Turquoise Energy Ltd. News #125
covering October 2018 (Posted November 3rd)
Lawnhill BC Canada
by Craig Carmichael

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

Month In Brief (Project Summaries etc.)
 - Solar Rewiring - HE Ray Energy - Bandmill Improvements & More Milling - VAWT

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
 - Putting up the Beveled Siding - Home Milk Pasteurizing - Treating Foot Corns - The Moral Dilemma of Uninvited Migrants - Be Prepared for Economic Trouble - A Minor Service Sector?: the Average Financial Salary in New York 431,000 $US - Orange and Red Peppers from the Greenhouse & Indoors - Metric System Length Problem: the real reason English/Imperial measures are better - Black Flamingo Event

- Project Reports -
Electric Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems
* Electricity is cheaper than gas - but it does go on your home power bill (duh!)

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects
* Carmichael Mill ("Handheld Bandsaw Alaska Mill") - Band Sharpener - New Bands, Cutting & More & More Cutting - UHMW Main Wheels & more cutting - Production Model Design?: As is! - Sell the special components as Kits!

Electricity Generation
* How Not to Build a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) - Initial Theories - Construction and Testing
* Solar Panel Rewiring
* Tidal Flow Power Unit: Cheaper, Better! - Cheap Floating Power Vessel Hulls? - Ducted Fans and Venturies
* Short Space Ray Energy: a new design?

Electricity Storage - Turquoise Battery Project (Now Mn-Zn, Ni-Zn or Pb-Zn)
* Another idea for a Conductive Graphite Material?: Conductive Polyurethane Paint

October in Brief

   I must have been a bit burned out after the Energy Symposium on September 29th and 30th. With no other special task to do it took me 6 days to get out the last newsletter and then turn to some other writing I'd been neglecting for a couple of weeks.

   But I did rewire the rooftop solar panels on the third and fourth. I split them into two pairs for 500+500 watts, each with their own wire and (for now) their own grid tie inverter. With two inverters I finally got over 400 watts output - but not much over 500, and with lengthening winter shadows, that much only for a couple of hours in the afternoon. And only if it was sunny. There were some power failures in high winds toward the end of the month, and very little power output in clouds and rain. Reliable tho they were proving to be, I turned off and unplugged the inverters to avoid any problems or failures in potential "brownout" or power line voltage spike conditions.

   On the 6th I made use of the beveled alder siding I cut a month previously. (Pictures, see "In Passing".)

   I talked with someone about HE ray energy, which inspired me to look up some circuits again, printed and on youtube. I saw an interesting magnet demo, and found radiant energy devices that seemed to use that effect.

Magnet Switching Demo
Whichever "U" of iron is brought next to the center "bar" permanent magnet first, "sticks" to it.
The second one then won't stick, unless the first one is pulled away. Then there was an electrical demo:
If momentarily pulsed one way, one "U" electromagnet (permanently) "sticks" to the center
"bar magnet". If pulsed with the other polarity, the other "U" sticks and the first one lets go.
Never do both "U" bars stick to the magnet as one might suppose they would.

   One device seemed to have some similarities to the toroidal one I had been working on, plus it had features reminiscent of the magnet demo. Presumably when power was applied to the left hand coil, an electromagnetic circuit flowed around the left side of the unit through the permanent magnet. Then when it was turned off, the flow would "switch" to go through the right hand coil. As previously noted it appears that HE rays discharge their energy as they pass through a suddenly switched electromagnetic field, and into that field, making it stronger than the original impulse. And this seemed to be a good way to get suddenly switching fields. It would probably be a momentary field, on and then off again because (all else being equal) the gap would favor the field staying on the left side.

   I cobbled something together, but I got no output at all. Perhaps this type needs different pulses: much lower frequency because of having an iron core, and pulses powerful enough to saturate that core. I didn't get into designing a circuit to do that. I also put the gap on the toroid side. (shouldn't that work just as well?)

Sort of a "stood on end" version of the above in regular steel.

   I wanted to get back to milling lumber with my handheld bandmill, but a want of sharp bands and reluctance to tackle conversion of the band sharpener to suit my bands kept me from it until the 13th when my order for 5 new ones arrived. Following that I started cutting more of the spruce and finally cleared up one of the dozen areas cluttered with spruce logs and cants. Finally! Then I  tackled the next area and finished it up. At the same time I made a UHMW- polyethylene main wheel for the undriven wheel. It worked well and the slippery UHMW didn't get a buildup of sawdust on it like the plywood wheels. Then I made another one for the drive wheel. I was afraid it would slip, but provided there was sufficient band tension it worked. The UHMW wheels solved the problem of sawdust buildup that caused the band to mistrack forward, which would get the teeth trying to cut metal in the saw and dull them. The bands started lasting much longer without having to keep a watchful eye on the wheels and keep scraping the sawdust layers off them.

   In fact, the whole mill was now performing quite well and without having to keep adjusting anything or watch out for anything special other than the band cooling water tube running dry. I cut a couple of sections (10'+10') from the small end of the so far uncut big log by month's end. (The butt end is seen 'far away' at upper right with some metal roofing pieces on it (plastic draped down at the roofing joins). Someday I'll get to it!)

   On the 23rd it was raining in the morning and I decided to try making the vertical wind turbine (VAWT) with the rotor blades made from scrap PVC pipe so long ago. In a day I had it done, and I mounted it on top of the Improved Piggott Alternator I made in September. But it didn't perform well. I tried various angles of attack for the blades, but in the howling gale, it never got turning faster than LP phonograph speed, about 33-1/3 RPM. I looked at the one on youtube I was trying to copy in 2013. I had the vanes inside out, so I turned them around. It didn't help. I'm sure there are better designs.
   But two things made real difference to performance: (a) putting a wind block in front of the side moving into the wind, and (b) finding a better location. My driveway seemed to be something of a "wind funnel" and a steady breeze blew up it from the ocean. The unit hit 90 or 100 RPM, but it didn't make much power. To get much voltage at that speed the generator would have to have far more turns of far finer wire.
   Definitely even with a vertical axis turbine if you don't have a good location you've got nothing. I may buy a new cheap Chinese anemometer with a detachable sensor for remote reading (having lost or misplaced the old one - grr!) and stick it on the end of a long pole to try out some different spots.

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

Putting up the Beveled Siding

   If cutting lumber with the new handheld bandmill is straying a little far from being a "green energy" project, using that lumber is even farther off. But on October 6th I used the alder "one live edge" beveled siding I cut on September 3rd (now "well seasoned" - hah!) on the windward gable end of the roof over my travel trailer. Why I picked the first rainy day in a while to do outside construction work on ladders I'm not sure. except that the internet wasn't working and I was unable to post TE News #124 until evening.

Like I said last month, if I'd had this planned I'd have cut the log section a little over 12 feet long so the boards would go from one side to the middle of the building. (25 feet, across the entire face, might be even better!) As it was, I cut them shorter and had a seam in the middle except for the top few where it narrowed toward the peak. I used all but one, 8 I think it was. There were a lot of waste scraps. I cut the first one a bit too short. So I unscrewed it, but soon had to use it anyway. If - when - I make more, I can change it. (I put in the screws a little lower so they aren't under the board above.)

   I decided I'll cut down a few more alder trees to make similar siding for the rest. At least for a wall or two. Some of the scraps might fit beside windows.
   I'm wondering if there's some way to seal around the edges besides putting up plywood or wallboard of some sort under the siding. (Ty-Vec?)

Home Milk Pasteurizing

   The countertop milk pasteurizer I ordered from Czech in August arrived in September. On October 7th I got 3-1/2 quarts of raw goat milk from down the road to try it out. It seemed to work well. I poured in the milk and ran "hot" water in from the tap through the hose until it was coming out the top tube. I plugged it in and pressed "heat". It heated the water in the outer jacket up to 84°C and then maintained that temperature. (It was adjustable, but that default seemed like a good setting.) I stuck in the thermometer a couple of times - and used it to stir the milk - until the milk soon hit 80°, and then I shut it off. Then I connected the cold water tap and started running cold water through the jacket. After a while the water coming out, very hot at first, was down to 12° and the milk continued to cool. When it was down to about 15° I used a funnel to pour it into a 4 liter jug.

   Basically I did for a few liters what Island Farms Dairy Products does for millions of liters using millions of dollars of equipment. Maybe not quite as exactly, and probably it cooled more slowly, but close enough. Of course, you can always just heat milk just until it starts steaming in a pot on the stove, too. (A thermometer would be the biggest plus for that.) But I'm sure the pasteurizer gives more consistent results, and without overheating the milk at the bottom.

   Then, being susceptible to migraines from any but the freshest milk, and using up milk pretty slowly myself (mostly with cereal), I did what I usually do with milk: I poured it into little plastic drink bottles of around a cup each (17 of), screwed on the lids, and put most of it in the freezer for future use. Frozen, it stays good for ages.
   When I want some I get out a container and put it in a tub of hot water to thaw out, which is under 10 to 20 minutes depending partly on whether you shake the bottle occasionally. (I don't use the microwave because the containers warp and shrink.)

Treating Foot Corns

   As I was preparing to move from Victoria to Haida Gwaii a couple of years ago, I noticed an irritation in the outer ball of my right foot. I had been wearing the same sandals for some time. I thought maybe a sliver of metal from the shop had got in there. I looked at the sandal and saw nothing. But it seemd to persist and I looked again. This time I saw a sliver of metal sticking up. Aha, that must explain it! I took it out. But my left foot now seemed to be having the same feel, like something was stabbing it. There was nothing there. This feeling in both feet continued.
   After I had moved I had stopped wearing those sandals, but my left foot had a bump there. It was a corn. I had never had such a thing before. And I could feel but not see something there on my right foot too. Those sandals had on the top of the sole a square "grille" pattern of plastic sticking up. There was a pretty thick pad on top of that, but obviously as the sandals became more worn, it wasn't enough. Where my feet pressed most heavily they were stressed over an edge of one of the ridges. This appeared to be the cause. There were two spots, a large inner corn and 1/4" away farther toward the edge of the foot, a small outer skin disturbance.

   I looked in Wikipedia to see more about corns, but it didn't explain what they were or the root cause(s). It didn't seem like there was anything foreign there, like the virus(es)(?) associated with warts. I had occasionally had ingrown hairs. The corn, I figured, was like "ingrown skin", where confused convolutions caused by uneven pressure made the dead skin layer go inside instead of being on the surface. So it didn't seem right to try "killing" something with freezing or wart remover. The skin had to be turned the right way out again. If this hyposthesis was right, it meant that the corn would probably spread out and become seemingly worse before it could get better.

   I adopted a three-pronged approach. I'm sure all three parts were important. Since they were on the bottom of my feet and were being aggravated just by walking, the first and most obvious one was to wear thick socks and the most padded shoes I could find.

   The second part was to shave off the thick, dead outer layer of skin, the lump that stuck out. This both reduced the pressure on the corn when I was walking and thinned out its outer "shell" to make the third treatment more effective. I used an ordinary disposable shaving razor. At no time was there any pain, sign of blood or any other indication that I had cut into living tissue or irritated anything. I'm sure that would have been quite counterproductive.

   The third part was a "folk treatment": Paprika, carried in butter to make a "paprika cream". This I rubbed on the corns. Ideally I think it should have been a couple of times a day if not more, but I usually only did it once, and as they got better, less and less. Finally as they pretty much ceased to irritate my feet, many days would go by when I wouldn't think about them at all. This surely much delayed their final disappearance, because they didn't improve except with the treatments, even when they had become pretty insignificant. Finally, after all this time, perhaps two years, I'd rate the left one as being 'gone', or at least virtually undetectable, and the right one isn't far behind. I decided I wouldn't write about this treatment until (and unless) I could declare it successful. They were almost done many months ago, but I only finally got some more paprika and butter and started going at them again and polished them off in the last few weeks. I've been keeping it in a shallow plastic tray, which has saved the little cat food tin of paprika from being spilled on the floor more than once.

   My theory about them getting worse on the surface first - as they actually started improving inside - seemed to be borne out. The first thing that happened after I started treating was that the heretofore invisible sore spot on my right foot now erupted into a mirrored carbon copy of the corn on the left foot. I had hoped that wouldn't happen, but apparently the damage was already there inside.
   Then the small outer blemishes became corns too, both feet now about the same. Then the space in between the large inner and small outer corns filled in and they became single elongated corns over 1/4" long. Doubtless this was along the edge of where the ridge in the sandals had been. And there were days when they must have grown worse because of overmuch aggravation from walking and working while on my feet, but in general they very gradually shrank with treatment - when they got treatment. They probably could have stood to be treated 3 or 4 times a day, and would doubtless have been gone far sooner. But for that one would have to interrupt one's day, take the shoes and socks off, and go off to get the paprika paste and razor. I probably did that occasionally when they were at their worst and most irritating. I don't really remember now. But mostly it was once or twice a day, then less as they improved.

The Moral Dilemma of Uninvited Migrants

   There are already more refugees on the move or living in temporary camps than at any previous time in human history. Yet what we have witnessed so far is only the beginnings of vast migrations even of whole peoples. Economic conditions are becoming desperate in many lands. War has played its part, especially in the destruction of Middle Eastern countries and North Africa. Whites are fleeing persecution in South Africa. The Sahel continues to dry out and the Sahara Desert to expand, so people are fleeing that region. Europe has been bearing the brunt of this so far, with Italy and Greece becoming overrun with migrants mostly from Africa. ("Palermo is no longer an Italian city." said its mayor in early 2017.) Australia has been working for some time to quietly repulse shiploads of southeast Asian migrants. So far lesser troubles have started to be felt in North America.
   But populations in many lands without ready access to birth control products are starting to exceed levels that can be borne, much less supported with a good quality of life. Notwithstanding doubtless politically motivated factors in the present "caravan" mass marches and bus rides en route from Honduras to USA, this is probably what we are just beginning to see in migrations to North America from Central, and maybe soon South, America.
   And soon, as sea levels rise due to global warming, and as storms and storm surges get worse with rising sea water temperatures, there will be more migrants moving from flooding coastal lowland regions to higher ground. Sea level rise has been measured to be accelerating exponentially in recent years. Oceans may be up a meter by mid century, with storm surges inundating as high as 50 feet. Enormous numbers of people living at low elevations will be flooded out. In Bangladesh where there are elevations of only ten feet even 100 miles inland, we are likely to see one hundred million people looking for new homes. Other changing conditions will doubtless uproot more people. (Hmm... My house is on a little "hilltop" about 50 feet up from the high tide mark. How fortunate it may soon be that I didn't get one of the low lying ones I originally wanted to buy!)
   Naturally many coming from desperate circumstances will want to reach the various fabled lands of freedom and democracy to find greater opportunity - or even opportunity to preserve their life. Huge influxes of refugees of other languages, other cultures and generally with less or even little education would impose an enormous tax and social burden on the citizens of destination countries. Australia could be easily overwhelmed by more incoming migrants than it has present day citizens. With "open doors" policies European and North American societies and culture could potentially go down the drain too. The future quality of life in these lands will to a great extent be determined by the quality of the peoples that are permitted to enter - and mass economic migrants may be by and large those who weren't "making it" in their own lands. White people, having created birth control products, are quickly becoming a minority everywhere. IMHO it would be better to have some lands remaining and progressing as an inspiration and a model to the rest or the world than for it to all become homogeneously "slower to progress" nations. I think that would tremendously retard planetary progress toward Social Sustainability and the Days of Light and Life.

   This book goes into details:
 Answering the Moral and Ethical Confusion of Uninvited Migrants

   Boiled down to essentials, one can and certainly should be sympathetic toward neighbors in difficulty, but that doesn't mean you're obligated to invite them to come and live in your own house. Or especially to take them in uninvited!

Be Prepared for Economic Trouble

   Okay, I've been saying there's a collapse coming for some years now. Some might say nothing has happened, but in some countries a collapse has happened or is in progress; in others, the signs of serious trouble are there beneath the surface, such as nearly 1/2 of US households having trouble simply making ends meet and having unpayable mortgages, student loan debt, credit card debt and no savings.
   I'm led to repeat the warnings which are coming now from every direction (except perhaps the so-called "mainstream media"). A 50-70% drop in stocks will hurt retirement funds, which are heavily invested in such risky assets seeking to get enough yield to remain solvent. A "perfect storm financial crash" (as one analyst puts it) seems inevitable as the "Everything Bubble" starts to pop. The US federal reserve is quickly drying up global liquidity in our "Ponzi scheme" financial system. The causes are obvious, and the cures are not unknown, but it would seem there's no leadership anywhere willing to tackle the problem. It is unlikely to end in complete dystopia, but we are heading into a time when no assets are entirely safe. Real wealth doesn't disappear, but tremendous transfers of wealth are sure to take place.
   On top of that are the ever increasing climate catastrophes. Annual crop losses are reaching levels of "severe". If you were on the coast in the affected areas of the Carolinas, Florida or Texas, where are you now? Is your home still there? Were your preparations suitable and effective? Will the next hurricane be even bigger? Or, has your area lost crops in prolonged droughts with occasional severe flash flooding? hailstones that are killing crops and even sheep? forest fires? volcanoes or earthquakes or tsunamis?

   No preparations are suitable for everyone. Personal and environmental circumstances differ widely. Repeating myself perhaps ad nauseum but in line with many others, in general have some real assets - loss of trust in currency can erode its value rather suddenly. Food stores and silver bullion come highly recommended. If you're thinking you might retreat to a safer place if things get rough, do you know where, and do you always have whatever you need to get there? (eg, enough gasoline.) And anything else you're likely to need over a few rough years as applicable. Diversify your portfolio: Paypal and other non-bank financial institutions may be better places to deposit some currency than banks in a banking collapse or bank "bail ins". Have some cash so you can still buy things if there are "bank holidays".

A Minor Service Sector?: the Average Financial Salary in New York is 431,000 $US

   The financial services sector should be a very small part of the economy. Ideally they hold and prudently lend other peoples' deposited money as capital for those who wish to do worthy real things but can't afford the whole price up front. For that they charge a small fee; interest.
   Instead, under "10% fractional reserve banking", for every 1 $ on deposit the banks can essentially lend out 9 $ that doesn't exist. Then when those who receive the borrowed money put that same 9 $ into their own bank accounts, the banks can lend out another 81 $ based in those deposits - rehypothecation of money. Thus it is seen they are essentially 'printing money' out of thin air, all created as loans with interest owing.
   Therefore inflation - slow robbery of savings - and more loaning, ever expanding indebtedness, must continue, otherwise there is "deflationary debt collapse", since there is nothing like the amount of actual money in existence to pay off debt as there is debt.
   If your original dollar gets paid back to the bank as interest on all that debt, or even if you simply take your dollar out and put it under your mattress (BTW that really is where thieves look first, then your dresser drawer, etc - your most personal spaces), the base enabler for all that other money vanishes. With the original dollar gone, there's just the 90$ created as debts.
   That's where lack of "liquidity" created by the US Federal Reserve - globally since the US dollar is the world's "reserve currency" - by un-loaning even a relatively small amount of cash to "shrink its balance sheet" makes it hard for those with debt to make their payments.

   The "fractional reserve" process has allowed the financial services sector to grow far larger than the total actual economy - the 90$ from the original 1$. Society has apparently no control over this cancer; the banksters take what they please. Here are levels of salaries and bonuses that make history's biggest and most famous heists and robberies look like pocket change. The average financial services executive in New York receives the amount shown in the title annually, and it is a far larger average than the compensation to those who produce real goods or provide real services that contribute to the economy instead of sucking it dry.
   (And all this while the banks they run are essentially broke! "Help, bail us out!" Is this fair and equitable to all?)

Orange and Red Peppers from the Greenhouse & Indoors

I grew some peppers (mostly purchased seedlings) in the greenhouse; some in the ground,
some in pots. I've never grown anything but "green peppers" before, because they never
ripen before colder weather sets in. This year I brought the pots into the  house in
late September. In mid October, almost in a day it seemed, the peppers on one plant
all turned orange. I put the other one under the "Indoor LED Garden" lights.
Late in the month, they turned red. On the 31st I cut the rest and dumped the pots out.
(The last green one turned red sitting on the counter in the first days of November.)
I also got a couple more good green peppers from a plant in the greenhouse.

Metric System Length Problem: the real reason English Imperial measures are better

yard / meter - 1 syllable / 2 syllables

inch / centimeter - 1 syllable / 4 syllables

mile / kilometer - 2 syllables / 4 syllables

foot / 30 centimeters - 1 syllable / 6 syllables

cup / 250 milliliters / (quarter liter) - 1 syllable / 9 or 10 syllables / (4 syllables)

quart / liter - 1 syllable / 2 syllables

gallon / 4 liters - 2 syllables / 3 syllables

pound / kilogram -  1 syllable / 3 syllables


(Give them an inch and they'll take a centimeter?)


"There you go, 10 liters."
"Okay. Is that French liters or US liters?"

Black Flamingo Event
[No One Expects the Spanish Inquisition! - Monte Python's Flying Circus; episode, ~1975]

   We know that the financial system is so complex and fragile that we can expect some "black swan" event sometime will throw everything for a loop globally. (Can one expect a "black swan" event?) Maybe: a 50-70% stock market crash is presently being forecast by many financial experts (and before month's end seemed to be well underway).
   What no one could ever have expected was a "black flamingo" event (2013?). The black flamingo was first seen in Israel, doubtless colluding with the ever-plotting Israeli government. Next it was seen in Cypress, and then the banking system of Cypress collapsed. Just three years after Cypress joined the EU, it apparently went from stability into financial crisis. Under the demands of the European Central Bank, the Cypress banks "bailed in" to bail themselves out. They took a great share of peoples' life savings on deposit and then prevented them from withdrawing their remaining money, all so trustingly deposited. That worked so well that every 'western' nation now has similar legislation allowing potential confiscation of funds on deposit at major banks. (How that fits with "deposit insurance" I don't know.)

   It isn't clear from its little known public activity whether the black flamingo played a role in the banking plot, or whether perhaps it was the one who warned all the Russian account holders (only the Russians) a day or more in advance to withdraw their money from their Cypress bank accounts while they still could. The flamingo mostly stayed out in the water trying to mingle with the other flamingos (doubtless to avoid reporters with questions). Some might insist it was all just coincidence. (Hey, I'm not making all this up. Just check out "black flamingo" on Youtube. [The other facts and events are of record too.])

The Scottish Miser's Guide to Economy

* You can wear your socks and underwear twice as long between washings if you turn them inside out after the first week.

(Well it's probably pointless to try and think up any more after that one!)


More and more frugality (Victoria BC): "End of the Roll" discount carpets couldn't afford to keep their whole store open so they shrank it and let one end of the building go. It became the bargain store "Excess Cargo" where one could buy small appliances, some great "off brand" electronics and various things at amazing prices. This store was very popular. I bought many things there, but the whole chain went under. One of the employees turned the store into "McFrugals" with a somewhat different line of even lower cost products. In spite of its success (or at least, payment of the rent) the owner of the building decided having such a "low class" paying tenant wasn't good enough and he evicted them to renovate so he could charge more money in this backwater area. I've moved, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's now yet another vacant storefront with "for sale or rent" signs out front, of which there were no shortage when I left.
   The "retail apocalypse" proceedeth apace!


I can't quite place it, but there must be something ironic about this road sign:

"No Overnight Camping on Skidegate Indian Reserve"

   "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

Electric Charges: It's the EV!

   My power bill for July and August was about 150 $. That was 75 $/month. It seemed rather high for summer. I'd have expected more like 35 to 50 per month. Then I remembered the extra 25-40 $/month was for charging the Nissan Leaf after driving it. If that had been gasoline it would have been more like (just guessing) 150-250 $. Really it wouldn't have been quite so much because I would have driven less. I would have skipped many trips which weren't absolutely necessary, like weekly lunch in Port Clements, and I'd have put off trips to town until the need became pressing in order to combine more things into fewer trips. With electricity the fuel bill is nothing much to worry about - about 2 ¢/Km - even if I can't pin down what the exact total is. (I suppose I could write down odometer readings.)
   Almost everywhere I drive is a 50 Km or more round trip. If I was still living in Victoria where everything is close by, the addition to the bill would have been almost insignificant.

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects

Carmichael Mill ("Bandsaw Alaska Mill")

   After hitting two nails in early September there was no more cutting until I had at least one sharp band again.

Automatic Band Sharpener

   This arrived near the end of September, but it was made for wider bands with around 1" tooth spacing. In order to make it work for 3/4" bands with 1/3" tooth spacing, I need to make a couple of modifications. The first one was simple enough: I found some washers the right size to put on the two bolts that held the band at the right height.
   Next, an offset cam moved the band too far and too fast for the movement up and down of the grinding wheel, and also at the wrong time. It would skip three teeth instead of one and the wheel descended while it was moving instead of when it was stopped. I had to drill a hole in a new rotation and closer the the center of a rotating plate for the new offset cam that moved the band to the next tooth while the wheel sharpened as it went. This mod made me nervous. I could see about where it should go, but there wasn't much room, and if I was off, the right place would overlap the one I drilled.

New Bands, Cutting & More & More Cutting

   My order of 5 new bands arrived on October 13th. (.025" x 3/4" x 93", 3 TPI "meat cutting" stainless steel bands.) By the time I was ready it was getting late. Nevertheless I put a new band on and went out to cut. In about 20 seconds I was 4 feet though cutting a 2" x 6". It looked like I'd be done the 10 foot length in less than a minute, but things started going funny about 2 feet from the far end. On close inspection in the dimming light it appeared I had already cut into this piece from the other end (over a month ago), and the two cuts were meeting. So the board was nearly cut all along and was lying on the band and jamming it. I put in a couple of wedges and finished whatever bit was still holding the pieces together. That's probably what I got for not waiting until morning when it was light out. It was getting quite dark by the time I had everything put away. Amazingly the cuts met so flawlessly I couldn't tell exactly where. The board's face was nice and straight except near that end.
   The next day I cut six 8' - 2" x 4"s and another 2" x 6". The 2" x 6" was notably slower and I cut through some bark on it. I suspect that dulled the band - maybe there was some sand in the bark? because on the 15th I tried to cut another one and it didn't go well - 1/3 the cutting speed of the 2" x 4"s the day before and the band was getting hot. And as it heated it cut even slower. After just 15 inches I decided to stop and change bands. If I didn't overheat this one I could sharpen it later. Or maybe it just needs a new (or sharpened) band every session, every few boards? After all, chainsaw mills do.
   In the afternoon I changed the band. The old band appeared to be gummed up with sawdust stuck to spruce pitch, which I also had to scrape a layer of off the wheels before putting the new band on. Could the old band be just gummed up? I wasn't putting it back on to find out: I wanted to cut wood! The cutting went well and (at long last!) I finally finished up the wood in the first area - out of maybe 10 or a dozen stashes of spruce wood to be cut.
   I kept most everything that was long and thin, as long as it had a flat side or two. Usually I'd have considered much of that to be firewood, but I may get some animals for the "ranch", and I may want to fence in an area, maybe for sheep or goats. Anything reasonably solid should make good, cheap animal fence boards.
   (Let's see... that sounds like it could take many years to get to the end of. But then, the cants sat all fall and I only started the band mill construction project in January, and then I only got it working fairly nicely by the end of August. A year! It needs further improvements, but it's working and that lengthy experimental development phase won't be repeated. And then I diverted and cut up an alder tree - but that was worth it just to see how much easier alder was to cut. Spruce I now hear is about the toughest wood to mill. And having tried alder, I plan to cut some more of that attractive beveled siding for my building. And if I cut enough alder trees down, the old garden plot may just get enough sun to use again.)
   I also came up with an easier way to push the saw, which took a fair amount of pressure: with my knees! Not only was it easier to get the pressure, but it was easier to get an even push to move the saw smoothly along the cut. The one thing to be sure of as the piece being cut from gets shorter is that the band isn't near one's feet. I had my shoe touch the band a couple of times just when the cut was finished and the saw was stopped, and I was pulling the saw away to set it down. Perhaps the rear slide should be farther from the back of the saw for the next model? Then the operator's legs would hit the slide instead of the body of the saw and the feet would be farther back.

   On the 16th I whittled down another small collection of logs. I sliced an long edge off with the chainsaw mini mill, leaving a 6" wide cant. It seemed to go better. I cut five 13' x 2" x 6"es and another five irregular pieces one might call 4" x 4"s for fence posts or whatever. These pieces had been lying in tall grass and not under a piece of sheet metal roofing and the wood didn't seem very 'fresh' - perhaps spalted or even starting to rot a bit. It even had a few boring bug holes. Perhaps that contributed to ease of cutting. I spent more time setting up, and carrying tools and lumber around, than I did the cutting, which went smoothly. At one point the cooling water sponge fell out. I found it jammed in the right guide wheel and put it back in its tube. Only at one point did I notice that the band was tracking forward into the band protector spindle as I started a cut. I stopped and scraped gummed up sawdust off the rims of the plywood wheels and everything was good again until the end of the cutting, when it needed scraping off again. It would seem this is the main problem with the band tracking forward and eating out the nylon protector until it hits the bolt and dulls itself.

   Seeing the deterioration of the unprotected spruce wood in the pieces I had cut, I took some spare pieces of sheet roofing and covered at least much of the big felled spruce tree still lying there waiting to be cut. It looks like it'll sit out a second winter - ouch. (and there are three more small uncovered logs to deal with ASAP.) But as I cut some other wood and put the lumber under the roof by the trailer, I should be able to liberate more metal roofing pieces to cover more of the big one.

   The next morning I went after the last odd shaped lump of wood. I trimmed some knots, put the guide board on top, and cut a slice. Then it was flat on top and I decided to cut a 3.5" slab (not really seeing anything "normal" in the shape - other than firewood). I had to trim it some at the sides, and much of the cut was 11" with some spots of 12" and even one of 13", the widest I could cut without making longer skids. It was slow going, and I think an Alaska mill would have been as fast or faster. But it cut it!

Then, again seeing nothing better, I cut another 3.5" slab similar to the first. (Ah, just the two ramps I could really have used the previous day!)
   Just as I was finishing the last cut it started to rain. I put away the tools and the slabs. I thought that except for some cleanup, I had now finished up two of the areas of logs. But later I wandered over from another direction, "the wild side", and found another cant buried in the tall grass, almost too big to flip with the peevee, 20 feet away from the rest. It was certainly good for some more lumber.
   At least I had done two sessions of cutting with the same band. That was more promising than usual! Was it getting harder to push the saw? Probably.

UHMW-Polyethylene Main Wheels

   With the sawdust, gummed up with spruce pitch, sticking to the main wheels I thought perhaps I'd try out UHMW wheels after all. Not much of anything sticks to UHMW. I was afraid the band would slip on the driving wheel, but it's a large surface area and it'd be worth trying. And the undriven wheel would be fine regardless. (Presently if the band is jammed the V-belt (a "link belt") from the motor slips. That's probably about the best thing to have happen.)

   I looked in my collection and found two round pieces of UHMW about 9.9" in diameter. I could hardly believe my luck - how could I ask for better? But instead of being 1.5" thick they were only .85" - barely wider than the .75" bands. It wouldn't take much mistracking for the band to come off those wheels. But then, just possibly if it mistracked forward, it might fall off just before the teeth hit metal and got dulled. That could be a nuisance, but it would save bands! Being denser, the UHMW wheels were almost identical in weight to the 1.5" wide plywood wheels.
   Another thing about thinner wheels: In videos on youtube, bandsaw experts were saying that the teeth should track just ahead of the center of the "barrel" bulge on the wheels. What, then, was most of the front half of the wheel for if the whole band was always to be behind it? It just made sense that it wasn't needed. The wheel could have its greatest bulge near the front, and most of the band should be behind that. That should be as good as a wider wheel with the center of the bulge in the middle.

   I decided to try one as the undriven wheel and see how that went. (18th) I couldn't find anyone with a lathe and a chuck that could hold a 9.9" piece from the outside. So I drilled four holes and mounted it on a plate on my own lathe. That wasn't very good as I couldn't quite get it centered. (How is it I keep ending up needing to turn 10 inch rotors of one sort or another? At least it has a "gap" that will actually hold 10" diameter, if only barely and usually with contortions to get it mounted.) I had to turn it down another 1/8" or more after I cut the center hole to get the outside concentric with the center. It's not much, but it meant I had to put in washers under the bearing holders to get the bottom of the wheel even with the band guide wheels. Or at least it should have.  When it was assembled I eyed it up and decided it looked pretty close. (Was the previous wheel actually a bit too big?)
  I took the saw out to the big cant. I only cut a couple of inches when the band came off. My first thought was that the narrow, slippery wheel was just going to mistrack and be a lot of trouble. But on closer look, it was still on that wheel! It had come off the plywood wheel, and there was an unrelated cause. When I welded up the small "railway wheel" band guide wheels, I had used one thick washer, and being unable to find another, one thin washer. The thin one wasn't very strong, and had worn some. Now it had partly ripped away from the wheel, allowing the band to come off the back of the wheel. (I was in fact surprised that the band hadn't snapped.)

   So I had to clean up the left guide wheel on the lathe and weld on a new washer, then clean up the inside face again and put the bearings back in. (19th, PM) The washer and hence the outside rim was a little smaller, but thicker - now pretty similar to the other one. I took the mill out and cut a couple of slices off the top edge of the waiting cant. It cut well. It showed little sign of mistracking and there was no indication the band might come off. At one point it was tracking forward a little. Scraping the sawdust accumulation off the plywood wheel fixed it.
   The two cuts were a little wavy, which I realized was partly because of big, hard knots, but more because the saw was still set for 13" wide cuts and I was only cutting 6-8". So there was a lot of band between the guides and the wood.
   I cut the rest of the cant to 6" wide with the chainsaw mini-mill, reset the saw for 6" wide cuts, and cut two more 2" x 6"es. They too cut well, and I was still using the same second band from the new box of five - for much longer than most, perhaps because I kept scraping the sawdust off the wheels to keep them from tracking the band forward into the nylon protector spindle, and into hard metal once it had cut through that. And perhaps because there was no sawdust buildup on the band. One reason for this might be that the wood was drier. Finally it was plainly getting dull, but it had cut a lot of square feet of spruce.

   But there was no buildup of sawdust on the UHMW wheel, while the plywood wheel had accumulated yet another layer since the last scraping. And so another likely reason the band had no buildup of glued-on sawdust was because one of the wheels was helping to shed it. So it was definitely a keeper!
   It seemed that if both wheels were UHMW the whole headache of accumulation of pitch and sawdust, even on the band, would be eliminated. That would definitely make the mill easier to use. It seemed to be the wheel material of choice. I would definitely try the other wheel too. Only if the drive wheel slipped would I not use it for both.

Instant Firewood Shed

   On the 21st, having disposed of the lumber, I cut and cleaned up firewood. I was throwing it in a trailer box... but then what? I told my neighbor I had nowhere to stack it, the wood shed being full. He said he had seen someone simply stack firewood against a tree making a ramp with the high end against the trunk. He said he thought that was odd, but the man pointed out that it doesn't usually get wet right under a tree. The water mostly falls around the outside of the branches. That sounded good to me and I stacked it against a spruce tree behind the house. A fierce gale blew the whole pile over (many short, irregular pieces) and I had to restack it - this time not as high, in two ramps.

Second UHMW Wheel and (of course) More Cutting

The mill with its new "Racing Slicks" wheels

   On the 22nd I made the second UHMW wheel and installed it, along with a new band - the third one of the five. I tackled a 15 inch diameter by 9 foot long knotty spruce log. On my first attempt what I feared happened: an inch into the wood the driving wheel started slipping, and then the band came off the wheels. But I thought it probably didn't have enough tension and I tried again with more. This time it worked well.
   I cut off a bark slab and then another slab. The second one was cuts of 9 or 10 to almost 12 inches wide and it went rather slowly even with a new band. I was pressing the limits the farthest yet do this diameter of log, but it cut it.
   There was no sawdust collecting on the wheels (Yay!), but the inside of the band got quite a layer, and notwithstanding the wide cut, was probably part of the reason for the slow cutting. (I think cutting the bark brings lots, along with goo to stick it on.) The outside of the band was clear - nothing presses the sawdust against it. I scraped it off with a chisel (a stiff brush did nothing) and then squirted on some "Armorall" protective coating to make it slipperier - again suggested by my neighbor. That seemed to help.
   Then I turned it 90° and cut a second face. I hit it just right, with just the tiniest bits of bark showing at the finished corner.
   What next? Hmm... tomorrow! I worked on the wind turbine most of that day (23rd), but I did cut a couple of slabs having one straight edge. The cuts got thicker and on the second one I was cutting 8" wide for half the cut and 10.5" wide for the rest. It was slow going, but it went smoothly without incident. Arguably I should have cut the other side of the log square and cut 2"x8"s with straight edges - and with less width to cut. Nonetheless I finished it up with bark-edge boards on the 25th: one more 9-10" wide board, and then four 6-7" boards by turning it the other way up after getting 3/5 of the way through. Doubtless the cutting was getting a little slower. I figure 1.5 to 2 times as much power would be helpful once the bands become less than "super" sharp with use - especially for wide cuts. But then it wouldn't plug into a regular wall socket... and a cheap mass-produced skillsaw wouldn't work for a motor. You'd be into a custom motor of some sort for far more money. (One of my Electric Caik motors still comes to mind for my own saw, but I don't think I want to get into manufacturing them.) I made considerable use of the "zig-zag" technique of moving one end of the saw forward at a time. And wedges behind in the cut to keep it open seemed vital. Otherwise the cuts often seemed to close in and finally jam the band. or at least make it hard going.

   Then I cut another 10 foot piece off the small end of the big log and milled a flat edge with the big chainsaw in the "mini-mill". (My potential customer wanted many 10 foot 2"x6"es.) It seemed awfully slow going compared to the bandmill, and I had to remind myself I was cutting 16(?) inches across instead of 6 to 10 inches. It was also unpleasant breathing hot exhaust that was also almost burning my hand. And it was hard pushing and the chain was exposed if my hand should slip. I didn't much care for the arrangement. Maybe I'll at least make an "Alaska" type mill from pieces of wood, as I've seen on Youtube. (or borrow one again, as I did last year.)

I set up my video recorder on a tripod and took footage to make a new video to
put up on youtube. When it's uploaded it'll be called "Carmichael Mill Update"

   On the 28th a neighbor came over to see the mill in action. In the course of things he said I should take the bark off the spruce. When these trees were growing there weren't many on the other side of the highway, and in high winds beach sand would blow across the road and embed itself in the bark, and even get into the wood. That would have a bearing on why my bands dulled rather quickly. I got out a flat end shovel that I bought and sharpened the end of about 41 years ago for scraping bark off logs (believe it or not), and used it. With the trees having been down for a year and a half, it came off easily in big chunks. We cut into a big cant from the main pile, but the band seemed to be getting dull - the cuts were getting wavy. (OTOH the waves were at big knots.) The next day I changed the band and finished it off, a total one might describe as seven 12 foot 2"x6"es.

   With the new UHMW wheels there has been no notable mistracking or other band or alignment problems. It works fine with the rigid band tension adjustments that didn't seem to be good enough before. In fact, it's cutting great! Most of my stopping is to put wedges into the cut behind the saw because it's closing up and jamming the blade.

Production Model Design?: Keep as is!

   I had been thinking that for a production model I should make it easier to change bands by having the axles go only one direction to leave a space in the other for the band to slip through, like on most shop bandsaws. But when I thought to try actually taking the bearings off one side instead of unscrewing the covers in order to change the band, I realized the band would also hit the assemblies that held the band guides and the depth set glides.  Removing those would be more difficult than removing cover screws, and worse, it would mean readjusting their positions on reassembly. Altering them would involve the whole design of the saw - and make it weaker. So I decided to keep it as it was, and maybe reduce the number of cover screws a bit.

   This doesn't mean I don't have a page long list of small improvements to be made, a "deficiency list" in the sense that I've thought of ways to improve various details and would make various pieces somewhat differently next time.

   One notable change I would make: The bearings for the main wheels center about 1.5" below the "backbone" bars. I hadn't allowed for the thickness of a guide board on top of the work, which may 2" or more thick. This, plus the sideways skids adding another 1/2" of material, reduces the available board cutting thickness from the intended 4.5" to about 2" or even less. I would prefer to position them about 2.5 or 3.0" below to allow thicker cuts. That also makes the top covers over the backbone an inch (or 1.5") shorter. The top of the body would still be 10" plus clearance above the bottoms of the main 10" wheels.
   I thought that the best way to do this would be to machine some special bearing mounting pieces with more height. But it occurs to me that it might just be simpler to use the store-bought "pillow block bearings" (or "steady bearings", which I've just discovered are virtually the same thing) and have 1" or thicker blocks of UHMW (or ?) between them and the "backbone" rails.
   I've also found there are situations where, to get a straight edge, it would be nice to cut down the width of a board, eg 6", rather than just the thickness. I think that would need some redesign. Instead I have to use a chainsaw on the mini-mill.

   Making most of these changes would be best done on a new saw. This one is cutting great, and I have a lot of cutting to do! (And a gear (plastic!) has broken on my milling machine. I hope I can get a new one! Until then I won't be doing much machining.)

   I ran across some lighter weight bearings for the main wheels: "steady bearings" are like pillow block bearings but are made of pressed metal instead of cast. They were similar high quality needle bearings. They should take a bit of weight off the mill! Too bad I found them right after getting an order at Princess Auto, but I ran across a 1" size when I ordered and I got one. When I saw it I knew it was what I wanted - four of 3/4" size for a mill. I couldn't find them under "pillow block" bearings, but I eventually dug them out with 3 or 4 searches. What I was missing was the very different name, "steady bearing" instead of "pillow block bearing". That's just confusing! So much of the difficulty in getting the best parts to make things is in knowing where to look and its usual unusual name.
   They were on "clearance", presumably discontinued. I wonder if that's because, like me, no one was finding them even when they would have been the best choice? The store's web site isn't very well organized.

The Kit!

   I took the saw to show someone who uses many bandsaws and specially made tools in his business on the 26th. He was impressed by the saw but he didn't know of any better blades I might use with it unless I made it bigger - bigger wheels and more power. If I made it bigger, It would be too heavy to be handheld. But he had the great idea that rather than making whole bandmills, I should just make kits of the essential custom parts. Sell those components for less and let the customer get the stock items and the skillsaw themselves. He thought there'd be a great market for that, for people who wouldn't buy a sawmill just because they occasionally had a tree to cut, but who would love to mill it if they could. That sounded like about the market I was aiming for when I designed and made it. But I hadn't considered the kit idea.
   A kit shifts main liability for injury from the manufacturer to the person who put the kit together. If someone had an accident with a new type of saw, in spite of doing my best to make it safe I could theoretically end up penniless and homeless - or if I did it under the auspices of Turquoise Energy Ltd, at least all my assets (tools, equipment) could be seized. If I took out insurance it would doubtless kill any revenue generated from even several saws. (Here's another place where the already rich have it over someone trying to get a new idea going. They would simply have it mass-produced in an existing factory and would be able to afford any occasional lawsuits as incidental expenses.) With a kit, that liability is largely shifted to the kit builder, especially if I only supplied the plans and some of the parts; the critical ones. And having put it together the user will know and understand the tool better.

Electricity Generation

How Not to Build a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine ("VAWT")

   Whenever I did think about this project I had been all along trying to think how best to mount the 8 PVC vanes I had done long ago for a VAWT. (TE News #68, Sept 2013) I wanted to be able to adjust the angle of attack, because I didn't know what angle would work best. But their curved shape didn't lend itself to mounting flexibility.
   Having now made the Piggott alternator, and not wanting the whole month to be almost entirely about the bandsaw mill, I had been thinking about it again. It would be simple to mount the generator on the roof with its axle sticking up. The 22nd was blowing a howling gale (but no rain!) and I wished that I had already made it to see how it would do in a strong wind. As I thought about this, I thought that I could screw them to triangular pieces of wood or plywood, which could then be screwed to a central plate at a range of angles to see what worked best.

   Another idea was that they might pivot dynamically. They would be in "least resistance" position as they came forward. Then when they passed the center, the wind would push them around to "most thrust" position. Around the back they would (suddenly?) return to "least resistance". Another feature of this would be that as wind increased and the unit spun too fast, the centrifugal force could overcome the wind force and prevent them from retracting to "most thrust" position, thus regulating the maximum speed. (Or vise versa, that centrifugal force would keep them in "most thrust" position on the wrong side of the turn; either way slowing it down.)
   This idea required more sophistication than I was ready to try out, and I haven't followed the blades around the circle to how see exactly how it would work (I simply presume it could), but mounting the blades on the separate pieces would be a way to enable an upgrade later.

Initial Theories

   The area of wind being captured would be: .56 m * .86 m = .48 sq.m. Shall we call it .5? The total energy of a 14.4 KmPH wind (see TE News #82 for more about wind power) would be:

W = .5 M V^3

where W is watts, M is the mass of a cubic meter of air in kilograms, and V is the speed of the air in meters per second.

 = .5 * 1.2 Kg/m^3 * (4 m/sec)^3
 = 38.4 W/sq.m

Since it's 1/2 a square meter, that's 19.2 watts.
A Darius rotor is at best around 30% efficient. We'll call this one 26% just for argument's sake. It works out to 5 watts. Of course, that's the "cut in" wind speed. If the wind is twice that speed it would be 40 watts, and for triple, 125 watts.

   Oh well, it's really just a demo. If I'm lucky the 14.4 KmPH wind will overcome the generator's bearing friction and it'll turn. If I'm even luckier the vanes won't fold up or rip off in a high wind.

   The next day (24th) looked like a 135 watt day. The chart in TE News #82 says a Savonius rotor should turn at about the speed of the wind. How fast would that be if the wind was 12 meters per second?
* Circumference = π*D = π * .86 = 2.7 m.
* 12 m/sec / 2.7 m/Rot = 4.44 Rot/sec
* 4.44 Rot/sec  * 60 sec/min
 = 266 Rot/min

   We know from the Piggott generator data from last month's issue that the open circuit voltage output at that speed will be about 7.7 volts between any two phases. Multiply by square root of 3, or 2 * sine 60° (= same number: 1.7320508), is 13.3 volts for the three phases combined, which (IIRC) is also the DC voltage if they're all rectified. Not very high! Especially if two diodes lose 1.3 volts from it. Then just 12 volts DC. That should power some headlights for a demo, but it wouldn't be charging even 12 volt batteries. For that it should work okay in a howling gale!

Oh well... repeating myself, it's really just a demo!

Construction and Testing

   On the 23rd it was raining in the morning and I decided (instead of milling logs outdoors) to try making the vertical wind turbine (VAWT) with the rotor blades made from scrap PVC pipe so long ago. I had intended to cut a big plywood center piece to attach to the generator axle. I went out to the shop and there were the now scrap 1.5" thick by 10" plywood bandsaw wheels with ready-made centers, just replaced by the UHMW ones. Nice and fat! One of those would be just big enough to screw eight 2"x4" "spokes" to if I cut the inner ends pie shaped. These could hold the eight vanes.
   The original axle fitting for the wheels was a 3/4" inch "H" hub. The generator had a 1 inch shaft. I found a 1 inch "H" hub and put it on one of the wheels. There was a whole job reduced to a few minutes!
   Rather than triangular pieces, I just cut eight 7" rectangles of 2"x6". On a corner of each one I placed a vane and drew lines where to cut the curves with the shop bandsaw. Since the vanes were like snowflakes (no two quite alike) I numbered them and the wood pieces they matched.
   Then I cut the "spokes". Without any particular plan I cut them 13.75" long. Instead of cutting a 22.5° angle on each side I made one 45° cut - easier to get the angle right. Since they didn't come right to the center the overall diameter was 31". With the vanes on the ends, it would be about 34".

   In a day I had it done, and I mounted it on top of the Improved Piggott Alternator I made in September. But it didn't perform well. I tried various angles of attack for the blades, but in the howling gale, it never got turning faster than LP phonograph speed (33-1/3 RPM). That was with the blades at about a 90° angle from what I had intended.
   At that speed it didn't put out enough voltage to consider connecting any loads. (Of course, it did seem there was more wind in the treetops than down at the ground. Predictions were for 105 KmPH gusts, but I don't know what they really were, much less what they were on my porch. I had a cheap handheld anemometer... somewhere. haven't seen it in a year or more. Probably in some cluttered crevasse somewhere.)

This blade angle, flat face out, worked better - at least it turned!
The apparent tilt of the blades is a camera illusion: they are rotating counter-clockwise and as the
cell phone (camera) scans from top to bottom, they are turning a little farther and farther.

   About the only thing that seemed positive was that the blades were easily detached. On the 26th I went back to youtube. I found the VAWT I was trying to copy when I formed the blades in 2013. I had them inside out - the concave face was supposed to go outside, not inside. I checked over what would strike what in rotation and it was fine: the blades would clear the corners of the generator and so it would be simple to turn them around 180 degrees. So I did that the next day. Again there was a good wind, but again results were poor - perhaps worse. (Someone on youtube with similar blades who also tried different angles thought it was a little better this way out.) I taped over some of the holes in the plastic, without noticeable results. But I wasn't convinced the location was good.

Blades Reversed (screwed right onto to the "spokes")

   I wandered around the yard and found there was a steadier breeze coming up the driveway. I moved it down there and got 30-40 RPM. Then I put up a "wind shield" in front of the side that was moving forward, toward the wind. That seemed to double the speed to 60-80 RPM. Sometimes it would read 90 or 100. I also tried putting the wind shield behind the unit, on the theory that the wind would have to stop either way, but it was much less effective there. Some have put angled deflectors around the outside of the spinning part and achieved similar results. Those are probably better: my wind block would have to be moved for different wind directions.
   I should also note that the square 2"x4" spokes can't be helping achieve good speeds - they're not aerodynamic at all!

The driveway seemed to be a "wind funnel"

At higher RPM the camera trick of "tilted blades" (now rotating clockwise) was more pronounced

Connections & Meters

   At 60 RPM it put out about 1.5 volts AC across two phases. (It was hard to tell - at 6 Hz the meter readings pulsed wildly up and down.) That should end up at 2.6 VDC after rectification... not counting losing ~1.3 volts in the diode bridge. If shorted it would put out about 2.5 amps at first, but the unit would slow down after a few turns until there wasn't much. A 1 ohm load brought the voltage down to a volt and dropped the speed perceptibly. (The reduced voltage caused the RPM/Hz counter to quit, so I couldn't tell how much slower.) The 1 W probably wasn't the "maximum power point", but it seemed like a lot of bother for a watt or two!
   The unit may be a meter wide, but it's only the segment that's moving across or away from the wind that gives power. The other half is just a drag. So presumably one must cut the wind frontage area used for power calculations in half.

Some Conclusions

   I found other VAWT videos by the same author, mostly from around 2011. He kept changing them, experimenting. A couple of others had vanes to redirect the wind, similar in effect to my wind shield, and one of these he gave readings for had almost similar speed increases over no vanes.
   Moral: don't assume just because it looks well made and professional, of welded stainless steel, and the builder was excited about it when he did the video, that he had the best design. I hadn't given it much study and was more interested at the time I made the vanes in the fact that PVC and ABS plastics could be shaped by heating them in a kitchen oven until they became soft and pliable. But a couple of other people on youtube used similar vane shapes, too.
   The traditional "two halves of a barrel" Darius rotor has the advantage of creating its own higher pressure area in the middle behind the half moving upwind, which doubtless improves its performance. One I saw on youtube seemed pretty lackluster, but it's hard to know what the wind speed was. One with many thin propeller shaped blades - made from 'wing profile' baseboard molding - seemed to work well. In fact the blades were so close together that each one probably angled the airflow so it helped the next one to work better. Perhaps that would be a good design to try?
   The other thing that can be tried is the hinged blades idea, blades that feather themselves facing into the wind and "flip" to provide best forward lift on the with-the-wind side. That might be as good as or better than the wind shield, barrel halves, or outer stationary redirecting vanes. Again, if one is serious, various designs deserve a lot of study. The Tesla Turbine with a "horn" to direct the wind into it might still be a good idea. (TE News #106) But at some point of complication, a horizontal axis with a propeller may be a more productive route.

   This project was a side venture. I wanted something just to turn my new generator, but at the speed it went, the generator would have to have far more turns of much finer wire. It wouldn't be hard to wind a new stator, but even then it wasn't going to have a lot of power at such low RPMs. Most small VAWTs on youtube didn't seem to have much power either. If I was to get serious about it, I'd look more carefully into how to reliably get the most energy output from the wind with a VAWT, and wind a new stator for better voltage. And more than anything I'd try to find the best location I could. Just moving from the porch to the driveway made a tremendous difference - with a southeast wind. It was on the ground, and of course in general the higher up one mounts it, the better it is.
   I won't rule out further explorations. It did at least work, so it does have potential. But it may not be the best thing to put too many watts of my own energy into.

Solar Panel Rewiring

   On the 3rd I got around to rewiring my solar panels. The "1000 watt" grid tie inverter putting out only ~420 maximum watts meant half my 1000 watts of solar panels was going to waste on the best days. (all this sunny summer!) But it seemed reliable and good value for the low price even for 400 watts, so I ordered two more the same to get up to 1200 watts. They arrived in late September. I decided to mount them on the garage wall right below where the solar panel wires came down.
   First I went into the attic. I drilled a hole for another wire. One wire fit in the old hole beside the original wire, which I didn't remove, so one new hole for two wires. The old wire will be good for running low voltage DC circuits across the house. So two new wires only around 10 feet long went from the solar wiring box down the wall. I separated the panels into two sets of two instead of all four in parallel.
   Then I put up a piece of 5/8" "fire stop" gyproc on the garage wall so the equipment wouldn't be making heat right against the cedar siding wall. (If this garage ever catches fire it will spread really fast. What were they thinking when they made garage interior walls from cedar?) Then I screwed the inverters onto it. Then I wired the panels to the inverters and plugged them into an AC outlet. (...or should I call it an AC inlet since the power goes the other way?) I used AWG #14-3 that I had lying around. With three insulated wires plus the bare ground wire, I doubled up the wires, effectively making them #11 gauge.

   With a few distractions it had taken all day and by now the tree shadows were across the roof so I left it until morning. Then I turned them on and took some readings. Only 5 amps out of 15 or so max were going from the panels to each inverter. It was still early, but that seemed pretty weak. I looked outside and sure enough wispy high altitude clouds, spreading jet trails everywhere - "chemtrails" - were dimming the sun. (After a record hot summer globally, with droughts and hail causing worldwide crop losses and failures, there are now predictions for a really tough, cold winter which started early in some places causing further crop losses. Yet still they spray, ostensibly to cool, on and on. How can these people have any idea what they're doing?)
   A while later they had thinned where the sun was and it was up to 8.6 amps from one and 9 amps from the other. (The 4 panels are not identical. Something like 240, 250, 260 and 260 watts. I didn't look at the specs on the back or care which order they went up in.) The MPP voltage being about 28.6 volts, with a .7 volt drop in the diodes and 1 volt drop in the wires to about 27, that was 232+243=475 watts - already over the 420 watts total that one inverter would put out. It was still pretty early, but a set of four spruce trees soon started casting their long shadows across the roof for a couple of hours and I was glad to have get positive readings without waiting around until afternoon. (For half the year those tree shadows don't reach the house. But in winter at 53.5° north the sun gets pretty low.) On the 6th just before it clouded over I measured (9.6 A + 9.5 A) * 27.6 V = 527 W going into the inverters. So maybe around 500 watts coming out. At least it was a little more than 400. But it looked like that would be about it until spring and a higher sun angle.

   On the 10th more ideal conditions appeared once the panels were out from the tree shadows. a combined 21 amps in (10.4, 10.6) at 27.2 volts was 571 watts input. I put a "splitter" (here really a "combiner"?) in the AC line and the AC output amps from both panels was up as high as 4.33 amps. At 120 volts (not measured), that's 520 watts, which is 100 more than I ever got in the summer with a single inverter on all four panels. Then jets bearing chemtrails went by and the readings started to drop.
   (At least, it was 520 volt-amps - The power meter earlier had shown that it isn't unity power factor. It makes sense that if the grid tie inverters only put out power when the grid is "live", they have to delay to see voltage each half cycle before they start outputting current.)

   A side note: I hadn't liked the noisy fan coming on and off when I had the first inverter running in the house. It was sitting flat on the floor. Mounted vertically on the garage wall the fans seem to never come on. Being fall the garage is now cooler, but I think mainly they must have enough air cooling them by convection that the fans don't need to run.

   On the 13th my order of two constant voltage charge controllers for solar for the electric vehicles, and five PWM charge controllers for general 12 volt battery charging arrived.

Tidal Flow Power Unit: Cheaper, Better!

Cheap Floating Power Vessel Hulls?

   I drove to Masset on the 26th. On the way out of town passing by Coastal Propane my eyes caught a glance of a field of a few dozen propane tanks including the big, horizontal ones that hold hundreds of gallons. They sit stationary and propane is delivered to them by truck. Some of them had rust streaks and it looked like they were discards.
   Now then... What was that that the hull of that tidal power unit in the Orkneys was made of?... sections of steel pipe welded together. Here were dozens of steel pipes. Just cut the ends off (except the ready-made ends for the front and rear one) and weld them together! Presto! There were the "half made" hulls for tidal power units and perhaps some of the venturi parts as well, probably all to be had for scrap prices - maybe even free? Plus delivery, sand blasting, welding and repainting, of course.
   I turned around and drove back to the office but it seemed they closed at 4:30 PM. It was 4:39. Oh well! I phoned a couple of days later and was told the tanks, while many of them were discards as propane tanks, weren't free. People bought them for floats and other purposes. They were good steel, already here on the island. Generally they were "50 ¢/gallon" for larger tanks.
   But I made it back up to Masset on November 1st (to settle the trucking bill for the solar panels), and the owner or manager came out with me and we checked it out. There were a bunch of smaller tanks for free, "500 pounds" IIRC. They weren't very tall and I thought of all the welding that would need to be done to put a bunch of them together to make them long enough. Then I looked at the biggest one, 1160 gallons. (Canadian gallons, or US?) It was a discard only because someone had welded legs onto it, and it was illegal to fill propane tanks that had welding done on them after manufacture. It seemed to me that might just be a pretty good size by itself without having to add anything more. It was 18 feet long and 42 inches in diameter - big enough to get inside if a hatch was made and - hopefully - long enough. It was less than 10% of the length of the ScotRenewables one in the Orkneys, but it was to be 100 KW, just 5% of that 2 MW Scottish one. 500$.
   So, there was a good central hull, made but of course still needing to be fitted out. In the second design for the Orkneys, the power producing units were to just barely float by themselves. They would be floated up to and then bolted to the central hull, one on each side. This seemed to me to be a good arrangement. Two or three different designs could be tried out and the one that was liked best could be duplicated.

   I had also come up with some vague plans in my head for the propeller unit - and even ordered a part. In my plan, the propeller would be at the rear of a sealed stainless steel hub filled with oil just like an outboard motor propeller. As a better, low-loss connection, a single universal joint would attach to the front of the shaft and its shaft would feed through a pipe (with the U joint in the oil) at 45° (or less). The top end of the pipe would enter the vessel near the front, and the generator would mount tilted at 45° to match, or else another universal joint would make the shaft horizontal again. Or, two might be employed to turn as far as 90° and make the shaft vertical or at least more vertical than (max) 45°.
   I had ordered a "generic" U-joint for 1 inch keyed shafts from Princess Auto. On the same day I had run into drawings for an automotive universal joint, similar to one I had been shown for the Chevy Sprint car drive shaft when I put the forklift motor in it. If the Princess Auto one proved unsuitable, the automotive ones just might fill the bill? Or a CV drive shaft... like the spares for the Sprint, already sitting in my dungeon... I mean, storage room? (NOW I think of that. Oh well, nothing's been built yet.)
   A separate idea to simply use the bottom end of some old outboard motor later came to mind, too. But they aren't made for propeller diameters like a meter or so.

Ducted Fans & Venturies

   I also found a youtube video explaining why a propeller in a duct (even without the venturi effect) works better than one in free air (or water). This is applicable to both a floating hydro vessel and to a ground effect vehicle with a "ducted fan" propeller.
   First, the outside pipe prevents the air (or water) under differential pressures from flowing freely around the outsides of the propeller tips from front to back (for energy capture) or back to front (for thrust), which wastes substantial energy (and makes them noisier).
   Second, a forward facing "semicircle" entry widening the front of the duct brings in more air at lower pressure. It would seem it's partly a wing "lift" effect and partly a venturi effect. It would seem the already wider opening into a venturi tube would also be improved by having this shape at the front. (I looked at the ducted fan propeller for the radio controlled model ground effect vehicle and it didn't have this apparently valuable component. Perhaps I could make something.)
   There have been seaplanes that have used ducted fans. The higher static thrust gave them more power for take-off from the water. Reasons they aren't usually used in aircraft and other places: First and foremost while it improves static thrust at low vehicle speeds, it helps much less at high speeds, and the whole ring around the propeller creates a lot more drag when an aircraft is flying fast - a net loss of energy. Plus they are extra weight, and to work well the gap between the propeller and the outside duct has to be very small, which means heavier construction is required to prevent any warping or flexing that might cause them to contact the propeller.
   Fast flying doesn't apply to the water power vessel, and in the ground effect vehicle (as with the seaplanes... were those called "SeaBees?") as I see it, top speed is of less importance than being able to get it to rise off the water and become airborne to start with.

   For the water power, the gap for water can also be larger than that for air.

Electricity from HE ("Short Space Ray", GeV) Spectral Band?

   I talked with someone after the energy symposium who brought up the subject of "unconventional" energy units. I went into my explanation of how the energy for these appeared actually to come from stellar HE radiation that shines down on the planet from all directions but mostly from the main plane of the Milky Way. He said I was the first person he had brought up the subject with who knew what he was talking about.
   Generators, solar panels, wind turbines, floating hydro... all this effort... might I not be able to get a high energy ray to electricity converter to work?  I had managed to get my mind away from this subject for quite some time. Now I got curious again. It would be highly useful if it could be made to work.
   There was at least one thing I hadn't tried in my recent experiments - grounding the output or other points. I went back to The Free Energy Handbook to look at Tom Bearden's "MEG" Motionless Electric Generator again. On the way there I passed by the somewhat similar Valeri Ivanov’s Motionless Generator.
   As usual I didn't really understand how it was supposed to work. But there were links to some youtube videos. I found one on Bearden's MEG some years old now where they explained a magnetic field flipping back and forth, and they were looking for 9 million dollars to do a bit more development and get it into production.
   Then I saw another one by CodyGillespie from 2010 called "Switching Permantent Magnet Field.WMV" (Note sp. to search: Permantent) that showed an interesting principle. If you take a bar magnet (Here a disk magnet with two metal extension bars acting as one) and attach the points of a "U" shaped piece of iron on one side, say the right, it grabs on magnetically and it takes a substantial force to pull it away.
   Now take another "U" and put it on the left side. Simplistic logic says the flux will divide and both pieces will be held equally to the magnetic bar. However, this is not the case. The new piece on the left has little or no attraction to the bar. The flux lines are already routed inside the right hand "U" and don't come out to engage the new piece. If one forceably pulls the right "U" away, the left one then latches onto the bar magnet. Then it's the right one that has little or no attraction - the Bearden flipping magnetic field.
   There was another trick. The two "U" pieces each had an electromagnet coil in the middle. (zillions of turns of very fine wire) The two coils were then connected with alligator clip leads at both ends to each other, electrically in parallel but magnetically reversed. When "north" was up on one, "south" was up on the other. Then with two more clips a little 9 volt battery was momentarily connected while both "U" pieces were touching the bar, one electrical polarity or the other. One way, the left "U" would come loose (made magnetically N-N and S-S to repel from the bar) and the right "U" would magnetically latch on "permanently" (made N-S and S-N). The other way, the right one would be or would become loose and the left one would be stuck. It was said the idea was developed for magnetic boots for astronauts. It was rather amazing to see how the momentary pulse from the electromagnets created a permanent effect in the fields. (Someone told me of this phenomenon maybe a year ago - about a piece that stuck permanently after an electromagnet was activated. But he didn't mention the permanent magnet, so it didn't make sense to me. Anyway I didn't know where to look it up.)

This seemingly unrelated video made the drawings of Ivanov's circuit more understandable. The magnetic flux really could 'flip' one way or the other rather than be an average of both ways, and not just for an instant while the power was applied but in a "flip-flop" manner. Or perhaps in this case, it was a monostable rather than bistable flip-flop? Unless the polarity of the coil was to be repeatedly reversed, switching the electricity would have to make the unit flip twice, "ON" and "OFF" again.

There were two possibilities for that: one was that the gap shown on the right would cause that field to be weaker and so it would only flip to it momentarily when the power was on, or just as it shut off. The other was that the toroid might be, eg, ferrite, and so magnetically weaker itself. Then the field would only switch to the toroid side when its coils were powered. (But if so, why was the gap on the right side?) The information was sketchy, but it was not indicated that the toroid was any different material. A gap somewhere usually seems to be a feature of HE ray capture devices.
   But either way, as the coil shut off there would be the high voltage electromagnetic switching spike that might cause HE rays to release their energy into the field of the device. Then the output coil on the right might collect more energy than the input coil had supplied.

   It was said that ordinary laminated iron ("transformer iron") could be used for this design.

   Looking further through the book, I ran across The Michel Meyer and Yves Mace Isotopic Generator. They certainly had a creative way of explaining where the energy came from: that isotope 56 iron was being converted to isotope 54 iron, which released energy. I don't believe a word of it, but I did note the construction not only was ordinary iron (magnetically "soft"), but that it was solid pieces, not even transformer laminations. This seems simpler and I didn't see why it wouldn't work.
   It was almost similar to the Ivanov device except set on its end. Instead of an end piece, there was a bottom piece. It just needed a permanent magnet going between the two sides and a toroid coil instead of the three-coil bar.
   For convenience the output coil could be wound around a side below the magnet instead of around the bottom.

Design and Construction

   So my plan started with using the same 570 uH toroid choke I had been using. Actually, the second choke since I had bought two alike. (8th) I unclipped the plastic bottom piece and it pulled off, leaving the wires by themselves. I rewound it by taking one set off and putting the two wires on each side in series. I went from one end to the other so wires that would be far apart in voltage during high voltage spikes weren't adjacent to each other. I decided, since the ferrite was probably magnetically weaker anyway, to have the gap be between the toroid and the square iron frame. There was already a gap because of the plastic cover over the toroid itself. I cut the cover away on one side so there would only be one gap. I think with two wires in series and then both sides in parallel, that should have similar electrical resistance to the setup I was using before.

(9th)   Next I found a scrap of 1/2" mild steel for the base and two pieces of 3/8" for the sides. Then I drilled and tapped holes and bolted them together into a "U". If I loosened the bolts, the size was just right to put the toroid on the top and tighten them again to clamp it into place. The side pieces being rather short, I put the toroid crossways instead of in-line. I trust that should make no magnetic difference overall.
   Then I got a supermagnet and cut a piece of steel to extend it across between the uprights, making it pretty much an upended Ivanov.

(10th)   My sides were pretty short and there wasn't a lot of height below the magnet to wind an output coil around a side. But it seemed like enough. A big annoyance in most of these designs is they either want zillions of turns of very fine wire or they don't say what's needed. By just using a toroid I had got 120 volts with a 20 turn coil. I initially decided to make a 20 turn coil for this output as well, but it was farther around the loop, so to have a similar length of wire I made it 12 turns instead. Hopefully when rectified and filtered the voltage would be something reasonable to run a load, either 12 volts or 120 volts. If not I would change it. But I had other things to do so that was it. I soldered on the previously used cable to the car's motor controller to the toroid coil, both sides pushing the flux the same direction, and the diode bridge and capacitor filter to the output coil.

   After that was done, I thought later in the day that the electromagnetic pulse doubtless had to overpower the permanent magnet to some extent, and this one seemed awfully powerful even for a supermagnet. In the evening I remembered I had some ordinary cylinder magnets among all the others, and I found them and took one. It was shorter, but I got another one and with two it was the right length to connect it across to the other side. Further options were to cut a longer steel bar and have one magnets, or to have three or four magnets with shorter bars. That gave potential choices to try out four different magnet strengths, all of which were far weaker than the supermagnet. Perhaps I'd be shooting for "optimum" magnet strength as opposed to just finding one that worked.

   Again, for initial testing I could drive it from the 36 volt Sprint car controller's "field drive". Well, it didn't look like it could get much simpler. But it didn't seem to work at all. Considering I was using regular steel now, perhaps the frequency has to be way lower - Hz or the lower hundreds of Hz instead of 16 KHz. And would that provide enough impetus? Bearden used some sort of unspecified nanocrystalline material so he could use a high enough frequency to make his work. Anyway to try a lower frequency I would have to make an oscillator circuit with a high current output to drive the coil. It could be just a single pulse output version of the one I made last year, which needed redesign anyway. But I just wasn't into circuit board design and microcontroller programming in October. Soon!

Electricity Storage

Rechargeable Battery Making
with oxalate electrolyte

Another Idea for a Conductive Graphite Material?: Conductive Polyurethane Paint

   Near the end of the month, Leonardo sent me a link to a website called "WorkingInk.co.uk". One of its specialties is conductive ink. A video showed making a conductive ink from gum arabic, water, graphite powder and some miscellaneous substances. At the end of the video he acknowledged that being based on gum arabic it was water soluble.
   But at the end he commented that if you needed waterproof "conductive ink" you might try using polyurethane paint instead. This struck me as being a waterproof conductive paint, and a potentially useful idea. What I had tried before was graphite in epoxy resin to make whole plastic current collectors. These weren't very conductive and current capacity was poor.
   Polyurethane paint (at least a can of it that I have) is water soluble until it dries. Then it isn't. If a metal positive current collector was painted with conductive polyurethane paint, it should prevent the metal from oxidizing. If it wasn't perfect, for example if the paint was scratched, in most electrolytes the whole metal current collector underneath would dissolve. In oxalate I expect a layer of metal oxalate around the scratch would stop further penetration of electrolyte.
   The net effect would be to have almost the conductivity of metal in the current collector, without the surface oxidation of the last tested manganese electrode. The conductive paint would have better conductivity than an oxidized metal surface, and, being a thin layer, much better than trying to make the whole current collector from graphited epoxy or poly-whatever. It should accomplish the same thing I was trying to do with the osmium doped film. It probably wouldn't work with nickel hydroxide/nickel manganate electrodes, since graphite powder additive doesn't seem to work, but it should work fine with a lower voltage manganese dioxide electrode.

   This may inspire me to try making and trying out a couple of new MnO2 electrodes next month!

Haida Gwaii, BC Canada