Category Archives: Shopping Guide

Sales Soar For Kid Bulletproof Escape Backpack

bulletproof-backpackThe Newtown, Conn., mass shooting of schoolchildren seems to have had an impact in one industry: bulletproof backpacks. Mother Jones reports that sales of the backpacks designed to protect kids during a school shooting, have “gone through the roof.”

Derek Williams, president of Amendment II, the Utah-based company that makes the packs along with lightweight body armor for military and police use, told the magazine, "I can't go into exact sales numbers, but basically we tripled our sales volume of backpacks that we typically do in a month—in one week." (more…)

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USB Rechargeable Cigarette Lighter

USB-LighterThis cool little Rechargeable USB Cigarette Lighter is stable and reliable – giving 150 uses with one full charge. The blue LED indicator lets you know when you’re charging. And without a flame, it’s completely windproof. (more…)

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LifeStraw Make Dirty Water Become Pure

The LifeStraw from Denmark can be your savior when it comes to providing clean, safe water for you and your family. Don’t be the one who says it will never happen to you. Be prepared for the worst case scenario with LifeStraw.

The LifeStraw was originally presented as a solution to the water crisis in Africa and other under-developed countries. The small, lightweight device designed by Vestergaard-Frandsen has brought relief to millions of individuals and families who are not fortunate enough to have clean water. (more…)

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How to choose right marine generator

A marine generator has many similarities to other types of generators. It is designed to run on fuel types like gasoline and propane and run a number of applications depending on the wattage rating. The obvious fuel of choice will be either the gasoline or diesel in your main tanks for an installed generator. A marine generator should be sized according to the number of appliances, tools, or other accessories that will be using it in order to be safe.

The main difference between marine generators and other types of generators is the design of both outer and inner components. Other generators are not designed to be used near water and can even become less efficient in moister environments like near the ocean or lake. Marine generators are intended to handle use on water.

They are designed outside to better protect inner components from water. Inner components are designed to handle wetter environments and can include hydraulic pumps (PTO for other applications), class H insulation, highly non-corrosive material, and other features designed for sea water use. These are some of the reasons boats require marine generators for electrical power and other types like portable generators will not functions as well or as long.

That being said, I do see, more and more, especially on small power or older sailboats, portable gas generators temporarily lashed on deck or swim platforms. Years ago, while delivering an older sloop, I put a small, portable Honda gas generator in the inflatable and floated it behind us while at anchor. The minimal exhaust and noise floated away on the breeze, and the unit provided economical power for a few essentials like music, lights, and the blender. Much safer and more convenient though, is an installed unit.

The most important thing to consider is size. Selecting the right size generator is critical. If it is too small, it will wear out quickly, produce excessive exhaust smoke, and potentially damage electrical equipment. If it is too large, it will run under-loaded, leading to carbon buildup on the cylinder head, unburned fuel in the exhaust, and inefficient operation. From the information plates on your devices, use this formula to calculate wattage: amps x volts = watts.

Turning on appliances that utilize electric motors produces a current surge which can cause voltage and frequency dips, lights to dim and potential damage to sensitive electronics. Depending on the quality and size of the motor being started, the amount of power necessary to start the electric appliance can be up to ten times its running wattage. This must be taken into consideration for proper sizing. Also, generators should never run with less than a 25% load; 35% to 70% is optimal.

Although air cooled generator engines exist, they are not well suited for use in a marine environment which may include water makers, air conditioners, or refrigerators. Heat overload in a confined space must be a consideration. Direct seawater systems pump cooling seawater through the engine, and it may be possible to shunt water through a main engine cooling seacock to the generator. Remember, corrosion and system contamination problems make direct cooling systems critical for most marine applications, so make sure the water filters and piping are of adequate size.

Generators with in-line engines are easy to install and service. Most two cylinder and large displacement, four cylinder engines are not well balanced and vibrate, although four-cylinder engines with counter-rotating balancing shafts eliminate vibration and provide excellent comfort on board. Three and six-cylinder engines are naturally balanced and smooth running so they are the quietest and produce the least vibration.

Since four pole generators operate at low rpms, the engine needs to produce its maximum torque near or below the operating speed. Automotive engines produce maximum torque at higher speeds. For example, when they run at 1800 rpm, automotive engines are working at a point below peak torque, which will limit the engine's ability to pick up extra loads.

Engines that are made for heavy-duty, industrial applications offer you the strongest, most reliable low-end torque and provide the power to pick up supplementary electrical loads even when running at full power. Also, look for a design that allows easy maintenance access on one side of the unit. This allows installation close to the hull or a bulkhead and you'll still be able to service the unit.

Like all combustion engines, marine generators also require safety measures. Marine generators produce exhaust which includes carbon monoxide. Some marine generators do a great job at minimizing the amount produced, but CO is inevitable. Carbon monoxide can build up when the boat is stationary or with inadequate ventilation. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can lead to poisoning or death. Even when the boat is moving, carbon monoxide can build up in enclosed areas.

Some generators come with automatic turn-off switches for high CO levels. For those that don't, installing CO alarms to detect buildup can prevent serious injury. Like other engines, marine generators can overheat or short circuit causing damage to the boat and other electrical systems. I highly recommend a monitoring panel (sometimes optional). These panels usually allow remote starting and stopping of the unit, engine operation gauges, monitoring of the current, and often built-in circuit breakers.

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How to choose wind turbine blades

It is safe to suggest that Wind turbines are growing in popularity as individuals search for viable alternative energy options. Due to high energy costs, there are many people that are investigating the idea of using renewable energy in their home residence. Using a solar/wind energy device can really help reduce costs in the household today!

It is safe to suggest that Wind turbines are growing in popularity as individuals search for viable alternative energy options. Due to high energy costs, there are many people that are investigating the idea of using renewable energy in their home residence. Using a solar/wind energy device can really help reduce costs in the household today!

While individuals can certainly create their own wind turbines, there are several things that must be taken into consideration as you design and build the final product. One of the most important components of a wind turbine is its blades. How do you know which blades are the best fit for your residential wind turbine?

1. If you are modifying an existing wind turbine for your residence, you may be able to replace the existing blades. This can save you time and money. The two blade types most commonly used are wood blades and PVC piping blades.

2. If you are interested in how to make a wind turbine from scratch, both wood blades and PVC piping blades can be utilized. But, as there are several other decisions that are required to complete this overall design build, ensure that you are laying out the entire process before purchasing individual parts.

3. Always choose the highest quality blade products that your budget permits!

4. Whether you are learning how to make a wind turbine from scratch or are making modifications to an existing turbine, it is important to follow the original design for the blades. While it may seem exciting or even necessary to alter the design of the blades, you could not only reduce the overall effectiveness of the turbine, but you could damage the entire product.

Learning how to make a wind turbine is something that you can do! Research the process online or within instruction manuals, work through the entire design process to determine which parts are required, begin to assemble the wind turbine and in the event that you are stuck during any part of the process, be sure to contact a professional for assistance.

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