Practical Survivalist

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    This projects goes over the build of waste oil powered free hot water heater for your home .This converts an old used domestic water heater to run on waste oil, engine oil or cooking oil. With as little as one liter of waste oil, this heater gives twice the heat output than a domestic electric powered water heater .As waste oil is free, this is more economical than running on gas or electric.

    The setup of this waste oil heater is very simple and easy. We have a waste oil burner that is placed under the domestic water heater. The burner is connected to a blower from a car. This blower is powered by a 12V battery charger . The burner is also connected to a drip feed waste oil pipe through a small pipe.

    The oil feed from a suspended tank, which gives it a gravity feed dribbles into the inlet pipe on the burner and it is simply blown into the burner by the force of the air from the blower. To control the oil flow ,we have a valve on the oil tank.

    The cold water comes into through the inlet hose at the bottom of the tank . From there burner just fires the heat up through the center of the heater as it would normally if it was gas fired. The hot water comes out from a outlet hose at the top of the tank.

    The waste oil burner is made out an old fire extinguisher bottle. The beauty of using extinguisher bottles is you don’t have to worry about any flammable gases in them, and the metal seems to be quite durable.

    Make sure that the air and the fuel enter the bottle at a slight angle in order to create some swirling. This makes sure that the air and the fuel mix and will burn completely. And also that the bottle is kept hot so that the liquid oil will vaporize and the gas will burn.

    The inlet pipe for the waste oil and the blower is positioned at 25 to 35% of the way up to the bottle. The inlet pipe has a small bend in it so as to promote swirling within the bottle. This is important in keeping the bottle hot and self sustaining. The burner has a clean burn with almost no smoke.

    The output of the oil burner can be controlled by the amount of waste oil being dripped into the burner and by the amount of air blown into it. This oil gas burner is more powerful than a gas burner and the heat produced can overpower the heat sink threshold of the water heater . A vent line is installed on the system so that any build up pressure can be released. Apart from heating hot water , this set up can be used for space heating , pool heating or garage heating.

      This project goes over the build of a homemade waste oil garage heater made out of an old standard 55 gallon drum and a propane tank. This setup also doubles as a cooker.

      The first step is to make the Waste Oil Burner Unit. This is made out of a four inch tin can and a candy tin. Place the tin can in the center of the candy tin and mark around them. Cut a hole out of it with a chisel. Drill around 15 small holes around the tin can. The tin can acts like a chimney brining fresh air for the combustion. The open end of the tin is placed into the hole at the center of the candy tin. This burner uses a little over two liters of used waste oil per hour and makes lots of heat from that amount of oil.

      Make sure that the propane tank is empty. Fill it with water and let it sit for a day before we begin to disassemble them. Once the tank is safe to work with, we begin by cutting two sections on the them and divide it into two chambers .The top one is seven inches high and the bottom one is three inches. We also cut two openings at the top of the tank for exhaust fumes.

      We make a disc separator out a 4mm steel plate with a hole in the middle. This disc goes in between the upper and the lower chamber. We place the tin can burner unit inside the upper chamber . The lower chamber is for the air intake. Doors are made with the leftover cut pieces of the tank . The door for the upper chamber has a screen welded onto them for viewing purposes. The air for the combustion comes through the lower chamber ,passes through the disc separator hole and goes into the burner unit.

      To radiate the heat , we place a 55 gallon drum over the propane tank burner unit . To make this unit , we take the drum and place it sides and cut out a portion . A steel plate is placed in the middle . This can act as a cook top . One the other side of the drum ,we make a hole so that it sits in tightly on the propane burner tank.

      The two upright sides of the barrel is welded with a six inch steel pipe for heat distribution. This pipe acts as suction for the flue pipe . The flue pipe is welded onto this pipe in the middle . So the exhaust gas from the burner comes up and heats the plate over it ,travels up through the barrel into the pipe and moves out through the flue.

      To control the waste oil coming into the burn chamber of the barrel stove , we use a drip feed system. The oil stored in a bucket is connected to a half inch pipe with a ball valve.

      The pipe goes into a standard half inch gate valve and further connects to a pipe in pipe system. A half inch inch copper pipe is placed inside a one inch mild steel pipe .

      The pipe coming from the gate valve is connected to the copper pipe which is inside the mild steel pipe through an elbow. These two pipes goes straight into our burner unit inside the propane tank. The oil gets drip fed into the candy tin of our burner.

      To get started ,we add some kerosene and light up a fire using the torch. We slowly open the valve to start the oil feed into the burn chamber.

        This project goes over the build of an efficient outdoor wood burning stove heater out of an old propane bottle and some scrap metal from the scrapyard. This stove has secondary burn system that helps in combustion of any unburned smoke or fume inside .Almost little to no smoke coming from the flue pipe.

        The first step is to make sure that the old propane tank is empty. We take the valve at the top by removing the valve protector cage. Fill the tank with water and let it sit for a few hours before we drain the tank and start cutting top and bottom.

        With the help of a hole saw cutter ,we cut 100mm four inch holes at the top and bottom of the tank . The top hole is for the flue pipe to sit in and the bottom hole is for cleaning the ashes out. We also remove the bottom stand too.

        Next, we cut a hole for the door for the stove. This is cut as high up to the top of the bottle . The door is made of chequered plate piece . We fit a rectangular pyrex dish glass piece in the middle of the chequered plate that can withstand high temperature with couple of steel bracket pieces.

        The glass on the door helps us to see how the secondary burn system is working inside the chamber. The door is attached to a frame through hinges.

        The flue outlet on the top the tank is attached through a flange piece with holes. The door handle is made of a socket wrench. The wrench is bolted to the plate and a small metal piece is welded onto to the frame to which the wrench is pulled to close the door

        A deflector plate made of small holes is installed inside the stove on the top . We drill 8mm holes around the top of tank and put dome bolts across them. The deflector pipe sits on these bolts. The deflector plate stop the unburned gases exiting out the flue outlet pipe. This encourages the flame that rises, pass through the deflector plate holes into the secondary burn chamber that helps in better combustion.

        The secondary burn system is made of stainless steel pipes .The air intake section is long enough to get the air coming in to get super heated and move into two sections filled with holes.

        Since not all gases from the wood combust from the primary air intake, the secondary burn pipe ensures that the air gets super heated before exiting the pre-drilled holes and helps burn the unburned gases rising from the fire before exiting the flue pipe.

        The secondary air intake pipe coming out of the firebox is welded on the top of the tank with a flange piece. The primary air intake pipe that goes under the door frame is made of a two inch coupler and threaded damper disc. A small metal piece is welded to the coupler with a hole in the middle. The damper disc screws in through the hole that allows us to close and open the intake .

          This project goes over the build of an inexpensive garage heater using DIY outdoor barrel stove with a heat exchanger. This outdoor setup is safe because you dont want the stove inside the garage to catch fire if you are working with any flammable gas. We use a 30 gallon drum for the stove. The access doors and legs are purchased from the local store.

          The heater exchanger is made out of four inch steel pipe .We take couple of 4 foot pipe and weld them together using another small pipe. This pipe goes inside the firebox and connects to the chimney pipes. The pipe should be thick enough that it can withstand the heat of the fire without sagging or bending. This pipe heat exchanger adds positive pressure .

          Removable hatches are made on one side of the stoves to connect the 2 four inch aluminum flex chimney pipes from the outside barrel to the garage.

          Inside the garage we place a 4 inch exhaust fan blower that sucks the colder air from the floor and blows it through one of the flex chimney pipe into the stove. The blower is actually a hydroponics duct exhaust fan purchased from Ebay.

          The cold air gets pushed into the stove and moves through the heat exchanger steel pipe , gets heated and then moves out through the second chimney flex pipe and back into the garage. The hot air from the stove moves into the garage through the second pipe.

          In order to get more hot air, we also add a drip fed waste oil system to the outdoor stove . The oil gets dripped slowly from a tank into a frying pan on top of the stove .You can add cotton rags and let it drip into there and it just keeps burning like a wick. The combination of both wood and waste oil produce better fire . If the stove gets too hot, you can turn of the oil or use oil only to maintaining the temperature. You can put an insulated shack around the stove to minimize the heat loss.

            This project goes over the details on how you can setup and install a 300W Off the grid Micro Hydro System for your home .

            The water source mentioned in this project have a flow rate of 15 – 30 gallons a minute and the drop between the source and the house is about 150 feet.

            The first step is to make an intake angled screen box for the system that helps in channeling the water from the source. The aluminum screen on the top blocks leaves, sticks and other debris to pass through into the box . The box is made of a 24 inch 2X10 ,2X4 and an 2X8 angled piece treated lumber.

            We add 3 one and quarter inch attachment points on the lower side of the box for the hdpe poly pipes. The box is secured using exterior screws on the outside and inner tubes on the seam to prevent leaks.

            The box is installed on the creek with help of couple of three and half inch concrete anchors and two boards are screwed on both the sides for support.

            The outlet poly pipes from the intake screen box goes to 55 gallon plastic barrel which acts as a silt catchment and also an air free source. The 3 outlet pipes are connected to the top of the barrel with the help of uniseal rubber gaskets. A 2 inch pipe is installed midway on the tank for the penstock.

            We also install an overflow pipe near the top of the tank to take the extra water out and a three inch cleanout pipe at the bottom . The cleanout pipe can be unscrewed to remove the silt and debris out.

            To take the water from the intake to the turbine, the penstock used here is a 100PSI 1100ft 2 inch poly pipe. A threaded adapter is glued to the outlet coming out of the barrel. It is then connected to a two inch full port shutoff ball valve followed by an another threaded adapter and a pipe. The penstock poly pipe is attached to this pipe using barb fittings with hose clamps.

            Next step is to install the pressure gauge and the surge tank to our penstock pipe. Water will come down through the poly pipe into another PVC pipe fitted with a pressure gauge, surge tank, two inch closing ball valve and a union to remove the turbine from the pipe. The surge tank is made of a standpipe that will prevent any water hammer affecting the pipes.

            The two inch poly pipe coming out from the barrel is connected to the two inch PVC surge tank and pressure gauge using regular . If the main shut off valve is suddenly closed, this tank will allow some of the surge to be absorbed.

            Next step is to build a housing for the micro hydro turbine. It is going to have a lid that opens up and a drain field pipe that goes out back to the creek. The housing for the turbine is made of three quarter inch plywood that is 2 X 2 foot wide and one foot tall. The turbine sits inside the hosing in the middle with the help of some 2x 4 scrap wood and a bucket lid piece. Then a 3 inch exit pipe comes out of here down through the middle of the housing .This drain pipe keeps the water from piling up under the turbine.

            The Micro Hydro Turgo Turbine is custom built based on the head pressure and the flow rate of the water source. It has three ball valves and four quarter inch jet nozzles coming out of them. The ball valves can be separately turned off when there is not enough water .The turbine is wired up to be three phase. The water coming out of the penstock hits jet nozzles that turns the Pelton wheel which is connected to 3 phase AC motor.

            To connect the turbine to our house, we use a 10/3 underground feeder wire. The wire is enclosed in a one inch conduit pipe. The proper way to install wire into a conduit is to get your conduit all glued together. And then you have a vacuum that pulls a string through. You tie your string to the wire and then pull the wire through the conduit. The wire goes into the house through a PVC conduit body.

            We install a junction box on the housing of the turbine to join the 3 phase turbine output wires to the 10/3 UG feeder wires coming from the house. Inside the house, we connect a rectifier to the three legs of the three phase coming from the turbine .This converts the AC generated into DC power.

            To generate useable power from this micro hydro system we need to install certain electrical devices in our houses. These include the MPPT Charge Controller, Grid Tie limiter Inverter, breaker box, disconnect switches and the batteries. These components are mounted on a 2 X 2 foot ,three inch plywood board. In case there is some excess heat for one of these electronics at some point, we cover the plywood board with a piece of sheet metal so that it will act as a heat sink.

            From the rectifier, the connection goes into a 25amp breaker box .The red wire goes into the breaker box and then further connects to positive of the charge controller. The negative white wire is directly connected to the negative of the charge controller.

            The five 12V AGM batteries are connected in series using four gauge cables. The positives from the batteries are connected to the charge controller and the inverter via DC switches .These switches allows us to isolate and disconnect the components individually. The negatives from the batteries are connected to the negatives of both charge controller and inverter respectively. The inverter is further connected to receptacle from where it goes straight to the main supply.

              This project goes over the detail on how you can take an old 55 gallon plastic drum and turn that into a hand crank washing machine and a compost tumbler.

              The frameworks has uprights on the edges, holding up the barrel all the way down. The upright on the sides are 3 foot long 2 x 4. The base that it sits is 3 foot 2 X 4.Long brace that holds the two sides together is three foot eight inches long. You can take apart the whole framework by unscrewing the side rails and store the barrel for using them in an emergency situation.

              The barrel sits on a one inch hardwood dowel which is installed through one inch hole at the top of the upright. These barrels have a line in the middle of them so it is pretty easy to find the center by measuring across the line and then dividing it in half.

              The hand crank is made of PVC pipe with some screws to the end side of the barrel. The hand crank gives you something to grab onto if it gets very heavy so you can pull it back up and really move it around.

              It has a one foot by one foot door on the front .We use couple of cheap cabinet hinges to hold the door up when unloading the clothes. It also has a little S hook latch that locks it into place.

              A hole down in the middle of the barrel is for drainage. A small plug and a cap acts as a drain. The plug is put through the hole from inside and sealed with the help of PVC glue.

              Next step is to add agitators to our barrel . As you rotate the barrel, the clothes will roll over those agitators back and forth and get the clothes moving a lot better and help clean it. We add 3 PVC pipes inside the barrel that act as the agitators.

              You put clothes in through the top and add enough water just to cover the clothes, add any biodegradable liquid detergent and close the lid. Start moving the hand crank back and forth. This will agitate the clothes. The agitators slosh those clothes around, get them grinding against each other and that is going to clean all the dirt out of them.

              After about 15 minutes of agitation, we pull the drainage plug off the bottom and drain the water or recycle it by collecting them underneath a bucket and pour it around your plants and trees. As long as we are using biodegradable soap/detergent, the soap and the dirt that is in your clothes isn’t going to hurt the plants.

              We put the plug back on, and fill the barrel with some clean water and agitate for another 15 minutes. This is the rinse cycle. Pull the plug, drain that water or use it on your plants.

              This setup can be also used a tumbling composter. Compost can be made of just about anything that was once alive .You can use leaves, grass clippings, garden waste, kitchen waste, chicken manure or any other waste material. Just dump all in there and turn the compost in there using our handle every couple of days for 2 weeks.

              We want to keep the compost aerated so that the microbes and bacteria that break down the compost can utilize the oxygen efficiently and help in decomposition. After 2 to 3 weeks, you probably have some pretty decent compost that you can use on your garden. Also through the drain hole, we can collect the residue compost tea which is high in nutrients. You can use that compost tea for plants that really need a good dose of nitrogen.

                This project goes over the instructions on how you can dig your own shallow hand pump water well using simple tools and save a lot of money.

                Before digging the water well, you need to know the ground. You got to have the right soil for this system to work. If your soil type is silt, clay, sand or loam, then its ideal .In our case, we have the first 10 or 12 feet of fine glacial silt and below that there is glacial deposits of river gravel.

                The first step is to dig a hole for the well casing. The tools you need to dig the hole are six inch post hole auger , three quarter inch extension pipe with coupling at the end and couple of wrenches.

                Once you have spotted the area where you want to dig the well, you start by applying downward pressure on the auger by twisting it. It screws itself into the earth filling its basket with material. When it’s full, you pick it up and dump it aside or in a wheel barrel. Sharpening the auger can help it cut through tree roots but it will not stay sharp long. It is important to do your best to keep the hole centered.

                Once the bottom is reached, we pull out the auger and remove the basket from the handle and insert one of the extension using the pipe wrench.

                The next part is getting the casing down the hole. For the casing we are using a cheap and readily available six inch PVC sewer pipe. We use a rasp to smoothen the end of the pipe so that it fits a cap . A round piece of PVC flat stock is bolted and glued on top of the cap using a PVC glue. This becomes the mounting base for the pitcher pump.

                To get started with driving the well point, we need a long piece of 10 foot pipe and a sandpoint, a couple of drive couplings. The drive couplings are steel rather than cast which makes them stronger. But most importantly, they have that small diameter so that they can slip down inside, making them not much larger than the diameter of the sand point itself.

                The sandpoint is made of perforated stainless steel and a cast iron point at the bottom.

                We connect the sandpoint and 10 foot pipes using the couplers and some Teflon tape. Now you don’t want to hammer on your drive point or any of your fittings without them being quite tight because you need those extra threads to spread the load. We drive the whole thing with a homemade post hole pounder which is a gooseneck trailer hitch ball welded into a piece of pipe.

                We insert the sandpoint with the extension into the well casing and start drilling by hand.

                We are gonna find out how far down that water is by dropping a string with a bolt tied to it to the very bottom.

                We finally attach a black ABS suction by sliding it down into our pipe .Then we cover the pipe with our PVC casing . And once the casing has been firmly tamped down, we will pack around the casing and tap that into place.

                The final step is to install the pitcher pump and prime it by add some water. The top cap is installed on the casing opening and the pump is bolted to the top of the cap. Priming the pump simply entails pouring a little water in that top basin.

                  This project goes over the build of an emergency Straw Style Survival Water Filter. This water filter is small, lightweight and ideal for an SHTF scenario or hiking/camping. Very effective for purifying rain or tap water or removing disease causing water contaminants. With regular maintenance the filter should last for years.

                  The materials needed to make this water filter are turkey baster , cotton balls, coffee filters,activated carbon. All these materials can be purchased from your local store or aquarium supply stores. The activated carbon is rated to last for five months if used regularly.

                  Start by taking a cotton ball and push it down the turkey baster.

                  Rinse the activated carbon by running it through tap water before putting them over the cotton balls.

                  Pour the rinsed activated carbon all the way to the top of the pipe and put two more cotton balls at the top .

                  Now take some coffee filter paper and slide it over the top of the cotton balls and tie it down using a twist tie or rubber band so that the whole thing wont slip out when you are using it. If you don’t have the cotton balls available, you can always just ball up some pieces of coffee filter paper and put them on either end of the activated carbon in between.

                  An alternative way of using this is to cut the top of the poultry baster and and put it on the top of the straw . Take the dirty water and manually filter it through the straw.

                  Once the material inside the filter gets saturated water moves pretty thoroughly through the straw. The cotton balls in the paper will get dirty pretty quick up here capturing most of the dirt but you can just pull those out periodically and add new ones.

                    This project goes over the conversion of an old ceiling fan motor into an single phase alternator .You can’t take your standard AC electric motor and spin it and get an electrical current out of it unless you modify it. The ceiling fan motor used here will produce about 70 volts at one amp which is roughly 70 watts. Through a bridge rectifier we can get about 70 watts of power out of it.

                    We start by pulling the cover of the fan. Inside we have a squirrel cage rotor in the middle and 6 coil windings around it. The coil windings are placed in clockwise and anti-clock wise directions inside the stator.

                    Next we remove the circular rotor from the threaded shaft which is attached to it with help of a vice. We attach the shaft with the rotor through it within a vice. With the help of an extra piece of pipe to give leverage, we press them against the rotor and push it away from the rod and pop it off.

                    We are replacing the rotor that we have detached from the shaft with a two inch hex steel bar . It has six sides that matches with the six coils from the stator.

                    With the help of one eighth inch drill bit we cut a hole in the center of our hex bar. We put the hex bar through the shaft and fit them snugly around the threaded area.

                    We take six one half inch neodymium or rare earth magnets and place them along the the 6 sides of the hex bar. We place them in such a manner that the poles of the magnets are opposing each other. For permanent usage, wrap this with a little bit of tape or glue so that they are held in place securely.

                    We place our modified rotor in the middle of the stator and align them such that they fit in tightly. The outer screen is bolted back onto the motor. We can also add second set of magnets to increase the magnetic field of the rotor .This will also bring it closer to the coils on the outside and increase the overall voltage.

                    To convert the alternating current generated by our ceiling fan alternator to direct current, we use a bridge rectifier. It has 4 poles, 2 for connecting our alternating current, the other plus and negative for DC power.

                    This Video series shows step by step on how to build a Homemade DIY Off grid Solar Powered PowerWall Backup System using salvaged and...