Author Archives: tornpocket

Heirloom Blueberry Cuttings, Part II, The Cuttings

In the previous article, we discussed the background behind our experiment in heirloom blueberry cuttings. In this article, we expand the series by describing the cuttings. As you will recall, we accidentally cut a 7-foot shoot from a bush while we were clearing it of vines and saplings back in February. Having had a successful […]

Heirloom Blueberry Cuttings, Part I, Background

Here at the old school, a dozen or so giant heirloom blueberry bushes line one edge of the property. These bushes produce amazing blueberries each year. We know there are at least two varieties growing here, but we are unsure of the specifics. One variety produces large, plump sweet berries, while the other is a […]

Double Conversion UPS, Part II

In the first article in this series, we described a small double-conversion UPS consisting of a 600 watt AC charger, two deep cycle batteries, and a 1000 watt pure sine wave inverter. In this article, we present test results obtained for a load well above, and a load well below, the applicable 20-amp-hour rating for […]

Food Storage Jar Seals

Three decades ago, we bought some glass food storage jars, and really enjoyed them. For the last decade or so, though, they’ve sat in the corner of the kitchen as little more than a decoration because the seals have dried up, cracked and allowed the food to spoil. We recently decided to 3D print some […]

Double Conversion UPS, Part I

Most people are familiar with the idea of an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), such as used to help keep a computer running throughout power outages. Intended for only seconds to minutes of use, long enough to get past a short power glitch, or to give the user time to save files and shut down before […]

Multicolor Off-Grid Christmas Lights

In previous articles, we have been describing the use of LED Christmas lights as emergency off-grid lighting powered directly from a 24 volt battery array. The first article described using strings of cool white lights. Subsequent articles described building a test fixture for these and warm white lights to overcome problems with untested lights, and […]

Red Off-Grid Christmas Lights

In two previous articles, we discussed using LED Christmas lights as emergency lighting powered straight from an off-grid battery array, as well as a test fixture to sort individual lights for making a reliable DC-powered string from the random sampling of LEDs in a typical 110 volt string. Both of those articles focused on cool […]

Testing Emergency Solar Christmas Lights

In a previous article, we described the adaptation of LED Christmas lights as emergency solar lighting powered directly from an off-grid battery array. This approach provides many advantages versus running them from an inverter, including useful lighting while trying to fix your inverter. In that article we made some recommendations about string lengths, current and […]

Product Review, Bestek 300W Pure Sine 12V Inverter

As part of our off-grid solar series, we’re looking for bare-bones options for the charger and inverter components to meet the minimum requirements of driving a 70 watt freezer, 24/7 if possible. We recently tested a Bestek 300W Pure Sine 12V Inverter, shown to the right. Although this unit failed to drive the freezer, it […]

Extracting Potash

After a sweltering hiatus due to warm weather on and after Thanksgiving, winter is finally back to the old school, so this means that we can continue our winter chemistry experiments over the wood stove. We like extracting chemicals from things around us, so we’ll start with potash, which is derived from wood ashes (1).