Turquoise Energy Newsletter #153 - February 2021
Turquoise Energy News #153
covering February 2021 (Posted March 2nd 2021)
Lawnhill BC Canada - by Craig Carmichael

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

Month In "Brief" (Project Summaries etc.)
 - Zincing battery cans - Outbuilding Siding

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
 - Gardening & Chickens - The Way Forward? Part 1 - Small Thots (Food Sustainability; Progress and Longevity; Local Plastic Recycling) - ESD

- Detailed Project Reports -

Electric Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems (No reports)
Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects (No reports)
Electricity Generation
* My Solar Power System: - Monthly Solar Production log et cetera
* Lithium-ion Battery Peculiarities

Electricity Storage
* Turquoise Battery Project (NiMnOx-Zn in Mixed Alkali-Salt electrolyte)
 - Making New Cylindrical Cell - Trying to plate copper cans with zinc

February in Brief

   I'll start by apologizing for the quality of the images. My new cellfone's camera isn't as good as the old one. In particular close-ups are pathetic. (My land line # is 2505597735.)

   Somehow everything keeps taking much too long. I tried a few things to get a zinc plating on the inside surface of the copper battery cans, but I didn't find anything very satisfactory, except tedious brush plating seemed to eventually make a good surface. Even that looked better on a flat piece of copper than inside the cans.

Zinc melted and poured into the cans, then poured out, didn't coat very well.
Probably my technique - and my flux - could be improved?

Brush electroplating with a zinc wand and zinc chloride electrolyte worked well
on a flat piece of copper sheet, but it took a long time to build up any thickness

Zinc rod "wand" in the can; can on copper sheet for
electrical contact as I rotated it for an even coating.

It took quite a while to get any thickness of
zinc plating in the can wall.
I may go at it for another hour or two to deposit
enough zinc for a couple of amp-hours of capacity.

   The need to find a better way is obvious. Peter suggested dipping open copper pipes and then soldering a bottom on the can with regular tin solder. I suspect that will dissolve and leak when the cell is in use, but I could be wrong. No doubt I should try it. He also suggested making plastic bottoms. I have the same reservation about probable leaks, but again it's something simple to try. (It the plastic top leaks at least vapor will come out instead of liquid.)

   I meant again to do the ground effect model wiring to the microcontroller sometime during the month, but didn't. (Maybe in the next day or two? And then try out the programming?) Other than rewiring the solar panels on the outbuilding roof that was about it for energy projects, and that was simply a change necessitated in the process of putting up siding as I had originally just run the wires through a hole in the wall.

   Part of my outbuilding (maybe I'll call it "the cottage"?) wall's aluminum siding had to be disassembled and redone as the top didn't align with the bottom at the far side of the window. Even this wasn't done until near the end of the month. On the last day [28th] I had got just over half way, delayed by re-routing the solar panel wiring. I had just run it over the edge and through a hole in the wall near the peak.
   I drilled a hole under the ridge cap, next to the peaks and just inside the wall, and put the wires through that. In that process I had to unscrew the ridge cap, and to do that I had to take one solar panel off and undo 3 of the 4 lag bolts on the next one. While everything was disconnected and the relevant section of the ridge cap shoved to one side, the loose panel decided to slide slowly off the roof. I couldn't reach it in time. I waited for the crash, but it landed in the moss and didn't break. Yay! I put it back up and got everything re-assembled. It looked like if these panels hadn't been disconnected for a couple of hours, the day's energy collected might have exceeded 6 KWH for the first time this year. The next day it did, just barely.

   As can just be seen just under the peak, the center three pieces weren't quite long enough. I may put up a piece of sheet metal to keep the wind from blowing rain in. The rest of the siding to the right has no more special interruptions so it should go on pretty quickly and smoothly. (Then there's framing in the window.)

State of the aluminum siding project at the end of February
The cottage should look pretty nice if it's ever finished

I really do need to get this done. Tyvek is just polyethylene, which deteriorates in sunlight
and the staples keep getting ripped out in the wind, and the thin plywood is getting rained on.
Putting the door on that corner would be great too, even if the structure is still only 1/3 enclosed.
The right (East) wall gets the wind blowing against it, whereas the left (South) wall often
is in the lee, so the tyvek is pushed against the one wall but sucked away from the other,
and all the staples have ripped out of the upper piece.

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

Gardening & Chickens

   In January I booted the chickens out of the garden plot, intending to move them to another area I could easily fence in, but they didn't seem to want to go to that area. Instead they took to roaming around other parts of the yard, and roosting in my new carport. This seemed okay to me but one vanished, and somewhere around the start of February a hawk (must have been a hawk) killed three more. Probably it was all a hawk. With nowhere else safe, I took to herding them into the garage each night. After much resistance on the first night they went in willingly as dark approached. Turning the light on seemed to make them the more willing. I was not however at all happy with having to turn on the light, get them in, shut the door, wait an hour for them to settle down, and then turn the light off again. And then let them out in the morning. I was even less happy with them knocking everything off the cluttered shelves and pooping on everything. It'll be a long time before the cleanup is completely finished.

   So once again a construction project took priority. The cold weather made difficulties and delays. But finally I had made up three wooden frames with chicken wire, 16 feet long by 6-1/2 feet tall, with hooks on one end and eyes on the other. Thus they could be assembled into a triangular fenced-in area. It was of course hard to get in and out of.

   Next I made a short fourth side with a door in it. The door having pins rather than hinges opens in either direction. Then I did some more work on the 1/2 finished chicken coop and by the 23rd had 2 nesting boxes on one end. (Still no proper door! I have to unscrew a plywood wall to gain good access for cleaning etc.)
   With the light having been on in the garage for a couple of hours each evening, the chickens, or some of them, started laying eggs. As the daylight gets longer the five hens should be laying about 3 to 5 a day without additional light. On the 27th I took 18 to the farmers' market intending to have friends sell them for me for the going rate of 7$/dozen. But they weren't there: Fear of CoViD. So I got a billboard to put it out by the highway at my driveway during "business hours". ("Green Eggs - no ham.") And "Solar Panels & Equipment" while I was at it. I hope the money will be more than the feed is costing. (No takers on the first 2 days.) My original idea of having a hen or two eating off the land doesn't seem to have come to pass. Between them all they're eating much more grain than I do.

   There wasn't much other gardening. I have some "other variety" apple and pear scions to try grafting to my non-productive fruit trees. It's just about the right time according to videos on the subject. I got quite a lot of blueberries last year off two little bushes. (A third bush looked dead. It came back to life but with no flowers or fruit for the year.) So I bought two more. And somebody gave me two "josta" bushes - said to be a cross between red currants and gooseberries, to plant somewhere.

The Way Forward? - Part 1

   "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
 - R. Buckminster Fuller

   This is truly a profound statement. Demonstrations and protests may have some temporary effects, but are essentially negative. To change whatever is really wrong one must first determine the underlying cause, the malady that is creating the symptoms that are being protested. And that something is often so "taken for granted" that it is considered to be "a given". No one involved on any side of the problem even thinks about changing it. All feel helpless to affect the object of protest in a better way from where they are and the result is confrontation instead of a cooperative solution. The very fact of a "protest" means there was nothing more productive that citizens - or government - could do from within the existing model. A fundamentally new way of doing something is required. There is no real, permanent solution for the problem until the "given" is changed, until there is a new model for doing whatever it is.

   In the present model of society we have "object oriented" organizations that are supposed to work toward specific objects. As the decades have passed, more and more these objects have primarily become increasing their own prestige, power and influence - and usually making a monetary profit or gaining a larger budget - almost regardless of society's original intention for forming that organization, harm to anyone else or to society as a whole. Not only the executives but often going down even to the workers at the ground levels, people have bought into these separating, divisive orientations to the point that society as a whole has been broken up into competing factions. Thus originally small cancers have metastasized into chaotic destructive forces. In many ways there is no more Canada, no more USA. Just divided and divisive factions, none of them working for the maintenance or furtherance of society, the nation or culture. We have already collapsed internally and in our patterns of thinking, and without better models we just await some critical moment for this collapse to become outwardly obvious.

   We can see the effects in economics, education, health and especially in finance and government. In politics an oligarchy has grown to be everything. Democracy and the rights and liberty of the citizens to lead their own lives protected by the rule of law are only tolerated as far as they don't interfere with the "empire building" of the oligarchs. In this new millenium we have increasingly seen political figures thrust forward who are just puppets for the oligarchs. Choice is "Tweedledum" or "Tweedledee", both puppets pre-approved by the same unelected, publicly unaccountable people. Like the current US president, they have few particular thoughts of their own and no morality but simply to sign whatever is placed before them by these "powers that be" behind the scenes.
   In economics the jobs have been moved to wherever the workers are least demanding and most desperate, to the point where formerly affluent societies have essentially been shut out of production, reducing the whole world to the status of the least. (This isn't entirely negative as the status of many of "the least" - at least those where the jobs have moved to - has risen. OTOH, as the population has continued to grow, everyone's quality of life has suffered everywhere.)
   In education, children are taught to obey the authoritarian powers because they supposedly "know better" than everyone else, instead of being taught the critical thinking and other skills so necessary to making them self sustaining adults and the leaders and contributors of tomorrow.
   In "health", profit ranks far above health and wellbeing. We have phenomena such as continued "CoViD" illness and death while the cheap, safe and well known pill Ivermectin that should have ended it is kept from public knowledge and out of everyone's hands. Much of the "third world" has ended CoViD as a serious concern with Ivermectin. (Romania is just now the first European country getting Ivermectin into the drug stores. Although it is said to be easy to produce, the demand has been much greater than the supply.) Much that is well known about preventing and treating cancers is likewise not taught or suggested to the public. (eg: Far too many people don't know that 1000 I.U. of vitamin D daily will cut your chance of cancers in half - probably more than in half in climates that don't favor going out in the sun very often. And no one in medical authority cares to tell us that.) And the new US administration has approved a huge increase in the price of insulin to diabetics in the midst of the economic meltdown.
   In finance, those who know how to use and leverage money to their own ends are now receiving most of the "free" newly printed money as well as being adept at relieving the innocent of theirs. It is reaching the point of outright looting of anyone "not of privilege" who hasn't planned their strategy carefully or who is unfortunate enough to get into a poor position or to get in "someone's" way. Thus we have a wealth disparity that now far exceeds that of feudal times.

   So in essence, there is no "nation" or "society" any more. No Canada or USA, only divisive factions. Nowhere or by anyone or any organization is the good of the whole being taken into consideration. Few identify themselves as "Canadians" or "Americans" (et cetera) any more. That category is too broad, conflicted and seemingly academic.
   Thus we are at the place where our civilization is ready to break down just like every past civilization on this planet, except this time it's pretty much global. It is already broken internally. That can't be corrected by any number of quick fixes and tweaks to the existing ways of doing things - even if the will to fix things was really there in some of the organized bodies. In the end the cheap fixes will all be in vain. When the outward collapse occurs, we must note that (as in for example in the Soviet Union) there has already been an inward collapse. 20th century democratic civilization  is poised to go the way of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Incas, the Han dynasty and all the rest.
   Or, better... where are the new models? They need to be conceived and adopted.

   As Fuller says, we need new models that will eclipse the old ones rather than fight them. One that will render them obsolete. In the overall picture, we need to replace our "object oriented" institutions with "values oriented" ones, and the values explicitly espoused in their charters have to be the core values of being human*.
   Object orientation shows up in thinking of each human as "one among many". Values orientation views each individual having value where he may be seen as a small or large contributor to family, society and humanity, in many different ways. Equality in Spirit is not uniformity of physique, talents, or intellectual perspective or capacity. Apples aren't oranges.
   For a visible example, one person may be a better national president than another. Few would accept that it doesn't matter who gets that job. The one who isn't as good at that may excel at other things and in a broad view either or both may be greater or smaller contributors. Still another person might never be known to the public yet his quiet contributions may be of great value to society. Young peoples' value is mostly potential; it lies in the future. An elder may have already contributed great value, and may have still more to offer in the way of wisdom and insights.

   We need to discern the value and the values, present and potential, of people and organizations, not merely observe their existence as entities.

   Well, identifying the problem is the first step in correcting it. Next month I hope to present some better models in a way that can be easily understood. For that I need to do some study myself.


* At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the core values of being human are being taught as:

- Life
- Equality (equal consideration for each individual including oneself)
- Quality of Life
- Growth (living is growing!)
- Empathy
- Compassion
- Love (in general terms, for existence and for all humanity)

   One expects that people all over the world in every culture and society will agree on the primal value of Life and the next three, and will recognize that those things won't be attained and sustained without the last three "secondary" core values.

(There is a web site: 7CoreValues.org)

Small Thots

Food Sustainability

* "Epic Economist" on youtube says that not only finance and economy but the systems that support life on Earth are all reaching a "saturation point" and starting to irreversibly collapse. (The "Everything Collapse" Continues: One Third of all Freshwater Fish [species] are Facing Extinction -- Epic Economist, February 24th 2021) Freshwater fish are the "canaries in the coal mine" for our global ecology.
   He might be overstating the case if considered over any short time period. Taken over years and perhaps decades however, we are definitely headed in the direction of disaster. But many species are going extinct before our eyes. Hopefully we change course and the population is reduced before "irreversible collapse" occurs. How many can we preserve, and how, until nature gets a reprieve? In the "great depression" of the 1930s game animals became scarce in America. Now there are three times as many people. Will deer, elk, moose and bison be gone forever like the mammoth, mastodon, glyptodont, and the Shasta ground sloth that our ancestors hunted? How can we save them for the future if masses of people are hungry?

* As I have noted before, we are strip mining the Earth to sustain the present population bubble. We are fishing out the oceans. Presently other countries have started sinking Chinese boats illegally fishing in their waters. The Chinese food shortages are real.
   Our agriculture is even less sustainable than I previously realized. Of the three main "NPK" fertilizers making fields produce more product, both phosphorus ("P") and potassium ("K") compounds are being mined from underground. Phosphorus especially is now getting scarcer and more costly by the year. We are farming to the limit and the fields we are farming are about to become less productive.

* Some say if we stop eating meat and eat only plant products, we could free up the land being used for grazing and grow more vegetable crops. While it sounds logical, there are flaws in this argument. The American plains were made fertile with deep topsoil by the buffalo (bison) grazing them. And the land now being used for ranching is that which for one reason or another isn't very suitable for growing crops. So eliminating cattle won't give us much more in the way of other foods, it will only deprive us of beef and other meats.

* A video tells of the miracle of re-introducing wolves into Yellowstone national park some decades back. By hunting the deer and keeping them on their toes (hoofs?), the deer population has been much reduced. This has led to an explosion of other life. New forests and meadows have sprung up with more plants and more variety, which support more insects, and species of birds and animals which had vanished are moving back in. This includes beavers, which have stabilized rivers and retained more moisture for dry times.
   It seems to me that deer and sheep, if allowed to overpopulate, are prime causes of land degradation, desertification and habitat destruction. There's a good reason that when there were no fences, the cattlemen hated the sheep herders. Like the buffalos, the cattle only browse the grass short. Too many sheep eat right down to the roots and wreck the pasture. An overpopulation of deer trim off all the undergrowth and sapling trees, eliminating many species and preventing forests from regrowing.

Progress and Longevity

* The first Isaiah seemed to have been gifted with a vision of the distant future when he wrote: [Isaiah 65; "New Heavens and a New Earth"]
[20] "Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years. He who dies at 100 will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach 100 will be considered accursed."
[21] "They will build houses and dwell in them, they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit."
[22] "No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. for as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people. My chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands.
[23] "They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune, for they will be a people blessed by the lord, they and their descendants with them."
   (My bible-studying biochemist brother, also interested in aging and longevity, pointed me to this. I read the Old Testament once, decades ago. While there was much that I might term "dross", I did think there were some good things in it, especially in Proverbs and Psalms.)

[Note: According to The Urantia Book there were two prophets named Isiah, the second of whose writings were incorporated into those of the first as sections 40 to 55.]

   His vision is still in the future but getting much closer than in his day. Advances in sciences, medicine, technology and living standards are bringing us there by the decade, in a few centuries. A friend died of a sudden heart problem in 2000. Another in 2014 was saved. The doctor told him he would be fine, but "Ten years ago we would have been telling you to wrap up your affairs."

   There are however some social problems that badly need to be solved today. A few people now own most everything. The fruits of everyone's labor are going to the 1% of the 1%.
   Life expectancies have been rising and except where calamitous conditions arise and they may soon exceed 100 years. Living to 200 or 300, reaping the fruits of one's own labors and investments and other parts of Isaiah's vision seem farther off. But a drop in population freeing up land and making it a poor buy for "investment", might alter the picture considerably within a generation.

* Some dystopian idea of a "financial reset" (or is it an "everything reset"?) is that "by 2030 you will own nothing and you will be happy!" The very phrasing of this idea is itself a big red flag. It's not "We will all", it's "You will". Where is the first core value of being human, Equality? At face value it sounds like a serious threat by oligarchy to revert society to feudal times.
   What are the new terms by which land use (and usage of all goods and services is implied?) will be regulated besides "private ownership"? What sort of public oversight ensures fairness for all -- at a time when we are seeing public control over anything and everything being usurped by oligarchs?
   It is theoretically possible to go beyond private ownership in just and equitable ways. Probably there are multiple ways to do it. After all, we all live and die and we can never take any material thing with us when we leave. As an example, assuming reliability, responsible drivers (or especially with "self driving" vehicles if they become reliable enough), and an entity responsible for maintenance and upkeep, it may be entirely possible to eliminate private ownership of vehicles, especially in urban areas, to the advantage of those who now have to own and maintain a vehicle for their transportation and cargo needs.
   But for land and housing there are societal conditions that have to be met first, and having a small greedy minority trying to abscond with far more than they have the slightest use for is inimical to being able to create a sustainable system. Bill Gates for example now owns more farmland than anyone else in the USA. Surely this has driven land prices up, even while farmers are going bankrupt (apparently in the millions) with high costs causing high debt loads and and then a couple of years of disastrous harvests. Gates is not a farmer. Is he planning to rent out the land to those who would like to farm but can't afford to buy farmland - or even keep what they own - when so much is being hoarded? (I understand the average age of farmers, over 50 a decade ago, is now over 60. The well established - even multi-generational farms and ranches - can barely make ends meet if at all; young people can't afford to start.)

* Now apparently the new administration has a plan for taxing "unrealized capital gains". At face value that means when you inherit the family farm, you have to pay tax on the increase in price of the land. For example if your grandfather bought the land for $25 per acre way back when, and it could now sell for $1000 per acre, when you inherit it you have to pay income tax on $975 per acre. So for say 160 acreas (a quartersection), you would be paying income tax on 156,000 $ of income you didn't make - maybe 60-70 thousand dollars? Other than what value was added to the land by the family's own labor over time, the land is the same. So it's a tax on the inflation of the money supply over a long period of time, which of course means the original purchase price is trivial in today's inflated currency. There's usually only one way to come up with a huge amount of money at once: you are forced to sell the family farm. You can't inherit it. (Bill Gates will buy it?)

* Predictably the new administration is quickly making itself unpopular, with dozens of radical executive orders signed even in its first day, including draconian new "CoViD" rules for air travelers and yet throwing the whole southern border wide open to the caravans, floods of migrants who think they might find a better life in a country now being overrun by themselves with no enculturation or support. (They're looking for "11 million new citizens" - unintegrated mouths to feed and house - in a dying economy where unemployment, homelessness, poverty and hunger are already rampant and spreading rapidly) And dangerous warmongering in the middle east. And there's to be yet more curtailment of personal liberties and business activities "in the name of CoViD" - destroying an already destroyed economy. Even higher prices for medications such as insulin for an increasingly destitute public.
   Increasingly critical and vocal opposition on various fronts, already taking action in the courts, will surely cause a violent gut reaction from those who now have total control. A firestorm is surely brewing.

* Someone says that US senator Elizabeth Warren, after her interrogation and criticism of the banking system after the 2008 crash, said she was told then: "You can be on the outside, but no one will listen to you, or you can be on the inside. But one rule for being on the inside is that insiders never criticize each other." Is that why we so rarely hear of scandals - or anything the least bit negative - in or about the inner circles of US government?

* The New York Times has printed an issue detailing some of the various unscrupulous ways the US federal elections were "saved" (from the will of the people), steps that "were necessary" to "preserve democracy" in the USA. Does that sound to anyone else remarkably like the sort of "doublespeak" from George Orwell's dystopian novel, 1984?

* I had wondered why people had kept re-electing the same governor in California for so long in spite of the things he had done. (How can a government "lose" 100,000 petition signatures so there aren't quite enough to cause an initiative/referendum to be placed on the ballot?) (Hmm... What was his name again?) Now people are upset with the new governor, Gavin Newsom (SP?) and some are gathering signatures to try to get him "recalled". In connection with the 2020 federal election someone claimed in a youtube comment that Califoria elections have been rigged for ages. Someone else said that Newsom is Nancy Pelosi's nephew. Suddenly things started adding up! Could it really be? California elections are rigged?!? Oligarchy, corruption, greed, nepotism by a "privileged class"?... is some new form of "monarchy" being foisted on an unsuspecting public?

* The Co-op grocery here has stopped using plastic bags. They ran out of paper bags and even polypropylene cloth bags for sale at one point a couple of months ago - everything was on back order. People, seemingly mostly the Haida, started taking the shopping baskets home with their groceries -- and not bringing them back. What result did they expect to achieve besides that there are now no shopping baskets available? One must now either hold their groceries in their arms or get a shopping cart even for a few things. A whiteboard in the doorway requests that people return the baskets, but they are not being returned. (It's a good thing shopping carts don't easily fit into cars!)
   It is scary that there are enough people who feel so "entitled" that this would happen on this small island. What will it be like when things get rough? What will it be like in big cities?

* Economies of Scale: The large producer has advantages of the economies of scale over the small. The biggest one is being able to hire specialty workers for various jobs as a very small percentage of the total labor cost, which are difficult or uneconomic to the small producer. These would include (a) doing the burdensome government paperwork and accounting (b) running PR and advertising campaigns to denigrate small producers - to convince people that your cows' milk and chickens' eggs are somehow better and safer than those from small producers. (c) working to find ways to hamper and embarrass the operations of the small producers. (d) lobbying government to change various laws to subtly or overtly favor your large business over these "inferior and unreliable" small producers, and even get them shut down for public safety.

* Texas Cold and Snow: Here on the BC north coast somewhat south of Alaska, we have had temperatures down to around -5°c this month. Far, far to the south and east, Texas has had similar temperatures (and even some considerably colder). There are however some vast differences: Texas sub-freezing cold has persisted longer, there's been a lot of snow, and mainly, in an area with normally mild to hot weather, people and institutions are totally unprepared. There are no snow plows - or even snow tires. No one has firewood stored up. No one has emergency heat. Why should water and gas lines be well buried? Why would they expect huge electrical demand? Pipes burst and water, power and gas was off in many areas. The independent Texas power grid was overwhelmed and with many gas fired generators (40%) as well as solar and wind generation (10%) off line.
   Thus a cold snap here isn't unexpected and hasn't caught people unprepared, but is a disaster in Texas. Most services have been overwhelmed. It was being described as a "humanitarian crisis" that has "brought America to its knees". Other states in the region have also been suffering and it is estimated that 30% of US winter wheat has been lost and another 15% damaged.

* Killer Lockdowns: I read or see more and more articles or videos - often by groups of doctors and health professionals - stating that locking down whole healthy populations and forcing them to wear masks and stay well apart from each other is madness and is destroying society. (Even the WHO has been begging countries not to use lockdowns "as a primary means of controlling CoViD-19".) Countries like Sweden, Belarus and Tanzania that didn't go along with this program and stayed open more or less as usual have not had more trouble from the virus than those who did, demonstrating that the entire process has been entirely useless even from the perspective of "slowing the spread". And the overall death rate has not been higher than for influenza in bad flu seasons, for which none of this craziness is ever implemented.
   And if it's so serious that governments feel a need to take action, why have they not rolled out Ivermectin pills to every drug store when it has become well known by now to anyone with eyes and ears that Ivermectin cures CoViD and prevents deaths.
   It becomes more and more obvious that some covert agenda is in play here which, if it has anything to do with health and safety, it is in the negative sense of wanting to destroy peoples' lives, the entire economies of the societies in which we live... and perhaps even to deliberately kill large numbers of people. Really? To what end?
   Sure we're way overpopulated. With our huge global population a real pandemic has become inevitable in the coming decades, and it will kill a large percentage of the human races. There is no need to make ourselves into ogres and fight one another - not for any cause. A population reduction agenda - other than a voluntary campaign of education about why large families have become immoral - is stupid.
   After a huge protest in Vancouver, an elected BC government official (I forget who) apparently (or so I heard from someone) said such people should be done away with. I say instead that intolerance is very dangerous and needs to be done away with. We desperately need to exercise the seven core values. Some real empathy, compassion, love and respect for our fellow man, exercised by all from the least to the most privileged, would be very helpful in these increasingly hard times.

* Anton Petrov does science, astronomy and space exploration videos on youtube. He usually starts his videos with "Hello wonderful person!" This uplifting greeting is implicitly recognizing that each viewer has their own unique value and isn't just "one of many" people. Value orientation. I like it! The videos are usually excellent, too.

* Plastic Recycling A while back I had tried to get our "Area D" regional representative to use some of $100,000 that was available for "infrastructure development" to apply to the North Coast Regional District for a plastic shredder, extruder and a couple of other things so we could make things locally from the mountains of waste plastics that are everywhere these days. She felt that was an inappropriate use. (Instead everybody around here, 35 homes, got a rainwater collection tank and a "bear resistant" garbage can - both made of plastic.)
   At the end of February I conceived that the idea might be better billed as a "Recycled Plastics Crafts Group". That would put the whole thing in a different light - perhaps more suitable or amenable from a planning perspective. A small group would be in charge, and it would be an experiment on a small scale that could be carried out from an activity room in a center, rather than a major project with uncertain prospects of viability. And the participants would build a knowledge base for expansion into whatever were found to be the more desirable directions later.
   I sent her an e-mail to that effect. It's too soon to expect a reply.

(Eccentric Silliness Department)

* Some new rocket engines have been blowing up on their test pads recently. Surely after all these decades making successful engines isn't "rocket science!" Oh, wait...

* Here we call it "aluminum". In keeping with the "standard" '-ium' ending of so many elements, the British call it "aluminium". I say it's all too long for such a common metal and we should just call it "alium". Or maybe "alumium". (Some who've graduated from some metallurgy school might think "alumnium" sounds good?)

* Here's an incident that perhaps deserves to be remembered... or maybe to live in infamy? Even if it was maybe 30 years ago. A man held up the Seven-Eleven store near my house. He ran outside and saw a taxi near the door. He jumped in and said "Take me anywhere!" Then the clerk came out. He saw a police car and ran over to it. He exclaimed to the policeman "You've got him already!"
   I guess it wasn't a taxi!

   "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 just thought of and not tried... 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, consistency, completeness and elimination of duplications before publication. I hope they may add to the body of wisdom for other researchers and developers to help them find more productive paths and avoid potential pitfalls and dead ends.

Electric Transport

No Reports

   Egads! The ground effect vehicle model (and everything else) will have to wait another month!?!

1. Vcc
2. Gnd
3. Gnd
4. no pin
5. port2:3 (N/C)
6. port2:4 = Left Ducted Fan - PW output to its 'ESC' Motor Controller
7. port2:5 = Right Ducted Fan - PW output.
8. port1:6 = up and down 'throttle'/power control - PW input 3 from radio control receiver
9. port1:7 = side to side 'steering' control - PW input 4 from radio control receiver
10. Rst  (N/C)

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects

No Reports

Electricity Generation

My Solar Power System

Month of January Log of Solar Power Generated [and grid power consumed]

(All times are in PST: clock 48 minutes ahead of sun, not PDT which is an hour and 48 minutes ahead. DC power output readings - mostly the kitchen hot water heater for some months, then just lights - are reset to zero daily (for just lights, occasionally), while the others are cumulative.)

Solar: House, Trailer  => total KWH [grid power meter reading(s)@time] Sky conditions
Km = electric car drove distance, then car was charged.

31st 1187.37, 346.29 => 2.76 [81609@18:00] Sun for a while (from 11-14:00?)

01st 1189.57, 348.04 => 3.95 +.7 DC (recharge) = 4.65 [81645@17:30] Sunny
02d  1190.96, 349.01 => 2.36 +.2 DC = 2.56 [81684@17:30]
03rd 1191.44, 349.26 => 0.73 [55Km; 81741@17:00] Drizzle.
04th 1192.21, 349.75 => 1.26 [81787@21:00] more drizzle.
05th 1193.05, 350.24 => 1.33 [81824@17:30] yet more drizzle.
06th 1194.16, 350.82 => 1.69 + .5 DC=2.19 [20Km; 81859@18:00] Sunny, but power was out 8 AM to 2 PM.
07th 1196.78, 353.20 => 5.00 [81898@20:00] Sunny. -5°C overnight brr!
08th 1199.48, 355.64 => 5.14 [81932@17:30] Sunny again. Thawed where sunlight hit.
09th 1200.55, 356.34 => 1.77 + .3 DC* = 2.07 [81966@16:30] Clouds, occasional flakes of snow, -2° all day, not windy.
10th 1203.27, 357.91 => 4.29 + .1 DC = 4.39 [60Km; 82019@18:00] Mostly sunny but -5° all day. Brr!
11th 1205.46, 359.40 => 3.68 + .1 DC = 3.78 [35Km; 82079@17:30] Some sun, but -5° AGAIN, STILL!
12th 1206.08, 359.76 => 0.98 + .1 DC = 1.08 [82129@16:30; 35Km] Cloudy. Rose to 0° but strong wind - feels just as cold.
13th 1209.05, 362.50 => 5.71 [82173@18:00] Sunshine! Not much above 0° but felt warmer.
14th 1209.85, 362.99 => 1.29 [82220@18:30] Cloudy.
15th 1211.60, 364.10 => 2.86 [82258@18:30; 15Km] Still cloudy, but maybe a bit lighter. Got to 3°.
16th 1213.71, 365.36 => 3.37 [60Km; 82305@21:00] A bit of sun in AM. Hit +5°.
17th 1215.23, 366.52 => 2.68 + .1 DC so 2.78 [82332@18:00] Much like yesterday but only got to maybe +2°
18th 1216.99, 367.87 => 3.11 [82375@20:30] A little brighter?
19th 1218.52, 368.92 => 2.58 [85Km; 82417@19:30] More middlin weather.
20th 1219.70, 369.71 => 2.07 [55Km; (meter not read)]
21st 1220.89, 370.46 => 1.94 + .15 DC = 2.09 [82496@18:35; 45Km] Just a bit of sun later PM.
22d  1223.23, 371.95 => 3.83 [55Km; 82538@18:00] rain, sun, clouds, 3-4°
23rd 1225.73, 374.05 => 4.60 [55Km; 82574@17:30] Snow overnight, much sun, clouds sometimes & late PM.
24th 1226.05, 374.21 => 0.48 + .1DC = 0.58 [82615@20:30] Storm, clouds, rain.
25th 1229.27, 375.79* => 4.80 + .1DC = 4.90 [82637@17:30] Much sun but it kept sprinkling anyway. A deluge in later PM.
    * Trailer solar was off-line for a couple of hours for wire re-routing or it would have been around 6 KW total.
26th 1232.66, 378.37 => 5.97 + .05DC = 6.02 [85Km; 82670@18:00] Cloud early AM but mostly sunny. (Of course I had to count the ".05" KWH DC in order to hit 6!)
27th 1233.75, 379.01 => 1.73 [55Km; 82713@17:30] Clouds & drizzle
28th 1234.55, 379.51 => 1.30 [82730@18:00] Clouds & drizzle

01st 1236.68, 380.98 => 3.60 [82757@17:30] Light overcast
02d  1239.45, 383.05 => 4.84 [82785@17:30] Variable light overcast, rain.

Daily KWH from solar panels. (Compare February 2021 with January 2021 & with February 2020.)

(Each Day)
January 2021 (11 panels)
February 2021 (11 panels)
February 2020 (12 Panels)















Total KWH

Monthly Tallies: Solar Generated KWH [Power used from grid KWH]
March 1-31: 116.19 + ------ + 105.93 = 222.12 KWH - solar [786 KWH used from grid]
April - 1-30: 136.87 + ------ + 121.97 = 258.84 KWH [608 KWH]
May  - 1-31: 156.23 + ------ + 147.47 = 303.70 KWH [543 KWH] (11th solar panel connected on lawn on 26th)
June - 1-30: 146.63 + 15.65 + 115.26 = 277.54 KWH [374 KWH] (36V, 250W Hot Water Heater installed on 7th)
July  - 1-31: 134.06 + 19.06 + 120.86 = 273.98 KWH [342 KWH]
August 1-31:127.47 + 11.44+91.82+(8/10)*96.29 = 307.76 KWH [334 KWH] (12th panel connected on lawn Aug. 1)
Sept.- 1-30: 110.72 + 15.30 + 84.91 = 210.93 KWH   [408 KWH] (solar includes 2/10 of 96.29)
Oct.  - 1-31:  55.67 + 13.03 + 51.82 = 120.52 KWH, solar [635 KWH used from grid]
Nov. - 1-30:  36.51 +   6.31 + 26.29 =   69.11 KWH, solar [653 KWH used from grid]
Dec.  - 1-23: 18.98 +   .84* + 11.70 =   31.52 KWH, solar + wind [711 KWH + 414 (while away) = 1125 from grid]

Jan.  - 6-31: 17.52 + ------* + 10.61  =  28.13 KWH, solar+ wind [1111 KWH from grid]
Feb.  - 1-29: 56.83 + ------* + 35.17  =  92.00 KWH, solar + wind [963 KWH from grid]
* The solar DC system was running the kitchen hot water tank. Now it's only running a couple of lights - not worth reporting. So there's just the 2 grid tie systems: house and "roof over travel trailer".
One year of solar!
March - 1-31: 111.31 +   87.05 = 198.37 KWH solar total  [934 KWH from grid]
April   - 1-30: 156.09 + 115.12 = 271.21 [784 KWH from grid]
May    - 1-31: 181.97 + 131.21 = 313.18 KWH Solar [723 KWH from grid]
June   - 1-30: 164.04 + 119.81 = 283.82 KWH Solar [455 KWH from grid]
July    - 1-31: 190.13 + 110.05 = 300.18 KWH Solar [340 KWH from grid]
August- 1-31: 121.81 + 83.62   = 205.43 KWH Solar [385KWH from Grid]
Sept.  - 1-30: 110.68 + 65.09   = 175.77 KWH Solar [564 KWH used from grid]
Oct.  -   1-31:   67.28 + 42.55   = 109.83 KWH Solar [1360 KWH from grid -- Renters!]
Nov.  -  1-30:   35.70  + 20.79  = 56.49 KWH of Solar [1301 KWH from grid]
Dec.  -  1-31:   19.78  + 11.31  = 31.09 KWH Solar [1078 KWH used from grid]

Jan.   -  1-31:   25.47 + 18.58  = 44.05 KWH Solar [1185 KWH used from grid]
Feb.   -  1-28:   47.18 + 33.22  = 80.40 KWH Solar [1121 KWH used from grid]

Things Noted - February 2021

* On the 7th, at last a sunny day made 5 KWH of solar energy, for the first time since October. At 53.5°N (and especially on the cloudy Pacific coast) there are over 3 months - November, December and January - when solar energy is all but non-existent. December yields hardly 10% of the summer months. And October, February and March are at best "half power" compared to the better months. In the summer much depends on whether sunshine, or clouds and jet trails, prevail in the sky.

* *On the 9th I started leaving the 36V DC lights on quite a bit, often using around 100 WH/day, which was made up by the DC solar during the day.

* Much of the northern hemisphere seems to have been quite cold this month: Record snowfall in Moscow, cold and snow in Texas/southern USA, and the -5° around here. Is this attributable to the grand solar minimum, the ever-extensive jet trails disrupting global wind circulations, or both? (What is the arctic doing? It hasn't been on the news. Well, let's see: nullschool.net shows the northern jet stream bringing air from Alaska down the west coast. Farther south (eg, Victoria BC) there has been heavy snowfall. From there it loops down into Mexico exposing most of North America to arctic weather. Other south-reaching loops go right down over the Red Sea, and into eastern Asia south of China. Warm air is again blowing from the Gulf Stream area of the Atlantic over Greenland to melt glaciers there. These seem to me like the familiar "disrupted wind patterns" of recent years, which by themself explains all the the cold and snow. (I wonder if they're getting snow or more flooding in Soggy Arabia?) (Hmm... The polar view I took a screen grab of shows the 3 lobes of the jetstream going far south, but it doesn't look half as impressive as centering the view on North America.)

   Hmm, a "live" temperature map shows much of the arctic other than the Atlantic ocean from Eastern Greenland to Spitsbergen/Svalbard, is pretty darn cold. If it's not warmer almost anywhere, that suggests that the cold is at least partly owing to the overall decrease in solar output owing to the grand solar minimum (A.K.A. "GSM").

Lithium-ion Battery Peculiarities

   Of course, there's a lot of "voodoo" and peculiarities with any type of battery. What are we supposed to think about lithium-ion batteries and their charging? Here we will speak mostly of open circuit voltages, or charging voltages, rather than voltage under load.
   Their "absolute maximum" voltage is 4.2 V, and they are said to deteriorate and become dangerous if charged to 4.3 V. And yet, many chargers pull them right up to 4.2 volts, nothing less. Doubtless this is the fastest way to charge them, but is it really safe, and might it contribute to shorter cycle life than keeping the voltage down a little?

   The cells will sit, days later, still at (say) 4.15 V. Furthermore if some current is drawn off them for a short time, they will still pop back up to (say) 4.13 V when the load is removed, suggesting that they are holding at least somewhat more energy at 4.15 V than at (say) 4.0 volts. This is in contrast to lithium-iron phosphate, which can also be charged as high as 4.2 volts, but which will quickly drop to 3.33 V or so and stay there as soon as any significant load has been drawn from it.

   And yet this "typical" graph shows "100% charge" at a little under 4.0 volts. It would seem that most of the charge is gained and lost between 3.5 and 3.95 volts. Is the energy above 4.0 volts, then "greater than 100%" charge? I think we might assume that.

   But here is a graph of charging current versus state of charge, holding the cell at 4.2 volts for most of the charge cycle, that shows 100% being when it stops drawing current at that voltage.

   Connecting the stacks of 10 lithium-ion cells in my solar back-up power system, I set the voltage to stop at about 39.5 (3.95 V per cell). First of all it seemed about right. Even if that isn't 100% charge it must be well over 95%. I don't need an ultimate 100% charge, still less that it be "ASAP", when they're on charge all day every day.
   The second reason is more problematic: If the PowMr charge controller should be reset and senses 40 volts or more, it will assume it must be a 48 volt system instead of 36 volts, and throw on full charge in an attempt to raise the 36 volts to 48. That is, it will attempt to blow up the batteries and burn the house down. This one ill-conceived feature makes it a potentially dangerous unit. It was nice to find a charge controller that works for a 36 volt system, but the "auto voltage sense" is a very bad idea, and 40 volts is too low for safety with a 36 volt system. Surely 44 volts would be a much safer choice. Better still, the user should be able to manually set and "lock in" the intended operating voltage. (It tried to fry my NiMH cells a couple of times owing to this. Luckily I was suspicious and caught it. Then I turned them down to 39 volts instead of 40.5.)
   Hopefully with this particular setup, the balance charger wouldn't let the lithium-ion cells be overcharged, but I wouldn't want to rely on it. I would have set it to about 39.5 volts anyway. I want the cells to last as long as possible rather than to charge as fast as possible and hold a very few percent extra charge.

Electricity Storage (Batteries)

Turquoise Battery Project: Long lasting, low cost, high energy batteries

Some More Theory

[9th] A video on a silver-zinc battery experim
ent (by "NurdRage", youtube) showed oxygen and hydrogen overvoltage potentials as:

Silver: +.91 V
Nickel: +.56 V
Carbon: +.95 V

Zinc: -.77 V
Nickel: -.28 V

   The zinc figure seems puzzling, since the actual charge on the zinc is something like -1.24 volts. According to that, the zinc should just bubble hydrogen and discharge itself. I suspect it's the figure for acidic solution rather than alkaline.

New Cylindrical Cell

   I asked someone about making copper sheet metal into cans, and he was dubious. He said that needed super precision punches and dies with very fine tolerances. I put my juicy ideas for nice, thin, solid copper battery cans on hold.
   He did suggest one could put a pipe on a lathe and bend one end in to the center to make a solid bottom involving no other metal but the copper. Well, at least if that wouldn't leak it would be solid copper.

   The immediate next step seemed to be to coat the inside of one or both existing [silver soldered bottom] copper cans with zinc. Electroplating made a loose powdery coating of dendrites, many sections of which apparently would easily passivate and so in total there would be much less energy than for the amount of zinc employed. Probably that's a reason my cells had lower capacity than expected in 2019/2020. A solid layer of zinc such as Peter made by dipping the copper in liquid zinc is better.

   The first thing I tried early in the month was putting some tin solder flux on the inside of a can, wrapping a sheet of zinc inside the can, and heating it with a propane torch. Hopefully the zinc would melt onto the copper. Basically it made a mess. There was a bit of zinc adhered in spots, but most of it became a loose blob in the bottom of the can.

   On about the 23rd I tried coating the inside of the cans with solder flux paste with some borax mixed in. I got a couple of old boat zincs and put them in a food can. I heated this in my mini-kiln for 1/2 an hour. (It's amazing how some ugly old pitted, oxidized, powdery looking sacrificial boat electrodes turn into shiny, silvery liquid zinc!)

   I filled the copper cans with zinc. I went to pour it out but it had already hardened. So I put it all back in the kiln for a few minutes and repeated. I got the zinc out of the battery cans, but the coating was still ugly. Just as I poured the rest of the zinc into other food tins (of course not made of tin!) I remembered from youtube that most people used muffin trays. The muffin cups have sloped edges. Later I had to snip and rip the cans to pieces to get the zinc out.
   Later I thought about galvanized metal in general - bolts and things. Those seem to get a good thick coating of zinc. Galvanized bolts have a coating thick enough that they need special nuts. It occurred to me that perhaps instead of heating up the copper cans I should leave them cold, then dip them and empty them very rapidly. The cold copper might collect a thicker coating of zinc: it would thicken and freeze onto the copper quickly, before it could mostly run off. Just a thought that might work.

   However, my next idea was to try brush plating. In that, one wraps an anode (here zinc) with a cloth and dips it in the electrolyte solution (zinc chloride), and connects a positive voltage to the anode negative to the surface to be plated. Then one brushes the cloth covered wand across the that. The metal (zinc) transfers across from the wand, through the electrolyte soaked cloth, onto the surface. It would surely be very slow to get much of a layer, but I hoped that unlike regular dip electroplating it might make a nice solid deposit without powdery dendrites.
   I had intended to try it the next day but I had to go into town, then the weather turned nice and I had fairly urgent outdoor jobs to do. Then a neighbor cut down some trees and was going to burn them in a pile. I need firewood for next winter, so I cut and hauled it. (Prepping the firewood trailer with a low tire, the lawn tractor with a "new" lithium battery so it would start reliably, and the chain saw took more time than the actual work.) There went another afternoon. I really must get the rest of the siding on the walls of the "cottage". (See "month in brief") Next month I'll have to start planting seedlings for the garden. It's getting frustrating that I seem to have so little time for green energy projects over an increasingly lengthy period of time.

   [28th] I decided to try it on a flat scrap of copper. I used 1.5 volts. On the first stroke the silvery color appeared on the copper. After a few more it occurred to me to weigh the piece so I would know how much zinc had been added. (Couldn't be much zinc yet, I trust.) It was 3.50 grams. After a couple of minutes of rubbing it was 3.55. Was that anything at all or just imprecision in the readings? After a couple more minutes it was 3.60 ... then 3.60 ... then 3.65 ... then 3.70. Apparently the plating was getting thicker. The highest currents were obtained with the brush laid down flat - with the most surface area in contact. (Let's see... .2g @ .82 AH/g = .164 AH. More than zero, anyway!)
   If I left the brush sitting on one spot, that area turned flat black. Rubbing it back and forth kept it a shiny silver-gray. A look with the microscope verified that gray areas were relatively smooth, while black ones were rough and dendrites were formed or forming. I went one more round (3.75g!) and found that the more vigorously I rubbed, the more silvery and smooth the coating became.

The setup: Thin copper sheet (with negative leed attached) was cleaned with scotchbrite and with toothpaste/toothbrush.
Zinc "wand" (positive leed) was wrapped with a cloth & rubber band, then dipped in the zinc chloride electrolyte.

A little rubbing with the wetted wand started imparting a coating of zinc on the copper

If the brush was allowed to sit on the zinc without moving,
a black area of dendrites would quickly form

Continuous rubbing made a smooth, shiny zinc coating
- but only very slowly. In quite a few minutes of
rubbing I got just 1/4 gram of zinc onto the copper.

   Tricky stuff, zinc! If there was some way to keep rubbing it inside a battery as it charged, the dendrite problem could easily be solved. Here, while I didn't mind how long it might take to build up a good initial layer of zinc in an automatic process, it was obvious brush plating by hand would be very tedious. And the more so inside a cylinder.
   How about a slowly spinning cloth with a piece of zinc for an anode axle? If it fit right it could continuously wipe the inside of the can as it plated it. But now I'm talking about potential production processes again!

   For now... I cleaned out the insides of the cans as best I could. HCl dissolved out the little zinc that had plated on. I brush plated the inside of one can for about 40 minutes. It surely could have used way more, but my back started hurting and that was about all for me. According to last month, this can had weighed 29.40g before plating. Now it was 30.40g, so I had put on about a gram (.82 amp-hours) of zinc. It wasn't anything like as smooth as on the flat piece, but I decided it was workable. But it didn't seem like much capacity. Maybe I should do another session and add some more zinc? Well, that'll be in March.

I rubbed the wand up and down as I turned the can around and around.
In order to keep electrical contact while turning the can, I attached the
negative leed to the same piece of sheet copper and set the can on it.

I remembered I had a zinc rod, and I did get somewhat
higher plating currents using it for a wand; up to 3 amps.
I had to use a battery clamp alligator clip on the fat rod.

After a while of rubbing there was a thin (and for
some reason somewhat bumpy) coating of zinc in the can.
40 minutes got it up to a gram, but it could easily use several grams.

I really must find something better for a camera than this new cellfone.

Haida Gwaii, BC Canada