Recommended Equipment and Sources:

Online Update — August 15, 2012

Copyright notice This section of the book is to update the hard copy for those who have purchased The Secure Home.  Visitors to this site are free to view the material, but should not copy it unless they have purchased the book.  You're on your honor, as I have no way of enforcing this.  Hopefully, through this sample you will realize how valuable the 700 page book is.

This section of the book should be the most helpful. Finding the actual products and resources to build a home is often difficult. I have not included many conventional products for building here, but rather have concentrated on those less conventional items that I have commented about during the text. I have used many of the products mentioned here. However, there are many items that I have not had personal experience with. I have attempted to judge these within the limitations of written claims, but you should use your own judgment as well in evaluating their suitability to your needs. I make no guarantees about the performance or reliability of these products or services. Surely, there are other similar products to the ones I have mentioned that may be available and yet unknown to me. Because they are not mentioned does not mean that they are not acceptable. If they follow the general criteria given, feel free to consider them. If I have time, I can try to check out a product of interest to you, if you will provide me some relevant sources or descriptive information. Any feedback you have, negative or positive, about any of these products will be appreciated.

This page also provides the source information for those who have the booklet 10 Packs for Survival. If you find errors here or see web addresses (URL) that do not function, please inform me by Email at

I'd also like to recommend a new survival guide put out by Craig Nicholson. It is called The One Stop Survival Preparedness Guide. Get it here:


Here is a list of suppliers who carry a variety of items mentioned in this list. To save space, I will only mention their name as a source within the list, instead of giving out their address and telephone numbers each time they are mentioned. Check here for contact information if it isn't listed in the body of the list. In most cases I will try and give an Internet website URL (URL means an Internet address, usually preceded by a www). Going to a company website will allow you to view the product and read important information. This will save you much time and effort.

ABRAHAM SOLAR EQUIPMENT: This is my top recommended source for all your solar and alternate energy products. Mick has low prices and he knows all the equipment personally, including how to install it. Above everything, I can personally vouch for Mick Abraham's honesty and integrity. This is a source you can completely trust. Order line: 1-800-222-7242, Consultation (970) 731-4675; address: 124 Creekside Place, Pagosa Springs, Co. 81147. Website:

BE SELF RELIANT.COM: This is company with a lot of practical experience in designing and installing self-sufficient and multi-fuel systems within homes. They are based out of Idaho and are quickly developing into a comprehensive one-stop resource for self-sufficiency products and information. This includes: alternative energy, heating, home production, self-reliant skills development, consulting, and installation. They have developed a unique home heating boiler system that uses any available fuel, simply by changing out the burner. It also uses coal and wood. I don't know of any other system that matches this one. All of their systems come with extensive "How To" documentation for the do-it-yourselfer. Phone: (208) 624-3135  or (888) 624-0040  website: Email:

SHELF RELIANT: New and Competitive Utah-based full-service preparedness products. Website : contact numbers: 1-877-743-5373 Customer order line. Address: 810 North 2800 West Lindon, Utah 84042. They also have a Canadian outlet: email:

PROVIDENT LIVING: Excellent online shopping for 72 hour kits and specialty preparedness equipment. They also sell a full range of storage foods. Website:

MAJOR SURPLUS AND SURVIVAL: Biggest of the California survival food and products stores. Website URL: / . Address: 435 W. Alondra Blvd.; Gardena, Ca 90248 Tel: (800)441-8855 or (310)324-8855 email:

NITRO-PAK: Carries a full line of survival foods and products. Website: /

WALTON FEED: Largest of the survival food suppliers. Website: Location: 135 North 10th (PO Box 307) Montpelier ID 83254 Phone: 800-847-0465

LEHMAN'S CATALOG: The largest of the self-sufficient/back-to-the-land suppliers. Website: . Address: Lehman's Non-Electric Catalog Listing ID 575. Phone: 1-877 438-5346 Email: Mail: Lehman's, 289 Kurzen Road North Dalton, Ohio 44618

REAL GOODS: California and Colorado outlets for full range of back-to-the-land and self-sufficiency products. Website:

AMATEUR ELECTRONIC SUPPLY (AES): Biggest of the mail order Ham radio and antenna stores. Website: / Order their catalog: 1-800-558-0411.

HAM RADIO OUTLET: 1-800-644-4476 (east) or 1-800-854-6046 (west). Major competitor or AES. Website: Order their catalog 1-800-444-0047

RADIO SHACK: website . Nationwide electronics parts, radios, telephones, and security systems. Order line: 1-800-843-7422 (get a catalog at local store or see it online).

WW GRAINGER: Nationwide wholesalers of almost every type of equipment. You must have some type of business in order to establish a wholesale account with them, but it is worth it. Check their website for the warehouse nearest you: .

NORTHERN TOOL AND EQUIPMENT: Major discount mail-order catalog company for generators and major tools and equipment. Website: / or 1-800-221-0516

McMaster-Carr: online hardware supply warehouse

Harbor Freight Tools: Deep discounted tools, quality is not the best, but improving every year--mostly Chinese or Taiwanese. Retail stores in all western States plus Lexington, Kentucky. Info: . Call for printed catalog, 1-800- 423-2567.


HOME DEPOT: Largest national home improvement store chain. Website URL: .

LOWES: Nationwide home improvement discount store; second largest in the nation.They are better than Home Depot for specialty tools and hardware. Website:

COSTCO WHOLESALE: See website for location of stores nearest you: . They are in most states East and West (but only a few in the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Kansas). Chain discount bulk supplies of household products and services. Very high quality and cheap prices.

SAM'S CLUB (WALMART CHAIN): Nationwide chain carrying bulk supplies at discount prices.

Listings: Construction Related

Concrete Homes

General information on concrete homes see:

Thermomass Residential Building Systems. (The best residential system in the world - uses a thermal sandwich of foam in between two concrete precast surfaces. Has heat mass characteristics, rodents cannot get into the foam layer, bullet-proof, and the best sound-proofing available) 1999 Highview Rd. Coralville, IA 52241 Tel: (319) 351-4232 Fax (319) 351-0993. Website:

Kistner Concrete Products, Inc. Prefab security buildings and precast basement foundations. They also have very innovative retaining wall systems with planting areas. 8713 Read Road East Pembroke, NY 14056 Tel: 716-762-8216 Fax: 716-762-8315. Website:

Hollow core concrete slabs. For use as flooring or roofing systems. Heat or cooling air can be ducted through hollow spaces. FLEXICORE brand slabs is one option available in multiple states. Check with commercial concrete contractors in major cities. Example websites: and

Frost Protected Shallow foundations (FPSF). Protect from frost heave without excavating below the frost line with these building recommendations. Website with CAD details (as of 2012):

The Natural Home Source: These designers and builders have the most experience in heat mass - passive solar homes. Their system is applicable to most areas of the country, but especially the West. I don't agree with all their techniques or their pricing commissions, but you can learn a lot from their information and implement what you want on your own. They cover waste treatment systems, earth sheltered homes and buildings, solar air heating systems, composting system components, indoor gardening and attached greenhouses. 0186 County Road 1400, Silverthorne, CO 80498 Tel: 970-262-6727. Website:

Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) construction is one of our most recommended construction methods because of strength, insulation and ease of use. This construction method is commonplace enough that there are many manufacturer's and installers throughout the country. See below for some examples. The Portland Cement Association (PCA) has a book on building with ICF, and a 5-part video series on the topic. 5420 Old Orchard Rd., Skokie, IL 60077. Website:

FOXBLOCKS: full range of ICF walls, easy to use.

ARXX - Foam block system that allows an 8" wide, full-width concrete wall. Tel: 1-800-293-3210. website:

Smartblock - Variable width form only up to 8". Pre formed blocks with integral ties. Plastic ties are built into foam, recessed 3/4" from outside which may make it harder for attaching drywall and siding. Often available at Home Depot stores. Website:

Liteform - Foam form pieces for assembly or already assembled. Pieces are easier to ship and store but construction takes longer. You can buy wholesale direct from the factory and possibly save money. Headquarters at 1210 Steuben St., Sioux City, IA 51105. Tel: 712-252-3704 or Toll Free in North America 1-800-551-3313. Website:

Quad-lock - Foam forms for assembly. They also have insulated decking for floors and ceilings. Quad-Lock Building Systems Ltd. 7398 132nd Street Surrey, B.C. V3W 4M7 Canada. Tel: (888) 711-LOCK or (604) 590-3111. Website:


There are hundreds of log home companies. However, it has been my experience that log home suppliers in the Eastern US are almost double the price of western log home suppliers. Call for price comparisons. It may be cheaper to ship log kits from the west than buy in the east.

Timberline Log Homes: This is the company I use as a reference for a fair price. Check your prices locally and then give the same specs to this company to see how they compare. We have shipped from Timberline to the East coast before and saved money. 915 N. State St. Orem, Ut 84058. Tel: (801) 226-8786. website:

International Homes of Cedar - These are laminated cedar homes. P.O. Box 886, Woodinville, WA 98072. Tel: 360-668-8511 or Toll Free 800-767-7674. Website:

Real Log Homes - Distributors in most states. Compare prices with other outfits. Tel: (800) 732-5564. Website:

Modular homes

Modular homes can be a quick home solution. There are many options available today beyond rectangular, single-story homes. Also consider reusing steel shipping containers (insulated reefers) for quick, drop-in storage.

List of modular home providers by state:

EXCEL HOMES - Probably the most advance type of modular homes available. A great deal of customization is possible. Not your normal modular tract homes. 10642 S. Susquehanna Trail Liverpool, PA 17045. Website:

Storage Shipping Containers (Insulated Reefers) - 20' storage containers cost $2 - 3,000 plus shipping. There are many outlets across the nation for these containers. Consider and ebay.

Underground Homes

All of the following companies have been in business over 20 years, so they know what they are doing.

Formworks Building - Designers and installer of an underground system using concrete dome or tunnel type structures. P.O. Box 1509, Durango, CO 81302 Tel: 970-247-2100. Website:

Terra-Dome: Underground or bermed buildings. They have tremendous experience in the field. 8908 S. Shrout Rd. Grain Valley, MO 64029. Tel: 1-800.481.3663 Website:

Davis Caves Construction - P.O. Box 69, Armington, IL 61721. Tel: 309-392-2574. Website:

Concrete crack repair

Most use hydraulic cement which is too rigid. For a better job, fill the crack on the inside using a tough, but flexible professional-grade sealant. Several options including Sikaflex are usually available at most home improvement and hardware stores.


Cupolas are great for roof ventilation and architectural decoration that used to be common on top of traditional styled roofs and barns.

Stephenson Cupolas and Weathervanes - Several Manufacturers including C. W. Ohio, Inc. Tel: (440) 593-5800. Fax: (440) 593-4545 URL:

Edon Fiberglass Cupolas - These are indestructible vents and never need maintenance. Tel: 1-800-255-0176. URL:


Lift-Avator - Elevators and lifts for residential homes. 435 Park Ave, Lockport, NY 14094 Tel: 716-434-1300. URL:

Nation-wide Lifts - Distributor for many of the most common residential elevators and stair lifts. Tel: 1-888-323-8755. URL:

Exterior insulated finish systems (EIFS)

This exterior finish system consists of synthetic stucco applied over insulation board, which is then installed over sheathing. These systems have been particularly used in commercial applications. There are many EIFS manufacturers and distributors including: senergy, surewall, finestone, sto corp. Several years ago EIFS systems received bad press from homeowners complaining that these systems were falling apart. Moisture had penetrated the wall and the sheathing and structural members were rotting. Modern systems now allow moisture that gets behind the stucco to drain harmlessly to the outside.

Dryvit - Provider for stucco and concrete products with distributors around the country. Dryvit Systems, Inc. One Energy Way, P.O. Box 1014 West Warwick, RI 02893. Tel: 800-556-7752. Website:

Pleko - Dryvit alternative with cheaper prices. Website:

fire retardent finishes

Retardant sprays for shingles, wood siding, cardboard - almost everything. Water-based, non-toxic, safe.

Flame Stop -

Cold Fire -

Flame Seal Products Inc. 15200 West Drive, Houston, Texas, 77053. Tel: 713 668 4291. URL:

Geobond - Invented by Patricia Billings, this cement additive produces a fireproof cement or plaster that is vastly superior to type XX sheetrock (which merely sloughs off during a fire). It comes in panels as well as a stucco-like exterior coating and can be used in combination with many other materials. Website: (website and phone numbers inactive). Truly an amazing family of products, but it looks like it was not a commercial success and may not be available now.

Fiber cement products are unburnable, stop moisture and are bug proof. It comes in a variety of forms and boards including roofing, siding and trim. It is almost as easy to cut and use as wood. We have found the following product suppliers useful when cladding homes in areas of potential fire dangers. Most roofing and siding require an underlayment to get the most fire-resistant rating (Class A) .

Plycem - This is fiber cement mixed with recycled material which has higher densities than all other sheathings. P.O. Box 1893, Ventura, CA USA 93002 Tel: 800-672-7872 Website:

Hardie Products - Non-combustible fiber cement siding and trim products. Mold and mildew resistent. Website:

Miratec - Trim from a composite with only a Class C fire Rating but with the same moisture and bug resistance as fiber cement. Ok for moderate fire danger. Website:

One of the latest innovations is bubble Poly blankets with foil on front and back. It's great for molding into window jambs or stapling to attic rafters, or to cover existing attic insulation to reflect summer heat out and winter heat in.

Reflectix - Easy to install stiff foil poly blanket. Sold in many places including Website:

Plastic composite decking

Now available at all home building stores. We recommend fiber cement board for fire hazard areas.

Veranda Decking - Expensive, but attractive decking from composite materials. Available at Home Depot stores. Website:

ESPS Plastic Lumber "Bear Board" - Can be more expensive than Veranda. Tel: 800-480-2327. Website:

plumbing – toilets

Biolet - mini-composting toilet. Finally a composter about the size of a regular toilet! Look for the BTS 33 for a non-electric model. Tel: 1-800-5biolet. URL:

Sun Frost “Human Hummus Machine” - One of the most economical composting toilets around. Purchase these kits for converting two 55 gallon drums – one for use and the other to store material as it composts. Low watt fan requires DC or AC. P.O. Box 1101, Arcata, CA 95518 Tel: 707-822-9095 URL:

Clivus Multrum - special toilets as part of large tank system. Will compost continuous use for multiple people and also kitchen waste. Large tank system must be sited in a basement area.

Sun-Mar - Look for self-contained units that are a moderately small size for placement in bathroom. Non-electric, AC or DC and automatic controls depending on unit. From $1,200-1,800 depending on options (as of 2012). Many online retailers such as

Chemical Toilets: ($20-50) available at camping and RV stores.

Marine Toilets: My preferred manual toilet recommendation for shelters. These toilets have a manual pump that will pump waste up a 1-1/2" pipe as high as 6' allowing use in basement shelter systems where one must connect to existing plumbing drains at ceiling height. JABSCO brand, order model #29120-2000 for the larger, elongated bowl. Available at yacht and marine supply stores or

Porta-John® Systems - Dry Flush Toilet. 50633 Ryan Road, Utica, Michigan 48317 Tel: 1-888-PORTA-JOHN (1-888-767-8256). Several retailers online.

Toilet Distributor - This site compares several composting and non-electric toilets next to each other:

plumbing - greywater

Simple Greywater Systems constructed by people from common plumbing materials can be seen here:

Natural Home Building Source - Sells a tank with a filter and options such as a pump. Their website has many common-sense recommendations about greywater use. 0186 County Road 1400, Silverthorne, CO 80498. Website:

Brac Systems - More sophisticated and expensive systems for whole-house greywater collection for use in the toilets.

Plumbing – misc.

Biodegradable Detergents – required if you reuse greywater so as not to damage plants. Look for "camp soap" products or natural products from websites such as:

Grundfos Submersible Pump Variable Speed 3 inch submersible pump. Website: shows distributors.

Flexible plastic piping. There is no better plumbing system for the do-it-yourself plumber than flexible plastic pipe systems. Easy to install and freeze resistant since it will expand rather than split or break. PEX is the current standard as is available at most hardware stores. There are a variety of connectors on the market, but we've had good results with the clamping rings. Note: Polybutylene has largely been discontinued due to the occurrence of leaks in the older systems after exposure to chlorinated water.

PEX - This is the newest type of plastic pipe that is on the market. It appears to be stronger and more chemical and heat-resistant than polybutylene. It also uses the new manifold type plumbing junction connections like polybutylene. It is a little more expensive, however. See URL for details. Available at all plumbing supply stores.

shelter systems and plans

Oldcastle Precast - Custom precast water-proof concrete tanks. These can be modified and even combined to make economical sealed, drop-in-the-ground shelter systems. They have local manufacturers in several states. Oldcastle Products, 2820 A Street, SE Auburn, WA 98071-0608 Tel: 253-833-2777 or 888-232-6274. Website:

Culvert pipes - 8 foot diameter steel culvert pipes can be used for an economical underground fallout shelter. Bury at least 5 feet underground. About $10k for the basic structure.

Utah Shelter Systems - Galvanized metal pipe system buried deep. Comprehensive shelter units, built to suit. Uses Luwa NBC filters (incorrectly installed inside shelter). P.O. Box 638,-Heber, Ut 84032. Tel: 801-942-5638. URL:

Storm Chaser Shelters - Small shelters for storms. 1200 Lawson Road, Fort Worth, TX 76131 Tel: (817) 847-9000. URL:

Homeland Civil Defense - Civil Defense and nuclear preparation info including do-it-yourself plans for tank type shelters. 2251 Dick George Road, Cave Junction, Oregon 97523 Tel: (541) 592-4142. URL:

Shelter plans with concrete block roof that is easy to build into existing homes. See our book titled "How To Implement A High Security Shelter in the Home" under "Other books by Joel Skousen" in the appendix. Website:

SAFECASTLE - Lots of options with these shelters. Fairly expensive. URL:

Survival Center - Submarine-style buried tanks. Note: the air filter should be outside the shelter.

American Bomb Shelter - Do-it-yourself kit or individual parts. URL:

Radius - Premanufactured and installed shelters. Sleek but expensive. URL:


Soundproofing101 - This website has reasonable ideas for soundproofing and links for materials and windows. URL:

Soundproofing materials - This seller has glue that can be laid down between two layers of sheetrock for good sound attenuation. URL:

A plastic layer laminated between two panes of glass provides excellent soundproofing and reinforces the glass. They are sold here:

Insul-Tek with O.E.M. Sound Deadener, self adhesive automotive stype sound-proofing. This is very compact, effective material. Call Juliano's to order. Orders: 800-300-1932 Technical Assistance: 860-872-1932. Website:

Sonex foam - Sound damping finger foam, ideal for shooting ranges. Fairly expensive at $5 per sq. ft. Acoustical Solutions Inc, 2420 Grenoble Road, Richmond, VA 23294. Tel: (612) 521-3555. URL:

Steel Decking

Useful in many applications including forming up shelter ceilings. Many brands of steel decking are available at local steel suppliers in most large cities. Deal locally to avoid shipping costs. Note: When pouring a composite concrete over metal deck slab get decking with embossments to reduce or eliminate reinforcing steel.

FormDeck - Comes 36" wide in variety of lengths. 49 Cardiff St, Johnstown, PA 15907. Tel: 814-536-8731. URL:

Metal Deck Direct - All kinds of metal deck. Website:

Metal Deck Supply - Tel: 800-894-7741. Website:

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)

These are factory-made wall systems that replace typical wood wall framing. Typical panels are sheets of insulation with plywood glued to both sides. EPS (Extruded Polystyrene) foam is cheaper than polyurethane but has a slightly lower R-value and has to be glued to OSB panels because of its corrosive nature.

R-Control - Structural Building Panels for walls, floors and ceilings. AFM Corporation 24000 West Highway 7, P.O. Box 246 Excelsior, MN 55331. Tel: 1-800-255-0176, (612) 474-0809. Website:

Raycore - Looks like the most versatile system. Standard panels have studs in them so they can be cut to varied sizes. Panels have a polyurethane core and reflective foil. Website:

Insulspan - Premanufactured wall system with an EPS (extruded polystyrene system) core. Website:

Thermocore - Premanufactured system with polyurethane core. Website:

Stucco Systems

Conventional stucco can be more moisture resistant and cheaper than other sidings

QUIKRETE® Stucco System - Fiberglass-Reinforced Stucco can reinforce a wall and acts as a drainage medium. Great siding system though usually applied with a conventional stucco topcoat. This system can also be used over the concrete stack-block method. URL:

Tirolessa Stucco Sprayer - Can be used for applying plaster and small scale shotcrete. Eugene, Oregon. Tel: 541-683-4167 URL:


Best all-around 12v ventilation fan is the DAYTON brand 12 volt fan from WW Grainger Stock # 2C646. About $75, 175 CFM and fairly quiet. What makes these fans convenient is their 3" flange which allows you to easily attach it to the vent pipe shown in my shelter designs. The stock number for the 115 volt version is Item # 2C647. Use the 110v fan during non-emergency times to keep the air in the shelter fresh (information current as of 2012).


Superseal - The ultimate sealing system around foundations with dimpled plastic sheeting, cloth, drains and paint. Fairly expensive. PO Box 61646, Brookswood RPO, Langley, BC, V3A 8C8 (Canada). Tel: 1-800-571-1877. URL:

Tremproof 201/60 is ideal for waterproofing foundation walls. By Tremco Incorporated 3735 Green Rd., Beachwood, OH 44122 Tel: 216-292-5000 or 800-321-7906. URL:

TUFF-N-DRI H8 - New asphalt emulsion product also by Tremco and is "good up to 8 ft of hydrostatic pressure". URL:

Paraseal - Tremco's dual combination of the most effective waterproofing materials, high density polyethylene (HDPE) and bentonite clay, laminated together to form a tough, single sheet membrane. It is easily installed and typically applied on backfilled walls, under floors, decks, or as a pond liner. The Paraseal dual membrane system is also available in a lagging grade, Paraseal LG, which is designed for blindside installations or where shotcrete is to be blown directly onto the face of the membrane. See website for distributors:

Bituthene - Heavy duty waterproof membranes that can literally surround the outside of a basement (even under slabs and footings) to make a basement waterproof in a high water table area. Bituthene 3000 by W.R. Grace Co. Available at building and construction supply stores. See website for distributors:

For underground roofs: Apply 30 or 45 mil EPDM rubber pond liner material over Polyurathane foam sprayed on insulation. Pond liners widely available at rural farm stores.

Watertite TPM - Cold applied, two-part liquid rubber. URL:

covered by yellow polyureathane foam for insulation, which is then covered by the black polyurea for waterproofing. Polyurea is a highly durable material commonly used for lining truck beds.

Bluemax - Roll on rubber coating. Best if applied to surface in contact with water (not inside of basement). URL:

Vulkem #350/351 - Pedestrian Deck Coating System. Also a Tremco product (see Tremproof product above for contact info).

Also consider Sonoguard, Conipur or Polycoat polyurethane systems. Note: these systems have a basecoat and topcoat of color. Some distributors sell most of these products, for example:


Unilux Windows - Top quality and super-efficient triple pane European style "tilt and turn" windows - and a top price, about $100 per sq. ft. Few other windows feel as solid or perform as well. Also comes with a safety package - 4 bolt locking and "highly tear-proof" safety glass (see our listings under Security, Windows & Doors for more on window security). Website is in German (click on british flag icon for English). There are several distributors in the US. URL:

Canadian Windows - Ultra-efficient with good solar gain (for heating in winter). Prices are "only" $40 to $50 psf. These are the most common manufacturers: Accurate Dorwin (, Duxton (, Fibertec (, Inline Fiberglass ( or Thermotech (

US Windows Manufacturers - The Dept. of Energy maintains a website of high-efficiency (R-5) window manufacturers that offer storm windows. Although there are likely good windows outside this list, it also shows relative pricing.

Gila Films have a full range of energy saving films to apply to windows. Available at most home improvement/hardware stores. Website:

See Security, Door & Window for shatter-resistant measures and protective films

Window Quilts - Quilted insulating curtains for solar windows. Rolling shutter type system that is easy to install. URL:

Scapewell - Premanufactured wells with cast-in steps by The Bilco Company. The Bilco Company, P.O. Box 1203, New Haven, Connecticut 06505 Tel: 203-934-6363, sales 800-854-9724. URL:

Alternate Energy

Alternate Energy Appliances - See Homesteading and Preparedness, Appliances


6-volt Golf Cart Batteries - Cheapest option. About $49 each. Look for a competitive source such as Costco wholesale or Sam's Clubs. Lifespan is 2 to 5 years depending on maintenance and temperature of storage.

Deka - Variety of high-quality batteries. Consult with Mick Abraham for the right fit (see contact above). Deka Road, Lyon Station, PA 19536 USA. Tel: 610-682-6361. URL:

Trojan L-16 and L-16H batteries. Good, moderately priced batteries. Moderate lifespan of up to 5 years.

Surrette - "Rolls" Heavy Duty Deep Cycle Batteries for Solar Systems. Expensive, but can last up to 20 years.

AGM - Absorbed Glass Matt batteries are sealed for non-ventilated or living areas. Recommend over sealed gel batteries. Heavy duty, high amperage delivery capacities without ruining battery. Prominent brands are Optima or Lifeline ( Check with Abraham Solar or other distributor sites listed above.

battery chargers/maintainers - See this webpage for a run down on battery maintenance technology. We do not recommend trickle chargers unless they have automatic shutoff. Otherwise they keep a constant, low charge across the battery and they will overcharge and eventually ruin the battery by boiling it dry. Look for battery float chargers or maintainers which turn off and on as needed. Sulfation of the lead plates occurs on all batteries over time. There are technologies that keep batteries from sulfating and can remove sulfation once it occurs. URL:

SCHUMACHER SE-1125 - Automatic battery charger and maintainer. Keeps battery at a perfect float charge without overcharging. About $25 from Walmart and other auto parts stores.

DSR PS-1562A – Battery charger/maintainer ($55). Also consider DSR PSC-15AOB for maintaining car batteries that are sitting for long periods ($56). Available from Grainger or autopart stores.

Power Pulse – 12, 24, 36 and 48v units provide electronic pulse that breaks down sulfer crystals that build up on batteries, often revitalizing poor performing batteries. Available at specialty battery sites such as:

BatteryMINDer – Charger/maintainer/desulfator units ($45). Optional units with solar power ($100). Available at Northern Tool and online wholesalers like Amazon.

Voltmaster Battery Equalizer 60-50A - by Vanner. Use for combining 12 volt batteries and a 24 volt battery system. Available through Abraham Solar or see distributors list the Vanner website:

Hydrocaps - These units condense the water vapor out of battery gassing so you don't have to maintain the water level in the battery as often. Available through Abraham Solar 1-800-222-7242. Hydrocap website:

Battery Watering - Maintains water levels in battery banks. PO Box 696, Lewisville, NC 27023. 877-522-5431 URL:

Flow-rite - Automatic battery watering products. 960 74th Street S.W., Byron Center, MI 49315. Tel: 616-583-1700 URL:

Sunforce® 5-Watt Solar Battery Trickle Charger - Small portable battery trickle charger from Radio Shack. Catalog #: 55038529 URL:

Lighting (Backup and 12v)

Thinlite Corp. - We recommend these 12 volt fluorescents for the most lumens-per-dollar: 36" long (item #197) or the 48" long unit (item #139) are practical. For 24 volt systems use model numbers #297 or #239, respectively for same cost (about $65). Available via Abraham Solar or RV supply stores such as

Dome lights (12V). We like the round 18 LED surface mounted lights with built-in switch. Available at most boat and RV suppliers such as this one:

Feit Electric - 130v incandescent bulbs will lasts 14,000 hours and costs only a little more than standard bulbs - best buy on the market from home improvement stores.

Note: GE brand compact fluorescents run better off an inverter than other brands

Sunpipes - 1,500 watts of free, fresh light as easy to install as stovepipe. Hollow, super-reflective pipe runs from your roof down to a translucent ceiling fixture that spreads the light down. Natural, full-spectrum light without glare, heat, or uncomfortable hot spots. Less expensive and easier to install than a skylight. Doesn't build up unwanted summer heat, create condensation, sun-fading problems, and won't leak.

Lite Touch - One of the premier remote control lighting systems. Great for activating lights and shutter systems remotely--or anything electrical. Tel: 801-268-8668.


General notes: because of shipping weight, the heavier generators are sometimes best purchased from local generator dealers (see Yellow pages). However, always compare price with one of the major mail-order generator supply houses. WW Grainger and Northern Tools will supply a wide variety of the cheaper or discontinued generator lines. has most units mentioned here. For the best prices on the high quality units compare to Norwall Power Systems (see below)

Norwall Power Systems. These people ship all over the world and are experts - very good prices, too. They don't sell any junk, and service all major brands (so they know which ones are best for maintenance, too). 2455 Kiowa Blvd North, Suite# 102, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403. Tel: 928-453-4494. URL:

generators, small (portable)

Mini Portable Units - Small, suitcase-size gensets are available that produce less than 2000 watts, are super quiet and very fuel-efficient:

Honeywell 800-6064 - 800w generator for about $350. Cheap, light, economical. Noisier and less reliable than brands below.

Yamaha EF1000 - It is only 1kW but it is very fuel efficient and quiet and runs all day on a gallon of gas. Costs double the Generac brand.

Honda EU1000i - 900w high tech wonder from Honda, but it is also the most costly for its size. The special inverter gives excellent sine wave power but may be a high tech problem in maintenance.

generators, Medium size

There are two classes of generators here: the cheap group with flat-head, side valve, lawnmower type engines, and the more expensive group with longer life overhead cam and valve engines. Here are the most notable brands from the best and most expensive to the lower quality and economical:

Honda Deluxe Series - Honda is one of those companies with a high quality line and a medium quality line. The deluxe models usually have added features. See this website for examples of the differences:

Generac EXL Series - Generac also has a high and low line. The XL or EXL lines have the pressurized oil system "vanguard" engine or the Honda engine.

Kubota AV Series - excellent machines (Kubota always builds nice engines). See also Kubota Gensets Model GL6500 - 6.5kW about $4500 from Kubota Tractor Dealers.

Generac and Winco - are cheaper brands.

generators, large

Stand-by Generators - Top to bottom in price and quality

Kohler - Simply the best in all regards, and most expensive. Rock solid engines and electronics. Kohler transfer switches rarely fail. Available in Gasoline, Propane (LP), Natural Gas (NG), all three or Diesel.

Onan - Cummins' generator brand is second best overall because of some problems with electronic reliability in past. Available in all fuels.

Generac - 8kW and above are top quality engines. Best price for very good quality.

Hardy Diesel - This used to be a distributor for China Diesel Imports which stopped importing good, cheap generators because of emissions restrictions. You can still get parts for those generators here. Hardy has good prices for quality brands like Perkins and Kubota in open configuration (no cover) and more expensive sound-enclosed units. 15749 Lyons Valley Rd., Jamul, CA. 91935. Tel: 800-341-7027. URL:

generators, alternate fuels

Tri-Fuel: For the ultimate in multi-fuel use, you can pay more and get a generator set up for three fuels: Gasoline, LP and NG. Onan or Kohler have these units perfected. Available through distributors like Norwall (

Tiny Power - Steam engines only. To generate electricity you’ll need to couple it to a properly-sized generator.

John Moore steam engine generator - Built to suit arrive on a pallet. $13,000 for a 110v unit as of 2008. URL:

Mike Brown Steam Engines: 1, 2 and 3 horsepower models turn a flywheel. 1hp model cost $1,200 as of 2011 and requires 3 to 5 gallons of water turned to steam every hour (boiler not included). URL:

generators, transfer switches

Manual and Auto Transfer Switches - Most Generator manufacturers offer a wide variety of these transfer switches. Abraham Solar is expert at these or generator distributors like this:

Generators, mufflers

Harco Silencing Mufflers - 2 levels of silencers: Critical which is about $140 and Super Critical (attenuates down to nearly silent) about $175. They also have the same two levels in a "low Profile" unit for small, tight locations but these cost about 25-30% more. All these mufflers are state-of-the-art silencers, and are very reasonably priced. You can afford to stack two mufflers together for super critical needs inside a home. 1000 Industrial Parkway, Newberg, OR 97132. Tel: 503 537-0600 or 1 800 394-7571. URL:


International Ground Source Heat Pump Association - General information about this topic and a listing of many approved installers. URL:

ClimateMaster - Residential heating, AC and water heating units. 7300 S.W. 44th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73179 405-745-6000. Tel: 877-436-6263. URL:


Kerosun DC 100 - Most fuel efficient and cleanest burn. No longer imported but available second-hand. MSI Wicks sells wicks and parts and has a few of these and other stoves. A wick should last a few seasons depending on Kerosene quality. Stock up on a few extras. Tel: 765-584-2041 or 1-888-537-6786. URL:

Blueflame by ProCom - One of the last ventless heaters on the US market. Fortunately it comes as a dual fuel unit. Also look for the infrared units which are still available at some sellers. Sold by Northern Tool, Harbor Freight, Grainger and many heater wholesalers. Litigation appears to have driven out the other heaters we recommended - Vanguard and Martin Industries propane and natural gas radiant heaters.

propane camp stove - Keep one with several containers of propane gas available for emergency cooking. There is even a portable stove/oven available from Camp Chef (cheaper at Amazon as of 2012):

ALADDIN stoves carry the most complete line of kerosene heaters and stoves.

ALPACA - Great stove if you need something stronger and simpler than a backpacking stove. It's very sturdy and will take as large a pot as you care to put on it (about $79). Extremely simple, reliable design, with a minimum of moving parts to wear out. Fuel tank holds 0.9 gallons and has a fuel level gauge. Runs for 16 hours on a filling. Output 8,500 BTU; weight 13 lbs; size about 13" high x 13" diameter. There are many foreign models as well, since Europe and South America use kerosene extensively. PRIMUS is perhaps the largest foreign model.


Turbo Burn - Multi-fuel boiler heats water by burning wood, coal, oil…almost anything by changing burners. 4309 E. Joseph, Spokane Wa 99217 Tel: (509) 487 3609 URL:

Yukon - Multifuel furnace burns supplemented wood or coal automatically using either natural gas (NG) or propane. If no wood it will just burn as a NG/LP furnace. Alpha American Co. 1000 Ag Science Drive, P.O. Box 20, Palisade, MN 56469 Tel: 1-800-358-0060 URL:

Charmaster - Makes combination wood/oil or gas furnaces and even a furnace with a fireplace front on the side. 2307 No. 2 West Grand Rapids, Mn 55744 Tel: (218) 326-6768 URL:

Tarm or Froling - Multi-fuel boilers are available from this site. URL:

Biomass Direct - Outdoor unit that efficiently burns wood. Pipes hot water into house to heat exchangers at forced air and water heater. URL:

Portage and Main - Efficient outdoor wood boilers similar to Biomass Direct. Must contact them for distributors. R.R. 5 Site 16 Comp 114, Prince Albert SK, S6V 5R3 (Canada). Tel: 1-306-922-1722 or 1-800-561-0700 URL:

WaterStoveDirectory - Here is a reference webpage listing many of the top furnace and boiler companies. URL:

WaterFurnace International, Inc. - Residential and commercial units. Dealers available nationwide. 9000 Conservation Way, Fort Wayne, IN 46809 USA. Tel: 800-436-7283. URL:

Lehman's - Sells two wood water heating products. "System One" is a 42 gallon storage tank that collects water heated in a pipe next to the stove and circulates by convection. "System Two" is a mini circular stove surrounded by 15 gallons of water. Heats hot water in only 12 minutes without electricity! It provides a continuous supply as long as the fire is maintained. After the fire goes out, the insulated tank keeps the 15 gallons of water hot for hours. It produces up to two gallons of water per minute. URL:

Maple Wood Heating - Water heaters that will burn wood, coal, corn, biomass or almost anything else burnable to produce hot water. 00593 Magee Rd N, Boyne Falls, MI 49713. Tel: 888-825-0808 URL:


Masonry heaters are the old world style of using long and turning flues to heat a mass of brick or stone that gives off an even heat for much longer than traditional stoves. All of these must be custom built. They are the Cadillac of home heating with wood. One of the best books to show you how to do it is by Ken Matesz: Masonry Heaters, published by Chelsea Gardens. Available on


Rocket Mass Stoves - Do-it-yourself stove that burns 80% less wood, constructs in two days and can cost less than $100. Lots of ideas and help forums online such as this:

Seton - Radiant wood stoves and efficient boilers. Tel: 406-291-0482 URL:

Travis Industries - Makers of the LOPI high efficiency woodstoves, Avalon Pellet Stoves & Fireplace Xtrordinair lines of Wood, Pellet & Gas hearth heating stoves. 4800 Harbour Pointe SW , Mukilteo WA, 98275. Tel: (425) 827-9505 URL:

Avalon - Wood and pellet stoves. Distributors nationwide. URL:

Regency - A highly recommended clean-burn stove without catalytic converter. Many dealers in the US. URL:

Heat-N-Glo - Built-in fireplaces and firebox. Local dealers almost everywhere. 20802 Kensington Blvd. Lakeville, MN 55044 Tel: 888-743-2887 URL:

Portable Wood Stove - Easy to store away for emergencies. Optional water heater attachment. HC13 Box 3004, Chester, UT 84623 Tel: 435-436-3829 or 1-800-586-3829 URL:

Coal Stoves - Pennwood Home and Hearth displays several good coal stove manufacturers. We recommend the Alaska Stoker stove. West College Avenue, Pleasant Gap, Pa. 16823 Tel: 1-800-598-3995 URL:


Heat Wheels by XeteX - Dehumidifying air to air heat exchanger. These unique spinning wheels have water absorbing media on the blades which transfers humidity from incoming fresh air to the outgoing stream of exhaust air. 3530 E. 28th St.. Minneapolis, MN 55406 Tel: (888) 899-9991. URL:

water heaters

See also “Boilers” above.

Vaughn Water Heaters - R-18 Urethane insulated, hydrastone-sealed tanks for long life. 26 Old Elm St., P.O. Box 5431, Salisbury, MA 01952-5431 Tel: 800-282-8446 URL:

Rheem/Rudd - Marathon Non Metalic tank. Should last a lifetime (electric only). Available from all Rheem/Ruud dealers. R-20 urethane insulation. The Imperial Plus line of standard water heaters are 10 year warranty R-20 units. URL:

Tankless Water Heater - Rinnai R75LSiN (approx $900) is a gas instant-on unit. Recommended for its simple construction and long-life. Eligible for government energy rebates. Available at most home improvement stores.

hydropower, Water pumps

Hydraulic Ram Pump uses the energy of flowing water to lift water from a stream or spring to an elevated storage tank. Highlifter Ram type pump is best. Use where you have no power source other than a stream. Will pump water between 400 and 1,000 high, depending on model. Volume is low, but steady. Very reliable pump. Here's an explanation of how they work: and by Wikipedia:

Do-it-yourself Ram Pump - by the Clemson University:

Rife Hydraulic Engine Mfg. Co. - Pump water without electricity or fuel. 1 Line St., Nanticoke, PA 18634. PH: (570)-740-1100 URL:

Highlifter Pumps and B & L Hydraulic Rams - Cheaper and simpler from Abraham Solar Equipment or,_ram.htm

Sling Pump - Pumps using the strong flowing streams. Available at

Water Pump Resources - This website has several useful links, books, references, etc about water-driven pumps:

hydropower, turbines

Canyon Industries, Inc. Builds and engineers pelton and cross-flow turbines for large projects but they also know micro-hydro (less than 100kw). Good hands-on experience. Talk to Dan New. 5500 Blue Heron Lane, Deming, WA 98244. Tel: (360) 592-5552 URL:

Pelton and Turgo Turbines - High head turbines convert spraying water to power (need 20 to 600 vertical feet of drop). Available from several sources including: 1) Abraham Solar (see "General Sources" below); 2); 3); 4); 5); 6)

Alternative Power Machine (APM Hydro) - This small shop sells, services and upgrades microhydro units. They have turbines, parts and support for most systems. 4040 Highland Ave., Grants Pass, OR. 97526. Tel: 541-476-8916 URL:


Abraham Solar - Mick really knows all things alternate energy, from solar and hydro to batteries and inverters. We really like his ability to create customized systems from simple backup to complete off-grid packages. See also his outlet store of surplus and used solar equipment. 124 Creekside Place, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Tel: 800-222-7242. URL:

Many of these websites have good advice about choosing solar panels and batteries., or has good products but only sells to licensed solar distributors - work through Mick Abraham (see above)

Do-It-Yourself Energy Systems - Gary Reysa maintains a great website resource for alternate energy enthusiasts. Nothing sold on this site just lots of helpful tips and lists of sources and materials. URL:

Solar Panel Brands - Solar panels are cheaper than ever partly due to Chinese companies producing cheap panels that are fast approaching top tier in reliability. We would still rather buy from non-communist countries but that line has become muddied as more product lines have some part from China. An important factor is often space - available square footage facing the sun. Sanyo panels have some of the best watt per sq. foot units. Abraham Solar is very good at finding the most cost-effective type and number of panels for your needs (see "General Sources" above).

Suntech and Canadian Solar are the cheapest (watt per dollar) and are both Chinese brands.

Sharp and Kyocera are considered better quality but cost more. They are both produced in "more-free" countries.

Sanyo (Panasonic) panels are compact to give you more watts/sq. ft but are also expensive. Their cost/watt is almost double that of Suntech.

Sunpower - Efficient, expensive and high quality but this company restricts their panels for grid-tie use by forcing you to buy panels with their inverter which is only designed for grid-tie, not batteries.

solar Charge Controllers

These units regulate (step down) the voltage from the solar array to meet the needs of the battery bank. Cheap controllers discard the power when not needed, moderately priced 3-stage systems ($200 range) have more settings to keep the batteries floated but still don't extract all the power the modules can produce. MPPT (Maximum Power Point Trackers) charge controllers are the most expensive ($600 to $900) but these units can get 15 to 30% more power compared to a "legacy type" controller. MPPT units regulate the voltage/amperage coming from the solar panels to maximize the watts (energy) out of the system and then use this to charge the battery bank. Available brands include: Outback Power, Xantrex XW-SCC, Blue Sky Energy, Apollo Solar, Midnite Solar, Morningstar MPPT and a few others. We recommend the MidNite or Xantrex units.

MidNite - MPPT charge controllers rated up to 96 amps and many other solar and battery control products. MidNite systems have an impressive array of options but they are also more expensive than most of the competition. Many solar distributors sell these units. 17722 67th Ave NE, Arlington, WA 98223 Tel: 360 403-7207 URL:

Xantrex - Good quality charge controllers (3-phase and MPPT), inverters and control panels. Often cheaper than MidNite systems but without as many features. Sold at almost every solar warehouse online and via Abraham solar.

Outback - Charge controllers (3-phase and MPPT) available mounted to a power center from Outback. Prices similar to MidNite without as many features. URL:

Morningstar – for smaller solar arrays (150 to 200 Watts) use SS-20L (20 amp) charge controller to inexpensively ($75) maintain small solar setups with a battery (or two). URL: Available at many solar wholesalers such as:

solar control assemblies

Basic control assemblies are mass produced by Outback, Xantrex, Apollo, Magnum or Midnite. Almost all of these need some customization or modification such as addition of a circuit for the charge controller. The modifications can be done on site or by a shop such as Abraham Solar.

Sine Wave Inverters (as opposed to the cheaper square wave inverters) produce AC power from DC with a nearly perfect sine-wave output, similar to utility-supplied power and thus compatible with most AC electronic devices. Solid state inverters (more common now) means the sine wave conversion is accomplished electronically without moving parts.

Xantrex - Inverters, chargers and charge controllers. Considered by many to be "top of the Line" but energy guru Mick Abraham says they have now become too complex. So, now he also sells Victron units (see below). Most solar dealers sell Xantrex including Abraham Solar.

Magnum - Inverters, chargers and interconnect panels. 2211 W. Casino Road, Everett, WA 98204. Tel: 425-353-8833. URL:

Victron Energy - Inverters, chargers, panels, batteries and more. Simpler to use than Xantrex. De Paal 35, 1351 JG Almere (The Netherlands). Tel: +31 (0)36 535 97 00 URL:

solar coolers

See “Appliances, Refrigerators” under “Homesteading and Preparedness”

Solar house cooling

Solar Chill By Southwest Solar - Solar powered evaporative coolers (not for humid climates). 5085 S. Melpomene Way, Tucson, AZ 85747. Tel: 520 885-7925 URL:

Solar Cool by BP Solar – Evaporative coolers run off solar panels ($850 to $1300 depending on size) Available at Solar warehouses like:

Solar, power Arrestors

Energy guru Mick Abraham says beware of the complexity with Arrestors, there are many issues to consider here. Each system seems to have its weaknesses. Polyphaser ( has good products but their applicable surge arrestor isn't rated for the high operating voltages of most solar arrays. Delta arrestors ( are lagging behind MidNite in performance but both of these allow too much power through and don't shut down fast enough for EMP. We recommend running an extra stranded grounding wire to the solar panels and combiner boxes. This should be larger than the power lines coming off the panels. Shielded wire should be used between the solar array and the charge controllers and interconnecting panel below.

Solar Pumps

This is another area to consult with Mick. Solar pumps can be expensive and have short lives when run constantly. On some occasions he recommends buying cheaper, easily available brands and keeping spares stocked up.

Conergy - Provides turn-key pumping systems and Aerovironment provides solar pump controllers to maximize energy put to pumping. Many distributors sell these systems. Check with Abraham solar. Conergy URL: , Aerovironment URL:

SolarJack SCS Submersible Centrifugal Pumps - expensive submersibles down to 800 feet deep, performance comparable to small conventional pumps. 325 E. Main Street, Safford, Arizona 85546. Tel: 800-370-8115 or 928-428-1092 URL:

Solar Water Technologies - Simple and low-cost systems for solar powered well pumps up to 200' deep. 317 S Sidney Baker Street; Suite 400-112, Kerrville, TX 78028 Tel: 800-952-7221 URL:

Grundfos - 12 or 24 volt solar submersible well or circulation pumps. URL: Available through most Pump supply distributors.

Lorentz pumps. Reliable for depths up to 760'. Several distributors including Oasis Montana who also maintains a list of most solar pump solutions (

Shurflow ( or Flojet (available at local RV stores and distributors like Northern Tool and Camping World). These are cheaper and wear out quicker but are easier to find and replace.

Dankoff pumps - Non-submersible centrifugal pumps for solar irrigation use a small length of suction hose to draw from a steady water source. Slowpump Line are medium-priced solar pumps that pump high vertical distances with low power, and low, steady output and are good for domestic water. Dankoff dealers are listed on their website:

Ram and Sling Pumps - See entries under Hydropower

Solar trackers

Solar trackers help tilt your panels to follow the sun to get more power throughout the day. Our guru Mick says the relative cost of solar panels has come down so much that its often cheaper to get more solar area to attain the required watts per day.

Wattsun Sun Tracker - Pole-mounted, tilting rack for solar panels to track sun. Available through Abraham Solar and the dealers listed on their website. 3901 Midway Place NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109 Tel: 505 881-7567 URL:

Zomeworks - pole or roof mounted trackers that don't use external electricity. Through Mick Abraham (see General Sources above) or Zomeworks dealers listed on their website. P.O. Box 25805, Albuquerque, NM 87125. Tel: 800-279-6342 or 505-242-5354 URL:

Do-it-yourself - With some ingenuity and an LED light sensor from you can make one yourself. Here's an example:

Solar, water heating

We have seen mixed results with solar water heating. Vacuum seals leak over time, plastic parts decompose after years in the sun. But it's hard to beat this simplest form of solar collection and, fortunately, systems and controls are improving thanks to European technology. We still recommend this as a backup and pre-heat method but don't invest a lot of money to make this your only hot water or hydronic heating system.

ProgressivTube – By TCT Solar. Insulated units with glass-covered copper tubes. 101 Copeland Street, Jacksonville FL 32204 Tel: 904.358.3720 URL: Available from many distributors including: or Abraham Solar (See Solar, General Sources).

Solahart - Self contained storage tank, optional enclosed system for cold climates, easy to install. US offices (partners with Rheem) Rheem Manufacturing Company, 101 Bell Road, Montgomery AL 36117 Tel: 1 800 621 5622 URL: Several distributors in OR, CA and southern states.

A. O. Smith Cirrex – Complete system for a moderate price (approx $1700). Lots of dealers listed on their website. 500 Tennessee Waltz Parkway, Ashland City, TN 37015. Tel: 800-527-1953 URL: and

Skyline by - Simple, complete systems. Skyline5 closed loop system (cold climates) starts at $4500. Skyline3 open loop systems (temperate climates) start at $3000. 5840 Gibbons Dr. Suite H, Carmichael, CA 95608 Tel: 888-801-9060 or 916-481-7200

Thermomax (or ThermoTech) Evacuated Tube Collectors - This company has wide experience in joining a solar water heating systems with a wood heating backup system into a hydronic floor-heated home. 5560 Sterrett Place, Suite 115, Columbia, MD 21044 Tel: 800-776-5277 or 410-997-0778 URL:

Sol*Saver - Solar water pasteurizer by Safe Water Systems who also makes a wood burning water purifier. 1600 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 721 Honolulu, HI 96814 Tel: 808-949-3123 URL:

Solar Wiring

Wiring Sizes - these will varying according to specific installation, but this should give you a general idea for a small to medium installation. Solar panels to junction box use #6 stranded copper. For junction box to APT power center or charge controller use two #2 stranded copper or one #6 stranded copper for external ground connection. For the battery interconnect cables use #2 stranded copper (available at most auto supply stores). For the connection from the battery bank to the inverter use #2/0 stranded copper, preferably welding wire.

Linear Current Booster (LCB) - Regulates the power between solar panels and pumps or DC motors to keep systems (like motors or pumps) running off panels getting consistent power during intermittent clouds or sun angles. Many units have variable voltage converters to draw the most power from the solar array (by varying the voltage/amperage ratio).

Solar Converters Inc. - Is the principle source for LCB's. Multiple sizes and specs from low to high amperage (and corresponding cost). This company has several good products including battery desulfators. 558 Massey Road, Unit 1, Guelph, Ontario, N1K 1B4 (Canada). Tel: 519-824-5272 Distributors include:,

Dankoff LCB - Input 12/24/36v DC, 12/24v output. About $350. Available from many distributors including:,

Solar, Misc

Solar Vent Openers for greenhouses – This website sells several kinds including Thermofor, Univent, Regal and Optivent.

Bayless Mk-7 or XL – Made in the UK. Lifts up to 14 lbs. You can buy directly from them online or through greenhouse suppliers. URL:

Oasis Montana has a page where people post their used or surplus solar and alternate energy equipment:

Abraham Solar's webpage has a link for surplus or used items.

Water Purifiers

Watercones - Plastic cones 32" in diameter work by evaporation to convert saltwater to 1.5 liters of drinking water per day in strong sunlight. Note: out of stock as of 4/2012. URL:

PUR/Katadyn - Solar and Manual Desalinators. Manual units are survivor 06 ($1000) and Survivor 35 ($2200). PowerSurvivor units are 40E, 80E and 160E ($3600 to $5200) and are all 12v operated. Prices as of 2012. Available online at: and through adventure wholesalers.

Sea Recovery - Marine desalinators for boats. Consider the Crystal Sea 12v, 24v or 110v models. P.O. Box 5288, Carson, CA 90745. Tel: 800-354-2000 or 310-637-3400 URL:

Blue Spring - Large solar desalinator units. Requires significant solar array to run. Produces 80 to 1800 gallons per day (depending on unit).

Wind power

Southwest Windpower – AIR 403 is the best small windchargers. Costs about $550 for the new 400 watt machine. Installation is cheap and easy because this system is so small and portable. URL: Available through many solar outlets like Abraham Solar and

Whisper Corp. - Excellent units from 600 watts to 4500 watts - cost all below $2.00 a watt. Widely available online including at:

Aermotor Equipment and Parts - Dean Bennett Supply keeps these and Fiasa windmills running. Toll Free: 800-621-4291.

American Windmills - New, used and refurbished windmills and plans for towers. Tel: 530-644-3008 URL:

Aermotor Windmills – New units and parts. P.O. Box 5110, San Angelo, TX 76902 Tel: 800-854-1656 URL:

Airlift Windmills – New windmill lifts water as much as 315' using pumped air bubbles. No moving parts underground. Installs without a crane. 1540 Barton Rd #263, Redlands, CA 92373. Tel: 909-446-1780 URL:

Homesteading and Preparedness

General guides

The One Stop Survival Preparedness Guide. Get it here:

BE SELF RELIANT.COM: This is company with a lot of practical experience in designing and installing self-sufficient and multi-fuel systems within homes. They are based out of Idaho and are quickly developing into a comprehensive one-stop resource for self-sufficiency products and information. This includes: alternative energy, heating, home production, self-reliant skills development, consulting, and installation. They have developed a unique home heating boiler system that uses any available fuel, simply by changing out the burner. It also uses coal and wood. I don't know of any other system that matches this one. All of their systems come with extensive "How To" documentation for the do-it-yourselfer. Phone: (208) 624-3135  or (888) 624-0040  website: Email:

LEHMAN'S CATALOG: The largest of the self-sufficient/back-to-the-land suppliers. Website: . Address: Lehman's Non-Electric Catalog Listing ID 575. Phone: 1-877 438-5346 Email: Mail: Lehman's, 289 Kurzen Road North Dalton, Ohio 44618

REAL GOODS: California and Colorado outlets for full range of back-to-the-land and self-sufficiency products. Website:

appliances, refrigerators

Small Refrigerators: Kenmore, Whirlpool and Frigidaire - Have 15 cubic ft conventional fridges that are very efficient - using less than 1.0 kWh/day or $65 to $78/year.

Large Refrigerators: Kitchen Aid, Whirpool, LG and Kenmore - all produce 22 to 25 cu ft conventional refrigerators with efficiency better than the "Energy Star" limits. Most use at least 1.2 kWh/day or about $75 to $100/year.

Sun Frost – Efficient, quality fridges in 12 or 24v DC, or 110 or 220v AC. Prices: Full size ($3,500) uses less than 1kwh/day, Medium ($3,300) less than 0.75 kwh/day, Under counter units ($2,500 to $1,800) use less than 0.5kwh/day. P.O. Box 1101, Arcata, CA 95518 Tel: 707-822-9095 URL:

SunDanzer – Top-load refrigerators and freezers. Very efficient units. Made for applications with solar power like sailboats. URL: available from several appliance shops online like:

Nova Kool – DC and AC/DC small and medium refrigerators for marine, RV and truck use. Good, durable, units but lacking in thick insulation (because designed for small spaces). $1,200 to $2,000 depending on size. Available at many RV wholesalers. 1578 Hartley Avenue, Coquitlam, BC V3K 7A1 (Canada). Tel: 604 523-6515 URL:

Other good brands include: Norcold (, Tundra ( and Polar Power ( which has unique dual compressors – for fridge and freezer separately.

DIY Solar Refrigeration/Coolers: Several projects online show methods for cooling systems with basic materials such as earthen pots ( or with more advanced materials like ammonia gas it’s possible to make this a solar ice-maker (

Koolatron - Portable 12v coolers use non compressor technology (4 amp). URL: Available at most outdoor stores.

Igloo and Coleman also have portable electric coolers or heaters. Place cooler on its side to operate like a small fridge. Available at outdoors stores or Amazon.

Norcold - Designed for RV's these will operate on propane, DC or AC power. Insulation is thin and needs electric power for lights and thermostat even when running on gas. URL:

Dometic RGE 400 - 7.5 cu. ft. propane fridge (same as Servel brand from Sweden) - about $1,500. Can also buy these with 120volt backup power, or in natural gas or kerosene. Gas units are completely self-sustaining (D-battery required for light). Many RV suppliers distribute this product.

Appliances, wheat grinders

Everything Kitchens - Online shopping with competitive prices on wheat grinders and other countertop kitchen equipment. URL:

Nutrimill – wheat grinder from, Emergency Essentials or Waltons.

Golden Grain Grinder (conventional type of stone mill motorized grinder)

Country Living Grain Mill – Manual wheat grinder with V-groove wheel for quick and easy conversion to electric motor. Cast-iron flywheel for easy turning and smooth flow of flour. 30% less torque or energy required to turn than any comparable hand mill on the market.

Family Grain Mill – This manual grinder is unique in that it offers both a grain mill and a roller mill, as well as a choice of hand-powered or electric, or both. You can mix and match the components any way you want. Buy both options for about $196 from Homestead Products. Tel in Oregon: 541-688-9263. URL:


BOSCH mixer - This unit is the Cadillac of all combination units. There is no higher quality unit around. The unit with all the attachments, including everything imaginable, will run you several hundred dollars. Available at hundreds of online stores.

Kitchenaid Mixer – reliable units with sturdy parts

K-TEC "Champ" Deluxe model with all attachments . Versatile multi-function home food preparation machine.

Appliances, CANNERS and dehydrators

All American is now producing the model 941 (41 quart) pressure canner. Smithfield Implement in Smithfield, UT has them in stock. If you need another source on home canning see .

Universal Peeler - Apple, Potato Peeler (about $30, plus $12 for potato attachments) Emergency Essentials.

Magic Aire and Air Preserve – Food dehydrator On-Line Health Products 387 Yellowstone Ave., Pocatello, Idaho 83201 (800) 789-1577 or (208) 234-9352 .

Harvest Maid (Available at many preparedness stores listed at the beginning.)

Excalibur – Dehydrator with large, square trays make this a popular dehydrator.


Staber 2300 washing machine uses 1 oz., of soap, 21 gallons of water (saves 25 gallons/load), less than 200 watts per load. Spins faster, most of the water is removed. It is a toploader and the clothes go through a door in the rotating drum - not as convenient to load or unload because of the small opening. See Abraham Solar 1-800-222-7242.

ASKO The best of the current models Swedish import--top of the line Euro appliances. Also very high priced

MAYTAG Neptune Mod #MAH3000A. The matching Neptune dryer model MD3000A. Model number for Neptune Super Stack washer/dryer combo is MUE for electric dryer, and MUG for gas. Neptune washer uses 22 gallons of water per cycle instead of the old average amount of 38 gallons per cycle. Spin speed is 800 rpm on the old and 850 on the new. Because of the larger tub size on the Maytag Neptune, less rpm are required to extract the same amount of water as other brands. Use HE (high efficiency detergents) about $1,100.

FRIGIDAIRE (also Gibson) Front Loading Washer FT449GFS - spins up to 850 rpm dryer FSE748GF (matching front load). Low Price: $800 (best buy) also is a true under-counter model. Floor models can be stacked for convenience and without buying any extra cabinet.

MANUAL WRINGER WASHERS - The James Hand Washer is the washer of choice among those who wash by hand as a way of life. Includes tub and wringer. Well-made and durable but costly at over $500. Wringer can be bought separately for $130.00 (part#76-3 Hand Wringer). The company that makes these will sell directly to you. Contact S & H Metal Products Inc., 122 Redman Dr, Topeka, IN (219) 593-2565. Or you can buy through Lehman's catalog, Get Prepared Stuff or call the manufacturer, Lake City Industries at (814) 774-9616 to get a list of the nearest local source to you

Rapid Laundry Washer – cheaper manual option that looks like a plunger but moves water through clothes better. $20 from Lehman’s.

Chamois wringers are also good for removing water. But they cost more ($160) at auto supply stores than the James wringer above.


Prepardness Seeds – Good prices on non-hybrid, non-GMO seeds sealed in moisture-proof packets and stored in #10 cans. 4-5 year shelf life. Much longer if refrigerated. Best to order through wholesalers like Alpine Food Storage (

Territorial Seed Company P.O. Box 27, Lorane, Ore 97451 Tel: 541-942-9547

Harris Seeds 1-800-514-4441


Conley's Mfg. & Sales 4344 E. Mission Blvd., Montclair, CA 91763 Tel: 909-627-0981 URL: (a commercial greenhouse manufacturer. Will send components to you as well as twinwall glazing at wholesale rates).

National Greenhouse a division of Nexus Corporation 10983 Leroy Drive Northglenn, CO 80233 Tel: 303-457-9199 URL: Nexus is a commercial greenhouse manufacturer who has created the National Greenhouse division to focus specifically on low-cost residential greenhouse solutions. Will sell components to you as well as twinwall glazing at wholesale rates).

Greenhouses, components

Armin Plastics Corp. - Supplies a full range of single layer plastic, UV protected greenhouse coverings and suitable for warmer climates. 18901 East Railroad Street City of Industry, CA 91748 Tel: 800-654-8119 URL:

Allied Tube & Conduit - (aluminum square tubing, round tubing etc). 16100 S. Lathrop Ave. Harvey, IL 60426 Tel: 800-882-5543 URL: .

See also warehouse supplies available at steel/metal distributors in all major cities.

See also listings under "Solar, Greenhouse Vent Openers"


KEROSENE LAMP Rapid Kerosene Pressure Lamp uses pressurized fuel and a mantle to generate 500 lumens (300 watt light bulb). Burns 10 hours from one-third gallon kerosene (one filling).

Petromax Multi-Fuel Lantern $120 from Homestead Supply. This German beauty is the cadillac of lanterns. Burns all liquid fuels, nickel finish, very classy. Puts out tremendous light. See:

Dietz Wick-Oil Lamp The best of the old fashioned wick/oil lamps - beautiful and inexpensive. Lanterns Online, .

Humphrey Propane Lamps The oldest and best company

FEATHER QUILTS - The Company Store, 500 Company Store Rd, LaCrosse WI 54601 Tel: 1-800-356-9367. URL:

FULLER BRUSH – Electrostatic carpet sweeper. Sales Item # 101 - Price $49.99. Check with your local Fuller Brush salesperson. Many have internet sites such as

Good site for preparedness items:

food Storage

General NOTES: Best buys in food storage are in bulk dried grains: Wheat, rice, and beans. Due to the shipping weight of bulk foods for storage, it best to buy these items close to home. (Shipping will cost you nearly $40/50 lb bucket, whereas if you can pick it up locally, you save those costs.) You can buy large bags of beans and rice at Cosco and at Sam's Clubs nationwide. You can buy bulk wheat in many locations in the West, as indicated below. However, in the Midwest few grain growers bag any wheat for consumers. The best bet for people in the Midwest is to join together with a few other families and buy grain in bulk from the grower. Load up your pickup truck with grain, and then package it yourself plastic 6 gallon buckets. Many farmers in the Midwest and Canada have small grain cleaners that can take out the dust and other particles from field grain. Use a spoonful of diatomaceous earth per bucket of grain to kill any bugs.

Alpine Food Storage – Small outfit in Utah that can ship within the US. Best prices on the most important storage food items but focuses on those that are healthy for everyday use. 11800 North 6000 West, Highland, Utah 84003. Tel: (801) 319-9111 URL:

Emergency Essentials: Good variety and prices on food goods and preparedness items of all kinds (fairly competitive prices). Order online or via catalog. Tel: (800) 999-1863 URL:

SHELF RELIANT: New and Competitive Utah-based full-service preparedness products. Website Tel: 1-877-743-5373 Address: 810 North 2800 West Lindon, Utah 84042. They also have a Canadian outlet: email:

PROVIDENT LIVING: Excellent online shopping for 72 hour kits and specialty preparedness equipment. They also sell a full range of storage foods. Website:

MAJOR SURPLUS AND SURVIVAL: Biggest of the California survival food and products stores. Website URL: Address: 435 W. Alondra Blvd.; Gardena, Ca 90248 Tel: (800)441-8855 or (310)324-8855 email:

NITRO-PAK: Carries a full line of survival foods and products. Website: /

WALTON FEED: Walton Wheat Full service chemical free supply outlet has all types of survival foods and equipment. Very reputable. 135 North 10th (PO Box 307) Montpelier ID 83254. Tel: 800-847-0465 URL:

Montana Chemical Free Wheat Website:

Lehi Roller Mills - Triple-cleaned hard or soft wheat. Reasonable prices. 833 E. Main St., Lehi, Ut 84043. Tel: (801) 768-4401 URL:

MOISTURE and OXYGEN ABSORBERS – for drypacking.

STORAGE BUCKETS – Ropak West, Tel: 1-800-547-2347. Also available from Emergency Essentials or Alpine Food storage (see above for both).

Water Filters and treatment

Genesis 3000 - Water Distillers (about $250). This portable model fits on a counter-top. Available from several internet retailers, including

Watercones – Floating water distillers. These units convert non-potable water sources such as lakes and oceans into distilled water through evaporation.

PUREFLOW 2000 will remove bacteria, Guardia, cryptosporidium, chlorine, chlorine byproducts, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), trihalomethanes, pesticides, herbicides, tastes, odors, and more. Uses cleanable ceramic microfilter and dense solid block of extruded activated carbon. Approx. $200. URL:

Katadyn - Vario portable camping filter

Berkey- Best filter for removing chlorine, chlorine products and fluoride. Somewhat slow gravity filter units $250 to $350 depending on size. Many distributors including

Aquasana - Uses high tech filters for longer life with low replacement price. Shower filters are also available. Distributed from multiple online sources, but the best price is direct from source:

Big Blue 20" – Generic whole house water filter for a good price. UV sterilization is possible. Good prices at

Aerobic K07 – Oxygen based water purifier combined with potassium. Approx. $20 each retail from local health food stores. Only buy the potassium based liquid with the "K" in the title. Available in bulk from

Water storage TANKS

There are several types of plastic water tanks on the market - all of them preferable to steel in the small to medium sizes. The white tanks are POLYPROPYLENE, colored tanks are usually POLYETHYLENE, and black tanks are ABS plastic. FIBERGLASS tanks are used for the larger reinforced tanks and are not suitable for stored drinking water due to chemical outgassing. I will not list individual suppliers here because these are obtained locally in every rural farm community in the country, including the entire East Coast. Check the Yellow Pages for "tanks" or "water tanks."

WATER BARRELS - New 55 Gallon Polyethylene

Kolaps A Tank - Bladder type, collapsible tank that is useful for hauling water in a pickup, and for temporary storage. It will even act as a giant solar water heater.


Kerosene for lamps: Note do not add alcohol to make it burn hotter.

Stabil – Gasoline stabilizer found at Pep Boys and other Auto Parts stores.

PRI-D (for diesel) and PRI G (gasoline) are the best stabilizers for stored fuels. This additive can keep diesel fuel, kerosene and gasoline fresh in storage. PRI-D & G can actually restore old fuels to refinery specifications (see details at Available from many distributors including

OCTANE BOOSTER: Gives much better mileage on cars where timing is computer controlled to create maximum compression just short of knocking (most modern cars). It can be found at auto parts stores but is cheapest at Wal-Mart. This additive also helps rejuvenate old gasoline, so keep several bottles near fuel storage. Also keep fuel injector cleaners on hand to eliminate residues from old fuel.

Racor Biocide - An insecticide with additives to keep diesel fuel from growing algae and other solid organic matter. Available a marine supply and some automotive stores. Call 1-800-344-3286 for the nearest distributor.

FUEL TANKS – Are available in all major cities. See Yellow Pages or check with local Petroleum distributor.

FUEL PUMPS – Available from online stores such as Northern Tool (

FOOT VALVES Used at the bottom of a suction line. These are available at petroleum equipment dealers or at large plumbing outlets. Here are some sample brands of foot valves: Simmons model 1402, Merril Series 810 (model FV75), Water Ace model RFV75, Brady model SFV75 (plastic).

MILITEC-1 – Oil Additive. I think this is the best oil additive for all types of engines/transmissions and can double the life of an engine: 16 Oz bottle (Half a bottle added to engine oil every 15,000 miles)

REDLINE OIL PRODUCTS - Simply the best racing oils available. Too expensive for me, since I use Militec-1 anyway, I don't feel I need the pricy oil. But I do use their transmission fluids. In a long term crisis, I want the longest life out of the transmission, and these special fluids have proven to be at least twice as good as normal hypoid oil. These products are primarily for manual transmission and differentials. I use 2 oz of Militec-1 in automatic transmission for protection. Available from and many other online retailers.

AMSOIL - Has a full range of very high performance synthetic oils and has the best oil filter systems around. MSOIL INC. AMSOIL Building, Superior, Wisconsin 54880 Phone: (715) 392-7101.


Victoreen 717 surplus survey meters. Range 0-500 rads, comes with detachable ion chamber so you don't have to buy a separate probe to take measurements outside the shelter. Uses 1 "D-Cell" battery. Simple, low tech, reliable. These are not in production anymore but can be bought unused in new condition. Most have not been calibrated since their original production, but they are usually only off by 10-20% at the most, which is not critical for the high dose measurements you would make in a nuclear war. KI4U website:

CALIBRATION NOTE: Meters can be recalibrated if necessary by sending them to or Jordan Nuclear, 3244 Arroyo Seco Ave, L.A. CA 90065. Call for rates: 1-(323) 222-8143. Mgr: Ed Manughian

Nukalert – small keychain unit chirps in the presence of radiation. We like the prices and ease of use of the distributor in CA. URL:

Dosimeter Corporation – Produces top of the line quality radiation meters. Recommend model 3510 with range of 0-3000 rads. Probe is extra. Tel: 1-800-322-8258

Kelly Fallout Meter (KFM) – This kit meter is available for under $20 from Emergency Essentials ( or the plans are free from KI4U (

NUCLEAR preparedness, air filters

LUWA 180 – Swiss nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) filter but it is super expensive (about $6,000). Negative note: this filter mounts inside the shelter where trapped fallout particles can radiate the people in the shelter. US Rep. for the Swiss Luwa Corporation is Sharon Packer, Utah Shelter Systems, PO Box 638, Heber, Ut 84032 URL:

HDT Global – Makes NBC filters for the military. We recommend the M48A1 for up to 100 cfm. It is circular and is perfect for placing over inlet pipes to the shelter. The M98 filter works for larger air supplies but is only cheaper than the LUWA system if you buy the filter alone and build an airtight housing to suit your shelter.

Safe Cell NBC Filter about $3900 from multiple sources:,,

Andair Filters

Honeywell CPZ filters – For a cheaper, non-military-grade option, we recommend the hospital grade air filters for the Honeywell F120 Air Filter Unit. This has three filters - a CPZ chemical filter for removing gases and chemicals, a 95% DOP filter that eliminates 95% of dust at the 0.3 micron level (There is also a HEPA filter option which filters out 99.97% but it isn't paired with the CPZ filter on this model) and a carbon prefilter. Look for these part numbers: Prefilter (32003983), 95% DOP Media filter (32003985), CPZ Module (32003987), Frame for CPZ Module (32003988). Total is about $500. Their plenum is an additional $500 so we recommend building your own. Filter parts are available from

basic air filter – In an emergency your shelter air should at least pass through a carbon filter and HEPA filter located outside the shelter. We recommend stacking 3 Honeywell HEPA filter rings (Honeywell part# HRF-F1) around the inlet air pipe. Seal units together with silicone and wrap with carbon prefilter wrap (part# HRF-AP1). These are very common units and can be ordered from multiple websites including

CO2 MONITOR - Tells you if carbon dioxide from occupant breathing activity is getting too high. Elevated CO2 will cause problems before you run out of oxygen. This unit also senses Oxygen levels too: Industrial Scientific, model CMX271. About $1200, $600 used or repaired. URL:

Cheap CO2 Scrubber from algae growth

CO2 Scrubbers - Homemade carbon dioxide scrubbers: Restoring Calcium Hydroxide from SCUBA rebreather units:

WHOLE HOUSE HYPO-ALLERGENIC FILTERS SYSTEM - The CVI-series EnviroConditioner controls every parameter of indoor air quality. As an integrated part of the HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system, the air in the entire house is processed and distributed through the central air conditioning ductwork. Nothing on the market can compare to the effectiveness of the CVI EnviroConditioner. Very Pricey.

12 VOLT FANS - ITT JABSCO, model 35115-0020. We usually use this Dayton fan from Grainger (part# 2C646). 176 cfm rated (

Nuclear Prepardness, EMP PROTECTORS

Zero Surge: The newest instantaneous clamping technology. Use for all your valuable plug in products like computers. ZeroSurge 944 State Route 12, Frenchtown, NJ 08825 Tel: 800-996-6696 Email: URL: .

Alpha Delta Communications - Coax lightning arrestors, coax switches with surge protectors. P.O. Box 620, Manchester, KY 40962 Tel. 606-598-2029 URL:

Ameritron - Remote coax switches, inrush AC current protector. Louisville Road Starkville, MS 39759 Tel. 601-323-8211 URL:

ICE: Industrial Communication Engineers - Coax lightning arrestors suitable for EMP.Ltd. P.O. Box 18495, Indianapolis, IN 46218-0495 Tel. 317-545-5412 URL:

Polyphaser Corp. Products: top of the line military grade EMP protection equipment. Prime source of all US government equipment, but expensive. Check with ICE first. P.O. Box 9000, Minden, NV 89423-9000 Tel. 702-782-2511

Unishield - Conductive paint for EMP protection. Not sure if available for private purchase. Tel (Sales): 1-757-723-3880 ext 206. URL:

GROUNDING STRAPS - The Wireman stocks copper wire up to #4 AWG, 2-inch flat copper strap, 8-foot copper-clad ground rod and 1 x 1/4 inch bus bar. Certified Quality. 261 Pittman Rd., Landrum, SC 29356 Tel. 800-727-9473 URL:

POTASSIUM IODATE TABLETS Take after any nuclear incident to avoid thyroid contamination by radioactive iodine uptake.


PALS SYSTEM --the very best in extreme cold weather clothing. Available in economical kits or ready-made suits (you add the outer shell by buying high quality Goretex outerwear. contact: PST (Preparedness and Survival Training Institute) in Utah at (801) 785-6027. Ask for the Inner Thermal Lining Kits. They also have a complete series of preparedness training videos on the clothing system and all other aspects of survival. Excellent. Jim Phillip's website is


Convergence Tech, Inc. - Plans to Convert a Mountain Bike: $29 from Bill Gerosa, 12-6 Foxwood Drive, Pleasantville, NY 10570 Tel: 914-773-6749 URL:

ZAP Power System - Add-on package to motorize a mountain bike. Can still pedal with this system. ZAP SX Rear Range 15 miles with SX and 8 miles with DX. Has regenerative charging of battery while going downhill and pedaling. "Electric Cruiser" and mountain bike model can be purchased with the electric package. URL:

Charger Bicycles: Electric bike designed from ground up with the latest innovative technology - multi option pedal assist system, dual chain, 20 mile range.

US Pro Drive - Here's a direct-drive adaptive system with a variable speed controller. The direct drive system mounts on the rear hub of most 26" bicycles and weighs 6 lbs. The battery shell locks. Most people change out the awkward thumb throttle to a twist grip type. Van Nuys, CA 91406 Tel: (818) 947-0366.

EV Rider, Inc., - Mostly electric powered wheeled carts, but also have a folding electric bike. 060 Commerce Boulevard, North, Sarasota, Florida 34243 USA Toll-Free: 888-RIDEREV(743-3738) Fax: 941-351-2699,

Electrobike, Inc. Complete bike with 20 mile range:


ELECTRO AUTOMOTIVE - This is the most economical way to get an electric vehicle. Convert a pickup or van to electric use with batteries and solar panels. Great when gas becomes unavailable, but maximum range is typically 40 miles. The most experienced one stop shop for all necessary items is in California: P.O. Box 1113, Felton CA 95018-1113.

radio communication, suppliers

Amateur Electronic Supply (AES) - Largest mail order supplier of ham radios and antennas. 5710 W Good Hope Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53223 Tel: 1-800-558-0411 URL:

Ham Radio Outlet - Major competitor to AES, with more stores around the country. 390 Diablo Rd., Suite 210, Danville, CA 94526 Tel (Corporate Sales): 800-444-4799. URL:

Universal Radios - Old standard in radio sales. 6830 Americana Parkway, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068 Tel: 800 431-3939. URL:

Radio Shack - Nationwide electronics parts, radios, telephones and security systems. Scanners and CB radios but no ham radio equipment. Tel (order line): 1-800-843-7422 URL:

Radio communication, Transceivers

HF TRANSCEIVERS (transmit and receive; compact and portable) require a ham radio license which is not hard to get. The 4 major manufacturers of ham radios are Yaesu, Icom, Kenwood, and Standard – all of which put out extremely high quality products. Radios have a similar range. If you aren't going to get deep into ham radio (which requires a lot of study and time), choose an HF transceiver that has the minimum features plus a built-in antenna tuner. These will cost between $1,200-$2,000. Don't go for the top of the line models as they are very complex and hard to remember how to use.

Desktop Ham Radios - Kenwood TX-50S 12 volt (can be mounted in a vehicle), Kenwood TS-850S/AT (Desktop only) has built in antenna tuner.

HANDHELD PORTABLE UHF, VHF radio – Portable base station units, capable of dual band and acting as a repeater: Kenwood TM733 (2m/440mhz), (2m/440mhz) Kenwood TH-79A

Radio communication, antennas and towers

Rohn Towers – Mostly radio towers but also copper strap and tower grounding products. P.O. Box 2000, Peoria, IL 61656 Tel. 309-697-5612 Rohn products available through Amateur Electronic Supply or Ham Radio Outlet (see above)

Car mount antenna: Diamond NR-72BNMO, base station Diamond X-200A.

CB antennas, see Radio Shack catalog

MOBILE HF antenna: Outbacker Perth. Vertical Home base ant: Cushcraft R7.

Short Wave Antenna for your portable: SWL antenna , Ham Radio Outlet.

Radio communication, Scanners

Scanners - Listen to radio chatter from Police, EMT and other "Public Safety" as well as aviation, marine and utility radio transmissions. In big metropolitan areas police and city radio transmission keep getting more complex with computer controlled channel swapping to maximize their bandwith. Scanners have kept pace except for some localized systems in big cities and encrypted government transmissions. Many counties now use trunking and digital scanners which require a more sophisticated (and expensive) scanner. We found the FAQ page at Scanner Master to be helpful ( and their prices on new products are usually competitive. See also Ham Radio Outlet (

Pre-programmed units - These are easy to use, just input your location. Subscription-free updates of frequencies using USB cable or SD card keep your unit tracking the frequencies around you.

GRE PSR-700 Scanner is the cheapest ($190) but receives trunked systems only in analog (not suitable in some big cities).

Uniden HomePatrol - receives digital trunked systems and is very popular ($500).

Desktop units - Consider Uniden Bearcat models and comparable GRE or Radioshack units.

Antennas for scanners - Home base station: Diamond D130J. Car-mount: Spectrumforce Wideband ($20) or Austin Spectra ($120) for tuned 4-band. Available from most radio shops.

Radio communication – CB and walkie talkies

Family Radio Service (FRS) - No license required, 1-2 mile, 0.5 watt powered. These are the cheapest alternatives to ham radio for short distance communication. Like a walkie talkie, only higher quality. Available at electronic and large department stores.

40 Channels, no license required. 4 watts maximum power, though many transmit at higher powers illegally. Most CB radios cost less than $100. Available at all radio stores.

short wave radio

Short Wave Radio - Receive news and stations from all over the world. Critical in an emergency. Common bands include AM, FM, Aircraft Band (118-137 MHz) and Shortwave (1711-30000 KHz). Some units will even receive some Ham Radio transmissions.

Sony ICF-SW100s - The ultimate in miniature-sized world band receiver (size of cassette). Available second-hand ($200) from online retailers like Amazon or Ebay.

Eton Globe Traveler ($100) and TECSUN PL660 ($160) - Intermediate brands that also offer aviation bands (communications between and for aircraft)

Sony ICF-SW7600G - Best buy of the medium-sized, fully capable receivers ($300).

ETON (Grundig) Satellite 750 - Excellent desktop unit for serious shortwave reception. SSB reception for eliminating interference. AM, FM, Aircraft Band and Shortwave. About $275.

Hand crank and/or solar powered shortwave (SW) radios - Although there are many reliable handcrank radios that receive AM, FM and Weather well, we have yet to find one with even decent shortwave reception. The Kaito KA009 ($40) is no exception but we like it receives AM, FM, shortwave (4 -26 Mhz), Aviation (118-137 Mhz) and TV1&2 (useless for new digital TV transmissions). Also Consider the Eton (Grundig) FR350 ($150) or Kaito Voyager Pro ($80). Better to just generate power for conventional receivers. Small options include a hand crank generator (K-TOR pocket socket, $75) or solar rechargeable batteries ($150 and up). All these are available via Amazon or through most emergency supply stores.



Amweld series 1544, bullet resistant to Level 3 (high powered handguns) about $1,500 including high security locks. Amweld Building Products, Inc.,1500 Amweld Drive Garrettsville, Ohio 44231 Email: Tel: 1.330.527.4385. Http://

Trussbilt level III and level IV ballistic protection available. Trussbilt's detention hollow metal products are used in prisons, jails, juvenile facilities and detention centers worldwide.

ARMORED STEEL PLATE - Custom ordered for door sized 5/16" tempered steel - level 4 protection - 7.62 high velocity military rounds). Order from Heflin Steel Phoenix, Az Tel: 1-800-528-4021 or local 252-8061. Attach this plate to a SteelCraft Series B-14 door with pour-in-place F-14 steel frame (for 8" concrete. If you are near a large city in the East, call around to see if any steel distributors carried tempered steel or armored steel plate.


Bulldog Direct - Kevlar fiber building panels for protecting walls P.O. Box 8561 Cincinnati, Ohio 45208-8561 Tel: (513) 281-6700 Website: .


KEVLAR REINFORCING PANELS AND WEBBING FOR HOMES - 4X8 kevlar/fiber reinforced panels. Use webbing to create an earthquake or tornado-proof room or closet in the home. Nail special kevlar webbing crosswise (X-pattern) around home or walls to make powerfully rigid shear walls. Also binds home down to foundation. Tape is 3" wide in 100 foot rolls and about the thickness of a nickel. --Very strong stuff.

BULLET-PROOF FABRICS, VESTS (Nick Taylor) Brand-name bullet proof vests and body armor accessories at discounted prices. Very reliable source you can trust. URL:

Bulldog Direct P.O. Box 8561 Cincinnati, Ohio 45208-8561 Tel: (513) 281-6700 Website: .


Alpine Armoring Inc. 503 Carlisle Drive, Herndon, Virginia 20170 Tel: 703-471-0002 or 1-800-992-7667 .

Bulldog Direct: Do-it-yourself source. Armored Vehicle Kits. Armored vehicle kits provide N.I.J. level IIIA hand gun protection from: 9 mm, .357 mag., .44 mag., and higher. Each armor kit comes with installation instructions. Bulldog Direct, P.O. Box 8561, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A., 45208-8561 Tel: (513) -281-6700 URL: .


Roto Frank (German made) high strength skylights. Website: Available in US at skylight distributors.

Andersen Windows makes a triple laminate glass with polymer layers in between. These windows are intrusion-proof, and will not scratch like Shattergard film. This is the glass system they use on their high strength (hurricane-proof) skylights. You can order this glass in their regular window line as well. Cost is about 30% higher than standard glass/wood windows. Andersen Windows (available at window suppliers everywhere).

SPECIALTY METAL HATCH DOORS The biggest and best company to supply all types of specialty hatch doors (roof, floor, and wall hatches) is Bilco door - long known for their sloping basement/tornado shelter doors. URL: The Bilco Company, P.O. Box 1203, New Haven, Connecticut 06505 Tel: 203-934-6363.

WINDOW WELL SECURITY - The Improvement Network ( ) markets a full range of lexan plastic window well covers for emergency escape and security against entry. Tel: 888/934-6776.


Jarrett, Inc, Full range of custom hurricane-proof windows made to order, set in traditional window frames. 1-800-533-5097 .

Shatterguard - Unbreakable film backing to standard glass - can be applied to existing windows. Makes windows bullet-proof to small caliber (.22) weapons and makes windows inpenetrable to intruders. You can also use this on car side and rear windows to keep thieves from breaking in, which is highly recommend.

security DOORS

SteelCraft – Steel security doors. This company makes the heaviest gauge production doors available. You can get both B14 doors and 14 gauge frames which are bullet-resistant to some small .22 or 25 caliber arms. To order the lock prep option, specify opt. 161. Contact: SteelCraft 9017 Blue Ash Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242 Tel: (513) 745-6400 or Toll Free: (800) 243-9780

DEANSTEEL DOORS: This is the only manufacturer of steel doors that is suitable for the gravel fill option, since the two outer skins of metal are connected physically to each other so they will not spread apart as other stiffened doors. Order their steel utility door without insulation along with a double deadbolt prep 1/3 the door height from top and bottom of door. Do not mention you intend to fill the door with gravel. Just order the door and jamb in 14 gauge steel, and once filled with ½ minus gravel, it will be bullet proof for all normal handgun loads. Specify ball bearing hinges to handle the increased weight. DEANSTEEL MANUFACTURING CO. 111 Merchant Street, San Antonio TEXAS 78204, 800-825-8271 toll free

VAULT DOORS - Homeland Safes has a cheaper unit than both the Liberty Safe or Fort Knox units recommended in High Security Shelter report (appendix) for retrofit onto a closet or security room.

AMSEC – Lightweight vault door. Model VD8030 Door opening: 77-1/2" H x 26-1/2"W Weight: 550 lbs. American Security Products Co. 11925 Pacific Avenue Fontana, CA 92337 Tel: 1-800-421-6142.



The latest technology uses hydraulic actuators instead of gear motors.

STANLEY full range of residential and commercial gates and opening types (available nationwide) call 1-800-STANLEY for distributor info.

Mighty-Mule Gate Openers: GTO Inc. 738 Capital Circle NW, Tallahassee, Fl. 32304 Tel: 1-800-543-4283.


ALL SEASON ROLLING SHUTTERS: These people have the best product on the market now.

Roll-A-Way offers rolling or accordion shutters in Aluminum, PVC, or clear Lexan. email: Rollaway National Headquarters 10601 Oak Street NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33716 Tel: (800) 683-3230 (888) ROLLAWAY.

Rolsafe URL: 5845 Corporation Circle Fort Myers, FL, 33905 Tel: (941) 694-5400 Fax: (941) 694-8000 Toll Free: 1 800 833-5486

Rolladen: Top of the line, most expensive system, aluminum, PVC rolling shutters. Rolladen also produces working colonial security shutters. Tel: (800) 748-8837.


LIBERTY SAFE CO Builds gun safes for home installation. Springville, Utah (801) 489 8550 (also builds National and Remington brand safes).

Vault Doors: Fort Knox builds one of the best, with inward opening door options and an inside release---essential if you use it on a safe room where you want to close yourself in.

 FLOOR SAFES - Hayman Safes (Website:, Adesco Floor Safes (Website )


Medeco: Has special pins and key that rotates the lock tumbler pins to prevent picking. URL: (Available at Locksmiths everywhere).

Assa 6000 - pickproof, double-keyed, drill resistanct deadbolt (at locksmiths nationwide).

High security door hardware

ELECTRIC DOOR STRIKES - Von Duprin Company, Strike Force electric latches.

BRONZE PIVOT BEARINGS - For concealed pivoting cabinet (about $3 for a set of two). All major cities have bearing specialty shops. Check the phone book. Ask for oil-impregnated brass or bronze bushings.


Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) Learn all about it from URL:

home Security systems

ELK SECURITY SYSTEMS: Best quality for the price. Also has IPhone or IPad option to view cameras remotely.

GE SECURITY PRO - Security Pro 6000 (Another ITI company for wireless or hardwired connections) URL: .

The Security Pro® 6000 can deliver as much security as you want. It starts out as an attractive entry-level system, but its unique design lets you upgrade it easily--at your pace--so you never have to pay for more system than you want. Add powerful options like wireless sensors that check their own operation so you always know whether the system is working properly. Add light control for added security and convenience. Add telephone control for remote operation, audio verification for false-alarm prevention. Add the peace of mind of numeric paging in emergencies and you'll see what makes the Pro 6000 one of the most valuable additions to any home or business.

HONEYWELL: Used to be APEX (hardwired) Advantage has the latest in voice prompting technology (voice tells you where intrusion is). It also has numerous control features included which allow you to control lights and equipment automatically. See the 6100 or 6100-wt Security panels at URL .

ADT Pro Custom: (hardwired or wireless) ADT is the largest national chain of alarm systems. The ProCustom system has most of the features that the Honeywell/Apex system has, including voice annunciation and being able to check the whole house from any master keypad. 1-800-238-3009 or Check out the entire listing and description of all the different types of security devices you can order:


Mountain West Supply Co. 9405 E. Doubletree Ranch Road, #B234, Scottsdale, AZ 85258 local Tel: 602-971-1200 Toll Free: 1-800-528-6169.

Security Base - .

INTERCOMS with Cameras – Nutone, inc. Get their top of the line unit, with remote listen in, plus up to 10 cameras.

VEHICLE ALARM SYSTEM - Mobile Alert Vehicle Security System from Radio Shack. Also consider Optima II (monitors vehicle electric system for any turn on, or motion ) from a variety of online sources. Sample: .

HIDDEN VIDEO CAMERAS - Security Base Phone: 1-800-616-0213 URL: (has the widest selection of covert video cameras. Look under "CCTV").

VIDEO MOTION DETECTION - Quark manufactures a complete line of Video Motion Detectors, from lower resolution (generally indoor use) 8, 12, and 18 channel devices (the Q-line) to enhanced 4 & 8-channel unit (the ESP-line) to the NET-line of 4 & 8 channel high resolution devices. URL: 1 800 327 5616.

DTS-1000 A more expensive commercial lineup of equipment to allow computers to detection intrusion and motion from a video surveillance camera. Website:

MICROWAVE FENCE AND PERIMETER DETECTION - SouthWest Microwave , Tempe, Arizona. INTREPID system - uses coax cable and sensor to detect any vibration (3 yards accuracy) on fence from climbing. Their MICRONET system is even more accurate and displays to a computer screen with map of your property layout.

SURVEILLANCE AND ANTI-SURVEILLANCE EQUIPMENT - Electromax International Inc. 11140 Westheimer, #276, Houston, Texas 77042 Tel: (281) 531-7437. Check out the full range of high-tech equipment available for surveillance and for counter-surveillance work. .

DRIVEWAY MONITORS - DWA-3 Suitable for burying beside driveway - so you won't have to dig up asphalt or concrete drive. ($200) URL: .

GARAGE DOOR OPENER ENCRYPTION - These systems rotate the codes on your door openers so they cannot be reused by a burglar who uses a special electronic eavesdropper to record your code. All new garage door openers come with this system built-in. Code Encrypter Plus, or Code Encrypter II, by RCI Automation, (619) 484-6307 URL: .

STRESS FLOOR DETECTORS - Pressure sensors for use under flooring or roofs or under decks of boats for marine security.

PULSORS (8000 series) by Sure Action, Inc URL: .

GPS VEHICLE LOCATORS - To protect against auto theft or carjacking and kidnapping in your own vehicle. Small transmitter is hidden in vehicle which allows a GPS signal to alert a North American tracking company of the vehicle location.

Aertrax Vehicle Locator Address: AerComTec International, 1359 Silver Bluff Rd., Suite G-5, Aiken, South Carolina 29803 Tel: (803) 649-2900. Available from many sites online: Sample:

ROOM FOGGER - Smoke Cloak fogs the room in seconds with a dense, non-toxic glycerin-based fog that dissipates with no residue. This is an excellent passive defense against mobs or vandals entering the home. Smokecloak Ltd., 10 Cochran Close, Crownhill, Milton Keynes, MK8 0AJ, ENGLAND Phone : 44 (0) 1908 567007 URL Email:

firearm products

Cheap Ammunition:

MAG-SAFE AMMO: Special penetrating shotgun type ammo for auto weapons. Awesome and deadly stuff.

SILENT .22 AMMO: CCI brand, CB CAP cartridges - at most gun shops.

SPOTTING SCOPES, TELESCOPES - For a great place to buy binoculars, spotting scopes, telescopes, and accessories, try Eagle Optics at or call 1-800-289-1132

TRITICON glowing night sights: Armson, 1-313-553-4960.

Soundproofing foam for shooting ranges - see Construction, Soundproofing, Insulation

Wolf Ears – Hearing amplification muffs. These specialty ear muffs will not only amplify small sounds, but they will attenuate loud sounds so that everything comes within your hearing comfort range. These are a must for combat shooting when you want ear protection but not so much as to keep you from detecting intrusions. These are very high tech. Here is the online source list:


BOWIE KNIFE: Western Cutlery 9-1/2" blade Available at local knife shops that carry Western Cutlery products. Here's a pic:

MAG-NA-PORT ARMS - recoil reduction mod to weapons. 41302 Executive Dr., Mt. Clemens, MI 48045 Tel: 1-313-469-6727.

Williams Trigger Specialties - smooth trigger mods RR 1, Box 26-G, White Heath, Il 61884, Tel: 1-217-762-7377.

DILLON Reloading Press: best of the progressive reloading presses.