Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Composting Toilet

For years I have read about them, but I still don’t personally know anybody who owns and uses one who I can ask questions about it. For myself, I use the bucket method. Below are three people who use them full-time and if you review all three they will answer all your questions about the system.

The first one/video:
Is the unboxing of a brand new one. Clearly shows what you get when you open the box (a Bob Wells video)

The second one/video:
Is a couple who discuss (honestly) what it has been like after one year of use. I think it’s the best of all three.

The third one/video:
The couple answers lots of questions and answers about the composting toilet. I have copied a little text as there is a lot of good info there, such as toilet paper use, just how much power the vent fan consumes in 24 hours and how often do they have to empty it.

#1  Unboxing and Review of Natures Head Composting Toilet
Information by: Bob Wells,

#2  Composting Toilet in our RV: How we really feel after a year
Information by: The Fit RV,

#3  Composting Toilet FAQ and Debunking Myths
Information by:

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Van-Dwellers and RV’ers; Free Camping Databases

This kind of information makes it easy for Van-Dwellers and Full-Time RV’ers to live for next to nothing by using the sources below. There are many others publications and online sites to visit including some that specialize in places like, Wal-Marts and truck stops. I’ll be adding those and others as I find the information.

For those who are Bugging Out!
This information is priceless. There is a substantial amount of out of town and very out of the way campsites to lay-low at. You can stay out of harms way that few people know about.

Search the web's largest database of free RV parking locations in the US and Canada. Our database contains 13633 RV Parking and No Parking locations in the USA and Canada. Find free RV parking on your mobile device! Search by your current location, city and state or province or zip code. Download PDF files by state or province.  Cost: $25.00 per year.

Whether you just need to know where to camp nearby or you want to plan a free camping road trip, we've got you covered. You can simply use your smart phone's GPS to find camping near you or even use our trip planner to plan your route from coast to coast.  Cost: Free.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Camo Patterns Compared

Today, there are numerous camo patterns available to choose from such as: Woodland, Multicam, Marpat, Krytek, Flecktarn, Digital Flora and many more. Every military branch of every country has there own preferred patterns.

The problem I have is which one is overall best for My Area of Operations (Florida)? Camo clothing and equipment isn’t cheap and to buy then take out in the field just to find out it makes you stand out rather than not be seen is a waste of money.

Today, I came across some very good YouTube videos comparing the above-mentioned camo patterns side-by-side, in actual use, in my area of operations (always green and dense). They tested two patterns at a time with two guys. One was given a 2-minute head start to hide and the other 3 minutes to hunt and find him. Then they switched where the other guy would hide and the other hunt him.

The video work was very good and visually revealed the good and the bad of each pattern. If you’re thinking about buying some camo you will find the video’s helpful.

Below are the links to the three tests. Now, these are young guys and specialize in paintball games, they are intelligent and do a good job with these comparisons, the best I’ve found:

Camo Vs. Camo - Woodland Vs. Multicam

Camo Vs. Camo - Flecktarn Vs. Digital Flora

Camo Vs. Camo - Marpat Vs. Kryptek Mandrake

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Batteries, Small NiMH Rechargeable

Humans are not designed to live without light at night, we must have it to survive in today’s world of crime and violence. A Preppers best friend for lighting and communications in an extended grid-down situation are rechargeable batteries to keep these needed devices going.

Some of us have small generators to run lights and refrigeration, even heat for the home during a short term grid down. But long term, when your gas is gone and gas stations are closed, the only thing left is your own solar system. A 200 watt system can run small portable 12v refrigerators (Dometic), and recharge all your batteries for lighting and communications. This size of system is inexpensive and easily be made portable.

All my critical battery powered flashlights lights and radios are powered with “AA” rechargeable batteries. I only choose “AA” size because it makes battery stocking easy as this one size powers all my critical devices.

Like all prepping items, they need periodic review and maintenance (such as recharging) even if not used. NiMH (nickel–metal hydride) type batteries will self-discharge when not in use. The self-discharge amount varies with new technologies, from 10% to 50% with most only 20%. So once a year, and for me that is the beginning of hurricane season. I recharge (top-off) all my NiMH batteries so they are ready to do their job with full power.

When purchasing new NiMH, try to buy the same manufacturer brand and the ones with the largest mA (milliamp hours) or stored power (amps). Today that’s generally the 2300mA or 2500mA size.

What is ‘mA’ (milliamp hour)?
It’s a unit of electric current equal to one thousandth (1000) of an ampere. The SI base unit for electric current is the ampere. One ampere, is equal to 1000 milliamps, or 1 amps.
A 2500 mA battery equals 2.5 amps of stored power.
A 1500 mA battery equals 1.5 amps of stored power.

I use two types of chargers, a fast recharger and the other is a smart recharger.

The fast recharger;
is just that, fast. It can recharge for “AA” batteries in as little as 15 minutes!

The smart recharger;
has a ‘conditioning’ charge. After a number of battery uses, the NiMH can develop a ‘memory’ or it thinks it is fully recharged but it’s not. The battery will tell the charger it’s full and the charger then stops the recharge cycle. The smart charger has a special conditioning charge function, user selected, will automatically discharge the battery completely, then recharge the battery to 100% of its’ rated (milliamps) capacity. Note that this conditioning charge is far slower than the fast recharger.

Below are the two chargers I use and recommend.

Important Note:
Every NiMH battery will have its’ mA capacity printed on the side. DO NOT MIX mA capacities either in the charger or in the device they’re used in. Why? Because the batteries have a chip (computer) in each one. This chip talks to the charger and lets the charger know when it is full and doesn’t need any more recharging. The typical charger has a four bay or battery capacity. If you put into the charger three, 2500 mA and one 1500 mA battery, the lower mA battery will be recharged first but, what happens is when the 1500 mA talks to the charger and says it’s full the charger will shut-off the cycle. What happens to the three 2500 mA batteries? They will only be charged to 1500 mA. Only charge the same mA batteries at the same time be it 1, 2, 3 or 4 of the same mA batteries.

Quick NiMH battery Facts:
Charge cycles: Up to 700 times
Charge retention: Lasts up to 12 months

The CCRANE Quick Charger (Smart Charger)

CCRANE showing charger compartment. Will charge one or up to four at a time of “AAA”, “AA”, “C” or “D” size batteries. Either NiMH or NiCad batteries.

Energizer Quick Charger (15 minute charge cycle)

Shown is a 2500 mA battery label. All rechargeable batteries will be labeled with their mA capacity. I also date each battery when purchased for overall age reference.

Both chargers, come with a 110v wall plug/cord and a 12v plug/cord for charging off your power port in your car or solar system if you have one. If 110v grid is down you can recharge your batteries from your car battery.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Update, Automobiles and Electronics

Yesterday, I went to my preferred mechanic shop to discuss the issues I was having with my van. He plugged my van into his code reader and it again showed nothing wrong. So then he logged onto his online data source program where all members can search for problems they can’t solve and when they do solve them they post what they did to correct the issue. The top ten fixes were moisture in the PCM (car computer) connection! He spent about 45 minutes with me and charged me nothing!

So, yesterday I took the cowl off to get to the PCM. A Pain in the butt job.

Here’s what I found:

This is the PCM module plug. Notice the rusty water marks! Water got up there at some time.

This is the receptacle of the plug. No noticeable moisture was seen.

This is the plug. Same thing, no moisture seen.

There was no obvious moisture in the connection but I blew it out anyway, then used a hair dryer to dry any moisture left, if any, then applied dielectric grease to all the pins and reassembled everything.

Look at all those pins, about 90 of them, each sends the different engine sensors data back and forth that keeps the engine running. For me, it’s unnecessarily complicated but I am old and like things simple.

Anyway, after assembly, I got in the car, started the engine and test drove it. For the last day and a half not one of the old issues showed up! Problem fixed and runs like new! I did drop off a box of cookies for him and his mechanics. He was happy we found the issue with the van, and so was I.

I wonder how many people get shafted into buying a new computer for a $1,000+ rather than cleaning the plug first?