Saturday, November 7, 2009

Colloidal / Ionic Silver constant current - Part 2

Part 2

This is the AC version parts:

AC version soldered.

AC version put in a cottage cheese container. Notice that it puts out a max of about 39 volts with no load.

Here I started with a very clean jar and some 99.99% pure silver Canadian maple leaf coins.
Well, I did some experiments with just the AC constant current and decided I didn't like it. It didn't seem very efficient even after running all night. I decided to add a full wave bridge to the circuit to make it a DC output. At that point it was running at 0.5 mA.
This worked much better. It starts with a higher voltage and maintains a constant current. As the silver ions go into the distilled water, the resistance drops. This means the voltage has to drop just to maintain constant current. On one batch it started at about 9 volts and on a different brand of distilled water it started at 28 volts. That means the second batch's water was way more pure, even though they are both distilled.

Here is a pic showing the new DC version running for a bit.

This shows the oxide layer forming on the negative coin.

I had to take it out and wipe it off about once every hour or two. It seemed to take a little less than 1 hour for every ounce of distilled water. About 45 minutes per ounce. A small 4 ounce glass would take about 3 hours and a big 16 ounce mason jar takes about 12 hours. But, you will want to stir it every so often. I just stirred it when I cleaned the oxide off the coin.

I would "cook" it until the voltage output dropped to about 3 to 4 volts. The water would still be perfectly clear. But after a few days it would turn a amber color. I also would filter mine through a non-bleached coffee filter.

Here is a batch after sitting a few days. The jar was wrapped in aluminum foil to keep the light out. (Since this batch and switching to 45 minutes per ounce at 0.5mA, the water stays clear indefinitely. ) This picture shows what happens when cooking for 7 hours when it should have been about 3 or 4 hours. Although it did take a few days to turn amber.

That is a laser being shown though the liquid. This effect is the tyndall effect and it works even when the water is still clear. If you try it with just distilled water you will not see the laser path at all. So this is a good way to test as you are getting close to being done. And you can see something is happening because the voltage is steadily moving down.

Remember that the higher the voltage starts at, then the more pure the water. But if you take the same water and use different sized pieces of silver like silver wire instead of coins, then the voltage will change as well. So, if you are consistent, you can compare different water qualities.

I found that drinking it doesn't seem to help as much as gargling it and swishing it around in your mouth. Once it gets in your stomach, the ions interact with the stomach acid and form silver chlorides. The suspended colloids (about 15% of the solution) will go into your bloodstream. But gargling it gives you a much better absorption. You will need to gargle for 2 to 3 minutes and 3 times a day if you are sick.

Another great way is nasal spray. You can get a dark glass bottle and nasal spray top at most health food stores.

The other way, probably the best, is to use a nebulizer (ultrasonic). I haven't tried this though.
Let me know if you try this and what your experiences are.


<------------ Back to Part 1

Friday, October 23, 2009

Colloidal / Ionic Silver constant current - Part 1

I've had some requests recently asking for a simple "poor man's" colloidal silver generator. I have seen a bunch of companies selling them online and they are all pretty expensive. I have seen a few hundred dollars or more. There are some cheap ones and plans for just using three 9 volt batteries, but those are dangerous. They don't make safe colloidal silver because they aren't constant current.

What happens is that you start with 27 volts and silver electrodes in the distilled water. As the ionic silver is formed in the water it causes the resistance of the water to drop. This makes the current increase and this causes larger particles of silver to form. As the resistance continues to drop, the current goes up and up. The body can't get rid of larger particles of silver. Small colloids and ionic silver atoms are easy to flush out though. The trick is to limit the current to less than a milliamp or so. I've developed two very simple circuits that limit the output to 40 volts and less than 1 mA (miliamp).

The above picture is the AC version that runs off of normal house voltage of 120 volts. The idea is really simple. You just need 3 identical resistors (all 47k or all 56k) and one small AC capacitor rated at 39nF (nanoFarads). The circuit is just a voltage divider and we are tapping into a 40 volt section. Just use two resistors in series in the R1 position and the third resistor in the R2 slot. You are supposed to use two resistors, but it is easier to get three 47k resistors than it is to find one 94k and a 47k for example. You could use the following web page to calculate different voltages if you need to:

If you have 240 volts for example, you could use a 270k for R1 and a 47k for R2. This gives a 35 volt output at no more than 0.7 mA before the capacitor. Try to use a total of 150k or a little more for 120 volts and use about 300k or a little more for 240 volts. This means about 0.2 watts and most of the small resistors are 1/4 watt.

The capacitor is calculated by using the following equation:

the AC capacitor equation.
f=frequency in hz
c=capacitance..24 MFD is 0.000024 (you can use capacitance in MFD and divide by 1,000,000)



c = A/(2*PI*f*v)

example with 220 nF (nanoFarad) at 120 volts 60hz
A = 2 * 3.1416 * 60 * 0.00000022 * 120
A = 1 mA

example with 39 nF at 40 volts 60hz
A = 2 * 3.1416 * 60 * 0.000000039 * 40
A = .59mA

The DC version is simple. You need three 9 volt batteries and a special type of diode called a current regulating or current limiting diode. HERE is a 0.75 mA version that only costs $1.94. And HERE is data sheet for a few others.

A typical 9 volt battery has about 350 - 500 mAH of capacity. At 1mA or less, the rating would go up quite a bit. But at 5 hours to make a batch of colloidal silver at 5mAH total each time, the batteries would die of old age before they actually run down.

But, in either case, AC or DC, you will need the following:
  • a very clean glass, final rinse with distilled water
  • two 99.9% or better silver wires or coins
  • alligator clip wires
  • distilled water
  • glass for storage that keeps the light out (or put in a dark place)
  • a AC appliance timer or some other reminder to stop the "cooking" process
When you do the first batch, have a multimeter hooked up to the silver probes as well. This way you can measure the initial resistance between the silver probes. It should be fairly high. Then set meter to voltage and turn generator on. You should see the correct voltage. After a few hours check back to see if the water is starting to turn slightly yellow. You can set the glass on a white sheet of paper to help see it better.

Your goal should be to have it mostly clear but with a slight yellow tint to it. Then turn of the generator and check resistance again. It should be much less than when you started. This way you know it was working. If that process takes 5 hours for a given volume, for instance, then next time you can just set the timer for about 4 hours.

The colloidal / ionic silver should be good for a couple of months if you keep it in a very dark place. Some uses are:

  1. spray for disinfecting surfaces
  2. mouthwash
  3. cleaning wounds
  4. use with a nebulizer to inhale
  5. body spray and sponge bath in a emergency situation
  6. eye drops
  7. ear drops
  8. hand sanatizing
  9. killing mold
  10. soaking toothbrush and brushing teeth
  11. good article and many more here
There is a lot more I could talk about, like testing with a laser light for colloids. Using a set distance and size of probe to come up with resistivity and equating that to conductance and then to a rough ppm number. But that is another day. It is late and I'm off to bed. This weekend I'll take some pics of my AC ionic / colloidal silver generator. I just had the parts lying around.


On to Part 2 -------->

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Underground Cold Storage

If you don't have a underground cold storage and you have freshly picked fruits and vegetables to store, don't worry, you can make your own. I first heard of the idea using a metal garbage can. Just dig a hole, put the can in. Fill with things you want to store through the winter and then put the lid on and cover with hay.

In the above picture I thought a regular fridge would work. Just means digging a bigger hole. It does have a nice rubber and magnetic seal and the whole thing is insulated. I would still recommend putting hay over it. A small free standing cover would be nice so when it is icy and snowy outside, you can still open it and get things out.

One word of advice, don't put apples in with anything else. Keep them seperate. I remember reading that the apples off gas something and it will make potatoes turn green. Don't remember the details though.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wind Power when the Wind Stops

I know there is a big concern about wind and solar in which their intermittent nature may cause problems. The propaganda being pushed on the net is that they have to make back up coal burning power stations to go along with every wind farm to take up the slack when the wind isn't blowing. This sounds right at first glance but after careful consideration just doesn't hold up.

In reality, the wind farm is there to augment the existing electrical production so it offsets the use of fossil fuels. In other words, no backup coal power plant is needed. The wind farm means that whenever the wind is blowing then there is less coal or natural gas being burned. This is a good thing.

The only time it becomes a problem is when you get close to 20% of your power production coming from wind. Right now we are only at about 1.3%. But when that time comes, there are much better ways to deal with downtime than just making more coal power plants. One example is pumping air underground.
There are two ways to do it. The picture above shows the more inefficient way. But this is the only cheap way to retrofit an existing wind farm. It feeds the grid with electricity from the windmill and uses some of the power to pump air under ground into a empty natural gas well. When the wind isn't blowing, the compressed air will turn air motors or turbines that spin generators to make electricity.

The second way is to use wind turbines that have the air compressor built in instead of the generator. You can read more about it here.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Utility wants to deploy largest grid battery ever

This story is all about "green washing" and corporate criminals that want to take advantage of new public moneys.

Basically we are looking at a power company and a lithium ion battery manufacturer making huge sums of money through grants from the Dept of Energy. What they fail to mention is that lithium ion batteries are only good for about 2 to 3 years and then they have to be replaced. So, it isn't just a one time grant. It is an ongoing cell replacement scenario. Why put some awesome, lightweight, high density batteries in a warehouse that could just as easily house cheaper lead acid batteries? The most effective recycling program in the world has been the recycling of lead acid batteries. About 98% effective. And large cells like in forklifts can last 10 to 20 years. Lithium ion is great for laptops, drills, cars and scooters because they take up very little space and they are lightweight. In a huge factory size doesn't really matter and, of course, neither does the weight.

But, really, why use batteries at all for this scenario? Wind and hydro can take up slack in the grid system all the way up to about 20%. And only then do you need to look into some backup system. And when and if we get to that point we could use other methods such as compressed air storage underground in abandoned gas wells. Or we could pump water up to the top of a hill and use hydroelectric at the low wind times.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Homemade Deep Well Hand Pump

I found this site today and the "well" page is pretty interesting.

It talks about driving your own 80 foot well with a wooden hammer or a post pounder. And it explains the different type of wells and how to dig them. But I found this homemade hand pump the most interesting.

It is made of some hose adapters and a brass ball. It acts as a check valve. This goes down in the well and is attached to some stiff UV resistant irrigation hose. When you pull it up and down it starts pumping water. It may take a lot of effort the first time you set this up but after that it is much quicker because it doesn't lose its prime. I estimate about 50 strokes per gallon.
Also, even if you are going to use an electrical pump, this manual pump still comes in handy for when you first dig the well. It allows you to clear out the sand and silt very quickly.

This type of pump will work for years and doesn't require maintenance. Pretty impressive for just a few bucks at the hardware store. Looks like it would be great for emergencies or for off grid water pumping.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Today I was browsing ebay looking at wind turbine stuff. I came across this link here. Here is an excerpt:

Wind Turbine 1000 watt. Complete system minus inverter and battery

This is the Best of the Best. Made in Michigan. Made in the U.S.A.

This high out put 1000 watt Wind Turbine is the best out there to start with;

The frame is made of 6061 aluminum aprox 52 inches long strong yet light. bolted together with stainless steel washers nuts and bolts. This unique designed lets you install the wires down the center of the tube so the wires wont get tangled up.This is truly a work of art.

Dont buy a frame thats made out of cheap steel from china then welded by a amatuer and painted over, the frame will rust crack paint will chip off and will look terrible in weeks

This heavy duty motor/generator can produce a 1000 watts as a wind generator. The wind generator is rated for 130 volts dc 8 amps and reversible (creates electricity spinning in either directions they have thick magnets and brushes inside the housing. The outside housing is painted with white epoxy paint.The motor hits about 12 volts at 12 mph start up speed is about 3-4 mph. This is a awsome motor.

Dont waist your money with one of those 200 watt systems

These blades our the best out there. You get 3 turbo torque aircraft grade aluminum. The blades are about 5 inches wide at their widest and 24 inches in length (diameter of swept area is aprox 52 inches) with hub. These are cnc machined with a dimensional tolerance of .005 inches. They are perfectly balanced and spin very smooth.they are light strong and will not rust built to last , low wind start up about 3-4 mph. Our blades can with stand 70 mph.our blades our field tested and under go hundreds of hours of prototyping.


This upsets me. Some people read this and don't see the problems.

1) It says a 1,000 watts - and we know that 8 amps multiplied by 130 volts is 1,040 watts. But, in real life we are charging a battery. In this case a 12 volt battery. If the battery is maxed at 15 volts and you put out 8 amps then that is only 120 watts. But in cold strong wind you can get up to 3 times the current rating, making this a 360 watt wind turbine system at best.

2) It only produces 12 volts at about 12 mph wind. But a battery is usually 12.7 volts or more and the voltage drop across the diode is 0.7 volts. That means that you need 13.4 volts or more to start charging. So, with a 4.3 foot diameter blade (52 inches) that means on a breezy day when the average wind speed is about 17 mph, you would only average about 50 watts of power.

3)This is one of those cheap treadmill motor that has very poor bearings. It will break under high winds and prolonged use. These motors don't produce any usable power until you get to high rpms and that means it is a poor choice for wind turbine use.

4) If the blades are 30% efficient and the motor is 50% efficient, then overall the system is 15% efficient. When I put that in my motor analyzer, I get the following:

So, the part of the description that says don't waste your time with a 200 watt system is obviously misleading. This system is basically a 200 watt system in a "real world" situation.

5) Notice that I used a TSR of 5 and RPM of 4500. But, that is very generous of me since most treadmill motors have a 5,000 or more RPM rating. Also, TSR of 5 implies that the blades have lift. A curved surface alone will not make much lift. You need a curved leading edge and a sharp trailing edge. I'm guessing that this blade would have about a 3 to 5 TSR rating.

6) I like aluminum, but remember, even the best aluminum will get micro fractures at stress points and they build up over time. But the thick pvc pipe painted with titanium dioxide paint will last for years.

7) Just because the blades can handle 70 mph winds doesn't mean that the little bearings in that cheap motor can handle that for any length of time.

So, this is about a 200 to 300 watt wind turbine that needs a very breezy location to make any usable power. And the motor bearings will break in about 6 months to a year. There is a way to use these motors and make them last...but this aint it.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Some more Fog Catchers

I like the concept for collecting water from fog. There are a lot of places that could use this and it requires no electricity.

I have an idea that you could make electricity with this as well, using the "electret effect". But I'll do some more research into that and some testing before I write about that.

Have a good weekend,

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Temperature Coefficient for Electrical Resistivity

I remember telling someone in a forum about using stainless steel bolts as a shunt for use as a cheap current measurement. Someone else said that shunts are made with exotic (aka expensive) materials with very low thermal coefficients of resistance. I found this chart not too long ago and thought I would post it.

As you can see, stainless steel has a negligible coefficient. So, I feel vindicated. Stainless steel is exotic by the way. It is just mass produced and used for construction, thus making it pretty cheap.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Video of Motor analyzer update

Here is the video showing it in operation. Remember, if you purchased this in the past then this is a free upgrade.

Monday, August 17, 2009

new version of motor analyzer released

This is the latest version, 1.6, just released. It does VAWT and HAWT now and will save 3 motor configurations. If you have already purchased in the past, I will upgrade you for free. Just send me an email. There is a part that I'll change on the next release. It says, "Power from blades after friction losses" and should now read, "power from blades after all losses".

I'll make a video of the new program in action and post it on youtube and here.

have a good monday,

Friday, August 14, 2009

Scalable First Flush System for Rainwater Collection

gutter debris deflection

first flush systemHere is a simple idea for a "first flush" system for rainwater collection. It is made of pvc pipe and the first flush section is made of 4 inch pipe. For every 18.5 inches used, it will hold 1 gallon. It is scalable by adding more pipes to the left side. I could use 2 pipes at 46 inches each and get 5 gallons of first flush capability, for example. The pipes have a bottom cap and a small hole drilled in them. This way, when the rain starts falling, the first 5 gallons would go into these pipes and fill up faster than the small holes at the bottom will drain. After the pipes fill up, the water (now clean) overflows into the storage tank. This process rinses away bird droppings, leaves, dust, bugs, etc. If you have a larger roof, you may want more first flush, such as 10 gallons or more. It also helps to have a way to stop the leaves and big stuff from even getting this far. Some people use screened gutters, or a screened redirector right before it goes into the first flush section.

You guys have a good weekend.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

update solar oven

Got some flat black barbecue paint and painted the solar oven. I will let it dry tonight and then tomorrow put it in the sun to make sure any toxins can gas out. It is high temp paint but I'd like to be safe. Then we can start using it.

Remember, this one doesn't have insulation. When the temp outside is a little cooler, I'll raise efficiency by using the hot box cooker technique. I'll take a bigger box and place a thick blanket over it and push this cooker down into that so that all sides except the top are covered and well insulated.

Most people would build in the insulation but there are issues with that. Whenever the food steams it could get the insulation wet and mess it up. The hot box way means I can take out the insulation super easy after I'm done and let it dry if it gets wet.


Rooftop Savonious Discussion

I'd like to talk a little about a vertical axis wind turbine positioned on its side. Yeah, I know, it becomes a HAWT when you do that. The main problem is that, in that position, it doesn't spin from all wind. But there are some advantages. Firstly, it is low profile and neighbors are less likely to complain. Secondly, it is technically easier to mount this way. Standing straight up means the mount point has to be way stronger due to massive torque effects. And thirdly, you can link several wind turbines in a row to share shaft power to one powerful generator.

There is also an advantage to putting a VAWT on the rooftop. When the wind comes, it is compressed upward and effectively gives the savonious more surface area of wind collection. If the wind is traveling perpindicular to the axis then you will get your maximum power potential. In the below example, there is a VAWT 8 feet long and 4 feet wide and it s laying down on its side at the rooftop. In this example the roof rises 8 feet. That means that whatever power the wind turbine would generate in a given wind is multiplied by 3. Of course, a different roof and sized wind turbine would generate different results. So, if it ran at 15 % efficiency normally, then on the rooftop it could be up to 45% efficient. Also note that wind at the peak of the house is stronger than wind at the ground level.

In the below picture you will see wind angles at 45 degrees from perpindicular to the axis. At 45 degrees, the wind turbine should appear to have half the surface area. So, half of 45% would be 22.5% efficiency, still good. At 60 degrees off perpendicular, the silhouette would become one third of full and, in spite of the roof, would make the overall efficiency become 15%. In other words, you can get normal power even at extreme angles. And at perpindicular angles, get 3 times the normal power output.

Some roofs have sections that are perpindicular to each other. Another VAWT could be mounted there as well. That way you generate power no matter what direction the wind comes from. And even if you only have one, whenever the wind direction changes back to a better angle, the power increase more than makes up for the times when no power was generated. Just make sure that your predominant wind is the right direction, otherwise this just wouldn't work for you.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

DC Motor Analyzer Finished

Well, it looks like I've finished the updates on my DC motor analyzer software. I still have to do some more testing before I make it available but here are some screenshots. The yellow highlighted sections are new parts to the program. They are only highlighted here for you to see, the program normally doesn't show that. The first picture below is in the HAWT mode, or horizontal axis wind turbine. The second picture is in VAWT mode. So, you can do savonious or other vertical axis wind turbines.

Something to be aware of if you go to the VAWT calculator web page on my website, is that those computations also account for about a 55% efficiency dc motor. So, if you take a savonious and the blades are 15% efficient and the motor is 55%, then on the new motor analyzer software you would put in 8% efficiency. On the website, this was done in the background. But the new program gives you more control.

For instance, if you have blades that are 30% efficient for a HAWT and your DC motor is 60% efficient, then you can put 18% in the efficiency field and get a nice "real world" expectation. Especially when you put in the cable length and gauge.

I should have my testing done by this weekend at the latest and the new analyzer should be available for purchase.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Cardboard Solar Oven

This is the third solar oven that I've made over the last few years. But this is the first cardboard one I've made. This first pic is the oven without the lid and the second picture is with the lid on.

I still have to paint the inside with some flat black paint. I'll leave the top back 1/4 or so unpainted.

My first test will be without any insulation, just like you see in the pictures. Then I will try the hot box cooker approach. I will take a bigger box and a thick blanket or two and push this down inside so it will be surrounded by the blankets except the glazing section. Then I will add a reflector and see if it improves. Although a reflector mounted on the back of a slant face oven is almost pointless unless the sun is really high, or unless you have a flat top glazing.
And something to be aware of is that (as is true for all solar) size is king, or in this case, surface area of the glazing is king. Here is a picture of a small solar oven that has a 1 square foot piece of glazing letting the sun in.
With the reflector put into position and if it is facing the sun perfectly it will have 3.5 square feet of solar collection. You could make a solar oven with a slanted face that has 3.5 square feet of glazing and you would get the same efficiency without the reflectors.

Also, be aware that reflectors can get in the way. If you don't rotate that funnel type every 30 minutes to an hour, then you will get shadows from the reflectors.

Earlier testing with a thin plywood solar oven with no insulation showed temperatures from 190F up to 225F on a sunny summer day. I expect about the same with the cardboard one.
I'll keep you guys posted.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Rocket Stove

I was talking about hot box cookers the other day and thought this would be an appropriate method for bringing food to a boil and then using the hot box to finish it off. This one is really simple and made with just some adobe bricks.

I like the rocket stoves because they make a lot of heat with very little input. They fact that they are smokeless tells me that they are very efficient. And combined with the hot box method, this is an off the grid dream come true.

See ya Monday,

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Update on DC Motor Analyzer

Most of you are aware of the DC motor analyzer program I wrote. I have been in the process of upgrading it to visual basic dot net. The old version was written in vb 5. As you can see, in the picture above, I've added a few things.

Now you can select Motor1 to Motor3 and hit save for future use. You can also select it and hit load. This is great for comparing a few motors and configuration settings.

I've also added an efficiency setting. The older program defaulted to 30 %. This is really handy for more real world applications. For instance, the blades may be 30% efficient, but the motor may only be 50%. In that case, set the efficiency field to 15%. In other words, it is an overall efficiency measurement. Everything except voltage drop. That is handled separately.

When you move your mouse over the chart area it now displays watts and amps.

I've also added a field in the bottom left to show the wind speed that battery charging starts. If you set it up to start charging at too low a wind speed and you don't have enough torque, then you will get an error now.

I have a few small changes to make and I still have to get the print function to work. But it will be available sometime in the next couple of weeks. Any customer that purchased the older program can upgrade to this version for free. You will just have to send me an email and the date of your purchase.

If you don't have the older version but would like to see it operate, you can see some of my older videos on youtube. You can also see a video of the updated software there as well. It doesn't have all the changes yet because I made the video yesterday.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Slow Sand Filter

I prefer the ceramic filter over a slow sand filter, but in an emergency it would be good to know how to make these.

Something to remember is that there is a layer at the top couple of inches in the sand called the hypogeal layer or Schmutzdecke. It contains all the bacteria that help clean the water. Just pouring the water in too fast can wreck it. And it takes a couple of weeks to repair. The same is true with the backflushing. It would be a good idea to have 2 of these, that way if you have to backflush, then the other one is still functioning. Some people use a top diffuser to limit the disturbance when putting water in. And you don't have to use activated carbon. That is mainly for clearing up odors and tastes.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Hot Box Cooker

I just read a great article and interview on Wretha's blog.

The premise is simple. Heat your food to boiling temps for a few minutes, then turn the heat off and take the food and place in a very insulated box so it can slow cook for the next 3 plus hours. I know it is a simple concept but I am totally amazed by how much power or fuel you can save this way. Not to mention the facts that you can't burn the food, it tastes better, food keeps it's shape and yet is fully cooked, and doesn't heat up the kitchen.

With my limited wind and solar system I wouldn't want to waste power for cooking. But if I ran the stove top for 20 minutes and used 1500 watts, then that would be 500 watt hours or 42 amp hours. That is only 10 % of my golf cart batteries or about 6 % of my forklift batteries. But, if I tried to slow cook something all day on the stove, it would drain my batteries. This is huge, people!!! Another thing you could do is to take the black pot and put it in the sun so it preheats. If you have a solar oven you can just cook in that. But in the winter time, you could just place the pot of water in the sun to preheat it. This will save some more energy.

This simple concepts of hot box cooking and solar ovens will help us tremendously in the near future. So, check out the post and watch the video. Thanks, Wretha, for a great article.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

River Turbine

Water typically has about 780 times the density of air (if my math is right). That means that a small drag type or savonious turbine could generate some usable power. Not a lot, but usable non the less. Using 4 inch pvc for the floats and the blades gives us a blade set that is about 7 inches wide and in the drawing I made each blade set about 7 inches tall. But you could make longer if you have deeper water. If you make each blade 14 inches long and have two of them like the picture shows, then you should get somewhere between 2 watts and 300 watts. That is if the water is flowing between 2 mph and 10 mph. At about 5 mph you would get a consistent 40 watts. You could also build a few of these with those cheap treadmill motors. The motor could be housed in a wood box to keep the rain off and open on the sides at the bottom to let the belts connect. Multiple units could be connected in parallel to charge a battery bank.
So, the floats are just 4 inch pvc with end caps. The platform is 1/2 inch plywood painted with good marine paint. The generator is a small DC motor. The blades are just a section of the 4 inch pipe cut to length and cut in half and then slid apart. You could have a tail on the back so it always lines itself up into the water flow like a windmill would. Or you could have a rope that holds it into position. Also, if you slide the blades further apart from the axis, you effectively make a bigger blade set and can get much more power. But rememer that it will spin slower and the homemade wooden pulleys will have to be bigger. To see how to make a wooden pulley, check here and a lot more detail here.

So, if you have a river or stream on your property and the water flow is between 2 and 10 mph then you could use this. You could even use this for tidal as well.

How good is this? Well, let's say you get 50 watts on average, 24/7. And into a 12 volt battery that is about 4 amps. That is what a 60 watt solar panel does, except that is only about 5 hours per day. So you would need about 5 of those 60 watt panels that cost about $400 each. So, $2,000 worth of solar power PV panel equivalent. Don't under estimate continuous power. It can be very deceiving. And this could be built for $50 to $100 each depending on the motor you use or if you have one already.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Electric Cars and the Ultimate Battery

I was reading an article today on "The Oil Drum" called

Who Killed the Electric Gas Tank?

This article called about EEStore's super capacitor battery replacement. They are still working on it and it is controversial whether or not it can even work. It supposed to be about 52kwh at 3,500 volts. It is supposed to be charged in about 3 to 6 minutes. A couple of thoughts occurred to me.

First, they say we need 50kwh of power to get the range that everyone is used to - about 300 miles or so. Most electric cars today get somewhere between 60 and 120 miles on a charge. It isn't good to fully discharge lead acid batteries, so most home built electric cars could possibly go up to 120 miles, but the owner minimizes the trip to half that so that the battery life is extended. But, be aware that most people are fine with short trips per day. The average commuter drives about 30 miles a day. So, my question is, do we really need that kind of range? If we do, we could take a bus, train or a plane. Are we so spoiled that we just have to have a 300 to 400 mile range? Or is it just the brainwashing from the media that constantly compares electric vehicles to their gasoline alternatives?

The second thought was the amount of time to fill up. The assumption is that people wish to fill up their electric vehicle in the same time it takes to fill up a typical fossil fuel car. That changes as well. A big SUV takes longer than a Honda. And a small diesel car can take longer than a suv. That is because the diesel is foamy and topping it off gets pretty slow. But lets say the average is 3 minutes. The EEStore seems to shoot for that goal. So, that is 52, 000 watt hours from empty to full in 3 minutes. I don't know about you, but that struck me as a lot of power in a very short amount of time. If you did that charge in one hour from a 240 volt outlet, then that would take 52,000 watts of power at 240 volts and 216 amps. Most houses are setup with 200 amp service, so that wouldn't work. If you did that same charge in 3 minutes, or 20 times faster, then it would take over 4,000 amps. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!!

But, let's say that you only needed a 140 miles or less per day and you needed to top off the super capacitor at 24,000 watt hours. If you had 100 amps free to use in your house, then you could top it off in 1 hour, or a little over 2 hours for the full 52kwh capacity.

Most electrics drive maybe 60 miles a day tops and need about 10kwh up to 15kwh to replace that charge. Charging from any 120 volt socket, that takes about 7 to 10 hours. From a 240 volt socket rated at about 20 amps then you could charge that in about 2 to 3 hours.

But, assuming you need to top off the super capacitor at your house from empty to full and use that same 20 amp 240 volt circuit, it would take over 10 hours. So, the fast charge may not be an option, although a battery swap program would work pretty nicely.

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of super efficient and cheap batteries. I just want to see very light weight vehicles and/or bikes and trikes for daily commutes. Something small like this could charge very quickly because there is nowhere near 50kwh of storage in it. A 24 volt bike battery with 10 amp hour batteries only holds 0.24 kwh. That means you could fill that size super capacitor 200 times faster. So, a super battery for the bike could be charge in 3 minutes, but not a big one for a car that gets 300 mile range. (Unless you get powered up at the nearest power plant)

Super batteries are nice, but striving for the ultimate 3 minute quick charge, while possible, is not at all practical. Probably the best you could hope for at a filling station is to get 10kw at a time. After 10 minutes of that, you only have about 1.7 kwh of charge, or about 6 miles worth of driving. (If 5 people charged at the same time it would be about 50,000 watts at about 200 amps.) And 6 miles for charging every 10 minutes isn't that great. Even if they double the power available to 20,000 watts, you are still looking at 2.5 hour charge time. If you went to 50,000 watts of power available then it would still take an hour to charge and only a few people could fill up at a given time.

It reminds me of Ean from the first Jurassic Park movie, "Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Homemade battery

Sorry for the late post today. My friend and I were working on the homemade 6 volt batteries made from the recycled free forklift batteries. Each battery that we are making will be 6 volts, 650 amp hours and weigh about 300 lbs. This is way easier to move around when compared to 1,500 pounds or so. Below is a video of "tinning" the bus bar.

We took a type "L" 1/2 inch copper pipe and cut it to length and then smashed it with a hammer. Then we drilled holes for the bolts. We then put the thermal paste on the ends and heated the ends so we could apply the solder. Before it cooled we wiped the excess off to make it nice and smooth. This will ensure good contact with the battery terminals and will prevent corrosion. (the picture below is before the tinning)
These copper tubes can handle over 800 amps. Isn't that amazing? Most people think they have to buy specialty copper bus bars that are expensive and have to be shipped from some exotic place. Or you have to be an electrician to know where to get the bus bars. Well, copper pipe is cheap and sometimes free. In fact, almost any HVAC technician or plumber will have some pieces laying around that they would gladly give you.

Below you can see that I ground the lead bar on the battery nice and flat so it can make good contact and have lots of contact area.
In the picture below, you can see the whole battery all connected and being charged. Notice, it is just a welded frame on a tray and there are tabs at the top where "all thread" is used to tighten up everything.
We still have to clean up the outside of these cells and paint the battery tray. This is just a test to make sure it all fits. We have about 15 more batteries like this to make over the next few weeks. And remember, everything was free except the "all thread" and bolts and angle iron. So, cost of each 6 volt, 650 amp hour battery is about $4.

Please, let me know if you have any questions.

see ya tomorrow,

Monday, July 27, 2009

Power Outage Alarm

I know what you are thinking, "Why would I want an alarm to tell me when the power is out?" Well, I want to make one for the freezer. The hot tub is on the same circuit and I've had the circuit breaker trip and I didn't notice until the next day. Luckily I noticed in time.

I could design a circuit but it is a lot easier to use something that already exist if it is cheap enough. I plan on getting one of those plug-in rechargeable flashlights that light up when the power goes off. Then get a piezo buzzers from Radio Shack (the Source) and hook it in parallel to the light bulb. That way, the light comes on and the buzzer annoys us until we flip the breaker.

This would also work if the freezer is being run from battery and inverter. What happens when the batteries get low and inverter automatically shuts off? This would warn me to do something else. Nothing worse than losing a freezer full of meat.

And, of course, some people would use this as an alarm to let them know that power just went off while they are sleeping.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Depression Cooking Videos

A 91 year old grandmother shows simple recipes from the Great Depression era. When times get tough in the near future and we have to rely on food that we grow, the knowledge here could come in handy. This is just the first episode and you can find the rest here.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Coffee Can Heater

Here is a video showing a homemade 12 volt heater made from a coffee can. This could work in a car or you could use it as a dump load for a wind turbine charge controller. Either way, it is about 600 to 800 watts depending on battery voltage. The trick is to measure the amps at various lengths until you get the amps you need. If the ni-chrome wire you find is too thin to carry the amps you need, then you may have to double or triple it up. For instance, if you want a 500 watt heater or dump load, and you are using 12 volts then you just do the math. In a car application or in a dump load application, it would be about 14 volts. If you were just running the heater off a battery that started at 12.7 volts, then for the math use 12 volts because the battery always drops once the load is applied. In this example, we will say 500 watts at 14 volts. So, 500 / 14 is 35.7 amps. But, let's say that when you apply the voltage to the wire and at a certain length it starts to glow red and you show 20 amps. Then you would need test a length to get about 18 amps and then run two pieces in parallel. If you need a way to measure amps that are higher than your meter can handle, just use the stainless steel bolt trick as seen on this older blog entry.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Solar Oven

I really like solar ovens. When I think about how much power a regular oven or stove top uses, it blows me away. At 3,000 watts for the oven and about 1,500 watts per burner, then you could easily be using up to 9,000 watts while cooking a large dinner. Or even 4,500 to 6,000 watts typically. But, the sun is free! How amazing is that? A solar oven at about the size in the videos below has about 4 square feet of glazing. At 50% efficiency, then that means about 250 watts of consistent power. Pretty much like running a big crockpot all day, for free.

Here are a couple of videos showing a homemade solar oven in action.

Notice that this solar oven has 2 layers of plate glass, but it is just laying on top and not sealed. But even still, it works great.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Forklift Batteries

Today I am sore. I worked on forklift batteries all day. We started with 4 batteries and took all the cells out of the two big ones. Our plan is to make battery trays that hold 3 cells each to make 6 volt batteries. This would weigh about 280 to 300 lbs each and I could move them with a hand truck. But the way it stands now, each forklift battery weighs 1100 to 1500 lbs each.We had to cut each connection bar and then cut the metal case open. We also had a lot of tar on the top to take off.

Notice all the tar between the cells. The yellow 24 volt batteries don't have that and they should be a lot easier to deal with.
And below you can see the 36 cells we took out of the two big batteries. It looks like about 30 and maybe even 34 cells are in good shape.
Next week, I will finish up these 2 batteries.
Anyone else get their free forklift batteries yet. Let me know, I want to hear about it.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Air Powered Car

This video show two types of air motor designs. Funny thing is that this video was posted in 2006. I guess when you get 11 cents per gallon effective then the big oil interests just don't allow anything to ever come of that technology. Yet again it comes down to us doing for ourselves. The DIY movement is getting stronger because, frankly, it has to. Governments and big business just aren't going to do it for us. And, in all likelihood, will actually stand in your way and try to stop you. If you want to experiment with an air engine, then I suggest doing what I talked about the other day. Take an old lawn mower engine, like a 3.5 hp 4 stroke and modify the cam shaft so it becomes a fairly efficient air motor. (see the second video here) Then you could get a used scuba tank and make all kinds of things. Like air powered bike, trike, lawn mower, backup generator, backup water pump, etc.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Hydrogen powered cars have been here awhile

Just to point out that H2 cars have been here awhile. Simple to modify a car. Just get rid of the carburetor, replace gas tank with carbon fiber tank full of 5,000 to 10,000psi hydrogen. Then regulate that pressure down to less than 20 psi and put that right into the manifold where the carburetor was. Change the timing to top dead center and there ya go. The first internal combustion engine was designed to run on a hydrogen dominated gas in the 1800's. All the explanations of igniting the gas at top dead center are not true for gasoline. Gasoline burns too slow for this, so they have to ignite before the piston gets to the top. This means that the piston is fighting against an ever expanding gas as it moves up. This wastes lots of energy as heat. They took a good idea for an engine and bastardized it to work on gasoline. Back then compressed h2 just wasn't practical. Now, any welding shop will sell you compressed hydrogen.

Here is a car that was modified in the 70's.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Free Energy - Stuff to Think About

I'll say right off the bat that I don't believe in free energy. All energy comes from somewhere. But sometimes people just don't see where it comes from. The first law of thermodynamics basically says that energy can neither be created or destroyed but only altered in form. The second law says that in a closed system, entropy will increase. In other words, the heat or energy in a closed system will equalize over time. An example would be a large container full of steam that turns a turbine and then condenses and flows back into the container. If you aren't adding any heat at this point, then the turbine will slow to a stop and the steam will become water and the temperature of the water in the container will equalize. That rate of equalization is called entropy. The funny thing is that it will equalize to the ambient air temperature, because, guess what, it isn't a closed system. The air touches the container and thus adds or removes some heat energy depending on temperature differential.

What about solar PV panels? If you didn't consider the sun, then they appear magical by creating energy from nothing. Or windmills that spin randomly and create power for no reason. Or sailboats that move whenever the sails "poof" up. It is a strange and mystical world we live in.

What about residential heat pumps? They often rate them at 400 - 500% but we know that's impossible. It is because they consider it a closed system and only account for electrical power in versus heat power out or heat extracted. Never mind that a huge portion of the energy into the heat pump comes from either the air or the ground.

What about atoms? Little machines made of super small particles that spin for the last 15 billion years without missing a beat. If an electron is knocked off, it magically searches for a new home. The electron is always attracted to the proton but never seems to hit it. Where does that energy come from? If it is in the atom itself, then surely, after 15 billion years each atom in the universe would have much less energy now than when they started. Doesn't it make more sense that there is an outside force giving all atoms in the universe their energy?

I think the energy comes from space itself. They used to call it aether or the ether. It wasn't just the vacuum of space, it was tangible space, a real liquid like substance. Scientists mostly believe in the big bang anyway. Wouldn't that set the whole universe in motion? I believe I read somewhere that Tesla believed that the relative motion of space and matter actually imparted energy to the matter. In other words it energized the subatomic particles.

I have read that using cosmic microwave background radiation measurements, they have determined that we are moving at 390 km/sec or 872,000 mph. Now that is fast! We could be going faster though, especially if the entire universe is rotating in space. We couldn't know that because there would be no point of reference. It would also depend on where we are in relationship to the center of the universe. If we were at the center of the universe (like some believe, lol) then we would have relatively zero motion. But that also means no power for our atoms.

Let's assume that the matter, that we are used to on planet earth and things we see in telescopes, doesn't really interact with rapid moving space except to use some of the energy to charge its particles and to provide for nuclear forces at the atomic core. But what if some matter "interfered" with normal space flow? We are more space than matter so normally space can flow very easily through us. But, in the beginning, what if some strange formation of elements or molecules occured that made it difficult for space to pass through? Well, I would say that the instant that happened, then the 800,000 mph space would have grabbed those atoms or molecules and ripped them off the planet with extreme prejudice. Sort of like jumping out of the space shuttle on re-entry and opening your parachute. I'm sure these particles were destroyed or at least reoganized to a high degree. Worst case, they would be left floating motionless in space, but to us it would appear that they are traveling at 800,000 mph.

Also, something to think about is space travel. If we were to travel either towards the center of the universe or away then our relative motion through space changes. Or, if the universe isn't rotating, then we could use the center of our galaxy as a reference. Anyway, as we change our relative speed through space, then our bodies chemical reactions could alter. Of course we are talking million of light years (light year is about 6 trillion miles).

Now, let's go back to matter that interferes with space flow. What if it only slightly interferes more than normal matter in such a way that the excess energy is radiated out in gamma radiation? Think uranium or plutonium. What if a certain formation of atoms were affected in a slightly different way? Imagine a substance that generated its own magnetic field with a north and south pole. We call them magnets. I know that some people say magnets are just springs and getting free energy from a spring is just as impossible as designing a type of machine that runs on magnets. But, first, you can block or redirect magnetic fields. A spring, on the other hand, is just a spring and it connects point A and B and either pushes or pulls. If someone makes a magnet powered engine (this may have been done already) then it isn't perpetual motion. It would just be utilizing some of the energy from space itself. I should say the relative motion of space itself. So, you can't say that the motor is more than 100% efficient or that it makes more power than it takes in. You just have to consider all power coming in. I'm tired of science ignoring space. There is talk of the curvature of space like it is tangible, then they don't even consider the ramifications of a "real space" on matter and energy. They pretend that space is just the absence of matter. Maybe matter is anti-space and space is the real stuff. All matter in the universe could be dead except for the energy that moving space gives to it.

You guys remember that video of the bridge that resonated with certain wind speed and shook itself apart? What if you layered varying substances until it interfered with space flow ever so slightly? Then you could put a magnet and a coil on one side and if it is facing the right way then space will resonate through the material and cause the magnetic field from the magnet to collapse multiple times a second. This will generate power in the field coil. Just theoretical but looking at the universe differently can open all kinds of doors.

There was a patent given around 1980, for a magnet powered motor.
You can read the article here

Anyway, some stuff to think about. See you guys tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wind Power Special Offer

Most of you know about my Wind Power and Battery Systems e-book and that it comes with the DC Motor Analyzer software bundled for $34.90. And, that alone is a great deal. I used to get so many questions about sizing the blades to match the motor, and what gauge wire to run, etc. After I bundled the software with the wind power book, all that changed. Just a few minutes playing with the software makes your life so much easier. So, I think it is an incredible value.

But, I just added 3 books and another computer program to the bundle for free. The free books and program really mesh with DIY wind power. Here is what I've added:
  1. Homemade Amp Meters
  2. Shunt Designer software package
  3. Welding with Batteries
  4. DIY Grid Tie
Homemade Amp Meters - If you are building a large wind power system and maybe solar power as well, then you need to be able to measure amps to and from the deep cycle battery bank. If you have a charge controller for the solar portion, then it will show amps going to the batteries. But, some wind power charge controllers (assuming you even bother to use one) don't even show amps to the battery. And how many amps is your big inverter sucking from the battery? If you have a 1200 watt microwave hooked to an inverter, then it is drawing 10 amps. But on the 12 volt side, that is 100 amps. Most volt ohm meters only go to 10 amps. So, you will need a shunt. This book shows you how to use different metals to make a shunt and you can read large current draws. In fact, this book shows how to make a shunt that can handle up to 2,000 amps, for just a few bucks.

Shunt Designer - This software package makes the complicated much simpler. You choose the metal you want to use, such as copper, aluminum, galvanized or stainless steel, etc., and then the thickness of that metal and you can computer the exact lengths to use to get the desired current carrying capacity.

You can also use it to figure out the resistance of stainless steel wire and "all thread" so that it can be used as a dump load for your windmill.

Welding with Batteries - This one is self explanatory for the most part. Building a large windmill may require some welding. My book doesn't require it, but my wind power book is meant to guide you into using whatever is available to harness the power of the wind.

In the welding book, you are shown how to find free car batteries and fix them to use as a powerful arc welder. Three car batteries can make 15 kw of power. At 240 volts and a 30 amp circuit in your house, you could only expect about 7 kw. You can double that with 3 car batteries. You can charge with solar. And it is portable. It could even be in the back of your truck.

Do it Yourself Grid Tie - This book is really new. In a nutshell, it shows 2 things:
  1. How to take an AC induction motor and use it on a windmill to feed the grid and turn your meter backwards
  2. How to take an AC induction motor and drive it with a DC motor to act as a grid tie inverter. Example - solar panel to DC motor that turns AC motor that feeds the grid to turn your meter backwards when the sun is out.
The AC induction motors can be found everywhere. In blow dryers and fans up to washers and dryers. You can also use large 3 phase AC motors and the book shows the "special" way to hook that up to normal household grid.

Anyway, I hope there is enough here to get you into the renewable and sustainable energy movement. And I hope the price is low enough so that the average person (especially in this economy) can jump in and make a difference.


air powered bike update

This is a video of someone actually running an air powered trike.

But this video below shows more promise.

In this video he is sort of on the right track. Forget the selenoid at the top where the spark plug goes. They are only good for so many cycles and will wear out pretty quickly. Besides, the 4 stroke engine already has great valves in it. And he makes the intake and exhaust work together for air power by adding the lobes on the cam shaft. I can't see it getting more efficient than that. You just need a cheap air compressor and a scuba tank or better, a carbon fiber tank. I like the idea of using compressed air instead of batteries. And imagine doing conversions on cars. You take the camshafts out, add the lobes and grind them smooth. Take the gas tank out and replace with a 10,000 psi carbon fiber tank. Have a double reducer on that that goes down to 100 to 150 psi. You could fill up at a welding shop or at home if you have a high pressure compressor. And once you pressurize a tank, it doesn't lose its power like batteries do even just sitting there. Gas stations could start adding high pressure tanks and compressors so they could fill up the new vehicles.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Solar Hot Water - revisited

I found this link the other day
Remember the other day when I talked about using the roof for a solar heater, but doing it with no glazing? Well this article show testing on a small scale. He has small channels for the water to flow through, but it is exposed to the air. He tried to simulate more channels by using the space between the channels and allowing water to flow there. The efficiency went up.

The more surface area the water flows across, the more efficient it becomes. But you also get more evaporation. At 2,200 btu/square foot day, you can get a lot of power. Most collectors are maybe 20 square feet and that means 44,000 btus per day put into the water. So, a 50 gallon tank with about 400 pounds of 60 F water could be raised to 110 F in about half a day. But using 1,000 square feet of roof would raise it to the same temp in about 5 to 10 minutes. My God! And it will do it at a higher efficiency than a evacuated tube would. We are talking 2.2 million BTUs per day possible.

You would probably want a small solar panel to drive two or three cheap pumps in series. That way you would have enough head pressure to get to the roof without having to buy a VERY expensive pump to do it. You don't need much flow, just enough pressure to get it to the roof. With a big insulated 150 - 300 gallon tank acting as your heat exchanger, you would only need to run the system for about 1 or 2 hours every other day. So evaporation won't be that bad. Since you are using the gutters to collect the hot water, you could also make up some water losses via rain collection. A simple diverter on the down spout can give you full control.

But rember, this type of solar collector is more efficient if the ambient air and water temperature are fairly close, like within 50 to 70 degrees different or less. So, if you wanted 140 F water and the air temperature is 70 - 90 F then you are ok. But if it were 50 F outside, then getting the water temperature above 100 - 120 F would be very hard.

I'm just blown away by how much potential energy is available on the average roof. And you don't need a lot of money to throw at the problem. And I know evaporation is an issue, but if you run the system for 1 to 2 hours a day on the sunny days, then you might lose 2 gallons a day or so. That evaporates into the environment and someday soon it will rain and you will collect it back. So it can be sustainable. Even the pump energy would be from the sun.

Also, a good source of small, sometimes free pumps can be dishwashers. They aren't meant to run all day, but they can easily run for 1 to 2 hours and they can pump hot water at 140 F as well.