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Restocked the pantry. Now have right at a two month supply of basic foods and such that we use on an everyday usage.
 

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Having installed a video security system this past summer, I planned on being content on having it despite it lacking some features I would ultimately like to have. Like, more than 6tb storage, ability to set camera recording resolution and such.

Then... last week... I saw a much better system on FBM. Sixteen 4k cameras. Two WD 10tb Purple HDDs in the enterprise-grade NVR. All brand new... in the box. I did a bit of research and found all the components, at best, add up to $5800.

I brought it home for.................
























































Five hundred. :whistle:



Yeah.... I can sell two or three of the unused cameras and end up with a totally free upgrade. :giggle:
 

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Took a trip to Sams Club to stock up on my OTC daily meds. Each box has 2 weeks of tablets, so I'm good until January 2025.

Wood Rectangle Font Hardwood Wood stain



Also gave my vac sealer a tune-up this morning. New seals, heat strip and cover. Gave it a much-needed bath as well.

Bumper Grille Automotive exterior Automotive tire Automotive design
 

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Picked up a couple tricks for a portable heater (Mine is a Mr Heater Big Buddy). Since I already had it ready to fire up since Wednesday I thought I'd try these ideas out before I packed it away.

One is to use a paint bucket roller screen from the hardware store, A few simply and easy mods creates a nice 'shelf' over the heater. So I can heat water and maybe even cook.

Product Kitchen appliance Gas Composite material Cooking
Light Fluid Liquid Cookware and bakeware Mesh
Gadget Font Measuring instrument Temperature Display device


Took about 35 minutes to get 2 cups of water up to 200°F when the heater is on medium. Granted, not a speed demon, but will get the job done. And true, it's not a rolling boil but I was only using one side of the heater. And that would be warm enough for a dehydrated meal.

The other is to drop a heat-powered stove fan onto the screen. Didn't take too long for it to spin up (maybe 20 seconds from a cold start). And it sure sends a lot of heated air laterally instead of straight up. Added bonus: No batteries!

 

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Put the finishing touches on my Power Control Panel I've been working on for the past few months.

Backstory: I have two DIY solar generators I use for both back-up power here at home as well as when I'm out camping. When out in the sticks for 2 weeks back in August, I found out the system works, but it's not very user-friendly. All sorts of patch cables, having to plug and unplug devices and chargers and cords and power supplies.... it was a mess. Besides, putting the two battery banks on the table put a lot of weight on it and hogged a lot of real estate on the table, which is only 2' x 4'.

So even before I got back home, I was scheming a solution to all these problems. And the solution was to make a control panel that will sit on the table. Smaller and lighter, and will use switches & fuses to control the various inputs and outputs. Power would travel both ways on cables between the controller on the table and the batteries on the floor.

This morning, I got out my crayons and colored the project 'done'... I printed out the labels and put them in their respective places. Then, it was time to set the solar panel up to my patio door (while sunny, it's danged cold and windy out right now), plug everything in and put it all to the charge test.


The control panel is built around a (Harbor Freight) Apache 2800 case. They're supposed to be watertight, but this one no longer is because it's full of holes now. Once I had the case, I started ordering all the bits and bobs I'd need to complete the project. Mostly, a charge controller, meters and panel-mount inputs and outputs.

When I sourced all the parts and was waiting for them to arrive (mostly via Amazon), I drew up a CAD layout of how I wanted it to look.

Font Automotive lighting Technology Electronic device Circle


Once all the components were on-hand, I started to make sure everything would have the clearances needed to put everything where I had anticipated. I did have to make a few adjustments due to the dimensions of the various items, but I came close to what I had envisioned. I also added a few more small items.

This morning, I finished the last step in the build.... install the labels. And the result is:

Product Gas Machine Auto part Fashion accessory


(The pouch in the lid is a test lead kit). This is the first time it's been hooked up to both gennies as well as the solar panel. I'm doing this as a test to see how it charges the batteries.

The batteries and solar panel plug into the left side:

Auto part Gas Machine Electronic instrument Audio equipment


The two battery banks are plugged in on the left, the solar panel on the right (using Anderson PowerPole connections which are hidden by the floppy cover).

Detail of the main panel:

Product Measuring instrument Gas Technology Audio equipment



The top left is the solar charger portion. A switch and fuse for the input so I can toggle the input on & off instead of unplugging the cord from the panel. The large display is a remote for the charger itself, which is mounted inside the case. This charger display will let me keep track of the charging of the batteries, giving me volts, amps and other information.

On the lower left are the switches for the two battery banks. I separated them so I can control which ones I want to charge/discharge. To the right of the switches & fuses is the output metering. It will give me the voltage of the batteries as well as the current draw of any loads I have (chargers, laptop lights etc).

The entire right side is all outputs, each with their own switches and fuses. This way I can turn on only the loads that need power at the moment without resorting to unplugging those. So if I need to run my laptop, I turn on the top switch. Charge my phone or tablet? Turn on the middle switch.

As for BBIntExt switch and fuse.... that is for the lower right. The display is a buck-boost module. It accepts 5-30vDC input and can be set for 5-30vDC output. The output is wired to the banana jacks and DC coax port at the bottom right (Vout). The jacks and ports to their left (Vin) is connected to the SPDT-CO switch marked BB to allow a power supply other than my battery banks to be connected. This allows me to input any DC source from 5 to 30 volts and run it through the module to convert it to any output of 5 to30 volts. So if I can find a usable 24v truck or 6v lantern battery, I can patch it into this panel and convert it to voltages I can utilize... either by using the test leads or back-feed the 12v ciggy lighters and USB ports if necessary.

The hole below the switch serves two functions. One is a peephole so I can see the display on the charger itself. The hole is directly over a pushbutton on the charger to program it. So all I need is a short stick and I can push that button if I need to.

And a final note: If you look at the photo of the side of the case, you'll see another DC coax output nestled between the battery inputs. I installed that for the cabin tent lighting. It is connected directly to the fuse of one of the battery bank circuits. This allows me to run my cabin tent lighting without turning the bank on and running all the meters just to have lights in the tent. The power draw of the lighting (along with the RF controller I use) is so low I will easily be able to leave them plugged in all night without fear of draining the battery.
 

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I spent the morning changing the oil in the generator after two days of use a few days ago. I was just on the edge of the Buffalo blizzard . Not a ton of snow, ten inches, but ferocious winds for almost three straight days. Peak wind of 77 mph took out the power for almost two days. It was a good test of my preparations and I was pleased with the results. Warm and comfy with no lasting problems. The afternoon was spent looking to add one more whitetail to the years harvest. No luck but I was treated to a spectacular sunset that lingered long after sunset. Even lit up my house as I was walking back in from the tree stand tonight.
 

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Picked up a vacseal accessory last week to seal mason jars. Started to put it to use tonight with some cashews I found at FleetFarm on clearance.

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Finally.....

View attachment 115086

... back in stock at the local Maynards. So I snagged a couple.
I've never seen the canisters labeled as refillable before. What's the difference between these and the 1lb green ones for camping? I feel stupid asking but I'd really like to know. I'm wondering if I need a few of these for myself or if the regular green ones will do.
 

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I've never seen the canisters labeled as refillable before. What's the difference between these and the 1lb green ones for camping? I feel stupid asking but I'd really like to know. I'm wondering if I need a few of these for myself or if the regular green ones will do.
They're specifically designed to be refilled. IIRC, they're the only ones that can be (legally) refilled.

1lb Refillable Cylinder + Kit 16.4 oz., Green Model #: YSN1LBKT - Flame King

If you look at the label of the ordinary ones, they state right on them, "Do Not Refill". Of course, there are ways to do so. I've done it myself with various methods. Just the gubbamint's way of protecting idiots.
 

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They're specifically designed to be refilled. IIRC, they're the only ones that can be (legally) refilled.

1lb Refillable Cylinder + Kit 16.4 oz., Green Model #: YSN1LBKT - Flame King

If you look at the label of the ordinary ones, they state right on them, "Do Not Refill". Of course, there are ways to do so. I've done it myself with various methods. Just the gubbamint's way of protecting idiots.
Thanks! I remember my dad refilling the regular green ones for me. I looked into it more and decided that for the cost of the refillable tanks along with their pros/cons that I think I'll keep using the regular green 1lb canisters.
 

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All 11 cameras swapped out. So my old system has now completely been changed out to a much better system. Next step is to add the 5 other cameras it came with. Two will go outside and three inside.
 

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One of the things I always hear people hard about vac sealers is 'the cost of the bags'. I respond with, "How much do ZipLocs cost?" If you buy the rolls instead of the pre-cut bags, you'll save money. Allows you to cut the exact size you need with far less waste.

Hopefully, it a unit that will get warm enough to seal mylar as well. Not all entry-level units are capable of this, so try it out on an empty potato chip bag.

Consider getting the kit to be able to dry-seal canning jars. They aren't that much.
 
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