Survivalist Item #1; a Fresnel Lens

Why everyone should get a Fresnel Lens

We had 5 days without electricity in August-September 2011, from Hurricane Irene. Living without electricity would have been bearable, were it not for the lack of hot water. Of course I built fires, first from wood, then I got some charcoal, and life got much better. Life without heat and hot water really really sucks.

One thing I did immediately was get a Sun Oven, but that is really just a toy. I recently ordered a Fresnel Lens. When I get it, I will make a youtube video to show my results, but here are the specs:

* SIZE—————–18H X 18W
* POWER EST.———–6.8
* BEAM—————–SPOT
* BEAM SIZE MAX POWER–.4 INCH (2.7″ OUTER AREA 900 F)
* FOCAL LENGTH———26 INCHES
* WEIGHT ————–12 LBS.
* MAX TEMP. CLIMB——900 F IR THERMOMETER
* MAX COLLECTION——-1100F MATERIAL EST………..
* MATERIALS TESTED
* WATER————12oz. BOILS 120 sec.
* WOOD————-FLAME .1 SEC.
* ZINC————-MELTS .5OZ 14 GRAMS – 15 SEC. * 3.1 GRAMS – 11 SEC.
* GLASS————MELTS 1″ X 1/4″ BROWN GLASS 21 SEC.
* CONCRETE———GLOW 25 SEC. EXPOSURE, MELT 40 SEC.

My initial, pre-doom use for it will be to boil LOTS of water, to pour the water on weeds. A big problem I have encountered is that weeds are a massive force of nature, like a Tidal Wave or a Hurricane. From June to August, weeds grow with incredible force and density. However, boiling water actually kills them quite nicely.

Post doom, hot water is going to be a hot item. Water obtained from ponds/lakes/rivers needs to be boiled thoroughly. Microbes in surface water can kill you, and if there is a collapse, people will get lazy and not boil water and die from drinking untreated surface water. This is what studies by the US Civil Defense Agency found. Human nature leads to lazy water drinking habits and people die from water based pathogens. You want to be able to produce as many gallons of potable water a day that you can, as well as bath water and cooking water.

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15 Responses to Survivalist Item #1; a Fresnel Lens

  1. Fantastic and not too pricey!

  2. Freedom Cobra says:

    Provided one has a portable desalinator, how safe is drinking water from the coast? If not, how far into the ocean is the water safe?

    • mindweapon says:

      Freedom Cobra,

      You’d want to boil it first, then filter it through gravel stones, then maybe through a Berkey filter, then desalinate.

      I actually have a pot style water distiller, though distilled water isn’t good for you as it readily binds with all your nutrients and can deprive you of nutrients and trace minerals. However, if it’s a choice of distilled water or water that is polluted with aromatic hydrocarbons, go for the distilled water. I have a Berkey water filter too. If I was to get water from a local stream, I’d boil it, then put it through terry cloth before I put it in the Berkey.

      • Freedom Cobra says:

        Thanks for instruction, Mindweapon!

      • Pilgrim's Pride says:

        Roger that MW. No sense plugging up expensive Berkey filters with crap that could be prefiltered. Re your order with seawater: wouldn’t you filter through the Berkey AFTER desalination? I’d think the salt would very quickly plug the ceramics.

        For that matter, distillation would release the aromatics which might just blow away through strategic vents, leaving the heavier water vapor to collect per normal. Just thinking out loud here …

  3. Skeeter says:

    They say unscented household bleach is also a good thing to stock up on for purifying water if you can’t boil it. About a quarter teaspoon per gallon of water is recommended. I’m not in Washington state, but I found this short, handy guide from their Health Department:

    http://www.doh.wa.gov/phepr/handbook/purify.htm

  4. Maureen says:

    I have read that in a pinch, filtering water through a sand filled sock can be effective.

    • mindweapon says:

      Probably. I don’t know if pathogenic microbes would get through or not. THere’s a decent chance they’d get caught in the sand and/or cloth. however, I’d want to boil as well.

      • Pilgrim's Pride says:

        Boiling is your friend. There is a cyst called “Giardia” that pollutes almost all NA surface water, derivative of animal waste. It is very hard on the outside and resistant to most purification methods apart from hard boiling or Berkey-type filtration.

  5. David Luck says:

    Ah, No. Unless fresnel lens can melt a charging congoid at 50 yards, this is not Survivalist Item #1. #1 priority would be an M1A w c. 500 rounds, #2 a good hand cannon (cf. S&W “Governor”) for closer encounters. After that maybe a lens or two, some fishing tackle, an emergency whistle, etc.

    • mindweapon says:

      Perhaps you have not experienced a week without electricity, David? The biggest thing one misses is the ability to heat water, for various reasons — from coffee and hard boiled eggs and mashed potatoes and boiled beans, to taking a bath.

      As I already said, David, if you can’t boil water, you’ll probably die from drinking water with microbial pathogens in it such as Giardia or e coli. Most surface water has lethal pathogens in it. And by the way, the MZB’s (mutant zombie bikers) and gangs of blacks will probably succumb to water based pathogens before they get to raid too many suburban or rural homes.

      I’m friends with a grumpy old man who was the Civil Defense Coordinator for a nearby county. The US government studied what happens in a collapse situation, and they found that people get lazy about boiling water, start drinking surface water, and die in huge numbers.

  6. Grover says:

    I bought a Global Sun Oven some months ago because you told me to. I guess that makes me a beta follower, but I did boil water in it, so I appreciate your recommendation because I know I could prepare beans and lizards with it for appreciative fertile females when the shit hits the fan. This scenario should pay off for me in an evolutionary sense.

    I am looking forward to your report on the Freznel lens. I will buy one if you tell me to.

    • mindweapon says:

      Good for you Grover! The Sun Oven works great for boiling small amounts of water (1 or 2 quarts), and it is an excellent slow cooker. It cooks meat very thoroughly.

      I’ll do a youtube of the Fresnel lens and solar evacuated tubes. here’s the specs — I’m getting 2 evacuated tubes that hold about 100 oz of water, which is a bit less than a gallon. By themselves, the tubes will boil their water in 2 hours. Pointing the fresnel lens at it takes 20 minutes, for 200 oz of water, so I should be able to boil about 600 oz of water per hour, which is 40 oz short of 5 gallons an hour.

      What people don’t get is that in a collapse situation, being able to boil large amounts of water is going to be vital. The US Civil Defense Authority did a study and found that in a collapse situation, people get lazy about boiling water, they drink surface water and die from microbial pathogens like giardia or e coli. I might mention that I also collect glass bottles. Bleach and medical iodine will also sterilize your water.

      However, being able to boil water is also great for cooking. Now when I have to cook with the sun, I’ll preboil water then put it in a pot in the sun oven, and use the sun oven to finish the cooking.

      Aniother thing I’m going to be using hte fresnel lens for is killing weeds. If the plants are big and stretched out like potato, I put sheet metal along them and then flame right up to the sheet metal. the sheet metal is a very good heat shield, so I kill weeds but not plant. It is still necessary to pick out weeds by hand that are growing up in the area of the crop plant’s signature, but cleaning up the rows very quickly with flaming makes life a LOT easier. When the plants are still small seedlings, which is a time when weeds are more of a problem, I put aluminum chimney tubing (I’m not sure how it’s called, but it’s aluminum tubing about 1 foot in diameter with a cap on top) over the plants and then flame around them. It’s important to have the cap on top because the sun beam off the fresnel lens is not as easily controllable as the nozzle of a flame weeder.

      I’ll be doing a youtube video on it this summer at any rate. Weeding is by far the biggest challenge in growing annual vegetables. Flame weeding with propane torches is a pretty good method, except that one is dependent on propane. I could flame for hours to keep the weeds down, and I much prefer to use the sun so I won’t feel bad about using a non-renewable resource.

      Optimizing food production for the small farmer is an obsession of mine because if we can grow food so efficiently that we can compete even with subsidized agribusiness, we can bring back living wage jobs for White Americans and attack treasonous, evil agribusiness which brought in Mexicans.

      A big problem is potatoes — they require either mechanization or back breaking digging. I wish I could come up with some way to grow them above ground in barrels, using some kind of barrel or container that would other wise be thrown away or recycled (in other words, cheap). The metal drums of clothes dryers is something I have tried with mixed results. One would need thousands of them, though.

      Sweet potatoes are calorie dense and nutritious, but they don’t grow well in New England. They grow much better in the Deep South. One last thing I want to mention if you do a garden — in the heat of summer, get up at the crack of dawn so you can work when it’s cool, and quit well before noon.

  7. BKG says:

    We were without power for 7 days in late October due to the out of season snowstorm in our area. We used our woodstove to boil snowmelt for dishes and washing our bodies (we have a well, not city water, so when the power is out we have no water either). I also cooked our meals on it, prairie-style in my Dutch oven.

    The instance got me thinking about what we might need in case of long-term power outages or the actual Collapse coming. I am looking into getting a small solar array to power a hydrolysis reaction that would capture H+ ions for use in fuel cells. It’s simpler than it sounds, but expensive to implement. The idea of having my own power station intrigues me. Of course, a Fresnel lens might be easier to use long and short term. And a hand-pump for the well. I’m trying to convince the husband to get one to attach to our well-head. Fuel in a genny only lasts so long and if you can’t get more, we are out of luck with water.

    Regarding water, you can also filter your water through charcoal from your fires. It will taste smoky, but it works. place a layer of fine mesh in the bottom of a long pipe, then a layer of sand (about 2″) and a foot or two worth of charcoal chunks, about 1″ each. Pour your water over this and allow to collect. Should be safe for drinking then, I’m not sure how it will do for Giardia though.

    • mindweapon says:

      BKG,

      Anyone who depends on endless stored fuel is a damned fool. If Iran shuts down the Straits of Hormuz and, even better yet, destroys the Saudi oil infrastructure, which they are planning to do, there won’t be fuel or food for the masses.

      So you too noticed that hot water is the first thing you miss in a collapse? Good for you!

      By the way, I had to get a couple of solar evacuated tubes along with the Fresnel lens. The tubes keep the heat from escaping.

      Also, be sure to get powdered milk and powdered eggs.

      The Mormon church has “Bishop’s Storehouses” that sell canned food. google it, there’s probalby one in your area.

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