ShopTalk Sunday: Back-up Home Heating, Starlink In

Plus, some other nifty topics this morning, including my Yaupon Hedge experiment.  So, kick back with another cup and let’s think this project called Life through a little deeper…

If War Is Coming

We sure hope reasonable shows up at the party soon.  Because the accounting for this Ukraine War (thanks to maneuvering by the neoliberals and the War Party) is getting tough to keep track of.  May be up to $25 billion already, but we just jot numbers down as the mainstream spews them by.

Given This: What do we Buy?

An upcoming Peoplenomics article Wednesday will go into system design, but one of the items we picked up this week is an 8 KW diesel parking heater.  The kind that are wildly popular among long-haul truckers.  Originated by Espar and Webasto (which were and remain very spendy) the Chineseum knock-offs on Amazon get reasonable reviews and put out between 20-30,000 BTU’s of heat.

After looking them over, I decided to get two of the Bestauto 8KW Diesel Air Heater Muffler Diesel Heater 12V 10L Tank Diesel Parking Heater units off Amazon for $130 a pop plus a bulkhead feedthrough for exhaust fumes.  What tipped me over was a fellow who installed one in a moderately well insulated cabin-type home who reported it kept things warm down into single digits.  Sure, works for us. And since off-road diesel can be used, it was a no brainer.

The fact is, we could use at least three of them.  One would go into the main shop area which – due to its construction – leaks heat and cooling like a sieve.  Plans call for a few tubes of spray in high-expansion foam and attention to roof-wall sealing in particular.  As time permits. But for $130 bucks (and a 12V power supply and some diesel) throwing BTUs into the shop in the winter is a no brainer.

A word about heat ratings because it’s confusing.

When you are converting watts to BTUs the easiest thing to remember is that 15-amp electrical load should generate about 5,280 BTUs.  We can see where 1800 watts for 5,280 BTUs would be a “readily recallable relationship.”

However, even higher precision (without a consult with Nick the HVAC engineer) would be remembering that 1 W is equal to 3.41 BTU/h.  Therefore, 3.41 times 8000 would give us 27,280 BTUs.  That would still be like running more than five plug-in heaters in the shop without having to run a lick of wiring.

Which is good, because the shop is loaded down already with enough tool power (and a summer a/c unit) that we would have to add a subpanel to toss in more electrical.  And dig up the #6 AWG feeder line to the shop and upgrade to #4 AWG.  Seeing how one “simple” solution like 5 $25 dollar heaters blows up?

John McK: God of Diesel Heaters

Seriously.  THE MAN  on Youtube is John McK from Oz who has more than a dozen videos which literally can turn you into an expert on diesel heaters in no time:  Start with his first one:

These came highly recommended by my consigliere who is looking at one for his camping trailer (bugout ready).  I’ve looked at these in the past, but prices have continued to plummet.  $130 bucks?  Are you kidding me?

Plus, they will be a bit less than a gallon of diesel per day.  Which translates to whatever a gallon of diesel costs in your life (and taxes, if we can separate them).

Where to use them?

We have multiple specific options where these would fit in nicely.

  • Shop:  Keeping it workable during cold weather.  Below about 55, or so, even the Scandahoovian gene pool aided by highland Arabica has a bitch of a time keeping work flowing 4 or 5 months of the year.
  • Greenhouse Lean-To: There is already a 100-watt solar panel so the 12-volt requirements would be partially met.  Not to mention being able to grow cool weather crops year-round.
  • G2’s Mini House:  Since he plans to be back later this year to start building and doing, one of these would be the kick-ass center heating unit for what he figures will be (from what I gather) 600-700 SF of living space. (If he gets cold, I figure he’ll visit the shop, lol.)
  • Backup Whole House heat:  it would be pie-simple to install one of these in a small weather-resistant box (fireproofed inside, of course) and ducting warm air into a regular stick-built home.  My logic is that if 5-plug-in heaters would keep a house well above freezing, just think of the mess and plumbing cost savings avoiding just one hard winter freeze with utilities failing might save!

As you can see, having one and a spare to feed into future plans may never be around at these prices again.  A few extra glow plugs and precision metered fuel pumps and presto!

Watch the whole John McK (God of Heaters) vids and you’ll love ’em.

Yaupon: Ure Hedges Everything

Elaine and I bought this place (the original 13 acre part) in 2003.  When we moved in, one of my first “quickie” construction jobs (assisted ably by my brother-in-law) was to put a better roof and enclose pole cornered wood crib.  There was once a wood stove in the house and the previous owners cut and stacked for it all the time.

One of the big mysteries that I hadn’t fully appreciated until just Saturday of this week was why in God’s name would they have put a piece of horizontal R panel along the east side of the building.

Then it hit me as my Great Yaupon Hedge Experiment began what they were up to.

I had let the Yaupon grow up to about the blue line.  Then with a fresh battery in the electric hedge trimmer, in no time, the deed was done. Fallout in foreground

Reason for the metal?  Finally solved after being a 20-year mystery.  Well, it’s OK for plants to grow up against metal.  Who cares, right?  And that was the superb kind of engineering the previous owners left as gifts which we wonder if other city refugees might not appreciate.  There’s an art to proper red necking projects for max returns over time even if it hasn’t been in Sunset or Southern Living yet.

The Starlink Adventure

After pissing away some valuable time trying to get the Starlink app to run on an Android phone (“Your phone is not compatible with this App”) and then trying to get the Starlink App to download and run using Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) another time-sink, and finally getting nowhere with Starlink on the Kindle‘s (Fires, 7 and 10) I finally said “Screw it, let’s just do it the old-fashioned way and make shit happen!”

Plopped the base unit on the ground up by the first rack of solar panels, like so – Yes, that’s right:  In the shade of our legacy (turn off the world if I feel like it) C-band uplink/downlink.  The blue arrow points to the Dishy uplink unit:

Verging on tiny, it’s easy to move and 75-feet of cable is provided.  Though we didn’t measure it.

To log into the router is easy – not secured and you can get there via its I*P address ( or via if you don’t have the Microsoft swat team guarding ports.

Just look for the new wireless network called STINKY.  A name Mr. Musk chose because he thought people (politically correct and crazy as they are) would be anxious to change.  Not remembering that hallowed names in the South include Snuffy and Stumpy.  A southerner of any duration would just reckon that’s the crowd Stinky ran with…

I have to say optimizing this puppy is dirt simple.  Look at that picture from south and a step east of the dish up above.  Now, here’s how the display in the modem set-up looks when you’re trying to find “clear air” for Stinky:

This is a moving display, and you can clearly see (looking at the picture above this one) which trees have death warrants out on ’em.

Elaine, not hugging trees lately because we’re in bark scorpion season, has expressed a preference for the Budweiser Engineering Dept. to draft an alternate approach.  Some nonsense about raising the dish onto the tower (higher) or maybe taking down the C-band because blacking out the global internet by collapsing C-band has already become “too late” as a novel plot.

(We cancelled the multiple uplink transmitter order from California Microwave years ago, concluding that retirement in East Texas would be better than retirement to a federal prison.)

Grudgingly, I’ve been applying AeroKroil to the rusty bolts so they will jump off the old C-band dish. A buck’s worth of used rebar and a single ought tip on the oxy rig should reduce the dish to a large fire save hollow into which the screen fire pit can be placed.  Anything to eliminate trimming grass,

Talk About Performance

If you’re still one of the victims stuck in unsustainable Big Cities, which will all go broke and turn into urban disasters when the drugs and free money runs out (along with the food) and as drug cartel relatives house-squat you out of home, remember you had faster internet than us for several decades.

Technology has come to the woods, hallelujah!

When we got here (2003) it was by-God dial up.  9600 with occasional noise bumps.  Writing the website was easy.  Waiting for words to appear gave me plenty of time to think, eat, go for walks…

About 2009, or so, Sprint begat Embarf begat (some other corporate bastard-child) and eventually CenturyLink oversold it’s HDSL so everyone was equally slow out here:  Yes, this is a “bandwidth exhausted” territory even now.  So, our backup back-up performs like this:

In fairness, in the middle of the night and early mornings the landline HDSL gets to 1.4 M down and 1.2 M up.

A bit later, a series of satellite providers (most recently ViaSat) have come to the rescue of business folks with this kind of performance:

This is a “rescue?”

As I explain to Peoplenomics readers – and you might as well be in on the secret too – if you run a speed test and you’re on satellite, the 45-thousand-mile round trip up to the geosynchronous birds and back to flat Earth is 244 milliseconds.  Which is key to remember when M-Lab reports tells me the latency of ViaSat and Starlink is about equal.  Utter bullshit. Or not – if you just don’t mention the reality that radio flight time matters to stupid consumers.

OK – granted Starlink is not fully turned up in this area yet and our service is slow with occasional speed bumps, however this is how it’s typically running before we fix the “visibility issue”:

Internet salespersons may try to sell you “Ping times don’t matter.”  If they tell you that, find a grown-up to deal with instead.  All wireless systems have errors (multipath losses, requests to retransmit data, and all that falderal). Ping times really DO matter. Flight time matters.

Elon Musk is a controversial figure – no doubt.  But he has delivered a superior product from a cesspool of otherwise digital mediocrity.

Well done, bro.

Our voluntary downscaling and fleeing corporate bullshit sooner than later has at last paid off.

Lambda’s on the desktop might be nice – but as a practical matter, there’s no point provisioning much further than 2 or 3 simultaneous 8K video streams, is there?  I mean until 8KH comes out.  But of course, that will involve adding the 3rd dimension depth packets and regenerating existing content as 8KH (holographic) might not be something any of us will live long enough to see on a monthly bill. Besides that, who wants sensors in the living room so the perspective on screen can move as you do? Unless you just can’t sit still and watch?

Back to ham radio till the light comes up.  Still planning to swap out the North-South OCFD antenna with a G5RV – a ham-oriented data study when that’s done and reports are collected.

Write when your list is all finished, mine is long as ever, but the metal roof work contractors will be out Thursday and no rain in the five-casts. (One more day than a fourcast, right?)

author avatar
George Ure
Amazon Author Page: UrbanSurvival Bio:

33 thoughts on “ShopTalk Sunday: Back-up Home Heating, Starlink In”

    • You’re right. My son the Park Ranger makes this for his overnighters sometimes. And George knows it is doubtful East Texas will ever be short of yaupon…

    • just don’t put any berries in it.. the leaves are non toxic but the berries are..

  1. Just wanna let you know, I’ve reread those dopamine links and also went searching deeper about levels too high, symptoms and effects. – strangely I look at the view presented by the (man in the box) and don’t see a Parkinson’s effect. (?) Everything else, is apparent. – CBD to the rescue, or something better, perhaps?

    Midnight shift nurses have a saying: “Keep’em alive till 7:05.”

    Which might be why September came and went.

    • That may(or may not) hold for October too. I can’t see that for November though, after the midterm selections.

    • “Midnight shift nurses have a saying: “Keep’em alive till 7:05.”

      that one and Warm the blankets …..let the paper cowboys ride during the day LOL LOL… the new trend is hire anchor nursing positions. their job is to answer the phone and man the desk put their license on the line for the techs.. LOL LOL the hospitals have learned that hiring a med tech .. or a surgical tech… pharmacy tech, etc etc etc.. that they can cut the wages by two thirds.So on the pretence that they are supporting higher education they do the annual witch hunt get rid of the higher paid with bennies positions and so they hire one Licensed person to overlook .. well I don’t know about the area’s that stack em like cordwood.. but around the wastelands one licensed person will take on the responsibility for nine to twenty tech.. ( what could possibly go wrong RIGHT) and in many cases the techs are just as good or better than the license carrier.. your blood draws will be smoother and your IV’s are as well.. there is one tech that started her own business and is the one to call if they have an issue that no one can get.. she is good.. like the little short fella with a cowboy hat on and no teeth.. he was acu premie.. non better..he just never made enough to afford to get his teeth fixed..
      the reason they are better is they have more exposure..they are the floor workers.. a desk anchor can move a pencil faster and smoother than anyone I have ever seen.. but riding the desk waves.. they loose touch.. use it or loose it.. sort of like my doing mol’s and logs in my head .. then stopped doing them.. and realizing I had lost that ability.. they have the technical knoweledge but have lost the practical experience edge they had..
      and CBD… boy I have read a few thousand pages of research on the product.. why they don’t legalize it is all a business model for some billionaire someplace to continue to make more.. the dumb plant is a miracle plant.. like the dandelion.. or one of many many more that are hated because of some money grubber..
      sure there are those that will abuse it.. or get addicted to its effects.. but then there are people that are allergic to milk and you can get high drinking water..

  2. Editor – OFM Sunday Update,

    “Always with the negative waves, Moriority.” Stop the negative waves, lest we get sucked into a negative future/outcome..Should listen to Oddball – he knows -

    Fiat on avg lasts 75 yrs…we been getting sodomized (BIS/FRN’s) for over a 100 years – this vehicle to our Enslavement is dying as I type, and the big boyz & gurlz are feeling it. USD goes paraparaBOLIC, prior to the fall.

    For sure , this one will tickle all Ure “Longfellows” ..

    Slave Coin = CBDC’s -will fail – “HackAttackz” is going 2 kill em all, before they perform their black money magik again. NO WORRIES , get out da BeastofBurden mindset and into the light (know-trust thyself).

    *In da mean time, and I mean MEAN-Times, allow me to shed some light onto Ure cyrpto future. 1st things first – Get thee out of the sandbox, media comes some Truths;

    >EVERYTHING of VALUE – will be Transacted on distributed ledger-blockchain – Everything .

    >Entire WEALTH of planet is going into this System.

    >EVERYTHING is going to be tokenized – flushing toilet, driving car, shooting Ure rifle, getting a prescription…

    *the following IS not Financial advice..far from it – this information for all youse to flourish in the future, or not. Remember what Yoda said..DO or DO NOT, there is no try.

    Every currency on the planet is COLLAPSING, cept USD, which is bout to go Parabolic. Future of MONEY is cyrpto- wake up and eat it, its going to be good for you,(spoonful of sugar will help it go down), if you can pay attention and DO!

    Preservation of Wealth – Bitcoin
    Profit-Dividend – Business Technology – Ethereum
    Evil Bankers/usually dont lose – XRP
    Media/Entertainment Tech – Theta
    Green -Energyweb
    Tech Func. – Chainlink
    Cool-De-La little guy /Pump&Dump fun – Shiba Inu

    This “once in a lifetime” opportunity is presenting itself, AGAIN!

    At least for the ones of Us who are not ruled by our own Ego’s. “dude didnt win, ego did..”

    Freedom & Liberty – the pursuit of Happiness.. takes hard work, not anti Bitcoiners afraid to get their “paws”s dirty – prolly splains why there is a dearth of cat coinz. Cats, Cat owners are naturally risk averse, sorry no link to recent University study investor types (cat owners vs dog owners). You will just have to take it like everything else – on Faith, (or do the research), and how has that ever worked out – Suckas! bwahahahahahahahah

    **Ole Farts Manual – looking forward to purchasing..a 1st edition, signed..Thanks.

    • Let me check the lone gold round. (pause) Nope, no signs of wear.

      Meantime the lifespan of BTC pencils ahead 2 years max at this rate of decline. When adding zeros ahead of their price point will not make sense…,

    • I see XLM is missing from the list. You know the block chain currently in use by Moneygram and Zelle?

    • I think that perhaps it comes down to a question of timing and acceptability. I don’t think that ANY of us will control what the future U.S. or international fiat currency will be , cyrpto or otherwise , we will simply have to deal with it just as with the US Dollar. The question is WHEN will it be widely accepted , will we have any of it and what will be useable for trade in the meantime. Any new currency is worthless if we are dead before it arrives. It seems to me that a form of hard currency may well have a period of great importance.

  3. I love that diesel heater idea..
    My grandson was thinking wood stove.. I suggested we make a rocket mass heater.. with a gravity feed..

  4. Starting winter prep on my big rig. Esbar heater is cloged. George , i would love a future review of the nock offs you bought.
    This was 30 years ago. We lived in a house that the original owner , had made a basick wood stove out of 3/4 in boiler plate. Took a long time to heat up but would radiate heat all night off one fire.
    Also read something about composting inside a greenhouse as a heat sorce.
    Great poste today and comments

  5. Stinky …

    When our Ma and Pa Power Co. Coop direct-drilled buried service they paired up laying fiber. Besides billing being tidy, if we get one we get the other. Back-up? I have plenty of cell svc to pair to PC. And VHF bits ‘n pieces. Comm. Done (or none).

    Harvest time here in the HeartLand. Me? I’m laying in stocks of stuff that, if never used for barter, well, we will eat our mistakes. What might people want? The list is long: coffee, beer, cocktail juice, rice, flour, sugar? Heck, last time it was TP right?

    My (soon to be?) 18 YO tomcat laughs at technology. And it’s slaves.

    Write when you get stink,

  6. I like the idea of the parking heater! So many uses, including that of an occasional use only house. Electric is too expensive and a strain on the feed, propane is expensive too, and a natural gas feed would have to be activated along with permits, etc. If it can run well on 20 year old red diesel, it’s perfect!

    • I’d either polish it first or run it through a couple of RACORs but yep, seems it’s just fine.
      Watch McK’s episode on the metering pumps and running on K1 kerosene (spoiler: kills pump in a day or two from n o lubicity).

      (Children of the city note: Learn about polishing diesel. – it can be done with automotive type filters and cheaper piping and pumping.)

  7. Once upon a time, major refineries ran their power grids isolated. Now, those refineries use purchased power, and at best, they will only operate at partial capacity with grid down.
    Refineries and distribution are high priority military targets. Our refining capacity was built over two generations. Replacement would take decades under the best of scenarios.
    Diesel is very useful, but in a worst case scenario, what you have on hand is all you will see in what remaining time you have. Maybe it will keep you going until the dust settles, the smoke dissipates, and the temperatures come back up out of the deep freeze.

  8. Suddenly strikes me there are three most basic kinds of people — well, millions, actually; but allow me to make my point simply:

    Type One — Very Big Guys. Usually crazy-wealthy. Influential to the extreme. Gates. Soros. There are quite few. Tend to thinking they rule life on earth, and that they SHOULD rule life on earth. Very celestial Deep Thinkers — (they think).

    Type Three — Daily wage slaves. Often decently educated, but work for others, have little or no real political sophistication, have few or no practical handyman skills. Slaves to their cellphones, think social media actually matters somehow, are OK with $8 coffee from Starbucks, “low information” bumper-sticker motto thinkers, easily led by unthinking trend and fashion. Type Threes are about 80% of the population. Followers, not leaders. Easily captivated by creative and tricky demagogues. They think they lead the right kind of life, and think everybody ought to see that, and climb on board.

    Type Twos — (Being presumptuous, here) Us. You and me. We, here, at Ure’s tiny Garden Party. Not at their first rodeos. Posses hand skills, and commonly Make Things and Fix Things. Have some financial and political True Knowledge. Possessors of some True Wisdom. Not crazy-wealthy, but not poor hapless victims. Less than 15% of the population. Mostly wish to be left alone to dance to the unique music they hear.

    How Things Go in the next several months depend on which of these types runs the show. Seems to be likely some Type Oner will demagogue his way to lead the Type Twos — and prevail.

  9. Diesel heaters: Or… you could do what I did. Move to the tropics. My whole house heater is solar powered. :-)

      • Very old geologic history. Not likely in my limited lifetime. Our present volcanic rift zone crack just five miles from me drained a historic amount of lava from the magma chamber of Kilauea. The volcano is very different now than that millenia old feature. We have the cracks, but the pressure just is not there to support a blowout anytime soon. We would see it coming well in advance. Today the volcano is bristling with earthquake sensors and tilt meters that tell us the inflation pressures. Ham buddy works for USGS maintaining and installing all that gear.

  10. Folks,

    Absolutely over the moon to read that Starlink is working. Oh, and it offers fast internet too? Bonus! The military-industrial complex is alive and well?

  11. Good to hear starlink is working well. I honestly can see why you’d have issues out in Texas– being so spread out and all. But Indiana? I’ve had ATT for nearly 25 years, and even in the city there was issues with the landline, let alone the internet. Moved to rural NoWhere, IN (southern) and it tanked to unbelievable lows for dependability or usage. ALWAYS going offline. Inevitably when the teens needed it most for school (since school no longer likes to make them think and use paper and pencil/pens anymore). This past August, we switched the landline and internet over to a more local business, and we’ve had NO problems. At all. But ATT still wanted to bill us for September– lol. I had to call them twice to get the billing department to link to the service department and see the deactivation dates. ATT is too big and bloated to run smoothly anymore. Their services are horrible and going up in rates, too. If they haven’t had a mass exodus already, I see it coming. G, you may have had a bumpy road getting to starlink, but at least you didn’t have to step in the pile of ATT!

    • SM – getting CenturyLate to do anything was generally a pain – as was dealing with its predecessors. Sprint, embarq, the whole lot of them lied one bald-face misrepresentation after another.
      Honestly, I hope that Musk kicks Corporate America’s ass.
      I expect he will.
      Because at LEAST there are other people on Earth with brains.
      If corporate leaders piss and moan about Starlink, I tell “kiss my patooty” They had their chance and cash flow trumped product excellence – and continues to do so today.
      Musk will win and accure more billions because he believes this one simple notion: Quality and happy customers.

      Maybe wharton or Stanford will start teaching again that excellent products win in the end. But don’t hold your breath. In the meantime, though – not knowing who will win (and when the EMP comes) we have three methods and 4 physical links to the web. Five if – after EMP – slow speed ham radio data links step in to help rebuild the world as I expect it might.

    • At least you didn’t try to quit AOL. 20 years ago, when everyone was moving from CompuServe (owner of the *.GIF “Graphics Interchange Format, BTW), Prodigy, and America Online to newer, faster and less “locked-in” carriers (like CenturyLink and Mindspring) it was widely known that AOL would take an average of 10 months to end their business relationship with a subscriber. The only reliable way to make them go away was to drop the service, in writing, then cancel the credit card you’d used for billing.

      If your AT&T service cable or is it still DSL?

      • We were using Uverse. The switch was to locally provided fiber. I’m not a huge fan of wireless everything, despite how backwards my kids think I am, so wired fiber is good by me. Besides, backwards I may be with technology, but at least I know how to can good fruit and veggies over a fire when the power goes out and the electric stove won’t work. Among other old fashioned ideas that are useful when their tech fails to work as promised.

  12. Nice to know SOMEBODY got StarLink. I got an email saying my StarLink won’t be here until mid-2023. Guess my area of Texas doesn’t rank low enough on the service scale.

Comments are closed.

Toggle Dark Mode