Turquoise Energy Ltd. News #124
covering September 2018 (Posted October 4th)
Lawnhill BC Canada
by Craig Carmichael

www.TurquoiseEnergy.com = www.ElectricCaik.com = www.ElectricHubcap.com = www.ElectricWeel.com

"Improved 2 KW" ultra-efficient Piggott Generator built and works great!
                 (See Month in Brief, Electricity Generation)

Month In Brief (Project Summaries etc.)
 - Milling - Nails - Water Pump - Ordered 305 W solar panels - Piggott Generator - Sprint 36 V car charging - Swiilawiid Sustainability Society Symposium - Energy Co-op for Tidal Power?

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
  - Red Quinoa - HOW Much Money?!? - Monsanto Sellouts: Justice Served?

- Project Reports -
Electric Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems
* Solar Battery Charging for the Electric Chevy Sprint and Miles Cargo Van - a better plan

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects
* Carmichael Mill ("Handheld Bandsaw Alaska Mill") - Milling Alder - Spruce: Nails - Automatic Band Sharpener - 1295 $?

Electricity Generation
* Improved Piggott Axial Flux PM (permanent magnet) Generator - magnet rotors - coil winding - case - assembly - testing - What to use it for? - VAWT, Tidal Experiments - Saving Mixed Epoxy for Later - commercial prospects: 1295 $.
* A very small hydro project using Sprint car alternator I converted to PM generator in 2016
* Tidal Power Project: 100 KW Floating Tidal Power Vessel - Smaller Propellers in Venturis? - Self Steering to Optimum Position in Stream, collision avoidance, "return to shore" for maintenance

Electricity Storage - Turquoise Battery Project (Now Mn-Zn, Ni-Zn or Pb-Zn)
* Manganese-Zinc Cell

September in Brief

   On the 3rd and 4th I finished cutting up the alder log I had felled - three sections 8 to 10 feet long. I cut it down to compare milling something else - almost anything else - with the spruce, which has interwoven grain and seemed like really tough stuff to mill. Having not tried anything else though, I wasn't really sure. Sure enough, the alder cut like a dream compared to the spruce and I cut the tree into lumber in about 3 sessions.
   The last and widest section I cut into beveled siding with a "live" (bark) bottom edge. I thought this would look interesting.

   On the 6th I went back to the spruce and the saw found nails embedded in one of the pieces. These dulled my last two bands and cutting was over for the month. Trees near houses are prone to having nails. People will nail a fence or something to it or up a put a clothesline, then later the tree grows over the forgotten nails.

A supermagnet found yet a third nail buried just under
the surface still farther up the length. By this time I
had cut about 2 feet off the end.

ItsElectric.jpg   I had been noticing people liked my Nissan Leaf - especially the color - but didn't even realize it was electric. "Electric Blue for the electric car!" I tell them. I think the car companies still only sell electric cars reluctantly and don't want to enlighten other drivers that perhaps they don't need to be burning gasoline. Tom sent me up an "Electric" sticker from Victoria and I stuck it on the tailgate.

Trouble at the Pass - water pump clogged up

   On the evening of the 8th my water pump clogged up. Black sludge and soon nothing at all came out of the taps. I shut off the power to the water heater. Luckily my neighbor, one of the family of previous owners of the house, knew a lot about wells and pumps and had in fact set this one up. He explained that one needed a four foot section of 3/4 inch threaded steel pipe. This was inserted down to where the water line/pipe went through a special fitting to pass through the body of the 6" well pipe about 2 feet under the ground, and screwed into the special fitting there. (That's below the freezing level. Otherwise the top of the well would have to be in a heated enclosure to prevent a pipe coming out the top from freezing.) Wiggle it and lift, and the fitting slides apart and the plastic pipe lifts up. Then the entire pump with its 2" plastic hose, power wires and rope is pulled out of the ground -- in this case 60 or 70 feet of black PE plastic pipe. I had to drive to Masset at the far end of the island to buy a piece of 3/4" pipe as neither of us seemed to have one. I found a short piece and a coupling to 1/2" pipe, which I did have a short piece of, to make a long enough piece.
   Well, there's more than you - or I - ever wanted to know about deep wells and pumps - and a round about way of saying I didn't get to too much project work on the 9th and 10th. We chopped off 4 feet of the plastic pipe so the pump would hopefully hang well above the sludge, and put it back. That was still way below the water level inside the well. It was well there two of us to pull the plastic pipe out of the well pipe, and to do it without kinking it. It pumped, and after a while the black-as-oil water started clearing. Maybe I'll have better water now, without periodic bouts of black water from the taps?

Improved Piggott Generator

   So after the 6th and 7th it must have been from the 11th or so that I got back to work on the "Improved Axial Flux Piggott Alternator". I finished the rotors and then wound the stator coils. Then I screwed the coils by their winding centers to the stator mold, wired them, and filled the mold with epoxy.

A finished rotor, magnet side down. (2nd coat of epoxy setting)

Wiring the Stator

Finished molded epoxy stator

Generator in wooden chassis. The outer rotors with magnets spin past
the stator, a cast ring of epoxied copper coils, which remains stationary.

The magnetism from supermagnets on both sides provides very large electro-
magnetic interaction even with no iron in the stator coils and at very low RPMs.

   On the 20th I made a case from birch plywood. I finished the unit in September before the symposium except for a few finishing touches like air flow holes in the case and flamproof paint on the plywood. I tested it by running it with a pulley from my 2 HP radial arm saw motor, and got some very good results - voltages to charge batteries and 62 amps short circuit current between two phases at 270 RPM. It looks like when I get some high current diodes to convert it from 3-phase to DC, it should meet the top lines in Piggott's performance graph from his book How to Build a Windplant, and extend them out to 2 KW (maximum power point - MPP) at 600 RPM:


   I'm glad I took a bit of time to do the testing. It gave me much more confidence in speaking about the unit.

A Crate of Solar Panels

   HES Home Energy sent out a new price list, and then a new sales rep at the Victoria office sent an intro e-mail. I looked at the price list. The best deal seemed to be Hanwha 305 watt(!!!) 60 cell panels for only a little more than 265 watt panels. (And there were 345 watt, 72 cell panels for not so much more than that! They just keep on getting better!) I got the idea to order a palette of them to sell at the Swiilawiid Energy Symposium on the 29th and 30th and I e-mailed him. (Pronounced "sweeluweed". Not as bad as "quinoa" - "keenwah", I suppose.)

   I thought there might be 20 panels on a palette, but it turned out there were 32 in a crate, for what would be about 8500$ by the time I got them. But an extra 5% discount for a whole crate on top of 30% for wholesale, and being crated and stored in Vancouver I could ship them (insured) on the North Arm barge for arrival in late October, which I'm pretty sure is substantially cheaper than by truck. On the 20th I bit the bullet and ordered them. Nobody seemed interested at the symposium. There was a lady there who does approved solar panel installations who also buys from HES. (Very knowledgeable.) Hopefully I can sell them with ads on line (HaidaGwaiiTrader.com) to pay for the five or so I've decided to keep. I'd better!

36 Volt Chevy Sprint EV Charging

   On the 21st I took the Sprint out for a spin around the acreage for the first time in a while and as I suspected the batteries were down a bit. I still hadn't installed a proper charging system. The lead-acid battery chargers should raise the voltage up to 14.4 volts - a little much for lithiums - before they would decide a battery was charged and shut off. I had decided to put a diode in series with each of the three chargers (12+12+12=36 volt car) so the battery voltage would actually be .7 volts less than the charger thought it was.

   But the diodes would dissipate up to 7 watts and needed heatsinks. I looked on the shelf and there was a length of aluminum "H" bar. I cut three pieces 5" long, found 3 car alternator diodes, and assembled them with a #14 wire to connect to the battery. The charger connected to the aluminum bar. I put them in the car and put it on charge. Each "10 amp" charger put out 6 to 8 amps. The heatsinks got quite warm but not hot. The "8" was the one at the front under the hood, that powered the car 12 volt circuits as well as the drive motor. Presumbly it was a little more discharged.

   But these lead-acid chargers didn't shut off at 14.4 volts like one would expect. They wanted to charge, apparently, by higher voltage pulses until the current dropped to near zero regardless of voltage - just like the one that had burned up the Suzuki Swift up with that same unexpected operating mode. If the current didn't drop for whatever reason, they would continue pumping charge in until something blew up. When I checked them 3 hours after starting, they were frying the life out of some of my lithium batteries! In spite of the diode losing .7 volts the batteries were up well over 14.4 volts meaning the charger thought they were actually above 15.1, and yet with this red flag waving "DANGER!" it continued charging full bore! Some of the cells in the increasingly unbalanced arrays - formerly the "lesser voltage" ones in the balance - were up to 4.4 volts or more. The absolute limit for lithium ion cells is supposed to be 4.2 volts, so they were perhaps headed for an explosion or another car fire in the garage! And I had bought 6 of these arsonist chargers, expecting them to work like most basic chargers do! You just don't know what you're getting any more. The manual said nothing useful or enlightening. Nothing about them using an unusual charging strategy, pulse or PWM charging, much less explaining it. I won't be using these unless it's with an external automatic shutoff. Or of course with lead-acid batteries, with which they should - theoretically - be okay. So now, with only two normal chargers, I still need one more for the 36 volt car while these six will be deep sixed. (Or maybe used in the Miles EV van which has just enough lead-acid golf cart batteries to want all six chargers.)

   While on the subject, it appears that I could fit one 305 watt solar panel on the roof of the Sprint and two on the cargo van. They are a little more compact and would fit better than multiple 100 watt panels. About the same time, Jim Harrington of AGO sent me links to a completely programmable 15-90 volt DC to DC converter/battery charge controller with a good LCD display that took input voltages compatible with the solar panels. (Aliexpress.com ~42$) Between them the panels and onverters opened up a simple, practical way to charge the vehicles by solar power, which I plan to install.

Swiilawiid Sustainability Society Energy Symposium

   In the last week I was occupied doing posters and writeups of various projects and potential projects for the Swiilawiid Energy Symposium. I could see a table wouldn't have room for them all, but I found that the cardboard box for a 100 watt solar panel made a perfect display board. The sides folded around so it would stand up on the table to read easily from standing height. People pay good money for custom display units like that!
   But the event was really about networking and learning. Only one person said he'd call about getting some solar panels, and so far he hasn't.

                     The first talks on Saturday, viewed from my table in the "trade show" area.
   On the 29th the event finally started. Sometime after it opened I counted about 66 people present. But more drifted in and by lunch time or so it was announced there were 115. Considering the island has around 4500 people total and this was at the extreme north end, that indicated a high level of interest in the subject. Someone from elsewhere said he hadn't seen such combined interest from native and non-native groups in co-operation elsewhere in Canada, and that the bureaucrats in Ottawa evidently try hard to keep us separated. He thought it was a model for the rest of the country if not the world.
   But we have a common goal. On an otherwise pretty environmentally sensitive island we all want to get rid of the diesel generators. It seemed the the north grid has up to 6.5 megawatts of diesel generated power. The south grid is larger but in rainy months uses a hydro power system. When the water runs out by summer the diesels take over, and between them they burn 30 million litres of the future's oil supply per year. Another 20 million litres goes into vehicle fuel tanks, with all the tiny communities being so spread apart. Evidently it costs BC Hydro around 50¢ per kilowatt hour to generate the electricity by diesel (OUCH!), which is subsidized so we pay the same rates as the rest of the province. (10¢ + tax; 17¢ if you go above a certain threshold per billing period, which I apparently have not yet hit.)

Reviewing Results/Findings/Conclusions from Participation Focus Groups on Sunday, Sept 30th.

Oops, I neglected to take a picture of my own display!
Anyway here's the "display unit" of posters I had on my table.
(My color laser printer has been making lines across the paper, but
it's not like there's anywhere here to run out and buy a new one!)

   The Haida have an interesting history. While many 'red' and west coast native features are present, it's been said that they have some Polynesian blood in them, I'm guessing probably dating back from some Polynesian expedition that chanced to land there, perhaps in the vicinity of 1000 AD. Evidently in more recent times they used to raid up and down the west coast of the continent for slaves. But in the 1880s (three centuries after most of North America) 90% were wiped out by smallpox and only 500-600 remained. Today while there are certainly some very native looking people there, many of them hardly differ from white people except culturally. I think I'm pretty white and it's amusing to have been asked at the Skidegate Co-op Grocery till... "Co-op number?" "8604." "Do you have a status number?" ...or "Are you in the band?" (I replied no, I was kicked out because they didn't want a flute player any more.)

   I drove there Saturday in the electric Nissan Leaf. By the time I had driven the 88 Km to get there, the batteries were getting down there, and there was only a 120 volt outlet to plug into. I did it because I knew I had 7 hours to recharge. But the dash said it would take 14 hours to completely recharge the car. Only a couple of people went out to look at it, but at least when the M/C, a lady who must have been a school teacher, asked for a show of hands who had come by electric car, I was the lone hand. That at least got the idea into peoples' consciousnesses that electric cars actually exist and are used. When I went to leave, the dash said seven more hours to charge, and the estimated range said just 113 Km, which I knew would be substantially high for highway driving. So I drove home at around 65 KmPH to conserve energy, taking an hour and a half and pulling over a number of times to let about a dozen other vehicles go by. (Not a good advertisement for EVs!) I made it with about 21 Km estimated remaining - a kilometer left before the numbers would start flashing red. That was a little nerve racking, so on Sunday I drove the Toyota Echo. I was given a 25$ voucher for gas at Skidegate as a thank you for coming and bringing all my display stuff all that way.

Co-op Tidal Project?

   There were ideas about "democratic ownership" of energy production. But the thing that got my attention was a "renewable electricity generation" co-operative from Vancouver, "SolShare", in which people could buy shares in a larger solar project such as putting a large array of panels onto a large building roof, for 500 $/share. They then collect royalties from the power generated. I wonder how that would work for something more experimental like a tidal power unit? My thought is that I'd like to try it. Not huge like the Scottish one. Not a small "demo" project. Perhaps a 100 KW unit in the north end of the channel near Masset.
   At 10 ¢/KWH that could be around 50000-65000 $/Yr. But because of what BC Hydro pays for diesel power (said to be 50 ¢/KWH), it's likely that they would pay 20 or 30 ¢, doubling or tripling those figures (up to about 200000 $/Yr). Royalties to share owners would come out of that. Some kind of cost estimate for building it would have to be created. Shares might be sold on "participate in promising new technology" as much as for potential returns on investment. The successes of the Scottish units will be a big help in selling it since it has now been demonstrated that such designs do work.  If it went well we could continue and do another one at the other end of the inlet.
   Perhaps a two-prong approach would be best: approach the co-op and see if investors come forth, and at the same time do small scale experiments with a venturi type unit towed behind a boat running my "2 KW Piggott" generator. If that looks promising, do it, and if not, just go for the large propellers already proven to work. (Hmm... it could even have a propeller on one side and a venturi on the other for performance comparison.) And of course press the idea of the automatic and radio controlled rudder as a unique and valuable improvement - which it would be. Steering into maximum current maximizes power generated, and being able to have the unit come to shore at high tide so it's beached at low tide should reduce maintenance and repair costs dramatically compared to having to reach it in a vessel. (See project details under "Electricity Generation", below.)

I tried to visualize the size of that Scottish 210 foot
long, 2 megawatt tidal power vessel on the beach. BIG!

In Passing
(Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)

Red Quinoa

A bouquet of red quinoa

   As it got colder out I brought some of the quinoa stalks in and put them in a bucket of water. At first the ones still in the garden kept growing and turning red as well as those I had brought in, so it probably didn't make much difference. But it was a nice September. Later I brought in potted peppers and tomatoes from the greenhouse.
   I must have kept the stalks in the water too long - much of September - because when I took them out the bottoms were starting to rot and smelled like a swamp. That didn't seem to affect the seeds. I got about 3 quarts from my 5' x 7', x 7' tall, garden patch. Once they were dry, it was easier to roll the flowers between the hands to get the seeds to fall out, but there was a lot more chaff in them than in the seeds removed earlier. I may try a couple of things to blow it out.

Later I brought the rest in. A few days later I put it all out on plastic to dry.

    I think I convinced a couple of avid gardeners to try growing it next year.

HOW Much Money?!?

   There are financial experts estimating that the USA has secretly printed between 21 and 30 trillion dollars ($21,000,000,000,000) over the years, mostly in this millennium. Apparently it, or much of it, has originated in the "Exchange Stabilization Fund" and has been filtered out through Department of Defense contracts and (IIRC) Housing and Urban Development.
   Of interest in this connection, on September 10th 2001 Donald Rumsfelt said there was 2.1 trillion dollars "unaccounted for" by the Pentagon, and that this would be investigated. It seemed surprising this should be announced on television even if it was true. The very next day the Pentagon budget office where the financial records were kept was hit by "an airplane" (by all evidence a missile) and destroyed. It was claimed that no investigation then was possible.

   What this means is that the money shouldn't be worth anything like what it is presently valued at, because there's far more of it in or entering circulation than publicly acknowledged and than most of us know.
   Take the 1928 (or 1929?) case of Portugal. To keep the story brief, a gangster, Simon Riis, had been impersonating a Portugese bank official, flying to the Bank of England where Portugal's actual bank notes were being printed, and having them print reams of extra money "for Algeria" (IIRC), which he brought back in suitcases and used to buy up Bank of Portugal shares. Oddly, the Bank of Portugal was responsible for charging anyone connected with financial fraud. If he could buy the majority of the shares, he could then choose not to prosecute himself. It almost worked, but as he bought more and more shares their price went up and up. So he had more and more Escudos printed. People became suspicious, but as they were the real printed notes, no counterfeit could be found. And Portugal was rich and prospering with all the extra money! It was the biggest scam of the 20th century.
   But in printing all the extra money as share prices rose, Riis made a mistake and a teller found two bank notes with identical serial numbers. They had him! The Portuguese bankers realized what would happen if people found out, and they were inclined to let Riis get away with it. But one guy just couldn't let it go. He had Riis's wife thrown in jail on some pretext, and Riis spilled the beans. When it was realized how much unannounced extra money was in circulation, the Escudo was drastically devalued, which sent Portugal into a deep depression well ahead of the general depression of 1929 and the 1930s.

   Today, those with first access to these tens of trillions of secretly 'printed' (if that's the right word any more) dollars can buy up everything with their much overvalued currency, and have been doing so. One reason everybody else is poor because we're all selling things including our labor much too cheap compared to the amount of actual currency in circulation. Small wonder the US never runs out of money for its huge military industrial complex and anything else the "deep state" wants!
   Certain things haven't gone up so much, yet. But anything one can call an investment asset, like stocks, bonds and real estate, has skyrocketed. The banks and wealthy interests have taken possession of much of the real estate and rent it out to all those families who can never, under present conditions, afford to buy a house. And those who can buy will never ever pay off the gigantic mortgage, so it's much the same as renting. Husband and wife must both work just to pay the rent or mortgage, and even many employed people have to get food stamps or go to food banks to afford to eat. Half the country is having trouble just making ends meet. The difference between Portugal then and USA now? Riis was stopped and that was that. The USA can and will keep printing under the table. The end result can only be loss of confidence in the money and hyperinflation. As these multi-trillion dollar "dark money" figures have only now started coming out into the open, we may be at the beginning of seeing the dollar's slide into the same oblivion as every other fiat currency in history.
   On the bright side, the government simply creating money out of thin air doesn't add to the national debt. It's how I've long advocated that money should be created - for and by the people through their government, not by a bank as a loan that is then owed back to that bank with interest. Either way it's still created out of thin air. If it's by the Federal Reserve or other central bank, or by fractional reserve lending by regular banks, the money to pay off the interest doesn't exist. If all the money in the world were applied to paying down debts, no one would have a penny except the banks, who would still have oodles of non-existent money owed to them. So we all, from individuals to nations, become debt slaves to the banksters.

   And some of those with all this wealth, ill-gotten one way or another, can see what's coming. Bulk bullion dealer Rob Kirby (interviewed on Greg Hunter on youtube) says there's now "stupid" amounts of money trying to buy physical gold and silver by the ton. Bullion is the one investment asset whose price hasn't gone way up - because it's the one people measure the dollar against, so it's kept pushed down at all costs. But there's little to be had. The banks and the "deep state" have managed to hold the beachball under the water for quite some time - to keep the best mines from closing, the coin shops supplied with subsidized ounces and to "buy off" (or intimidate) those who want to buy too much. But at some time it will pop out.
   (Three of the world's top silver mines announced they were closing 2 or 3 years ago because they couldn't make ends meet with the current price. Oddly enough, the price of silver suddenly shot up from 14 to 17 $ per ounce, and the mines stayed open.

   This month an interesting (if unrelated) story is that a mining company (Australian?) on the verge of bankruptcy decided to blast down to a certain strata and found it contained a whopping 70 ounces of gold per ton, an unheard of amount, including the biggest gold nugget ever found!)

Monsanto Sellouts: Justice Served?

   People have been getting sick and gradually discovering that it's from GMO foods, especially corn and corn meal products. To start with, Monsanto invented "Glyphosate"(sp?) as a herbicide, for use as a weed killer, sold as "Roundup". Then they created GMO strains of corn that could tolerate glyphosate. Thus, one could spray glyphosate on the corn fields and it would kill the weeds but not the corn. How simple!
   The trouble was that the "tolerate glyphosate" gene added to the corn - and to wheat - is harmful to the human digestive system. People are getting sick and gradually dying. And apparently the rapid rise of "gluten intolerance" in recent years is also due to the presence of this gene, and the same "gluten intolerant" people can eat gluten fine when they visit a country that still has 'indigenous' strains of wheat and corn. We are eating what might be termed 'tainted' food. The scientists in the labs told them this would be the case. The executives who made the decisions decided to go ahead anyway. They told everyone it was safe. They bullied scientists into saying it was safe. They got the FDA to approve it (probably in exchange for money or favors to individuals, who are thereby complicit). They doubtless reasoned that the eventual lawsuits would cost less than the profits from their "special" GMO corn seed and the glyphosate, and anyway would come later. They sold their souls for personal gain without concern for the sickness, unhealth and even death their egregious plan would inflict on people everywhere.

   Now we hear that the Bayer company is buying Monsanto. But who is selling Monsanto? Who is "getting out" so Bayer can "get in"? The lawsuits are finally starting to come home to roost. The individuals who made the egregious decisions of which the lawsuits are the resulting "blowback" are doubtless the ones who are now "getting out". As the anger against Monsanto increases as the general public becomes aware of what has been done, the perpetrators will doubtless have left the company and will get off scot free, with all their ill-gotten gains in their [offshore?] bank accounts. Let Bayer inherit the cauldron of trouble they brewed up! (And Bayer doubtless has their own plan to sidestep it all, "It wasn't us" they'll say, and they're moving the headquarters to Germany.)

   In China, a company put melamine (? I have no idea why) into baby food products a few years ago. Babies got sick and died. Never mind the parents having to band together to litigate and sue the company for eventually proven damages: Those individual executives in the company who made the egregious decision to do that were soon tried and convicted, and then stood up against a wall and shot.
   In one case the criminals were removed from the planet by the authorities and will do no more harm. They will kill no more innocent babies or hatch further "get rich quick" schemes. Others will think long and hard before unleashing any similar deleterious program. In the other the criminals, nameless and faceless to the public, have walked away with their ill-gotten fortunes to set an example that crime pays for others to follow, and are free to hatch another evil scheme themselves. What a contrast! Public outrage and legal action is mistakenly and impotently directed at the company which they were running at the time of their crimes.
   The future is being thrown to the wolves and the breakdown of western civilization made certain as it permits all manner of such sociopaths to continue to live and thrive among us - people with a high degree of disconnect who have no cares, respect or love for the society which nurtured them or for the people among whom they live.


   As a "bonus" we now find that pollinating insects like monarch butterflies are dying in droves because of a chemical that is ending up in flowers, making them poisonous to them. Nicotinoid insecticides are even worse. Populations of bees are collapsing on a widespread basis. This will have further serious repercussions to the food supply.
   And Youtube channel "Ice Age Farmer" shows various news articles which show that owing to droughts, and cold weather into spring and starting early in fall, the various major crop failures of recent years have been much worse in 2018 - and have attained to being a very significant percentage of total worldwide harvests. He says the mainstream news laughs it off with articles like "Krisp Potato chip famine in Ireland", but the warning signs couldn't be any louder, that you need to grow your own and become food independent. (Get your food stores together!)


The past tense of "sit" is "sat"
The present tense of "fit" is "fat" (as in, "it used to fit.")

   "in depth reports" for each project are below. I hope they may be useful to anyone who wants to get into a similar project, to glean ideas for how something might be done, as well as things that might have been tried or thought of... and even of how not to do something - why it didn't work or proved impractical. Sometimes they set out inventive thoughts almost as they occur - and are the actual organization and elaboration in writing of those thoughts. They are thus partly a diary and are not extensively proof-read for literary perfection and consistency before publication. I hope they add to the body of wisdom for other researchers and developers to help them find more productive paths and avoid potential pitfalls.

Electric Transport

Solar Charging for the Sprint Car? and for the Miles Mini Cargo Van? - New Improved Plan

   I had thought 100 watt solar panels would be a great way to charge the Chevy Sprint and the Miles EV truck. If you put several together on rails on the roof, you could get just the right voltage, right? That didn't seem to pan out very well. The Sprint would need 2-1/2 to get enough voltage, and 3 was one too many to fit on the roof. The Miles would need 5 or 6, which again was a tricky fit. And it looked like I should make some circuit to shut the charge off when it was full. So I hadn't actually got around to either project.

   But after the 20th when I ordered a crate/skid/palette of thirtytwo 305 watt solar panels, it occurred to me that one panel had the same power as three of the 100 watt panels. It was also a little smaller: 1 m x 1.67 m as opposed to 3 * 1 m x .67 m = 1 m x 2 m. That would mean it could be placed on the roof of the Sprint and not stick very far over the windshield. Much better! The trouble was that as usual the 32 V MPPT or 40 V open circuit weren't quite enough to charge the "36 V" lithium batteries, which in fact usually sit at about 40.0 volts when not in use.
   Jim Harrington sent me a link to a Chinese solar panel charge controller/DC to DC converter with flexible input from 12 to 60 volts and a programmable output from 15 to 90 volts, for just 42$. And a good LCD display to see what's going on. My preference would be to charge each 12 volt battery as a separate unit, but for the solar the charging currents wouldn't be too high, and doing the full voltage with this unit should solve the problem. So I ordered two: one for the 36 volt Sprint and one for the 72 volt Miles.

   Measuring showed that if one allowed the panels to stick over the edge of the truck roof by ~10 cm (4"), the truck could hold two panels for 400 watts of charging (counting a 2/3 effective factor since the panels are mounted level and not aimed at the sun). If it's sunny and you park in the sun, that's headed into some good charging rate territory. The truck's regular charger only does around 1100 watts. The charge controller said it was good for up to 600 watts of solar panels. Perfect!

   The panels can not only save power grid electricity, but they give peace of mind that you'll never be completely stuck because the batteries ran dead. or if the mains power is out for an extended period. ...at least in the summer.

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects

Carmichael Mill ("Bandsaw Alaska Mill")

   I had a bit of an e-mail conversation with someone where I bought the 3 teeth per inch, 3/4" wide by .025" thick stainless steel "meat cutting" bands. Considering the small wheels (10") he said thinner was best, and he thought I was making the best choice of the limited selection available.
   But if the saws get into production, I expect we can have more optimal .025" bands with coarser teeth (2 teeth per inch or lower) made to meet the new demands for a new type of saw. I'd rather the bands can be bought in stores or broadly sourced rather than only be a custom order from the bandmill maker.

As mentioned in the last newsletter, the 3rd and 4th were occupied finishing cutting up the main two 10' sections of the alder tree I felled in August. It was much easier to cut than the spruce and I was quite pleased with the results and the performance of the mill.

Cutting lumber from the alder tree logs

Boards from the upper section

Cutting beveled siding from the bottom section.
The smooth edge started vetical at 90° but got more
and more angled with each angled cut.

Some of the beveled siding.
If I'd had it planned, I would have made it 12' long instead of 10', to make
siding for the roof over my travel trailer, which has posts 12' apart.
Well, there's lots more alder if I want to cut and mill it!

   6th: After such good results with the alder, cutting up two sections of log into about 20 nice straight boards in good time, I returned to the spruce, to tackle the 10" wide cut I had set up earlier. It went badly. The band cut inverted bowls and curves and got hot. I tried a number of things to improve it. The only thing that really seemed to work was increasing the band tension a lot. And even that seemed to be a half measure. I tried starting again from the other end, but it didn't go any better. I couldn't get through it. Not one board! What a let down after cutting up a whole alder log into about 20 pieces of fine lumber in 7 hours! I finally went out again, determined, and eventually got through it. What a wasted day.
   So I conclude that there is indeed a great difference between different species of wood. Also the alder was freshly cut down, while the spruce had been down over a year. That too can make a difference. I should probably stick to 4" and 6" wide cuts in the spruce, while some cuts that went fine in the alder were 10" or even 11".
   But there were problems. First, the blade was dull. Second, a bearing seized in a guidewheel and had to be replaced.

Third the spring holding the plastic against that guidewheel managed to spring over sideways so it wasn't strongly pressing the plastic against the wheel. Once again a gap was opening up insead of the band tracking properly. I replaced the bearing, and I drilled a shallow hole in the aluminum bottom plate for the spring so it couldn't do that again.

What I seemed unable to do was sharpen the band very well. I got out a magnifying glass and it showed that the diameter of the diamond cylinder was a little too small. It was grinding up to but not quite getting the dull cutting tip. Furthermore, the nylon had been chewed off and the band had hit the bolt and the backs of the teeth just behind the tips were flattened off. The backs needed to be filed down to an angle again for it to work right, too, and I didn't manage that with half of them. A diamond card I have wore out.
   I wasn't very happy with the tube of little ball bearing races I'd bought for the band guides. They seemed to be jamming and breaking one by one. One thought is that thought they probably aren't intended for transverse loads. With the "railway wheel" band guide wheels, the band pushes on the bearings sideways, perhaps explaining this broken one. But some that had never been used in those had broken down or become hard to turn, too. Perhaps I should find some very small needle bearings?

   Someone later said that spruce was about the hardest thing to cut, having criss-cross interweaving grain. If it could cut that, it could cut most anything. On the 8th I tried again, this time taking a 2 to 5" slice off the edge of the same cant. It didn't cut well, so I put on my last new band.
   Two cuts, with the widths increasing as I went down, went great! The new, really sharp blade was certainly what it needed.
   Who named a big long block of wood a "cant", anyway? Between "knot" and "cant", it all starts to sound pretty negative. A more negative word however is "nail". 5 inches into the third cut. Now that I was out of the city I thought there wouldn't be any, but there it was inside with the tree having grown over it. Per my usual I not only hit the nail, I had to be ripping it lengthwise. 3/16" higher or lower I'd have blissfully missed it, perhaps none the wiser about its presence. Now the fabulous brand new band, the last one of the three I got, wouldn't cut anything.

   I wouldn't be cutting again until (a) I ordered and received some new bands, (b) I found a much better way to sharpen the ones I had or (c) I could try the .032" regular band that I still have from before I raised my shop bandsaw with a wooden block, after which it needed 105" bands instead of 93". The "regular" .032" x 3/4" band was 2 teeth per inch. I thought it was a little thick for wrapping around 10" wheels instead of 14", but I decided it would be a good thing to try out anyway, and see how it worked.

   It became apparent that what I most needed was a practical way to effectively sharpen the bands. On the evening of the 11th I took two and inspected them under a magnifying glass. On one the edges of the teeth were well rounded off. Definitely dull. (That's probably the one I cut up the alder with, but I wasn't keeping track.) The other looked pretty good to me. Why did I take it off? I put it back on the saw. I also looked at a few ideas on line for how to sharpen bands. There were simple things like "grind down the backs with a Dremmel tool" (on slowest to minimize heat!), to elaborate jigs that moved from one tooth to another with a powered ratchet as a grinding wheel touched up all the faces of each tooth as it moved.
   When I tried to saw another board it didn't go very well. I was disappointed. It didn't seem to cut very well to start with, and soon little sawdust was coming out as I tried to cut further. On this band the teeth seemed to keep clogging up with sawdust. I used a wire brush to clear them - three times - and eventually got to the end. When I looked at the piece underneath I found the reason: just 3-1/2 inches in, I had hit another nail! And again not just a nail: I had sawed diagonally right through the head. So once again, unknowingly, I had been cutting with a dull band. And it was the last one that seemed pretty sharp.
   I had already cut 6" off the end of the log with the chainsaw. This nail was higher up. No wonder I couldn't figure out the metal detector readings previously - there were actually two nails near each other. Or were there even more?
   This time I got out a supermagnet. As soon as I put it next to the wood it jumped to another nail just under the surface! That seemed to be it... three nails ...at least, near the surface. I cut that piece off. My cant was a couple of feet shorter now. Of course if I'd known I'd have cut it shorter before wrecking two bands.

Apparently the first picture is a "find the nail" puzzle.
The next one is a supermagnet 'stuck' to an unseen third nail inside the wood.

Automatic Band Sharpener

   This was getting really discouraging! I looked at bandsaw sharpening jigs and tools on line. There was a wholly automatic one for 1300 $. It apparently only did wider bands with a longer tooth pitch - around one tooth per inch instead of three. But it had many adjustments and I thought it could probably be made to work. It might skip every second tooth, but if so I could do it twice, offset by a tooth the second time. The price was (I think) more than all I've spent on the entire bandsaw project so far in all these months. (In fact, it's more than the 1200 $ I spent making my entire pivoting blade sawmill in 2006.) OTOH, I really need to be able to resharpen bands if I'm going to mill lumber, and I don't want to spend half my time sharpening them.
   From a youtube video, it seemed this was the same sharpener as the one sold by woodlandmills.ca . I looked there and they were "only" 849 $ there. I ordered one. (total 933 $ with tax and shipping. Yikes, did I really do that? I'm running short of money with almost no income.)

   On the 14th I visited someone who made arrow shafts. He had several bandsaws and explained some details about bands and sharpening and stress cracking. "Heat is the enemy of bands." A reminder of what I already knew.
   That evening, I tried sharpening another band with the diamond bit in the 'dremmel'. It was one of the older thinner .022" bands. It seemed to go on forever and I took a break in the middle. The next morning I put it on the mill. It cut nicely for a couple of feet, then started slowing down and cutting curves. It must have been one that had been overheated and lost the tempering of the teeth, so it didn't stay sharp long. There was a big waste of time - and one band, at least, for the garbage can!
   I ordered another 5 bands. The website said they would take four weeks to produce. That was unexpected since the first ones had only taken a week to arrive, and most unwelcome. By the time I got them it would be November and cold and miserable outside. Maybe the sharpener would arrive sooner. In the meantime, that was it for milling.
   The sharpener arrived on the 27th. By then I was heavily involved with preparations for the Energy Symposium and didn't even have time to open the box.

Spruce shavings buildup on a dull band

Electricity Generation

Improved Piggott High Efficiency Axial Flux Alternators

   With no iron in the stators and hence no iron losses and absolutely no magnetic cogging or friction, and permanent magnets in the rotor and hence no energy wasted in field current, and high magnetic coupling for high output at low RPMs, I chose to build the Piggott design because it appeared to be the absolute best of all generators.
   But Piggott said they were only good in homemade windplants for around 500 watts (at only ~300 RPM!), or up to 1000+ watts (~425 RPM) for short periods. That didn't seem like much "bang for the buck" for all the magnets and wire. The reason for the low capacity however was not electromagnetic but simply that there was no cooling designed into it. I thought that if it was supplied with air cooling and the coils were better exposed to the air flow, it would probably be good for at least 1500 and perhaps 2000 watts, still at under 1000 RPM.

Making Rotors and Stator

   Pursuant to getting the project going again, I was gradually gathering up the parts and jigs and molds as I ran across them in scattered places wherever they had been stored after I moved. I couldn't find the stator mold. Finally I looked it up in TE News #108, January 2017. The picture showed it was made of black speckled plastic, not white like most of my molds. With this info, I soon located it right where I had first looked. How fickle memory is for detail! Later (8th) I looked there again to see how many turns of wire I had wound in the coils. (21 but they took too much room so I unwound two turns, making it 19.) It was the last project I physically worked on in Victoria before I was out of time and had to get packing to move. I had designed the stator and made the mold, designed and had four 30 cm diameter steel magnet rotors cut by abrasive waterjet (for two generators or one extended one), and wound 2 of the 9 coils. At the bottom it said "To be continued at Lawn Hill." So here it is!

   The mold was only about 10 mm thick. I started wishing it was thicker and for the first time missed the CNC drill-router I had left behind. I could have made another layer for it. As it is, I would have to do all the work of setting up the new CNC router and finding all the right sets of software for it before I can make anything more like that. That would be another whole project - ugh!

   Having not got to it for quite a while I had earlier offered the parts to make one generator (I had enough for two) to an off-grid farming family that seemed very interested. I said all they had to do was send me pictures of the construction and installation (micro hydro) for my newsletter. I said they could work in my shop if they wanted and I would show them what to do. Here, perhaps, was a chance to get others involved to finish this one project, for their own benefit, and not have to do everything myself. Somehow after visiting twice they seem to have let the idea lapse. (I shouldn't have opened my mouth the second time and remarked I might need one myself for a floating tidal power project. OTOH they did say at the start they'd rather buy one than build it.)

Used supermagnets/NIB/NdFeB/rare earth magnets epoxied onto custom steel rotor

   On the 6th and 7th I got back to it and put the epoxied strapping on the magnet rotors. I trust they'll be good for up to about 2000 RPM. It was extra work to do the two rotors where for my motors only one was needed. But it should be worth it to have super efficient generators with no cogging or magnetic friction. One of the rotors all ready to go (without hub) was 4143 grams.

Putting on the polypropylene strapping/webbing

Aluminum "U" pieces hold strapping onto magnets,
and steel weights clamp them down magnetically
so it doesn't stick up.

Weights to hold down the strapping while the epoxy sets

A rotor done (magnets down)

   Later I found that the generator actually met Piggott's specs and realized it would never be run over 1000 RPM. That made the strapping superfluous except as extra tough magnet protectors. Basically it was a lot of extra work for nothing, and it forced the magnets to be an extra 1/16" away from the stator.

   On the 8th I wound a coil and on the 9th two more. It was a lot of extra work winding three parallel wires instead of just one, as well as painting each layer with epoxy as I wound. (And reusing old magnet wire from an early Electric Hubcap motor also made it harder. I ran out of that before I finished all the coils.) Oh well, 5 down and 4 to go! Then I discovered that I had done one wrong. I had made two sets of coil centers for winding them. One was just 10 mm thick, the other was 1/2". I had decided to use the 1/2" ones, but somehow I accidentally used one of the thinner ones for this one core. That made it bigger in diameter than the others to get 19 winds on it. Oh well, I'd see if I could get it to fit in. Otherwise I had one more to wind. And with my winding setup I found I had coiled one or two "counterclockwise" compared to the others. I decided no matter, I'll just wind all three coils of that phase the same way.
   I wound another one on the 11th. Two more on the 12th and the last one on the 13th. 6 coils in 6 days! I would definitely have to find an easier way next time. Maybe I'd just use my heaviest (#11) magnet wire, wind until it looked like the right size, and work with whatever voltage came out - 1.5 times whatever this one was. Then again, there's just one spool of #14 AWG, but I have lots of #15 and #16 wire, and it's free until I run out!

   On the 15th I screwed all the coil centers into place in the mold complete with coils. Being wound mostly with used wire there were slightly different sizes, and I contrived to avoid having to wind a new one by putting the smallest coils on each side of the extra fat one wound on the thinner center. The wires on those and one other coil gap touched, so I put tarpaper between them.
   I actually did it twice: once to make holes for the screws in the right places, having marked them on the plywood in early 2017, and then again with a sheet of polyethylene underneath so the finished stator won't be stuck to the plywood.

   On the 17th I soldered all the wires together and arranged them as neatly as I could. The wiring always take up more room than I bargain on. I left all 6 ends sticking out, 2 from each phase. That leaves the option of wiring it "delta", or making the "Y" point "ground", if the voltages from "Y" configuration are greater than desired. It was well that I did because I had to reverse the ends of the phase wired counterclockwise. I drew the waveforms - of course it mattered! Duh!

Ready to Fill

   The table proved to be not quite level so I carefully leveled the mold by sliding a couple of things under its plywood base. Then I poured epoxy into the mold. The mold was only 10 mm thick and filled to about 9 mm, whereas the coils were 1/2" - 12.7 mm. The next morning I looked. Should I leave it like that? With some coil edges sticking out, the cooling would be best. But it was pretty thin, and the wires were weak spots. I wouldn't want it to vibrate magnetically while making power and perhaps break.

   I undid the screws holding the outer mold and pried it up all around the edges, working around the edges and inward with two chisels until it came loose everywhere and was level with the tops of the coils instead of the bottoms. (The coil centers were still screwed down, and as I hoped the coils and the epoxy casting stayed right in place.) Then I mixed more epoxy and filled it up so it would all be 1/2" thick like the coils. I would have put in wads of polypropylene cloth to give it more strength like on my motors, but there really weren't many places to put it, and with no top on the mold to press them in it would have just been a mess.
   It should perhaps be pointed out that the magnets on the rotor spin around in the area of the white coil centers. The metal rotor is farther away by the thickness of the magnets, leaving room for the wiring to stick up a bit as it does.

Finished stator "side A"

Stator from the other side

Making a Housing

   On the 19th, having made the rotors and stator, I finally started thinking about a housing to put them in. The large diameter (350 mm) end plates had to hold the bearings solidly in the middle, especially if I used cup & cone "trailer wheel" bearings. I'd probably be better off to use needle bearings. I started thinking about making the plates out of plywood, and wished I had a lathe big enough to turn 14" discs. But should they be discs? How about an upside down "U" (or "n") shape, perhaps with mounting flanges sticking out the sides? The cover could also be that shape, with a separate flat bottom piece.
   Then, the end plates would be out of the field, but a metal cover over the center would cause magnetic drag and heating. It'd have to be plastic. But plywood end plates with a coating of "flameproof" paint seemed more and more attractive. One could even just make it a plywood box. Why not? It would be in a room or in some sort of outer housing with other components. It couldn't be waterproof or streamlined or weather resistant and suck in cooling air too. End plates sounded like a good use for my 3/4" birch plywood.
   All I managed to accomplish that day was to buy a sheet of 1/4" birch plywood to match the 3/4", and dig out a 1" shaft and two 1" center, press fit housing, needle bearings from a couple of cluttered drawers. (Yay, I actually had them!) That meant I seemed to have pretty much everything and all I had to do was figure out where to cut and drill, and build it. I did that, except for a few finishing touches and paint, the next day. I had intended the top half to be shaped, but when I got there it looked like the simple thing to do was just to make it square. The only thing I used the thin plywood for was the top cover. (And later I thought that would be insufficient safety if a magnet did fly off the rotor, and changed the top to 3/4" too.)

   I made the holes for the bearings with a hole saw that seemed about the right size (1-3/4"?) and a tiny bit of filing at an angle made them perfect for the pressed fittings. They weren't quite in line horizontally, but it was level, and bearable. Later I figured out that instead of just measuring with a ruler, I should have lined the two pieces of plywood up one on top of the other, clamped them together, and drilled the center bearing/shaft pilot hole right through both of them at once.

   Holding the stator in place, with one rotor, I spun it up to ~100 RPM by hand just by twisting the shaft. I could feel the breeze coming off the rotor - a good sign for cooling. It put out less than a volt AC from one phase. Might I end up running it at a faster RPM than I thought? I shorted it and got 2.4 amps at about 50 RPM, which was as fast as I could get it to go with the magnetic drag from the short. (Maybe I should make a crank handle? But later I put a large V-belt pulley on it for real testing.)

   The finishing touches it still needed were ventilation holes for the air flow cooling, and a flameproof paint for safety. Later!


   On the 22nd I tried putting together the two rotors with the stator in between. This is a tricky operation because the rotors attract each other and if given the chance will clamp together with crushing force. I had put in three options for four bolts to have them thread together: four 1/2" holes around a 4" diameter circle, four 12 mm holes in a 200 mm diameter circle, and 3/8" holes also in the 200 mm circle, making 12 holes near the center spaced the same as car wheel lug bolts.
   I threaded the 12 mm holes to take 1/2" bolts, which I made from 4.5" threaded rods with two nuts screwed together on one end. I ground a 7/16" "hex head" onto the thin end so I could turn them with a nutdriver. I put the rotor with the shaft in a vise so it couldn't jump up at me when I brought the other one near, and held the one with the bolts - with my fingers between the magnets and not on them, just in case.

But when I tried to put them together, the nuts fit tight against the SDS hub and the bolts wouldn't turn.

   Then I thought it wouldn't matter: I could do it without the nuts because the 1/2" bolts wouldn't go through the 12 mm unthreaded holes in the other rotor. In this I was wrong again because the bolts lined up with the 1/2" holes in the other rotor instead of the 12 mm holes. Three of the bolts went through the holes, but for some reason the fourth didn't quite line up, which prevented the rotors from snapping together against the stator, which I hadn't actually thought was possible... but still I held the rotor with my fingers between the magnets. If they had snapped together, I'd have been really thankful I took that precaution!
   I started thinking of carriage bolts whose large heads wouldn't go through any of the holes but which wouldn't hit the hubs, but I didn't have any the right size. Then it occurred to me to line the rotors up two magnets over. Then the bolts would be against the 3/8" holes instead. I got it put together and put it into the back of the chassis with the shaft in the rear bearing. I put a couple of 3/8" bolts through both rotors to be sure they couldn't twist against each other and the 'outer' one jump over by two magnet places compared to the one solidly attached to the shaft. (...that rotor I suppose should have a shaft key, too. Sigh!)

   Next it needed some pieces to fasten and adjust the position of the stator. It had to be held right between the two rotors without touching either of them as they spun. And it had to resist turning itself as the magnetism tried to drag it around. Since the rotors spin from the center axle, the stator can only be held from the outside, and I had sized the box so it came up to the top, bottom and sides. I cut some small pieces of plywood to hold it and screwed them into place. I ended up gluing a couple of bits in to adjust the position. That needs a better system!

   Finally it needed for the wires to come through the box and preferably connect to a terminal strip. Since I didn't have such a big terminal strip, they would just have to stick out. If it's to be rectified to DC per the plan for this one, a six diode assembly on a heatsink and screwed to the case can take the place of a terminal strip.

   By evening everything was assembled. It occurred to me that if Piggott generators could do 500 watts at 300 RPM then they could do 2000 watts at 600 RPM and 4500 watts at 900. There's no way (I don't think) the cooling will be adequate for 4500 watts, so that means the top RPM can be limited to under 1000; even to 800. For those speeds, it's probably superfluous to have all that strapping on the magnets. Simply epoxying them to the rotor should be sufficient, with maybe an extra coat over the top for extra strength and to protect the magnets. I could simplify the rotors with fewer and bigger cooling holes, making them that much simpler and cheaper to have made, and more especially it would greatly reduce the labor, making a production version seem more worth while.

   I wired it "Y" and got it up to about 120 RPM by hand. It put out about 3 volts. So it should be 15 volts at 600 RPM. That seemed a little on the low side. A single #11 AWG wire for the coils might give about 28-30 turns instead of 19, so 23 volts at 600 RPM. Again for production the single wire is much the easiest to wind. Or it could be 57 turns of single #14 AWG wire, making 45 volts at 600. If I'm producing, customers can (within limits) have whatever they want. (But I wasn't thinking... When all three phases were rectified to DC it would be square root of two higher voltage, 21 volts DC rather than 15.)
   I shorted two phases and managed to twist the shaft and get around 4 amps. Lacking that handle, I put vise-grips on the shaft and got up over 8. If I shorted all three phases together, it was hard to twist the shaft. And when I stopped twisting, the generator came to an 'instant' stop.
   I might have run more tests, but that was sufficient and I had to get ready for the Swiilawiid Energy Symposium.


Generator Performance Graph from Hugh Piggott's book, How to build a Windplant, 2004 edition

   On the 25th after making a few adjustments to stop things from rubbing, I put a 12" V-belt pulley on the shaft, and a ~2" one on my radial arm saw, and spun up the generator with the saw motor. It put out a whopping 7.2 open circuit volts AC from one phase, at 52 Hz. With 6 magnet reversals per rotation, the speed would have been 52/6 * 60 sec/min = 520 RPM. (The Hz reading times 10. Duh!)
   I connected the phases in "Y" and measured phases open circuit A-B and A-C as 14.4 VAC. B-C however was 15.1 volts. That means phase "A" is short a winding or two on one of the coils. I must have miscounted, or I unwound a loop from the one that was too big in diameter to fit it in.

   Then I shorted between two phases and tried two clamp-on ampmeters. They both said about 46 amps short circuit (I think it was phases B-C). When I turned off the saw, everything stopped in an instant. (That's how all those quick-stop power tools work - the switch in "OFF" shorts out the motor.)
   I thought I should try again and measure the RPM as well, because it was probably lower. I used the third phase to get the frequency. I was holding the V-belt tight by pushing back the saw handle. I guess I pushed harder. This time I got 62 amps and 27 Hz - just 270 RPM. The belt must have been slipping a lot. (If it hadn't been it probably would have stalled my saw motor.) 62 amps? If it was really 62 amps, even after a few seconds the alligator clip wire should be hot. Sure enough it was still quite warm and one of the clips was hot. I guess it really was 62 amps!

   Of course with a proper load, the voltage would have been loaded down and the current would have been less. and the RPM in between. Open circuit voltage at 270 RPM would have been 270/520* 15.1= 7.8 volts. If we roughly estimate "maximum power point" would have been 6 volts and 45 amps, that would have been 270 watts. That's at the lower end of what Piggott's graph shows at 270 RPM, but not far off.
   Factors that could make it a bit lower are: 1. The steel was bowed a bit so my rotors weren't quite flat, so they had to be a bit farther away so as not to hit the stator, and 2. the polypropylene strapping on my magnets also forces each rotor to be 1/16" farther from the stator, and 3. my rotors are just slightly smaller in diameter, 300 mm versus 1 foot (305 mm).

   But in writing the above paragraph there was something I forgot: I'd only connected and measured between two phases. Once all three phases are rectified to DC, the voltage will be square-root-of-2 higher with proportionately higher available DC current and power for any given RPM. That's very encouraging. Apparently my original winding calculations for useful voltage in 2016 weren't so far off after all. So performance should be on the top line of Piggott's graph or even exceed it. I didn't have time (or enough high current diodes) to try it out this month. But it was gratifying to realize that the performance is/will be "as advertised" in the performance graph that made me originally want to make one; that my unit will achieve similar results at around 300 RPM as the originals. And of course it should be able to go up to 600-900 RPM and put out probably a couple of kilowatts - maybe even more? - continuous. Even 1 KW continuous would make it the best one ever built.
   From now on I won't put the epoxied strappings on. It isn't needed at such low RPM.s. Then it will do as well at even slightly lower RPM.s.

What to use it for? - VAWT, Tidal Experiments

   So I have perhaps the best generator ever, to connect to any source of mechanical rotary power. Obviously a prime use for them, for me, is to sell them. But before that, the first one should really be tested thoroughly. I thought my Electric Hubcap motors were ready to sell before testing disclosed the need for several further strength and safety improvements.

   I had been gathering, and the Swiilawiid Energy Symposium pretty much verified, that no one has tried a vertical axis wind turbine ("VAWT") around here. I think these should work better than horizontal propellers in gusty and shifting winds, which is what most of us on the BC coast have if we can't put a tower well above the tall tress. They don't have to keep swinging around as the wind changes direction. But someone mentioned seeing one where the blades swing out and shut off the unit if the wind speed is too high. That sounded intriguing. I might just make a demo unit with the PVC pipe segment blades that I made 2 or 3 years ago, either fixed or, if it seems simple enough, with some sort of overspeed reduction/shutoff. Just for something to power up the generator.
   Then maybe some sort of demo experimental tidal flow power unit - towed behind a strong motorboat to get a good set of figures for various flow rates - that will actually make kilowatts to really harness the generator's full capacity. At the same time, I want to test the venturi flow capture idea, so I'll put those ideas together.

Saving Mixed Epoxy for Later

   Conventional wisdom says once epoxy is mixed it all has to be used; it all sets whether applied, on the brush or still in the container. But it sets very slowly at low temperature. Mostly around here with the temperature in the "teens" Celsius it takes many hours (and I didn't bother putting them in a warm oven), which is why my coils were wound over a period of days. When I have mixed epoxy left over, I put it in the freezer. In my old freezer in Victoria, I could still use it a day later. In two days it was pretty thick like taffy, sometimes still usable.
   An interesting thing I noticed: This freezer is colder, about -22°c instead of -18. It keeps food better longer. After I epoxied the magnets onto the rotors I left a little tub of epoxy in it for 6 days, and it was (just) still workable! And the little "glue brush" too. I used the same one I started with on August 31st for the whole project, albeit it soon became a sort of a fat wad on a metal stick more than a brush.
   Note that that's not a reason to mix extra and think to do it all with one batch. If there's very much in one mass for very long it will self heat, perhaps even in the freezer. In this thermal runaway, it reacts faster as it gets warmer, which generates more heat and it sets even faster. After starting to feel warm it will very rapidly get too hot to hold, harden in seconds, and often it will catch fire. (That goes for polyester resin as well as epoxy.) That's not good for your freezer or your house.


   Well, I now had interest in two of the generators - potential customers! Can I make them and offer them for a price that people are willing to pay? The first place I went to was otherpower.com , because I remembered they made and sold Piggott stators among other components, which would be similar enough to mine that it might be easier to buy them. The big difference in my improved version was the magnet rotors. I hadn't been there in some time... apparently quite a long time... because it said owing to the Colorado floods and forest fire of 2012, their shop was so damaged they couldn't make components any more. Okay, I'm on my own! I cleaned the epoxy off my stator mold for next time.

   At first I was thinking of waterjet cut aluminum end plates... but why not just a plain plywood box even for the production model? Give it a coating of flameproof paint. Easy for the customer to screw to something or drill bolt holes into for custom mounting. I could easily make them myself as needed and for the lowest cost.
   Then I started thinking it would be really nice to make square(ish) stators. They'd be easiest to mount in the square box and would be solidly wedged against turning forces. That again brings back the spectre of needing to get the CNC router working to make a new stator mold.

   If I was going to do it, I should not only take the sample just made to the Swiilaiid energy symposium but also brochures for people to pick up... with a price on them. I started thinking about what to charge. It had to be worth my while, but not a price people wouldn't pay. What were the materials?

2 - 12" rotors custom cut by abrasive waterjet (150$)
24 - 1" x 2" x .5" 'supermagnets'                    (225$)
1 - SDS (or H) taper lock hub                          (25$)
1 - weld-on hub                                             (15$)
4 - 4.5" x 1/2" hex head bolts                         (10$)
6' - PP Webbing/Strapping                               (5$)
(Total 430$)

1 - 1" x 10" shaft                                            (10$)
2 - 1" I.D. press fit housing needle bearings      (40$)
(Total 50$)

1 - pile of magnet wire (I think I'll see how many turns of #11 would fit and just go with a single wire on each coil.) Voltage can be changed!
                  (2.5 Kg of magnet wire @ 13 $/# = 70$)
1 - Epoxy                                                       (25$)
(Total 95$)

1/4 sheet of 3/4" birch plywood                        (15$)
Deck Screws
Flameproof Paint
(Total 35 ? $)

Okay, somewhere around 600$ for the parts. How long will it take to make one once I'm into the swing of it? A week? Not to mention phone calls and e-mails for ordering parts and for sales. 1000$ or so for all that work? So I think I might manage to swing it for about 1600$. Maybe make it 1295$ introductory "show price" and see if anybody wants one. So the next job was to print up brochures advertising the generators as being for sale, with the actual unit on display as the proof that I can indeed produce them.

Hydro Power From a Small Rill*

*Rill: A small, intermittent watercourse found only in crossword puzzle dictionaries.

   I know someone who has a very small, very intermittent watercourse flowing across his property. It was also pretty steep and dropped rapidly in a short distance. He had no utility grid power connected on his property and said he had thought about the possibility of harnessing the stream for hydro power in the rainy winter when it was usually running. I looked at it and said it seemed to have enough drop or "head" to make some power if there was much water. And of course the rainy winter is exactly when his solar panels are pretty useless.

Water Wheel, resin & paint on wood and plywood. (Ropes are temporary supports.)
The converted permanent magnet 'car alternator' will be mounted up top above
the bicycle wheel "pulley" and connected with a long flat/poly-V belt.

The coil in a car alternator was replaced with a ring supermagnet, north at
one end and south at the other, to make it a permanent magnet alternator.
(The N and S 'petals' were twisted to equal gaps during assembly.) (TE News #104)

   In 2016 I converted a small car alternator to permanent magnet with a big ring supermagnet. It worked okay, but I had found no particular use for it myself. Was I just going to hang onto everything on spec? "You can't take it with you." I gave it to him. Somewhat to my surprise, he built a big waterwheel out of plywood and had it set up this month. Just a trickle of water was flowing, but it turned. (Gosh, you mean I actually inspired someone to do something?) It wasn't what I had (very vaguely) visualized and didn't make full use of the available head, but it should work!

   When I visited there was just enough water flowing to turn it. The pipe will be replaced by a wide flume. I look forward to seeing the generator connected and all running. (It'll have to rain first!)

Floating Tidal Power Vessel

   I printed out and took the diagram and photo of the Scot Renewables floating tidal power vessel to a cafe I often go to (Angela's Place in Port Clements, pop <300). There was considerable interest over lunch. (...there's nothing like hard copy, especially where there's no internet service!) Someone said it would make no sense to put in tidal power when we could just keep on burning over 1000 liters of diesel fuel a day. Seeing that's the only figure I've heard, let's use it. Let's see... 1000 * 365 = 365000 liters per year (or more)? Gasoline here is around 1.75 $/L. I don't know what BC Hydro pays for diesel - probably a good discount. Say just for the sake of round numbers it was 1.3698 $/L, that would be 1/2 a million dollars of oil per year. The next question is, how much would it cost to build a unit to reduce that by say 70%, saving 350,000 $/yr?
   I wish I had some figures for the usage besides "peak load of 10 MW" -- is that for the north grid, or the whole island? And what is the average load? I have a feeling that a 2 MW generator would save the 75% of that diesel fuel, with much of the remainder of the oil being used at slack tides. But without more figures I can't be sure. Then there's the other factor: how big do we really want to go for a first project? Scot Renewables would probably have the confidence to go for the full size (unless they think the sound is too shallow). They have experience. We might be better to go for half a megawatt, or even 200 or 100 KW.

   For a while I thought here was a case where it would be good to just be the second penguin into the water and copy what has already been done. But Scot themselves are improving their design (and certainly aren't ready to export). But I've thought of a couple of what would hopefully be improvements.

Smaller Propeller in Venturi

   From thinking about the potential much smaller Tlell River project earlier, I think the safe way to go is to have intake "scoops" with flat(ish) bottoms each feeding a venturi tube and outlet with much smaller propellers at the focus where the water is going fastest. If the water is too shallow the scoops will rest on the bottom instead of big propellers hitting the hard gravel or rocks. (And, without trying to forget the substantial cost of the extra housing) the propellers will be smaller and cheaper. Plus, hearing concerns about fish and seals in the sound - not to mention seaweed and crap - a cone shaped grill can cover the front end so they won't be sucked through the propeller.
   How's the math? If the cross section at the propeller was 1/3 of what was taken in, would the power be the same as a propeller with the same cross sectional area as the scoops? Let's say that area was 10 square meters, so a meter length of that would be 10 Mg (10,000 Kg, 10 tonnes). Assume COP of .3 in both cases. Assume the water is flowing at 2 meters/second. For the propeller:

Watts = COP * .5 * Mass * area * V^3
 = .3 * .5 * 1000 Kg/m^3 * 10 sq.m * 2 m/s^3
 = 1500 * 8
 = 12,000 watts

For the scoop, the velocity must be triple where the cross section is 1/3 of the intake in order to lets the same water flow through:

 = .3 * .5 * 1000 Kg/m^3 * 3.333 sq.m * 6 m/s^3 = 108,000 watts

What's wrong with my math? Somehow I don't think you can get 9 times as much energy from the same water flowing past depending how you harvest it. The narrower the venturi, the more energy by the square of the area reduction? 16 times as much from a 1/4 size opening? That doesn't make sense.
   Perhaps the answer may be that as the size of the venturi is reduced more water will make its way around the entire unit, and so the velocity at the center won't be as high as the ratio of areas would indicate? That doesn't make sense either.

Self Steering for Optimum Position in Stream

   The other improvement would be the previously mentioned automatic rudder system to steer the anchored vessel into the fastest flowing part of the stream. And considering navigation in Masset channel, one could also put in means to detect oncoming logs, vessels and even log booms, and steer out of their way. Plus, if production deteriorated, for example if the grills were clogging up with seaweed, it could steer itself over to the edge of the channel (or take a manual command to that effect) where it would be grounded at low tide in order that it could easily be worked on - whatever needed to be done "in drydock" during low tide. This would make for a huge savings in maintenance costs. No need to send a boat or vessel out to it, it'll come to shore. And of course it would aim itself between tides so that the anchor rope and electrical cable wouldn't start twisting up with repeated reversals of direction.
   Sensors involved for these things would be:
* Left and right pressure sensors to detect if the flow is stronger on one side than the other.
* Orientation sensor ('compass').
* Visual, sonar or other detector for oncoming obstacles.
* Radio receiver to recieve the "come to shore" (or other) command.

   Also there's another opportunity. The channel is something like 40 Km long, so it takes time for the water to flow in and out. According to the UVic 2004 study, the tides in Masset Sound are 3 hours later than those of the ocean outside the channel. On the 10th I visited Masset. At what must have been high tide outside, water was still pouring into Masset Sound. And it must be even later at the inlets in the center of the island. The power lines also run the length of the channel to the south side of this shallow inland sea. That give us the potential of having two vessels, one near the mouth of the channel, and the other near Masset inlet. The tides would never be completely slack at both of them, so there would always be some power being generated at one end of the grid or the other.
   On this trip I also talked to someone from North Arm Transportation who deliver barges of goods (like my shipping container and electric vehicles) and petroleum fuel up and down the Canadian west coast. He thought the Scot Renewables vessel had been built at Meridian Marine, a vessel builder in Richmond BC -- or at least, that some tidal power concern in Scotland had had theirs built there. This seemed interesting. Perhaps there's more tidal power expertise in BC that can be tapped than I knew about?

   At the Swiilawiid Energy Symposium on the 29th and 30th, I kept racking my brain for a good way to get community involvement in a tidal power system. The Scottish tidal power vessels mentioned last month looked better than anything previous and had a great track record. It seemed to me to be more practical than anything else. Plus I had further ideas - the computer controlled rudder and the venturi power unit idea. The symposium brought forward the "SolShare" co-op energy investment idea.

   I decided I should go for a 100 KW unit if it can be co-op financed. (See September in Brief about that idea.)

   In the meantime make rather small test models of my plans, and try them behind a powerboat. I could make components just large enough to drive my new Piggott generator. Then, if circumstances warranted trying to develop a "real" unit, I'd have some real world data that said for example if the venturi tube idea really seemed better than just a big propeller, and whether having multiple propellers in-line in the venturi was better, worse or made no real difference. And any other configuration that seemed worth testing.
   The very first thing would be a propeller shaft and housing that could have a belt or shaft running through a tube from under the water up to the generator in a housing above it. Sort of like a big reverse outboard motor. (Maybe I'll get to try out my various long-held electric outboard ideas on this?!? ...Or maybe for the test unit, just use an actual outboard motor shell? Hmm!)

Electricity Storage

Rechargeable Battery Making
with oxalate electrolyte:

   I didn't have time to look at the lead-zinc cell. Or inclination for that matter.

MnO2-Zn Cell From Scratch With Pocket Electrodes (continued from TE News #122)

   On the 13th I pulled the MnO2 electrode out and took it out to the shop, and without disassembling it I punched a whole bunch more holes in it. I must have about doubled the number. The metal curled up with the punching and some small amount of substance came out to make a mess. I got a picture of the confusingly colorful inside. Then I had to put it in the press and "crimp" the edges more or less closed again.

   Sure enough, charging currents were around double what they had been. They started at around 1/2 an amp and gradually sttled in at about 110 mA. But it didn't seem to do anything to the short circuit current - still well under an amp after a few seconds, and later even 1/2 an amp. (Shouldn't it go UP as it charges?) So... did more holes help, or not? Certainly not like I expected they would! I began to suspect that the paucity of holes wasn't much of a factor. If that was true it was good news since they were still so hard to make.
   On the 13th and 14th I turned the charge off for the night. In the morning the voltage had retained over 1.0 volts, then over 1.1 volts. On the 15th I hoped it would hold to 1.2, but it seemed semi-shorted. I opened it and it was okay again. I found that with the various manipulations both electrodes were bent a little and they were probably making contact with each other. The fact of the oxide on the nickel-brass 'positrode' pocket probably prevented it from being a dead short. (Somewhere I had some sheets of plastic square grids from "Michael's Crafts" store, but I haven't located them since I moved. They'd make better pocket electrode separators that would be hard to short out.)
   Later I repeatedly found bad aligator clip connections at a corroding electrode giving low voltage readings: there probably was no short.

   Oxides (& oxalates?) on the shell may also explain why the currents were low and dropping. If the electrode case was only connecting to the substance through oxide, the conductivity could be pretty low. The next thing to do would be to make another electrode and paint the osmium doped film on it. Unfortunately, I had other things to do.

   I did however continue to charge it at 1.72 volts drawing about 100 mA steady, and its performance continued to gradually improve. After a couple more days it held over 1.500 V for a minute, then nearly 2 minutes the next day, and would put out over 4 amps momentarily. By 10 seconds it was hardly over an amp, but that was still a substantial improvement. On the 19th it held above 1.5 V for 3 minutes, and shorted would put out over 4 A immediate and still over 2 A after 10 seconds, which further indicated it wasn't simply a shortage of holes causing the low currents.
   On the 20th charging current was down to 90 mA at 1.725 V, and taken off, it held 1.500 V for over 4 minutes. Apparently the 25 amp-hours of MnO2 was still gradually charging. That night I did a short load test with 5 ohms. It started at 1.35 volts and dropped gradually to 1.0 volts over 5.0 minutes. At least it was something.

    Sanded electrode next to unsanded zinc sheet
   On the 18th I made a new zinc electrode. That's the easy one to do. Just a 10" long piece of zinc strip plus a connection tab. I punched it full of holes and folded it over so it was a two-layer 5" electrode. But I didn't get it put in. On the 20th I thought of another way to increase the surface area: sand it. It was too late for the inside with all the ragged perforation edges, but I hadn't etched it yet. I sanded the outside with #240 grit sandpaper.

   Later I had no time to work on it. It had self discharge that got worse. Toward the end of the month I drained the electrolyte and it had a blue tint to it. My thought was that it looked like nickel or copper chloride. The metal would have come from the positive current collector, but there was no chloride in my cells. After all that's why I used oxalate! Where on earth could chloride or something else that would dissolve nickel or copper have come from? I wasn't until October 3rd I remembered: I etch the zinc in ferric chloride! Then I scrub it off, but there's no guarantee that I get all the chloride off by scrubbing it. It certainly doesn't look like bright zinc after. Perhaps I should soak the zinc electrodes in water for a while after etching them, or maybe it needs some other treatment (soak in solvent?) to be sure there's nothing there but zinc?
   Could something to do with the ferric chloride be causing the self discharge? The things you don't think of can really throw you off!

   I didn't get back to it in September, with the last week being prep for the Energy Symposium.

To Make Sodium Oxalate

   I was thinking some Na2C2O4 might help speed up the electrolyte reactions. But I wasn't planning on ordering any chemicals. On the 5th I realized I didn't need to. I had a bit of oxalic acid left. Mix that with sodium hydroxide and you get sodium oxalate and water. (Duh!)

Haida Gwaii, BC Canada