Bike power: version 2 – field test

Bike power complete. Bike, bike stand, 3 phase rectifier, capacitor,  6 Amp solar battery charge controller, 12V bulb.

Bike power complete. Bike, bike stand, 3 phase rectifier, capacitor, 6 Amp solar battery charge controller, 12V bulb.

The bike ( on a bike stand ) were attached to the 3 phase rectifier and the 1 Farad capacitor to produce 12V DC.

The wheel is a  200 W 36V wheel so the bike could only be operated at a low ( comfortable) speed to prevent too much voltage and too much current.

A 12V 50W dichroic light bulb was added to show it was really working.

capacitor at 13.6 Volts and 50Watt 12 Volt dichroic light working.

capacitor at 13.6 Volts and 50Watt 12 Volt dichroic light working.

PV charge controller added using the bike as the power input instead of the solar panel and battery charger was used.

Probably best for charging a small device unless you want to pedal the bike for a long time.

Future additions:

36 to 12 volt step down for a higher current lower voltage system.

replace the back tire with a smooth tread tire.

Paint can rocketstove: field test

Rocket stove made from a paint can and 3 smaller 300 gram food cans. Small rocks used to create gap between pot and stove

Rocket stove made from a paint can and 3 smaller 300 gram food cans. Small rocks used to create gap between pot and stove

This rocket stove was was constructed out of a 5 Liter ( 1.32 US  gallons ) paint can and 3  x 300gram  ( 10 ounce) food cans. The grey paint was not fully removed from the can and some is still visible. I would recommend that if a paint can was used the paint is completely removed with an appropriate solvent, turpentine or water depending on the type of paint base. If a solvent is not available the can can be heated in an open fire to burn out the remaining paint.

Boil time for 1 liter of water approximately 10 minutes.

dry wood ash was used as insulation.

Some small rocks were use to create the pot stand.

The paint can handle was left on to create an easy way to move the stove.

Addition of the fuel shelf helped the stove produce better air flow an prevents over filling with wood fuel, the shelf was held securely in place with a small rock.

close up of paint can rocket stove fuel shelf. Small rock holding shelf in place, some holes in shelf for better air flow.

close up of paint can rocket stove fuel shelf. Small rock holding shelf in place, some holes in shelf for better air flow.

Complaining does not help

Complaining will not make a bad situation better.

I went for a hike recently.
The brief for the journey was that we were to go about 3 km on mostly dirt roads to a creek.
The environment was dry Australian forest, mostly eucalyptus trees.
Thinking that the creek would be full of fresh water I foolishly didn’t take any water.
The journey was mostly down hill on the way there. The weather turned from warm to hot and humid.
The creek turned out to be a largely stagnant trickle. I had no way to purify the little water that was there.
Fortunately my companions had brought some water with them, but on the way back to camp we quickly ran out.
I was beginning to suffer the effects of dehydration and heat exhaustion. I felt very tired and even a few minutes walking was exhausting.
We stopped many times on the way back to the camp for me to recover some strength.
My friend asked me on the way back during one of our many stops ” What’s the most important thing for survival?”

Immediately I said “Knowledge”

Had I known the water in the creek was not drinkable I would have taken water.

Had I known the weather would become so hot and humid I would not have carried a jacket in my bag.

Once we had arrived back at camp we all drank lots of water and rested.

My friend commended me on not complaining about my obviously exhausting return journey.

I said ” Complaining never helps, so there’s not point in doing it”

He nodded knowingly.

Hearing the complaints of other people simply converts their problem into your problem.
It multiplies their irritation and makes that person your irritation.
One person complaining a lot can really destroy the morale of a group,
and then people will start arguing and fighting rather than attempting to solve the real problems they are being faced with.

So in the forest (or other places away from civilization) there will be hardships,
how you deal with them physically and emotionally is your choice.

Occasionally the person suffering will be you, it’s easy to ask people to not complain when you are not the person suffering.
When the suffering person is you, remember to not complain, you won’t be respected for your weaknesses, but you will be respected for being laconic.

Scram Bag:The Needle


A needle, more useful and more difficult to make than you think.


Why is this so significant?

Yes it is a needle, it is used for sewing materials together.

The reason it is significant is because it is the oldest tool ever discovered that was not designed for killing or eating.

The first tool of construction. Men and women made clothes and other usefull items from this one giant leap in technology. It’s our first actual tool of construction. Everything before it was a tool for cutting, chopping, crushing or stabbing. Most previuos tools made things smaller, except this one which made things bigger. The first bone needles were found 6000BC older than recorded civilisation itself, You might assume it was a prerequisite for civilisation.

If you still think the needle is insignificant, try to make one that works well. you’ll find it’s very hard to do.

Using this knowledge imagine what would happen when civilsation as we know it collapses. The factories that currently produce needles would likely cease production at least for a time. Trade and transport networks will be disrupted perhaps permanently. The production of new clothes would likey halt. People would have worn and damaged clothes and be perhaps unable to replace them. New clothes may become rare and expensive to manufacture. Clothes are made of woven threads, theads will not be scarce. Needles possibly will be. Needles will likely become quite valuable. It’s possible may become a form of currency or at the very least a valuable item of barter. It’s clear that needles will be far more valuable than they are today.

Less obvious uses for a needle:

A needle can be bent and turned into a fishing hook.

Needles can be used as pins for sewing.

Needles can be used to clean out a wound or prick open a blister.

A magnetised needle floating on still water can be used as a compass.

Needle can be use to clear a small blockage in a metal filter or small gague pipes.

Stitching a wound closed.






Soil stove

If found this looking through old documents.

A stove made from a mix of sand, soil sand an dung slowly piled up in the corner of a house. I think anthill sand is coarse sand, soil being loamy soil, and dung having fibre binder like mud daub houses.

All natural products, no metal or money required. Get primative but use your head, this likely to  work only in hotter/ drier regions. Uses less fuel and produces less smoke.

3 week construction time.

A stove for free made from soil, sand and some cattle dung with straight stem branches for moulds.

PV (solar panel) and charge controller with battery

Depending on where you are you might want electricity.

Solar power is a convenient, low maintenance way to get electricity if you have sunlight.

For this example I will consider a 80W 12 V solar panel and a charge controller capable of 6A at 12 Volts.

The panel

80 W  (maximum power)


P = VxI

P/V =I

80/12 = I

6.66 A =I (maximum current)


The charge controller



P= VxI

P = 12 x 6

P =  72W

Close enough to matched, remember the panel lists it maximum power not typical power rating.

A charge controller is a fancy battery charger which can put unused solar power into stored energy into a battery.

Usually there is a load circuit for things you want to run directly off the solar panel and a battery charging circuit. For this example there is a maximum load of 72 watts from the controller load wires.

For a larger load than the controller allows disconnect the battery from the charge controller and use the charged battery.

There is often a wet type battery for flooded lead acid cells check you documentation as to whether it is connected to the positive(+) or negative (-) terminal of the flooded battery.

A typical arrangement:

PV charge controller and battery wiring diagram.

For 12 Volt setups the car cigarette plug and socket system of connectors is a good idea, simple and common. There is also a wide variety of electrical items made especially for this connector format.


The connectors on solar panels are waterproof, the connections on the charge controller are not, make sure they are waterproofed or kept away from water.

War: It’s all about the oil and gas, and who controls (and profits from) it.

I was going to write a long article about this, but in my research I found someone else already had done so.

Kudos my friend.

As you can see Iran is very close to the center of a large struggle over whether oil goes east or west, and its sitting on the worlds largest reserves of natural gas and a substantial quantity of Oil as well.

Any discussion about Iran must be made in the context of Oil and gas because that  is what any possible conflict with Iran will be about.