Episode-1004- Steven Harris on Everything Generators Part 1 of 2 — 52 Comments

  1. super excited to listen to this show. steve is pretty much my favorite personality on the podcast… aside from mr. spirko, of course!

    • That a PATENT… it means nothing. The Steven Harris philosophy on stuff like this is: Ifs not on the net for sale by a credit/debit card, if it can’t be shipped and arrive at your house, if you can’t go to a store and get it then it DOES NOT EXIST and is NO GOOD to you for anything no matter WHAT it is suppose to do.

      Its like looking in playboy and telling people, that woman is great, I want her to be my wife… yup.. right… its not going to happen. Same thing with the patent. You are not going to get it anytime (any year) soon. Patents are easy, I’ve worked on many of them, even manufacturing is easy. I’ve done lots of it at all levels. The sales and marketing is the hard part. Finding your market and then getting your market to purchase is the hardest thing there is.


      • Steve,
        I posted this as a bit of information about, what I felt, was an interesting concept related to the topic at hand. Nothing more, nothing less. I never asked if it was available or where one could purchase it. But thanks for jumping on my post with your all-knowing “Steven Harris philosophy” anyway. A real engineer would have looked at the idea and, if so inclined, discussed the concept weighing its design and potential usefulness, or lack thereof, not instantaneously condemning it while drawing a ridiculous analogy to a Playboy bunny.

    • Hank. I understand 100% what you said, and thank you. I deal with technology ALL day long, some of it really cutting edge stuff. I see a great deal of people just get so EXCITED when they see something like that patent, or an article about some ‘Research’ being done and they think that its real, that its here, and that it will happen soon, and it wont. When I am in a scientific or engineering forum like you suggested, I would do exactly what you said should be done. However on a show like this, and a blog like this, I’m all about hands on, stuff you can get, stuff you can use and I try to guide people away from distractions. I try to guide people away from fancy survival gizmos and from things that just won’t t do them any good. I don’t want people waiting for something from a guy in Utah when they can get a manual transfer switch to go KLUNK and transfer over their electrical panel to the generator. Its a character flaw in me that I’m pretty black and white. Either for it or against it, and I don’t have much of a gray area which is why my statement about the patent was pretty definitive. That’s my fault.

      You go into a disaster or a crisis with only what you got. If you don’t got it, it dont do you any good….and that is why I wrote what I wrote. It was nothing against your contribution…. and what’s wrong with playboy bunnies ??! 🙂

      Oh.. you guys are going to SCREAM and HOLLER about what I’m talking about on the show on Wednesday. The blog will be full, FULL of people yelling at me. Part #2 of the generator show is the DANGEROUS part of the show….very dangerous. Deathly serious.


  2. For all the TSP People

    I have the Natural Gas Hook ups, for your water heaters, all the parts, even my receipt from Home Depot for the parts, plus all of the different parts that make up a suicide cable at
    http:/// so you can see what I was talking about on the show.

    I spent all last night taking those photos and getting those items up there because I wanted you all to see what I was talking about.

    Again… please do it correctly, have a licensed plumber do your natural gas work and a certified electrician do your electrical hook up. 🙂


  3. “Brent in PEI”
    Hi Jack and Stephen, no real question just a few comments. My current setup is as follows.

    1) 1.6kw solar with an Outback VFX2400, and eight Surrette S530’s

    2) IOTA DLS-90 DC charger, which is used to charge my Surrettes from the A/C output from a cheap Coleman Sport 1850 that I bought during Hurricane Juan (Yes we get hurricanes in Canada ;). It outputs 90 amps to my Surrette’s

    3) I have a 6000 watt propane generator (since propane is stores forever), along with four 30lb tanks. I then had the electrician create a special twist lock cable that I run from the generator, through an opening in the basement, and a plug on the wall, that I can unplug from grid and then into the generator for my deep well submersible pump. I also upgraded my holding tank to a larger size. My procedure for a storm is such that if it is cloudy and I know bad weather is coming, I use the charger built into the VFX to top up the batteries, and if the outage is longer, I use the Coleman Sport along with the IOTA-90 to top up the batteries. I have a breaker in the house to flip to batteries easily. So no running of cords, with the exception of the 220 well cable. Which I use despairingly to top up my water containers. And since I go into a storm with full water. Im good.

  4. I could listen to you two forever! Great show, great info – thank you for all the work you do, and all the info you share!

  5. I’ve got to be honest., I usually listen to the podcast at 1.45 speed. Steve Harris is pretty much the only one I slow down a bit…

    LOTS of info coming at you! Great stuff as always with Steven.

  6. I was working for this guy once on a mtn top and here he
    comes with a bran new generator. We took it off the truck,
    put the gas in and fired it up. A few mins later it stopped.
    Hmmmm whauthappened? We forgot to put the oil in first.
    We put some oil in, put it back on the truck and took it back
    to the store and bought a higher wattage generator.

  7. Steven/Jack: Would you consider it crazy for a person to buy two generators?Keep them in boxes and have them for future use. Are there any special storage requirements?. I ask since “Two is one and one is none”, as well as paying for goods now while inflation is low, prices are reasonable etc. Parts stock up, would be a concern as well. I had a bitch of a time finding an air filter for my Coleman Sport Generator, so when I did find them, I bought four.

    • Brent,
      I would consider it VERY CRAZY for you to buy ANYTHING and keep it in the box. If its just sitting there in the box, you have no idea if it works, HOW it works, how to hook it up or all of the little details that go a long with how something operates smoothly.

      Buying something and putting it on the shelf just makes you feel good, I got it, I got it checked off my list, so I’m safe now… WRONG. Preparedness is not STUFF and it especially is NOT STUFF that you DO NOT KNOW how to USE. Preparedness is what is between your ears. Yes, you have a generator, but do you really really really think you are going to have a disaster, go and unbox your generator, fill it with oil.. oops… you forgot to get oil. Fill it up with gasoline…oops…it’d be great to have a funnel, I’m spilling gas all over the place, I hate this gas can and its new nozzle, why did I buy 10 of these in the first place? Wait… I got a funnel, but its way to small. I really wanted a big funnel, and then to try and start the thing…now just where is that primer bulb, I think its black, and on a black generator, and now its dark and I’m holding a flashlight between my teeth.

      Now that your generator is running…boy…that sucker is LOUD… I did not know this one was that loud… the entire neighborhood knows I have a generator, plus its right by the master bedroom, wife will complain about that. Wait…why are the lights out now??? oh.. its quiet.. my generator stopped…. why ?? Oh… its got a small fuel tank on it and it runs out every 4 hours of fuel and I have to feed it all the time. hey… I’m out of gasoline now. I did not have enough, I did not know it was going to use that much fuel. But that’s ok that its not running now, because I did not have enough extension cables to run to my kids bedroom anyways.

      Now…take everything I said above, and try to do it ALL when you are cold, wet, rained on, you got one arm hurt bad, one shoe missing, you’ve not taken your prozac today, your wife is ‘complaining’ to you endlessly about something, probably to do with it being so hot, unless you’re rained on, the dog is barking non-stop, you can’t find the cat, your kids are hungry, they don’t understand why the power is out and the TV and DVD player won’t work, you are trying to read the wet manual but the print is too small and fine for your 45 year old eyes and you don’t know where your reading glasses are or hey..wait…my sealed generator did not come with a manual. Huh…boy..that’s a surprise… hey..wait..there is a note in here..the manual is online in a PDF and I can go there and read it but I got no power, no computer, to internet and the entire cable/internet system is down so I can’t get to the pdf even if I did have my generator running.

      If you own a generator, you got to be able to grab a flashlight, go to the garage, move the generator into the drive way, check the fuel, yup, its good to go, start it, wait, its not starting right away, get your can of starting fluid, do a quick spray, now its running easily…boy that’s a lot easier than pulling pulling and pulling, grab your generator box full of dedicated electrical cables, run them into the house, know that your TV and sat box works fine on it, know how often you have to plug in the refrigerator or freezer etc etc etc…

      You have to OWN IT. OWN it between your ears, inside and out, its quirks, its parts needed, the extra fluids, the air filters, how to power your house, how fast the fuel is going to be used.

      Real preparedness is what you KNOW, not what you got, and if you got something then you have to KNOW EVERYTHING about it. If you want two of something, buy one, use it use it use it use it and almost wear it out till its like a comfortable pair of jeans, then buy another one for backup.

      So yes my friend, I just spent 30 minutes typing this for you and everyone else because I DO KNOW that it would be really CRAZY for you to buy two generators and to keep them in the box until there is a disaster.

      You people think you are going to have all the time in the world when a disaster hits…but you’re busy as heck, listening to the radio, putting blankets on the fridge, helping your neighbor, getting the kids situated with something to do, hey..wait..the hurricane blew a big tree branch into part of my roof and I have to cut the branch out, move it, tarp over it, nail that down…hey wife needs me….oh…we are out of dog food.

      You are going from a life with FEW things to do because you have an automatic refrigerator with ice maker, automatic freezer, automatic cloths washer, automatic cloths dryer, automatic furnace, automatic AC, automatic dishwasher, automatic stove, flushing toilets, hot showers, TV with 500 channels, lights in every room at the flick of a switch, cell phones for every member of the family, internet with access to everything you’d want to know about anything and now in a power failure ALL of that is NOW GONE GONE GONE and you think you are going to have lots of time to open the box and read manuals and figure out how to use something and hook it up ?? !!!!

      Read that paragraph again please. Everyone. You have everything ‘automatic’ I mentioned, the power fails, its all gone, and you think you are going to have spare time when nothing that made your life easy is now not working.

      Please don’t think I’m being too hard on you. I’m just being honest. I went through the blackout of 2003 with 50 million other USA residents and I even wrote a book on it. When all of your automatic stuff fails, you’re busy. You can’t even call 911, you can’t call anyone for help or technical assistance. You can’t phone a friend, you don’t have any life lines. You are not going to hop in the car and go to the store and get something that you need, because the store is out of power and not working too. Its just you, what you know, what you have, what you know about what you have and if you are lucky… a few good friendly neighbors.

      But right now… you have all of us and we’ll all help you now so you can help yourself later when you can’t get in touch with all of us.

      That’s my soapbox…and I say it all in kindness.
      Steven Harris

      • I read again Steven and completely agree. I think this should be printed and laminated, and posted on ones shed wall or something, just as a bit of a shake up when one gets complacent. When I lived in the Ottawa area in 1998, I went through that ice storm and was without power for quite a while, I forget how long, my sister was 45 days without power in the country. 2″ of ice fell in my area.

    • Understood Steven, it was a good read, maybe I didn’t clarify. I have two generators and do exactly what you suggest. I check oil, I know their fickleness, but I guess it I have an existing genny that I am familiar with, would two of identical same make sense. It was funny to read that post, because I have been *near* to those situations with other preps and have learned my lesson. Can’t wait for today’s episode. But realistically, I pay for an electrician for anything that is ‘code’, simply not worth the risk..

      Thanks man

  8. I was at sams today right after listening to the show, and they have high quality, heavy duty 50′ 12 awg 3 wire extension cords with lighted ends for $29. This is a great price. These are the good ones, not the cheap ones. You can’t have too many.

    PS – this is prepper porn. Love it!

  9. Steve, Didn’t hear you talk about permanent magnet generators. Wondered if you had any experience with them.

    great show – thanks!

    • Permanent magnet generator fall into 2 categories… DC power generation, usually SMALL power, like single digit watts, and they fall into the realm of hokie BS over unity generators, stuff that makes more power than it takes in… i.e. 100% BS

  10. We recently purchased a Generac EcoGen 6kw propane generator. Just finished the wiring. It was the only generator I found to be built specifically for off grid systems. It is controlled by a Magnum generator control which is networked to my inverter. The generator can be started by a low battery condition, by a thermostat, or state of charge of the batteries. We can finally leave town for the holidays without worrying about our battery bank. I plan to use the thermostat sensor relay to use a float switch on our cistern to automatically fill it when needed during the winter. The generator also has an extra tank for oil and has a 500 hour oil change interval.

    • Sounds like you are one intelligent guy who got exactly what he needed. I hate it when the marketing idiots put ECO on something for a name or promotion… stupid greenies…

      Having an extra deep sump for oil in the engine or something to give it more oil is a HUGE feature that will benefit you very well. More oil means more room for error if it runs low and it means you can run the gen for longer before all of the oil is contaminated…although with it being on propane… your oil is not going to get very dirty, so that 500 hour mark is a very safe mark.

      Expect that generator with the intelligent controller to work very well for you for a long period of time. Keep your propane topped off…try to get an extra tank from your propane people…tell them you are putting up a garage with propane heaters in it.


    • yeah…they work for the scammers selling them that want to take money from your wallet and leave you with a dream of making infinite amounts of power for free (lets all sing with glee) and what you have is a bunch of junk or instructions that will never ever work. A warp drive has better real world physics than a ‘magnetic generator’.

      Do not confuse this with a permnament magnet DC motor, if you spin that, then it will make DC…. but NOTHING will make more energy then the power it takes to spin it…it will ALWAYS make much less.

  11. Steven,

    For those of us without natural gas, I am curious what your take is on propane vs. diesel for generators in the 5-15kW range.
    Diesel should be quite a bit more efficient and would offer commonalty with at least one vehicle in my case. Higher energy density. Should be more efficient from a maximum thermodynamic standpoint.
    Sounds like you have a lot of experience with specific models and “sweet spots” in pricing. I’d appreciate your take from that viewpoint.
    Right now, we have 5-6kW Honda propane generator and a 240v cutover in our main service panel (a clever thing that gangs the mains switch to a double-breaker slot, so only connects one or the other, allows safe back-feeding without a subpanel).
    However, I only have a few small and medium tanks and am considering installing a pig vs. committing to diesel.
    Thanks for all your work and shared info.
    Best regards,

    • Diesel is much more efficient of a fuel
      Diesel generators cost a lot more money
      Diesel fuel can have issues, not many, but some, in storage.
      Listen to my Fuels and Fuel Storage Show with Jack on
      On a BTU for BTU basis propane is a lot cheaper.
      Propane store forever forever forever.
      The propane company will give you a 500 to 1000 galllon
      propane pig to use for free as long as you buy propane
      from them.
      500 gallons of propane has the same energy as 325 gallons
      of diesel fuel.
      With the difference in efficiencies, say it takes 500 gallons
      of propane to give you the same electricity you’d get from
      250 gallons of diesel (with a damn good diesel gen set)
      so your 500 gallon propane pig would be the same as
      having 17 – 15 gallon drums of diesel stored.

      Maybe this will help put it in perspective for you and
      help you make a decision on which one to get.

      You’ll spend a lot more on the diesel genset
      The propane will do the job fine.
      With having a diesel fuel vehicle, it might tip
      the scales in favor of the diesel.

      Now that I’ve laid this out…what do you think. ??


    • Hi Steven,
      Thank you for the detailed response!
      That does sound like quite a logistical difference in fuel storage (BTW I did listen to your priors shows, storage, PRI-D, etc, very helpful).
      When you mention the BTU differences, does that take into account engine efficiency (realizable energy) or is that comparing the raw potential in each fuel (assuming perfect conversion)? The reason I ask is that I understand diesel-cycle engines are intrinsically more efficient and run really well slow and for long periods of time… Sounds like a good fit for a generator.
      I will say that the propane solution seems very clean and easy in some ways, but I started out with gas so it’s all a step up!

        • Doh. Can’t believe I missed that. You are too kind, sir.
          This was very helpful info. I’d never done the math to figure out how much stored fuel would be required.
          I supply having a diesel tank is not the worst thing, but probably more expensive and messier than a pig.
          Also, I went back and listened carefully to the segment on whole-house generators; you basically said there are none, or very few… So it sounds like the menu is limited.
          Best regards,

    • I never said there were none or the menu was limited. The market is flush with whole house generators… most of the market is dominated by generac but GE and Briggs and Straton have them as well as many others.


  12. Always excited when the main man Steves on the show, loved this first installment on generators am so happy that I’ve got the Honda model that he was talking about Jack, it’s kinda cool the way you can link it up to another one. I didnt even know about that till I read the instruction manual after I bought it. Excellent generator though, I can recommend spending the extra bucks, pleased that Steve endorses it too. Great show mate can’t wait for the next one 🙂

    • I have to say that everyone I am talking to is loving the Yamaha equivalent of the Honda EU2000i I have. Its the Yamaha EF2000iS generator. Its on with the rest of the stuff we talked about. will sell you either the yamaha or the honda in a tri fuel configuration ready to go on natural gas, propane or gasoline.

      Listen to Generator Show #2 for details, there is a TSP discount. (Not MSB discount, just a TSP discount). But join the MSB !!! You get 15% off everything I offer.


  13. Thought I would mention the Generlink product. Great option and many times it is only around a $1000.00 installed. Simplification of connection with a high degree of safety. Often times your utility provider will perform the installation and test operation for you as they have a safety concern with backfeed.

  14. Steve,

    I think I have to disagree with some of your comments on a PTO generator. A “real” tractor, that is a farm tractor not a garden tractor, should maintain a consistent RPM despite changes in load. Implements that use a PTO are expecting 540 RPM’s to function at their best.

    What we think of as the throttle on a tractor is a lever near the steering wheel and it technically is not a throttle. It is in fact connected to a governor and is really used to set the RPM’s. The governor is then connected to the actual engine throttle and as load goes up and down the governor adjusts the throttle to keep the RPM’s constant.

    Where I suspect you would run into problems is if your load is rapidly changing and the governor and engine may not react quickly enough to prevent problems with some of your electronics, especially if you are approaching the upper limit of your tractor engine. Also your governor may not have had any maintenance done on it for decades, which could contribute to the lag. In a farming/utility application if it takes a few seconds to come back up to speed it generally isn’t a problem. I know I have experienced that with my equipment.

    I suspect my equipment is average for an older tractor so my question to you Steve is if it takes 3-5 (or maybe as much as 10) seconds for the tractor to respond to an increased load, what will that mean for the electrical loads I have? On the other hand my tractor has 45HP at the PTO and a 12kW PTO generator only needs 24HP, so I may have enough spare engine capacity for it not to be an issue.

    Thanks for the shows you have done – I’m still tying to find the 15 gal HDPE barrels you described in your fuel storage show.

    • Jerry… you’ve made a supreme comment and addition to what I said in the show. You are correct about the governor and you are correct about the lag in the governor. You are also correct about many of them just not working and correct about many of the more inexpensive tractors NOT having them.

      You are correct that having 48 HP at the shaft and only needing 24 HP for a 12KW gen will help reduce any engine speed change when you are only talking small kilowatts of load. I mentioned something similar in the show, but I mentioned having a 27 kw genset and putting on only a few KW of load.

      Very good comment Jerry

    • Jerry, Steve, you both have answered a few key questions for me that were holding me back from getting a PTO generator. Given the knowledge I have now I think I’ll start with a PTO generator and plan to run “everything” for an hour or so durring the day when the tractor is running, then just go without power until the next day. Perhaps latter I’ll add some battery / inverter setup that can be charged while the tracter / generator is running the heavy loads for the hour then provide power for smaller loads when the tractor is not running.

      Thanks again.

  15. Steve, my refrigerator is rated for 11 amps, well over 1200 watts. I read that it has an automatic defrost feature with a heater element is what runs the power requirement up so high. Obviously your prediction of 200 watts being used by a fridge would be exceeded when that things starts up. Is there a way to disable that feature in most fridges or should a person actually just plan to have the 1200 watts of power available in case that auto defrost cycle turns on?

    • Defib
      Here is an EXCELLENT wikipedia on how an auto defrost freezer works.

      I have run my refrigerator from an 800 watt inverter for days, and never had the inverter scream at me for a high power demand because the auto defrost came on. Maybe I just did not have it plugged in long enough.

      If you had a 400 watt inverter on your refrigerator, and a 600 watt defrost element turned on, it would turn the inverter off with an overload. The inverter would shut down (after a mild scream from its buzzer) . The refrigerator would turn off. It would warm up, then the defrost temp sensor would warm up and turn off the defrost cycle. If the inverter auto resets, and most of them do, then the refrigerator would try to turn back on at its ~200 watt load and the inverter would power it.

      The end result is, if you are powering your refrigerator / freezer with a small inverter for an hour or two, two or 3 times a day just to keep it cool, the freezer compartment is not going to be the normal 0F, it’ll be closer to 32F, which is fine, you want to keep stuff cool and cold, not try to run the refrigerator as it was running on the grid. So if this is being done, the defrost cycle will probably never come on because the freezer is too warm.

      That is what I am estimating at this time. I’m going to keep a closer eye on it when I do some more future testing on my refrigerator.

      For those of you who want to know about keeping your refigerator / freezer cold without using electricity and also by using smaller inverters, listen to my show on the entire subject at the top of You can stream it right to your smart phone and listen to it online,on that page, and of course you can also download it right there and put it on your phone to listen to later.

      No matter how much I pack into an hour to hour and a half show, you guys are always coming up with SOMETHING I did not put in the show. 🙂


  16. I’ve been thinking of getting a Honda 2000i, but thanks to Steven Harris, I now know it won’t have the 240v I need for my transfer switch.

    • Anyone know if there’s such a thing as a smaller (ie. lighter and easier to move) 240v generator?

    • Yes, that was huge when I learned it several months ago. Luckily I’d already bought one… look for the 4-prong plug; that means you have split phase and can power the breaker panel in a transparent fashion… of course you have to shed load, etc.

  17. Hi Steve. I also found a steal on a Low hour honda eu3000i for $975!…Is it possible Parallel a eu3000i with a eu2000i?

    • not with a honda kit…but someone just sent me this link 2 days ago.

      Call them and ask if it’ll work with the 3000i.. but.. also… you don’t really need to run them in parallel. Just run one for one set of loads and the other for the other set of loads… and then turn off one of them when you are not using it.

      I don’t think you need to complicated it by putting them together, but if its better for your application… go for it.


  18. Thanks for the refs to McMaster…great place, great stuff.

    Thats a $27 switch too !! big thing.

    It does eliminate the need for a suicide cable, but now you have a suicide socket. Throw the switch and put your fingers on the exposed prongs in the socket and zap… I would not have this if I had kids, but I’m not going to electrocute myself. It is a much better option than a suicide cable.


  19. The english itsn’t my mother lenguage, but is difficult for me to follow the thread listening, especially for idioms.
    The fact is that I want to buy a generator set, and I had been very well understand the tips in this pod, can someone write the main rules expressed?
    Power, size, about the gas I prefer gasoline, them I can transformer with methane, I’m living in the very cool zone, Yes I need sordin device, for my neighbors.

  20. They do have the Harbor Freight 800 Watt generator in California. They have a CA version (must have paid for the testing). I have one in my garage I got for $89. They have a pile of them at the local Harbor Freight. Rather have the Honda, but the 800 watt one plus an inverter on my car to run some LED lights, works for me. Sure like the inverter- no noise.

  21. Great show! I’m saving this one and using it in our generator decisions.

    One more thought to add: geothermal heating/cooling has saved us thousands in utilities, esp as we are in a rural area with no natural gas.

    However, the geothermal pump supposedly demands a much higher startup wattage. Just something to think about as people are planning for lower energy bills plus emergencies.

    We don’t have the $$ for a generator that will run our geothermal system, so our plan is to heat the house with wood fireplace, and a kerosene heater, if necessary and use a small generator for other needs.

  22. Thank you guys, for another very information-packed episode.

    I have been on the fence about getting a generator for a long time now; Steven the way you broke everything down for us was extremely helpful, and as always very entertaining. I just bought a Yamaha EF2000iS (funny that’s what my own research had me leaning toward before, but after hearing the podcast it confirmed my selection).

    I am relatively new to the TSP community but I have very much enjoyed your recent podcasts on fuel storage / generators . . . and I am planning to go back to listen to the ones that I missed.

    I know why you are Jack’s MOST popular guest. Your energy and enthusiasm for teaching really shines through in your discussions with Jack. Heck, even your posts here in this blog had me laughing while you were making excellent points.

    You know, that hypothetical guy you were talking about above . . . that guy who might be tempted to pat himself on the back after buying his new Yamaha EF2000iS generator and then stick it in the attic “until he needs it” . . . uh, yeah, left to my own innate behavior that would be ME. Thanks for knocking some sense into my head.

  23. Hi Steve or Jack,

    I reviewed some instructions for a portable generator and they seemed to indicate you should “ground” the generator. What’s up with that? Why have a portable generator if you have to have it connected to a ground wire? Have you heard of this?



  24. We have a Generac 05418 18 KW propane generator if anyone needs it, for $3500 plus freight. It is new, unused. We are a wholesaler. The customer cancelled, and it has never left our whse. Email if interested.

  25. What a GREAT show ! Steve Harris is always a must listen / must follow up !
    A couple notes. Steve mentioned a fire which will give TSP members a discount on shipping; I unsuccessfully looked for the link in (FANTASTIC) show notes and was unsuccessful. Went back and listened to the last few minutes of the show and got the details.
    Ask for Bill, tell them you are a TSP member and receive a discount on shipping.