternatives To Candles

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Survival Candles Alternatives

The electric is out and you’re digging frantically through the drawer trying to find the candles. Or maybe you’ve already used all of your candles and still need alternative light.

Well, the good news is that you have plenty of options and most of these are readily available in most homes.

Before we talk about makeshift candles, we need to talk about wicks and containers for a minute.

If you don’t have any candle wicks at home, you can make one using:

  • A shoestring with the plastic end cut off (which, by the way, is called an aglet!)
  • A strip of cotton cloth from a shirt, towel, sock, etc.
  • A piece of rope from a mop
  • Para cord
  • Candle wicks, which can be bought online individually or by the roll or at craft store.

Unless you’re using actual candle wicks that aren’t coated in wax, prime the wick by dipping it into whatever you’re using as a candle. Good containers include:

  • Mason jars
  • Sturdy used food jars
  • Tin vegetable/fruit cans
  • Sea shells
  • Empty tuna cans
  • Altoids tins
  • Teacups/coffee cups
  • Metal lids
  • Aluminum foil shaped into a cup/bowl
  • Beer/soda cans
  • Birch bark


Crayons: those magical wax sticks that allow your 4-year-old to express his artistic side on your wall. Well guess what? They’re flammable and can serve as a candle in a pinch. Granted, you won’t get much light from a single crayon, but it’s better than nothing and one crayon will burn up to 30 minutes.

Before you light the tip, heat the bottom a little bit, then stick it to a solid surface. Put it on something that you don’t mind getting wax on. Then all you need to do is light the tip.

You can also create a longer-burning candle by taping 3 crayons together around a wick, then lighting a wick, or go big and make a pillar candle in the same manner using as many crayons as you want, along with a couple extra wicks.

Video first seen on DaveHax.


A single can of Crisco can light your nights for a month. That’s right – just one can will burn for 8 hours a day for a month. Just stick a wick down the center of it, push the Crisco back around it, and light it.

If you’d like more light, put more than one wick in it. If you want to spread the light around into different rooms, put some Crisco and a wick in a few smaller containers such as jars or cans.

Bacon Grease

Do you keep a cup of bacon grease in the fridge? I still do! If the lights go out and you don’t have candles, stick a wick down the center of your bacon grease just like you would with Crisco. If you don’t have bacon grease, don’t worry!

If you have bacon in the fridge, you need to use it before it goes bad anyway. Pull off the fatty pieces and wrap it around a wick, put it in a container, and you have a candle. Plus … it smells like bacon!

Canned Fish

Cans of tuna, salmon and sardines, which we’ve already suggested that you stockpile, are some of the canned foods that are packed in oil. Now remember: some are packed in water, which is what many people prefer, so this idea won’t work – the meat has to be packed in oil.

Either drain the oil out of the meat into another container, or just poke a hole in the top of the can, push the wick in, and burn off the oil. Don’t forget to prime the wick. The meat is still edible after you burn the oil out of it. With sardines that you eat right out of the can, you can just eat them and then put a wick in the oil.

Cooking Oil

Just about any cooking oil – vegetable, corn, olive, coconut – will work as fuel for a candle. Pour it into a jar or can (a jar works better because you can put a lid on it and poke a hole in it for the wick. If you use a can, just hold the wick up with a clothes pin or something. It’s doubly important that you prime the wick.


Yup, you heard it. Cut a wedge of butter in half, stand it on end on a plate, and stick a wick in it. You’ll get about an hour per tablespoon, which means 8 hours per stick. If you’ve canned butter as we’ve discussed here, you have an instant candle just by adding a wick.

Video first seen on Grant Thompson – “The King of Random”.


Lard was actually what was originally used to make lamp oil and candles, so it’s tried and tested. The reason that I mention it separately from Crisco is because this is something that you can make at home. If you’ve already canned it, just pop the top, stick a wick in it, and you have a candle. You can also divide it into smaller containers to divide between rooms.

Cheese Wax

If you’ve turned some of your extra milk into stored cheese, or bought waxed-cheese, then use the wax off your cheese – or any extra wax that you have stored back – to make a candle. Shape the wax around the wick and you have an instant candle. The more wax you use, the bigger the candle.

Petroleum Jelly

We all know that cotton swabs dipped in petroleum jelly make great fire starters. It makes an excellent candle replacement, too. It’s not a good idea to use the plastic container that it comes in, so dip it out into another container, add a wick, and you’ve got a candle.

You can also dip a cotton ball into the Vaseline, then fold it up into foil. Cut a small x in the foil, pull a bit of the cotton swab through, and light it. It will burn for about 30 minutes.

Old Candles

Chances are good that you have candles that you’ve burned down, but didn’t use all the wax. Get that out of the jars by warming up the jar or gently using a butter knife to crack it into pieces to get it out of the old containers.

Melt the wax together. Place a wick with a weight on it, either the little piece of metal if it came with it, or even a little rock so that it stays in the bottom, then carefully pour the wax in. Let it set and you’ve got a brand new candle.

Lip Balm

These are nearly always made from either petroleum or from natural oils such as coconut oil or jojoba oil, all of which are flammable. Especially if you buy the little tins of lip balm, you’ve already got your own little candle, just add wick. If it’s in a plastic tube, just roll it clear up and squish it into a container that you can burn it in and add a wick.

Bonus Cooking Candles

This is a great way to warm up a can of soup or even cook something. It’s like a home-made Sterno, sort of. Use a tuna can, a sardine can, or some other short metal container. Cut a strip of cardboard that is as wide as the can is high. Wrap or fold it so that it fits tightly into the container. Pour wax or enough oil to saturate the cardboard over the cardboard and light it. You have a mini-stove!

Make a Candle Out of an Orange

You don’t even need a wick for this one! Cut the orange in half and clean out the pulp, leaving the center pith. Fill the peel with wax or oil and you have a candle!

So what’s the lesson of the day? Be creative and keep multipurpose items in your stockpile! Can you think of anything else that will work as a makeshift candle? If so, please share it with us in the comments section below.

And be prepared to survive an EMP! Click the banner bellow and prepare yourself for this disaster scenario before it happens.


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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The Basic Study Guide For Your EMP Survival

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EMP is an important hazard to prepare for. It has the potential to disrupt critical infrastructure we depend on to sustain life, causing cascading effects of long duration over great areas.

EMP is not the only emergency that mankind should prepare for, but it is one of a handful of hazards that virtually everyone is enormously exposed to.

There is so much to do, and so little time. It’s easy to see why some of our readers ask themselves where to start from. 

“I am very overwhelmed with trying to start prepping, especially for an EMP. I have studies what kind of food and seed to stock up on. I’ve read all the different scenarios that could cause an EMP survival situation. I just do not know how or where to start.”

David, from Ohio

Here’s where I’ll point you in the right direction!

Why Most Preppers Fail to Adequately Prepare for EMP

Most preppers do not make emergency preparations out of fear for some singular threat to the exclusion of all others as the negative “Doomsday Prepper” Hollywood-media stereotype would suggest, so there is no need to point out to most of you that EMP survival should be one aspect of a more comprehensive emergency plan.

Unfortunately, I have noticed that many otherwise responsible preppers are deficient in their EMP preparedness. I was curious as to why people would procrastinate EMP survival preparations in favor of preparing for smaller threats that they were less exposed to. Reasons varied, but here are some of the most common that I found:

  • Do not understand EMP well enough to get started.
  • Don’t know what to do.
  • Are unsure if EMP is really a threat at all.
  • Have read conflicting information and are not sure which to believe.
  • Don’t know how much it will cost.
  • Seems daunting.
  • Not convenient. There are easier things that can be done in other areas.

The trend was easy to spot. A general lack of understanding of EMP caused people move on to other tasks. I understand. EMP is a technical topic and the prospect of studying it is not appealing to everyone. The cure for this deficiency is also readily apparent.

If these people truly understood the magnitude of their exposure to EMP and what to do to fix it, I suspect that they would have chosen to prepare. People tend to think they fail because they lack willpower, when they usually really fail before they get to a test of will.

Where these survivalists actually failed was in their failure to sufficiently dedicate themselves to their cause. In this case, they failed to understand the risk (EMP) and their exposure to that risk. Had they really understood, EMP preparedness would been the natural thing to do. Preparing would be a mere function of their vision as opposed to a test of willpower.

As the issue of being unsure which information on EMP is correct and which is incorrect, sufficient study would eventually sort that out, but I’ll point you in the right direction so you don’t waste your time.

Basic Overview of EMP

If EMP is a new topic for you or you just want to start over at the beginning, this section will help you get your head around the subject. So here are a few sources you should start your study from.

National Geographic Video: Electronic Armageddon

You can watch it on YouTube or buy the DVD. If you are a visual learner, this video is a start.

Video first seen on High Frontier.

FutureScience, LLC has a page called A Basic Introduction to Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse which is a great article on the type of EMP that is caused by a high-altitude nuclear detonation.

The Need to Prepare for EMP

This section will help you commit yourself to the cause of preparing for EMP a little like the films in an old-school driver’s education class that showed you brains on the highway. If they watch enough of those, even teenagers will drive more carefully … at least for a while. So don’t forget to periodically re-commit yourself if you begin to lose motivation.

“One Second After” and “One Year After”

one-afterWilliam H. Forstchen wrote the NY Times Best Seller “One Second After”, which is a fictional one.

Forstchen wrote this novel to help ordinary people better understand the threat of EMP and what it would be like to experience a nuclear HEMP.

The book is a fictional account of a town’s struggles in the wake of a nuclear HEMP, and how the community overcomes many of the obstacle we might face in such a scenario.

The book was very well received and “One Year After” is the next book in the series. These books are help readers put EMP in context and demonstrate what could happen if we do nothing.

EMPact America Website and Newsletter

EMPact America is an organization attempting to enact legislation to harden USA’s critical infrastructure against EMP. EMPact America’s website has an article titled, “What Is Electromagnetic Pulse?” that gives a good overview of EMP. The EMPact America website and newsletter also have a great deal of information on the need to prepare for EMP.

Apocalypse Unknown and Electric Armageddon

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry has led the fight to strengthen critical US infrastructure after being handed the torch from Dr. William R. Graham, the USA’s foremost expert on the subject of EMP.

“Apocalypse Unknown” details this fight against government bureaucracy and the powerful energy lobby, which is afraid of additional regulation and resisting any attempt to harden the electrical grid. This is every bit as big a battle against junk science as oil companies’ argument that lead is good for you and big tobacco arguing that smoking is not harmful to health.

For a  deeper understanding of EMP, there is another book of the same author – Electric Armageddon

EMP Commission Reports

Congress created two EMP commissions to assess the threat of EMP to the nation’s critical infrastructure. The reports of these commissions are helpful in understanding this threat. Here’s the link to EMP Commission Reports on EMPact America Website, in case you want to read it.

US Government Accountability Office Critical Infrastructure Protection Report

This report from GAO on US critical infrastructure highlights the fact that only certain portions of government have any protection from EMP. Your elected officials feel that government communications infrastructure is critical, but it is not critical to keep the infrastructure running that keeps you alive.


HEMP Protection for Ground-Based C41 Facilities Performing Critical, Time-Urgent Missions Part 1 Fixed Facilities. This spec is useful in understanding and constructing Electromagnetic shielding.

Don White’s Books on EMP

Don White is writing a detailed series on EMP preparedness and is three books in so far. Some readers may find them a little dry, but if you are interested in good information on how to protect homes or solar installations, they are full of important information.


EMP Articles at Survivopedia by Cache Valley Prepper

I have written a number of useful articles for Survivopedia spanning a number of EMP-related topics, such as: how to tell if an EMP has happened and what type of EMP it is, vehicles, buildings, solar installations, weapons, and more.

The search brought of a couple of article on other topics that you can skip past, but the average prepper should find them useful and technically accurate. CLICK HERE to find the EMP articles by Cache Valley Prepper on Survivopedia website.

The Darkest Days – How to Survive an EMP Attack to the Grid

The last but not the least, there is “The Darkest Days” – Survivopedia’s EMP survival guide that packs secrets few preppers know, borrowed from the resilient Amish, to survive in the coming days.

Here’s one of the reviews that you could easily find about our EMP survival guide:

Video first seen on Survival Guide.

Is there any other good source of information about EMP preparedness that we missed? Do you have any tricks to share about surviving a blackout? Are you still looking for a better way to prepare for this disaster scenario?

EMPCover2This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

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Product Review: Solavore Sport Solar Oven

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As the popularity of solar power has increased, so have its alternative uses. One of these, is the solar oven. Designed to cook food, the solar oven works something like a crock-pot, slow cooking the food at low temperatures. This makes for tasty, tender meals, with plenty of time for the flavors of the food to combine.

I haven’t been all that impressed with most of the solar ovens that I’ve looked at. They are little better than what I can build myself. Believe me, if I’m going to buy something, it should be better than what I can do in my garage.

That’s where the Solavore Sport Solar Oven comes in. After reading about my experience with this oven you will want one for yourself, and the best news is that you can still grab it on a discount.

Are you ready?

Solavore Sport Solar Oven is the first solar oven I’ve used, which I can honestly say works better than what I’ve done myself. In fact, it works so much better, that it made me throw away my homemade oven and rethink how a solar oven should be made.

One of the biggest errors I’ve seen made in solar ovens, and yes, I’ve made it myself, is to make the entire thing reflective.

Solar ovens can be broken down into two separate parts, the oven itself and the reflectors. The reflectors obviously need to be reflective, but the oven doesn’t. Rather than try to reflect the sunlight onto the pot, the oven should convert that sunlight to heat, so that it can surround the pot with heat.

This is such a basic design concept that it surprises me more people don’t get it. But then, I didn’t get it myself before Solavore came around. Ovens are supposed to surround the food being cooked with heat, so it only make sense to have the oven box convert the light to heat. Besides, if the box reflects the light, it’s probably not going to reflect it onto the cooking pot anyway.

More than anything, the Solavore Sport is designed to convert sunlight to heat and it does that very well. The oven box itself is lined with flat black-painted aluminum, so that it can convert as much light to heat as possible. But then, it works to hold that heat in. The oven box is insulated (an R-value of 6.5, they say), ensuring that the heat isn’t just lost. The clear lid that the light comes in is double-paned as well, helping to hold heat in from that direction as well.

A key design element, which I’ve never seen in any other solar oven, is that the lid, which appears to be vacuum formed from Plexiglas, has a wide mating area that makes contact with the oven box, all the way around. This eliminates one of the biggest heat loss areas found on most solar ovens, around the edges of the lid.

In fact, the Solavore Sport is so good at generating and holding in heat, that you only need to use the reflectors during the early morning and evening hours, or when the sky is somewhat overcast. The oven itself generate enough heat to cook the food without the reflectors, when it is exposed to direct sunlight.

Do you wonder if Solavore Sport Solar Oven would work during winter days? I did. Since it’s September, and winter is still far away, I can’t test it by myself yet, but here’s a video that I found and I have to share with you:

Video first seen on Solavore Solar Ovens.

The people at Solavore have gone all out in this model, using high-quality materials that seem to last. Like the aluminum oven lining, each part and each material seems to be carefully selected to ensure the best possible cooking experience. Everything I’ve tried cooking in the oven has turned out well, no muss, no fuss, just good food.

To ensure that the oven is able to cook the food you want, it comes with two four quart baked enamel dutch ovens for cooking in. The oven is large enough to accommodate both of these at the same time, allowing you to cook two dishes together. It also comes with an oven thermometer, allowing you to know the exact temperature inside your oven at all times. The manufacturers recommend removing the reflectors once the internal temperature reaches 270 – 280 degrees.

They’ve also included a WAPI in the kit, allowing you to use your solar oven for purifying water. The WAPI or “Water Pasteurization Indicator” is a small device which was originally developed for use in third-world countries. With it, one can purify water anywhere they have heat.

Rather than boiling water to purify it, a WAPI allows you to pasteurize it. This means raising the temperature high enough to kill of the microscopic pathogens in the water; the whole purpose of purifying water. By pasteurizing, instead of boiling, a lot of energy can be saved, as the temperature for pasteurization is well below the boiling point of water.

The WAPI consists of a plastic capsule with a wax bead inside. It is floated in the water, with the wax bead up, while it is being heated. When the water reaches a temperature hot enough to melt the wax, the pellet will drop to the bottom of the capsule, indicating that the water is now purified. Once removed from the water, the wax will solidify once again, allowing the WAPI to be used over and over again.

Between the excellent quality and the attention to detail shown by supplying everything you need but the sun, Solavore has created a superior product which will provide anyone with well cooked food, even when the power goes out. Whether you want to save energy or you want a means to cook off-the-grid, the Solavore Sport Solar Oven gives you the option of baking everything from cakes to roasts, with veggies and eggs in between.

As for the price, you’re getting what you’re paying for, and this solar oven appears to be better than other products on the market as well. That’s why our 20% discount turns it into the best solar oven money can buy.

Take your off-grid cooking experience to the next level with Solavore Sport Solar Oven and enjoy the last days of our promotional offer! Hurry up and click the banner below to grab the offer!


This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia. 

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4 Ways To Preserve Food In A Solar Oven

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There are many ways to preserve food, but how many of those methods transfer to your solar cooker? I decided to check things out and see whether or not you can even use it for food preservation; after all, the temperatures can be a bit erratic and heat is dependent on the sun.

It turns out that you can use your solar oven for more than just one way to preserve your food. It’s possible to can your food and dehydrate it using your solar oven. If you don’t have one, we can take care of it, just read this article to the end to find an offer you can’t miss!

Before we get into that, I’m going to quickly explain how a solar oven works. There are a variety of different ways to trap the heat, but the general idea is that you trap the heat of the sun in order to heat up your “oven” enough to cook foods.

Most solar ovens only reach 325 degrees F, maximum, on a sunny day so you do have some limitations. Also, since it’s tough to maintain a consistently high temperature, you can’t really pressure can in your solar oven.

You can cook in it, you can roast in it, you can dehydrate in it, you can even can high-acid foods in your solar oven, but it’s not safe to can low-acid foods in it. There’s no way to guarantee that the temperature will stay high enough long enough to kill the botulinum toxin that causes botulism.

Canning High-Acid Foods in a Solar Oven

Now that we’ve established that you can’t pressure can, that narrows down the list of foods that you can preserve in your solar oven. High-acid foods such as most fruits and tomatoes are safe to can in your solar oven, but you can’t can most vegetables or any meats. Unless of course you’re willing to die for it! Trust me, botulism is no fun.

If you’re canning tomatoes, it’s still a good idea to add a bit of vinegar or lemon juice just to boost the acid content. Fruits that are low-acid include:

  • Figs
  • Pears
  • Melons
  • Bananas
  • Dates
  • Papaya
  • Ripe pineapple (I know – this one surprised me, too!)
  • Persimmons

These fruits shouldn’t be canned in your solar cooker because there’s not enough acid in them to kill the bad bacteria.


To use your solar oven to can, it’s important that you start in the morning on a clear day so that you have plenty of time to get it warmed up and give your cans plenty of time to process.

Start by sterilizing your jars and equipment so that you reduce the risk of contaminating your canned goods with bacteria. Prepare your fruit just as you would for regular canning.

Just as you do when canning in a water bath, fill your jars with fruit, sugar (if you want) and water or juice. Slide your spatula down the sides to get as much air as possible out. Leave the head room at the top of the jar as recommended by the instructions for your particular fruit. You may want to leave a quarter of an inch or so more than recommended.

Place your jars in your solar oven and close the lid. Once the proper temperature has been reached, the fruits will begin to boil in the jars. Process according to the recommended time for what you’re canning, starting at the time that it boils.

Remove your jars carefully as they will be hot. Not only are you in danger of burning yourself, but the jars are also more fragile because they’re hot and pressurized. Set them somewhere where there won’t be a draft, cover them with a towel, and let them cool naturally.

To test if they sealed after the jars are cool, gently press down on the center of the seal. If it pops back up, your jars didn’t seal. You need to re-can them, or eat that jar within the next few days. I hate re-canning fruit because it gets soggy, so unless I’m making jam or jelly, I usually just eat it or give it to family or friends.

Personally, I would recommend starting with a small batch so that if things go wrong, you don’t lose a whole batch of fruit. I do this any time I try something new with canning because, even if I grow my own, it’s still labor-intensive and I don’t want to waste all my hard work. In this case, the heat source isn’t costing you anything, so what do you have to lose.

Note: I’ve seen some instructions on the internet that say it’s OK to allow your food to boil out of the jars, but as a long-time canner, that goes against what I’ve always been taught. Follow that advice at your own discretion, but I wouldn’t do it.

Dry Canning

I haven’t seen anything yet about dry canning in a solar oven, but it seems to me as if it would work, if you’re a person that dry cans in the oven.

Personally, I’ve used the oven method and it worked just fine, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in a solar oven. Just keep the temp low – below 250 degrees or so.

Dehydrating Food in a Solar Oven

A solar oven is excellent for dehydrating food – the only trick is to keep the temperature low enough that you don’t cook it instead of dehydrating it. Prepare your meat, fruits, or vegetables just as you would for the dehydrator and place them on a sheet or, even better, on a drying wrack.

Put the pan or drying rack in the solar oven and leave it in there at a low temp of no more than 150 degrees until it reaches the crisp phase. Remember that your meat or produce needs to be sliced thinly before dehydrating. Flip your product from side to side every couple of hours so that it dehydrates evenly. Turn your dehydrator accordingly, too.

After you dehydrate your food, you could also dry can them in order to extend the shelf life.

Fruit Leather

Your solar oven would be a good way to make fruit leather, too. Prepare your fruit by creating a smooth paste. Add sugar to the mix if you’d like, but if you’re using super-ripe fruit, which is the best type to use for fruit leather, you probably won’t need any.

Again, you don’t want to cook the fruit; you want to dehydrate it, so you don’t want to let your solar cooker get too hot. Spread parchment paper on a cookie sheet, or whatever type of pan will fit in your cooker, then spread the fruit puree in a thin layer on the paper. Dry as long as needed to make it like leather. It will still be flexible and slightly sticky, but should stay together in a sheet.

The only downside to making fruit leather in a solar oven is that you can only make a small amount at a time unless you have a way to stack the racks. Since we’re preppers and homesteaders, that shouldn’t be a problem, though!

You can only use your solar oven for a couple of food preservation methods, but even if you only can your jellies in it, you’ll be saving a ton of wood if you’re canning openly in a SHTF situation.

All you need now to get started is your solar oven, so we have for you this incredible offer that you shouldn’t miss! Click the banner below to grab this opportunity!


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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The War On Coal: Going Green On Energy

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solar panel

One of the left’s holy grails is clean energy; the idea of using 100% renewable energy sources, which don’t cause any pollution whatsoever. That’s a nice dream, if you can accomplish it, but the technology just isn’t there, no matter what environmentalists say.

The thing is, there are only two energy sources which are considered by the left to qualify as green or environmentally friendly; solar and wind. As a former engineer and consummate tinkerer, I happen to know a fair amount about those two. I’ve built both solar panels and a wind turbine for my home, so I have a fair idea of what they can do and what they can’t.

But as we all know, the left isn’t interested in facts, they’re too focused on their ideology. As far as they’re concerned, all they have to do is legislate it and POOF! It will appear. It must be nice to life in such a fantasy world, but I’ve never found how to move there.

Does Nature Have a Back  Up Plan?

Both wind and solar power have the same failings. First of all, they are extremely inefficient. I’ve watched solar power for over 40 years now, hoping that there would be a breakthrough in power production, allowing solar to truly become a viable energy source.

But the only breakthroughs that have been made in that area are to build flexible panels and make some very minor improvements in efficiency. For over 40 years of research, what they’ve come up with is not worth mentioning.

Wind power seems to be doing somewhat better, at least in efficiency. Today, 4.7% of our nation’s electrical power is produced by wind, compared to a paltry 0.6% which comes from solar. While that doesn’t hold a candle to nuclear power at 20% or coal and natural gas, both of which account for 33%, it’s fast approaching the power production from hydroelectric power plants, which account for 6% of our nation’s power production.

In the last 20 years, we’ve seen wind power grow from 6.1 gigawatts to 283 gigawatts globally. That’s an increase of over 46 times. In the same time frame, solar power has risen from 0.6 gigawatts to 100 gigawatts. That’s an amazing 166 times what it was 20 years ago! But it will be a long time until either of these power sources can be taken seriously as a replacement for fossil fuels.

The big problem with both wind and solar is that they are unreliable. Solar power only works during daylight hours and only produces its peak production when the panels are pointed directly at the sun.  Few solar farms have solar trackers installed, so they are rarely running at peak production. Then there’s the problem of clouds, rain and snow, all of which reduce the potential output of any solar power facility.

Wind is actually more reliable than solar, as it can work 24 hours a day. But even then, it depends on constant wind, something that exists in only a very few places. While meteorologists can predict to some degree when there will be wind, they really can’t do a thing to guarantee it.

What this means is that for both of these power sources it’s necessary to have backup. Something has to be ready to provide power to the customers, when the wind and solar power plants aren’t producing. That something is the environmentalists’ enemy, fossil fuels.

In other words, for every solar farm or wind farm that’s out there, producing electricity, there is a coal, natural gas or nuclear power plant running at less than its full potential, waiting to step in and produce the electrical power people and businesses need, when green energy falls short. So maybe those green options aren’t really as green as the left would like us to believe. Maybe they’re nothing more than a chimera being chased by little children.

As long as these green energy sources can’t be relied upon, something else will be needed. Oh, they might build more wind and solar farms, but they won’t be able to eliminate other energy sources, regardless of what laws are passed and what decrees some from on high.

The big problem is one of storage. Energy production has to match energy consumption more or less exactly. Otherwise, we end up with brownouts and blackouts. Under the current system, the power companies, in cooperation, regulate the amount of power produced, so that it matches that which is consumed. That means there is a never-ending dance to increase and decrease power output from the nation’s power plants, in an effort to match what over 300 million people, their electronics, their homes, and their businesses consume.

You see, there’s no efficient means of storing electricity in large amounts. Can you imagine a battery that is big enough to store the electricity that a city consumes in a day?

Tesla’s Powerwall, the biggest, most efficient battery for home energy storage holds 6.4 kWh, for a price of about $3,000. Considering that the average home energy usage in the United States is over 30 kWh per day, it would take 5 of those per household, and that doesn’t take into consideration business, government or industrial use of electricity, all of which are much higher.

So Where Does This Leave Us?

Clearly, it leaves us needing to rely on fossil fuels and nuclear energy for the majority of our energy production; at least for now. There are many people researching energy production and storage, hoping to come up with something better than we have now; but they haven’t grabbed the gold ring just yet.

Nevertheless, liberals are hot on the tail of eliminating the dirty energy created by fossil fuels.

We’ve been hearing for some time about Obama’s war on coal, which is being echoed by his protégé, Hillary Clinton. Apparently the two of them are convinced that all they have to do is regulate coal energy out of existence and by some magical means, green energy will appear to replace it.

It would be bad enough if this fantasy was limited to those two, but it’s a common fantasy shared by liberals around the world. I keep seeing articles about European countries that are going green, eliminating dirty coal and converting totally to wind and solar power.

Yet in the midst of all that, Germany, one of the world’s leaders in pushing for green energy, has finally woke up to the realization that they can’t afford to go green. That’s right, after pouring billions of dollars into green energy, they’ve finally woken up to the fact that they just don’t have enough money to totally convert their country to renewable energy sources.

Believe it or not, there are countries out there who are 90% or more green. But there are two things that stand out about those countries. The first is that their overall energy usage is rather low, as most of them are not really industrialized nations. The second is that the vast majority of the green power production in those countries is not from solar or wind, but from hydroelectric dams. That’s where the world’s real green energy is.

Of the 17 countries in the world who produce over 90% of their electrical energy via renewable resources, only one, Norway, can actually be considered an industrialized nation. Yet the U.S. solar power production (which is our lowest contributor) is 127 times greater than their total renewable power production. Oh, and, 98.6% of Norway’s renewable power is hydroelectric, not solar or wind.

So the next time you hear someone on the left bellyaching about how our electric power production is so dirty, and how horrible we are as a country, let them complain.

If you can, get them to talk about Norway, stepping into your trap. You can then tell them that the only reason that Norway is doing so good at green energy is that 98.6% of their electrical energy is produced by big ugly electric power dams. Let them chew on that for a while.

energy consumption

Facts and Figures

Actually, the country which produces the most green energy in the world is China, beating out the United States by 2.4 to 1. But they are also the worst country in the world for air pollution produced by power plants. So, even though they produce a lot of renewable energy, they are contributing more to greenhouse gases than anyone else.

The United States is number one in the world for wind power production. We’re number eight for solar. We’re number four for hydroelectric. So maybe we’re not doing all that bad. Granted, we use more electricity than any other country in the world, except China, but we’re working on producing more green energy.

The other point to make to leftists about green energy is that the advances we’ve made in green energy haven’t been caused by government regulation or by Obama’s war on coal, but rather by the same power companies they complain about. Because, you see, the government really doesn’t produce anything but red tape and heartburn.

So, when states like Oregon create laws that outlaw coal power, they’re not accomplishing much of anything. All they are really doing is raising the energy costs for their citizens and setting themselves up for energy shortages.

Outlawing coal power isn’t going to make wind more efficient. It’s not going to make solar more efficient. Nor is it going to make wave power generators suddenly become a major player in the electrical power generation game. All it’s going to do, is cause people trouble.

As with many other things, the real way to get progress is to encourage innovation. If they want to do something, then they should invest some of that money they’re wasting on fighting global warming in research aimed at alternative energy sources. Maybe then, that money will do some good.


This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.




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5 DIY Cooling Devices For Your Off-grid Survival

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Survivopedia DIY cooling devices

I’m not sure how the weather is in your neck of the woods, but here in Survivopedia-land I’m dealing with 93-94 F on a daily basis for the last couple of months.

Being hot as hell, the air-conditioner works full time during the day. Now, the question is, how can you deal with a heatwave when it comes to off-grid survival? I mean, our ancestors managed to get through it, but what would happen to you, dear reader, in a survival scenario?

The idea is that there’s nothing wrong with trying to improve your quality of life even when it comes to life in the wilderness.

Now, off grid survival means that you’re basically out there somewhere on your own, without a hardware store nearby and likely without power, right? Can you improvise something to mitigate a bad case of scorching heat, at least temporarily?

Well, let’s talk about a few ideas about how to DIY your own air conditioner in case you need it, shall we? Let’s begin with the basics.

Since we’re talking about off-grid scenarios, the point is to build an air conditioner which doesn’t eat a lot of power, like the regular ones do, i.e. we want to manufacture a cooling device that can work well on solar power or using a car battery.

Project 1: The Dirt Cheap Cooler

Our first DIY project is about an air cooling gizmo that is manufactured from readily available, dirt cheap materials. It’s fun and easy to build, yet strong enough to cool you off some on a day like this (today was a real scorcher).

The materials required for this baby are an ice-chest (a hard-sided/plastic one), PVC pipe, a small fan, and ice. Easy as pie, right? The trick is how to get the ice, but if you can sort that one out, well, the world will be your (cool) oyster.

To power this device, you’ll have three choices: solar power (you’ll have to put a solar-panel on the bucket-list), a battery, or your own automobile using the car’s 12 volt cigarette lighter plug.

The specs of the fan are 12 VDC 10 watt 0.8 amperes. If you’re going for solar power, you’ll need a 15 watt/1 ampere system. Also, this DIY project works best in dry climates, as dry air cools faster than humid air.

A block of ice will last for five hours (empirical evidence) while larger blocks will last you twice as that, up to ten hours. The DIY job is very straight forward and here’s a video tutorial with easy to follow instructions.

Video first seen on desertsun02.

Basically, you’ll have to cut 2 holes in the ice box. At one end you’ll install the fan, which will suck air into the ice-box (you must put a chunk of ice inside). At the other end, you’ll have to install a PVC pipe that will blow the cooled air into the room.

You’ll need a cutting tool to make the cuts in the plastic ice-box but, truth be told, this is a 15 minutes job tops if you’re good with your hands and you own the proper tools. This improvised AC is able to deliver very cold air – 42F more precisely – but when the ice runs out (as in melts away), you’ll start sweating again.

Project 2: Another Ice Cooler

This is a variant of the first DIY project, as it uses basically the same principle and materials as the first one, sans the plastic ice chest.

Instead, you’ll be using a Styrofoam ice-box, which is way cheaper and easier to cut for installing the fan and the PVC pipe. The rest is basically the same, i.e. a solar panel/battery for powering the fan and some ice.

As I already told you, in these 2 DIY jobs, which are massive fun if you’ll be involving your kids, the essential ingredient is the ice. If you can’t get the ice, you’ll be doomed. Here’s the video tutorial with detailed and easy-to-follow instructions.

Video first seen on desertsun02.

Project 3: The Bucket Air Cooler

This home-made air conditioner is an internet classic known as the five gallon bucket air cooler. Also, a variant of the previous two, using the famous five gallon bucket instead of the plastic/Styrofoam ice-box. The materials and tools required are the same: the fan, the PVC pipe, etc.

Remember folks, all three of these projects are non-compressor based, hence getting the ice is the catch 22.

However, one frozen jug of water put in the five gallon bucket air conditioner lasted for six hours, so we can describe these DIY “sans compressor” air-conditioners as the “redneck’s cooler”, provided you have power (via solar, generator, etc.) and a refrigerator available to make ice.

It’s also good if you can’t afford or don’t want to buy a regular AC unit for various reasons. I almost forgot the most important part: here’s the video tutorial.

Video first seen on desertsun02.

Project 4: The Geo-thermal Air Cooler

The next project doesn’t require buckets or ice chests and it has a fancy name too: the DIY geothermal cooling system. This is a rather complicated project which requires some skills and some tools and materials. The general idea is pretty simple, though.

Video first seen on luke Fugate.

This guy is using the water from a deep well and a small electric pump to recirculate it via hoses. There is a copper-hose section and also a bunch of recycled parts from an old AC unit used to build a very interesting air cooling device. It basically recirculates the cold water from the well to cool the air via a copper radiator mounted inside the house.

This is a low-energy-sans-compressor air conditioning unit, but it doesn’t require ice for doing the cooling job, hence it’s a true off-grid air conditioner, provided you have the gear and the well.

Truth be told, the geo-thermal cooling device makes for a very interesting idea to say the least, as this DIY air conditioner can be powered using a solar-panel installation or a car battery for extended periods of time (it’s not power-hungry).

Project 5: The Vortex Cooling Gizmo

Last but not least, enter the pompously named DIY Homemade Vortex Cooling Gizmo. Keep in mind that you’ll need a source of compressed air for running this DIY air cooling project, so there’s a catch 22 built into it from the beginning. As long as you have compressed air available, (as in a compressor which requires power), here’s the video-tutorial depicting all the stages of the project (there’s a part deux too).

Video first seen on Otto Belden.

Provided you have all the tools, materials, and skills required, you can build a very efficient air conditioner that can decrease the temperature anywhere between 10-15 degrees F when it comes to cooling. The idea is to build a vortex cooling tube (it has no moving parts) which separates hot and cold air using a compressor.

Thus, going from high pressure to low pressure, you’ll create a temperature drop, i.e. air conditioning. The same basic principle is used in commercial refrigeration systems like your AC unit or your fridge.

To make things simpler (less DIY that is), you can buy an expansion valve or an orifice-tube setup from an auto parts store (20 bucks or less) and save a lot of assembly work.

I hope the article helped. If you have other ideas or comments, just use the dedicated section below. Good luck and have fun folks!


This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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How To Make A Potter’s Wheel For Off-grid Survival

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Survivopedia make pottery wheel

Pottery has been an on-and-off passion of mine since I was in high school. I’m a fair hand at it and have made some pieces that I’m pretty proud of. I’ve explained in another article how to make pots using other methods but today we’re going to talk about how to make and use a potter’s wheel.

The benefit of using a potter’s wheel is that you can create more refined, beautiful, functional pieces that you can use for yourself or for trade. The other methods are perfectly acceptable for creating functional and even beautiful pottery but there’s just something about using a wheel.

Throwing pottery (what it’s called when you use a wheel), is an art that allows you to make virtually any size or shape of pottery once you get the hang of it. It’s also extremely therapeutic. It takes all of your concentration to throw pottery, so your concerns tend to melt away, and the end result gives you a real sense of accomplishment.

There are two basic types of potter’s wheels: electric and manual wheels. In this article, the focus will be on the manual types because you can use them even if you don’t have power. Plus, I prefer a manual wheel because, at least for me, an electric wheel tends to be more jerky when starting and stopping, and the speed isn’t as easy to control.

There are two primary types of manual potter’s wheels: kick wheels and treadle wheels.

How to Build a Kick Wheel Potter’s Wheel

There are several different ways that you can build a kick wheel but the primary components are a flat plate (bat) to actually work on, and a weighted flywheel attached to the plate so that you can turn it and control the speed. To speed it up, you just kick faster. To slow it down, you just drag your foot on the wheel.

I also highly recommend using a splash pan around the throwing wheel to avoid a tremendous mess on you, the floor, and the walls. This will also save clay waste because you can catch it in the pan and throw the excess back in with your clay or slip.

You can get fancy and build a potter’s wheel with an attached bench, such as the one shown in this instructable, but you can pull up a chair just as easily. The advantage of building one without a bench is that people of different heights can comfortably use it. Of course, if you’re going to be the only one using it, feel free to add a bench!

Another feature that some potters like to have is an arm rest. This helps keep your hands steady as you throw. I found a fabulous, detailed, step-by-step design for a kick wheel that has no bench and an adjustable-height, removable arm rest here. It lists exactly what you’ll need, then it explains with both text and pictures, how to build it.

If you decide to build an arm rest into your potter’s wheel, it should be nearly level with the throwing wheel (called the bat). This is critical because you need to ensure that the clay is perfectly centered on the bat and if your arms aren’t level, it will put unnecessary strain on your shoulders, wrists, and elbows. It will also make it difficult to work the clay properly and get it centered. If it’s not, your piece will end up collapsing on you as you build it up.

I’m currently  without a wheel and think that I’m going to build this one myself because the instructions are great and it only costs about $60 total. Just a suggestion though – it’s best to keep this in a garage or a separate craft room because pottery is a super messy endeavor, just like most good projects!

Building a Treadle Wheel

The other type of wheel, a treadle wheel, is still more stable than an electric wheel because you have more control of the speed, stopping, and starting; it’s less jerky. That being said, it’s much more complicated, and probably more expensive, to build that a kick wheel.

You may often see a treadle wheel referred to as a Leach treadle wheel. This is because the most popular treadle design was created by the sons of Bernard Leach, a famous British potter. His grandson, Simon Leach, has posted a series of detailed pictures of each part of the Leach treadle wheel.

I’ve never thrown on one, so I can’t offer an opinion one way or the other on functionality but the design is interesting. I have read that many potters prefer a kick wheel because the bottom wheel is weighted and thus easier to manage because the weight builds momentum and doesn’t need as much energy to keep it going.

Instead of using a pole that directly attaches to the bat, a treadle potter’s wheel operates by adding a reciprocating pedal and a crank for greater control. The bottom isn’t weighted as much as a kick wheel, though potters who use them seem to love them.

The one site that I found with both pictures and plans is great. It actually looks pretty amazing, and the picture is close-up, so those of you who are handy can probably look at it and duplicate it. There’s also a picture of an old set of blueprints that may help. If any of you try this, I’d love to see some pics and a review of how it works.

Video first seen on Nate Cummings.

Regardless of which type of pottery wheel you decide to use, be aware that there’s a learning curve. The first few times that you attempt a pot or a mug, or even a plate, it’s probably going to look like something a kid may bring home from grade school, assuming you actually accomplish and end product.

Don’t worry, though. It doesn’t take long to become proficient using a pottery wheel and I’d honestly recommend learning on a manual wheel instead of an electric one because it doesn’t require the coordination that an electric one does. I’m not saying that you’re going to be a master potter in a week, but you should certainly be able to manage a coffee cup or small pot in that amount of time.

If you do some searching on the internet, you’ll find several different ways to make potter’s wheels from simple household items such as mop buckets. There are also a wide array of instructions for making simple electric pottery wheels out there too, but like I said, I prefer to use the manual wheels. Call me old school, I guess.

Manual devices won’t ever let you down in a case of an EMP, so be prepared and get all the knowledge you can get on off-grid survival. Click on the picture below to find our more about surviving this type of disaster!


If you have any suggestions about how to build a potter’s wheel, please share your thoughts with us in the suggestions box below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.




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15 Things To Do When The Power Goes Out

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When the weather is bad–rain pounding the roof, wind shaking the windows, thunder rumbling through the air, lights flickering off and on–you know the power could go out any minute. Other times the power goes out with no warning, and there’s no telling how long it will last. Most people have a mini panic attack […]

The post 15 Things To Do When The Power Goes Out appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

10 Ways Preppers Can Reuse Old Light Bulbs

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Survivopedia repurpose light bulbs

Even though many countries are looking to end production of incandescent light bulbs, they are very useful to preppers. They act as ideal sources of heat, light, and can even function as resistors in an electronic circuit.

If you have light bulbs in your stockpile, or still use them around the house, you may be wondering if they are of any value when they burn out. Here are easy ways to repurpose light bulbs and advance your prepping goals at the same time.

Preparing the Light Bulb for Reuse

Most of the things you can make with light bulbs require getting into the bulb itself and pulling out the parts that used to glow. If you have frosted or white light bulbs, you will also have to remove the coating in order to get the most from some of these ideas.

In order to take out the insides of a light bulb, follow these steps. Be sure to wear heavy work gloves and goggles. Cover your work area with newspaper or something else that can be easily discarded once you are done.

Never forget that light bulbs are made of thin glass, and as such can be very fragile. The last thing you will need now or in a survival situation is to wind up with slivers of glass in your hands, or worse yet your eyes. While these steps are very easy to follow, never underestimate the need for safety precautions.

  • Use a pair of pliers to twist the solder contact in the bottom center of the bulb. Once the contact is loose enough, pull it out of the bulb. While you are pulling and twisting on the contacts, do not put pressure on the glass parts of the bulb. You can grip the metal part of the bulb, or better yet, put it in a vice. Just don’t clamp the vice too hard or you might break the glass part of the bulb that seals to them metal.
  • Use a screwdriver to break the glass insulator and other parts inside the bulb. You will have to remove them in small pieces. Everything should come out of the bulb, including the tungsten element.
  • Fill the bulb with water and empty it several times in order to remove any white powder from inside the bulb.
  • Either let the inside of the bulb air dry, or use a screwdriver covered with a paper towel to dry it out.


Light Diffuser

Aside from housing gas that keeps the tungsten element from burning up, light bulbs are also designed to diffuse light so that larger areas can be illuminated. You can use old, hollowed out light bulbs as light diffusers in chandeliers, or even as a means to increase illumination from LED arrays.

No matter how you arrange the light bulbs, they will provide a steady glow that works better than just the original light source by itself. For example, you can take one bulb that actually works, and then surround it with five or six bulbs that are burned out and cleaned.

You can also use the light diffuser properties of burned out bulbs to increase illumination from candles, oil lamps, and many other sources. Just make sure that when you join the light bulbs together, you do not use flammable materials. Stick to metal wire or anything else that will not start an unwanted fire.

Candles, oil lamps, and any other flame will always carry with it the risk of making sparks. It is not worth the risk to use rope or other more “visually attractive” accents for the diffuser.

Build an Electroscope

An electroscope is used to detect static electricity, and can also be used to detect the presence of nuclear, or ionized radiation. Even though the most optimized Kearny Fallout Meters are made from other simple materials, you can still use a light bulb in an emergency.

There are two ways to construct the inner part of the electroscope:

  • You can use the traditional design which calls for two gold foil (or aluminum) attached to an electrical conductor. The insulative properties of the glass will help maintain the static charge, which serves to keep the thin metal leaves separated. (If ionizing radiation is present, the leaves will droop or come closer together.) Since UV light can also act as ionizing radiation, you may want to keep the meter in a dark place, or put a black coating on the bulb. Just make sure you leave a peek hole so that you can see in and observe the metal leaves.

Video first seen on RimstarOrg.

  • A spinning electroscope tends to be more sensitive than a metal leaf design. This type of electroscope may not need charging as often, and it may also detect more subtle levels of radiation.

When operating a nuclear fallout electroscope, remember that you will have to “charge up” the device periodically with static electricity. This does not necessarily mean that ionizing radiation is, or was present. That being said, if you charge the device up and the leaves droop very quickly in a darkened room, then you may tentatively conclude that high levels of ionic radiation are present

Spice Dispensers

Salt, pepper, sugar, flour, and other spice shakers may seem to last forever. On the other hand if you are bugging out, must evacuate, or these dispensers get broken, you may have a harder time than expected replacing them. Simply make a new cap with holes in it for the light bulb, and you will have an ideal spice shaker. If you want the shaker to stand upright, just put it on a platform or suspend from a wire hanger system.

You can also use light bulbs to store herbs on a longer term basis. They can also be easily assembled to sit on spice racks or even on counter stands. If you do decide to use light bulbs to store herbs, remember that they will not be completely air tight, and that you should always make sure the spices are stored in a cool, dry location for optimal shelf life.

Video first seen on HomesGuides.

Housing for Edible Insects

If you are successful in surviving a major crisis, there is every chance that one of your primary food sources will wind up being edible insects. You may also wind up in in a situation where you have to evacuate quickly, and there will neither be time nor room to move larger insect farms.

Rather than lose all of your hard work, you can keep a miniature bug farm for each insect stocked with enough reproducing insects so that you can start over again in a new location. Light bulbs are ideal because they are easy to keep clean and you can put several of them in a small box for transport.

Molds for Cement

Light bulbs that fit in a conventional lamp tend to be very easy to grip and hold onto. As such, the bulb itself makes an excellent mold for cement and other materials that can be used to make a number of useful objects. This includes:

  • Nail and screw type wall hooks. While the cement is wet, just leave some of the sharp end of the nail or screw sticking out of the cement. Once the cement is dry, you can leave the glass in place or break it away from the cement. These hooks can be used as clothes pegs, hanging container gardens, and many other purposes. Just make sure that they are nailed or screwed into wall studs so that there is enough support for the hook and anything you may decide to suspend from it.

Video first seen on American Hacker.

  • Doorknobs and other items can also be made from cement or other materials that can be poured into molds. Just make sure that you add the appropriate hardware before the item dries out.
  • Try filling two empty light bulbs with cement, and then stick the ends of rope or chain into the cement while it is still wet. You can create everything from hobbles to weapons using this construction method.
  • For simple, lightweight anchors, you can use one or many cement filled bulbs to anchor rope or other items into the water or into the ground.


When it comes to hunting gear, there are more than a few places where decoys can be used to draw a predatory animal to a desired location, or even encourage it to move into a waiting trap. There may also be times when you want to ensure that an animal will avoid a predator and move into your territory instead.

Even though it may take some work to add feathers and other materials to light bulbs, they cans still act as excellent decoys. If you look into crafty ways to decorate light bulbs, you are sure to find many useful ideas.

Fishing Flotation Devices

If you do not have plastic bobs or other flotation devices, a sealed up light bulb may suit your needs. You can use light bulbs on individual fishing lines, fish nets, and any other area where buoyance is needed. Just remember that a glass bulb is not as sturdy as a plastic bottle, so try to limit the weight load as much as possible.

Infusora Hatchery

Well prepared survivors will more than likely look to cultivate animal, plant, and fish resources. No matter whether you grow your own fish in an aquaponics system or start with pairs captured in the wild, it is very important to make sure that you can raise successive generations of fish. In most cases, egg laying fish will eat their own eggs after fertilization, or they will do nothing whatsoever to take care of the fry after they hatch.

Typically, newly hatched fry feed on infusora (tiny micro organisms that grow on rotting organic matter suspended in water). A light bulb can be used in an emergency to house infusorans and also get them to propagate. If you must use a larger container to get them started, the smaller light bulb can still be used as an emergency vessel that can be transported from one location to another.

Video first seen on Kailey Francis.

Fish Egg Hatchery

Contrary to popular belief, a light bulb will never meet the water quality and space needs of a fish. Even if you have to transport fish during a bug out or evacuation proceeding, use some other container that has a wide mouth and will also allow for the operation of an air stone.

Remember that when fish are stressed, they will release huge amounts of ammonia. Even a single fish will be dead in a matter of hours if you try to house or transport it in a clean, hollowed out light bulb.

Light bulbs can, however, can be used as temporary nurseries for newly fertilize fish eggs. If you happen to be dealing with a species of fish that consume the eggs after spawning, simply remove the eggs and let them hatch in a light bulb nursery. Just remember that the fry will need to stay in the nursery for at least 2 or 3 days while they consume the yolk sack after hatching. Once they are ready to eat infusora, you can move them into a bigger container and start feeding them.

A light bulb makes in ideal hatching container because it is much easier to keep track of the eggs and watch them hatch. If you are not sure if the fry are alive, do not tap the bulb or make loud noises. Even newly hatched fry will respond to light from a flashlight and will move around immediately if they can.

Vases and Micro Planters

light planterDuring the process of expanding on your survival skills, it is likely that you will develop an interest in wild herbs and their cultivation.

Empty light bulbs can be used for cutting vases, and also as covers that will increase humidity for small plants.

This is especially important if you need to root cuttings in soil, and need to preserve a good bit of moisture so that the plant can take it in through the leaves.

Light bulbs offer a perfect reusable solution that will last for years on end.

If you have very limited amounts of space to work with, light bulb vases can easily be suspended from wire tree frames, from walls, and even overhead ceiling hangers.

While you can also use simple stands to keep the bulbs from tipping over, the hanging options can help you take advantage of window lighting with ease.

Many people view burned out light bulbs as completely useless. It should come as no surprise that they make up a significant portion of landfill waste, and are often viewed as useless even in those industries. On the other hand, as a prepper, there are many ways that you can use burned out light bulbs to your advantage in an emergency situation.

Learn how to hollow them out, clean them, and work with them safely. No doubt, once you start using burned out light bulbs in prepper applications, you will come up with all kinds of useful and creative options.


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Prep Blog Review: 5 New Items On The EMP Agenda

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Do you know what the Government and Big Corporations say about the danger of an EMP? When was the last time you researched blackout survival? Do you think we should keep a lookout on solar flares or man made nukes?

Most of us preppers have surpassed the newbies status when it comes to EMP. We know about the threats to the grid, have some pretty detailed scenarios about what might happen after a strike, and some guidelines on how to act.

But how prepared are we, really? All these and more in this week’s prep blog review.

1. Government, Industry Studying Threat of Nuclear EMP Attack on Electric Grid

emp threat

“American power companies are studying ways to protect electric grids against a high-altitude nuclear blast and other directed energy attacks that could severely disrupt electricity transmission, an industry representative told a Senate hearing Wednesday.

Scott Aaronson, managing director for cyber and infrastructure security at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), stated in testimony that a consortium of U.S. electric companies is working with the Energy Department to study how to protect power grids from a nuclear blast-produced electromagnetic pulse attack or solar flares that could damage transformers and other electric components and shut down power for millions of Americans.”

Read more on Free Beacon.

2. You Will Not Survive an EMP Strike Without This

emp threat

 “More than 180 Americans have left America for Syria to join ISIS. These are born and raised American citizens. And at some point, they will come back! But don’t worry. These peace-loving American patriots will settle back into their homes and mind their own business. Right!

During the international Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, even Barack Hussein Obama warned that the prospect of ISIS getting a hold of a nuclear bomb is one of the most serious threats faced by the world. He said it was clear that “these mad men” would use such a device to kill as many people as they could.”

Read more on Ask a Prepper.

3. Officials Worry US ‘Falling Behind’ In Race to Prepare for Electromagnetic Pulse Attacks

emp threat

“Electromagnetic pulses and violent space weather outbursts might seem like national security threats straight out of science fiction. But the House Homeland Security Committee wants to ensure federal agencies are doing their best to prepare for them.

During an Oversight and Management Efficiency subcommittee hearing Tuesday, legislators reviewed the possible ramifications that a man-made EMP weapon, detonated nuclear device or even space weather phenomena could have on the nation’s power grid. While seemingly remote, the threats drew comparisons to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

While unlikely, being unprepared could mean loss of life and could be devastating to the nation’s telecommunications and power grid, lawmakers said. One report estimates the potential cost of a large-scale solar storm, emanating from a large release of energy by the sun, could exceed $2 trillion and leave large portions of the population without power for months or longer.

“Investigations determined the attack on Pearl Harbor was possible, not probable,” said Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga. “Same thing for 9/11.”

Read more on Next Gov.

4. The Question Is Not ”IF” But ”WHEN”: How The World Would Look Like When The Grid Goes Down  

grid down

“Have you ever thought about how fragile the US power grid is? And how would you survive if the power grid went down? What would be like in the dark? Have you ever wondered ’’what would we do if the lights went out’’? Who could have foreseen the 9/11 come? The difference between 9/11 and what I am about to tell you is that we know that this is going to happen; the question is not ’’would it happen?” but ”when is going to happen’’? If this happens the consequences would be a million times worse than 9/11.”

Read more on Bio Prepper.

5. EMP Prepping: What To Do After Blackout


“We’ve already discussed how you can prepare yourself for an EMP before it happens, so now we’re going to cover what happens after the lights go out.

An electromagnetic pulse is different than the aftermath of a tornado, hurricane, tsunami or wild fire because in those disasters, the lights will come back on and eventually an emergency crew will help the people who weren’t prepared.”

Read more and on Survival Hax.


This article has been written by Brenda E. Walsh for Survivopedia

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Off-Grid Mechanics: 8 Steps That You Need To Know

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Survivopedia Off-grid Mechanics

What kind of vehicles and equipment do you use every day? What would you use instead in a SHTF world without the power grid?

When modern equipment won’t work anymore, the prepared have a plan in place. They know that with a little ingenuity and some elbow grease, they can get the job done. But a willingness to work won’t get you very far if you don’t have a pile of materials to work with.

Using What You Have

Modern-day preppers can learn a lot from the Depression era mentality of saving. I know that I have!

My Grandpa never threw anything away. When we first moved back to the family property, I thought his old junk pile was an eyesore. Tires. Old tractors. Tons of screws, bolts, and who knows what else. It was a huge pile of junk.

In today’s use it and toss it society, I simply couldn’t fathom why in the world my Grandpa kept this junk. I was embarrassed by it. I wanted to scoop it all up and take it to the dump. Thankfully, we couldn’t afford to do that.

Because over the years since we’ve been back, I’ve realized the true value of that junk pile. We’ve taken parts from equipment of old to fix what is broken. We’ve used scrap metal and junk to fill a need and solve problems around the homestead. And we’ve saved a lot of money.

That junk pile? I no longer view it as junk. I think of it as our insurance. You see—when the day comes that we can’t just go buy something, we’ll have a leg-up. We’ll have stuff to work with.

So if you don’t have a junk pile of your own, I’d recommend you start one. If you have property, just gather your junk in a remote corner. If you don’t, you’ll have to think creatively.

Can you save extra nuts and bolts in a drawer in the garage? Can you partner with a country friend to create a joint pile? Can you devote a closet to accumulating odds and ends?

As odd as it may seem to save junk, recycling and reusing becomes crucial when the modern economy is gone. You simply won’t be able to go buy what you need. You’ll have to use what you have.

1. Make a List!

What kind of automated systems are you running right now? Since each of us have a different lifestyle and processes, we won’t all need the exact same things.

To figure out what you need, you have to make a list. Grab a piece of paper and write down all of the systems you’re currently using that run on electricity and modern machinery. Here’s some common ones to get you thinking:

  • Milking machines
  • Automated sprinklers for the garden
  • Tractor for plowing the field
  • Rototillers for the garden
  • Irrigation systems
  • Lights
  • Food storage (fridge and freezer)
  • Laundry care
  • Cooking
  • Personal vehicles to get from place to place
  • Heating a greenhouse to grow food year round

You’ll probably have more to add. Most of us are very dependent on modern innovations in today’s life. Now that you have your list, it’s time to start thinking through SHTF scenarios. Let’s work through a couple together:

Milking the Animals

How would you milk your cows if you had no power?

If you only have a couple of cows, you’ll probably be able to switch to hand milking. You might even get away with switching to once a day milking depending on how much milk your ladies are giving.


But, what if you have a whole herd and depended on a milker? What powers your machine milker? Do you know how your vacuum pump works? How will you clean the pieces if you don’t have running water?

Learn everything you can about the mechanics behind the automated systems you use every day. Read the manual. Study how the pieces work together. The more familiar you are with the parts and pieces, the more likely you’ll be able to repair it when the time comes. You’ll also know what sorts of extra parts to start stock piling.


When vehicles first came out, they were fairly simple machines. Most people could handle their own repairs. With today’s chips, computers, and complexity, that’s no longer the case.

These detailed systems often require specialized tools and scanning software to repair. There isn’t much you can do yourself without a large amount of mechanical knowledge. You might want to consider having an older vehicle around, just because it’s easier to work on.

They’re also more likely to run after an EMP. Here’s a great Survivopedia post on the best vehicles for an EMP event.

No matter what you’re driving, it’s essential that you start learning to repair it. If your car is broken, do some basic troubleshooting yourself. Every time you do this, you’re improving your mechanical ability.

If you take your car to the mechanic, learn all you can. Ask to see the broken part and where it was in your vehicle. You’ll learn more about your car, and start building a relationship with someone local with a mechanically minded skill-set. Or you can chose to grow animals for transportation.

Growing Food

You can’t just plop a variety of seeds in the ground and expect to magically grow enough food to feed yourself and your family for the entire year.  There’s a lot of work between planting and harvesting. Many people rely on automated systems to do a portion of this work. From tractors to electricity or automatic watering systems, food production hasn’t escaped modern marvels.

Take a look at what you’re currently doing for food production. Do you run a rototiller over the ground each year? If so, it’s time to think about switching to a no-till method of gardening.

In this method, you prepare your soil initially before planting. Then you cover it with a thick layer of mulch.  When it’s time to plant, you gently remove some of the mulch, and bury your seeds.

As your plants grow, the mulch holds in water, which is essential in a crisis situation. You continue to add compost and mulch to your garden. But, instead of digging the new stuff in, you just top-dress it by adding layer upon layer up on top.

This same method works in the field as well, though on a larger scale. Instead of a plow to prep the field for planting, you’d use a harrow. The impact on the land is a lot less, as harrows pierce the ground instead of turning it over.

Harrows are also more energy efficient since you can plant at the same time. That means only one trip around the field is needed instead of multiple.

Large Equipment

If your farm equipment fails, do you have a backup plan? Some people keep horses around, but horses aren’t the only animal that can work a field. Dexter cattle have been called a tri-purpose cow because they’re good for meat, milk, and work.

You’ll probably need to do some innovating to get your equipment to pull by animal instead of machine. Harnesses will be essential to keep your animal safe while working.

You can look for older equipment now, while you still have the benefit of used marketplaces. Horse drawn machinery are often cheaper than their modern counterparts, and  they’re also easier to work on.

Video first seen on jamminjamy.


It’s not only the planting of the field that you should think about, it’s also the watering. Water typically runs on a pump. If you don’t have power, you’ll lose the accessibility of water. Gravity fed systems are one solution.

Look for an elevated area on your property where you can collect rainwater.

If you prepare a large container with a hose connector and a plug down low, you’ll be set to use the water. When it’s time to water, hook a hose up to the container. Gravity will force the water through the hose to where you need it. Just be sure to put the plug back on your system when you’re finished.

You can also build a series of wooden troughs to carry water from a waterfall or creek if you have one on your property. This one requires a little more mechanical know-how, as you’ll have to ensure your angles are correct. Otherwise the water won’t flow.

Harvest Time

To harvest your plants without machinery, you’ll need to learn how it was done in the past. If you’re growing your own wheat, instead of a combine you’ll need a scythe to cut it. You’ll also need to think through the threshing.

Only you know exactly what you’ll need to switch your automated systems over to manual ones. You’ll definitely need to have raw materials and tools on hand to keep your systems in good repair. But what can you do right now to start this process?

2. Stock Up on Printed Resources

There are plenty of books and details online that walk you through the systems you need. Now is the perfect time to stock up on printed research materials. After all, you won’t be able to do a whole lot of surfing the internet after the SHTF.

You won’t be able to learn everything in one sitting. That’s why having printed material is so beneficial. When you need it, you’ll be able to pull it out and learn on the go.

3. Develop a Repair or Reuse Mindset

When something breaks, it’s so easy to throw it away and buy another one. But, that attitude won’t get you very far in a crisis. Starting today, take time to learn about what’s broken.

If it’s something you were going to throw away anyways, you have nothing to lose. Examine the parts. See if you can pinpoint what failed. Then take it apart and see how everything fits together.

You might discover it was something simple that you can fix. If not, you gained valuable experience in troubleshooting and disassembly. Those skills will be crucial in the future.

Instead of throwing away things that break, see if you can come up with a more innovative solution. Can you pull the components and save them for an upcoming project? Can you hang onto the gears?

You might not have the space to save everything. That’s why it’s essential to have your list. What items will you use the most to keep your needed systems up and running?

4. Develop Your Creativity and Innovation

Instead of going out and buying something new, think creatively. Is there any other way to do what you need to do? Can you reuse something, or build a DIY model?

This will put your creative thinking skills to work. You’ll start thinking outside of the box. But just coming up with ideas isn’t enough. Innovation is the ability to put those skills to use to solve a problem.

5. Improve Your Mechanical Mind

Some people are naturally gifted in the area of mechanics. They’re tinkerers, always working on something. Others don’t have this natural ability.  But, everyone can learn. If you’re not mechanically inclined, start asking questions. Watch what others do. Learn from them.

6. Carry Tools

You never know when you might need a screwdriver or a knife. If you aren’t currently carrying a multi-tool, start.

Put a basic repair kit in your car, and know how to use the tools in it. If you leave your vehicle in an emergency, you’ll be able to grab a couple of tools. Those may make the difference between you making it home or not.


7. Invest in Hand Tools

You’ll also want to build a solid supply of hand tools around your homestead. Think beyond the screwdriver and hammer. How would you cut firewood without a chainsaw? Pick up a hand saw that you can use if you need to.

8. Learn the Basics

While you can’t learn everything there is to know, you can learn a little about a lot of things. Here are some things to study that’ll help you be better prepared:

Every bit of knowledge and hands on mechanical experience you gain will help make you stronger in the future.

What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to off-grid mechanics? What systems would you have to replace? Could you survive off-grid, living the life our ancestors lived? Click on the banner below to find out more about their way of living and use their secrets for your survival.

the lost ways cover

This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia.

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Prepper Project: 5 Ways To Build An Oven

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SVP big ovenI remember that when I was a kid, I used to play cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians and stuff like that, but the girls were busy baking mud pies like crazy. You know what I’m talking about, right? Mud pies and earth ovens, these are the memories of my childhood; well, among many others I can’t write about here, because we have a family audience.

Mud pies are just a childhood memory, but wood-fired ovens are maybe the best things invented by humans, since…I don’t know, the biped posture? I mean, the best pizza in the world is made in wood-fired ovens, and so are many other foods.

Cooking in wood-fired ovens definitely improves the flavor of almost any type of food, not to mention that, if properly insulated, an earth oven will maintain its internal heat for days, making it quite efficient at cooking lots of food with minimal fuel spent.

So, today’s article is about how to build your own wood-fired, or earth oven, a skill which has the potential to save your life in a survival situation. And since we’re talking about SHTF scenarios, we will focus on oven designs that are dirt-cheap and easy to build using simple and readily available materials and tools.

1. The DIY Barrel Stove

Let’s begin today’s journey with the DIY barrel stove, also known as a wood-heater oven, which is any hobo’s dream.

In case you did not know because of today’s political correctness, the hobo stove is actually a specific design, representing a model of an improvised cooking/heat producing device, which is often used in various survival scenarios. After all, who knows more about how to survive a crisis than homeless people?

Why a barrel stove/hobo stove, you may ask? To put it bluntly, because the design is pure genius, due to its simplicity and efficiency. You can use a barrel stove for various purposes, ranging from outdoor cooking to boiling water for purification during power outages or what not. This type of stove can be improvised using readily available materials, such as basically any type of tin can or barrel, regardless of the size.

In the following video tutorial, the “hero” uses a recycled steel barrel for building a hobo stove, but you can also use a trash can, an old oil drum (make sure it’s clean or else you’ll have a bigger fire than you bargained for!), a gas canister or something similar; even a large can of ravioli/veggies will allow you to build a small stove and cook your diner.

Video first seen on RealWorldReport.

The advantages of the barrel stove/hobo stove are that it’s very easy to manufacture and it’s incredibly light, versatile and efficient. You can also transport it easily if required, and you don’t need high tech tools, nor skills, for manufacturing it.

Another advantage is the price tag, because there are many places where you can acquire an old oil drum basically free of charge; for example just pay a visit to your local garage and ask your mechanic. Demolition yards and scrap yards are also viable options.

The DIY job is very straight-forward and it consists of removing the top of the barrel first, and then punching a dozen or so small holes near the upper edge. You’ll also have to cut a larger opening on the side of the barrel near the bottom for air and fuel, and that’s basically it.

The wood is placed inside the barrel and ignited, while the bottom and the side orifices draw air inside through convection, keeping the fire alive as heat gets out through the top. You can use anything for combustion; not only wood, but even animal dung or wax. If it burns and isn’t toxic, you can use it.

2. The Ground / Earth Oven

Moving on with the article, let’s see about the ground/earth oven, your best friend when it comes to outdoor cooking, survival or just plain fun. You will find below a clip featuring a dude (pun intended) who builds his own ground oven while out in the woods, doing who knows what. He looks like he’s up to no good; however, don’t judge the guy from his looks, because he does an excellent job in the end with that roast (just kidding, here.)

Earth ovens, also known as cooking pits or ground ovens, are the simplest and oldest methods of cooking, and they’ve been around for thousands of years. They’ve been used all over the world, by almost all cultures and peoples. Earth ovens are an excellent choice in a survival scenario, being the best tool for cooking your food when you’re out there in the wild with next to zero equipment available.

This primitive yet highly efficient cooking method consists of digging a hole/pit in the ground, which is then cobbled with rocks. You’ll have to go find fairly flat rocks for lining both the pit’s sides and the bottom; that’s the hardest part of the job. Stay away from stream bed stones, as they tend to explode when exposed to heat due to the water which is trapped inside.

Just enjoy the video for getting the fine details (you’ll have to build a fire presumably) and remember, practice makes perfect folks!

Video first seen on NativeSurvival.

3. The Clay Cob Oven

Here’s a video tutorial which depicts the DIYing of the ultimate clay cob oven. Be aware that this is a complex job that requires medium to high skill levels and some elbow grease in the process.

But the end result is absolutely outstanding, as you can see from the YouTube video. Owning a backyard clay cob oven is a delight, especially when it comes to making your own wood fired pizza, garlic bread or jacket potatoes. Remember, nothing tastes better than food cooked in a wood fire, thanks to its wonderful smoky flavor.

Video first seen on Gavin Webber.

For building a cheaper/more basic cob oven, you can use recycled materials and cheap local resources (let your kids for help you with making the cob, which is a simple mixture of sand, clay, water and straw).

The materials for DIYing a clay cob oven are pretty basic: clay, sand, straw, gravel, rocks, tarp and water, together with a little bit of hard work and skill, but I bet in the end you’ll find that it was worth the stretch!

4. The Earthen Oven

The earthen oven, another great and relatively straight-forward DIY job for making your own food using wood fire and dirt-cheap materials. Earthen ovens are thoroughly documented way back to the ancient Romans and they were widely used in the US until the 18th century.

You can find them even today in various places, due to their excellent characteristics, the ease of use and the simplistic build. The design is relatively rudimentary; hence building your own earthen oven is by no means complicated, meaning that you don’t need previous building experience.

Needless to say, this project is a great confidence booster upon completion! You’ll require dry clay, sand, straw/dry grass, fire bricks, canvas tarp and plenty of water. The work itself is a child’s play, literally, as it resembles playing with sand, like on the beach when you were a kid.

You just follow the instructions in the video tutorial and later on, you’ll enjoy baking your own bread and pies using your own earthen oven!

Video first seen on Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc. 

5. The 24 Hours DIY Earth Oven

Our last project is another version of the earthen oven, made even simpler than the previous design. It’s a project that it can be finished in just under 24 hours.

Based on an 18th century design, this earthen oven will require minimal quantities of dirt-cheap materials and the least amount of time, going from bare ground to a baked pie in under 24 hours. Basically, the previous idea has been taken to its simplest and most primitive form.

Video first seen on Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc. 

As for materials required, it doesn’t get any simpler and cheaper than this: 2 bags of cat litter, play sand (from the hardware store, about 4 bags), water, straw/dried grass, sticks, bending sticks, a shovel, scrap fabric (not synthetic), a mixing tarp, firewood and a sacrificial board (a plank of wood basically).

That about sums it up for today. Think about your DIY oven project, and if you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the dedicated section below. Good luck, have fun folks!

usf1newThis article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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What You Need To Know About Building A Grain Mill

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survivopedia grain mill

You are well prepared for a major disaster, and you think that stockpiling will guarantee that you have everything possible for your new life. But even if you have been off gridding for years, you will soon find that a few things that you took for granted are no longer available. A grain mill for making flour is one of them.

If you have been conditioning yourself to live on a lot of breads, and other flour based foods, lack of at least one grain mill will present a problem.

What is a Grain Mill and Why You Need At Least One

Basically, a grain mill takes grain or corn and mashes it up in order to produce flour. Even though you can use something as simple as grinding grain and corn between rocks, a grain mill makes it much easier to produce a useful and uniform flour. That being said, it may not be enough to have just one kind of grain mill on hand. Here are a few reasons why stockpiling just one grain mill may not meet all your needs in the post crisis world.

If you have ever made bread, then you already know that you will need at least 5 – 6 cups of flour. Today, most hand sized grain mills will only produce on cup of flour at a time.

Even among bread recipes, you will find that some work better with coarse flour, while others require a smoother, lighter flour. If you want to make cakes, gravies, and other foods, the weight and texture of the flour can make the difference between a flop and a success. In most cases, a grain mill will only grind one or two texture types. If you want smoother flour or lighter weight flour, you will need to use different grinding agents, or even a different mill altogether. Can you stockpile so many types of grain mills?

Also, maybe you have been making your own baked goods for years or even decades. While you may have stocked away all kinds of flour, and even have a hand based flour mill, you don’t know how much flour you will actually need in the post crisis world on a daily basis. Even if you know how much flour you need now, that amount may double or even triple when other foods are not available.

DIY or Pre-fabricated Grain Mills?

If you do some research, you will find that hand sized grain mills are some of the most popular new kitchen gadgets. As a prepper, you might be tempted to buy one or more of these grain mills and simply put them away until they are needed. Since even a hand powered grain mill can cost almost $100.00, it will be to your advantage to make your own, but here’s what you need to consider.

No matter whether you buy a hand powered or electronic grain mill, it is likely to come with several flour texture settings. As such, one or two mills with an appropriate batch of texture settings can easily meet your needs.

Even though you can get a number of textures in a single pre-fabricated grain mill, that does not mean they will process enough grain for your daily needs. In fact, most grain mills on the market will only process one or two cups of flour at a time. If you need to make at least one batch of bread on a daily basis, these mills will not suit your needs. On the other hand, if you decide to make your own grain mill, there is nothing to stop you from building a mid-sized mill that will process enough flour for specific tasks.

When you build your own mill, you will also know exactly how to maintain and repair it. On the other hand, even if you purchase a very basic manual hand sized grain mill, it may have specially shaped rollers and other internal elements. In the post crisis world, you may find it difficult or impossible to replace these parts or fabricate them from materials on hand.

While prepping, there are bound to be areas where you need to develop your skills. If designing and building devices is one of those areas, then it might be hard to try building a viable grain mill and develop your cooking and gardening skills all at the same time.

Start off now with a pre-fabricated grain mill and learn how they work as you develop your other skills. After you’ll see what your daily needs are, adapt existing grain mill designs to your situation. The whole process that starts with growing corn and grains, grinding them, and turning them into breads and other foods might seem easier this way.

A pre-fabricated grain mill can get you started very quickly on developing an often forgotten homesteading skill. On the other hand, if you are on a very tight budget, it’s cheaper to take some extra time and effort to build a grain mill from scraps.

Typically, if you focus on smaller hand powered mills, you can build a viable mill that will last for years. If you decide to build something larger later on, you will already know the basics and have a better chance of adapting the mill to other power sources.

How to Choose the Best DIY Grain Mill Design

small millAs with many other prepping decisions, you will find that a grain mill that is best for you may not be the best for others. Here are a few tips to help you pick the best grain mill design(s).

If you are going to bug out or live in a larger survival community, there should already be a community based grain mill that everyone can use to process larger amounts of flour.

Even if this mill is only used on a weekly schedule, it should be able to process several pounds of flour or more at a time.

Aside from survival communities, homesteads should also have a larger grain mill so that processing can be done at the best possible time.

Individuals that are bugging in or have very little space should still try to have a large enough grain mill to meet daily needs, and process at least 6 – 7 cups of flour at a time.

If you are using micro-harvest plants or other small scale growing systems, then this grain mill will optimize both your time and processing capacity.

When choosing a grain mill design, think about how you will adapt it to produce different textures and flour weights. If you are building a large sized grain mill, you should focus on a creating a coarse flour, and then use smaller mills for progressively lighter flours. Alternatively, if you need mid-weight and light weight flour, build the grain mill in such a way that you can change the grinding mechanism without having to make extensive changes to the way the mill is powered.

Remember that the bigger the mill, the more power it will take to operate it, and even a slight increase in the size of the internal grinder can make a hand powered mill impossible to use. That’s why you have to think about how you will adjust the grain mill to run on other power sources.

For example, if you think that an animal powered mill suits your needs, do not overlook powering the mill by finding ways to place it in a nearby stream. While keeping different sized mills on hand can help with power associated problems, yow will also need to consider how to make your designs as adaptive as possible. This is especially important if you decide to use electric powered grain mills that will eventually require new motors or sources of electricity in order to use them.

Basic Parts of a Grain Mill

Before building a grain mill, it is important to know what parts every mill has in common as well as the best materials. Fortunately, grain mills are not especially complex, however choosing the best materials can be more time consuming than expected.

Grain Hopper 

This is where the grain will be held while the grain mill is in operation. The hopper can be made of canvas or just about anything else that will hold grain. In order to make your design as compact as possible, try to make detbrewachable and foldable hoppers.

If you are going to make a larger grain mill, then it may also be a good idea to make the hopper in such a way that it will act as a cover for the internal mechanism when not in use. The last thing you will want to do is invest in building a larger grain mill with metal rollers only to have the rollers develop rust or some other form of corrosion. By the same token, you will not want wooden rollers to rot or stone ones to develop moss or algae buildups.

Grain Mill Body

The body of the grain mill should be durable enough to withstand the weight of the hopper and grain. It should also be able to take the friction created by the rollers without falling apart.

Hand sized grain mills can be made of wood or even plastic. Larger mills can be made with cement frames, wood, metal, or stone. You may also want to explore some of the more durable polymer products that will enable you to make different body shapes that will accommodate different power sources or roller sizes with less difficulty.


As the heart of the grain mill, the rollers are the most important. Some people have used PVC plastic, while others prefer metal, wood, stone, ceramic, or even polymer rollers.

Regardless of the material, you will need to experiment with the distance between the rollers as well as the best surface. It may be to your advantage to have several different rollers with differing degrees of smoothness as well as a means to set the rollers closer and further apart.

Power Source

The simplest grain mills rely on a crank that can be turned either by a human or animal. More complex grain mills can be turned by a series of gears and water power. You should also consider designs that are based on the ancient revolving hammers in China. Not only are these fascinating hammers the basis for modern pneumatic hammers, they can also be used for metal shaping as well as making good quality grain.

Study the shaft assemblies carefully for these devices and you will see that they can as easily be driven by a water wheel as they can a wind turbine or other non-electric based power sources.

Flour Hopper 

Once the grain passes through the rollers, you will need a place to store it. The flour hopper should be easy to remove and clean. You can use anything from a ceramic bowl to larger plastic vessels. Just make sure that the flour hopper can remain covered at all times, and that the seal between the hopper and the bottom of the grain mill does not allow dust to escape.

Dust Control

Many people are surprised to find out that grinding grains and corn can produce quite a bit of dust. To reduce this problem as much as possible, make sure that the body of the mill, grain, and flour hoppers all fit together tightly. You can use caulk and sealing agents to help with cracks and other areas where dust can get through.

Small Grain Mill Designs

Small sized grain mills can be powered by hand. They should be able to process 1 – 6 cups of flour at a time. In most cases,it will take from 1 to 5 minutes to grind a single cup of flour. Small grain mills are best suited for refining flour that has already gone through a larger mill as well as for processing grain directly.

Crank Mills

You can make any number of simple designs. This includes ones that have two rollers as well as sifters that utilize a screen on the bottom and a wire loop (or downward angled blades) inside the body. Simply turn the crank in order to turn the rollers, blades, or wire loop. As the grinding unit moves, grain will be fall into the path of the crushing elements and then fall into the hopper waiting below.

Gear Mills

As you may be aware, gears can be attached to a crank in such a way that one turn of the crank produces 2 or more revolutions in the rollers or wire loop attached to it. A gear system will process flour faster, however the gears can also wear out or break. For best results, use metal gears instead of plastic ones.

Gravity Motor Mills

These mills are similar to power generation motors in the sense that they use gravity to turn an object. In this case, you would need several feet of space so that the rollers can be turned as a counterweight falls to the ground. This design will require a gear assembly to optimize rotation as well as to get as much power as possible for turning the rollers.

Electric Powered Mills

If you happen to have a motor on hand and some electricity, these mills can be created in any number of designs. This includes using food processor blades as well as other designs that can be used to crush or cut grains apart.

Midsized Grain Mill Designs

These grain mills should process at least 10 pounds of flour at a time. You can still use crank, gear, gravity, and electric motors to power these mills. On the other hand, you might find that cement, metal, or more durable materials will be needed for these mills.

Large Grain Mill Designs

Trip and Pneumatic Hammer Mills

Trip hammer based mills basically use a central axis that turns several hammers, each in their own turn. Here is a basic design that has been used in China for centuries. It can process several pounds of grain at a time, or if built correctly, can also be used to pound metal into any number of shapes.

You can also study more modern designs that feature smaller hammers that can be driven by an electric motor. If you give it some thought, you will also see how to upscale these smaller designs so that they can be used with stones or other materials.

Animal Driven Mills

Historically speaking, these mills can be driven by both humans and animals that walk around in circles to turn large stones that grind the flour. In order to optimize these designs, consider adding a gear assembly, or better yet, take a hammer mill design and shift it to a horizontal axis instead of a vertically driven one.

Water Wheel Driven Mills

The size of these mills will be determined by the speed and amount of water flowing in the area. Smaller mills can be operated in streams, however you will need a fast moving river if you plan to process larger amounts. Together with above ground versions, you may also want to try and create designs that utilize water pressure built up in underground pipes.

watermillJust remember that when you try to generate power underground, you can get away with light weight fan blades and other materials. Grain mills require considerably heavier rollers that will be difficult to turn unless you add gears or other assemblies to compensate for the weight of the grain.

Motorized Mills

The best motorized mills for a homestead will most likely be driven by wind turbines. You can study windmills from Holland as well as the United States that were built for this purpose.

Video first seen on 32bituser.

Typically, these mills can easily last for centuries. If you want to optimize these mills using modern technologies, consider making the blades from polymers that will combine lighter weight with enough durability to withstand the physical force required to mill grain.

When it comes to grain and flour mills for survivors, more than a few people think that they can get away with a small mill, or even none at all. If you already have a hand mill, simply stop and think about whether or not you have 2 – 3 hours a day to sit around and grind grain. In the post crisis world, where you will have to perform many other tasks, you may have even less time to devote to grinding grain.

Study larger mills and also smaller ones that do not rely completely on hand power. For example, if you are going to build a hand power mill, at least consider gravity motors if you do not want to have all the worries associated with electric motors. If there is more than one person in your survival group, you are also going to find a mid to large sized grain mill absolutely essential.

Knowing how a grain mill is built is one trick that helps your prepping purposes. More valuable secrets from our ancestors are still to be discovered and developed for survival. CLICK on the banner below to find out more about the undisclosed tricks that helped our parents survive!

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How To Start Building A Flashlight From Scrap

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SVP big flashlight

In the modern world, flashlights are very common, and therefore some of the most overlooked when it comes to a complete prepping plan. Let’s say you have stored away plenty of flashlights and rechargeable batteries, but what would you do if you won’t be able to use it?

Do you know how to build a flashlight from scavenged parts, or develop something new once the most important parts become unavailable?

No matter where you wind up living in the post-crisis world, there will come a time when you can no longer rely on supplies and tools that you were able to stockpile. Even before that time happens, you and others are bound to wind up scavenging for items that can no longer be manufactured or are not available for other reasons. Once these “waste” materials are gone, you will wind up having to improvise.

That’s why you need to know a few basic things before building a flashlight from scrap. Read this article to find out!

7 Basics for Your DIY Flashlight Project

There are many light sources that would never qualify as “flashlights” even though they may provide needed lighting. Therefore, before you start storing away parts that might be used to build a DIY flashlight, think about the following elements and how they contribute to the success or failure of a flashlight design:

  1. It must be portable

Even though you can turn on a lamp, or use some other means to light up an area, flashlights are novel in the sense that they can be easily transported from one place to another.

If you cannot take a DIY flashlight into a basement or other area without wires dragging behind you, or other inconveniences, then your design will not be successful.

  1. Must be lightweight and compact

Even though there are huge 9 volt lanterns on the market, most people still prefer the smallest design that produces the most light.

For example, even though LED flashlights are still on the expensive side, they are very popular because a tiny USB flashlight takes up less space and weighs less than other flashlights that put out the same amount of light.

  1. Must be energy efficient

Today, many people are converting to small rechargeable batteries and solar chargers in order to save money on batteries for flashlights and many other devices. That being said, there are still many different flashlight bulbs on the market, and some require much more power than others.

  1. Must be easy to power or recharge

There is nothing worse than turning on a flashlight, and then find out that the batteries are dead or very weak. While you may not be able to completely overcome this problem in a DIY survival flashlight, you should still be able to either recharge the batteries or find an alternative means of power.

  1. Design must be scalable

A tiny key chain flashlight may work just fine if you are trying to find the door lock, but it won’t be of much use if your car breaks down and you have to look deep into the engine compartment.

As you develop your flashlight design, always make sure that you have a way to add more bulbs and more power so that you can always have as much light as you need.

  1. DIY flashlights should have a hands free option

When you are trying to climb a fence, need to use your hands to hit, shoot a gun, or carry out some other task, trying to hold onto a flashlight can cause a lot of problems. While most modern flashlights do not have a practical means to make them wearable, your design should give the optimal amount of light when the unit is not in your hand.

For example, you can aim the reflector and bulb so that light is where you need it most while wearing a headband, or even on a cord hanging from your neck or around your waist.

  1. Parts, especially bulbs, must be interchangeable

No matter whether you decide to bug in or bug out, the passing of time after a social crisis will lead to fewer and fewer supplies being available. If your scavenged flashlight only works with incandescent bulbs or even LEDs, you will be at a disadvantage sooner than expected.

Always make sure that you can change the most common parts of the flashlight and still have a working unit regardless of the situation.

The Basic Parts of a Flashlight


Of all the parts of a flashlight, the part that actually produces the light will be the hardest to replace. Unlike bulbs in other devices, one sitting in a discarded incandescent bulb flashlight may still work even if other parts of the system have failed.

Even if you find hundreds of bulbs in a pile of trash or laying around in an abandoned factory, there is a very good chance that the filament inside will be broken, or something else will be wrong with them. By the same token, if you find discarded LEDs, they may have been damaged by an EMP or they may have burned out for some other reason.

I have personally seen LED arrays that were supposed to last for 10 years and up burn out in a matter of days. This technology is quite fascinating, however it is still relatively new and there are a lot of bad (yet cheap) knock offs on the market that can lead to problems.

Battery Case

Aside from holding the battery, the battery case may be integrated with the body of the flashlight. These should be available for some time after a major collapse occurs. They will not always be easy to make from scratch if you have to find substitutes for wire, solder, contacts, or anything that controls the amount of power actually flowing to the bulb.


Just about anything that is shiny and can be shaped into a cone can be used as a reflector. You will also find plenty of reflectors in discarded flashlights that may have been thrown away because the prior owner did not have batteries, the bulb burned out, or something else went wrong with the flashlight. This is one of the easiest parts to scavenge and upgrade as needed.

Carrying Handle/Shell

There are literally hundreds of shapes and sizes for flashlight carry handles and shells. Some may or may not be salvageable based on whether or not you can get to the internal parts without ruining the case.

For example, a sealed key chain flashlight may actually have a good built-in it if the battery died and could not be replaced. There may also be a usable switch and some usable parts inside, but it is likely that the case will be ruined in trying to access them.

On/Off Switch

When it comes to evaluating a material on-site, the switch can be a culprit that causes you to throw away all sorts of good materials, including a rechargeable battery that has been drained. Regardless of the style, on/off switches may even wear out before the bulb. Before you put a salvaged switch on a new flashlight, make sure that it works first.

Power Source

Batteries can also be very difficult to evaluate at first glance. Always look for rechargeable batteries as they can sometimes be rehabilitated with slow charging or partial charge and usage cycles.

I do not recommend trying to recharge disposable batteries, although some people claim they can do so easily enough without causing the battery to explode. Personally, I’d rather use battery alternatives and save my explosion/fire experiment risks for something with a more tangible benefit.

Unusual Parts

In modern flashlights, you might find resistors or small electronic circuits that either step down or increase the power from the battery going into the bulb.

Pay careful attention to the color bands or numbers on resistors and also any other markings. Aside from their use in flashlights, older basics, usable diodes, resistors, capacitors, crystals, transistors, and coils are worth their weight in gold.

Video first seen on HouseholdHacker.

Alternatives to Consider

Even if you do not need to look to alternatives to the basics listed above for many years, it never hurts to know about some options that will enable you to make better use of materials that may already be on-hand.

Aside from the methods listed here, there are also many other alternatives that may produce the same effects, however they may not lend themselves well to a flashlight because of portability or other issues.

Battery Substitutes

When it comes to battery substitutes, your options are limitless in the sense that many materials can be paired together in order to store electrons and then discharge them at a fixed rate.

For example, something as simple as a potato or a copper penny can act as a battery for a single LED, a Christmas tree light bulb, or other small, low wattage bulbs. That being said, liquid batteries made from acids or even earth batteries may not be practical for a flashlight because they are not portable or may cause other problems.

The best and most viable battery alternatives for flashlights may well be some form of DIY capacitor based “battery”. Just remember that these batteries will still have to be charged, and it may take some effort to find a good set of materials for the capacitor.

For example, there are many sites online that claim you can make a regular capacitor from aluminum foil and wax paper. Even though this may be true, it will take more material than expected. You are better served by looking for other materials that will require less space. You can learn about capacitor “batteries”, and then consider how you can overcome the challenges of making as a DIY project.

Nanotechnologies are moving along rapidly. Even though you may not find many devices on the market that can scavenged yet, they may become available in the next 5 years. Keep track of DIY sites and always be on the lookout to see if any consumer based experimenters have taken any kind of nanotechnology based device and found a way to turn it into a battery substitute.

Magnet Fans

This is another fascinating system that can be used in place of a battery, and you might need to read our article about magnets to find out more about using them for different prepper applications. You may also want to experiment with vertical or shell style blade designs.

Also remember not to overlook some battery alternatives that might utilize a twisting rope to store energy, or anything else that can produce rotation. Never forget that once you have motion, you can use a magnet to induce electricity in a coil of wire.

Shake flashlights may also be of interest. These are especially fascinating and useful because you will never need to replace the batteries.

I would recommend making a coil winder so that the wire wraps in the smallest, and most compact form. Depending on how you construct the coil winder, you can also use it for larger coils that can be used in many devices including wind turbines and gravity fans. Just remember that a simple coil winder is not going to be of much use if you want to make torroid coils or other shapes that might be more useful for other purposes.

Also a DIY coil winder is still not going to be of use if you want to create complex windings for more powerful motors. Still, you can get the 300 and up windings easily enough for this flashlight and other low power applications. Needless to say, if you can get this device to work, then consider using the coils and shaking as a means to power other devices such as radios or other DC powered devices. When combined with a stationary bike or another source of motion, you may also be able to generate larger amounts of power.

Video first seen on Grant Thompson – “The King of Random”.

Bulb Substitutes

In most cases, you are not going to find something as compact as a light bulb that will be able to produce as much light.

Here are some options that you can consider:

  • Glow stick technologies – even though many of these require complicated chemicals, you may still be able to make them on your own. If at all possible, aim for ones that can be recharged, or be on the lookout for new technologies that make them easier to make or allow them to last longer. instructables.com/id/DIY-Glow-Sticks/
  • Phosphorescent materials – even though these “glow in the dark” materials do not provide much light, they can still be of use in time of need. Aside from storing away “glow in the dark” paint and other materials, you should also do some research on how to make urine glow in the dark.
  • You can also try to use glowing wires, however they will not last very long and will burn up quickly.

Wiring Substitutes

Just about anything that conducts electricity can be used as a wire substitute, including necklaces or metal chains and aluminum foil. But even if you have a material that conducts electricity, it may not work very well because there is not enough power being provided by the battery to overcome the resistance in the wire replacement.

Since every “wire” and substitute has some degree of resistance, you can try to mitigate the problem in the following ways:

  • Use as little connecting material as possible. For example, if you are going to use tin foil, use the shortest length and the least amount of material. Do some research on how much current can be transmitted by specific materials so that you will know best how to shape the wire alternative to meet the power constraints of the system.
  • Make sure the material is insulated with a non-conductor.
  • Before you begin searching for suitable wire replacements, do some research on wire free systems that use metal tabs. This includes systems where a metal tab is pushed in order to allow current to flow through the circuit. Aside from solving your wire problem, these methods can also make it easy to replace switches that have worn out or otherwise useless.
  • Always make sure that bare conductors do not touch and create a short circuit. For example, if you are using metal from a chain, make sure that the positive and negative “wires” do not touch each other at the required contact points on the bulb or the switch. This includes making sure that solder contact points are clean and not so close together that they can generate shorts.
  • If you do some research, you might be very tempted to see if there are ways to utilize liquid batteries or even gels in such a way that you can further limit the use of wires. While I am more than supportive of stationary lights utilizing these power forms, I don’t think they will ever be portable enough for a flashlight system. It would be better to remain focused on metals, or even newly emerging nanotechnologies that may make metal wires obsolete.
  • A few decades ago, it is believed that Tesla was able to transmit electricity through the air. At the current time, scientists can transmit small amounts of electricity over very short distances. You can try looking through Tesla’s patents and other information to see if you can come up with ways to transmit electricity in much the same way that radio signals are sent. Since electricity can actually be pulled from the air, research on these methods may also be of interest.

Parts to Look For on Scavenger Expeditions

When searching for parts on scavenger expeditions, it is your choice in terms of how limited or broad your scope is. For example, if you are looking for batteries, you may decide that you only want rechargeable that perfectly fit the flashlight you have on hand.

In this scenario, you will miss out on a number of short term and long term viable places to search. This includes looking in old radios or other portable devices that may have weak batteries that will still work in a flashlight.

You will also overlook very important alternative sized batteries that can still meet your needs. Before limiting your search to pre-existing flashlights, take a look at some videos and instructables on how to convert from one battery type to another. Chances are you will be very surprised at just how many different variations you can use in one flashlight with a minimum of modification. HERE is one simple guide to get you started.


If you decide to use a more expanded parts list that includes capacitors, resistors and metal strips, viable materials can be found in just about anything that uses electricity.

When searching for electrical components, however, make sure that you know the difference between high voltage and low voltage circuits. This is especially important if you decide to remove capacitors from a board or if you find them laying around. Even a relatively small capacitor used in a high voltage circuit can deliver quite a jolt.

Never remove parts from a circuit board until you have used a multi-purpose meter to test them out. If you find a charged capacitor on a board, make sure that you know how to discharge it safely before removing the components.

When you read about different ways to scavenge flashlights, most of them will tell you how to interchange bulbs or do simple things that are little more than a matter of common sense. After the initial phases of a social collapse, and even during a short term crisis, these methods may be very useful. When there are no parts to exchange, or no materials that you might recognize as suitable for a flashlight, you must know how to improvise. Never limit your explorations on this topic, as there are new technologies emerging as well as older, simpler ones that can be used to meet your portable lighting needs.

Just take your time and think about each part of the flashlight to see how you can optimize it, and then fit it into a whole system that meets the best features of the flashlights you may be taking for granted right now.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia






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15 Questions To Ask Before The Power Goes Out

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15 Questions To Ask Before The Power Goes Out It’s hard to overstate most people’s reliance on the power grid. They need it literally every second of every day–to do their jobs, to make their food, to keep them warm (or cool) while they sleep. But this increasing reliance on power is making people more …

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EMP Survival: Power For Your Oxygen Concentrator

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Oxygen concentrator

Unless you actually rely on medical devices, you might not realize how important for your survival some of them are. In particular, if you don’t have any major breathing problems, or they are largely under control, you may not give much thought at all to oxygen concentrators.

Until you need them… That’s the moment you realize you should have read and learned more about them. Including how to supply power to them in case of a major emergency in which conventional electricity may not be available for days or longer.

That’s the article you need to read to get this knowledge!

How Much Power Do Concentrators Take?

The amount of electricity required for each unit depends largely on the size of the compressor and the manufacturer ratings. In most cases, the devices will run on batteries, however there is also considerable variance on how efficient the unit is and how much oxygen it can actually produce.

As a general guide, older, home oxygen concentrator units required about as much electricity as refrigerator. Modern devices might take as little as a low wattage microwave, while others may still require quite a bit more.

There a few things to be aware of before buying a concentrator for survival needs, and here are some of them:

  • Amperage required by the device
  • Voltage output from the emergency battery pack
  • How long the concentrator will run on the battery pack at different oxygen output amounts
  • How long the batteries are expected to last and what they are made from

How Many Batteries You Need to Buy

When it comes to buying batteries, most people will buy one for charging and another for using any given device, but this is not always the best route to take, because not having enough batteries for charging and powering can spell disaster.

Buying more batteries than needed can take up excess space and also create a situation where rechargeable batteries are not used at optimal loads and rotations. At the very least, consider the following:

  • Find out how long a fully charged battery will power the concentrator at its highest setting. Take that number of hours and divide by 2 (just in case you cannot fully charge a battery up before it has to be rotated back into service.) In this example, let us say that a fully charged battery will last 12 hours at full charge. Instead of buying just 2 batteries, you would purchase four for use during a single day.
  • Next, determine how much power you can generate each day, and how much of it can be used for charging up the concentrator batteries. If it takes 8 hours to fully charge a single battery, then you should be able to charge 1 – 3 batteries per day. Add that number of batteries to the ones that you expect to use in a day. In this example, you would need 3 batteries for charging plus 4 for regular use; meaning that you would need 7 batteries.
  • Finally, it is also very important to consider long term wear and tear on the batteries. Even if you purchase batteries that can be deep cycled 1000 times, they may become useless in 3 – 5 years. In this particular example, add at least 3 batteries in case some of them go bad. Just be sure that you also plan on rotating them into the system so that the internal parts remain active and do not corrode or become destroyed by lack of use.

What Is the Best Way to Power an Oxygen Concentrator Off Grid?

Many people wrongfully assume that power for critical medical devices such as concentrators can come from any source, and think they can just put up a few windmills and solar panels, and then expect that combination to produce enough power.

When must run a concentrator around the clock or charge up batteries to run that concentrator, there is no such thing as waiting for the sun to come back out or for a wind to kick up. What you need is a reliable system of renewable energy that will never run out, and will not be dependent on the vagaries of the weather.

Here are a few systems that might work, but remember that you will need access to a number of resource that may take some time and effort to develop. While you can still get started with solar and wind power, do not overlook these systems.

Above Ground and Underground Water Wheels

If you are fortunate enough to live near a stream or river, there is no reason why you cannot set up a water wheel and generating motor. Take the time now to calculate the rate of flow of water and also the size of the wheel that you will need to generate the necessary amount of current.

As may be expected, if you live in colder climates where rivers and streams routinely freeze, you will need to see if the lower levels of water will remain fluid enough to push the wheel.

Today, far too many people place water wheels where they can be partially seen above the water level instead of taking the time to immerse them near the center of the water flow. While it takes considerably more work to build a fully immersed wheel that will still turn, it is well worth the effort in colder climates.

If water never freezes in your local area, then it may still be safe to build a more conventional water wheel.

Underground Water Pipe Systems

When it comes to new innovations in using water for generating electricity, underground water pipes are truly some of the best and most innovative. As long as you have a constant source of water flowing through these pipes, water wheels placed within the pipes can be used to generate electricity.

Many people do not think about this option because they do not live near a pond, stream, or other source of water that can be used for underground irrigation. That being said, even extremely dry or cold regions have all kinds of underground streams and rivers that can be tapped for this purpose.

As long as you know where they run through your land, you might drill down to their level and install both pipes and suitable equipment for generating electricity: you won’t have to worry about freezing temperatures, there will be very few, if any ways for the equipment to be stolen.

This system does have some drawbacks if you are in an earthquake zone or any other area where shifting underground geographies can crush the pipes.

Sink Drain Power Generation

As long as you have water, you will also have electricity with this system. Basically, all you need to do is install mini water wheels in the outgoing pipe drains of your home. They can be cleanable as garbage disposals, and other drain systems.

Even though there are no devices of this type on the market, you should be able to make your own. Unlike a number of other power generation systems, this one can work for you in a city setting as long as municipal water continues to flow through the tap.

Just remember that if you have to rely on this system for generating electricity, the source of the water must be energy neutral. For example, you will need either a ram pump to draw water from a pond, or even an Archimedes screw from some other surface body of water. If you are fortunate enough to have an artesian well, then you will be one step ahead.

How Reliable Are Oxygen Concentrators and Can They Be Repaired?

The most vulnerable part of the concentrator is the compressor that draws air into the unit and then packs it into a smaller amount of space before pushing it into the chamber housing the zeolite crystals. As with many other things, modern compressors are not as well built as older ones.

If you can, carefully study the compressor systems in different concentrators, and then find out if there are working vintage models that can be substituted into the system. Even though you may have to adapt some of the fittings, it is well worth the effort. Being able to replace the compressor can easily extend the life of the concentrator from just a year or two to well over a decade without much need for other kinds of repair.

It can be said that concentrator reliability also comes down to good maintenance and being aware of the kinds of problems that can occur. When it comes to survival scenarios, fuses and IC circuits will always be a problem if an EMP occurs. Since many of these circuits control the opening and closing of purely mechanical valves, it may be possible to use gravity based levers or pulley systems to manually open an close the valves at proper intervals.

In Classical Greece, there was a “robot” that was able to mix proper concentrations of wine and water without using any kind of electricity, and if you do some experimenting, you can find a way to achieve this goal.

If you do not want to ruin a perfectly good concentrator, buy an old one that is no longer functional. You will learn plenty about how the system works, as well as how to improvise and develop work arounds for areas that might be weak points during a survival scenario.

What to Do When the Concentrator Stops Working

If you already have concentrator or have seen one in use for any length of time, then you already know that there are times when they will fail. As with any other machine, there are simple causes for these failures as well as more complex ones. Here are a range of problems that you may encounter as well as how to deal with them:

  • If the concentrator is running, but you do not feel air coming out, one or more airline tubes may be kinked. Depending on how the air tubing leaves the unit, there may also be a kink behind the unit where you won’t always see it right away. Make sure that you can easily get around every part of the concentrator so that you can locate any loose or crimped tubes.
  • The concentrator goes offline and refuses to start. Any number of problems may cause the unit to stop or refuse to start at all. If you are running the unit on batteries, you can start off by making sure that the battery has enough power and that it is hooked up properly. Some manufacturers also provide trouble shooting guides that will help you determine other simple things that may be causing the fault.
  • If the unit fails after all of the simple things have been eliminated, there may be a blown fuse inside the unit, or the compressor may have failed. This type of repair can be complicated. Unless you actually know how to repair a concentrator, or have enough background in electronics, you should not try to do this during a crisis situation. That being said, there is no harm in getting the schematics for the model concentrator that you own and making sure that you know how to handle a range of problems. While this process will take time and effort to learn, it will be worth your while. In a crisis, there may be no such thing as a qualified repair person to help put your concentrator back into service. If you do not feel confident about delving into repairing these devices, then make it a point to find friends among your neighbors that might be able to help you in time of need. If you are in a survivor community, there is sure to be at least one or two people that can do this job on your behalf.

Do you know enough now to make an oxygen concentrator work for you? Use the comment form below to share you thoughts and ask your question about these lifesaving devices!

CLICK HERE to read more on surviving an EMP with a disability!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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5 DIY Ways to Power Your Home During Floods

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As weather patterns continue to shift, there is no escaping the fact that massive floods are becoming more common. Especially now, in the spring, when snow begins to melt and they are likely to happen even more than in any other time of the year.

While flooding may be a common event in some parts of the world, other areas are now becoming aware of several problems related to generating electricity during and after a flood occurs.

Living in a relatively dry place, or one that is not known for floods, won’t keep you away of trouble. Just take a look at the weather reports in 2015 alone for Texas, Kansas, and other areas that have no major history of the kinds of flooding they have had to deal with.

If you know how to generate electricity in a flood you are not stuck trying to use devices and methods that will fail, nor electrocute you because the devices cannot be safely used in this type of situation.

What to Beware Of

After the floods, some problems will impact how you generate electricity and the kind of materials you can use for this purpose: remember that it is not safe to mix electricity and water. No matter whether you are facing downed power lines or simply trying to make electricity using magnets and coils, failure to manage electricity safely around any kind of water can cause severe injuries, or even death.

Here’s what to expect while trying to generate electricity during and after a flood:

  • Vehicle alternators and wires may not be salvageable because of damage caused by flood waters. Motors that have been exposed to excess moisture can spark, catch fire, and cause all kinds of other problems, but it might be difficult to determine if an abandoned car was actually flooded out or not. Aside from checking in the wheel wells and under the hood, take a look in the trunk of the car. If you see mud, wet carpets, or upholstery with signs of water damage, do not try to salvage wires or motors that might otherwise be useful for generating electricity.
  • If you do not bug out before a flood, you will either be stuck in the upper floors of your home or waiting for rescue up on the roof. While you may have some room for generating electricity in a home setting, your options will be extremely limited while you are sitting on a roof. At ground level, you will still have problems with limited space because of the water around you. Even though this water will recede with time, there is a critical window of days and weeks where you will need very simple systems that require as little space as possible.
  • Soggy ground makes it very difficult to support frames for windmills and solar panels that are housed on the ground. Not only will support structures collapse, but solar panels, connecting wires, and other parts can be ruined as flood waters pass through. You may also find it very hard to build and operate earth batteries because of the excessive moisture and difficulty with digging into mud in order to place metal parts.
  • You probably won’t be able to move across large enough distances to operate piezoelectric shoes and backpacks that generate electricity as you walk or run. No matter where you live during a flood, the air is bound to be very humid, and can make it difficult, if not deadly to carry out strenuous activities. Before you try to generate power using a bicycle or something else that utilizes body power, make sure that you know how to stay properly hydrated and how to control your body temperature.

What to Make Use Of

When it comes to “green power”, hydroelectric dams and other water based electric generating systems are often viewed as some of the most efficient and powerful in the world. In fact, if you have even some moving water, you also have one of the most important natural elements for generating electricity. Even though flood waters may lose their power in just a few days, knowing how to harness this water can be of immense benefit.

But this is only one of the advantages you have to be aware of, others are still to come below:

  • Looters, rioters, and others that might be inclined to steal your electricity generating systems may have a harder time. Consider that when streets are flooded, or you are sitting up on a roof, it will be very hard for these people to get to you. Not only will you have a high vantage point to work from, people that are stuck in the flood zone will probably be more interested in getting out or being rescued. That being said, as the water recedes, you can expect crime oriented problems to develop.
  • It may be slightly easier to access local news and other communication systems. If you happen to have a traditional broadcasting station in your local area, the transmitter and backup systems are likely to be located on high ground. As such, they may well be broadcasting right along with ham radio operators and others that have equipment that is still working. Just keep an appropriate receiver in a water proof bag and make sure that it goes with you to the roof or any other place that you need to go in order to stay out of the flood waters. This information can help you find out the extent of the damage to power generating systems as well as help you gauge what you need to do in the meantime. Individuals with smart phones should also be able to access mobile internet signals that can be used to download schematics for power generating systems or gain access to advice if problems occur. While this is no substitute for actually building systems, at least you may be able to get some help when it is needed most.

Small Scale Systems

Overall, you will find that small, low power generating systems will be safer and easier to build, use, and maintain during and after a flood.

As with many other systems, you are sure to be surprised by the number of ideas you can get by studying the works of the ancient Greeks and Chinese. They have some of the most fascinating gear and lever systems in the world that readily integrate moving water and can also accommodate both magnets and coils for generating electricity.

Gravity Driven Motor Assemblies

If you have ever been stuck without an air conditioner, then you may already know that it is possible to build a fan that essentially runs on gravity. During a flood, it is very likely that you will be up in the attic or sitting on a roof, and these locations are perfect for using a gravity fan to generate power.

As with many other small scale systems, as long as you add magnets to the fan blade and coils of wire to generate current in, they you should be able to make this system work. More, the items required are very easy to store in your attic: a box fan, several feet of rope, a weight, some magnets, and coils of wire.

You can also practice with this system before a flood occurs so that you can fine tune the system and also find out how much electricity you can generate with it. To get started, you can study this video to see who best to start with making the gravity fan, and then do some additional research on magnets and coils:

Video first seen on Attila Blade.

You can also use a bicycle wheel to run a generator which in turn powers a light bulb using a gravity to turn the wheels.

Video first seen on RimstarOrg.

Gear Driven Motor Assemblies

Did you know that the Greeks were able to create “robots” that could automatically open doors, and even operate on pre-set stages in order to act out a complete play? Research on Hero of Alexandria and also ancient Greek robot technologies, and you’ll understand now how much can be done with gears and the power of gravity and motion.

As you look at the different devices (including ones that could mix wine and water), think about how you can adapt them to generate power. You will still need to add coils and magnets to the assembly, and then figure out how large the device will need to be in order to meet your power needs.

Because of the kinds of damage and instability caused by floods, you are better off building a few lightweight systems and hooking them up instead of building just one larger system. At the very least, if one or two units are knocked out, you may still be able to move the rest to higher ground and have some electricity to work with.

Container Based Earth Batteries

Ice trays, planters, and just about anything else filled with dirt can be used to generate small amounts of electricity, you just need two types of metal and some water to make these earth batteries work. You can also add table salt and other electrolytes to the water in order to increase the output of each battery.

If you choose to use electrolytes, you will also have to replace it often, as the solution will break down as electrons are released.

Small Waterwheels

During a flood, you might expect that heavy rainfalls will occur. Contrary to popular belief, this is a perfect time to start generating your own power using a small scale waterwheel.

If you have a rain barrel set up in order to increase the amount of potable water on hand, you can use it as a mounting point for the waterwheel. To make this work, try the following:

  • Start off with a 50-gallon drum or something else that will capture a fairly large amount of water.
  • Make a small waterwheel and make sure that each end of the central shaft extends beyond the barrel. Make sure that the central shaft turns freely.
  • Make a plastic tent with the point aimed downward above the waterwheel. The lowest point should hit the paddles on one side of the wheel so that it spins easily.
  • Cut a hole in the plastic tent where the water will come out. The plastic will collect the raindrops, and, as they move to the bottom, create a strong enough stream of water to drive the waterwheel.
  • From there, you can either attach magnets and gears to the shafts, or any other motorized system that will enable the magnets to induce currents in coils of wire. Alternatively, you can also power car alternators or other types of generators that have not been damaged by a flood. Just make sure that you also protect motors and other parts of the generator from both the rain and flood waters that will follow.

There are also some ways that you can use waterwheels to generate power after the floods, if you will be looking for areas where the water is deep enough and flowing fast enough to turn the water wheel. Anything from flooded streets to parking lots with moving can be used for this purpose.

Just remember not to get swept up in the floods when you are trying to set up the water wheels. It is also very important to keep an eye on the flood waters and rescue operations so that you know when to pull the wheels out of the water so as to avoid losing them or causing more problems.

Large Scale Systems

When the power first goes out during a flood, there may be a period of time where you may sit and wait, hoping that the problem is minor, and that emergency crews will restore power sooner rather than later.

This tactic is about as useful as trying to use some of the more common systems touted for use in short to longer term survival situations. For example, if you think that solar panels on the roof, windmills, or others that use battery storage systems will survive a flood, you may be in for a nasty surprise. From cloudy days to muddy ground causing buildings to collapse, in the end large scale power generating systems will need to make use of flood waters instead of try to work around their presence.

Archimedes Screw

The Archimedes Screw is actually a fairly simple device that has been around for thousands of years. Basically, a form similar to a screw is mounted in a tube. As the screw turns in the tube, water is raised from a lower level to a higher one. Moving water flowing through the system can then be harnessed to generate electricity.

In fact, Windsor Castle is one of the most notable places on Earth that derives most of its power from a pair of Archimedes Screws that rely on the flow of water from the Thames River.


To generate power using an Archimedes Screw after a flood, you will need to find a place where water is flowing freely. Flooded streets, river beds, and even backyards with drainage into the street can all be used for this purpose. Depending on the flow of the water, you’ll need to make smaller screws and then harness the power generating coils together in order to obtain enough current for your needs.

As with any other power generating method, it will always be to your advantage to have something built and plans for using it before a crisis happens. Consider a situation where you have a front yard or a back yard that you can build up or change the height of.

Research on Archimedes Screw systems, then you will realize that the change in height the water must travel will have a bearing on the amount of power that can be generated. Depending on the way the land is structured, it may be possible to cut paths that will direct the flow of water, and thus make it much easier to install an Archimedes Screw before the flood actually occurs.

Electricity Alternatives

When preparing for floods, most people rush out and stock up on flashlight batteries, propane stoves, and propane bottles, but these very same people will never have enough alternative fuel on hand to survive a disaster like Hurricane Katrina.

In a flood situation, you may only have to wait a few days, or the situation can last for weeks, months, or years, while wood, and many other burnable materials may not be available because everything will be soaked.

When it comes to electricity alternatives during and after a flood, your best options will include smaller devices and saving energy as much as possible. Here’s what you can do to replace the fridge or your electricity based cooker:

  • If you are fortunate enough to have sunny days soon after the rains leave, you can use solar cookers made from cardboard boxes and tin foil.
  • Use table salt mixed with ice to keep foods frozen.
  • Use zeer pots for refrigeration, however they may not work well if the air is humid, and thus prevents the flow of water out from the central chamber.
  • If you can get enough dry materials together, rocket stoves can be used for cooking and keeping warm. Dakota fire pits and other holes dug in the ground may not work because of mud and water seepage. As the area dries out, keep track of how the water is receding on higher ground. It may just be possible to use these areas within a few days of the rain stopping.

Make sure you have plenty of plastic rain gear and waterproof clothes on hand. These materials may not be comfortable to wear, but they can keep most of the moisture away from you as well as prevent vital body heat from escaping. Just remember that your body will continue to sweat and cause a buildup of moisture.

Be sure to unzip or unbutton plastic coverings so that the moisture can escape, or it can easily result in skin infections and other problems. Never forget that bacteria, mold, and mildew thrive in wet, warm environments. While you may need to reduce air flow to your skin for the sake of keeping warm, it can also spell disaster from a health point of view.

Today, many people that pin their hopes on solar or wind power fail to realize that these systems are just as vulnerable to floods as larger scale commercial power grids. No matter whether you live in a survival based gated community, have a homestead, or live in an inner city, you can come up with at least one or two inexpensive options to generate electricity.

They can be assembled from old junk laying around your home, or items that may be very cheap or free to acquire at the local dump or some other place where items may be offered to the community for free as part of a recycling program.

You may even want to connect to the Freecycle boards for your local area to obtain free fans or other items that can be used for flood based power generating needs.


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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10 Things You’ll Need When The Power Grid Fails

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Most of us rely on the power grid almost every minute of every day. Without power, we usually just sit around waiting for it to come back on. But what if it doesn’t? Due to an aging infrastructure, the power grid is becoming less and less reliable every […]

The post 10 Things You’ll Need When The Power Grid Fails appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

12 Ways To Protect Your Heat Sources From Freezing

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Heat sourcesWhen winter comes, keeping your heating system operational is more important than ever. Unfortunately, even if you have done most routine maintenance, you may not have prepared for temperatures reaching into the double digits below zero.

Given all of the erratic and wide scale changes in temperature across this planet, it is entirely possible that areas not usually accustomed to freezing temperatures will experience them before temperatures climb out of control.

Under these circumstances, you should take some extra care when winterizing your heating systems so that you can reduce the risk of them failing when you need them most.

1. Know How to Reset or Make the System Recycle

No matter where or why a fault occurs in the heating system, it may cause the entire unit to shut down even though you may have solved the problem. In some cases you may need to shut power to the unit or take some other steps to get the heating system’s computer to reboot and recognize that the problem has been solved.

Make sure that you know how to reset the system so that you do not waste all of your efforts on solving a problem only to have the system refuse to start up again.

2. Use Good Quality Surge Protectors on All Devices

Overall, there is no way for consumers to protect electric power lines from major freeze ups. If you have your own power generating system, you can try buying cables beneath the frost line, however that may not help with connections coming into a building. Regardless of where you get electricity from, you should make it a point to have all electrical equipment plugged into a good quality surge protector.

For computers and other sensitive devices, you should choose a surge system that also includes a UPS or “Uninterrupted Power Supply”. Essentially, these devices can smooth out brown outs and surges, and also use a battery to provide steady power to your devices. Perhaps even better, if you do wind up with a major power failure, the battery pack can give you anywhere from 2 – 4 additional hours of run time.

When choosing a UPS system, always pay attention to the warranty and coverage limits in case the unit fails. Over the years, many people have bought UPS systems that were only supposed to last 2 – 3 years, and then did not understand why their devices were ruined 5 years later, when an actual brown out or surge occurred. It is important to realize that UPS systems utilize rechargeable batteries. Since they are under constant wear, they must be replaced on a regular basis.

If devices on the UPS system are ruined during the warranty period, the additional insurance should cover replacing those devices. Just make sure that all devices hooked into the computer are also plugged into the UPS.

For example, a surge can come through a printer, and then transfer through the data cable and ruin a computer and any other device wired up to it. In these situations, the UPS system manufacturer will not reimburse you for damages because the surge did not come through their product.

3. Make Sure Air Inlets Remain Clear

Most heating systems require air circulation courtesy of vents that lead from the system to the outdoors. While these vents may not be easily visible to you, snow can melt on them and form ice.

Once the vent clogs up, the heating system will generate a fault and stop working. Make it a point to know where these vents are. If your system stops working and the temperatures are below freezing, check these vents out first to see if they are obstructed. In many cases, clearing this obstruction will clear the fault problem and make it possible to restart your heating system.

4. Use Insulated Stove Pipe and Keep Exhaust Vents Clear

Just about any heating system will release water vapor as part of the exhaust. Once this vapor hits cold air, it will turn to ice. This ice, in turn, will collect on the inside of a chimney or exhaust vent and eventually block all flow of exhaust out of the system. As with a clogged air inlet, this problem will also cause a fault that causes the system to shut down. If this happens, you will have to clear the exhaust pipe and then restart the system.

Because this is such a common problem, you can, and should look for ways to avoid it. There are insulated stove pipes that will not freeze up, as well as other items you can purchase to keep exhaust vents clear. Even though it may cost a bit to replace external stove pipe or refit a chimney, it will be well worth it in the long run.

5. Install Filters on the Fuel Line and Keep Them Clean

If you have ever worked on a car, then you also know that gasoline is not entirely free of debris and other particles that would cause damage to the valves and other delicate parts of the engine. Various particles found in fuel oil, and water vapor in propane gas can also foul up the system or cause it to stop working.

Surprisingly enough, more water vapor will be released during freezing temperatures, which means that there is a greater chance of fouling the system. As such, you are best served by installing fuel filters. At the very least, if the system does fail, you will have an easier time cleaning the filter than you will trying to clean the burner and other elements of the heating system.

It should also be noted that fuel filters are more prone to clog up when they are in a freezing cold environment. You can avoid this problem by putting the fuel in a sheltered area of the fuel line and still get all the benefits from it. Just remember that the fuel filter can still be a main culprit for system failure, and it will be one of the first things you will need to check.

6. Keep Your Fuel Storage Tank in a Sheltered Area

Even though fuel storage tanks are designed to last for decades, that does not mean the contents inside of them can withstand freezing temperatures. In fact, even diesel blends designed for ultra-cold temperatures will thicken in a tank that is exposed to freezing cold temperatures. Also, once propane liquefies, it cannot be used until returns to the gas phase.

All of these problems can be avoided by keeping your fuel tanks in some type of well-ventilated shed or other type of shelter. If the temperatures still get too cold, there are special, non-explosive heating bulbs that you can use to keep the fuel shed warm.

When you have a whole tank of fuel that cannot be used because of the cold weather, it can be very tempting to use blow torches, candles, or other flame based heating devices to thaw the fuel out. On the other hand, fuels also heat up very quickly, and flames can still cause the fuel to ignite very quickly. Always be on the safe side and use only devices and methods that are safe for the fuel under consideration. There are no safe shortcuts to bring fuel up to an appropriate temperature.

7. Make Sure Fuel Tanks are Full Before a Freeze Occurs

No matter how hard fuel manufacturers try, water is always going to get into the final product. In addition, as time goes by, water vapor and condensation will also build up in tanks and fuel lines. When temperatures drop below zero, even more water vapor will be released by the fuel.

Under these circumstances, the fuel going into the heating system will either have so much water it clogs the filter, or it will cause the system to misfire. In both cases, the system will shut down until the fouled parts are cleaned up and restored. While this may seem like a simplistic answer, one way to avoid condensation problems is to keep the fuel tank as full as possible before freezing temperatures occur. In this case, you can try topping off the day before, or even within hours of a major cold snap.

8. Keep a Smaller Container of Fuel Indoors for Emergency Needs

Depending on where you live, fuel delivery companies may not be willing to supply more fuel unless you order a minimum of 100 gallons.

In these situations, they are not likely to be willing to deliver anything less just so that you do not have system failure because of condensation building up in the fuel tank. So you might be best served by removing some fuel from the external storage tank and bringing it indoors. From there, you can feed the fuel system directly from the container.

Here are some tips for doing this as safely as possible:

  • Make sure that the container is rated for safely storing the fuel in question.
  • Do not allow the fuel to be stored in areas where sparks can reach it.
  • Keep the fuel container fully covered so that pets and children cannot get into it.
  • Make sure the container is stored in a location where it will not tip over.
  • The fuel container should be kept in an area where it is warm enough for the fuel to flow properly, but not so warm that it can be ignited.
  • The area should be well ventilated so that hazardous fumes do not build up.
  • If you must cut into the fuel line, make sure that it is sealed properly. It is also important to use pipe, valves, and other items that are safe to use with the fuel in question. This includes making sure that metal used in the line will not be corroded by the fuel.

9. Use Larger Diameter Pipes or Tubing for Outdoor or Unprotected Pipes

Chances are, you already realize that liquids will flow faster and more easily through larger pipes than small ones. As such, you might find it of some use to install larger pipes from the fuel tank and through any areas that tend to be harder to insulate.

Even if the fuel is thicker and moves slower than usual, the larger pipes can help offset that problem. This is especially important to consider if you cannot afford large quantities of heating tape or other forms of insulation.

At the very least, you can use these items on fittings that cannot be changed for larger sizes, and then rely on the larger pipes to keep the fuel moving. Once the fuel reaches warmer locations, you can always scale the pipe size back down so that it matches the fittings on the heating system. Today, there are all kinds of adjustment couplers that you can use to achieve this goal.

Video first seen on This Old House

10. Use Snow and other Materials as an Insulator

No matter how cold temperatures get, insulating pipes, regulators, filters, and tanks remains one of the best things you can do. In most cases, even if temperatures reach 20 degrees or more below zero, the cold will not be able to reach the lines. As long as they were warm enough before the cold snap hit, they will remain warm enough for some time. When choosing insulation for fuel tanks and lines:

  • Make sure that the insulation is non-flammable.
  • Choose insulation that is specified as safe for the fuel type stored or being transported through the lines.
  • Try to choose insulation that is as flexible as possible so that it is easier to cover bends in the fuel line or other complex areas.
  • Make sure that you observe all ventilation instructions that come with the insulation. Failure to take these precautions can cause an explosion that will do far worse than the cold temperatures.

When temperatures reach the double digits below zero, snow can actually be warmer than the surrounding air. As such, it can also act as an insulator if you have nothing else available. In this case, if you have a propane tank, or even a tank of diesel that is too cold to use, the snow may help raise the temperature in the tank without posing a fire risk. If you decide to use snow as an insulator remember that:

  • Any warmth will cause the snow to melt, and then form ice as the temperatures drop again. As such, you may wind up with a fuel tank encased in ice if you leave the snow in place for too long.
  • As snow melts into water, and then refreezes back into ice, it will expand. If you have the snow tightly packed around a tank or fuel lines, it is possible for the external ice to damage or even crush the lines. Always monitor the snow carefully to make sure that it is not turning to ice and leading into an even bigger problem.

11. Use Heat Tapes and Bulbs Appropriate for the Fuel Being Used

If you have ever owned your own well in a cold climate, then you already know that electric heating tapes are indispensable during the winter months. Today, you can buy specially made electric tapes that are safe for propane and other fuel lines. As long as you have electricity, you should be able to run these tapes without any problems.

When you are optimally prepared for freezing temperatures, your fuel tank should already be in some kind of shelter. Depending on the fuel type, you may also need special heating bulbs that will keep the enclosure warm without causing an explosion. Even though these bulbs may be a bit more expensive, they are well worth it in the long run.

Overall, you will find that heat tapes can last for decades once installed. On the other hand, the last thing you will want is to have heat tapes fail during a cold snap and not have any spares on hand. You should have double the number of tapes needed on hand just in case you need them.

While it may be a bit time consuming to retape fuel lines, at least you won’t have to worry about trying to acquire new heat tapes during the crisis period. Needless to say, you should also store away plenty of heating bulbs so that you have them onhand. Just store these items in a dry, cool place so that they do not become corroded or damaged by moisture or other environmental factors.

It is important to realize that during a cold spell, you may also lose power. No matter whether ice forms on power lines, trees fall on them, or other problems occur, heat tapes and bulbs will not work without electricity.

Under these circumstances, it is very important to know how much power the heat tapes require. You should always keep at least some kind of rechargeable battery onhand and in a safe location so that you can generate electricity to run the heat tapes and bulbs.

12. Using Hair Dryers and Hot Water to Unfreeze Lines

As with water pipes, it may be a bit difficult to find out just how large a stopped up area of fuel line actually is. It can truly be frustrating to discover that you can’t use propane torches, candles, kerosene space heaters, or other flame based devices to warm the lines up.

Depending on the fuel type, you may also have to avoid using hair dryers. Typically, hot water will be the safest option you will have for warming up frozen fuel lines, regulators, and fuel filters. If you cannot get the fuel lines to thaw out, then you will more than likely need to do the following:

  • Burn wood, paper logs, or other materials in a store that is safe for this purpose. If your home does not have a backup heating system, then it may be a good idea to install one.
  • Use multi-fuel heaters. If you do some research, you may be able to find heaters that will take diesel as well as kerosene. Just be aware that different fuels produce different amounts of heat. You should store enough fuel away to last several weeks.
  • Close off rooms and use candle heaters to heat up small areas of space.
  • Don’t forget that sunlight on even the coldest day can bring heat in through the windows. Open up curtains to let the sunlight in, and then close them back up at dusk to keep as much heat as possible in the room.
  • Use extra layers of thin clothing to help retain body heat
  • Make sure that your windows, doors, walls, ceilings, and floors are properly insulated. There is truly nothing worse than “efficient windows” that let heat out when a simple sheet of plastic over the window can solve the problem. At the very least, if you don’t want to put plastics over your windows, keep some material on hand for a time of need. No doubt, you will be amazed when you see just how much cold air was getting through those energy efficient windows and robbing your home of vital heat during the winter months.

Most people that have lived in cold climates already know that preparing for the winter months goes well beyond storing up some extra fuel and having the burner serviced. In many cases, being prepared for a cold snap can involve a number of maintenance items that must be carried on during episodes of freezing temperatures.

No matter whether you need to drain fuel filters, clear exhaust and intake vents, or ensure heat tapes remain functional, they are all very important elements of keeping the heating system functional during freezing temperatures.

That being said, no matter how much you prepare for freezing cold temperatures and blizzards, there are times when your best efforts will fail. Do not hesitate to keep wood, coal, kerosene, and candles on hand so that you can generate as much heat as possible.


This article has been send by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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10 Things To Replace Power During A Blizzard

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off grid blizzardBlizzard can be annoying when you want to go out or attend to any number of matters. But seems like snow storms still have something to say, if you take a look at the weather forecast for the Midwest.

If the power goes out during a blizzard it can also be very dangerous. Even if you have an alternative power system such as solar panels or windmills, the odds are very high they will not work in these conditions.

Here are some things you can do to obtain water, heat up food, preserve refrigerated foods, and manage other needs without electricity.

1. Candle Heaters

Candle heaters are very simple devices that make use of three clay pots, a bolt, some metal washers and a fireproof stand. Add 1 to 4 tea lights or votive candles to begin generating heat. You can purchase premade “Kandle Heaters” or make your own.

Make sure that the ceramic flower pots are not glazed, and that you choose zinc free bolts and washers. Candle heaters can easily be assembled in under 10 minutes and will begin heating up a room in a matter of moments. Since the outer pot will get fairly hot, you can do the following:

  • Warm up foods such as canned soup or anything that has not been frozen
  • If the outermost pot is large enough, you can warm up a cup of water.

If you are going to use the candle heater as a cooker, make sure that you use a ceramic saucer on top. You will also need to make sure that the heater base will not collapse under the added weight. Also be sure that the saucer is resting on 3 or 4 supports that will keep it in place, as the center bolt can cause the saucer to disbalance.

Before using a candle heater, check that the clay pots are as dry as possible since any moisture will impede heat flow. To achieve this, put the clay pots in a conventional oven and let them heat up until they dry out. It is best to do this as close to the time when you will use the candle heater so that moisture does not build back up in the walls of the pots.

2. Rocket Stoves

All different kinds of rocket stoves rely on a small inner chamber that optimizes burning of flammable materials and an outer shell that radiates heat. The smallest and simplest rocket stoves can be made from tin cans, while larger and more complex ones might include chimneys and space for a cooking oven.

If you have not built a suitable rocket stove, you can still use the tin can version in a blizzard. Here are some basic instructions for building a tin can rocket stove:

Video first seen on Desert Sun 02

If you have plenty of rubbing alcohol on hand, you can also use tin cans or other metal tins to build a very simple alcohol stove.

Video first seen on LlegaWeapon And DIY

You can also find a lot of resources online, about building more complex stoves.

From a DIY perspective, never forget that “fins” or thin strips of metal diffuse heat more efficiently than a solid shape. If you have an extra can, or even some tinfoil, you can make fins and then fit them around the can to see if they will improve heat disbursement.

Regardless of the rocket stove design that you choose, it can accommodate paper logs, wood, coal, and just about anything else that will burn. Just remember that you will have to remove the ashes on a regular basis.

Small tin can rocket stoves reach a higher temperature than candle heaters, so they can be used to boil water and fry foods more easily. They can also be used for heating up a room, however all of these actions will also generate a lot more smoke than you would get from candles. Therefore, your activities will be limited by your ability to vent the smoke out and get fresh air in.

Some ways to get around this problem include:

  • Make a large enough stove, or outer shell so that you can create a fully functional chimney or vent. You can also look for ways to create a portable chimney or vent system to use in blizzard or crisis situations where you cannot keep a permanent chimney in place. Be sure that you know how to build the chimney safely, and also set the stove pipe up so that it does not create unintended fires or other hazards.
  • Use the rocket stove outdoors and in a safe location where it will not set anything flammable on fire. Next, build a water pipe system that will be used to run cold water out to the stove where it can be heated up, and then pumped back in to heat up the house when the water is hot. You will need to insulate the pipes so that as much heat comes into the house as possible, and also make sure that the pumps do not require electricity to operate. This may involve figuring out how to make gravity powered pumps and motors that will work in this situation.

3. Cinder Block Stoves

Overall, cinder blocks stoves are often considered in the same category as rocket stoves. They are very easy to build, and can be expanded into multiple burners or large enough sizes to accommodate just about any task. You can also add an inner metal chamber so that you get the benefits of a rocket stove in this design.

As with other stoves, cinder block variants require adequate ventilation for safe usage. Because of their size, cinder block stoves lend themselves better outdoor use and providing more heat than other designs. Here are some things you can do with basic cine

4. Conventional Propane Stoves

If you are looking for a solution that doesn’t require any building or prep work, propane stoves may be your best option in a blizzard. These stoves are safe, easy to manage, and can be used to cook just about any kind of food.

As with other stoves, you will still need adequate ventilation, as the fumes from these stoves can be as deadly as from any other fire. Even if a stove is rated for indoor use, do not assume that a room with winterized windows and/or doors will let enough air in to keep you safe.

Unlike other stove types, you will need propane cylinders to run these stoves. You should have enough propane on hand to cook for at least 4 weeks. Depending on where you live, a power outage caused by a blizzard may only last a few hours, while in other areas, the outage may last for weeks on end.

5. Kerosene Stoves

When it comes to heating up a room without using electricity, few methods can rival a kerosene heater. As long as you have plenty of ventilation, you will also be safe from the fumes. You can rely on this type of heater to provide a warm place in the room as well as a place where you can cook and heat up water. Overall, you will also find that kerosene is a good bit cheaper than propane.

If you have never used a kerosene stove before, make sure that you start off with a properly mounted wick. You may also have to trim the wick back a bit so that it is as even as possible. When the wick is at the right height and even, the stove will not produce any visible smoke and very little smell.

However, it will still be making fumes that include carbon monoxide. If you see smoke or smell a lot of kerosene, do the following:

  • Look down from the top grates of the stove so that you can see the top of the burner. The flames should be evenly disbursed all the way around without any breaks. You should be able to see the center metal portion of the burner. If the flames are obstructing the view, then they are too high. Lower the wick to bring them back under control.
  • If some of the wick is lit, but other parts aren’t, then shut the stove down and open up the cage. Look carefully at the wick to see if it is even all the way around. In some cases, you can get away with opening up the burner (after it cools) and pulling the wick to make it even. In other cases, you may have to trim the wick to make it even. Always refer to the owner’s manual to find out how to carry out these operations for your specific heater.
  • If the wick is even but the flame is too low or not all the way around, you can turn the wick up a little bit to see if that helps.

6. Compost Pile Heaters

If you have ever created a viable compost pile, then you also know it generates a good bit of heat. As long as the pile is sheltered and has plenty of materials to transform, you should get enough heat from the core of the pile to heat up water and your home. Just keep pipes filled with water in the core of the pile. As with other water heat systems, you will also need gravity powered pump motors or some other mechanism to keep the water moving into your home.

Unlike many other systems, this is one of the few that will enable you to continue getting hot water from the tap as long as you have the system set up to cut into the hot water line.

Even though compost pile heaters take a bit more work than others they have many advantages that will make them work well in a blizzard:

  • You will never need to worry about toxic fumes in the home
  • If they have been providing heat and hot water in colder temperatures already, they will also work perfectly in a blizzard
  • You will always have plenty of compost to fertilize container gardens as well as outdoor ones.

7. Paper Logs and Burning Wood

If you have a wood stove with a working chimney, most of your heating and cooking problems during a blizzard will already be solved. Even if you do not have enough wood on hand, you can roll up newspapers and other types of scrap paper to make paper logs.

Without a proper fireplace, you are best served by building wood fires outdoors. At least you will be able to cook and heat up water. If you have a dedicated firepit or plan to build one, install copper tubes or other pipes that can be used to generate hot water.

Some places in Canada and other areas are looking to outlaw wood stoves, and similar laws might also make their way to where you live or have your homestead. Attend all board meetings and get involved in local governance matters.

Always take action to investigate the financial dealings of politicians and make any financial bias known to your neighbors, the media, and to others through social networking.

If you do not take part and speak out at the most basic level of local government, the power vested in you as a citizen will become more eroded than it already is. Never forget that government is what you make of it. When you do not fully investigate those who enact laws on your behalf, they will do what is best for them and their cronies instead of you.

8. Keeping Foods Cold or Frozen

During a blizzard, many people are surprised to find that food in the freezer will defrost, and items in the refrigerator will go bad. In most cases, if you do not open the door of the freezer or refrigerator, it will only hold a viable temperature for 24 – 48 hours.

Before that window closes, you must have some kind of alternative refrigeration method on hand. Here are some ways that you can keep foods cold:

  • Take advantage of the snow already on the ground. You can build an ice chest by piling up snowballs or simply dig into the snow to create a storage area. Just remember to put a flag or pole near the cache so that you know where to find it again.
  • To preserve eggs, cheese, and other items that don’t do well when frozen, you can put them outdoors in thermal chests, or in an unheated garage or shed. Watch temperatures carefully so that the foods do not become frozen or too warm.
  • Use a zeer pot indoors for items that need a narrower cooling temperature band.
  • Fill an ice chest with ice and salt. This system will freeze items and also keep them frozen with ease.

9. Passive Heating Methods

When you live in a tiny apartment or some other constrained location, it may not be possible to have a kerosene heater or many of the other devices mentioned in this article. If you can only keep an alcohol burner and a candle heater, then you may still need to use passive heating methods to stay warm. Here are some things that may help:

  • Bundle up in thin layers of clothing. You can start off with 2 or 3 layers of synthetic material (avoid cotton) and then bundle fleece, sweaters and coats on top of that.
  • Seal off all doors and windows with plastic and duct tape. If you do not have window frames with plastic already made, then just staple and tape the plastic over the windows. If you must, use layers of garbage bags to seal the windows. You can also use newspapers in door frames to keep the cold out.
  • If you have a camping tent, put that in the middle of a room to create a smaller area to heat up. Use camping blankets to cover yourself up and keep as much body heat in as possible. Plastic shopping bags will also help insulate you. Put them outside your socks and inside your shoes to help keep your feet warm. Just be aware that moisture will build up inside the plastic, so you will need to air your feet out every few hours to avoid problems.
  • If other people are with you, or animals, huddle together to preserve as much body heat as possible.
  • Use candle heaters or alcohol heaters to generate hot water. If you put a tent up in the middle of a room, you can bring that hot water into the tent to disburse heat. You can also heat up fire safe bricks or stones and bring them into the tent area to radiate heat in a safe manner. As a word of caution, to not simply assume that any stone on the ground can be heated up safely. Even if they do not tend to accumulate water, they may have chemicals in them that will emit toxic fumes upon being heated up. You are better served by purchasing bricks and stones that are certified safe to use for this purpose rather than wind up dead from the fumes. Alternatively, you may also be able to find survival courses that will teach you how to choose and prepare stones for this purpose. If you do take these courses, also remember that adding water to produce steam is a whole other area of expertise. Do not use these methods unless you are confident of your skills and know enough about the rocks you are dealing with.

10. Staying Safe in a Sealed Room or Area

Once the power goes out and temperatures begin to drop, it is very easy to panic and forget some of the most basic safety rules.

In this case, many people wind up dead or with permanent brain damage because they forgot about adequate ventilation. Whenever you have fire, there must be a way for smoke to escape and fresh air to get in. If your windows are all tightly bottled up and every draft sealed off, then you will have a very hard time using any kind of fire indoors.

When it comes to staying safe during a blizzard, also remember that fires can get out of control when you don’t watch them. You should always keep firefighting equipment on hand and learn how to use it. Even something as attractive and safe as a candle heater can generate sparks or start an unintended blaze.

There is no substitute for practicing with any device that you may use to generate heat during a blizzard. It is also equally important to make sure that fires are attended at all times and you have adequate detection systems on hand and functioning in order to detect smoke and carbon monoxide. In this case, if you have decided to close off certain room, then make sure that the room you choose to operate a fire based heater has a detector in an area where it can actually pick up on the fumes before they render you unconscious or otherwise unable to get out of the situation.

When the power goes out during a blizzard you are bound to feel distressed. Aside from the fact that the heating system probably won’t work, you may also be unable to cook, get water, prepare food, or tend to other matters. No matter whether the commercial power grid goes down or your alternative power system goes offline, there are still ways to meet basic needs without electricity.

While these methods may take a bit of time to assemble, or take a bit of work to use, they will still get you through the blizzard. As you work with these systems during the relatively short time that a blizzard is ongoing, it will also give you some ideas about how these systems will work in a larger scale power outage.

Remember that as bad as this situation may be, you can still use the scenario to improve your survival skills and determine which kinds of equipment and skills should be further cultivated.


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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5 Things To Remember When The Lights Go Out

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Has there ever been a time when the power went out, but you kept trying to use electricity? For example, flipping a light switch, putting food into a microwave, or plugging in a phone? We are so used to having electricity every hour of every day that when […]

The post 5 Things To Remember When The Lights Go Out appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Pros and Cons: Body Power Systems For Survivors

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big backpack

When people think of long term, catastrophic power outages, EMP based crisis situations tend to be the ones that come to mind first. While an EMP can truly be devastating, earthquakes and many other events can also wipe out the grid for miles around your location.

As such, even if you have a homestead, being at the epicenter or ground zero of a crisis situation may mean that your off grid power system will fail or be rendered useless because of extensive damage.

Although the following systems may not generate huge amounts of electricity, they may offer just enough to power medical devices, radios, smart phones, computers, or any other small devices that can help you get through the initial crisis period.

No system is perfect, nor will it work in every situation that you find yourself in.

This article does not cover bicycles or other larger devices that may be used to generate power, but is dedicated solely to small devices that can fit into a backpack, or can be carried around with relative ease.

Solar Generating Backpacks

VoltaicBasically, a solar generating backpack is just like a regular backpack in the sense that you can pack books, food, or just about anything else in it.

The solar generating backpacks also have a rechargeable battery (usually in the bottom), and a solar panel on the outside of the pack.

Depending on the model that you choose, some may only be able to power cell phones and other relatively low power devices while others can power tablets and medical devices that have a similar power usage range.

A solar generating backpack works just like a regular solar panel in the sense that the panels need to be exposed to sunlight in order to generate power. Typically, you can go as low as 50% sunlight and still get a fully charged battery in just a few hours. As with conventional solar power generation panels, they still work best when they are in full sunlight.


One of the main advantages to solar generating backpacks is that you can generate power with them when you are walking or hiking. This is ideal if you have to travel on foot, bike, or some other mode of transport over large and small distances. Even if you decide to travel through a forest or other area with some degree of shading, you can still generate at least some power.

Second, one of the biggest problems with large scale and home based solar power generation systems is that the sun moves a significant degree every 15 minutes. As such, there are very few systems that can keep up with this motion and have the entire panel absorbing as much heat and light from the sun as possible.

By contrast, a solar generating backpack can be easily repositioned. No matter whether you set up camp and plan to stay for several days, or you are traveling by car, simply change the orientation of the panels to get as much sunlight on to them as possible. This includes easily changing the angle of the panels to accommodate seasonal changes that are even harder to compensate for in stationary systems.


Here are five problems that you may encounter with solar generating backpacks:

  • Depending on the battery size, the overall weight of an empty pack can be a quite heavy. Though five pounds for a battery and solar panel may not seem like much now, that weight can be extremely burdensome over a long hike. Even though you should be able to carry 40 – 60 pounds for several hours at a time for the sake of survival fitness, there are bound to be times when you will find yourself thinking that you aren’t getting quite as much power as you hoped considering the added weight of the pack.
  • Solar panels and batteries can all be destroyed by an EMP.
  • Even though modern solar panels are sturdier and last longer, they will eventually wear out. Pay careful attention to the warranty on the panels and batteries. If the manufacturer will not fully guarantee the product for at least 10 years, then you should not expect it to stand up to harsh conditions or uses that might occur in a survival situation.
  • It may be hard to shield the panels from damage during rainy weather or cold temperatures.
  • You will not be able to generate power at night or on days that are below 30% of full sunlight.

What About DIY Options?

Interestingly enough, some of the most common problems that you might encounter with a solar generating backpack may be solved by creating your own system. Here are some advantages:

  • You can use any backpack that you like. This includes a heavy duty backpack with rails, a surplus military pack designed for rugged conditions, or just about any other pack that appeals to you for use as a bug out or bug in bag.
  • You can choose any battery and power rating that suits your needs. No matter whether you want to see if you can get batteries based on cotton, nano technologies, or some other battery type, they can all be added to your pack after purchase. As you may be aware, cotton based batteries may be as much as 50% or more lighter, will last longer, and supply much more power.  Waiting for this technology alone to hit the markets may be well worth your effort instead of buying a pack that cannot be changed over time to accommodate a different battery type.
  • Today there are also many advancements in solar panel and solar energy harnessing technologies. This includes solar power collecting materials that can be printed out using a regular printer. These soft, light weight, pliable solar collectors can be custom fitted onto your backpack and give it an even larger area for collecting solar energy.
  • All of the parts that you can choose can be selected with long term ease of repair or rebuilding in mind. For example, if you choose printable solar panels, you can easily pack extras away or make sure that you can always manufacture new ones as needed.

Piezoelectric Power Generating Sneakers

power shoesPiezoelectric Power Generating Sneakers are worn just like regular shoes.

Depending on the model, they may have thicker soles or some other adaptions to accommodate tiny batteries and the main power generating area in the soles.

No matter whether you are walking or running, they will generate power and charge up batteries.

Quartz crystals, tourmaline, and some other materials will emit electrons in one specific direction if the material is squeezed or heated. In the case of piezoelectric power generating sneakers, the materials respond to pressure from your foot by emitting a small amount of electricity.

This electricity, in turn, is captured by a rechargeable battery which can be used to power any number of devices. Typically, the amount of power generated by these shoes is very small, however as the technology improves, it may one day rival backpack power generating systems.


One of the greatest advantages of piezoelectric power generation sneakers revolves around the fact that you don’t have to do anything extra in order to generate power. No matter whether you are walking, hiking, running, or even pedaling a bike, the energy you are already expending to carry out these activities will also go into generating power.

Since these shoes are also fairly light weight, you don’t have to worry about them becoming burdensome on a long or protracted journey.

In a survival situation, the ability to generate electricity can easily be something that draws unwanted attention in your direction. For example, if you are running around with a solar power generating backpack, or something else equally obvious, rest assured that people might try to steal it from you.

On the other hand, if you chose piezoelectric power generating sneakers, that blend in with others commonly worn in your area, chances are no one will ever know you are generating power as you walk.


Even though these sneakers have a lot to offer when compared to heavier or more obvious power generation methods, they also fail to generate as much power as you might need.  In some cases, they may also not be as durable, and the shoe itself may be very uncomfortable.

It is also important to think about how long shoes actually last in the modern world. For example, if you walk a few miles a day and purchase a mid-range pair of shoes or boots, you will be lucky if the soles don’t fall apart in 4 – 6 months.

From that perspective, piezoelectric power generating shoes may not be a good option if you plan on using them to generate power beyond a few months. To add insult to injury, the electronic components and batteries may even fail long before you have to get a new pair of shoes.

What About DIY Versions?

There are many advantages to making your own piezoelectric power generation shoes. Here are just a few things to consider:

  • You can customize just about any pair of shoes and never worry about a name brand or other feature giving away the fact that your shoes can generate power. For example, if you have a favorite brand of hiking boots, you can customize them with a DIY insole and then add the battery to another part of the shoe where it will not be uncomfortable
  • Once you know how to build a DIY piezoelectric power generation system, you can adapt it to as many shoes, or even other items that can be used to generate power. This includes straps that you wear while talking or eating as well as ones that you can use when using hand grip exercisers.
  • Making your own insoles will make it easier to repair or make new ones as needed. At the very least, if you have shoes that will last for several months, you may be able to replace the insoles as needed without having to buy a whole new pair of shoes.
  • It may also be possible to build EMP proof systems that can be used in just about any situation. Just be aware that your battery options may be a bit limited because of the small size that you will be working in.

Backpack Powered by Walking

nPower-PEG-Carried-in-BackpackWhen it comes to generating power, backpacks that generate power from walking are often used for tablets and other higher drain devices.

This particular system does not use solar panels or other forms of external energy to generate electricity.

Rather, they rely on the repetitive motions of your body to generate power as you walk, run, or carry out other activities.

If you do some research, you are sure to come across a range of devices that generate electricity by using gears and other assemblies. In this case, backpacks that generate power by walking or running rely on cords that connect the backpack to your feet or arms.

As you move, the motion from your body is translated into electricity via the gears or other devices inside the backpack. From there, the power is stored in a battery, much as it would be for solar power generation backpacks.


Unlike solar power generating backpacks, the body powered models do not require sun or any other energy from the environment. If you are inclined to walk on a rainy day, at night, or even in a snowstorm, these power generators will continue to work. As long as the ropes are hooked up to your shoes or arms, and you are moving, then you will have a steady supply of power moving into the battery.

Unlike piezoelectric power generating shoes, anyone can put on the backpack and start walking to generate power. Since the ropes are fairly easy to adjust, they are truly a “one size fits all” power source that can also be used to carry important items from one place to another.

Body powered backpacks are also more durable. You will never have to worry about an electronic solar panel wearing out, or a shoe insole breaking down.


Even though body powered backpacks can generate a good bit of power, they can also be very uncomfortable to wear. For example, if you decide to attach the ropes/cords to the back of your shoes, you will constantly feel the pull of that cord while you are walking. If you don’t like being a puppet on a string, then you are not likely to be comfortable with this feeling.

Aside  from being uncomfortable, you will need to make sure you can walk or run with these cords even if you are in a woods or some other area where they might get tangled up easily.

Perhaps it can be said that if you are fortunate enough to be walking along a wide or well kept trail, then you can use this system without too many problems. Otherwise, you may have to disconnect the cords and use them in a  location that has fewer obstructions.

The cords for body powered backpacks are also going to be very obvious to others when you are walking around. Looters, rioters, or anyone else looking to steal may well recognize that the pack you are carrying generates power, and then they will want to steal it from you.

No matter whether you need this power to charge up medical devices or something else of importance, all your hard work can be lost in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, if you try to tuck the cords inside your pants, they will not work as well, if at all. To add insult to injury, the constant rubbing along the backs of your legs can cause burns and other problems.

What About DIY Options

Even though you can convert a regular backpack into a body powered device, it may not be worth your effort. Among other things, you may not be able to overcome the basic disadvantages of this design let alone gain any benefit from doing so.

That being said, if you are intent on creating a single backpack that can generate power using multiple methods, it never hurts to integrate this system with a solar powered system. At the very least, if you decide to travel at night through an unpopulated area, you can still generate power for a range of needs.

DIY Propeller Hat Power Generator

6666898_sHave you ever seen the striped hats with pinwheels or propellers on them?

If so, you may find them more of an amusing toy than an actual means to generate power.

But with some creative insight and a few simple materials, you can, indeed, use these propeller hats to generate a good bit of power.

If you have ever seen pinwheel caps, then you should also realize they can be a fun, easy way to generate power. While these caps are often the prop of stereotype geniuses, there are no caps on the market that can be used to generate power.

However, if you add a coil of wire to the hat and some magnets to the propeller, you can induce an electrical current. Just make sure that you don’t get a shock from the cap, and that you have a suitable battery solution.

Depending on the speed that the propellers move and the efficiency of the coil and battery system, you may be able to generate enough power for medical devices, tablets, and perhaps higher drain cameras.


In the time during, and well into the post-crisis period, being able to avoid detection is going to be very important. Typically, anything that you have of value can make you a target of looters and just about anyone else that wants to steal from you so that they can gain something to sell or use for their own needs.

Unlike many other means of generating power, a propeller hat will easily be missed. Though people may think you look a little odd, they aren’t likely to see a reason to take the hat from you. In fact, if you dress in scrubby clothes and look a little on the dangerously deranged side, people may even decide to avoid you because they think you have nothing. Just be careful that bullies and other predators don’t try to hunt you for sport because they think you can’t defend yourself.

If you are far enough away from the main site of an EMP event, simple coils and magnets should not be damaged by the event, therefore, you will still be able to generate power as if nothing happened. In a worst case scenario, simply carry extra batteries and charging links in a Faraday cage.

As with many other body powered devices, you can also adapt any number of hats, helmets, and caps to generate electricity. In this case, you may also be thinking about situations where you will need to wear a gas mask or even bullet proof head gear in order to survive a riot situation.

While it may sound strange to put a propeller on any of these headgear items, never forget that you can still be generating power that might be used for targeting systems, or anything else where battery failure would spell disaster for you.


When compared to other body based power generating systems, there is a definite limit to the amount of power you can generate from a single cap. Among other things, the weight of the magnets and coils can get fairly heavy and become burdensome.

It should also be noted that this system will be inducing both magnetic and electric currents very close to your brain. As such, there may be long term health risks such as cancer and other diseases. If you do not trust  bluetooth technology, cell phones, WIFI, and even electric sockets because of the radiation they emit, then you may also want to rethinking generating electricity so close to your head.

In the modern world, it is often easy to get mired in complex technologies and other assorted ideas aimed at generating fairly large amounts of power. On the other hand,  there are also a number of toy and body based power devices that might just provide enough power for smaller devices that are also of immense importance to you.

Depending on the device that you choose, even a small investment may be enough to test out some alternative energy sources as well as make it much easier to survive just about any situation and keep small, low power need devices operating at a time when you need them most.


This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.


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Earthquake Survival: How To Restore Your Electricity

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Survivopedia earthquake

In the modern world, it is all too easy to be distracted by talk about terrorism, martial law, and other problems caused by humans in relation to survival scenarios. On the other hand, in the last few years, natural disasters have claimed just as many lives and can put your life at risk at any moment.

For example, you can most likely name at least one or two regions of the world that were struck by devastating earthquakes in the last five years alone.

If you do not know how to generate electricity or harness other forms of power in this type of crisis, you will find it very hard to survive.

In fact, even if you have gone to great lengths to build a homestead and make sure that all of your systems are EMP proof, you may still be completely unprepared for an earthquake. That’s why you have to learn a few ways to generate power during an earthquake so that you aren’t missing out on this vital part of prepping.

The One Second After Effect

An earthquake may not last for more than a few seconds. Some buildings and roads will cave in immediately, others can also collapse suddenly as the days and weeks go by.

If the earthquake is severe enough, you can also expect power lines and transformers to be either deliberately taken off line or damaged in some way during the earthquake and aftermath. Aftershocks can cause more buildings to collapse as well as other problems to get even worse.

You will need to restore your electricity, and you probably prepared some alternative sources for later usage in case of disaster. But there are some basic problems you will encounter when trying to generate electricity on your own after an earthquake:

  • If you have home based solar panels on a roof, the entire building could cave in. Battery packs and other support systems may also be damaged or destroyed when buildings cave in.
  • Solar panels located closer to the ground may be smashed by falling debris from nearby buildings or many other sources.
  • Windmill stands can become shaky and tumble to the ground.
  • Underground bunkers with solar panels in the roof area can also collapse depending on how much the land shifts during the earthquake. For those who favor underground living to survive most crisis situations, never forget that tectonic plates weigh beyond billions of pounds, plus the earth and rocks sitting on those plates. As such, even if there is just a small amount of motion, there is no such thing as a bunker fortification strong enough to withstand that kind of pressure.
  • Earthquakes that cause dams or other water retention features to break can also ruin water wheels and other water based electric generation systems. This includes Archimedes Screw based systems and anything else that may become useless if a river or other body of moving water changes course because of the earthquake.
  • Even if you build a large scale system or restore some of your power generating abilities, aftershocks may destroy these systems all over again.
  • Broken up roads, fallen trees, and other debris may make it very hard to travel more than a mile or so.
  • As with many other disaster scenarios, fires will be one of the biggest problems you may face. From old style TVs exploding to combustible fuels igniting, rest assured that fires will severely hamper your ability to generate power and also gather materials that might be of use to you.

What to Use in Your Favor

Even though an earthquake can bring about massive amounts of destruction, there are some things that you may be able to leverage in your favor, and may not be viable options in other crisis situations:

  • No matter whether you are in the epicenter of the earthquake zone or in the mid-level damage ranges, there are likely to be plenty of abandoned materials to work with. Copper wire, old motors, magnets, or anything else that might be used to generate electricity – chances are it may be laying in the wreckage. It may take some effort to salvage these materials, forming survival teams and gaining cooperation from others can make the job a lot easier.
  • Computers, phones, and other information devices may still be operable. If you do not know how to build a solar cooker, or some other device using the materials at hand, you may still be able to get at that information using many of the devices you are accustomed to using. When in doubt, make it your business to save PDF files of websites offering key information on devices that you can use to generate electricity. As long as the computer, or even a smartphone is not damaged in the blast, and you have some battery power, you could get at the information you need and start building with what you have on hand.
  • When compared to a nuclear crisis, global monetary collapse, or some other major social dysfunction that affects vast regions of a nation, an earthquake related crisis is relatively short term and limited in nature. It is both reasonable and plausible to assume that people from other regions will attempt to assist people in the earthquake zone. It also means that people in the affected region may be a bit more inclined to try working together as a team instead of taking a fatalistic approach that makes it very hard for people to work together. Therefore, even if you have plans for generating power just for your own needs, it may also be of help to work with others to create larger scale power generation methods.

Small Scale Systems You Can Build

Even if you do not have a large number of tools or materials available, there are still quite a few ways to generate power after an earthquake. Even if you do not keep these items running, the experience you gain from building them will be of immense benefit in time of need. At the very least, store away basic plans for building these devices so that you can build them after an earthquake occurs.

Just be aware that not all DIY or instructional materials found in books or online are 100% accurate. If you cannot build working models now, you may get stuck during a crisis and have very few, if any ways available to make a working device.

Here are some devices to research further and build if possible:

1. Bicycle Based Power Generators

If you have a bicycle, some wire, and a few magnets, you can generate electricity using any bicycle that may be on hand. To begin, all you need to do is mount the bike on some kind of platform so that the wheels can move freely. The platform and mounting hardware should also be sturdy enough so that when you sit on the bike, it will take your weight without falling over or crashing.

Next, affix some magnets to the spokes of the bike wheels. It does not matter what kind of magnets you use or where you scavenge them from. Just make sure that they are all either with their north or south pole facing outward. Finally, take some copper wire and wind it into a coil. Place the coils near enough to the magnets so that an electric current is induced in the coil. Depending on the coil type that you choose, the output leads may be in different locations on the coil.

Video first seen on Leo W.

When building a bicycle based power generator, don’t forget that you can also pull one wheel off the bike and replace it with a motor. As you may be aware, not every motor can be used to generate power. In some cases, even if the motor can be used to generate electricity, you may need to add a pulley to the center shaft so that it can be driven by the bike chain.

In terms of getting materials for a bicycle based generator, it may not be as difficult as expected during an earthquake. For example, even an old bike that has been sitting in your garage for years can be used for this purpose. As long as the wheels turn, you can get power from both wheels. Copper wire is plentiful in most households. You can scavenge plenty of wire from appliance wires, extension cords, and just about anything else that requires electricity from a socket.

Aside from that, if motorized appliances are crushed during an earthquake, you may still be able to salvage the motors from these devices. Even if the motor itself does not run, try opening up the case to see if you can get at the wire core within. This core can be rewound to a more suitable coil, or simply add a pulley to it for some other device to drive.

Bicycle generators can also be used on farms or homesteads where existing off grid power systems may have been wiped out by an earthquake. Take the wheels off the bike and make a platform for them in such a way that the wheels are parallel to the ground. As before, place magnets on the wheels, and then set the coils on the ground below the wheels. From there, large dogs, horses, or other animals can be hitched up to the wheel in order to turn it. If you have ever seen the way animals were used to crush grain, then you can also understand how this system would work.

And if you have wood available and a strong enough support system, you can make a larger wheel and then use more magnets and coils to generate more power.

2. Car Alternators

Just because a car may have been crushed during an earthquake, or there is no fuel to run it, that does not mean the alternator cannot be used to generate power. Since the alternator is already tasked with taking rotational power from the engine and turning it into electricity, you can say that using an alternator may even be easier than using a bicycle. In most cases, the alternator is actually fairly easy to locate and then remove. Once you do that, you can simply used the attached pulley to drive the alternator.

Video first seen on PERKINSPRODUCTIONS1.

If you cannot operate your vehicle (a non-hybrid, conventional gas vehicle), open up the hood, disconnect the battery and start looking for the alternator. It is actually very easy to locate in most vehicles.

Locate the main engine block and look around for one side of the engine where there are numerous belts, or one single large belt that seems to connect multiple devices. The thickest belt will be the serpentine belt, which usually goes from the engine to the alternator.

You will know you have located the alternator because its mounting brackets usually include a series of teeth that allow the angle of the pulley to be adjusted for more or less tension. Typically, the alternator drives (via belts) the starter and air conditioner motor. It also delivers power to the steering pump, and every other electrically driven pump or device on the vehicle. Once you locate the alternator, you should be able to locate two, maybe three mounting bolts and brackets. Depending on the vehicle, it may be easier to access them from under the vehicle.

Always make sure that your vehicle is safely secured to ramps or the wheels are properly blocked before going under the vehicle. Even doing something as simple as loosening a few bolts can spell havoc if you don’t know what you are doing!

Consult your vehicle repair manual to find out how to best remove the belts and disconnect the alternators wires. Remember, you do not want to remove the pulleys because you can use them to drive the alternator with just about anything that will spin: everything from wooden paddles in a moving body of water to a bicycle assembly.

No matter what system you use to drive the alternator, it will provide about 12 volts of steady power once you get enough rotation going. You can also feed that power back into the car battery and then use the battery to provide an even flow of power to other devices.

3. Coil and Magnet Generators

No matter whether you have motors and alternators available or not, coils of wire and magnets are a fundamental part of generating power. As long as you have these two items and some means to spin the magnets in relation to the wire, you will be able to generate power.

Do some research now on the best coil shapes, and also how to get the most power out of various magnet alignments. Not only is this a fascinating hobby and subject to study, you will also be able to build some very important power generating devices that will be very useful in many crisis situations.

How to Build Large Scale Power Systems

Even though there may be plenty of objects to scavenge to make power after an earthquake, aftershocks and other problems are likely to make large scale power generating systems more trouble to build than they are worth.

There is at least one very simple way to generate power that can use all kinds of salvaged parts and very little in the way of manpower. This is actually a fairly old way of generating power that is used in some third world countries where even a little power can be used for a lot of things.

Earth batteries are basically a means of harvesting electricity from the Earth itself. While you may not realize it, the Earth’s magnetic field is very similar to that of a magnet in the sense that it also generates a perpendicular electrical current. During the day, this electric current is stronger than during the night hours. All you need to do is bury some metal deep enough, attach wires, and add some water.

No matter whether you start off with ice cube trays or decide to build a larger system, the principles are the same.

Video first seen on desertsun02.

Do some research on how many batteries you are going to make. If you have a number of abandoned cars or other bits of metal, then you will have plenty of materials available for making these batteries. Even if the earth does shift again from an aftershock, you won’t need to worry about solar panels breaking, windmills tumbling to the ground, or other problems developing. At most, you may need to dig up the metal and start over or reposition the wires.

And a Few Electricity Alternatives

You have to be able to use energy other than electricity , to burn paper, wood, and other materials to generate heat for cooking, drying wet clothes, and staying warm. Since these activities actually take up most of your daily electricity needs, being able to manage these areas via alternative means may actually be of more use than simply trying to keep using the systems you are accustomed to.

For example, instead of having to generate enough electricity to operate an electric stove, heater, or microwave oven, building a rocket stove from tin cans or cinder blocks may give you enough heat to get by. If you need electricity to power a cell phone or medical devices, you only need 12 volts or less to manage the crisis comfortably, which makes it easier to use a range of devices while doing far less work. Other devices to keep on hand include:

  • a ram pump for delivering water from a pond, stream, or other body of water
  • a hand pump that can be used to pull water from a well instead of an electric pump
  • zeer pots for keeping foods cold
  • table salt, ice, and a freezer chest that can be used to keep foods frozen
  • pulleys, levers, rope, belts, magnets, wire, and springs that can be assembled into power generating systems. For more ideas, look to the ancient building practices of the Greeks, Maya, and Chinese. You will find all kinds of fascinating devices, including robots, that were able to use the laws of physics to move objects with very little manual labor. You can adapt one or more of these systems to help generate electricity once you know how integrate the system with magnets and coils.

Even though hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in earthquakes or found their lives permanently disrupted by them, relatively few people think about preparing for this type of crisis.

On the other hand, as people in Oklahoma and several other states are finding out, science has no true grasp on earthquakes let alone an absolute method for saying that one place will be an active zone while others will not. For example, the rise in earthquakes in the last five years in Oklahoma alone indicates that scientists know far less than they think they know about what is going on below the Earth’s surface.

Be ready for an earthquake even if you have been told that your local area is not likely to have problems in your lifetime. No matter whether the earthquake is caused by known geological changes below the Earth’s surface, fracking, or some type of hidden man-made activity, rest assured that you will not want to be stuck in an earthquake zone and not know the best ways to generate power. 12_620x110

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Lights Out Box: Everything You Need for a Power Outage

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This week’s video comes from the The Peaceful Prepper and her channel, “Urban Prepping for the Single Gal.” She has a really great idea that she calls a “Lights Out Box.” It’s not a full emergency kit; it’s just something you can use during ordinary power outages. The […]

The post Lights Out Box: Everything You Need for a Power Outage appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

How to Use Your Car for Cooking Off-grid

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Your car gets you from point A to point B. It may give you a thrill when you rev the engine and it allows you to carry all sorts of stuff, like groceries, kids and luggage. But can it cook for you, too!

As a matter of fact it can! It’s actually not a new concept – people have been doing it for just about as long as cars have been on the road but it’s re-emerging as a great alternate resource for cooking in a survival situation. Carbequing is the topic today!

It’s becoming so popular that Alton Brown teamed up with Myth Busters to see if it’s actually possible (like we needed the theory tested!) and they ended up cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner by using the areas around the manifold as well as utilizing the area underneath around the exhaust. All they did was wrap it in foil, rig up a special pan to hold it near the exhaust, and a meal was born!

So how, exactly can you do it, and what can you cook? Well, the answer to the latter question is that you can cook everything from a pot roast to an apple pie.

The only problem that I see with this is that it takes a while and if fuel is at a premium in a SHTF scenario, you’ll be wasting fuel that you may not have to spare.

If the emergency isn’t going to last more than a couple of days and you have a full tank of gas, then it may just be worth it if you don’t have another source of cooking.  If the emergency is going to take longer than that and you’re hunkering down and saving your fuel, then maybe not.

Another scenario where it’s feasible is if you’re bugging out in your car. In that case, it’s a free resource because you’re going to be driving anyway; after all, multi-use is the prepper’s way! You can warm up a can of soup or cook some hot dogs in just a short trip, but if you’re cooking something like a pot roast, it’s going to take an hour or two of driving, or letting the car idle up to temperature, then leave it running.

Cooking on an engine block takes longer than traditional cooking but not as long as using a slow cooker, so time your meals accordingly. Make sure that your meat reached the internal temperature appropriate for the type so that you don’t run the chance of getting food poisoning, especially with fowl.

We’re going to provide some recipes below, but if you want the know-all, be-all book on the subject, pick up a copy of Manifold Destiny. I don’t believe that it’s in print anymore but you can get a used copy on Amazon, or a Kindle version.

Now, let’s get cooking.

Preparing Food for Cooking on an Engine Block

First, prepare the food as if you’re going to cook it on a grill or in the oven. Spice it the same way and then wrap it in aluminum foil. Use the heavy-duty kind so that you don’t risk ripping it and starting a grease smoking fest under your hood! As a matter of fact, I’d use two or three layers of it just to be sure.

Make sure that the sides are long enough that you can pull them together and roll it down a few times. Leave enough space on each end to do the same. You’ll be cooking it basically in its own steam so you want to make sure that no air escapes.

Tip: Spray the foil with some cooking spray or wipe it with some oil to help keep the food from sticking, just like you would if you were putting it on the grill or in the oven.

Finding the Hot Spots on the Engine

You can’t just toss your food under the hood in any ole place and expect it to cook. If you’re not familiar with the parts of the motor that get the hottest, start your car and either drive it for a few minutes or let it sit and warm up for 10 minutes or so.

Turn off the car and open the hood. Feel around with your hand hovering over the motor two or three inches to find where it’s hottest. Some sites tell you to touch it to find the hottest parts but take it from a girl who knows her way around a motor – that’s a sure-fire way to end up with some bad burns.

If you find a spot that is putting off enough heat that you wouldn’t want to touch it with your fingers, that’s a sweet spot. If it feels cool enough that you feel as if you could touch it without being burned, it won’t get hot enough to cook your food.

The best place, if you can get to it, is near the exhaust manifold – the place where your exhaust pipes come out of the motor. If you’re going to be driving while your food is cooking, make sure that the spot you choose is tight enough that your food will fit in without falling out. This isn’t so important if you’re cooking while the car is still.

You can test this by wadding up some foil that’s the same size as your food packet and putting it in that spot. If it fits snugly, you’ve got a winning spot. A good reason for using a test piece is to make sure that your hood will close without smashing your food. You need enough clearance to be able to shut the hood whether you’re traveling or not – it holds the heat in.

If you want to get really fancy, you can also secure your food underneath your car on or near the exhaust pipes. I wouldn’t recommend putting it directly on the pipes because that reaches temperatures that are way too hot. You’ll burn the outside of the food before the inside is cooked.

Securing Your Food to Cook on the Engine

You want to make sure that your food isn’t going to fall out if you’re traveling, or even if it’s in a spot where you think it might fall out at a stand-still. You can do this by tucking it under some hoses, or you can secure it with some wire. Don’t use rope or anything else that can’t withstand high temperatures or else you’ll run the risk of either melting it or catching it on fire. Neither scenario is good!

If you’re using a spot underneath the car, you can rig up a pan. The best way to explain this is to let you watch this video of Alton Brown and the Myth Buster guys doing it. You’re now ready to cook!

Video first seen on Discovery.

And a Few Recipes for Carbequing

Here are a few good recipes to get you started.

Roasted Potatoes

  • 1-2 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp oil or melted butter

Wash and cut the potatoes (or more depending on how many you need and what your space limitations are). Cut them into squares about ¾ inch. Place them in a bowl, drizzle the oil or melted butter on them, then add the seasonings. Stir or toss to coat. Prepare your foil, then wrap the potatoes in the foil as described above. Place on your hot spot on your motor and cook for 25-30 minutes.

Lemon Pepper Turkey Breast

  • 1 standard sized turkey breast (or 2 chicken breasts)
  • 1/8 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 tsp oil or butter

Place your turkey or chicken on the greased foil. Sprinkle the seasonings on each side. Seal the foil as described above and place on the hot spot on your motor. Allow to cook 45 minutes if sitting still or an hour if driving. Check internal temperature using a food thermometer. It needs to be 165 degrees at the center to ensure that all bacteria are dead. E-coli sucks.

Poached Rosemary Salmon

  • 1 lb. salmon filet
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary or 1/4 tsp dried rosemary

Prepare foil as described above. Lay the salmon filet on the foil and sprinkle the rest of the ingredients over it. Wrap in foil and place on your engine’s hot spot for 15 minutes if sitting around or 20 minutes if driving. If you’d like to make a complete meal out of it, you can always add some green beans or other veggies in there, too. If you’re using frozen veggies, allow for a few minutes extra cook time.

Dashboard Cookies

  • 1 can cookie dough or your own recipe
  • Vegetable spray or oil for the cookie sheet

This recipe only works if it’s really hot outside – say 90 degrees – so that the inside of your car gets hot enough (160 degrees) to bake the cookies and kill any salmonella from the eggs. Place the cookie dough on a cookie sheet just like you would if you were baking them in the oven, though you may want to squish them a bit flatter.

Place on your dashboard, preferably in the sun, and shut your car doors so that the heat is trapped in. Leave them alone for about an hour. They won’t brown much but they will cook. Check them after an hour and if they feel done, remove. If not, leave them in there and check every 15 minutes or so.

Alternative: Place the cookie sheet on your manifold and close the hood, making sure that they don’t touch the underside of the hood. Cook on a hot engine for 8-10 minutes.

These are just a few ideas to get you started with using your car for cooking.

Play around with other meals and if you have any good recipe suggestions, add them in the comments section below!


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Main picture & featured picture source: capture from Cooking by…Car | MythBusters.

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Are We Prepared To Survive Solar Storms?

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solar stormsIn the fall of 2014, we narrowly missed a major bump in the road, in the form of a solar storm. NASA had warned of its coming, getting their warning down to almost the day. This was to be the biggest solar storm to hit the Earth since the Carrington event in 1859. Fortunately for us, it missed the Earth, passing us by.

This type of storm is both unique and common. It is common in that the surface of the Sun is a constant burning explosion. Solar flares and storms happen all the time. It is rare, in that the solar superstorms which could cause us major problems don’t happen all that often; and when they do, like the one in 2014, they often miss the Earth.

Yet scientists estimate that a solar superstorm has a 95% chance of hitting the Earth once in every 250 years and a 50% chance in hitting the Earth once every 50 years. The main reason we haven’t heard much of them is that it’s only been in the last 50 years that it has mattered.

The Superstorm Versus the Grid

For all practical purposes, a solar superstorm that actually hit the Earth would have roughly the same effect on the side of the Earth that it struck as an EMP.

Therefore, we could expect massive power outages, as transformers on the grid are destroyed, as well as a loss of massive amounts of sensitive electronic equipment controlling everything from our critical infrastructure to our entertainment.

In this case, the size of the storm, it’s length of duration and how directly it faced the Earth would all have a factor in how serious the damage would be. Some storms might merely disrupt communications on a temporary basis, while a major storm might destroy most of the electronics we depend on.

Should the electrical grid substations be damaged, which is a very real possibility with a larger storm, then repairs could take over a year. How much of an impact that will have will depend on how many substations are damaged and whether the possibility of rerouting electrical power for the affected areas exists.

Unfortunately, it came out in 2014 that the government has done little to nothing to prepare for such an event or that of an EMP. While the military has some units which are protected from EMP, as well as a few government offices, there isn’t enough protection to go around for all the departments of the government, let alone civilians and industry.

There is virtually no protection for the three power grids that serve the United States. Estimates of the cost of adding that protection are over one trillion dollars, making it impractical from a financial standpoint.

Even buying and stockpiling spare transformers to deal with such an event is deemed impractical. These are custom-built transformers and they take more than a year a piece to build.

Apparently, there aren’t standard designs which are used throughout the system, but rather each one is more or less an individual. So, a spare transformer for one sub-station probably won’t work for another. Should the grid get hit, chances are, it will go down.

There is one advantage with a solar storm, when we compare it to an EMP; that’s the warning we will have. Scientists know about 12 hours before these storms strike. So, if a reasonable means of spreading the word could be developed, those 12 hours would give people time to disconnect equipment and store it in Faraday Cages before the storm hits.

Of course, that wouldn’t be as easy for businesses and industry; but measures could be developed, which would allow those businesses to prepare for the solar storm and protect their computers and other sensitive electronics.

Alas, this probably won’t happen. Developing such a system is the type of thing that was popular in the 1950s, but would be looked at with scorn today. Few would truly accept the gravity of the situation and make proper preparations. Amongst those who did, all it would take is one or two false warnings and they’d stop listening to the warnings all together.

But then, this wouldn’t do a thing to help the power grid. So, even if individuals and businesses were to invest in developing the necessary protections to keep their equipment from being damaged in the case of a solar storm, without power from the grid, that investment would be useless.

The key to everything is to have readily available electrical power that we can use. That’s going to require major investments and major changes to the grid.

So, What Does This Mean to You and I in Real Terms?

First of all, it means that it’s not a matter of if a solar storm will hit the Earth, but when. Hand-in-hand with that, is the question of how severe said storm will be, which is measured in both magnitude and duration. Both will have an effect on how much damage they can cause here on Earth.

Since we are totally unprepared for such an event, the effects of a severe solar storm could be as bad as an EMP attack. According to the report of the EMP commission, that would have the effect of killing off 90% of our population in the first year, either due to illness or due to starvation.

Without the full infrastructure in place, many thousands of people won’t receive critical medicines that they need. While some will be able to survive this, many won’t. Even those that can survive without those medications will have severe effects, some of which will be debilitating.

Then there’s the food issue. The American agricultural industry is the most productive in the whole world. But it is dependent upon the transportation industry to move product from the farm to the processing plant and from the processing plant to distributors, ultimately bringing it to the retail outlets where consumers buy it.

Without electricity to pump fuel out of underground tanks or to refine petroleum into fuel, those trucks will come to a standstill. Farmers won’t be able to get their product to market and much of what they produce will be wasted.

This is an extremely grim picture, but it is a worst-case scenario. It is possible that the solar storm would not cause this much of a problem. But we really have no way of knowing. There is too little data to go by, although the data we do have indicates that the results would be akin to an EMP attack.

This is going to sound a bit far-fetched, but I need to throw it in here. There is a possibility that such an end game scenario is not only acceptable, but desired by a fair number of Washington insiders.

The Georgia Guidestones, which have the New Age Manifesto inscribed on them, state that the population of the world must be reduced to 500 million people. Apparently, if that means killing off 90 percent of our population, that’s totally acceptable. At least, it’s acceptable to some people.

This may explain why there is so little effort on the part of our government to do anything about preparing for a solar superstorm or EMP attack. Those events would play right into the hands of the elite, providing them with the utopian world that they desire.

The only way of ensuring survival is local self-sufficiency. I add the word local in there, as small communities working together could become self-sufficient enough to survive. Other than that, self-sufficiency will be limited to family units. More than anything, they will need to be able to produce their own food on an ongoing basis, in order to ensure their survival.

Other than food production, we would be faced with our country going back technologically speaking to a time about 120 to 150 years ago. The question then would be how quickly we could adapt to that lifestyle.

Once again, those in smaller communities would have the advantage, as many already have a closer connection to their past. But in addition to that, the crowding in major urban areas makes it all but impossible to return to that sort of lifestyle.

Living as our ancestors did requires space. Some people living in suburbia might be able to do it, assuming they have a source of water and are experts at gardening. But to raise any sort of livestock for meat requires a considerable amount of ground. That means living out in the country somewhere, where you can have several acres to work with.

As with any other survival situation, the advantage goes to those who are prepared. People who are growing their own food now and working on becoming self-sufficient, will have a much easier time adapting to life after such an event. Their biggest worry will be protecting themselves and their efforts, from those who have not prepared. If they can do that, they will be able to survive.


This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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