ARRL West Texas Section Convention and the Key City Amateur Radio Club Hamfest, May 4-5, 1996 in Abilene, TX. For more information call Peg Richard, KA4UPA, at 915-672-8889, or write Key City Amateur Radio Club, PO Box 2722,, Abilene, TX 79604.

The Wizard Speaks.

the Wizard speaks...

Free Energy Update

From zero-point energy conversion to cold fusion, technologies are being developed which show promise for near and mid-term commercial development. Here is a small selection of current research efforts.

Don Smith, of Dallas, Texas, has developed a device based on Tesla coil technology. It is claimed that a version the size of a cigar box could power an electric vehicle.

Clean Energy Technologies, Inc (CETI), also based in Dallas,Texas, has created a working cold fusion device. It is said to have produced many times its input power in various tests and demonstrations.

Yasunori Takahashi, of the Sciex Corporation of Japan, has discovered a new and more powerful type of magnet. In conjunction with his new magnetic motor, these magnets could be very effective in electric vehicles and battery charging. This motor needs a battery only for starting and then can run on its own.

The charge clusters of Dr. Kenneth Shoulders (U.S. Patent 5,018,180) and the E-dams of Dr. Wingate Lambertson both show promise in the free energy area. They create energy by tapping the zero-point field.

Bruce Peralt has rediscovered technology first discovered by T. Henry Moray. This technology works by transforming radiant cosmic energy. Mr. Peralt claims to have a 250 watt working prototype. He is currently developing a 20 kilowatt device which will be the size of two breadboxes.

If one of these or similar technologies comes to fruition, we could have free and clean energy by the turn of the century.Even if these fail, we still have solar power. Solar power can create all the energy we need. All it takes is the will to implement it.

What Are You Missing?

Need some back issues of Home Power?

If you don't know what you're missing, check out the index in HP#48. Issue 48 contains an index of articles in issues #1—#47.

You can buy them individually: $3.25 each for #11, #13, and #16 through #20 $4.75 each for #21 through #45 (except for #36)

Deal #1: buy all 38 available issues for $120 Deal #2: buy 6 or more issues (of #21 through #52) for $4.00 each (sent bound printed matter). for U.S. ZIP codes only, see page 81 for international back issues.

(Sorry, we're out of issues 1 through 10, #12 , #14, #15 and #36). We are planning to compile them into a book. Until then, borrow from a friend. If you have a computer (or a friend with one) download the article you're missing by calling the Home Power bulletin board at 707-822-8640. Or check with your local library; through interlibrary loan, you can get these back issues. Jackson County Library in Oregon has all issues as does the Alfred Mann Library at Cornell Univ.)

Home Power, PO Box 520, Ashland, OR 97520 • 800-707-6585 • 916-475-0830 visa/ mc

Letters to Home Power

HOme,oP^er Letters

HOme,oP^er Letters

Nuke Utility Beats Up Another Community

Dear Crew of Home Power, There is an interesting situation developing in Northern Illinois concerning property taxes and the Commonwealth Edison Byron Nuclear Station. Ogle County is a rural farming area with a fairly small tax base. When Com-Ed started construction of Unit #1 in the 1970's, the area contained few commuters or corporate executives. The Byron Station brings in 2/3 of the county tax monies. For the last ten years, Com-Ed has been fighting their assessment, saying it is way too high. A Property Tax Appeal Board ruling has just reduced the assessed amount of the plant by 60%. The residents are facing a six year refund to Com-Ed of over $200 million and a big tax hike to cover the reduced budgeting available!

What does this mean to the locals? Plenty! As you can see from the included newspaper articles, the residents are panicking. For the last twenty years, while other towns in the county were facing bankruptcy in their school districts, Byron was adding sports complexes and extravagant additions. The average teacher salary in Byron is $55K, while only $28K elsewhere. Hordes of developers have been swallowing up cheap prime farm land as thousands of yuppie 'barn' sized houses have popped up in the Byron school district. Only a thirty minute drive from the city of Rockford, people have been flocking away from the gangs and crime of the city to come to the peace and quiet of the small town of Byron (who spends more than triple on the school children per capita). The big fly in the ointment has just bitten really hard as all of the new residents are faced with paying $6K for their property taxes that cost only $2K before. The big losers are the small farmers who have a lot higher taxes and didn't want the power plant nor the new neighbors (who take the farmers to court because the tractors are too noisy and their pigs too smelly!). The local residents defend the extravagant school spending saying that living next to a nuclear power plant is dangerous and the power company should pay a lot extra to make it worth while! What will the schools do in forty years when the plant gets decommissioned for the next 50,000 years? What will the residents do when their big yuppie homes sit on the real estate market for five years at 50% losses? It looks like the fun is just beginning. I'm glad I live a whole county away (still paying 10.7 cents per kWh).

Perhaps if more of the residents had invested in solar or wind power, the picture would of turned out differently. You can't tax the sun nor wind, but you can draw big taxes from a power station. I hope in the future that the township assessors realizes the value of a home power station and treats it accordingly.

The above controversy is just one more example that the nuclear power industry has failed to properly think through the actual costs to do business.

Commonwealth Edison has put a nice multi-colored flyer in this month's billing statement saying that they have voluntarily frozen their electric rates at 10.7 cents per kWh for five years. What they didn't say was that they are swinging a deal to have the public pay for over two billion dollars in cost overruns attributed to building units 1 and 2. What a deal! Since Illinois is not even considering net billing, our earth sheltered home will be constructed 100% off-the-grid where our children will not glow in the dark and our garden is safe to eat! Take care, Dave and Sheila Knapp and Family, Winnebago, Illinois

Hello Dave and Sheila, Think of the utility employing solar or wind produced electric power. These RE sources have big advantages for utilities as well as independent home power systems. First the RE plants are quickly and cheaply installed in comparison with building a nuclear power plant. RE can be on line in a matter of months while it takes years (with associated cost raises and overruns) to complete a nuke.The cost of RE is far cheaper since the systems are modular—the utility can build what they can afford rather than betting the entire company on a project that won't be finished and on line for years. The solar and wind sources are distributed which reduces the need for expanding the power lines. And finally, RE is safe for the environment so the utility doesn't have the potential of disaster and cleanup. I have no doubt that in the future all electric power power will be made from renewable energy sources. The only question in my mind is who will own the power. I, for one, am not willing to rent sunshine from a utility. I'd rather grow my electricity at home. Richard Perez

Renewable Energy Curriculum for Native American Community Colleges

The Energy and Resources Group (ERG) at UC Berkeley is in the process of collaborating with native american community colleges on the development of a renewable energy and energy efficiency curriculum. At this early stage, the outlook is very promising—out of 29 tribal colleges in the US, instructors at 20 of them have expressed interest in learning about and teaching this topic.

The curriculum is meant to be a combination of classroom and hands-on learning. It will include modules on the following subjects:

I. Energy Science: energy and energy transfer, energy units, stocks, and flows;

II. Renewable Energy: A. solar energy (sunlight, passive solar, active solar thermal, PV), B. wind energy (electric generators, physics of wind power), C. hydropower (physics of hydro, history, environmental impact, politics), D. biomass (low tech, high tech, photosynthesis, sustainable yield), E. energy storage (batteries, pumped hydro, other technologies);

III. Energy efficiency (building energy efficiency, efficient lighting, appliances);

IV. Environmental / Social Effects: A. fossil fuels, B. nuclear, C. renewable energy;

V. Energy Economics: A. commercial energy market, B. off-grid and small scale;

VI. Social and Cultural Dimensions: A. role of energy in community and society, B. history.

If anyone knows of existing curriculum materials in any of these areas appropriate to the community college level, or has ideas about useful exercises or hands-on activities on renewables and efficiency, please let us know! We'll credit your contributions in the materials we produce.

The tribal college curriculum project is a component of the Native American Renewable Energy Education Project (NAREEP), an education and outreach program of the Energy and Resources Group.

Chris Greacen, Energy and REsources Group, 310 Barrows Hall, U.C. Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720 • 510526-1760 E-mail: [email protected]

Dear Editor:

Top of the day to you and peace! Please accept my humblest apologies for intruding upon your very busy day. At the request of the Director of Ker Xaaleyi: The House of Children, a school in a small, rural village of Bargny-Minam, Senegal, West Africa, I am researching solar desalination processes. This research will also benefit me personally as I am using this topic as my research thesis for an organizational Management B.S. degree at Oakwood College.

Your and your readers' assistance would be greatly appreciated with your comments, resources, and other pertinent information.

Sincerely, Fowzihhah Ali, c/o Home Power Magazine, PO Box 520, Ashland, OR 97520

Hi there, and good luck with your search. There is an article in this issue on water pasteurization (page 44) of this issue. Desalination is a tougher job usually accomplished by distillation. How about it readers, let's do this woman a favor. For our part, we are sending you all our past issues with articles on solar cooking and distillation. An excellent source for solar distillation is

Horace McCracken of Sunwater Solar, PO Box 968, Pima, AZ 85543 • 520-485-0023.

Gas Fridge Answer

Dear people at HP, I do not have an address for the "Woman in Distress" (Letters, HP #51) so could you please forward this info on gas refrigeration to Susan Pettijohn?

I obtained a small booklet on gas refers for $5 from Kerns Gas Refrigeration, 3929 La Mesa Ave, Central Valley, CA 96019 several years ago. Maybe they are still around and/or maybe they have info on the Dometic. The booklet deals with the Servel type units mainly, but covers the absorption cycle system quite well.

To Susan; concerning you particular Dometic. You stated the system "gurgled" when you tried to run it on electricity. This would indicate the fluid is still enclosed. But! The fluid is not distributed around the cycle inside. To do this, rotate/roll the unit 1/4 turn and listen for fluid to flow. Maybe 3-5 minutes is all that is needed (not 24 hours!) keep rotating at 1/4 turn intervals and listening until it is upright again. If the fluid has been heard running thru the pipes the unit will probably begin cooling when started up. If not, or if the fluid has not been heard, repeat the roll process, but in the opposite direction. More likely than not the fluid will be somewhat distributed throughout the cycle and will settle down to operate normally. Usually the fluid is either all out, or it's all in and settled to the bottom, and behaving like a water pump that just needs a little priming.

And just like a first time primed pump it will "cough and sputter", but work, until it settles down to the normal operating condition.

There are some problems running on gas, by the way. Mainly the flame is very critical. If it burns with even a little bit of yellow tip it is a carbonizing flame and will eventually soot up the chimney, degrading its efficiency to the point of not freezing or even cooling. Clean the soot out of the chimney taking care not to let soot enter the burner top. Careful adjustment of the flame will lengthen the between time for cleaning the chimney.

If it is more convenient to run on electricity, that will solve the soot problem. If it is to be run "off-grid" the electricity situation needs to be considered. If it is to be on natural or LP gas, become absolutely familiar with the inherent dangers of gas. Hope I've helped! Sincerely, Richard Cameron, Dillard, OR

Gas Fridge Warning

Dear Michael Welch, I read your reply to Susan Pettijohn's letter to Home Power. I had an old Servel that stopped working. I did the same thing that you suggested, turning it on its top for 24 hours. I turned the fridge up-right and turned it back on at about 6:00 pm. At about 11:00 pm I checked the fridge and it still had not begun to cool. About 3:00 am my wife Deb got up and checked the fridge. It still was not cooling. She thought that if she turned up the thermostat that it would start cooling. WRONG!

At 3:15 am my fridge went ballistic and exploded in the kitchen. Ammonium gas quickly filled the house. Luckily we had a second floor outside porch. It's funny but when you wake up your nose does not work right. I thought I smelled propane instead of the ammonium gas. Thinking that the house was filling with propane and about to explode itself, we decided to try and save our house. Deb jumped down and turned the propane off at the tank. i went back into the house and opened the doors and windows to let in fresh air. I ran through the house like a madman opening everything, while Deb came around to the front of the house. After about a minute in the house my lungs were starting to burn and I realized that I was smelling ammonium, not propane. I quickly got out of the house.

Thirty minutes later, and the house still standing, we took stock of our situation. We were both standing half naked wearing nothing but t-shirts. It was about 26 degrees outside. We went into the house and started to clean up the mess.

Apparently the fridge had developed a blockage and when Deb turned up the thermostat, the coil super-heated and exploded. Black soot and dense black liquid spewed everywhere. It was a terrible mess that took days to clean up. We left the house open for the rest of the night and curled up in sleeping bags.

In the morning we had a chance to see the damage. The fridge was totalled. The kitchen was a soot filled mess. I went to a doctor who said I burned my lungs and put me on anti-biotics to prevent infection.

The moral of this story is if something goes wrong with a gas refrigerator, get a professional to look at it. Most RV centers still sell gas/ac/DC fridges and probably know a repairman or company that can service them. I found a repairman that way. I still have a small Dometic gas fridge, but would like to eventually get a Sun Frost as my finances permit. Used gas fridges are still economical if you find one. new ones are expensive, but still cheaper than the Sun Frost.

Make sure that you always service the gas fridge. Clean the chimney and blow out the combustion chamber where lint likes to accumulate. Take it from me, gas refrigerators can be very dangerous! Treat them as such. This is somewhat of an embarrassing tale for my wife and I to tell, but I hope it will keep others from making the same mistake. Alan and Debbie Donnels, Palmer, TN,

DOE News Release

The Department of Energy's (DOEs) photovoltaic (PV) industry research partners United Solar Systems Corporation and Siemens Solar Industries (SSI), announced major expansions in their PV manufacturing facilities. PV products for a wide range of industrial and consumer applications from battery charging, top grid interconnected power systems, to solar shingles for homes will be produced at the facilities.

United Solar Systems Corp. in Troy, MI, unveiled their new 5MW state-of-the-art thin film production line and announced that their technology has achieved a new world record in stabilized energy conversion cell efficiency. The new $10 million facility incorporates breakthroughs that led to achieving the record efficiencies along with installed innovations in solar cell manufacturing technology that will quadruple production. These innovations were developed in partnership with DOEs Thin Film Partnership and Manufacturing Technology research programs.

Christine Ervin, DOEs Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, who participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony said, "These manufacturing expansions show there's money to be made in solar technology for those far-sighted enough to make the investment. Renewable energy will supply 50 percent of the world's power by the year 2050, thanks to companies that recognize the demand for energy choices for the future. It is particularly gratifying to see the results of DOE-sponsored research incorporated into two major commercial PV facilities in the same day."

United Solar's new production facility, a joint venture between Energy Conservation Devices (ECD) and Canon Inc., of Japan, utilizes a unique solar cell production technology using one-half mile ling substrates—a process similar to that used in manufacturing photographic film.

The expanded plant also will produce other innovative PV products, including a new line of flexible solar shingles, that were developed in partnership with DOE. The shingles are expected to transform conventional roofing into a residential and commercial power source.

"Thin film technology has been well recognized by experts for its low cost potential," said Stanford R. Ovshinsky, President of ECD, and inventor of ECDs PV technology. "The new world record efficiencies and the advanced manufacturing processes developed by ECD/United Solar makes us uniquely poised for addressing the expanding world PV market."

In another activity, Siemens Solar cut the ribbon on a $3 million expansion at its PV crystal growing facility in Vancouver, Washington. The Vancouver plant supplies PV crystal to SSIs Camarillo, California, manufacturing facility which processes the crystal into PV devices such as emergency highway telephones, traffic signs and navigational buoys. SSI is the largest single supplier of photovoltaic modules in the world, accounting for over 20 percent of total industry shipments. Over 70 percent of SSIs products are exported.

Chet Farris, Chief Operating Officer of SSI, said "This manufacturing is an example of Siemens' commitment of improving solar cell yields and increasing its manufacturing efficiency. It will allow Siemens Solar to ensure that crystal growing, which produces the base material for solar cells, continues to be refined using the state-of-the-art equipment at the expanded facility." US Department of Energy, Washington, DC

More Upscale Systems

Why don't you include more articles on solar installations in more upscale cabins and homes instead of the usual low budget type of home? Here in the southern Nevada mountains we get lots of sunshine and wind. PV and wind are great resources. So, why don't you share more info about the systems designed for a 2,000 to 3,500 square foot cabin/homes.

You've got a great magazine! Keep up the good work. P.S. It's time to do a new article for a buying guide to inverters. Thanks, Brad and Paula of Cold Creek, Nevada

Hi Brand and Paula, We basically publish what our readers send us. See the next letter and its answer. You are right about a buyer's guide article on inverters. The last time I did this was in HP#36 (Aug/Sep 93) and there have been many changes since then. I'll see about redoing this info and making it current. Richard Perez

More Downscale Systems

Let me express my pleasure in your magazine and the wonderful ideas/ideals it generates. It is very comforting to know there are so many people out there working in the direction humanity obviously needs to go.

I would like to see more articles about houses that are smaller in size as it seems to me that many of the ones you detail are quite large. Energy efficiency and production are just one part of sustainability along with the resources it takes to build in the first place and maintain thereafter.

I try (not always successfully but it's a start) to weigh the things I do in the perspective of "what if the other 5.7 billion persons on Earth did this..." Some things like solar ovens or the composting of paper trash would be clear benefits. But what if everyone wanted a 2000 sq. ft. house, even if it was energy independent?

Thanks for all your good work and I look forward to future issues. Nancy Lloyd, Durango, Colorado

Thanks for the kudos, Brad, Paula, and Nancy. More upscale systems? More downscale systems? It is often hard to create a balance between the varying needs of our readers. Everyone has their own thing. We are limited to some degree by the articles that get submitted to us, but within that limitation we try to have something for everyone. There's no way we can be everything for everybody.

But, this is where you and our other readers come in. We don't write most of the magazine. We rely on what you send us. We strongly urge all our readers that have information and systems articles worth sharing to write them and send them in to us, complete with graphics ideas and lots of quality photos! "Hands-On"means your hands, not just ours. The Crew

Polynesian Home Power

Dear friends, Best wishes to you and all readers. Congratulations on Home Power!

We look forward to using Home Powerin Polynesia! Our tropical, volcanic islands have lots of hot sun, humidity, and ocean with hurricanes. We welcome any guidance or suggestion on the best ways and equipment to use here! If you do have any comment or input, please come or do write to me.

While the unaffordable acquisition of finite diesel fuel just increases foreign debt and causes the many poor to become poorer, Home Power helps us to use Creation as intended, in this special time of transition of Humankind to global society as it rapidly advances towards the unavoidable world peace!

I am trying to spread Home Powerthroughout the islands between New Zealand, Easter Island and Hawaii. We'll need all kinds of renewable energy equipment for all kinds of energy resources.

Our volcanos are asleep, but were very active less than a century ago. Who can share the ways to use the earth's heat? Geothermal power as well as tidal power could be also well used here.

Western Samoa is the place from where all of Polynesia was settled some 2000 years ago . Polynesia is an area quite larger than the U.S.A. American Samoa is part of the U.S.A. and just 'next door.'

The equipment we use must be possibly hurricane / cyclone resistant and also be unsensitive to the yearly earthquakes we have. Does anybody have a list of the best equipment that copes with these and our hot tropical conditions?

There was a solar energy company called American Solar King. Do you know it? where is it and at which address? Who's the person to contact? What does it offer? I heard it had difficulties: how did it survive?

Thank you for whatever information anybody can give me. Looking forward to receiving Home Power regularly, yours are the renewed wishes for 1996! Sincerely yours, Marco Kappenberger, PO Box 1438, Apia, Western Samoa

Hello Marco, Solar King went out of business in the 1980s. Contact AAA Solar, 2021 Zearing N.W., Albuquerque, NM 87104 • 505-243-3212 for solar thermal equipment. Mick Sagrillo of Lake MI Wind & Sun has done wind systems in your neighborhood (see this issues ad index for access). If you are interested in storm resistant RE, then consider photovoltaics. If PVs are properly speced for the hot climate and securely mounted, they are supremely reliable. If you are interested in hot weather PV performance, then see our hot weather test article in HP#49. Richard Perez

Electric Motorcycle Inspiration

Dear Mr. Perez, I think your magazine is awesome. I've been looking for a good jolt of inspiration for an electric motorcycle project I've been thinking of. I saw your magazine at the bookstore and just got a big boost from the articles, advertisements, and especially the section GoPower. I really want to learn about your story of how you and your friends got off-the-grid. I'm a young man who is looking for ways to make a life as close to nature as I can, considering my being raised dependent on the typical grid and fossil fuel systems prevalent in U.S. society. I have an electrical engineering background from Cal Poly Pomona which now has an awesome solar-powered car which they raced at Sunrayce 95 (I read the article, issue #50, and it pumped me up!). I am thinking of going back to Cal Poly to learn about solar and also applying for the Center for Regenerative Studies, there also, to learn systems of sustaining humans without resource depletion or permanent environmental damage. I want to learn Earth friendly systems or ways of living so that I may enjoy life doing good things for our home planet.

I found your magazine looking for ways to build my dream of an electric motorcycle and Home Power helped fuel my fire to expand my dream to include a whole way of life living lighter on the earth with solar, wind, and other RE technologies for my energy needs.

Please plug me into some good resources for introducing myself to EVs, solar technology, and alternate fuel vehicle technology. I also want to meet and talk with people who are living off-the-grid so that I can be inspired to do something similar. Thank you for any help you can give me. Sincerely, Rod F. Garcia, 1917 Longhill Dr. Monterey Park, CA 91754

Hello Rod, Michael Hackleman's book, The New Electric Vehicles will be in print by the time you read this. It would be a good place to start. We're printing your address here so that our readers can contact you.Welcome aboard! Richard Perez

Educate the Politicians

Dear Richard, the Iowa Renewable Energy Association is coming up on 5 years of age. As a non-profit organization (in the true sense of the word!) we are trying to educate our elected politicians in Iowa on what is REALLY happening in the Alternate Energy field. IRENEW is lucky to be a member of a SEED campaign organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists from Washington, DC, and Heather Rhoads of Iowa Citizens Action Network. In my mind there is no other way to even begin to have a voice to be heard. Our SEED has over 50,000 members in Iowa and still growing.

Other important points that may help organizations in other states in promoting renewables:

Politicians have to have facts to make even an educated guess so they need our input. The only facts, regrettably, that most know have been from vested interests, i.e. utilities. Investor owned utilities (IOU) in Iowa have lived with subsidies for so long that they can't see the true cost of what they are producing. Unfortunately this is the information they pass on to legislators. In my mind one real nasty fact that can't (shouldn't) be ignored by politicians is that electricity produced by nuclear power here in Iowa cost 25 cents kWh to produce and the utilities claim they can produce it for 6 cents and even buy it on the open market for 1.5 cents! Of course, subsidies have nothing to do with this difference! George Orwell couldn't have written a better script. Up is down, good is bad, I get subsidy, you get ...!

If the politicians still seem unsure, then hit them with job loss and unemployment. In Iowa, a year ago there were seven lOUs. A few months ago it was at four, and last month the latest merger will make it two and there will be jobs lost. The lOUs admit there will be downsizing. This will make them "leaner and meaner" and more competitive. One of the bigger obstacles in Iowa is the IBEW Union. The electrical workers are losing their jobs because of mergers and downsizing and think the AEP law in Iowa (ed. note: an Iowa law requiring lOUs to buy 105 MW of power by Alternative Energy means. The law is currently under attack by the utilities and their state public utility board.) is a potential problem. EDUCATE the politicians as to what is happening and will happen with jobs if AEP laws are not enforced.

Finally, if the politicians are still nervous about bucking big business, hit them with ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT! Jobs are created in the production of the equipment for alternate energy, jobs are created by the installers of the equipment, and, in Iowa for example, the money for energy will be kept in state, not exported. One argument by the IOUs in Iowa is that the money spent for out of state coal doesn't count because the coal is burned and used in state!

Richard, I hope these few ideas are helpful and offer some insight into the not-so-insightful life of politicians on alternate energy. Thanks, Tom Snyder, President of IRENEW

Hi Tom, I want to congratulate you on the good work, It's grass roots organizations like yours that make changes really happen. I salute you! Richard Perez

More Low Tech

Love your publication from the Light Bulb Mandala on Issue One (free) to the high gloss it is today. We all necessarily transform for the better. I consider the price a good (great) investment on my Continuing Alternative Education. Please start my renewal sub with Issue #50 as #49 was my last.

Love to see more articles on Low Tech, i.e. solar fruit dryers, solar vents, water wheel air compressors, also small scale biomass. You have my respect, admiration, and now, my money. Love, Chaz Tozycki, Anahola, Kauai, HI

Aw shucks Chaz, thanks for the flowers and the subscription. Our mission with Home Power is to spread the word about renewable energy. Our newer slick appearance places Home Power on newsstands worldwide. Richard Perez

Burning Desires

As I burn yet another brush pile, columns of smoke and sparks charging into the air above, I can't help but ponder some kind of alternative to this endless cycle of slash burning. Chippers are not only expensive, but also noisy, fuel consuming, temperamental, and limited (hard to chip a root wad or larger diameters). I think of the heat and energy that is essentially wasted but I can come up with no viable solution. How about a Home Power competition—sort of like the solar cooker design—where ideas for slash burning alternatives are sent in, judged, awarded, etc. I know many people who have agonized over this as I have. How about the ... "Burning Desires" competition [the overwhelming want of slash-burning alternatives.] Barbara Lepak

What a challenge, Barbara! How about it readers, are there alternatives? I know that I would love to do something useful with all the energy we waste in burning wood leftovers. Richard

Evaporative Cooler Conversions

Love all the technical info. I look forward to every new issue. A year ago I started with 40 acres of virgin land north of Tonopah, Arizona, 4 miles off-grid. And now I'm pumping 100% of my water from a 630 foot well with RE, 100% of my electricity from Oct. thru June, and 75% - 80% during evaporative cooling season. Would like to see more articles on appliance and evaporative cooler conversions from AC to DC motors. Richard J. Halliburton, Tonopah, AZ

Hi Richard. Check out the article on Cool Towers in HP#41. The cool tower is very efficient and suited to your environment. We use a commercial room-sized, swamp cooler in our office at Agate Flat. I have not gotten around to replacing its motor with something more efficient (it now uses about 350 watts) because we only use it rarely. It really works! It drops the temperature in the office by a good 12 to 15 degrees and ups the humidity to about 40% from about 15% outside. While we humans here don't really mind the heat that much, our computers refuse to run if the temperature is above about 90 degrees. The increased humidity also reduces static electric problems in the office. If you live in a low humidity environment then evaporative cooling is the way to go. Richard Perez

I like print size, large pages, style, and readability. Found Issue #50 at the bookstore. I like the access info at the end. All articles I see in all magazines concerning the Sunrayce give about zero on tech, schematics, motor design and drive pix.

In the late 50's and early 60's, my dad built an EV from two old bikes with a platform between. He used 12v car batts, aircraft (WWII) starter, lawn mower motor / Gen combo, and carbon rod controller. The ridicule he suffered for his dreams (we were dirt poor) was unbelievable. He was even trying regenerative braking. Dad is 82 now, and still dreams about EV. Robert Payne, Coldwater, MS

Nerds Revolt

Dear Mr. Perez, On page 102 of Home Power #50, in a reply to a letter, you said, "I totally agree about Western Science's apolitical attitude—nerds are responsible for their creations. To demand anything less is to demean us all." Your use of the term nerds to refer to scientists and engineers is demeaning to all of the people in those two professions including the ones who develop technology for renewable energy. This type of slur is not helpful and will only turn off from your magazine the engineers and scientists like myself who are not apolitical and are for responsible technology. Thank you, Charles E. Oliver, Jr.

I apologize for this unintended slur, Charles. Around here, the appelation "Nerd"is considered a badge of honor won at great effort. I'm sorry I've offended you. Richard Perez

HP=High Value

Relax, people, this is worth more than six cents a day! Mark Walsh, Guerneville, CA

Thanks Mark. I never really thought about HP costing 60 a day, but you're right. We try hard to make Home Power effective, useful, and as inexpensive as possible. It's an up when our readers notice. Richard Perez

Every Month?

Thank you for producing such an excellent publication. My off-grid quality of life would be much different if it were not for your product features. Why not publish an issue per month? All of us readers could benefit from additional technical information provided in Things that Work! and Code Corner. Keep up the good work. John Oertel, Los Alamos, NM

In the immortal words of Bill the Cat, "Aaaaaacckk." What are you trying to do, drive the HP crew to an early grave? Every other month is tough enough. We actually published HP1, HP2 and HP3 only a month apart. It was frantic and the mag was a lot simpler in those days. I figure we would have to at least the triple the size of the Crew in order to go monthly.Good nerds are hard to find and deserve at least a living wage. This means increasing the price of the mag. All in all we'd rather stay bimonthly. Richard Perez

Opportunity Knocks

I only recently discovered HP from my brother-in-law, a marine engineer. I have a limited knowledge of anything electrical; alternative power sources have fascinated me for a long time and I would like the "mystery" of it all to turn to understanding—and eventual application. I've been in construction all my life (55 years old).

The past nine years I've been involved running a commercial establishment in Big Sur, CA, in an area that is remote enough to be 30 miles from the nearest utility. We use a Cummins 220 at 1200 rpm to produce 60 kw. The gen-set is noisy and smelly and I was interrupted in my efforts to extract heat from this power plant because in August, the entire business burned to the ground. I lost my general store, cafe, bar, gift shop, and retail store spaces. My property is zoned for 30 motel units. Now I must rebuild everything. It is a good time to consider using renewable energy. I think you can help. This could be a large opportunity for someone. I'm open to suggestions. Looking forward, Harry Harris, #1 Pacific Valley Center, Big Sur, CA, 93920

Hi Harry. Sorry to hear of your misfortune. Every cloud has a silver lining, and this may be the opportunity you envision. How about it, readers, should he go for it? And how about it, all you HP reading installer/dealers, would you like to help him with this project? The Crew

Washington State Intertie

Encouraged by HP, we have worked out a buy-back agreement with our local utility for a property in the San Juan Islands. If the permit gods are willing, we will have an intertie system operational within the next few months. Your magazine has been instrumental in getting us going instead of just talking about RE. Thanks—and keep up the good work Mike Williamson, Seattle, WA

Aw Reet Mike! I can think of no more worthwhile undertaking that selling RE back to the utilities. It strikes a blow for the environment and for personal freedom. Let us know how it turns out. Richard Perez

Harness the Indian Sun

I said, "I'm going to India to harness the Thar desert a bit." My friend said, "Then you need HP" (Starting with #40.) I would have done everything wrong without you great people. Thank you. G. McKee, Shanti Progress Int., Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

We're pleased to have been of help! The Crew More Product Reviews

I've been getting Home Power since Issue #1, I'm grateful for all I've learned from you. I feel recent issues have gotten away from usable, nitty-gritty information that helps me improve my system and learn about new products that will have a real effect on how my system functions.

I understand your wanting to only review Things that Work!, but there are not many TtW! product evaluations that appear. Does that mean most products don't work? Unless you give us a "Thumbs Up" review, we don't know whether you just haven't evaluated a product or it flunked the test. I'd like to see a lot more product views. For example, there are now many different metering options for keeping track of batteries—are any of them good? You have a very important role in my life, I hope you'll come through. Kal Winer, Union, ME

Hello, Kal. Wouldn't it be nice if we could test every product out there, every time it was re-introduced or upgraded. Too little time, too few test beds.

Often we will test products and find significant room for improvement. We don't give a thumbs up, but that doesn't mean the product is bad. Often manufacturers will take the product back to the drawing boards and make it even better. It is much more productive than publicly condemning a slightly-off product. We believe in this method as we have seen it work successfully. The manufacturer has come back with a now superior product. So, our role is not only to make sure that RE product consumers get a product that lives up to its advertised capabilities, but it is also to make sure that you have access to excellent working equipment. By this strategy, we help deliver equipment that keeps getting better and better.

In terms of system instruments, we have tested and given the Thumbs Up! to the TriMetric, the Link 2000, the Cruising Equip. Amp-hour series and, in this issue, the new E-Meter.All of these products work as advertised. Richard Perez

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Solar Power Sensation V2

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