DIY Green Energy Projects

Batteries, Materials, Tools and Supplies  for DIY Green Energy Projects


Let's discuss some of the things, tools and materials that are useful in for Green Energy and Survival, but are hard to scalvage.

Notes: Sometimes I link directly to a product page. These are NOT recommendations, but rather inspirations and are intended to be a starting point for your fact-finding research and cost comparisons.

Other times, I link to Google search results...

Here's links to my favorite starting points for most cost comparison and product research:

      Amazon -:- eBay -:- Alibaba

Reconditioning Batteries

It's possible to recondition many batteries that other people think are "broke". If you can find a good source for 12v deep-cycle batteries, you can likely recondition most of them to be almost as good as new, saving you a lot of money on your batteries.

Welder's Mask - If you are going to mess around with reconditioning batteries, please protect yourself. If you don't want to buy one new, check around and get a used one.

And...Despite what you may find on YouTube, I suggest you not mess with the lithium batteries. Just buy those with  some of the money you'll save.

Now, there's a few folks selling "how to recondition battery" reports online for $49. They may be worth it (or not). But here Walt Barrett's site shows you how to do it for free.

He has a free written guide here: How to Recondition Car Batteries.

Here's a couple of Walt's videos showing how to do it:

How to Recondition 12v Batteries Servicing Sealed Batteries
Note: At the 1:50 point in the video, Walt is doing a cell
test. If one of the cells doesn't read 2 volts, then the
battery most likely has a short and reconditioning won't work.

Types of 12v deep-cycle batteries you can scalvage: Boat/marine, golf cart batteries, fork-lift batteries, RV batteries.

Poor Man's Car Battery Repair Jump-start Nicad Batteries- Adult
but needed language
How To fix: Zap a Cordless Drill Battery
(NiCad repair)
Great video. Not as much detail as the
videos above, but good for quick fixes.
He rambles a bit a cusses a lot, but pay attention, especially to the part about using a pipe to protect yourself. Great idea. I'd even drill a few holes in the pipe and have them pointed away from you, giving the pressures many places to escape that aren't pointed at you as possible. He uses a welder, but you can use some
12v batteries wired in series.

Do NOT use an AC source to zap!

Warnings: The biggest concern is heat. When you short a battery, do NOT leave the contacts together for long, as this causes the battery to over-heat. This is why they use quick taps. Let the battery cool off for a few seconds in between VERY SHORT zaps.

The next biggest risk is working with the wrong type of batteries. Make sure you are working with the type of battery you think you are.

With zapping NiCad batteries comes risks, and it's up to you to minimize the risks. But lots of people toss battery-operated tools and other things away because the batteries are dead. If you are smart and take every precaution, reconditioning NiCad batteries can be an option.

Let's brainstorm!

If you can find a good source of 12v deep-cycle batteries to recondition, you can add them to your systems for selling, using a sales pitch of something like, "I'll also toss in 4 reconditioned batteries to help get you started". The easier you make things, and the less your customers have to worry about, the better it is for you. Be honest with them and let them know the batteries are reconditioned, and also remind them that they can use the money they save from your system to replace the batteries if needed. You can even offer a 1 year guarantee on the batteries and swap them out if they fail within that year.

If you want to be "semi-professional" and not just use the "Poor Man's" system in the video above, here's some of the stuff you'll need:

4-Way battery Post and Terminal Cleaner

Digital Amp Ohm Volt Meter Ac Dc Voltmeter Multimeter

Battery Treatment Chemicals and Battery Plug Caps - From Walt Barrett - (Use the plug caps for plugging holes when drilling "service free" batteries).

Magnesium Sulfate - aka white, unscented epsom salts.

Battery Desulfating Maintainer

Car Auto Battery Repair Accessory Kit By Northeastern

Solar 12 Volt Electronic Battery Tester

Schumacher BT-100 100 amp Battery Load Tester

Harbor Freight 6-12 Volt battery charger - Don't use a "smart" charger, you'll want to use one where you have control. I'm not sure if this unit fits that description or not.

Google "shopping" search for: 6-12 volt battery charger starter

Computer Battery Analyzer - It's a battery analyzer that hooks up to your PC to give extensive reports.

Auto Shut Off 2 Quart Capacity Plastic Battery Filler


Nickel Iron (NI-Fe ) Batteries

About Nickel Iron Batteries:

Nickel Iron Batteries - These were perfected by Thomas Edison about 100 years ago. While they cost about 3x the amount of acid batteries, they can last just about forever, there's one in the Smithsonian that's been working for 99 years, and don't reach the maximum power output for about 4 years. Because of the longevity, big industry got them taken off the market in the 1970s.

However, some inventors have joined together to bring the technology back and offering their research as "open source", which means anyone can use their info, but you can't patent any invention based on their research so others can build in any resulting progress. - Buy Nickel Iron Batteries

 Zapworks - Buy Nickel Iron Batteries - North American wholesaler of ChangChong (China) nickel iron batteries.


Wiring Batteries Info - For battery wiring tips and instructions check out the Resources page.

Sunforce 7 Amp Charge Controller - Used to control that volts used to charge battery systems.  Use it in both solar and wind electricity generation.


Materials and Equipment Used with Light and Reflection

When dealing with solar reflection, look for a material with a high solar reflectance (sometimes called albedo). The best ones are usually smooth and white.

Portable Reflectometer - Used to measure how much light is reflected from a surface.

Solar Spectrum Reflectometer - Measures how much solar light is reflected, more accurate for solar energy measurements that basic reflectometer.

Black vs White car paint - Here's some research about how just the color of paint affects the temperature of the material. Note that while the color of the car's paint didn't affect the interior of the car that much, it did greatly influence the temperatures of the hood, roof and trunk of the cars. A car's interior is not directly connected or has some insulation from these parts, so the temp. of the inside of the cars isn't accurate.

High Temperature Black Paint - Used to paint BBQ grills. Use it when you want something to be hot, like a solar hot water heater.

Mirotherm and Mirosol black absorber- Highly ABSORBANT coating for collecting heat.

Highly Reflective White Elastomeric Roof Coating - Used to reflect the sun's rays. Very effective and inexpensive. Use it to keep things cool.

Titanium dioxide - An inexpensive whitener with excellent solar reclection capabilities. Safe, it's used in sunscreen and sometimes even added to milk to add whiteness and make it better tasting. Try mixing with paints and coatings to provide increased solar reflection.

HY-TECH ceramic insulating paint additive

Snow Roof Silver

Foil tape -

Mylar tape

Mylar Film

Nielsen Enterprises Hydroponic Gardening/REFLECTIVE FILMS

Google 1/8 Acrylic Mirror Sheets

Digital Photo Laser Tachometer Non Contact Tach - Check how fast something spins, useful when working with wind turbines, etc.

Inspeed Vortex Handheld Anemometer (Wind Meter) You're better off checking how much wind you actually get before investing blood, sweat, tears, time and money.

Welding Goggles - Parabolic mirrors put off about the same amount of light as the sun. Protect your eyesight.

Welding Gloves - An inexpensive way to help protect against getting burned. Remember, parabolic mirrors and fresnel lenses can melt iron.

Tabbed Solar Cells:
Google "shopping" search for tabbed solar cells.
eBay search for tabbed solar cells. search for tabbed solar cells.


Misc. Stuff

Intro To Neodymium Magnet Levitation To Reduce Friction In An Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

Neodymium Magnets or Rare Earth Magnets - Can be found in PC hard drives. Used in alternators and electricity generators, as well as "magnetic levitation". Magnetic levitation is a much better solution than bearings for reducing friction, particularly in vertically mounted wind turbines. - "Metals Shopping for Orders of Every Size and Shape The Web's superstore for small quantity metal orders welcomes you to explore exceptional metals sales and service from metal buyer's guides, to metal project ideas."

Flexible Potable Water Tubing
Pros: Lighter than copper. Less likely to be stolen. Probably more bendable without stressing and breaking.
Cons: Shouldn't be in sunlight. May not hold up to the heat of steam. Doesn't cool as well as copper.

Copper winding wire - Used to make coppers coils for alternators.

Copper Tubing -

Copper Scrubbers - Add to bottles, cans, containers (pressed snugly against walls) to improve heat conduction to water and air. If working with drinking water, only use copper. For air, you can use other metal material, as long as it won't melt easily. (No plastic)

Rubber stoppers -

Solar Water Heater Vacuum Tubes  - Hi-tech solar power. These tubes work on the same principle as thermos bottles, except they let heat in using the sun's rays.

Solar Evacuated Tube Vacuum Tubes DIY Test in the Sun Solar Evacuated Tube Vacuum Tubes DIY Test in the Sun DIY Glass Cutter and best way to cut glass

Ultraviolet Cured Glass Glue - Used to glue glass - dries very hard in the sun using UV rays.
Amazon for ultraviolet cure glass glue


Make Your Own Plastic


How to Melt Styrofoam (Caution: Flammable) How to make Bioplastic
Can save plastic in glass jar with a little acetone to use later. Cool idea. Experiment a little and see what you can come up with. Just remember that this stuff is meant to "degrade" so don't use it for anything permanent. - Site dedicated to bioplastics has a recipe for a more rigid plastic:

Combine 3.0 grams (1/2 tsp) glycerol and 12.0 g gelatin (4 tsp) with 60 ml (1/4 cup) hot water.

Mix completely until smooth. Heat to just below boiling temperature or starts to create froth. Remove from heat and spoon off any froth. Poor into mould.


How To Cast Custom Moulds


Casting  using EZ Clear Resin Mold Making: Basic Block Silicone Mold Mold Making: 2 piece mold

Epoxy Casting Resin

White modeling clay - Use for basic moulding, sealing moulds, etc.

Plastic Filler Masterbatch - Cheap little plastic (sometimes ceramic) "balls" used to help fill larger moulds, saves moulding material, use for money-saving reasons.
Alibaba Masterbatch - More info and examples of plastic masterbatch.

Tip: When working with expoxies and liquid arcrylics, mix them in a vacuum jar and "suck" the air bubble out of the mixture. Use caution so you don't suck the the expoxy into your pump. To create you own vacuum jars, see "Homemade Pump and Seal" below.


Working with Pop/Beer Cans

 Pop cans can be re-used in many ways...I posted these videos as much to show how to work with cans as for the final product. There's some great "can-working" techniques in these videos.

$10 fuel alcohol still - Working with pop cans Pop Can Solar Food Dehydrator Fast and Easy Alcohol Burning Pop Can Stove
This video has some good techniques for working with cans and you can use this design for many things, other than stills. Some more tips for working with cans, although I'm not sure about depending on the sun to dry food over a period of a few days. Plus, I live in bear country, so consider this as well.. Can use rubbing alcohol for fuel, very lightweight is an excellent emergency or camping stove. Be sure to make note of the use of a book as a guide for the razor!


Kurt's Pop Can Evap Condenser

I designed this to work with a desalination project that needs to transform the steam into water as effectively as possible. The unit is cooled both by contact and evaporation. The pop cans fit snugly it the lid of the container, but can still be removed. They are filled with "bad" water  or sea water and the tops are "open" to allow for easy evaporation.

As the steam hits the cans, they will absorb the heat, which will transfer to the water in the cans. As the water in the cans evaporate, it will take a lot of the heat with it. This is how evap coolers work.

Plus, if the cans can be easily removed, they act as the "pre heater" for the boiler and the water that didn't evaporate can easily be poured into the boiler.

And it doesn't take a lot of copper and uses aluminum cans instead.

Cut the cans only about 300 degrees around the top, leaving the top attached with the poptop hole in it. You can shove a stick through the hole to make it easier to handle when hot.

Large Liquid Containers

Be careful when adding heat to a closed container, especially strong ones. If you heat a corny keg too much, it will explode just like a bomb.

Paint cans - Can be used for many projects. Little danger of explosion, as paint can lid should pop off first, assuming the lid isn't stuck/painted on and can be removed easily.

FDA approved paint cans - These are lined for protection, not sure how the lining will hold up to intense heat.

You can also try:

  • milk pots
  • mini kegs
  • cornelius kegs - (used for soda pop syrup and carbonated water, etc)
  • used propane bottles
  • CO2 Tanks
  • scuba tanks
  • hot water heaters

Homemade Pump and Seal - Pump and Seal is a kit for sealing jars (and plastic baggies, they claim) to help preserve food. You can't use it with liquids, as the pump will suck them up.

You can also use a similar system to create a vacuum in jars to make "evacuated solar tubes".

First, watch the Pump and Seal infomercials
to get an idea of how it works  and follow the
directions for your own vacuum sealer =>

All you need to make this for your own is to have a pump that acts as a vacuum and some seals. Most bike hand pumps that can be taken apart will work. Just disassemble it, and reverse the suction plunger and it should now be a "sucker".

An aquarium pump may work, as well as a brake vacuum/bleed pump. I haven't tried, but maybe a modified turkey baster or syringe may work as well. You could even hook up your floor vacuum, rigging up a special suction nozzle.

Next, you need to make a band-aid-like seal using electrical tape and a small bit of plastic from a grocery plastic bag.  Get good tape here, you really want some "stickiness", so you can remove and reseal the jar a few times with each seal.

Unlike a band-aid with gauze, you want the plastic to extend the entire width (but not length) of the electrical tape.

Poke a hole with a thumb tack in the jar lid. Place your seal over the tack hole, with the grocery bag strip side down. You don't want the part of the seal that's over the hole to stick. Think of the seal as a band-aid, putting the "gauze" side over the hole.

Now, when you suck out the air, the seal will lift over the hole, allowing for the air to be sucked out. After the air is sucked out, a vacuum will occur inside the jar, and now it will suck the seal down the hole, sealing the jar lid.

While you're at it, you can make a bunch of seals at once, then just put them on some wax paper for easy removal whenever you need one.

Be careful using these little seals with a evacuated solar tube or any system intended to generate heat such as a solar heater, because if it heats up, it will raise the pressure and maybe blow the seal. I know, evacuated tubes aren't supposed to transmit heat because of the vacuum, but that's with a perfect vacuum, and a perfect vacuum doesn't exist, and our little contraption won't create a perfect vacuum.

To use with a heat generating system, try this: First add some heat to the system, then use the pump and seal method. This is similar to how canning is done to create a vacuum. Then add a second, stronger seal over the first, using our mini-seal to hold the vacuum long enough to apply a stronger solution.


WaterCone - Cool, innovative device. Good for inspiration.

HTI HydroPack - Emergency desalination bags.

Potassium Permanganate - Versatile, but volatile chemical used as a water treatment, fungal infections (great if you are camping in damp, swampy conditions) and since when mixed with water it makes almost a dye, it can be used as a SOS marker in snowing conditions. Also, when mixed with glycerin, it is a very good fire starter. Because of this, you need to use extreme caution. While not perfect for all survival situations, if you are going to a jungle or a very snowy place, I would consider taking some with you.

Glycerin - Used to make bio-plastic, as a moisture absorber, a lubricant and when mixed with potassium permanganate, a potent fire starter. 


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Materials and Equipment Used with Light and Reflection
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Make Your Own Plastic
How To Cast Custom Moulds
Working with Pop/Beer Cans
Kurt's Pop Can Evap Condenser
Large Liquid Containers
Homemade Pump and Seal

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