Letter Re: An Early Snowstorm in Western New York

Well, mother nature really gave it to them this week. There were 24 inches of snow dumped on us in about 24 hours. That, and the trees still had most of their leaves still intact. That just made more surface for the snow to stick, and it was the wettest imaginable snow you have ever seen. I’m writing this on Sunday. The power has been out since about 5 P.M. on Friday, and they are saying it won’t all be back on till next weekend. I didn’t lose my power, since I live north of the worst of it. I …




Letter Re: 12VDC LED Christmas Lights for Emergency Lighting

Jim: On a lark, I order two strings of these 12 VDC LED sort-of Christmas lights. I ordered one string of blue for the porch (really easy on Night Adapted Eyes and one string of white. Wow! Really neat. Low current (i.e.: extremely low power consumption) and just plain handy. I’m just guessing but I figure two strings would run for 6 weeks on a fully charged car battery. Nice for those “loss of electricity days/nights” and a lot cheaper than the camping/emergency lighting systems. I think it is a reasonable purchase.Best Regards, – The Army Aviator




Four Letters Re: Uses for CONEXes at a Retreat

James: We used some CONEXes to build a workshop. We built a wall halfway down the box with a door in it, insulated the front half, and put in power and air conditioning. It works fine, [but] the back half gets really, really hot. I’d recommend painting the container a heat reflecting color, try to put it under some trees out of direct sunlight, build some kind of roof over it or something to cut the heat like trellis planted with vines. We use the Rough Neck RV roof mounted air conditioners. I would recommend cutting a hole in the …




Letter Re: James Kunstler at Midwest Renewable Energy Fair

Dear Jim: I was also at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s (MREA) Energy Fair, just about in the exact center of Wisconsin near Steven’s Point, a week ago. For me, the home tour was the most interesting part. For about $20 they load you on a school bus and take you to 4 local homes that had alternative energy incorporated into them. This included things like solar panels for electricity with a battery bank, heat pumps with in floor hydronic heating systems, soap stone fireplaces (like the Russian design) that burn 2 hours and radiate heat all day (some with …




A Survival Retreat for Under $1,000, By Wolverine

Call it a survival retreat, hunting cabin, or summer cottage, a place away from the crowds and turmoil of the cities is a dream most of us share. Some folks plan out a survival retreat in such detail that long-term storage, over lapping fields of fire, and fuel supplies are worked out. Others, like myself, approach it as a vacation spot that can be readily converted if need be to an alternate living location. Back in the late 1960s my family had a small two-room cottage on a lake in northern Michigan. The cottage had no electricity, no running water, …




Letter Re: Kerosene Lanterns

Sir: I have owned and used Dietz and other lanterns and lamps for many years. I enjoyed reading about others care and use of these lanterns. I thought I would let you know what I burn in them. I have found that I prefer to use the High Grade 1-K [water clear] Kerosene that is available in one gallon cans at places like Ace Hardware and Lowe’s. In all my lamps and lanterns it burns without noticeable odor. This is not to be confused with the K-1 Kerosene that you get at the gas station (I burn that in my …




Letter From The Army Aviator on Various Topics

James: To catch up on several topics… On Satellite Internet: As you all probably know from previous letters, I do both motor home living and the ranch, out in the country without common city amenities. For the last 10 years or so, I’ve been using Direcway satellite for the internet and TV at both locations. I put in a real T-1 at work back in 1996 and honestly, other than the fact that uploads do take a little longer through the satellite, I don’t see any obvious difference at home via satellite. Perhaps it’s the fact that I have a …




Letter Re: Liquid Fuel Lanterns

Have a good supply of replacement generators (vaporization tube) gaskets and pump cups. In my experience leather is the best because it rots less than rubber. In my opinion Pellgunoil (intended for air gun lubrication) is the best oil for anywhere on your lamp. I personally have run kerosene for several years in my Coleman dual fuel (unleaded gasoline/Coleman fuel)  lanterns, use this info at your own risk light is not as bright as the generator jet is optimized for gasoline/white-gas/Coleman fuel. Everclear/ethanol is good for cleaning out gunked generators, they can often be rebuilt. Coleman used to make a …




Letter Re: Questions on Petromax Lanterns (and Clones Thereof)

Hi Jim, When TSHTF it is nice to have a lantern that can use almost any flammable liquid for fuel, including used motor oil. Also, one can mix the present fuel with whatever else is available to fill the lantern and continue to use it.This German designed lantern has been around since the [early[ 1900s. It is now in its fifth generation and the fifth generation is the only Petromax lantern to be tested and listed as a truly multi-fuel lantern. Please note, all previous generations are not truly multi-fuel lantern although that claim is advertised. Caveat emptor! There are …




Letter Re: Questions on Petromax Lanterns (and Clones Thereof)

Mr. Rawles: I was researching lanterns a couple of months ago and came across information that it is possibly hazardous to use gasoline in Petromax type lanterns. http://lampguild.org/QandApage/archives/Q0002790.htm http://lampguild.org/QandApage/archives/Q0001491.htm http://lampguild.org/QandApage/archives/Q0002492.htm http://lampguild.org/QandApage/archives/Q0002487.htm I also found that Coleman makes a “kerosene only” pressure lantern http://www.coleman.com/coleman/ColemanCom/subcategory.asp?CategoryID=1025 and two British companies make kerosene pressure lanterns Tilley http://www.tilleylamp.co.uk/ and Vapalux http://www.bairstowbrothers.co.uk/vapalux/index.htm. The Vapalux lamps carried in the USA by Garret Wade http://www.garrettwade.com. Best Wishes, –  C.H.




Letter Re: Questions on Petromax Lanterns (and Clones Thereof)

Greetings Mr. Rawles, I may be able to offer a bit of information on the Petromax lantern to the readers. I purchased one prior to Y2K. I have used mine off and on during power outages over the years. One thing to remember about the Petromax is that their startup procedure is a bit different than Coleman lanterns. So any new owner must read the instruction manuals from cover to cover, and make sure anyone who would be charged with operating the lantern be fully aware of the startup procedure. A bit of a funny story was when we were …




Letter Re: Questions on Petromax Lanterns (and Clones Thereof)

Jim: This time I’m the one asking questions: Petromax lanterns. Okay, I know about the upgrades all the way thru BriteLyt, etc. One comment, based on what I read at the Walton Feed website: http://www.waltonfeed.com/petromax.html. They don’t recommend the cooking surface that fits on top of the lamp. Best to read their comments directly. Now there are some good, should I say copies?, but what I’m curious about is the Candle Power/Lumens of the various lamps. The 500 generally is considered to be equal to a 100 watt light bulb. There is a 350 candle power (CP) mantle and a …