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Survival Gear: Buyer Beware (Caveat Emptor)

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Be careful when buying survival gear, food, and equipment. Not all sellers are honest. Many ads are full of hype—claims that simply aren’t true. We’ve always had advertisers who promised the “fountain of youth” or “gold at the end of the rainbow,” but not like promotors today. I have a half dozen websites that I enjoy visiting and have followed many of their writers and moderators. Again I understand the need to sell space to advertisers, but I have a problem with site owners not properly vetting these ads for sincerity and authenticity.  Online ads need the site owner’s seal of approval.

You can easily find ad content sponsored by site owners promising free energy from the air, whole-house electricity from a small device, or an assurance that you can cut your electric bill by over 70% with a simple gadget. I’ve written many of these site owners and advertisers asking for specs on exactly what is being generated by the product advertised. I’m an engineer. Tell me how many amps, watts, or volts are being generated. Don’t hype me on products that likely won’t deliver as promised.

Sterling Engines

Consider the Sterling engine ads. Sterling engines have been around since the early 1800s. They work, but still suffer from being bulky, heavy, expensive, and usually noisy. Strong materials must be used in their construction making them bulkier and heavier. In addition, Sterling engines typically have low efficiency output.

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Smaller Stirlings are more efficient and low-temperature difference engines are available. You can get one to operate using the difference in heat from your hand and ambient air in the room. But to get useful value you need one that can turn a generator and produce useable electricity. So ads promoting easy power to homeowners make me skeptical—100 watts of power has limited use when the grid is down and your home consumes 25,000 watts a day. For me, the only Stirling engines I’ve found are educational devices. And they’re not cheap! The Stirling engine does represent promising technology, but I’m still waiting for suitable electrical generating capability to sway me from solar, wind, and hydroelectric generators.

Tesla Turbine

The Tesla turbine is another promising technology that has yet to reach public acceptance. Nikoli Tesla invented this remarkable engine in 1909. It converts high pressure fluid into rotational movement using closely spaced disks with holes. Attach a flywheel, a rotating shaft, and a generator and this device could convert mechanical energy to electrical energy. Tesla wanted to give this technology to the public as free energy, but this was blocked by the oil barons and bribed politicians who wanted to make money selling energy. Nevertheless I found a testimonial of someone using a Tesla turbine to drive a vehicle alternator that produced electricity.

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There is much to be discovered and applied using this fascinating technology. Recent information is leaking out that the government has been using Tesla technology in some very sophisticated applications for many years. But I don’t see much available to the homeowner.


Raven_Steel_Ad-06

I found a working Tesla coil advertised for $289 that uses a vibrator, several high-voltage capacitors, and two coils to generate up to 50,000 volts of electricity. It can apparently transmit electricity without wires and cause unconnected light bulbs to glow in your hand, but I’m still waiting for a Tesla application that produces 5kW to 10kWof electrical power for my home—and not inundate my whole house with EMF radiation.

Thermal-Electric Energy

Thermal-Electric Energy

Thermal-electric energy is another technology that is over-hyped. When I investigated misleading ads advertising thermal couples that could produce enough electricity to power an entire home, I found these thermal couple devices not useful for much more than charging small batteries.

For these products, a wide gulf exists between hype and reality.  For most applications, the technology cannot produce enough electricity to power a refrigerator or freezer. So my advice to advertisers: please be sincere in what you say and promote. Tell us the truth.

Conclusion

Craftsmen of ancient Greece chiseled statues out of marble. During their work, cracks sometimes developed. Some shady sculptors filled the cracks with wax so they could sell their work at higher price. When the sun came out and light came upon their work, the wax often melted revealing the cracks and their dishonesty. Reputable sellers began advertising their statues as “sine cera”—“without wax.” This term evolved into the word “sincere.”

I do wish all sellers would be sincere in what they advertise and what they sell. Caveat Emptor—Buyer Beware.

Want to know more? Check out these related articles:

9 Survival Gear Items That Can Fit In Your Glove Box

Swiss Army Knife uses Parts Survival Gear Tips

A Not So Gentle Reminder of the Importance of Survival Gear




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