TIP: Winter Storms…know the difference

Winter storm snow blizzard

note: first published in November 2015

Pretty soon the snow will be flying, the temps dipping, and the threat of winter sets in. Don’t get caught unprepared. Know the kinds of messages that you will get from the TV, radio, and other emergency broadcasters. Know how imperative your action needs to be.

Don’t suffer or die needlessly!

Winter Storm Outlook Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2 to 5 days.

Winter Weather Advisory Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.life threatening Winter storm snow blizzard

Winter Storm Watch Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.Winter storm snow blizzard

Winter Storm WarningLife-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

Get your vehicle emergency kit updated with hand warmers, cold weather clothing, etc.

Get your GOOD BOB updated as well. Or, place your cold weather gear bag/box with your GOOD BOB.

Don’t get caught in the cold unprepared!!  You can die easily from exposure when the temps get below 50º.



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TIP: Deadly chemical intake…

Poison chemicalsnote: first published September 2015

There are only three ways a deadly chemical can enter your body:

  1. Touch
  2. Ingest
  3. Breath

Prevent poisoning by deadly chemicals is accomplished by preventing those three things.  Here are the first tidbits of wisdom:

  1. Stay up-wind
  2. Stay up-hill
  3. Stay up-stream

More proactive measures that can be taken:

1 – Have sturdy rubber cloves and wear vinyl under them to avoid touching chemicals.

RubberGloves GlovesNitrile2 


2 – Have a good quality military-grade face mask respirator.

Gas mask

3 – Have heavy duty rubber boots.


Best thing to do is simply don’t be where the chemical is.  Get out, get out soon, and don’t take chances with deadly chemicals!

When I was still a structure firefighter we used the “Rule of Thumb” for hazard materials incidents.  While holding our thumb out in front of us and looking at the Hazmat scene, if we couldn’t cover the entire hazardous materials incident with our thumb we were too close.

firefighter Rule of Thumb

Hazardous Materials Scene Rule of Thumb

Well, technically there are three more “rules” regarding HazMat that I already mentioned:

  1. Stay up wind.
  2. Stay up hill.
  3. Stay up stream.

Yup, if the HazMat substance can’t reach you…then you are safe from it.


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TIP: Liquid Tape is great stuff!

I’ve talked about Performix Liquid Tape before but here is a great little tip when you have over-crimped your ring connectors, or any crimp-type connector. If you squeeze too hard when crimping your connections you may put a “dimple” in the connector and expose a little bit of metal. That can expose the metal to corrosion or worse yet, a short.

The way to fix that is pretty simple. Get out your Performix Liquid Tape and a toothpick. Put a small amount of Liquid Tape on the toothpick and work into the “dimple” created from over-crimping. Force it in making a good seal.

Let it dry and you are good to go.


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TIP: Time for a change…

First off…I apologize for the quality of the photos…they suck! I got in a hurry and didn’t verify them when I took them, I just assumed they were in focus, etc.

So now the meat of this tip…Oil Changes!

It was time for me to do a little preventive maintenance (PM) on my two Champion generators. One is my Champion 120v, 4000 watt (PSW), inverter generator, the other is a Champion 3500 watt (MSW), dual fuel generator. Both have the same engine. Yeah, amazing how that worked out…same motor on both…almost like I planned it 😉

In this case the PM was oil change, air filter cleaning, and spark arrestor check. So here are my steps on how I go about it…

1) I get the generator well off the ground to a comfortable working height and to make it easier to get to and oil drain pan underneath.


    1. Notice the dump cart in the background. I use that to transport the well house generator to my mini-barn/shop. The cart tilts to ground level, I roll the generator onto the cart, tilt the cart bed back to its upright position and haul the cart with my UTV. My solar system stand-by generator is on a 4-wheeled cart that I simply hook up to and pull with the UTV. Yeah, I mounted it on its own cart to assist in moving it around the construction site while I was building the house. I also left it on the cart to make it easy to move around the property with the UTV should I need the power somewhere more remote. I can also more easily use it at other locations in my community should the emergency need arise.
    2. Don’t buy some expensive oil drain pan! I use a Walmart plastic storage bin that cost me about $2. It came with a lid so I can close up the drain pan till I am ready to dump the oil.
    3. To get my wheeled generator off the ground high enough I simply pulled it up on my car ramps.
    4. And what you don’t see in the picture is my mechanic’s stool. An adjustable stool, on casters, with a tool tray around the base. That gives me a nice comfortable working height…sitting down. And a place to keep my tools off the floor of my shop which happens to be cinders.

2) To make my efforts more efficient I actually work on changing the oil and cleaning the air filter at the same time. I use a stiff brush to clean around the drain plug, then I remove the drain plug to drain the oil, and remove the oil dip stick to make the draining easier. Then I remove the air filter and take it to the house to clean it. There are some air filter cleaners out there but they are a little pricey. I simply use hot water, a little dish soap, and clean it like I would a shop rag. After I have rinsed it thoroughly I use dry paper towels to wrap it in and squeeze until the paper towels are no longer damp. Then I sit the air filter out in the sun to finish drying. You must get the air filter completely dry! While I have been cleaning the air filter the oil has drained completely.


    1. When I remove the dip stick I place it on a clean paper towel to make sure it stays dirt/grit free. And it has a nice absorbent surface to drain on.

3) I make sure the air filter cover is clean on the inside as well as the air filter housing that is connected to the engine. If needed, I use WD-40 to clean off any grime. Before I put the air filter back into the housing I use PJ1 on the foam filter to assist in catching/trapping any dirt/grit/sand/dust from getting through the filter.

4) Time for putting in the nice clean oil! Yeah, don’t forget to put the drain plug back in. And really don’t forget to ensure that if there is a crush washer that it goes back on.


    1. I use only fully synthetic oil when I do oil changes. Yes, I use manufacturer recommended oil for the break-in period…then fully synthetic after that. And yes, I use a slightly heavier oil in our hot summers and a slightly lighter weight oil during the winter. And yes, I buy my oil in gallon jugs or larger…cheaper.
    2. Make sure you have a long-neck funnel on hand to assist in pouring the oil back into the motor. Champion generators come with a funnel…nice touch! Also, notice the Ziplock bag in the picture? Yeah, I store my funnel in it. It keeps any dirt/grit from getting on it. I also put a couple of paper towels in the bottom to absorb any leftover oil when I put the funnel in the bag.
    3. When adding the oil I use the drip stick to check the quantity of oil to add. To check the oil level correctly you have to screw the oil dip stick all the way in. But, I am inpatient. I simply put the dip stick in until it hits the mouth of the oil fill inlet, I don’t screw it in. When the oil reaches about the halfway full mark it is close enough. Then I screw it in to do a final level check.

5) The final step in my PM in checking the spark arrestor screen and cleaning it if needed.

Note: A buddy of mine saw a used generator deeply discounted at a “big-box store” that appeared to be fairly new. The tag said it would not start or run. He looked at the spark arrestor screen…he immediately purchased the generator. He got it home, took the spark arrestor screen off and cleaned it really well. He checked the air filter…fine. He checked the spark plug…fine. Checked to make sure the gas wasn’t foul…fine. It started right up.


    1. You can run the generator without the spark arrestor screen. But, check the warranty, it may void it, and it won’t be approved for use on public lands…or in California.
    2. If you are in California…move.


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TIP: Performix Liquid Tape

note: originally published in 2015Performix Liquid Tape - Electrical

There are times in life that really cool stuff comes along…like Duct Tape. Performix Liquid Tape is one of those times and products.

As you know I do a decent amount of electronic and electrical fabrication. That is a fancy way to say I “tinker” a lot. I have learned that you really want to keep electrical and electronic parts separated.

Sparks and the smell of burning wiring is not a good thing!

I like electric shrink wrap a lot but that is not always feasible. And there are times when you want more sealant capability, especially for cracks and odd shapes. Liquid tape really comes in very handy for those times and so much more.

This stuff is “gooey” and can be forced into cracks and crevices to form watertight barriers and act like electrical tape preventing contact between electrical components. AntennaFix2

One example is the antenna waterproofing project published on 8/17/2020 “ExpertPower XP-771 Elite for the Baofeng UV-5R radio.”

Let your imagination run wild on what you can do with this product.!






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TRAP: Don’t fall for it…

I’ve noticed a rash of Internet articles the last couple of months promoting panic buying. While they don’t use the term “panic buying” that is exactly what they are trying to convince you to do.

Here are a few examples of clickbait article headlines:

  • Top Ten Things That Will Disappear in the Next COVID Wave
  • Top 20 Items to Buy Now
  • Top 15 Food Items That Are Disappearing Fast
  • What you must buy now before it is too late!

Well, that is a pretty limited sample of the article headlines that I am talking about, I could go on. But, you are smart, you get the idea. Here’s the problem…they are promoting panic buying.

So what if pinto beans are in short supply! You should already have your supply of pinto beans…or have a plan to acquire the correct amount of pinto beans. So there is no reason to go out and buy 100pounds of beans…right! Especially if you need medical supplies or ammo as well. You fall back on your priorities…not your panic.

Why use the great pinto bean scare? Several months ago a lot of people got sucked into the pinto bean panic. Meaning, that there was supposedly a shortage of pinto beans and that you better buy them now before they disappeared. So, a lot of people went out and bought pinto beans…thus creating the shortage…an artificial shortage. There never was any abnormal shortage of pinto beans…ever…period. Yes, meaning I checked it out myself…there were plenty on the shelf when supposedly they were all gone.

So when you read headlines…or the body of an article telling you there is some kind of shortage and you better go buy some top ten list…IGNORE IT! It is someone trying to talk you into panic buying.

So what should you do?

  1. Read the series of articles “Layering & the Common 7” <click here to start reading>
  2. Then review where you have the holes in your prepping, list them, then prioritize them.
  3. Then develop a plan to purchase, make, grow, or otherwise acquire those items to plug the holes.
  4. And above all…do not panic. There simply is no reason to and it doesn’t help.

Do not fall victim to the hustlers, hucksters, and wannabes out there.

  1. Get educated.
  2. Assess your needs.
  3. Identify the deficiencies in your preps.
  4. Have a plan to remedy those deficiencies.
  5. Work your plan.

Don’t fall for the calls to panic buy. Panic, like fear, is not your friend.


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Tips, Tricks, Traps & Thoughts…

Download this page as a PDF file. <click here> Yes, you have my permission to pass this PDF file along to others. Please, just don’t alter it…meaning: don’t delete the footnote “Courtesy of AHTrimble.com”


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TIP: Lucas Oil TB Zinc Plus for Small Engines

This “tip” came to me from a very experienced, completely competent, marvelous small engine mechanic.

Small engine application – 1 table spoon per engine oil change. Most oil today has zinc processed out of it. But, zinc is a really good oil additive that helps lubricate an engine…especially helpful with small engines to extend their life.

Vehicle application – Lucas Oil TB Zinc Plus is a zinc additive for engine oil. Its designed for engines with no catalytic converter in the exhaust. This product is also used as an engine “break-in” additive for newly built engines. For non-race, vehicle applications, one bottle will usually treat two oil changes. Some race-engine applications require the entire bottle. Classic cars (depending on oil capacity) require approximately 2,100 PPM (Parts Per Million) zinc in the oil.

Note #1: The is meant for 4 stroke crank cases. In a 2 stroke, you don’t want any non-combustibles in the mixture as it will gum up everything, and likely damage the motor.
Note #2: diesel oil should have the higher zinc content that is required, such as Shell Rotella 15w-40. You can still use this Lucas product, just don’t over do it on quantity.

Note #3: It does not thicken the oil.



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TIP: WD-40 : A true miracle drug….

WD-40 usesnote: first appeared August 2015

You know I really do look at WD-40 as a miracle product. It is one of those inventions that can just make life so much easier in so many different ways. And as far as I am concerned it makes any emergency, disaster or grid-down a whole lot easier to deal with. It ain’t bad for current every day life either.WD40-5


My research shows that currently WD-40 consists of:

  • 50% kerosene
  • 15% mineral oil
  • < 3% carbon dioxide
  • 22% of various ingredients that vary according to the information source, and there are lots of different sources.

Here are some of the different uses of WD-40:

  1. Helps remove stuck ring on finger. Spray some WD-40 on the offending finger. Allow it to penetrate between the ring and the flesh. Gently begin to twist the ring off the finger as if you were unscrewing it.
  2. Rust preventative. Spray a little on the metal you wish to protect. Rub it around with a soft natural fiber cloth until all surfaces are lightly coated. Alternatively you can spray a little WD-40 on a natural fiber cloth and then wipe the metal you wish to protect, such as a gun.
  3. Lubricates wood drawers. Over time the wood on wood-railed drawers will dry out. In the past I used and recommended coating them with a good bar soap like Ivory. But you can use WD-40 and it will do a good job as well. Plus is soaks into the wood better than soap and will keep your wood replenished longer protecting it.WD40-6
  4. Frees up and lubricates stuck hinges. Even if your hinge has been exposed to years of weather and rusted stuck, WD-40 can be used to free it up. Spray a liberal amount of WD-40 into the hinge mechanism. Make sure you have penetrated the entire length of the hinge pin. If needed, you can spray some on top of the hinge pin and allow it to run down into the hinge. That should free up your stuck hinge. Now, do that about once or twice a year and that hinge should get stuck again. In salt air environments spray that hinge every 2 – 3 months. For inside hinges, maybe once every 5 years.
  5. Removes mildew from refrigerator and freezer gaskets. That nasty mildew that can build up on refrigerator/freezer gaskets comes off easily spraying a little WD-40 in them and then wiping off. If the mildew has been on there a long time and it has a heavy build-up, then spray on the WD-40, let it sit 15 minutes. Then spray a little more on it and use a soft bristled scrub brush.
  6. Anything sticky on glass will come off with a little WD-40 sprayed on it and a soft rag.
  7. Black scuff-marks on tile and stone will come off using a little WD-40 and a scrub brush.
  8. Remove stickers from glass with WD-40. Spray a small amount on the sticker, allow the WD-40 to penetrate, begin removal. You may need additional applications of WD-40. If you have adhesive left on the glass spray a small amount on the adhesive and wipe it away with a natural fiber cloth.
  9. To remove the tough stains in your toilet spray some WD-40 on them. Then use your regular toilette bowl brush to scrub them away. If you can get the water out of the way it will be easier and more effective.
  10. If you have tough tar or asphalt stains or sticky junk on your vehicle use a little WD-40. Spray it on a cloth and try wiping them away. If that doesn’t work then saturate the area spraying it directly on the vehicle, then wipe off. You can even try saturating a clean soft natural fiber cloth, soak it with WD-40 and place it on the tar, left over adhesive, etc. Let it sit for a bit and it should come right off. You should test WD-40 on a small out of the way part of the vehicle’s finish just to make sure there isn’t going to be a problem.WD40-7
  11. Remove glue from your fingers. If you have some glue on your fingers that just won’t come off try spraying WD-40 directly on the affected area. Wait a second or two and then start running the affect area, such as rubbing your fingers together. The glue should give way, then wipe your hands with a cloth. Once you are done with WD-40 getting the glue off you skin then wash your hands thoroughly.
  12. If you have brass zippers that are getting stuck a lot, or pretty much frozen in place you can spray a little WD-40 on the metal and give it a few minutes. The sipper should be fine now. Be careful not to get the WD-40 on the material. And it won’t fix “broken” zippers.
  13. Cleans grease and dirt off your hands. If your hands are filthy black from working on equipment then spray some WD-40 on your wands. Rub them together and watch the junk breakdown. Wipe with cloth. Repeat as needed. When your hands are clean from the bad black junk then wash your hands with soap and water.
  14. Removes decals from vehicles. Spray the decal and surrounding area liberally with WD-40. Allow the WD-40 to stand 30-seonds to several minutes. No the decal should peel away. You may need to star the peeling process, use a plastic edge to start peeling up the decal. Keep spraying with a little WD-40 as you go. If there is any decal adhesive left on the surface spray it with WD-40 and then wipe it down. When finished was the area with soap and water.
  15. Remove ink stains from carpet. Spray moderate WD-40 on the stain (you are not trying to saturate the area) and allow to sit a couple of minutes. Now use your regular carpet clearer on the stain.
  16. Removes heavy grease, or old grease, on appliances and other metal surfaces. Spray WD-40 in the area liberally, wipe clean. Multiple applications may be needed depending on how much old grease is on the surface.
  17. Removes most ink stains from clothes. Spray WD-40 directly on the ink stain, allow it to penetrate. Wash immediately as you normally would. If there is a lot of ink wash item separately to prevent “bleed over” to the other clothes.
  18. Keeps flies off livestock. Spray affected area with WD-40 and the flies will stay off. Don’t spray WD-40 around eyes. Also, you might not want them licking the WD-40 as well.WD40-8
  19. Peel Duct or Gorilla tape away and you may find a hole bunch of adhesive left behind. Spray WD-40 on the adhesive, let it stand for a couple minutes and then wipe away.
  20. Cleans and shines stainless steel.






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