Category Archives: Self-Sufficiency

SoftBaugh Launches Small Business Blog

Running a small business has always been an important topic here at Starving the Monkeys. To help with this, SoftBaugh has started a new small business blog. For those of you who remember the Midnight Engineering magazine, that blog will have a similar mix of practical, hands-on tips and anecdotes, including guest articles from people […]

Double Conversion UPS, Part I

After a long hiatus, Old School Tech has posted the first article in a new series, this time about creating a double-conversion uninterruptible power supply, which is useful for driving loads such as freezers or mission-critical items. Like a computer UPS, this power supply waits, fully-charged, until it is needed. Unlike a computer UPS, however, […]

Repost: Rules of the House

ed. This is a repost of an article from last year, prior to the new blog format here. Those who followed my advice to watch “Welcome to Leith” will recognize some of the lessons-learned from that mockumentary, especially the need to have a light touch on the community even in the face of official hostility. […]

Multicolor Off-Grid Christmas Lights

Old School Tech has released the final article in the off-grid Christmas light series, this time with a discussion about multi-color lights, their analysis and a useful generic design procedure. Homeschoolers will find a nice wrap-up in this article with a more scientific process that makes a great science project, linking science, electronics and statistics. […]

Red Off-Grid Christmas Lights

Old School Tech has published the latest in their off-grid emergency lighting series, this time on the adaptation of red LED Christmas lights for off-grid DC operation. Red LEDs have an important application to community defense purposes, in that they help preserve night-vision. As such, they are uniquely useful for use in an operations center […]

Testing Emergency Solar Christmas Lights

Old School Tech has released a new article in the emergency solar Christmas light series, a topic of interest to self-sufficiency enthusiasts who need a little bit of extra light in those dark corners but don’t want to use valuable inverter capacity. This time, an easy-to-make test fixture is described which overcomes the quality problems […]

Extracting Potash

Old School Tech has released an article about extracting raw potash from wood ashes. Future projects will refine and use this raw product for interesting things. Not only does this project make a great homeschool chemistry lesson, it also sets the stage for some chemical processes of interest to self-sufficiency enthusiasts. As mentioned in that […]

Emergency Solar Christmas Lights

Old School Tech has posted an article about converting Christmas LED light strings into emergency DC lighting for use directly from an off-grid battery array, no inverter required. This kind of lighting is great for safety-critical areas and allows a reliable backup source of lighting when other sources fail. Annoying AC flicker is also eliminated. […]