Your Questions About Solar Generators For Sale

Sandra asks…

how do you purify water on camping trips?

I have heard there are some new products on the market that are just as effective as boiling.

admin answers:

Assuming sufficient fuel and time, nothing portable and reasonably priced is as effective as bringing water to a rapid boil for 1 minute (3 minutes above 2000 meters). This will destroy protozoa, bacteria and viruses. However, boiling does nothing to improve turbidity or taste. Boiling does not remove chemical contaminants, so when farm or industrial run-off is a problem, there are more effective treatments.

UV sterilization using a product such as the SteriPen comes closest to boiling. It is effective against protozoa, bacteria and viruses. As with boiling, UV sterilization does nothing to improve turbidity or taste, and does not remove chemicals. Further, these devices require electrical power (usually batteries, but there are solar-rechargeable and even hand-crank generator versions now available) and are susceptible to failure due to damage or defect. Some people swear by these devices, others shun them because of potential reliability issues.

Opinions vary on whether chemical disinfection or filtration is more effective. On a camping trip, outside of industrial/farm areas, you are more likely to encounter protozoa (Cryptosporidium, Giardia) or bacteria (e-coli, coliform) than viruses. A quality water filter with an efficiency of 0.3 microns or smaller can effectively remove these threats from water. Filtering also improves water turbidity and taste. Filters with carbon elements can also remove many chemicals from water, such as those from industrial or farm run-off (but at limited concentrations), and some claim to kill viruses (iodine impregnated filter elements). They require no fuel or electrical power. Filters can withstand some abuse but can be broken either by strong impacts on rocks or even overly-aggressive pumping. Filters can also become clogged by sediment and debris, but this can usually be resolved by back-flushing or cleaning the filter element.

Note that there is a new filter product available, the Lifesaver Bottle, which filters down to 15nm and is effective against viruses as well as protozoa and bacteria. Currently this product is targeted towards developing areas and disaster relief, but it is available for retail sale in the USA. The cost is fairly high — around $200 — but it is worth a look if viruses might be a concern.

Chemical disinfection using Iodine or Chlorine Dioxide will destroy bacteria and viruses. Reduction of protozoa is less reliable, requiring extended treatment times. Chemical disinfection does not improve water turbidity or taste, and in fact, contribute their own unpleasant taste (less so for Chlorine Dioxide than Iodine). The more turbid and/or colder the water, the greater quantity of Iodine or Chlorine Dioxide must be used, as well as allowing longer treatment times. For Iodine, the taste and smell can be reduced by adding Vitamin C after treatment is complete. For Chlorine Dioxide, leaving the container of fully-disinfected water open for several hours will allow the taste and smell to dissipate.

When I’m camping, if the water is clear and clean and I’m starting a fire for warmth or cooking, I’ll boil my water. Otherwise I filter. There are several great models of filters available. First Need, Katadyn, MSR are all worth looking at; I own and have used different models from each and they all have their pluses and minuses. Currently I’m experimenting with a gravity filter (MSR Autoflow) instead of a pump, and it’s working very nicely and I enjoy not having to stand around pumping for several minutes to produce enough water for my next few meals and day’s journey. I also bring Chlorine Dioxide tablets with me as a back-up, should my filter fail for some reason (has never, but why tempt fate?).

Jenny asks…

Is there any steryotypical misconceptions about Amish people?

admin answers:

There are a multitude of misconceptions about the Amish. Here are just a few:

The Amish don’t use any modern technology – FALSE. The Amish are selective about the technology they use. They tend to reject technology that they feel would have a significant negative impact on their lifestyle, but are accepting of technology they do not see a problem with. Also, what technology is accepted and what is rejected depends on the Amish affiliation and each individual church community.

The Amish feel electricity is evil – FALSE. This has to be the most ridiculous of all the misconceptions. Most Amish (but not all) do not want electricity supplied by utility companies in their homes. They do, however, use some electrical devices where they can generate the power themselves through the use of gasoline generators or battery (which they charge using solar or wind power). They also do not want natural gas lines into their homes from utility companies, but readily use bottled gas (propane).

The Amish produce all of their own food and clothing – FALSE. I live in an area with a very large Amish population. I see Amish people in supermarkets and department stores all the time. The local Walmarts have tie ups for the horse and carriages.

The Amish do not use modern medicine or doctors – FALSE. The Amish have no aversion to modern medical practices or medicines at all. They go to doctors when they need to. They are hospitalized when it is required. Some Amish women still use midwives for birthing, but many use doctors and give birth in hospitals, especially for difficult pregnancies.

The Amish live communally without any outside contact – FALSE. Amish families live in their own private homes on their own private land. They own private businesses or work outside of the homes and manage their own finances. They keep bank accounts and take out loans for homes or business. They participate in many community activities with the general public, especially those that involve charity work.

The Amish don’t pay taxes – FALSE. The Amish pay all income, property, and sales taxes. They can claim an exemption from Social Security with-holdings under certain circumstances (are self employed or work for an Amish owned business), but if they do then they can never collect any SSI benefits either, and are therefore not a burden to the SSI system.

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