Turquoise Energy News/Report #170
2022 (Posted August 5th 2022)
Lawnhill BC Canada - by Craig Carmichael
Free Electricity from HE Rays with Tesla Coils? (See in Month in Brief - scroll down,
(Project Summaries etc.)
- Testing Cut, Dried Lawn Grass as Building Wall Insulation - Solar
Batteries - not enuf? - Ground Effect Vehicle (R/C model)
- Chevy Sprint: F/R switch is not good enough; Tire "gear ratio" -
Honey Bumble Bees!? - Cabin: Some Progress! - Free Electricity from HE
Rays with Tesla Coils? - Solar Boat
& Car Charging in Victoria - Another Ground Effect Craft Design
Critique - Regular Water Heater for Solar?
(Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
- Tinnitus: Caused by High Voltage Electricity? ... Radio
Radiation Studies are Needed -
Thots - ESD
Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems [no reports]
& Electric Equipment Projects
* Lawn Grass Building wall Insulation: R-value tests & more.
* My Solar Power System:
- Latest Daily/Monthly
Solar Production log et cetera - Monthly/Annual Summaries,
July in Brief
Tlell River Estuary 20 Km north
of my place.
flows in and out for miles, covering the gravel at high tide.
(I didn't want to walk another Km right to the mouth.)
The unusual geography of Haida
coast. Tides seem to cause a continual northward
flow of sand up the coast toward the north east corner, enlarging it
and also causing the
mouths of rivers & streams to ever shift north. Someone told me
that the Tlell now empties
out 1/2 mile north of "where it used to" when he was young.
As usual there didn't seem to be half enough time in the
month to do half what I wanted. I got the poly vinyl alcohol to try out
as a gel for the nickel-zinc gelled batteries, but didn't do more than
disassemble the cell to free the zinc electrode.
I got the heater control for the plastic melting oven made
freezer mostly wired... but not finished. At some point I got one piece
(of two) of the propane tank steel plate pretty much straightened,
mostly in the hydraulic press. At the refuse station I found a steel
frame to cut to shape/size and use for racks to hold molds inside the
The steel plates will have to be "perfectly" flat to use for a plastic
Not to mention polished and shiny.
My soldering station quit, I burned out my electric lawn
mower, the water heater sprang a leak and in the crawl space a
galvanized pipe by the pressure tank had rusted away with water
spraying out and causing a flood. (Apparently air comes up from the
crawl space into the house. The flood seemed to set my lungs into
horrible coughing fits in the mornings and I spent a sleepless night
not knowing why I was
having trouble breathing. I still have a fan on blowing air trying to
dry out the
crawl space.) My prize new English Walnut tree lost nearly all its
leaves after I missed a watering or two. (It seems if you even see them
droop a bit, it's already too late.) A deer helped itself to the last
two remaining lower leaves. I made a bigger wire fence, around 3 trees
at once with the walnut in the middle. With a 3 day rotating watering
system it started coming
back... Weeks later it is growing a few tiny new leaves near the top.
But that watering rotation didn't seem to be often enough for the
in pots in a greenhouse, where a lot of leaves turned brown when it got
before I started watering them 2 days out of 3. Searching for a piece
of plywood in a stack leaning against a wall, I pulled a sheet of
gyproc ahead to look in the side, and that caused a 7 foot long 1 by 8
that must have been
leaning to the side to fall, appearing suddenly out of the crack behind
to wallop me on the side of the head. My temple was still sore ten days
later. I replaced the hot water tank and rusted pipe. Well, enough -
too much - of that!
Testing Cut, Dried Lawn Grass as Building Wall Insulation
Seeing that cut & dried lawn grass dropped in filled 2 by 4 wall
stud spaces nicely
in June, I tested its effectiveness as building wall insulation using
cardboard boxes and a light bulb, comparing it with extruded styrene
foam (a known R-5 per inch) to find its "R" value was about R-3 per
inch - less
if it was put in very loosely, but seemingly not more by stuffing it in
harder than "just firm".
collected many bags of dried cut grass.
Solar Batteries - not enuf storage?
It occurs to me that while on sunny summer days my solar
system now sends up to around 27 KWH to the power grid, I only have
about 14 KWH (3 battery stacks * 4.5 KWH) of lithium-ion 36 volt
batteries. If the grid is down and the place is running on the
DC/battery system, either major power is going to be used during the
day and turned off at night, or the batteries are going to limit energy
to half of what can be collected.
OTOH, 2 or 3 KWH should run a freezer and fridge and house
lights through the night, so the 4.5 KWH battery stack should do the
essentials. In summer. And 9 or 13.5 KWH storage would be a lot more
One could also turn off inverters at night and trust the
fridge and freezer to stay cold until morning. But I know that if I do
manually, sooner or later I'll forget to turn the freezer back on.
In winter the whole picture gets rather dark with the
potential of having to run a gasoline generator occasionally in
December and January for fridge and freezer. (I think I should get
those 3 more panels up onto the carport roof where the most daylight
strikes - before winter would be good!)
Well, I'm rambling again!
On the subject of solar... I watched a video by someone
who had put up a considerable system in Brooklyn, New York. He - along
with 2 or 3 commenters below the video - said they went from penny
pinching "turn that light out!" and "that air conditioner doesn't have
to be on right now!" types of guys to being very relaxed about it,
feeling they had gone from scarcity into a land of abundance, where
they just weren't using as much electricity as they were themselves
making and extremes of conservation just didn't matter any more. (Of
course they were grid-tied systems.)
I kind of feel that way on sunny days in summer, but this
far north on the cloudy west coast there is much less solar on many
days, and not much in winter.
Ground Effect Vehicle
[25th] For a change it was SUNNY and WARM! I planned to work on my
cabin wall, but ground effect craft
being on my mind lately I kept thinking; all I needed to do for another
little test was lengthen the heavy power wires so I could put the
batteries farther aft for a better center of gravity compared to the
center of lift. Since last summer. "C'mon! It should take 1/2 hour to
unsolder the wires
and put longer ones on, and 1/2 hour to try it out." Then I could start
on the wall.
I got a late start. Things went wrong. My soldering
station acted up, sometimes heating, sometimes not getting up to
temperature or even dropping in temperature. Yet not simply quitting,
always leaving me hope. I would solder one wire, then for the next one
it would drop below soldering temperature. Then I spent a bunch of time
(and $) on line ordering a new one. Then the iron was hot again and I
and got similar results. (I so recently remarked in In Passing
(below) that much too often a short, simple job gets complicated and
because some tool needs repair first or something is misplaced? Here is
Finally I dug out an old unregulated soldering iron and finished the
I was going to go down to the beach on the flat sand but
the tide was too high so I tried on the lawn again. It seemed to be
better balanced. But it was still awfully heavy even for the powerful
ducted fans. It would only start moving and slide across the field if
the canard was pointed well up with the fans blowing air underneath the
wings - the "hovercraft" effect. The same things as last time stopped
from possibly properly flying:
- Friction with the tall grass
- starting to turn and then spinning around after 30 or 40 feet,
preventing any further
acceleration that might or might not have occurred.
It definitely needs directional control. Maybe I'll just
go back to my first idea and take a spring out of the left joystick,
and try and move the stick diagonally to turn both motors up and down.
Or left and right, up and down to vary the thrust between them for
turns, with no spring return to "straight". (Ug! But I still haven't
got the wiring done and a microcontroller programmed to do it that way.)
The test ended as it seemed to be time to charge at least
one of the batteries. I took them out and weighed things again to
refresh my memory. Yes... The two
batteries were 1600g, while the model without them was 3420g. I'll
remark again that I certainly never counted on the batteries adding
almost 50% to the weight of the model. (Small wonder their position
affects the balance so much!) But smaller ones are probably inadequate
for the powerful 90mm ducted fans.
Then the power quit as I was writing this up (didn't
actually lose much). I worked on my vinyl deck flooring for a while.
Now I've written it up and it's 4:30 PM. Start the
wall, or quit for the day? I ended up just finishing the deck.
Next day [26th] not to lose all the momentum I decided to
take the spring out of the joystick in the radio control. Another 1/2
hour project. To make the story short I finally had it back together
minus a couple of stray parts and the spring on the evening of the 27th.
The model "ready for takeoff".
never glued the center fin on. I
thought I would leave it until it was actually flying, and the
making in-flight turns could be
seen without and with the fin.
The covers for the hulls don't fit now with the batteries so far
have to cut them thinner at the rear. [And the front of one
beach at low tide. I wasn't going to
put it in or even near the ocean: too wavy and a small but potential
chance of losing it.
Starting on sand it wouldn't budge. Starting in a shallow
puddle of water (not deep enough to float it). it accelerated
surprisingly rapidly, skimming across the surface, and looked like it
could soon be airborne. But the puddle was too short of a runway. It
would hit the sand at the end and stop.
As expected for having to move the motors control joystick
diagonally with no feel to it, I had a hard time controlling the
direction, even vaguely. There was soon another problem: the 100 amp
breaker for the right motor kept blowing in 2 or 3 seconds trying to
take off. There was little point trying for takeoffs when it kept
quitting. (Dang! It had never blown in trials on the lawn.)
At least it didn't seem to leak. A few drops of spray blew
in and from somewhere a bit of seaweed got into the fans.
I moved it to
a smaller but deeper pool where it floated. Here I could taxi it around
and try controlling the direction. The left and right motors worked
very well for that, running just one motor causing a turn in a very
short radius - not quite a spin. But again the diagonal control - left
for the right motor, top to bottom for the left motor - was really
confusing. And having "stop" at the top-left instead of the bottom was
so un-intuitive that virtually every time I went to stop, I
pulled the stick down (and usually right) and turned one or both motors
on full blast. Notwithstanding, I did manage to change the direction as
desired (usually powering just one fan at a time) and to go straight
forward a couple of times.
The "ESC" motor controllers (as well as the
4-channel radio control itself) provide no means for reversing the
motors for maneuvering.
I had thought of taking a bit of video, but the battery in
my new camera dies so quickly it seemed pointless to take it anywhere I
couldn't plug it in (I've ordered a new battery), and the tripod mount
is broken in the old camera. Even so I tried to catch an abortive
takeoff run holding the old camera while trying to control the model,
but it seemed that camera needed charging too. It took only one 10
second video of the model starting up and swerving to hit the one rock
in the puddle (and the video is sideways - trying to run the elevator
and hold the camera at once). It did manage to take a few stills.
A final thought occurs to me that maybe there's a radio
control for a "model tank" or something that could run the two motors
properly for directional control. As long as it had some somewhat
intuitive way to run the elevator too, that could be a big improvement.
Or maybe I could borrow a canoe and try it on a lake where
there's maneuvering room?
Chevy Sprint: F/R switch is not good enough; Tire "gear ratio"
I drove the Sprint across the yard with some tools, then
it barely managed to climb a hill onto another part of the lawn where I
put some firewood in the back, then I returned down, and up the other
near the garage and firewood shed with the wood. After all this high
current travel I immediately got out, opened the hood and felt the
contacts on the forward-reverse switch. I had been meaning try do this
for some time.
As I suspected, they were more than warm. One leg was
almost boiling hot. If I were to attempt to drive a long distance I
fear it might fail - lose contact or catch fire. (At least with 36
volts it wasn't going to electrocute me. I wouldn't have dared make an
open-air switch or to touch the contacts at a higher voltage.)
If I ever do try it on the highway, I'll first rewire it
to bypass the switch. Of course then I'll have to push it to back up
Where I had
thought to try a slightly higher reduction
ratio planetary gear (just 6 to 1 instead of 5 to 1) to see if that
would prevent the Sprint stalling on hills, it seemed that ratio
doesn't exist. Anyway that would only provide 20% more torque.
17th a perhaps silly thought occurred to me: put smaller diameter tires
on the front wheels. It might not be so silly except that tires for 12
inch rims are pretty rare now, never mind finding a "thin sidewall"
selection to choose from.
The only ones likely to be smaller are the undersize "emergency spare
tires" that one isn't supposed to use for long distances. I dug one out
of my storage. It was a 13 inch rim (which I think could fit - same
bolt pattern), yet it was still smaller than the car's regular tires.
(Or, can one find "thin sidewall" smaller diameter regular tires for
Hmm... but there's only one driven wheel! So I could
out with just the spare I have, just for laughs. (It'd probably slip
worse in the grass. ...But how about the hill climbing... if it didn't
slip?) What would the change in drive ratio be?
Let's see... About 18 inches instead of 20 inches diameter:
ratio 5 * (20/18) = 5.55 to 1 (rough equivalent) - just 11% more
torque. Somehow that doesn't seem like enough to make much difference.
Going for a 7 to 1 planetary reducer would be much more sure - 40%. But
really I don't have time for any of it. If I did it would be better to
get going on the improved "Unipolar Electric Hubcap" motor that should
have that 40% more torque to accelerate faster and drive the car up
hills at 5 to 1. (And it would eliminate the need for the heavy F-R
Honey Bumble Bees!?
The 2nd and 3rd were sunny and warm, and I noticed in the broom flowers
there were some honeybees with a higher pitched buzz than bumblebees.
But we didn't have such a nice day again for over (at least) two weeks.
Just clouds, overcast, cool - even cold.
By the 16th the broom flowers had wilted, but I noticed
the big honeysuckle bush with my "bee palace" next to it was buzzing
with bees. Were they quite small bumblebees, or honeybees? I wasn't
really sure. It just seemed odd to see such a concentration of
They didn't look the same as the earlier honeybees I had seen on the
3rd. I managed to capture a few in images, but only one really good
shot. (in mid air!) There were more of the same ones around in the
clover and in some yellow flowers near the ground. How many species of
bees might there be? Could there be a hybrid species - honeybees mated
with small bumblebees? This was the more interesting as it was cloudy
and cool, about 16°, which I understand is too cool for
honeybees to fly. (Someone said that's why bumblebees are hairy -
insulation. Beating their wings warms them up and thus they can fly at
Later it rained, still later the sun came out. A few bees
came back, but not the 'swarm' present earlier. But they were
still around in the clover and other flowers into August.
From the picture here, a
lady who should know identified them as bumblebees. But they seem
aggressive for bumblebees. Some start buzzing around You as you watch
them on the plants. Now that I know their sound, I realize they have
"buzzed" me before, occasionally, every summer since I moved here. When
they're not on a flower they fly so fast I was never able to see what
they were - a couple of large circles around me in 3 or 4 seconds. (I
had thought they might be horseflies.) They probably have to fly fast
to evade the swallows, which nest here and are much in evidence in the
[18th] But they sure behave like honeybees. They are busy in
considerable numbers collecting pollen. Even into the evening at
less than 14°, so they certainly couldn't be regular honeybees. But
surely they must have a considerable hive somewhere?
I searched through hundreds of bee photos on line and
didn't find any with this sort of coloration. Might they be a West
Coast or Haida Gwaii native bee? Do they make honey? Perhaps they are
technicly a bumblebee, but a variety that has taken up the ecological
niche of honeybees here where it is pretty much too cold for those? Do
I care what
kind of bees they are if they adopt my hive and make honey? If they can
work in clouds and at lower temperatures that's a big advantage around
here. But so far no activity at my hive.
I smeared some honey onto the hive's "front porch" a
couple of times. In the last few days of the month there was a heat
wave - up to 30° one day, mostly 25° or so, and the bees were
less in evidence. But I guess it was because the honeysuckle blooms
were more or less over. Before the end of the month they were in the
flowers of my peas in the garden. (while several varieties of
hoverflies seemed to prefer false dandelions.)
Cabin - Some Progress! (for those few interested)
I guess the best thing that can be said about my progress
building the cabin is it's a good thing I already have a good place to
hang my hat! I haven't worked on it since putting on the alume siding
on the south wall last September. But looking back at TE News issues
from then it doesn't look like I've been idle. I'm glad I got the
firewood shed built.
On the 15th I dug the trench for the little
concrete strip footing for under the sext section of wall. I really
have to get on with
this! (How can I install the dried lawn grass wall insulation until
it's an enclosure?) After that RVs under this roof are going to have to
be moved out. The next day I put in forms for the concrete. After
rinsing out 4 buckets of sand in the wheelbarrow on the 17th, it was
ready. On the 18th I mixed and poured concrete for the footing: wall
out of 8.
I got a branch circuit breaker box and plan to run a
few wires around for 120VAC. I may never do more than plug the whole
cabin in with an extension cord for basic kitchen things... but then
again...? I'll also run some 36VDC wiring for solar/off grid - wall
outlets and LED lights. (Hah! At 36VDC, an LED light unless Very bright
light hardly needs more than #18 speaker wire! Ah! found some #16 lamp
cord wire too, at the thrift shop.)
On the 27th I went to the refuse station looking for a
small double pane window. Instead I found a pretty nice steel faced
door with good
hinges. The new door for the other wall was around 550$ - free is
great! Still need a window.
The picture shows the concrete footing (form boards still in place). I
planed the 2 by 4's I cut this spring from the dead spruce tree to a
uniform width (3-13/16") for wall studs. (Stack of 14 leaning against
(Unfortunately the "12 foot" uprights are 8 inches extra long,
and that made the "16 foot" top and bottom headers cut from the other
end of the same log section [seen lying on the concrete] 6 inches too
short. I should have measured the other end before I cut a few inches
Free Electricity From HE Rays with
Almost at the end of
the month I had a brief dream. The scene was vague but the words were
something close to "No one has tried, using a Tesla coil, in a long
time." I woke and understood it was about getting free
electricity from "short space ray"/"HE ray" energy. I thought again of
Nikola Tesla is said to have lit a whole bank of light bulbs from
energy supposedly "transmitted wirelessly" with his "energy receiver".
But others said there
wasn't enough energy at his "energy transmitter" to light the bulbs, so
that he must
have stumbled on an unknown source of energy. The "energy receiver"
seems to have been what became known as a "Tesla Coil". Rumors of what
after that abound. Someone told me he used it to run a Detroit Electric
EV car indefinitely without needing to recharge. What happened to such
The next reliable news about making electricity from the
air was from T.H. Moray and his powerful "energy receivers" in the
1930s. They seemed to be rather different in technology, but
the patent office "lost" his patent application with the schematic and
the stories were
mixed in with his apparent invention of the
semiconductor diode, special vacuum tubes for the energy capture
devices, and advances he apparently made in radio and audio amplifier
circuits. Crude sketches of his schematics and tube designs exist but
they're less than clear. (He couldn't get a patent for the germanium
"cat whisker" diode either - probably the world's first semiconductor.
at the patent office said "Everyone knows you can't get electrons from
a cold cathode!") Who knows what documentation was lost when someone
broke into his lab and smashed everything, ending his 'free energy'
Moray seems to have been the first to say that there must
a powerful band of radiation beyond gamma rays from which his machines
derived their power. This predated the actual detection of the HE band
(and VHE band) by
70 or 80 years. The space scientists who discovered them have not yet
connected the intense HE band with the free energy people have
occasionally captured over the decades, and electromagnetic spectrum
charts have even now 15 years later not been extended to include them.
Moray also noted that he got more free energy at certain
times of day, but was puzzled when those times kept shifting. Since HE
rays emanate most strongly from the plane of the Milky Way galaxy, and
since Moray used long horizontal antennas that would have been
directional, there would have been more energy when the galaxy and the
antenna were in alignment, which would change with the time of year as
well as the time of day.
An attempt I made to extend an
electromagnetic spectrum chart. (TE News #69 and up.)
The gamma ray band is around 10^9 (mega) electron volts.
The HE ray band (AKA "Short Space rays") is around 10^12
(giga) electron volts.
Each photon is very powerful and their density is high ("No part of the
would look dark" in
this band) and they also freely penetrate Earth's atmosphere, so this
where the main energy is.
The VHE ray band (AKA "Ultamatonic rays") is around 10^15
It seems that when a gamma ray hits the atmosphere it releases an
electron and a positron.
When a VHE ray does, it releases a cascading shower of such particles.
Let's see... HE rays, 10 octaves beyond gamma rays and so
1000 times higher frequency and energy, apparently come right through
the atmosphere, and don't affect living tissues. They come from every
direction but most strongly from the plane of the Milky Way. They seem
to be coerced
into reacting and releasing their energy by sudden changes in
electromagnetic (voltage) potential. A Tesla Coil certainly has extreme
high voltages! (I think the rays were only identified
in 2007(?), when they were titled "High Energy "Gamma" (sic) Rays or
"HE Gamma" Rays. HE rays are to gamma rays as X rays are to visible
light rays - they're just not the same thing.)
Tesla used such high voltage potentials
that he was making sparks and ionizing air. Maybe that's what's needed
to get the 'free energy' - at least the way Tesla got it? At least
of volts? Too bad what has survived of his work in the 'free energy'
area is so vague.
Some of his experiments with "atmospheric energy" (also
high voltage) seem to be
confused with these pulsed electromagnetic experiments. I suppose that
pencil and paper it was a lot harder to record details of one's work
than with text editing, CAD software and digital cameras. And it would
seem Tesla himself (at least initially) misattributed his results to
receiving energy from his "transmitter" - after all, that was his
original intent. Anyway the information that was left
is sketchy and confused.
looked at some instructions for making Tesla coils, and watched a
couple of videos. How much energy is involved? One set of instructions
said "Bring it outside for its first run, as it really isn't safe to
run anything this potentially powerful indoors: there is a high risk of
fire." A commenter said he had made one at school and it punched a
in the wall "...can u tell me what I just did?" Are the coils really
drawing so much energy out of a wall socket with (typicly) a
microwave oven transformer?
The lightning/ionized air displays are great and evidently
only reason people have continued building Tesla coils after Tesla's
but it seemed they were originally an unintended byproduct. With very
high voltages ionization
comes readily from sharp corners and thin wires (top image), and Tesla
put round metal domes on top of his secondary coils to prevent
ionization or to have it occur at a higher voltage. But what
Tesla make to extract excess energy from to light multiple incandescent
From the same instructions: "The secondary's ground
CANNOT be put to mains ground, it will fry everything in your house."
That had to be it! In all the "lightning" displays of
ionized energy, the Tesla Coil makers had the essentials for free
electricity but they were shorting to ground the very power output
point where high
energy could easily be tapped off from!
Similarly, the pair of Brazilian
electricians who showed their patented free energy devices on youtube
in 2013 (TE News #71) had called it "earth electron energy."
(They said they were planning to sell them locally. Soon
after their video was posted on youtube their machines were seized and
then (IIRC) they were arrested on "fraud" charges - despite having a
patent and despite having never had a chance to sell a single unit to
anyone, real or fake. Their video vanished. Who-dun-it? "big oil"
people? Are they still rotting in
The panel of light bulbs that Tesla lit was almost
surely connected between the bottom of the secondary coil and the
actual Earth. Have we been that close to having "free
electricity" for over 120 years?
Well, this is a theoretical speculation. To make such a
device and try to get electricity with a predictable output from it,
there are questions about even the broadest of
specifications (especially voltages and frequencies), construction
details, and component values and ratings. And it's not without its
hazards - lethal voltages, deep RF burns. (I wonder if the high
aggravate my tinnitus - see article in In Passing section,
below.) Lots of people know more than I do about making and using Tesla
coils and could easily experiment with their own existing units. And I
have far too many projects already!
Solar Boat & Car Charging
My friend Tom in Victoria sent me these images.
Jim has solar panels on his boat that charge a 48V battery for the
boat's electric drive motor. They plugged a 3000W inverter into the
get 120VAC output, and plugged a 120V/1500W car charging adapter into
and Tom's Nissan Leaf EV into the adapter. So the car was charging (at
the boat battery, which was charged from the solar panels.
Since the boat battery is only 6(?)KWH and the car battery
is 30KWH, and the power from the solar panels is quite limited, it
would take multiple sessions to charge the car if it was low. Still it
shows it can
be done. I haven't tried doing this from my 36V DC solar setup. (At
least not yet. Theoreticly it should work.)
L: Charge Controller
R: 48V lithium ion battery pack, both in 'suitcases' in the boat
Below: 3000W inverter
Jim with the car adapter cable
charging Tom's EV car from his EV boat.
The car behind Jim is also an EV - a Mitsubishi iMiEV.
Another Ground Effect Craft Design Critique
I ran across
another ground effect craft design. This one has some features that
seem odd and awkward, but there are also some that (IMHO) would seem to
give it more potential for succeeding than the one I covered last month.
The parts that made sense to me were:
1) the outboard hulls ("trimaran") to reduce tip vortexes and trap air
underneath the wings. While a catamaran does that too, if size and
build warrant, having all the people in a center hull instead of split
between halves with no passage between seems more convenient somehow.
2) given #1, the long (front to back) wing shape best captures the
ground effect lift to reduce fuel/energy usage. John Ryland's wing
profile might presumably impart optimal longitudinal stability. To my
eye it looks like a more "airplane conventional", if rather thin, wing
profile. The trailing edge however has control surfaces that may be
akin to flaps, and which may also be used either as ailerons or as trim
adjustment surfaces. Flaps might simulate much of what Ryland's design
seems to do - and adjustably.
3) the unusual "canard-like" front structure with the two fans. It
certainly seems to me a front canard is an improvement over a rear
elevator, especially with propellers on it. In saying I like it, I note
the front elevator/aileron flight control sections it seems to have. As
mentioned before this makes the craft positively responsive (eg,
raising the nose instead of lowering the tail end) for instant pitch
adjustment without losing (or gaining) altitude.
The unusual shape may give a bit of "ducted fan" effect,
or perhaps the lower sections simply protect the propellers and motors
from the waves and spray. But I would think tilting the fans along with
adjusting the canard surface to blow air under the wings for takeoff
(which they don't appear to do) would be better.
4) If it does need extensions to the wings, having them able to pivot
up out of the way will certainly help with docking. (I don't really see
why it should need wing extensions and I haven't put any on my model,
but a model by RCTestFlight [youtube] flew better with them.)
OTOH there are still some curious things about the layout
that I question. These or some of them may simply be that I don't
understand some of the design rationale.
Initially I didn't see why, if it had front propellers on
the canard, it would also have the larger rear one. Marc pointed out
that a large propeller is more energy efficient than a small one. By
mounting it more or less above the center hull, it is presumably clear
of the waves and spray. Larger propellers on the front canard might hit
the water. (That's a reason I used ducted fans.) So using a large rear
propeller may simply make it more energy efficient, and that's a big
consideration for an electric powered craft. And it may provide a
safety feature if the craft can fly on either the two front motors or
the rear one. One can use any number of motors and propellers or ducted
fans on an electric craft if they make some improvement over fewer or a
single unit. (There's a VTOL "air taxi" now testing with, IIRC, 36
ducted fans distributed along the wings and canard for lift and
Moving along to features that still don't really make
sense to me...
1) With front pitch control
surfaces on the canard, why does it also have a rear elevator? It would
seem to be redundant, and instead it is very large. In fact, the canard
and its control surfaces seem disproportionately small. While it has
the vital front canard, I'm really not sure the whole subject of
blowing air under the wings for takeoff, along with having positive
pitch control from the canard, has been properly thought out.
In fact, looking at a video from the company (RDC
Aqualines), the canard seems to be not a main feature but an
afterthought not present on their other designs... which also seem to
be just computer conceptions.
2) The vertical surfaces at the outside in the top image evidently
swing down to become wing extensions as in the lower image.
But a vertical fin surface(s) amidships would help assert
directional control in the unbanked or minimally banked turns that
ground effect craft make. Most catamaran R/C ground effect models I've
seen seem to drift diagonally considerably in turns before they are
going straight ahead in the new direction. I would think a single
vertical fin above the cabin would be optimal.
3) The passenger door that swings down doesn't reach to the outer
floats, so the passengers can't disembark at any ordinary wharf except
into a boat. It seems to me the only good solution (besides operating
only from specially outfitted docking facilities) is to make a section
of the wing strong enough to walk across. (I also think the image of
landing on a beach, while appealing, seems impractical. Rocks and
shells would quickly wear out the bottom of the hulls even if it could
power itself onto land, turn, and 'taxi' back into the water. unless of
course it had wheels with steering.)
The designers may have answers to some of these questions. It is of
course hard to tell without seeing an explanation in the article just
how it's all supposed to fit together, which I didn't find on their
website. In thinking it has promise, I'm thinking the designers have
promise. They are
arriving at better thought out features than the one I critiqued last
month, like the wing profile and the canard with propellers. I'm giving
them "benefit of the doubt" thinking they are still flexible, open to
design ideas and changes and that this won't be the final form.
Regular Water Heater for Solar?
At the end of the month my hot water tank sprang a leak. I
replaced it. But it got me thinking about "grid down" situations. The
typical tank has an upper and a lower heating element, both 3000 watts
at 230 volts. If the water is cold, the upper element comes on to
provide a smaller reservoir of hot water near the top of the tank. When
the top portion is hot, the upper thermostat turns off the upper
element and turns on power to the lower element, which heats the rest
of the tank. The elements are never both on at the same time.
If one used an inverter (a big one!) the inverter itself
would have losses and would be running all the time. And 3000W is a lot
to ask from a battery system. If instead one powered these same
elements with my 36 volt DC system (really about 39V, call it 38 with
line losses), then 3000W * (38/230)^2 = 82 W per element.
That would take a coon's age to heat the water. If one changed the
wiring so both elements could operate at the same time, they would be
172 watts. Hot water in only half a coon's age! - but without
drain on the solar power system. The switches of course are rated for
230V AC, not for DC, but I expect they should manage just 36V DC and
I already connected the tank with 120V instead of 230V, so
it runs at 750 watts instead of 3000. I figured that way if hot water
was being used during the day, at least in summer months the solar
power system would cover the reheating, whereas it only makes over 3000
watts at the best of times. I turned it off once when I left for a
Christmas trip, and when I returned it was 8 hours before the cold
water had heated enough for a good shower. (The new tank seemed to heat
much faster - I had a bath in 4(?) hours. I'm not sure why there seemed
to be such a large difference.) But if it could be switched
between the DC system and 120V AC instead of 230V, having both elements
on at 120V would only draw 1500W, so having both on would be acceptable
either power source.
At 172 watts one could of course expect the tank to run
all night. In mid season that would be 12 hours * 172 watts = 2000
watt-hours. That's half of a 4 KWH battery bank. Worse in winter. It
would seem it would be necessary to turn the tank off a lot in winter
(or at least not use any or much hot water),
and instead keep a pot of water simmering on the woodstove for
(Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
My tinnitus has been much worse than ever
before since I moved
to Haida Gwaii. It's a very loud single tone that often drives me
And it has been puzzling me since I am in quite a quiet environment
here, and I'm very careful to put on ear protection for every loud
thing - even for playing my super recorder or violin I use it or put
cotton in my ears. Nothing seems to help.
But I've had tinnitus since I was 5 or 6. In 1990 I drove
Dawson Creek BC and stayed in a trailer on a farm in Pouce Coupe for a
week. There was (as far as I can recall) no electrical power in the
For the one and only time in my entire adult life, my tinnitus
at least faded to insignificance! I was astonished. At no previous
time, nor at any subsequent time in the past 32 years, has there been a
repeat of those blessed few days.
accordance with hearing Morse code and and strange digital two-tone
warbling, I had long thought tinnitus was caused
by radio transmissions, and the farm being probably distant from nearly
radio stations seemed to be good evidence for that. In fact, when I
became an electronic technician I heard identical sounds from radios,
especially at marine radio stations and aboard a ship way out at sea.
All these sounds from the radios
were déja écouté [already heard] to me.
But over a tea, one Matt said that he too had once
up north through BC away from civilization, in fact to the Yukon, and
he had thought of a different reason. He said
that when he got north of areas with high voltage power lines, his
tinnitus vanished. As he was coming south again and hit the first area
where there were high voltage transmission lines again, it came back.
Power lines run mile after mile after mile, right along the roads
everywhere. In developed areas, there is simply no getting away from
If Matt has ascribed the right cause, perhaps my tinnitus
is caused or aggravated (or still exists?) because I now live next to
where the main power line (18 or 20 KV?, single phase) runs up the
island to two small communities. Serving a couple of hundred houses and
a few businesses this single wire is probably carrying pretty high
currents, too. (Does that make a difference?) In town (I think) they
are 3-phase and only 12KV instead of 18KV, and
they are "crisscrossing" all over town, which might cause some noise
cancellations. This single phase 18KV could then have the strongest
tinnitus effect, and again my tinnitus is much worse here than
it was living in Victoria City.
If caused by radio signals, having
much worse tinnitus here seemed peculiar because the only nearby radio
broadcasting I know of is the outer marker radio beacon for Sandspit
airport (YZP), but it is at least 7 Km away and aims its low power 75
MHz transmission upward. There's AM and FM broadcast of CBC on this
island. I don't know where the transmitters are, but surely not near
here - the signals are too faint. So I had cooled on the radio
The HV power line makes perfect
sense as the cause of my present loud, single tone tinnitus. But given
that I used to hear what seemed pretty plainly to be
signals, perhaps any source of high voltage is the cause,
regardless of frequency. Strong
radio transmitters have high voltages at radio frequencies. And audio
range beat frequencies can be derived from multiple radio sources, or
everything: LF(?) or other radio signals aggravated by or beating with
fields from high voltage lines. Even if one wasn't hearing the LF
transmission directly or via audio range beat frequencies between
stations, the high power carrier wave is being switched on and off with
the "dits" and "dahs" of the Morse code. That's power in the power line
switching on and off too. (A beat signal from two or more LF/MF CW
might well explain why I seemed to hear Morse code, but always had
trouble picking out a single clear station and making out the letters
Further thoughts are (1) that power lines are very
antennas. Strong radio signals induced into high voltage power signals
could perhaps modulate them in unexpected ways. (2) Again, radio
antennas can have very high voltages too, at radio frequencies.
Here on Haida Gwaii I hear a single
loud tone probably because there's just one powerful signal
overwhelming all others - the nearby high voltage power line. (I
also used to hear of people living near powerful MF AM radio stations
who could hear them including the audio - voice and music - through
metal tooth fillings. Not much any more - I think they limit the power
of AM stations broadcasting from near people's homes these days. Some
AM stations used to be up to 50,000 watts.)
Some months back I stapled up chicken wire along up the
south wall of the house and grounded it, hoping to damp out the signal,
which at the time I was thinking Somehow (but how?) just had to be
radio. But I think it worked with the power line because now it's not
much lying in bed that I notice it howling so loudly, where that used
be the worst place. It's more tolerable in my bedroom than it was. But
that's about the
only seemingly protected area and I spend more time elsewhere than in
bed. Since the ringing evidently takes days to die away all I've got is
a slight reduction in volume. It probably wouldn't be enough to notice
wasn't now listening for changes in intensity.
Of course, there is also the evident fact that ringing is
caused or reinforced by loud noise - like the proverbial rock concert.
(I don't think many people run loud power tools without hearing
any more.) The longer I go, the more I think it's a combination of
factors. But the continuous ringing wouldn't persist for a lifetime
unless it was being continually or repeatedly reinforced by some real
source of sound sensation entering the ears - or just maybe even acting
electromagneticly, directly on the auditory nerves themselves.
On the 14th I was outside and noticed my tinnitus was
louder again. Wait - I was walking along the highway, almost right
under the power line! But as after a loud rock concert, it takes
probably at least a day or two and maybe several for the ringing to
fade, so momentarily being close to or away from a source isn't enough
to notice anything for sure. The next day I stopped at Meyer Lake for
an hour, a park location between the Island's North South power grids,
with no power lines nearby for several kilometers, and 3/4 of a
kilometer from the highway to
boot. My impression was that the tone in my ears seemed to "break up" a
bit (less steady tone), and be less loud - as if my ears were still
ringing but the ringing was no longer being reinforced. But it was much
too short a test to be sure of anything. And was it really far enough
from power lines? When I got home - or even on the way home - it seemed
get louder again.
The next few times I especially noticed it (because it
seemed louder) were when I was traveling along the highway -- under or
near the power lines, on foot OR in the car. Yes, that explains the
repeated sensation of it being louder in the car! I had thought it must
be some ultrasonic irritant in the electric car itself. Probably the
motor controller PWM. (also in the old Mazda RX7 EV in Victoria, where
I had also especially noticed it? Of course a petroleum vehicle is loud
enough one wouldn't especially notice tinnitus. It is only obvious
in the quiet electric cars.)
To notice reduction of the ringing it would seem one must
actually go to a region where there is no source and be there for -
probably - at least a couple of days if not longer. Hence, the only
times one would be away long enough are on those very long car trips
away from civilization. Most people have never driven so far into the
wilderness, so far from electrified civilization, for such a period.
My expectation is that if and when and wherever the power
grid fails for an extended period, most peoples' tinnitus will fade
away over around a week, more or less. Electromagnetic fields of all
kinds, surely with beat frequencies in the audio range are real, an
source of energy evidently affecting the hearing mechanism somewhere.
The sounds are not something being manufactured without cause in the
brain or inside the ears.
Radiation Studies Needed
I think the whole area of the long term and subtle or
effects of radio radiation on humans and on all life, from power lines
and VLF all the way up to UHF microwaves (eg, WIFI, cell phones),
should be seriously studied. It has all sprung up in the last
century without any such testing on any of it. Do people die of cancer
phone radiation? Yes. I myself found my leg vibrating, pulsating right
I kept a cell phone in my pocket. I kept thinking the phone was
vibrating with a message or something. But it never was. Finally I
carrying the cell phone and it took a week for the vibrating to stop in
my leg. One time a couple of months later I really didn't want to miss
a cell phone call and put it in my pocket just for a few hours. After
that short period, this time it took two weeks for my leg to stop
vibrating! And it did it again briefly just days ago without the cell
phone having been there! How close was cancer in my leg? Do I already
have it? Never
again will I keep a cell phone on my person.
* Two things that can really slow projects down are misplacing tools or
materials/parts (which are often in plain sight!), and having to fix
tools. Sometimes even having to fix or clean a tool to fix another tool.
I went to clean my livingroom floor and found the dust
brush on the "automatic" 'roomba' wasn't turning. Fair enough, it's
down there in the dirt and it picks up lint and hairs, which wind
around the brush mechanism. I unscrewed it and cleaned it.
Then I went to mop some dirty spots and the Vileda spray
mop was jammed and wouldn't spray. I took it apart (almost losing a
tiny "O" ring that fell off down the drain) - four long plastic screws
- and discovered that the plunger mechanism, exposed to the water, was
rusted and bits of rust were all around it! This was a pretty costly
mop to have the moving parts made of materials that would obviously
fail in very few
years. (I wouldn't have chosen Vileda after the previous one failed in
two places, except there were no others available. I tried all 3
It looked like I might wreck it to get the plunger out, so I just
cleaned around it as best I could and put a bit of canola oil on it.
But even as I mopped and kept squirting extra to try and loosen it up,
each time I hit a new dirty spot and started squirting again, it was
starting to jam. I doubt it will work next time I go to use it.
And I had a hose sprinkler wand with a rotary spray
As the water for the hose taps is unfiltered, it got clogged up. There
was a screw in the center. I unscrewed it to clean it and a spring and
ball bearing from inside popped out somewhere into the weeds. So much
for that 45$ sprinkler!
Over time we pay a big price for unreliable,
* It seems that almost from its inception Ukraine was never a united
state, with half speaking Russian (south and east) and half speaking
Ukrainian (western), and neither side much liking the other. And Stalin
end of Ukraine from a piece of Poland at the end of the second world
war. Proposals to make Ukraine a federation where each side had much
autonomy were never adopted. It seemed doomed to fail even in the
1990s, and certainly after 2004. After the US backed coup in 2014
speakers were made into second class citizens and forbidden to use
their own language. So it is little surprise that the Russians and
their Donbass allies are being welcomed as liberators in the Russian
* Ukrainian Army in Siversk (small town in Donetsk): "The Russians are
coming! The Russians are coming!
Come, we will evacuate you to a safer place!"
People in Siversk: "Um, thanks but no thanks. I'll stay here."
* Some interesting information has come to light: that many of the
weapons sent by the West to Ukraine are being sold on the black market
for forces and conflicts elsewhere. They are even being sold to Russia!
Now I have an alternate theory on the reason for the
bizarre course of the war: Zelensky and his cohorts are getting rich
selling Western weapons. Like so many "leaders" in present Western
governments, they don't care about Ukraine or the Ukrainian people at
all - they're just in it to get rich, personally! They are insincere.
that Ukraine is being taken over inch by inch. Talk of "no territorial
concessions" and "counterattacks" to retrieve everything (even Crimea!)
and get Russia on the run is just that: talk, to put some heart into
cannon fodder to keep them in the game! Keep demanding more and better
weapons. They fetch good prices! Like the US military-industrial
complex, the longer the war goes on, the more money they make! No
wonder they won't negotiate and put a merciful end to it. Zelensky will
retire to his Florida mansion.
This is just my own wild theory with no solid evidence for
it. But as a story it starts to have a familiar ring to it. Is Greed
still at "the root of all evil"?
* Saudi Arabia is buying Russian oil cheap for themselves, and selling
their own oil to USA at a higher price without the Americans violating
their own sanctions. Makes sense to me!
* The Bank of England still won't return Venezuela's 31 tons of gold,
contributing materially to Venezuela's sufferings. What has it
been, 3 or 4 years now since they tried to make their withdrawal? What
kind of a bank is that? The UK courts can attempt to justify it however
may, but it's plainly theft. (They've probably sold it and don't even
to return! Hey, banksters' bonuses have to come from somewhere!)
It's also reminiscent of Germany asking for 30 tons of its
150 tons of gold supposedly stored in American vaults some years ago.
them several years to get it back, and it was only the equivalent
amount, not the same gold bars with the same serial numbers. (And a few
fake bars had tungsten inside - tungsten is the same density as gold
but is much cheaper.) Good luck with the other 120 tons!
(Eccentric Silliness Department)
* Some have Dijon Mustard. I
have Indigenous Mustard - It's been in the fridge so long not even I
know where it came from.
* Okay class, Use each of the following names and words in a sentence:
Madoff, Tlell, Isuzu, Cantaloupe, Tolerable, Water, Debate.
"Bernie Madoff with my money!"
"That won't happen Tlell freezes over!"
"Isuzu, zu sue me, and only the lawyers get rich!"
Dick and Jane Cantaloupe - they're already married.
Which is Tolerable or a horse?
Water you doing later?
Be sure to spring your trap first before you try to debate it.
* If we kill off the whooping cranes will that eliminate whooping
"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
of and not tried... and even of how not to do something - why
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.
Other "Green" & Electric Equipment Projects
Lawn Grass Wall
[July 3rd] My neighbor was mowing lawns. He drove over in a quad with a
trailer stuffed full of grass clippings! Enough! Wow! It's definitely
low cost insulation - except for all the drying and bagging. We flung
it out, spreading it over a sunny area of my lawn as best we could. I'm
becoming more and more partial to just leaving grass where it lies
mowing, where it is in the thinnest layer to dry quickly and easily.
But then there wasn't a sunny day for over a week, and nobody seemed to
have more porous sacks in their recycling to put more grass in, either.
The way to estimate the "R" value compared to some other
insulation materials would be to run some
controlled tests. At
present I don't think any such tests have ever been done and so using
cut & dried grass as wall insulation is a wild card. It seemed like
something worth doing.
While it would be difficult to set up scientificly exact
testing conditions, I could at least do some
rough tests to compare one material with another.
In all these tests I used the same outer corrugated
cardboard box "house" to insulate (actually I had two identical), so
was going out to the room through the same wall dimensions and area in
every test. The one thing I didn't think to do was set the box up off
the floor, and at least one test (#2 and or #3) was on a different
carpet. Inside the box I put a thermometer sensor dangling in the air,
and a 13W compact fluorescent (CF) light "bulb" in a simple socket on
the bottom to heat the box. (I used the same "bulb" for all tests.
Nothing else handy was near that wattage.
I had some 8.5W LED "bulbs" - a bit low power I thought; and some 60W
tungstens. In an enclosed box, those might have started a fire. I don't
think I've used a CF light in almost a decade!)
[4th] Test #1 -
Polyethylene Foam Insulation
I used a cardboard box with 1.5" polyethylene foam
insulation The PE foam test was simple to set up because the 1.5"
was the packing material that came in the box. (Thick foam to pad heavy
LiPo battery cells.)
I plugged in the lamp and read the
temperatures in the room and in the box.
In 40 minutes the box hit
42.9° with the room being 21.1°. That's about a 22° rise
over the "outside" temperature. (The temperature rose less
than 2° in the last 20 minutes. Later I thought I should have left
it to stabilize more and ran a longer test, but it produced about the
[5th] Test #2 -
Loosely packed grass:
I used a similar but not identical setup with an inner box
to hold the
grass in place in the "walls". The wall spaces formed were very
the same 1.5" thickness - perhaps a bit thinner on one side, and
thicker on the ends. I stuffed in the grass very loosely under and all
folded the inner box closed and layed about 1.5" more on top, then
folded the outer box top closed.
It took longer to heat, especially initially. Of course PE foam
has very little thermal mass, while the inner cardboard needed to hold
the grass absorbed some heat, where the
bare foam of the first test absorbs almost none. Also I don't think the
grass was 100% dry. I suspect it should have done a little better.
In 58 minutes it got up to 38.8° while
the room stayed at 21.2°. That's about a 17.6° rise. It only
rose about 1° in the
last 15 minutes, but I think it would have continued rising higher for
some time and 2 or 3 more degrees if I had left it another hour or so,
so later I re-ran the test longer.
[6th] Test #3 - Air Space:
Well... An empty air space was
easy to try. [no picture] I used the same boxes as for the grass, with
air space on
all six sides of the inner one. A smallish piece of 1.5 inch thick PE
foam held the inner box up off the bottom. Of course the corrugated
itself has some insulation value. I ran it for 71 minutes. The
temperature hit 32.6° and it only rose by 1.3° in the last 40
minutes. The room ended at 20.8° (up from 20.4° at the start)
for a total of 11.8° rise over ambient. Again the test was probably
shorter than it should have been to estimate the steady state rise, but
it illustrated the point that insulation is much better than no
My other tentative conclusion at that point was that
loosely packed grass isn't quite as insulating as PE foam, which is
R3 per inch, according to Wikipedia. I thought it was R5! I suspect
there are quite different compositions of PE foam and I find it
unlikely that this foam is only R3. But I could be wrong. To be sure,
I'd better try out some extruded polystyrene foam 'board', which is
well known to be R5 per inch.
I seems to me it's probably better than
fiberglass (~R3.5). (Should I try out fiberglass? Yuk! Let's see how
extruded PS foam compares first.)
Grass after removing inner box
[10th] I felt I hadn't run the tests
long enough. It was really the equilibrium temperature reached that was
wanted rather than the speed of increase, because different materials
have different thermal masses as well as different insulation values. I
didn't think they had really reached equilibrium yet.
Test #4 - Densely Packed Lawn Grass:
tried another inner-outer box pair (same boxes), this time with grass
stuffed in more densely, although it could still have been packed in
considerably more strongly. Compared to the almost weightless PE foam,
the temperature rises much more slowly with the thermal mass of the
inner corrugated cardboard plus the grass. So this time I left it
heating for 150 minutes. In the last 15 minutes the temperature only
rose .5°, from 43.4° to 43.9°. My patience has limits. The
room rose from 21.3° to 21.9°. That's a 22° rise over
ambient temperature. Since it still hadn't quite stabilized, it might
have risen another .5 or 1° or so. Or not.
Dense grass after opening the box
Test #5 - PE Foam, Run Longer:
I repeated the first test (#1) with the 1.5 inch thick
polyethylene foam on all 6 sides. This time I trimmed some a little to
get a better fit with no gaps along any edges, and I ran it for 99
minutes. In the last 14 minutes the temperature only rose from
42.7° to 43.0°, with the room pretty constant at 21.9°.
That's a rise of 21°. It might have gone just a little farther if
I'd left it longer - call it 22°. That's the same as test #1 - and
the same as the densely packed lawn grass.
So these two tests showed that densely packed lawn grass
is about as good as PE foam. "Loosely packed" grass deserves testing
again with a longer test, and "medium packed" should also be tried.
Since these are hard density values to quantify, I'll start giving the
weight next time. And in that I'll have to be sure the grass is really
dry, since any moisture would make it substantially heavier.
Again Wikipedia gives PE foam R value as R3 per inch of
thickness. But I have trouble believing that it is that low, so the
next test will be with extruded PS foam, which is well known to be R5
Problem: I can only buy 1 inch or 2 inch PS foam board, so
it's going to be a problem getting 1.5 inch thickness in the box. I
suppose putting 1" on one side and 2" on each opposite side should give
about the same result. It'll have to be close enough.
[11th] Test #6 - Extruded Polystyrene Board
I found scraps
of PS insulation board in my storage, including pieces 1.5 inch thick.
I decided to use the 1.5" PE foam on the bottom so I could use matching
1.5" PS on the top. I figured that the least heat goes out the bottom,
and the bottom as in the previous tests would be on carpet anyway.
There was also just enough 1.5" PS for the ends. That left the two
be 1" and 2" thick, averaging 1.5".
I cut the PS foam pretty carefully to avoid air gaps and
get the full insulating effect. This was after all the one material
whose R value was pretty accurately known, to judge the others against.
When I turned
it on, the temperature rose quickly, about the same speed as with the
PE foam. But where the PE foam temperature rise started to slow, the PS
foam continued going higher, hitting about 44° in 30 minutes. (The
temperatures it was getting to were actually making me nervous. Little
cracking sounds were coming from the box.) It finally started slowing
down above 45° or so. In 76 minutes it hit about 49.0° and
didn't seem inclined to go much or any higher, with the room having
risen from 20.9 to 21.7 - mostly in the last 10 minutes. So call it a
27.5° rise. So it really did seem to be substantially better than
Determining "R" Values
Presumably the amount of heat (watts) required to maintain
a temperature difference is proportional to the square of the
temperature difference, since the heat would flow faster (as in amps)
and also change temperature more (as in volts).
Watts = volts * amps. (I trust I have that right.)
So given the same insulation it should take 4 times as
much heat to raise the temperature twice as much. Or for the same heat,
double the rise should take 4 times as much insulation. Thus we can use
the known R5 per inch of the PS foam and the temperature rises attained
to estimate the "R" values of the other materials. (This is given that
all insulators in the tests were approximately the same thickness as
best I could manage, 1.5
inches, in the same outer box with the same heat source.)
27.5^2 = 756.25. Since we know it's R5 per inch, divide by 5
to get a constant: 756.25 / 5 = 151.25
The air space (Really, two corrugated cardboard boxes with an air
space) rose by just 12.2° over room temperature. It might have gone
up another degree if it had been left longer (so call it 13°),
although it only rose by 1.3° in the last 40 minutes. This works
13^2 / 151.25 = R 1.1 per inch. This sounds about right for
an air space.
The higher density lawn grass and the PE foam both rose by about
22^2 / 151.25 = R 3.2 per inch
This is in good accord with the PE foam being listed as R3
on Wikipedia. So, subtracting R.2 for the inner cardboard box, well
packed lawn grass tested to be also around R3. That seems slightly
disappointing but I suspect looser packing of the grass would give a
higher insulating value rather than lower.
So I still want to re-test loosely packed lawn grass in a
longer test, and then test "medium density" lawn grass. And weigh the
grass used at all three densities so others can compare the meaning of
my estimates of "loose" "medium" and "high" density.
And I may still test fiberglass batts. The reason is that
it would use the same inner box as the grass, where an inner box would
have got in the way of the rigid foams so they didn't have one. (I
suppose I could have cut pieces of corrugated cardboard to fit inside
the foam. I didn't.)
- f.g. batts are R3.5 to R4.7. I had thought they were 3 to 3.5 - are
they making them better these days?
- f.g. loose fill is shown as 2.5 to 3.7.
- If you squash 2 fiberglass batts into the space of one, the R value of
each batt will go down, but the total R value for the space will
So I would guess that the "R4.7" value is attained with a higher
density batt (or stuffing in two batts),
containing perhaps twice as much material as an ordinary "R3.5"
How would that principle apply to lawn grass? (Apparently not
- Cellulose fiber loose fill is only rated 3 to 3.8 - I had thought it
was about 4 or higher.
I've heard it said it's better than fiberglass, and from my own
use it seemed like it.
- From a test on youtube it's more fire retardant than fiberglass.
That's because it fills
the entire space between studs and doesn't shrink away from high
so the fire can't get inside the wall until it burns it away.
More Grass, More Grass!
The noontime and afternoon of the 11th was also the first
sunny day in over a week. Also it was rather windy, which probably
helped. I took the opportunity to collect 5 more bags of cut grass that
was finally fairly dry on the lawn. Get it before it rots. (That was
all the bags I had.) The next day it rained. Rats!
I keep going around trying to get more bags, but the
recycling at Ranch Feeds had just been emptied and two grocery stores
yielded only 3 big onion sacks. Maybe next time!
(At the start of August I got a very large cardboard box that
had held a hot water tank. I taped up the end and filled it with grass.
Good timing: The next day it rained.)
[14th] Test #7 - "Medium Density" Lawn Grass
I didn't pack it as tight as for the "higher density", but
I thought higher than for "low density". I didn't see any simple way to
measure this. I ran the 13W light inside the box for 120 minutes, at
which point the thermometer occasionally flicked up from 42.5 to 42.6,
but seemed uninclined to go higher. That was 1.5° cooler than test
#4, high density lawn grass, but the room was 1° cooler at
20.9° instead of 21.9, so the rise was 21.5° instead of 22°
for the "high density"
- ie, almost the same. And it just might have risen another 1/2 a
run for another 20 minutes like the high density test was.
My conclusion is that there's little difference in R value
between medium density and high, between just sort of patting it in and
jamming it in more strongly. Both seem to be around R3. It's
disappointing that it isn't higher - I was expecting it to be better
than fiberglass. But it's good enough. It's free, it's environmentally
friendly. It's also a relief to find that there's no point to really
stuffing it in, because then the cabin would take an awful lot of grass.
[16th] Test #8 - "Low Density Lawn Grass, longer trial
That left testing loosest, lowest density grass again,
enough to fill the space, for a longer period. No doubt it would rise
a higher temperature than in test #2, which at 58 minutes had surely
not approached equilibrium temperature.
In fact in the 116 minute test, the temperature seemed to
pretty much stop rising at 38.4, with a room temperature that had risen
from 19.3 to 19.9° over that period. So that's an 18.5° rise.
18.5^2 / 151.25 = 2.26 R value per inch.
One thing that must be noted is that the inner box is
actually a little too wide, but not very strong. When stuffing it more
densely, I tried to pushed the sides in a bit to shrink it so there was
an estimated 1.5 inch thick wall space. I couldn't do that with
"light", so the side wall space was a bit thin. To be fair then the "R"
value might be closer to 2.5 than 2.26. (How much closer is another
Regardless, one conclusion is that while "medium" and
"dense" stuffed lawn grass seem pretty close in "R" value, trying to
make it as light and fluffy as possible makes for a lower insulation
value. 'Stuffing' it into a wall a just bit, and a bit more near the
top, instead of just letting it fall into the space, will also help to
ensure that no gap will form at the top after it settles a while. It
will also probably up my estimate of the amount required for the cabin
from 100 sacks of grass to 150.
Proportions of Grass Material per density
After all three tests I had weights for lightly packed and
Medium: about 580g
Dense: Attempting to measure the grass in the outer box, other than
what was on top of the inner box (since that was the first time I
thought of weighing it and I had already opened it and removed the lamp
and thermometer) gave me 946g with the box. Then the empty box read
701g. That didn't make sense. 245g of grass even without the top layer
couldn't be correct for "dense". (That was about similar to "light"
without its bottom layer grass.) I'm going to wildly extrapolate from
"light" and "medium" and guess it would have have been around 800-950g.
(I'm not going to re-stuff the box to get more exact. It's all very
Gelled Nickel-Zinc Batteries
[13th] The PVA (poly vinyl alcohol)
arrived but I didn't find time to work on it.
My Solar Power System
The Usual Daily/Monthly/Yearly Log of Solar
Power Generated [and grid power consumed]
(All times are in PST: clock 48 minutes ahead of local sun time, not
is an hour and 48 minutes ahead. (DC) battery system power output
readings are reset to zero
daily (often just for LED lights, occasionally used with other loads:
Chevy Sprint electric car, inverters in power outages or other 36V
loads), while the
grid tied readings are cumulative.)
Notes: House Main meter (6 digits) accumulates. DC meter now
accumulates until it loses precision (9.999 WH => 0010 KWH), then is
reset. House East and Cabin meters (4
digits) are reset to 0 when they get near 99.99 (which goes to "100.0")
- owing to loss of second decimal precision.
New Order of Daily Solar Readings (Beginning May 2022):
Date House, House, House, Cabin => Total KWH Solar [Notable
Usages; Grid power meter@time] Sky/weather conditions
Km = Nissan Leaf electric car drove distance, then car was charged.
June (The DC charging reading is now cumulative.)
30th 3412.23, 2.10, 29.22, 76.85 => 16.10 [97539@21:00]
01st 3420.60, 2.16, 30.10, 81.59 => 16.10 [97562@21:30; 90Km]
02d 3431.92, 2.22, 37.50*,88.59=> 25.78 [55Km; 97585@20:30]
*Estimate owing to shuffling power meters around. One of them (not the
one in use until now) turns out to read 30% lower than the others!
03rd 3444.11, 2.57, 08.83, 96.58 => 29.36 [97602@21:00] BEAUTIFUL
sunny day! (They do happen after all!)
04th 3450.02, 2.67, 12.81, 03.58 => 13.57 [97614@21:30] Overcast.
05th 3454.67, 2.72, Oops*, 6.16 => 7.28 [95Km;
97645@21:30] *Switched power bar off previous eve. Zero KWH.
06th 3460.98, 2.82, 4.70, 10.00 => 14.95 [97657@21:30]
clouds, bit of sun, bit of rain.
07th 3467.93, 3.51, 10.23, 14.86 => 18.03 [97669@20:30]
08th 3477.20, 3.55, 17.08, 20.32 => 21.62 [35Km; 97686@21:30]
09th 3483.70,3.59, 20.57*,23.18*=>12.79 [55Km; 97714@23:30] *These
were off line a while in the afternoon. A plug fell out and the ground
fault breaker blew, unnoticed until almost evening.
10th 3490.43, 3.81, 25.53, 27.37 => 16.10 [97736@21:00] Could really
use a nice sunny day or two to dry the cut grass on the lawn! Really!
It's been a whole week of mostly overcast.
11th 3500.35, 4.07, 33.19, 33.56 => 24.03 [97759@20:30] Mostly
& Wind. Collected 5 bags of grass.
12th 3503.92, 4.53, 35.90, 35.77 => 8.95 [60Km;
97800@21:00] clouds & rain.
13th 3506.42, 4.91, 37.71, 37.33 => 6.15 [20Km;
Cold, wind and storm. This is July? Not March or April?
14th 3511.29, 5.17, 40.33, 41.32 => 11.74 [97861@21:00] morr cloudz
& rain. Token appearance by sun.
15th 3514.65, 5.25, 43.48, 42.16 => 7.43 [85Km;
97899@21:30] Morrr uv the same.
16th 3522.54, 5.32, 49.19, 46.83 => 18.34 [55Km; 97929@21:30]
Cloudy, rainy spell, bit of dim sun. 16°. Bees in honeysuckle bush!
17th 3527.97, 5.41, 52.89, 49.94 => 12.33 [97950@21:00] Cloudy, rain
later PM. (Bees even in evening at < 14°)
18th 3532.97, 5.49, 56.23, 52.79 => 11.27 [97972@21:00] Still morrrr
uv the same.
19th 3536.65, 5.58, 58.64, 54.81 => 8.20 [98008@21:00]
yet again. Summer coming soon? The cut grass on the lawn is rotting.
20th 3548.06, 5.64, 67.04, 62.03 => 27.09 [50Km; 98034@21:00] Yay,
21st 3555.76, 5.72, 72.11, 65.58*=>16.40 [98056@21:30] Mostly
clouds, a bit of sun. *120V cord was unplugged for a couple of hours.
22d 3564.87, 5.79, 78.64, 71.08 => 21.21 [98066@21:30] A
little more sun.
23rd 3575.12, 5.84, 85.89, 77.28 => 23.75 [55Km; 98082@21:30] Hazy
sun. Days are getting shorter - by 21:30 it's virtually dark.
24th 3579.06, 5.94, 88.41, 79.46 => 8.74 [98102@22:00] Rain
in AM! (We needed it. For all the clouds it has only sprinkled lightly.)
25th 3589.10, 6.09, 96.29, 85.93 => 24.54 [98122@22:30] BEAUTIFUL
sunny day from about 9AM PST, 25°! Short mains power failure midday.
26th 3600.93, 6.29,104.45,93.32 => 27.59 [110Km; 98151@20:30] HEAT
wave! around 28-30° much of the day. Sunny.
27th 3612.84, 6.41, 8.35, 7.48 => 27.86 [95Km;
98178@21:00] Summer! Started 25°, soon dropped to 23°, sunny.
28th ? OOPS!, ?,
?, 14.89 => 27.71 [20Km; ?] Somehow
saw and still remembered 1 reading on 29th. Sunny all day.
29th 3631.96, 6.55, 21.36, 19.26 => 16.34 TWO DAY TOTAL: 44.05
[90Km; 98211@21:00] Light overcast with sunny periods. (Used cabin
readings to allocate proportion between 28th & 29th. Since 28th was
sunny all day like previous 2 days and 29th wasn't, seems about right.)
30th 3637.74, 6.61, 25.78, 22.73 => 13.73 [55Km; 98227@21:00] Cloudy
until later PM. Night, a little rain.
31st 3644.35, 6.67, 30.30, 26.60 => 15.06 [75Km; 98249@21:00] Light
clouds, bit of sun.
1st 3649.85, 6.75, 34.12, 29.79 => 12.59 [98264@20:30] Clouds.
2d 3657.48, 6.87, 39.53, 34.41 => 17.78 [55Km; 98295@21:00]
Clouds, some sun in PM.
3rd 3662.15, 7.30, 43.10, 37.37 => 11.63 [55Km; 98324@20:30] Clouds.
4th 3666.57, 7.44, 46.40, 40.09 => 10.58 [98348@20:30] Mor cloudz,
5th 3674.14, 7.53, 52.58, 45.13 => 18.88 [90Km; 98379@20:30] Cloudy
AM, Sunny PM.
Chart of daily KWH from solar panels.
(Compare JULY 2022
(left) with June 2022 & with July 2021 - but note number of solar
(18 solar panels)
(18 sol. panels)
(12 solar panels)
|<= chart ended here until April 2022!
|<= In April the solar 2 panels mounted
on the pole last fall & improved...
|<= connections & more grid tie
microinverters started to pay off.
(not to mention a big spruce cut down!)
|<= In May 2022 the 3 new panels...
|<= on the carport roof brought solar...
|<= collection to whole new levels.
|1105 Km (Leaf: ~150 KWH)
... + 2.5 Km (Sprint)
Things Noted - July 2022
* I was wondering about the
connection to the solar panels on the lawn. I checked. Where the three
joined behind the panels the wires were rather Hot! At the inside end
the cable was quite warm, and the whole cable seemed to be warmer than
the surroundings. The cable was a 50 foot #16 AWG 3-wire extension cord
with one side doubled up (making just one of the two wires a #13
equivalent). What was that I was saying about losing power owing to
thin wires? I suppose they could be carrying up to 30 amps. They should
probably be #10. I wonder how much power I'm still losing?
* On the especially hot days (eg, 26th: 30°c), notwithstanding the
full sunshine, the watt readings seemed just a bit disappointing - eg,
1350-1440W at the house where I've often seen 1600+W in recent months.
I suppose it's an indication that as is said, solar panels work best
when they're cold. However, the output reading for the day was 27.58
KWH, which is very good considering we're a month past summer solstice
now. The next day was still sunny but not as hot, and it made 1/4 of a
kilowatt-hour more. (27.86 KWH)
* But I was also wondering how much reduction is owing to the grid ties
getting hot and limiting their output so as to not overheat. On the
28th it bugged me that the cabin system was only producing 550W from
1220W worth of solar panels in the middle of the day. In the spring it
seems to me it was up to 900. I took out my one spare grid tie ("700W")
and reconnected one panel to it (305W) instead of to the "1400W" one
(so 915W, 3 panels, to it). The total power seemed to go up but only to
580-600W - maybe a 40 watt gain. (Then I forgot to record the readings
in the evening... Rats! But the cabin system itself somehow I still
remembered the next day had read "3 years before Columbus" - 14.89 KWH)
That made it 7.41 KWH for the day, where the previous day it had been
7.48 KWH. No visible improvement, but no unchanged panels to compare
with in case the sun was different between the two days.
Monthly Summaries: Solar Generated KWH [& Power used from
Month: House system (+ DC system at house) + Cabin system = KWH made
[used from grid]
March 1-31: 116.19 + ------ + 105.93 = 222.12 KWH - solar [786 KWH
grid] (10 solar panels
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 solar panel connected
on lawn Aug.
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 =
KWH, solar + wind [711 KWH + 414 (while away) = 1125 from grid]
Jan. - 6-31: 17.52 + ------* + 10.61 = 28.13 KWH,
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 (usually) worth reporting. So there's just the 2 grid tie
house and "roof over travel trailer" (AKA "Cabin").
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
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
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
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] (1
solar panel moved to DC system only -- 11 panels)
Feb. - 1-28: 47.18 + 33.22 = 80.40
KWH Solar [1121 KWH used from grid]
Two years of solar!
March - 1-31: 81.73 + 55.22 + 2.2 (DC) = 139.15 KWH
[1039 KWH grid]
April - 1-30: 161.83 + 112.35 + .44(DC) = 274.62 KWH
[680 KWH from grid]
May - 1-31: 156.25 + 97.22 + 1.29(DC) = 254.76
Solar [678 KWH from grid]
June - 1-30: 197.84 + 112.07 + 2.21(DC) = 312.12 KWH Solar
[& 448 KWH from grid] (Connected
goes to DC system only.)
July - 1-31: 204.35 + 121.21 + 4.06(DC) = 329.62 KWH
Solar [426 KWH from grid; 150(?) KWH used by Nissan Leaf]
August- 1-31: 176.19 + 102.91 + 5.37(DC) = 284.47 KWH Solar [477 KWH
from grid; 165 KWH (est) used by car]
Sept. - 1-30: 94.35 + 51.34 + 3.30(DC) =
152.29 KWH Solar [590 KWH from grid; 155 KWH (est) used by car]
Oct. - 1-31: 77.52 + 41.85 +
4.10(DC) = 123.47 KWH Solar [1066 KWH from grid; 150 KWH (est) used by
car] (2 new panels on pole
making 14 --
but they are mostly in shadows all winter.)
Nov. - 1-31: 34.69 + 18.92 + 3.82 = 57.43
KWH Solar [1474 KWH from grid (ouch!); 140 (est) used by car]
Dec. - 1-31: 24.00 + 5.22 + 3.76 = 32.98 [1589 KWH from grid (ouch
again! Must be the -10°'s); 120 KWH used by car] (New switches allow switching
between AC and DC as needed, so all 15 are productively employed.)
Jan. - 1-31: 32.83 + 20.54 + 4.57 = 57.94 KWH Solar [2556 from
grid] Double ouch! Trailer 400W heater, Perry's RV 500W heater, bedroom
heat, car using extra power (100 KWH with less driving)... and so
Feb. - 1-28: 66.63 + 32.09 + 3.42(DC) = 102.14 KWH Solar [1118
KWH from grid; 130 (est) used by car]
Three years of solar!
March - 1-31: 128.53 + 82.29 + 3.66(DC) = 214.48 [1124 KWH from grid;
160 KWH (est) used by car]
April - 1-30: 251.29 + 149.87 + 3.01(DC) = 404.17 KWH Solar
KWH; est. 170 KWH used by car]
May - 1-31: 255.01(house)+6.46(DC)+140.46(carport)+145.91(cabin)=547.74
KWH Solar [933 KWH from grid;
140 KWH (est) used by car; Bitcoin miner using extra power from 22nd
on.] (3 new solar panels
on carport roof
-- sunniest location around -- total 18)
June - 1-30: 234.54 + 2.10 + 160.70 + 139.18 = 536.52 KWH
[from grid: 864 KWH - dang bitcoin miner!]
July - 1-31: 232.12 + 4.57 + 143.03 + 139.65 = 519.37
KWH Solar [from power grid: 710 KWH; 165 KWH (est) used by car]
1. March 2019-Feb. 2020: 2196.15 KWH Solar [used 7927 KWH
2. March 2020-Feb. 2021: 2069.82 KWH Solar [used 11294 KWH from grid]
(More electric heat - BR, Trailer & Perry's RV)
3. March 2021-Feb. 2022: 2063.05 KWH Solar [used 10977 KWH from grid]
Money Saved or Earned - @ 12¢ [All BC residential elec.
rate] ; @
50¢ [2018 cost of diesel fuel to BC Hydro] ; @ 1$ per KWH [total
cost to BC Hydro
in 2022 according to an employee]:
1. 263.42$ ; 1097.58$ ; 2196.15$
2. 248.38$ ; 1034.91$ ; 2069.82$
3. 247.57$ ; 1031.53$ ; 2063.05$
It can be seen that the benefit to the society as a whole
on Haida Gwaii from solar power installations is much greater than the
cost savings to the individual user of electricity, thanks to the heavy
subsidization of our power
owing to the BC government policy of having the same power rate across
the entire province regardless of the cost of production. And it can be
insurance: With some
extra equipment and a battery, solar can deliver essential power in
electrical outages however long.
Haida Gwaii, BC Canada