Turquoise Energy Report #180 - May 2023
Turquoise Energy Report #180
Covering May 2023 (Posted June 14th 2023)
Lawnhill BC Canada - by Craig Carmichael
(CraigXC at Post dot com)

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

Month In "Brief" (Project Summaries etc.)
  New Chemie Battery - Cleaning Oxidized Copper Wires, Pipes: HCl ! - Magnetic Variable Torque Converter - Copper Peltier Heat Transfer Elements

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
  - Scattered Thots/Editorials - ESD

- Detailed Project Reports -

Electric Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems
* Magnetic Variable Torque Converter with Planetary Gear: The Future of the Automotive Industry!

Other "Green" & Electric Equipment Projects
* Peltier Module Cooler: Copper Heat Transfer Parts
* Toward Open Loop Air Heat Pumping (New outdoor air heat exchanger design)
* Spring Gardening (Lots of it!)

Electricity Storage: Batteries [no report]

Electricity Generation
* My Solar Power System:
The Usual Latest Daily/Monthly Solar Production log et cetera - Monthly/Annual Summaries, Estimates, Notes

May in Brief

   I didn't do a lot on energy project work except to test the battery cell I made (in February?!?). I did write various short "editorials" on various aspects of the state of the world in the In Passing section, which added up to a considerable amount of writing. But it was spring, the weather was good, and so the month was mostly devoted to spring planting and food gardening. (Lots of pictures!) I couldn't even seem to get this May report finished and posted until mid June!
   Other things that did get done: The solar collectors on the lawn got mounted on the south wall, I tried some things for using copper heat elements in the Peltier cooler (more to come in June), and did just a bit more on the torque converter copper rotor.

   I look at all the things I want to do if not "ASAP" then at least soon, and then at all the other "less imminent" projects, and I wonder how many of them I'll ever be able to get to.

New Chemie Battery

The battery seemed to work quite well for a week or so... until I plugged all the openings and it started to leak, probably having built up a bit of pressure. I think chemicly the project is complete; essentially 100% working. I'm going to try (probably next winter) plastic "popsicle" pocket electrodes in a container I don't make myself so it shouldn't leak.
   And I may try the Ovshinsky team's 'recipe' for alpha nickel hydroxide positive electrodes, but using acetone to combine the electrode substances. It's supposed to be the best and I'd like to use it for nickel-zinc instead of nickel-metal hydride -- higher voltage, higher energy per weight.

Cleaning Oxidized Copper Wires, Pipes: HCl (AKA "muriatic") Acid!

   Dan and I were trying to clean off some heavy but fine stranded copper wires whose surfaces were black with oxide. They won't solder and need to be at least somewhat clean for clamping. Cutting the wire is often no help as the surface oxidation often travels into the wire for many feet. Scotchbrite, sandpaper, scraping with a knife... These are all a pain in the _. Dan asked if hydrogen peroxide might clean it off. Aha! Wrong chemical... but a Great idea!
   Hydrogen peroxide and hydrochloric acid can be used together to etch printed circuit boards or to make copper chloride. The two work together. The peroxide has the opposite of Dan's intended effect: it oxidizes the surface of copper metal to the unwanted black oxide. Hydrochloric acid doesn't touch copper metal, however it will turn black, solid copper oxide on the surface into dissolved copper chloride.
   When I got home I tried dipping one end of an oxidized copper wire into a little jar of HCl acid in the battery lab. [safety glasses on.] In an moment it was bright, shiny copper! Wow! I rinsed it off at the sink and dried it on a towel. That's how I'm cleaning wires (and copper pipes) from now on! In fact, it should make old, oxidized wires that weren't worth the effort useful again.

   (Dipped end on left. Hmm... I thought they looked totally bright clean orange right after I did it - foto was taken days later.)

The copper block was totally black with oxide after being "too hot"
in the kiln. (First I dipped it half way in to show the effect.)

   Apparently many plumbers have known of this 'trick' for cleaning copper pipes for ages. AFAIK it hadn't made its way into the electrical/electronic world.

Spring Gardening

   I started my seedlings late this year, not until at least the middle of April. But last year I was too early - February - and it was too chilly by the window and a lot of them didn't germinate at all. I think it worked out well. With the shelf in the bay window they didn't get as much cold draft and they seemed ready to go by the time of wanting to plant them.

A good part of half the main garden, rototilled and many grass & weed roots raked to one end.

Later on with some things planted: onions, peas, lettuce, carrots, potatos. (More by or in June.)

   Food production is going to be a big emphasis in the coming years, and one gains neither the expertise nor well prepared beds in a single year. The weather being good I did a lot of gardening. Also in previous years my bad upper back has prevented me from doing much of what I want, but last winter instead of my usual "slouch" posture, I went for walks actually bending backwards, and swinging my arms pretty strongly. After all these years -- it worked! (Helped my shoulders too.) This spring I did a lot of ground prep with the help of the small Stihl MM55 rototiller I bought last fall. I rototilled, raked, shoveled and sieved dirt to get out the rocks and weeds. Instead of my rib again coming loose at the spine, I gave myself "tennis elbow", which is taking its own time healing, and I got somewhat stiff and sore all over from being able to do more work than usual.

   And recapping last year there were some successes and some failures. (In the "detailed report" under Other Projects below.)

Green grape vine planted last spring in a corner of the greenhouse, leaves just budding.
It almost died last year -- as usual I wasn't watering enough.
This year, daily waterings, of many things! It's growing well now - flowered, so may have some grapes.

   Somehow I didn't get anything much done on the magnetic variable torque converter. I think melting copper should go much better with a reducing flame to stop it from oxidizing - HHO + propane? Or in the electric furnace with an inert gas being injected. (Since it's pretty tight it wouldn't take much gas. I bought a file and started filing out the center hole to fit an SDS taper-lock hub, but it got set aside when I got tennis elbow from gardening.

Solar Panels Mounted on South Wall

   Dan suggested that I should mount the three solar panels I have had sitting on the lawn (connected) for almost 4 years onto the south wall of the house, with the ability to swing the bottoms in and out to change the angle. Farther south, mounting panels on a wall might seem silly, but here the sun is at lower angles, especially in winter - much more horizontal than vertical. And if the panels were actually at or near vertical, under the eaves and above the ground, they shouldn't get snow on them when all the other panels might be covered up. I said that sounded like a good idea. He cut some yellow cedar boards and brought them over on the 22nd. He had recently mounted his own five panels this way (except oriented verticly), so he had a pretty clear idea in his head of how he would put it together.
   On that day it was sunny and the summer sun high up, and earlier, before Dan arrived, I noticed that the shadow from the eaves came lower on the wall than I expected, so in the nick of time I realized they would have to be mounted about 8 inches lower than planned to avoid shading. For some reason I thought the shadow wouldn't get much lower than that. It's going to affect my south wall garden a bit, which is too bad because that's where warmer weather plants like sunflowers & quinoa grow best. Ah well!
   We spent that day and the next making the frame and putting it up, then we set the collectors in place and fastened them. By some coincidence on this lovely day the system gave the most power of any day so far this year, 29.16 KWH.

   The next day the clouds cleared a little before 10 AM solar time (11:48 PDT), and I discovered that the shadows on my SSW facing "south" wall were still lower and covered the top row of cells. Rats! Shade on any cell is shade on all and the panels would have little output. By 10 AM the top cells were half in sun and power readings were rising. By 10:15 (solar) the shade was above them. It'll be worse near the summer solstice, a month away. The overall difference will be small, but it may prevent the daily collection from ever hitting 29-30 KWH again. At least we didn't mount them 8 inches higher! As the sun moves south, by around mid August they'll get no shade from the eaves.
   The next day I went out a little earlier and found that with the sun so far north in the morning they were entirely in shade until 8:30 actual solar time (~10:20 PDT). The sun was of course also still way east and the six panels on the house roof weren't putting out full power either. By 10:30 there was 1000 watts. The three now on the wall would have to wait for so-called "noon" again (10:15 local solar time) when the power would rise to around 1500W. On sunny summer days the power is more limited by the grid tie inverters than the panels. (I've seen as high as 1900 watts after working on the system and I turn the inverters back on, but as they heat up they reduce their output. "1000W" inverters seem to only manage around 500-600W continuous and the "700W" ones are still less. Total from all three areas in the summer sun - or even with some jet trails or light cloud - is about 1500+850+850=3000 to 3200 watts. When the sun is weaker the collectors are the limiting factor. But the typical 25+KWH per [sunny] day is generally more than I use in the summer and my only current thought for possibly expanding the system is to add two more collectors on the "sunniest place" carport roof: 610W, 3 or 4KWH/day in summer, with one more inverter.)

The main solar installation now. The four at the top of the roof are still
my original 240-260W panels from about 2012. The rest are Hanwha 305W.
(The broken panel to the right is the one from when the carport frame got blown over in high
winds last winter. It probably still works, so I haven't thrown it out... yet... nor tried to connect it... yet.)

   Then in exchange I went and worked for Dan for three days, making connections and testing at his lovely off-grid home on a beautiful point of land across the Yakoun river delta from Port Clements. It's actually only a couple of kilometers from town, but a 20Km drive on logging roads to get there around the delta. The first two days were connecting the generator in the shed and the "Renogy" inverter-charger to the house wiring. (Yay, the lights came on, nothing blew up!) The last day was the solar charging connections from his collectors to the batteries. With a daily solar recharge it shouldn't gradually discharge and wreck the batteries (LIPO, 12V, 300 AH) over the weeks if some little thing is drawing current -- like leaving the Renogy turned on when no one is there, or maybe even just having it connected.

   On the 29th, less than a month from summer solstice, I finally thought to adjust my pole panels from steep winter position to shallow summer slope. (Well, it does take a nutdriver to loosen the clamps on the wires.) So much for "changing collector angles manually with the seasons should be simple!" (Much less moving them manually during the day to face the sun!)

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

Scattered Thots

* Last month I wrote of thinking of a safer way to cut down trees. Apparently my thoughts weren't entirely original. I mentioned it to someone and he said there already is such a thing. It has four wheels and it drives up the tree. As it goes up it cuts off the branches, so they aren't in the way when the top is cut off.

   However, I was unable to find such a thing on line. I did find one that charged straight up thinner pine(?) trees at high speed and sheared off all the skinny lower branches as it went. This was doubtless specificly for tree plantations, in order to get lumber with fewer knots.

   There was also one with diagonal wheels wrapping around the tree that "corkscrews" its way up, going around and around the tree faster than it climbs. (That was probably the machine my friend meant.) It said it cuts off the branches as it goes up. The chainsaw is simply held upright near the trunk to get to any branch on any side - cool design! But it would have trouble with heavy branches and it wouldn't cut the trunk - my main objective!

            View with chainsaw at front - bar sticking up
   There was just a picture or two and the only link I could find to a video didn't work. Cutting the trunk is the important and dangerous part of the job. But by climbing and limbing as it goes, it may be a good design/concept for one that does fell the top of the tree when it gets to the right height. Or might that be a separate unit that is sent up when the limber is finished?
   I'm starting to think however that there needs to be a jointed arm to hold the saw so it can cut from whatever direction and angle it needs to to get the whole job done. And perhaps a wedge unit or something to open the cut and push the trunk in the desired falling direction.

* Joe Biden had the gall to speak on Press Freedom Day. He said "Tonight our message is this: journalism is not a crime." He demanded the immediate release of an American journalist being held in Russia ("for spying"). That's just dripping with hypocrisy. There has been no such demand for the release of American author, filmmaker and journalist Gonzalo Lira with 300,000 subscribers on Telegram and Youtube, now detained in Ukraine. And still Australian Julian Assange is being pursued in a vendetta by the whole USA "establishment" after 20 years for "not a crime". The most incriminating video he/Wikileaks exposed was itself of a US military helicopter gunning down from the air two unarmed ("not a crime" - Reuters, IIRC) journalists in Baghdad carrying a TV camera on a public street. Someone mentioned another American journalist whose name I wasn't familiar with who has been "missing" in the USA for 10 years. And of course there's the [see eye eh] car bomb murder of Michael Hastings, also in the USA about 11 years ago.
   Then there's the recent firing of Tucker Carlson from Fox News, doubtless for frequently bringing up various things the Washington establishment is trying to whitewash, recast or have people forget. Now they have been going all out to demonize Carlson as a radical neocon and a "Russian sympathizer" - about which they point to quite real Russian disappointment about his dismissal. (Can you believe it?: Russians too like listening to people who report candidly on important issues? The Soviet Union is long gone. For over 30 years Russians have been far more open and attentive to Western news and viewpoints than we have been to theirs. RT translates some of Judge Napolitano's "Judging Freedom" interviews on youtube.) This particular piece of gaslighting hasn't worked well. Carlson [now on Twitter] is more popular than ever and Fox News isn't.

* In the January 6th 2020 demonstration about the election that was being stolen, wherein demonstrators were ushered into the capital building by police, and the "shaman" with horns and face paint was escorted around the premises by them, it turns out at least 40 of the "demonstrators" were undercover FBI and other police agents. Trump asked for a show of support. It turned into a false flag "insurrection".

* The actual insurrection that day was in the senate chambers where Mike Pence chose to not investigate the serious and widespread allegations of fraud and cheating in the election. The corrupt mass media instead focused on the demonstration outside. No election fraud was found by any responsible authority because there were no investigations that look for it.

* An insider says that if they can't stop Trump from running for 2024, the cheating will be repeated. An "outsider" - not one of the self selected Washington "crowd" will never be permitted to win again and so the USA is a de facto dictatorship. If they do stop him - or if the cheating is blatant enough - I could see USA erupting into chaos the likes of which has never been seen in that land before.

* The present US administration is aiding and abetting a flood of refugees who come to Mexico from South America and all over the world and cross the Southern border into USA while Americans are being laid off by the tens of thousands in a failing economy. How are these migrants going to support themselves? There are so many they are swelling the entire population, overflowing it with people not familiar with American norms of life and many who don't speak English. I think most of them are going to be sadly disabused. The majority of Americans aren't "making it" any more. How is the whole nation not going to collapse into violence, chaos and famine when so many new faces will be needing direction and assistance (and food) and there are so few with so few resources to give it?

* It is mostly the lands of white people that have tolerated and allowed tremendous immigrations of other peoples. By and large do we see demographic-changing levels of immigration into China, Japan, India, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa, South America or anywhere else other than Western white communities? Who is "colonizing" who? Some of the lands above are gaining prosperity, but the level of tolerance for, acceptance and welcoming of "strangers", those of other races with other cultures, just doesn't seem to be there to allow them in, even where the [over]population is dropping.

* With birth control pills now available for over 50 years, white people have fewer and fewer children as we see we are less and less prosperous than our recent ancestors. Yet more and more migrants are admitted in, competing for land and housing as well as jobs. So the population mushrooms and prosperity declines even without us replacing ourselves. Any attempt to say "We already have too many people" is "racial prejudice", if the overpopulation problem is even understood. So white people are becoming a minority in the lands which were ours with astounding speed, and the white races, who had the greatest share in building the modern world are together the scapegoat to blame for everything and increasingly the victims of violence. Will white people become extinct?
   Along with some Neanderthal heritage, the white races have some highly valuable genetics which the world would or will be much the poorer without. All white farmers [10% of the population] were killed or driven out of Zimbabwe (ex Rhodesia), and South Africa may not be far behind. There whites [once 30%, now under 15%] first settled the Cape area before there were blacks there. Then the rest of the world? Will the rest tolerate and live with each other in the lands they have jointly occupied with no "whitey" to blame their discontent on, or will there be further genocides? Presently in Eastern Europe we see even white people not tolerating each other, over trivial, even contrived, differences. Here are US statistics for inter-racial violent crimes and murders. Which are the tallest bars?:


Some Interracial Crime Statistics USA
(and, what the media chooses to focus on!)

(PS: I knew a white couple, once farmers in Zimbabwe. They were permitted to leave with only the clothes on their backs. But they made it out!)

* We are also competing for land with our own. As farmers are increasingly driven out of business by a multitude of factors (no "bailouts" for troubled farmers like for the banks!, and new laws end passing down family farms between generations) the ultra-wealthy (notoriously Bill Gates) buy up tremendous square mile after square mile of farmland, not to farm but as investments. No aspiring farmer can compete with the ultra-wealthy for farmland, and the average farmer is now way over 60 years old. Tenent farmers have little incentive long term to maintain the soil and condition of the farm. By the time a new generation takes over (probably among a much reduced global population) the older ones will be gone and a lot of farming expertise will have to be relearned "from scratch". Internet sources of knowledge will obviously help with this process, but there's no substitute for experience and especially local experience as growing conditions and problems vary greatly from place to place. But outrageously unequal wealth distribution is in large part a symptom of today's problems rather than a cause...

* There are still plenty even of highly intelligent people who don't understand how close we are to global ecological apocalypse owing to our numbers, now over eight billion people, as most every major non-domestic species and many lesser enters the "endangered" or "extinct" lists. They attribute all our troubles to "mismanagement", wondering why our profiteering governments don't "do something" about problems that are really beyond human solution when examined closely. They cheerfully believe we can overcome them with technology, and confidently predict 11 billion people by the end of the century. But as someone asks: "Can you think of any of our big problems that would be solved or improved by there being more people?" Out of all of human history we first hit two billion global inhabitants just 97 years ago. Never ever before has there been such a "population bubble", such a human "algae bloom". (Prices go up and up, production and consumption rise with population, so we get used to seeing ever-rising figures? But rising population figures on a planet that is fully inhabited and is not growing are more significant. Individuals don't want to - can't - use less and less, drink less water, breathe less air, as the population inflates!) And so many people are so cut off from the land that "land" seems abstract, like just another commodity that can be mass produced if we're short of it. They don't understand we've already encroached heavily into every habitat and ecological niche. The oceans are to a large extent fished out. Wild spaces except where climate and terrain are formidable are few, small and far between.
   Globally major crop failures since 2019 are threatening especially China and Southeast Asia. Central Africa, drought and locust plagued and now largely without grain imports from Ukraine and Russia, is entering mass starvation. There seems to be nowhere in the world where food for coming years can come from. Our "modern" agriculture was never sustainable. The so-called "green revolution" has relied on mining the Earth for deposits of phosphorus, potassium and methane ("natural gas") to make nitrogen with. These non-renewable resources are all considerably depleted, and various lesser nutrients have been used up in the soil without being replaced, reducing the nutritive value of our foods and causing us various health problems. (I may perhaps mention arthritis, mostly owing to boron deficiency.) The "bubble" will burst. We are more likely to be back to around two billion people sometime around mid century, and some even expect to one billion, than to ever see nine. (Once things are back in balance the planet can probably sustain around three billion with good management.)

* With improving living conditions and education, plus the birth control pill, there has been a growing trend toward having smaller families (unfortunately so far, far more pronounced in demographics which may be viewed as the more favorable ones). So it would seem population management is going to be much simpler in the future than it ever has been in the past.
   So it seems all the more unfortunate that we as a species have so far overshot the mark already that collapse has become inevitable since the 1970s or early 1980s at the latest. Getting us from three billion to eight is a colossal scientific and technological achievement, but one which has placed humanity and the world in incredible jeopardy. Getting from eight to two or less only takes problems in the fragile supply or transportation systems, which would/will lead to social breakdowns.

* All forms of aid to Ukraine now total over 200,000,000,000 $US, the majority from the US. Westerners who have lost or who will soon lose their homes and jobs, those who witness the growing violence in the streets and those who see jaw-dropping price rises and empty shelves in the groceries, may wonder about the priorities of those entrusted with their nation's affairs.

* Head of PMC Wagner, Evegny Prigojin, gave a speech on May 20th after finally capturing the last bits of Bakmut/Artyomovsk in Donetsk, which took the better part of a year as Zelensky and the Ukrainian army defended every block bitterly, taking heavy losses to the horrendous artillery and incendiary barrages. No doubt Russian losses were also large in the building to building combat, but Ukraine has largely expended itself. These days we can see in videos how horrible war truly is. (And the civil war in South Sudan is said to be causing even more deaths than the Ukraine conflict.) Prigojin seems to do a lot of "grandstanding" and says many strange things. He has certainly made a name for himself.

* Where is the main Russian army? The recent upstepping of missile and drone attacks on military targets far behind the Ukrainian lines would seem to be a prelude to a major offensive. Air defense facilities seem to be the biggest target, followed by ammunition and arms depots. But still the weather has not cooperated - yet more rain was in the forecast on May 21st, keeping the fields turned to mud as they have mainly been since last autumn when the usual winter freeze forgot to visit Europe last winter. That has kept major assaults by either side at bay for many months now.

* One ammunition depot was struck which is thought to have contained the depleted uranium (DU) munitions supplied by the UK. Evidently when it explodes, although the blast isn't nuclear, it vaporizes the DU into fine dust, which then spreads radiation wherever the wind blows. (Remember all those American troops who came home with "Gulf War Syndrome"? And then their medical records were inconveniently all blown up in an Oklahoma federal building, supposedly by a van with explosives parked on the the street as requested out front of that particular building by one Timothy McVeigh, and the veterans got no compensation? Iraq has been said to have a lot of considerably radioactive areas.)
   Some tell us there's "no gamma radiation from DU", but this is Orwellian doublespeak. Apparently the uranium itself decays via alpha radiation into a couple of things (radioactive isotopes of bismuth and thorium - IIRC... or was the second one Americium?), but then those further decay into other things by gamma radiation.
   Sputnik News reported that scientists in Poland had reported a cloud of gamma radiation blowing from the explosion point toward Western Europe. A monitoring system for radiation was set up after the Chernobyl reactor meltdown, but after the initial Polish report, this system, evidently accessible via the internet, was said to have been turned off. Is it true? I've never looked at it. Is it "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil?" After Fukishima radiation monitoring stations on the West coast of North America were turned off, so there is a precedent for such a seemingly irrational response.
   Hopefully if anything major has happened, only the vicinity of the ammunition depot will be rendered uninhabitable. If the shells had been used in combat, would they not have contaminated broad areas?
   But the governments of Poland and the UK soon claimed the the Sputnik report was fake - they haven't seen an uptick in radiation. (If the monitors have indeed been turned off, this would be no surprise.)

* A year ago on May 20th 2022, Mariupol in Donetsk was taken from the Azov neonazi group by Russia and the Donetsk militia. There are videos ("Mariupol Today") on youtube showing all the repair, rebuilding and reopening that has taken place since then. Many residents who fled into Russia have been returning, which the Western mass media reported along the lines of "Russia is stuffing captured Ukrainian territories with Russians!"

* Over the years I have learned to read French reasonably well. However, when I hear people speaking it, I am immediately lost. My grade 9 English teacher had an insightful bit about the difference between spoken and written language, which he wrote on the blackboard:

Spoken: "Jeet?" -- "No jew?"

Even most of we native English speakers couldn't make sense of that.

Written: "Did you eat?" -- "No, did you?"

   One hard part of unfamiliar spoken language is telling where each word starts and ends, since there are generally no pauses except at the end, whereas in writing therearealwaysspacesbetweenthewords. Wrongly grouping a couple of syllables together as a "word" immediately confounds the entire meaning of what was said.

This should have been dead simple, right?:

I said "Gracious" (Spanish: "Thank you." Okay, neither of us was Spanish. But this person had lived extensively in South America.)
The reply was "Pornada" Ack! See? I'm lost already! That's a new word to me!
It was really "por nada" ("for nothing").
(It turns out "es nada" ("is nothing", ie, "it's nothing") is a typical Spanish reply to "gracious".)

* Someone mentioned Russian (Cyrillic) as being "hieroglyphics". Someone else told me that until the (?)1300s Russia had no written language, only spoken. Then (he said) two Macedonian scholars came and made them an alphabet largely taken from Greek and Latin characters. The power of one or two people! If they had come from western Europe, they would have given them Latin and they would use the same alphabet we do.
   Interestingly, in spite of being much more phonetic than Latin and having enough letters to cover every phoneme of human languages, the arrangement isn't entirely logical or "simple". There are several two-phoneme glides starting with our "Y": "Е" as in "Het" (= Nyet, = No), "Я" as in "Yah", and "Ю" as in "You", but no letter just for "Y" itself. (Cyrillic "Y" symbol itself is for "Ooh".) And there is no letter for "U" as in "Up" at all. Those are among numerous other of what we in the West would view as "peculiarities". And there's a small "b" which is related to pronunciation thrown in here and there, which can basicly be ignored for reading. Our own written word also has plenty of oddities - probably even more of them - except we see them as "normal".
   It must be said it's much easier to "sound out" a word in Cryllic alphabet from its letters on a page than in Latin, and especially English with all its weird spelling "conventions" and silent letters.

* Luckily for us many using Cyrillic languages are fast learning English - along with everybody else - as evidenced by the number of people from all over the world commenting under English youtube videos. That we all are acquiring a single global language for international communication is a fantastic development!!! That it is English is gravy on top for we who speak it anyway. On-line translators are also a tremendous boon to understanding and exchanging ideas with people from around the world.

* It bothers me when "the spelling police" and "the grammar police" make snide comments about other people's comments because of their technical mistakes. Let's see how those complaining would do if they had to write in any other language but English. If I understand the meaning of what someone struggling to express himself in a language foreign to him writes, that's good enough for me. I didn't have to learn his language! (Well, some native English speakers are decidedly not spelling/grammar scholars either.)

* While USA is being invaded and overrun without war via its southern border, Americans have been fleeing and renouncing their citizenship, apparently in notable numbers. Americans are moving to Mexico, South America and other destinations. Catholics with large families have been noted by the FBI as "potential domestic extremists" and some 200 such families have financed construction of a new settlement south of (yes) Moscow. Probably life is potentially better quality there today [except for having to learn Russian]. What the future holds for Russia after Putin is gone is a wild card. Such leaders are rare, and even more rarely make it into positions of political leadership.

* In USA there's now "recreational" riots convened via social media (euphemisticly called "sideshows!" in the news) with wanton property destruction at multiple locations late at night on weekends in many US cities (Oakland, Chicago...) In some particular cities if the police catch rioters they are released anyway, so these cities are effectively colluding with the rioters as they burn cars and make store buildings and streets look much like Bakmut in the Donetsk war zone. If any of these people are giving any thought to their fellow man or even to their own tomorrow when they do these things, I'm not following their logic. It seems to be some kind of collective insanity. I suppose many young people instinctively feel that society simply isn't working, at least not for them, and from what they're seeing that the "status quo" is so petrified, feel that destroying it is the only way to achieve real change. And I suppose both parents are working two jobs to keep a roof over the family's head and have no time for leading their children, increasingly indoctrinated (radicalized?) in school, into becoming decent, loving, contented human beings.

* Even if the USA could somehow elect any outstanding, capable and upstanding president, who turned his attention to American affairs instead of stirring up turmoil and wars abroad, I don't see how he could overcome the madness, with such blatant corruption and twisted, selfish thinking in every national department - CIA, FBI, IRS, the whole judicial system, the military and on and on -- and then in so many places more of the same at state and municipal levels. The ultra-wealthy and the bureaucracy consider those elected to be their underlings rather than their leaders. Every organization would resist every attempt at change and would fight a reformer president at every turn. They would all call him mad and name him any appellation that they thought they could pin on him, and the paid-off mass media would echo these slurs continually. They would accuse him of doing all the things they themselves were doing.

* With the sudden huge rise in interest rates to majicly "cool off" the inflation created by shortages and by adding in three years something like 30 or 40% to the total money supply ever printed by the USA, with the huge levels of debt taken on by everyone, everywhere at almost zero interest rates, not only families and businesses but even the banks are being foreclosed on. (& it's similar throughout the western world.)

* The net effect of so many things in turmoil in so many ways is uncertainty. The more everything is in flux, the harder it is to make and carry out effective plans for the future. Many have been expecting collapse for years, especially since 2008. They have been amazed how long it has been put off. Now it seems hopeless to try and start anything nice. Everything is getting burned down or earnings are plucked from the industrious by financial or legal slight of hand. How far off can collapse be now?

* We hear of overweight Americans. There was a video. I forget what it was about - food related obviously. My memory is a bit hazy, but in the comments at least a couple of people said they had left the country for some time (months or a year or more?) and then returned. While they were away they lost 20 or 30(?) pounds of weight, and without changing their diet or exercise, when they returned to USA they gained it all back again. Maybe there's a real reason there seem to be so many overweight? What is in what US food?!?

* A "Freedom of Information" request by a lawyer in Israel revealed that in all this time in that land there have been exactly zero deaths from C19 in people under age 50 with no co-morbidities. The average age of C19 death cases was 80. Of course it was similar everywhere - it's just really hard to get anyone to divulge the figures. For this, society everywhere was shut down for a year and more, admittedly useless face masks had to be worn, and inoculations of a virtually untested experimental vaccine were forced on the entire population, young and old?
   Here in Canada Trudeau had the gall to claim he never forced anyone to take the vaccine! Sure, just quit or be fired from your job, and be banned from air travel or crossing the border, and you didn't have to! Perhaps 2/3 of the entire population couldn't refuse, or was naive and trusting enough that the government surely must have their best interests in mind, or were pressured into it by others (even if they had already had C19), and the vaccine itself has created an epidemic of deaths and health problems.
   In fact, scores of people in governments throughout much of the world were "on the take", early on buying shares in big pharma companies for a cut of the expected profits or receiving bribes from them, and for those in charge it had nothing to do with people's health. For them, the early discovery that safe, cheap, plentiful Ivermectin rapidly cured Covid wasn't a miracle, it was a disaster! They publicly poo-poohed it, made it scarce, threatened doctors who prescribed it and tried to legislate it out of existence. And in addition to all the doctors, virologists and health professionals kicked off of social media and losing access to publicity, 4 national presidents were killed apparently for not going along with the program: Haiti (look at the mess now) and 3 in Africa - an entire continent where there were no precautions, no money for health care -- and virtually no C19 anywhere.

* We can't personally evaluate all information. Even when we are qualified to look at the data we don't have time to check out everything. We must evaluate the reputation of the source of the information for its reliability, certitude, sincerity and so on. If it's important, it's wise to check out multiple unrelated sources to be sure we have a fair and balanced picture. (And note that the entire mass media is just one source. They often echo each other word for word or nearly so.)


(Eccentric Silliness Department)

* India was outraged by an "offensive" cartoon released by Ukraine. Ukraine apologized and said they will soon deliver a powerful counteroffensive cartoon.

* A bit of family history: Scene, a construction site in Edmonton, ca. 1935. Kids had been prying the "slugs" out of the electrical boxes. (round knockouts for wire clamps, about the size of 25¢ quarters, back then 5 or more per box) [Loose in a cardboard box, or already installed electrical fixtures? I don't know.] They grabbed my uncle Jay, my dad's younger brother, maybe 5 or 6 years old. It went to court.

Judge: "Did you take the slugs from the electrical boxes?"
Jay (timid little kid): "No your honor."
Judge: "Why not?!?"
Jay: "They were all gone when I got there."

* If the window gap is reduced we might say "It's not closed, but it's closeder than it was."
(...or maybe it's "shutter" than it was?)

* Jail the free radicals!

* 4 AM: 2 P or not 2 P, that is the question.

* If fire fighters fight fires, and crime fighters fight crime, what do freedom fighters fight? - George Carlin

* Someone in a news article comment seems to have finally figured out what the "Z" symbol probably means in the Russian "special military operation". "Z" isn't even a letter in the Cyrillic alphabet. So what then? It's "the mark of Zorro", the Spanish hero fighting evildoers with his sword! (and a goodly amount of "panache".)

* Discharge the free radicals!

* Mind boggling to think how this might be played!

   "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

Magnetic Variable Torque Converter with Planetary Gear

[5th] Someone had mentioned cleaning the copper with acid. After wire brushing through the hills and valleys as best I could, I poured a bit of HCl acid from a near empty bottle into its cap, and brushed it around the gaps I wanted to fill in with a small plastic brush. HCl acid won't attack copper, but it will turn copper oxide into copper chloride. Then I sprinkled some borax flux on.

   I tried to cast copper to fill in the worst two gaps and a hole. I only made it 400 grams. A couple of small splashes came out, then the rest was solid! All it accomplished was to put a couple of stitches across the worst crack, a narrow gap between the first and second castings.

HHO + Propane ...or 3 H2 + O2... Torch, for melting copper?

   Perhaps the problem is that I'm using the electric furnace? It only costs about 20¢ of electricity to melt the copper and uses no gas, but in the videos everybody used an oxy-acetylene torch with a shallow crucible or a propane furnace. The flame can be adjusted to be (or propane just is) reducing -- oxygen poor. That exhaust gas around the crucible probably keeps the copper from oxidizing. A metal's oxide has a much higher melting point than the metal, so if the copper is getting even a little oxidized it could explain the rest of it solidifying - and just getting worse the longer it's melted.
   So I suspect I need a reducing flame. (Perhaps all those leftover chunks can be restored? Or at least I won't keep losing more.) Kamile who used to make jewelery said he used to use HHO gas for the main heat plus a little propane to make the flame reducing. That's probably a good argument for (finally) getting that HHO torch working. Propane aside, oxyhydrogen isn't an unrenewable resource. (Could one bleed off a bit of the generated oxygen so that the HHO at the torch was HHHO, a reducing flame? Oh, wait... You would have to separate the two gasses in the generator, 2 H2 and O2 going into separate hoses, which probably would mean making your own generator since usually they just allow them to mix right in the generator. If you could do that, you'd want to vent the unused O2 outside, well away from the work area. But I think that should work! It should also be safer, since with separate gasses the flame can't flash back through the hose to the generator - to prevent which which at least three safety devices are normally employed.)

   Other than that I bought a coarse file and after a bit of cutting with a jigsaw, I started filing out the center hole to fit the SDS taper-lock hub. I didn't finish and then I got tennis elbow from gardening, which persisted way into June.

Other "Green" & Electric Equipment Projects

Peltier Module Cooler: Copper Heat Transfer Parts

[9th] One day I saw Matt and out of the blue he gave me a couple of "low temperature aluminum welding rods", metal mixed with powdered flux. I looked these up and on youtube I found this video showing that there are many varieties of them, and showing how to use them. (It looked so easy!)

low temperature welding wire
Best "No Welder" Aluminum Welding Rods? Alumiweld vs Bernzomatic vs Hobart

   I had been planning to solder the copper and alume parts together, but these were already formulated to stick to alume -- and even to zinc alloys! It looked like a better idea. I would need a propane torch to heat up the heatsink parts either way. One is supposed to heat up the part itself to around 400°C, not the welding wire/stick. If I sandwiched the wire between the copper part and the alume heatsink, and heated the copper on top, it should sink down as the wire melts and they should all bond, without risking melting the alume heatsinks with the torch.
   I flattened some weld wire so it wouldn't roll while it melted and cut pieces to fit between the copper plate and the alume heatsink for the hot side. After several minutes with the propane torch I gave up. All I seemed to be doing was turning the surface of the copper to black oxide. The wire wouldn't melt. I thought of the mini kiln and decided that must be the way to do it. It could easily get up to that temperature and was big enough to hold the part. However, I had been wanting to attach a digital temperature control to the kiln, was was made in more primitive times andjust got hotter and hotter the longer it was plugged in. Sigh, more project creep! I got out the unit... control, SSR, heatsink, thermocouple... and decided it would be easier just to plug in the kiln and check it frequently to see if the wire had melted yet. In the evening. The sun was shining and I had yardwork to do!

   In the evening came a disaster. These days it's a time of day I've usually quit working. I brought the kiln into the house, put the heatsink with copper plate and weld wire in, and plugged it in. I was a bit uneasy about doing it so late in the evening, but it should be simple and short enough. And yet somehow I forgot to set the timer to remind me. I absently went over to the computer and started reading news on zerohedge.com, blanking out on present reality. Suddenly I remembered the kiln -- not after 15 or 20 minutes, but after probably well over an hour. And I hadn't put together the temperature control, so it just got hotter and hotter. I unplugged it, put on a glove and opened the door. It was much worse than I expected. A waterfall of very melted alume poured out onto the woodstove hearth where I had placed the kiln. The copper piece was sunk into the alume. Luckily nothing cataclysmic happened. The hearth brick-faces didn't explode under the pool of spilled alume (which could have splattered molten alume around the room or at me) and no fire started. The melted metal pool in the kiln was a little below the heating elements so it didn't wreck the kiln. It did leave a mark on the bricks. Over the years I have at many and various times cursed my life-long absent mindedness. This was certainly one of those times! I wish I had make the temperature control.
   So much for the original hot side heatsink! I can probably find some sort of replacement, but it won't be the same, and the comparison between copper and alume contacts on the Peltier module is going to be more vague. I don't think I'll find one that fits the space as well as the one made for it.

Buying Copper Heatsinks

[10th] AM: Looking for a replacement heatsink on AliExpress. That one looks workable... Holy Bleep! A pure copper heatsink! It never ever occurred to me somebody actually makes them - maybe tiny ones for CPU coolers, but not larger ones. But here one was, 100x100x20mm! I found a very few more choices, from a couple of stores, "Cooltex Thermal Management Store", and "Yolowin". I ordered a 100x100x30mm from the former. It has about 40 fins, meaning they're spaced only about 2.5mm per fin!
   A video showed how they were made: a sharp "chisel" blade on a machine cuts into the copper plate at a shallow angle and shaves up a fin, which it then pushes upright. Then onto the next fin. I'm not sure why but the fins only curl very slightly. Wow!
   Next is the economics: the 100x100x30mm size was about 100$C. I expect it will work really well, but that is a more than substantial addition to the cost of a camping cooler. The small copper plate (60x60x5mm?) "welded" to an alume heatsink is doubtless much more feasible economicly, now that I know about the low temperature welding rods, or soldering to alume. But at this point, I want to see how well it works and I've lost my alume heatsink anyway. (I still get to try welding the Cu heat transfer cube to the cold side Al heatsink... with a reminder timer set BEFORE I plug in the oven, or with the kiln temperature control made. or both.)

   At some point I tried this. After 15 minutes in the kiln the weld wire hadn't melted, but at 20 the surface of the copper block was oxidized black. At 25 minutes the copper block seemed to have sunk down toward the alume. I turned it off and let it cool. But the weld wire had only softened and flattened some more, not melted, and it hadn't adhered to either metal. Could it even adhere to the black copper oxide? Would the alume heatsink melt next? I decided that the weld wire wasn't for copper.
   Maybe solder them, then? I tried but couldn't heat the alume heatsink enough with the soldering iron to melt the solder and tin it. It would have to be the torch - or the kiln again. But not nearly as hot as for the weld wire. How would I scratch the alume to get it to tin in the kiln? Would the oil burn off with either the kiln or the torch? I wondered if it could really be done. A huge soldering iron should do it, but I don't have one.

[?] Maybe I could heat up the copper block (making it a giant "soldering iron"), tin it, and then scrape it against the heatsink? (Or set it down and rub the heatsink on it? If needed the torch could be applied on the fins (top) side.) Could it sufficiently heat and tin the oiled alume? One way to find out...

[30th] I hadn't tried it yet. For some reason I hadn't at first thought of buying a second copper heatsink, but finally I decided that if I was doing copper I would, and do ALL copper. On this day I finally ordered one 100x100x25mm. (Another 100$ down the tubes!) The original was 120x80x~25mm, and I thought I would just cut it down to 80mm wide to fit. 20mm shorter... oh well. (Uh-oh, the plastic air directing cover clips onto the original heatsink!)

   On June 1st the (first) copper heatsink arrived. The fins were very closely spaced, but they were so thin that air just passed right through. It seems to me it should be better than fat alume fins, even beyond that it was copper. Surely excellent heat transfer to air! I do wonder when they are so thin and with no taper how far up the fins the temperature climbs. It's probably not worth having fins longer than 30mm (or maybe even that long) unless the air flow is very slow.

Toward Open Loop Air Heat Pumping ('OLAHP')

[June 3rd] I found a youtube video where someone had made a very different looking and compact outdoor air heat exchanger. The outside was PVC plumbing pipes. It turned out that instead of the usual crisscrossed coroplast sheets, he had used 500mm(?) long alume tubes for air heat exchangers. This struck me, because in OLAHP the air is going out compressed, so it can't be in an open chamber like coroplast (which would surely swell and burst if one could somehow seal and pressurize it). I had mine going out in 1/2" copper pipes with fins stuck onto them. But using several thin pipes or tubes in parallel would do the same thing - increase the surface area for good heat exchange, with a heck of a lot less work than cutting and slipping alume plates/fins onto a pipe, albeit needing several pipe splitters/combiners or some custom fittings. I think he said outside it was 3°(c) and his air was discharging at 6° or so and the incoming air was heated to about 14°. There's a target to try and beat! (I don't think my original in 2020 was far off of that when the air was flowing slowly with a small compressor - it got worse with larger compressors and faster flows.)

   He also had a solution to a major problem: condensation in the outgoing air pipes, with water freezing and blocking the passages. It seems you can buy low power heating wires where the colder they are, the more power they use and the more they heat up. It was only 15 watts or so in his exchanger once it was warm, and since it's in the incoming air chamber much of the power is helping to heat the air going into the room. I'll have to look these wires up to buy.

   He was "into it" in a full scientific way. He had air contaminant and CO2 meters as well as some of the same instruments I buy off AliExpress, which is where he got his too. I was surprised when he showed CO2 readings in a room where 3 people had been for a while with closed windows and no ventilation: CO2 had risen from 500 PPM to 1300. With his heat exchanger running it stayed close to 500. (My bedroom is awful by morning if I don't crack open the window - a couple of times I felt like I must be coming down with something, but it clears up when I leave the room.)

   I had a good guffaw. In perfect English with no accent he [narrator] said he got most of the materials from "an ordinary building supply store", and he showed the front isle of some typical big box store like Home Depot... with all the aisle signs in Russian! It turned out he was in Minsk (Belarus). This wasn't his first outdoor heat exchanger/heat recovery ventilator. (He called them 'recuperators', apparently the Russian name. You 'recoup' the heat.) I looked up his channel and he had various videos on DIY units to clean polluted outdoor air as well as heat exchangers - mostly in Russian but with English or translatable subtitles. (And suddenly most of Youtube's video suggestions were for Russian language videos about 'recuperators' and air purifiers. What percentage of relevant videos do we miss in our search results or Youtube's suggestions because they're in other languages?)

DIY Heat Recovery Ventilator for 77$. [Improved Version Heat Exchanger! ...With alume tubes!]

   The multiple thin tubes design would be just as applicable to the indoor radiators for extracting the heat into the room. They could be any practical length - I had ended up with about 16 feet of finned pipes in the house in my earlier experiments. I suspect a bunch of thin copper tubes could probably be a lot shorter for similar heat exchange.

   So now, 3-1/2 years since my first experiments (Mostly January to April 2020 - eg, TE News #142, March 2020), and with this and the "bicycle pump" or rotary compressor ideas, I'm finding further inspirations of how some of it might be better done. Now if there was a way to make it work quietly - perhaps with the "bicycle pump" type compressor - it might (eg) make a great lower electricity use heater for my bedroom to replace the power hungry baseboard heat and the opened window. (It might even be quieter - the ocean waves can be crashing in pretty loud in a wind at high tide with the window open, and I'd love to be able to close it and still have air.)

Spring Gardening

   I spent most of May gardening, FWIW in a report about green energy projects. Chronology may be a bit lacking here as my camera's date was set wrong. (The camera that put the date & time in the filename had a better idea there.)

   Recapping last year, there were some successes. I got some asparagus (ate each new sprig raw, on the spot), a few apples (made applesauce), some carrots (kept/still keep in cool place in sand - still good!), peas (1.5Kg, froze them, still have half), delicious garlic and onions (gave away too many in the autumn and ran out by spring), "egyptian" green multiplier onions (still planted, second season), lots of potatos (left them in the ground but it froze hard in November (-11°c) and wrecked all the ones anywhere near the surface - will gather and keep in sand this year), giant rhubarb (didn't do much with it - one dish of stewed rhubarb), blueberries and raspberries (froze), and a couple of great sunflower heads with lots of seeds.

   Then there were some failures. A considerable patch of corn in the greenhouse was a wipeout in spite of hand pollination. I think they just don't get enough light under any sort of cover. But without cover they're too cold, often until about the end of June. This year I planted corn in the steel tubes & plastic greenhouse I bought last year, that I can whip the cover off once it's staying reasonably warm. Well, everyone has spotty success growing corn up here. The 'Manregion' English walnut (cool climate) that I bought in the spring died over the summer. I think I didn't water it enough. (In fact, I think I have never watered gardens and trees as much as they want. Finally in my late 60s I'm learning. Many things prefer or need daily watering. especially in the sandy soil here. I've always been afraid of overwatering and washing nutrients out of the soil.) Many of the leaves drooped and then never recovered, then a single caterpillar that looked like a twig ate ALL the remaining leaves from the cluster at the top of the tree. That was the coupe de grace.
   In the winter some time I finally bit the bullet and planted my potted strawberry tree/bush (Arbutus Unido) in the garden, where the leaves proceeded over the months to gradually turn brown. At first I thought it must be too cold for it. Every day I threw a slop of water from a bucket at the base through the garden fence and occasionally it rained, but now I think it still just wasn't getting enough water, that it wasn't enough to soak in. Both pear trees bloomed at the same time. I rubbed flowers between the two but as always they set no fruit. 6 years now. I think they must both be "bartlet", even tho one of them is tagged "Clapp's favorite", so no cross pollination. The nursery claimed they were compatible. (They goofed on the apple trees, too.) My two apricot trees also died way back. They have sprung a few branches near the base this spring since I started watering them daily last fall. Now they are tiny bushes. The cherry tree in the greenhouse and the walnut haven't sprung anything. I guess I should admit they're toast and pull them out.

   This year I hope to get better results with food trees. I bought another English walnut ('Carpathian', the one other cool climate variety). It looked pretty bad when I bought it but has sprung to life. Leaves had budded and then died. There were still some green buds. They probably budded too early being shipped from a warmer clime, and the man who owned Clearbrook freight terminal here drowned in a boating accident while fishing and the shipment sat in the dark in the freight terminal for an extra week or two. For a while I put plastic bags over the branches to protect them from the cold spring wind. (The boat sank. They think it hit a deadhead at high speed, but there were no witnesses. I know of an older fibreglass boat that simply ripped and took on water quickly, too. The two in that one were very lucky to be rescued.)

   I pulled up the strawberry bush from the garden to toss it, then decided to give it another try. I potted it in a larger pot in the greenhouse, next to all the other things I water daily. It's pretty far gone, tho. Might it come back? I won't buy another if it doesn't. A couple of years it had all kinds of flowers but set no fruit anyway. (I've been attributing it to lack of pollinators in the greenhouse. Pole beans in the greenhouse were also a wipeout except where they grew out through a crack in the roof. Above the roof they grew beans!)

   After last spring I finally remembered that someone I know in town has a pear tree. I got some cuttings (too) late in the winter and planted several with rooting hormone. They started out as it warmed but only one is still a bit green with tiny curled leaves and it probably won't make it either. Hmm... one just might. (And I have never successfully grafted a branch onto a tree so it can cross-pollinate itself, although my brother in Toronto is a wizard at it.) I clipped a twig and rubbed the flowers from that onto those of both trees, and this year for the first time it looks like they are setting fruit -- just 4 on one tree, 1 on the other. Hedging my bets I also ordered a third tree, an anjou pear. It came and (for want of any other place nearby) I planted it next to an apple tree. It had no flowers this year. For the first time I note that unlike apples, the pears only bloom for about a week. No wonder I kept missing any chances to get a branch and pollinate them in previous years! Hopefully next year. Now I have 3 apple trees and 3 pears in spaces I allotted for 2 of each. But at the present rate they won't be crowding each other much for some years.

Small Rototillers

   I've never used a large one myself, but apparently big rototillers with wheels seem to be only for young, strong people. They can be hard to control. My chief purpose is to break up grass and its roots so I can prepare garden beds, which is almost impossible by hand. the grass is inevitably tall and has deep, spreading, interlocked roots.

   I've had a Ryobi "multi-tool" rototiller with an electric motor for some years, but it has proven inadequate. Last fall I got a Stihl MM55 gasoline rototiller. It is much better and has much more power than the Ryobi. And it is much easier to grip and guide. The flimsy handle on the Ryobi swivels around the shaft as you work, and occasionally the whole unit even comes in half. The clamps that hold them are totally inadequate. And the trigger switch takes all my power from both hands to initially press on, and nearly as hard as I can press with one hand to keep it running, so it's really hard on the fingers and keeps stopping with the least relaxation of grip. There's no need for such aggravation! And it could certainly use more power/speed - it's not like it's drawing all it can get from a power cord. I like electric, BUT!
   On using the Stihl the biggest difference I found was in the blade shape. The "dethatching" blades/tines on the Ryobi had induced me to remove two of the four, but it still takes just one short run through grass to totally clog up the unit. The grass and its spreading roots just wind up like a spool of wool, and I have to saw them apart to get it out, a clump at a time. The Stihl blades were more like saw blades. They still clog up, and I have to remove them from the machine to get the grass out of them, but I can do a worthwhile patch of garden first, where the Ryobi only goes a few feet before it's completely clogged.

   With the Stihl I've been able to prepare much more garden bed this year than previously. Shown: a patch of garden "Stihlled" I wasn't able to get the grass out of in previous years. I later expanded on that patch and planted... just potatos.

* The Stihl breaks up the turf - grass and roots.

* Then I rake all the weeds/roots into a pile/row with "The Real McCoy" 4-prong claw [TE News #141], leaving much plain dirt in place.

* The weedy dirt I shovel into the dirt sifter [TE News #173], then toss it back and forth until the dirt has fallen through.

* Then I dump the grass and weeds onto a sheet of cardboard, tip that into a pail, and dump the pail in the compost (or presently, to a hole I'm trying to fill in).

[29th] I had covered the "old garden" field where I tried to grow potatos last year with flattened cardboard boxes. I uncovered the first row, intending to rototill it. But I had ...what, "tennis elbow?", from too much rototilling, raking, shoveling and using the dirt sieve. I didn't get to it.

   Then I uncovered some more and found little yellow potato shoots, while the grass was definitely much reduced. I decided to just fill a few gaps in the rows with more potatos and water it. Soon the potatos were well up and outgrowing the grass. Cool, no tilling!
   I intend to havest them this year in case it gets cold again. I thought I could just leave them in the ground last winter, but it got really cold and most of the shallower ones turned to mush. (Someone said to store them in sand. That worked really well with my carrots from last year, which are still good in a bucket of sand in a cool room.)

   Once they're out, I'll cover it again, and hopefully there'll be even less grass next year. I'm also collecting and dumping occasional pails of dry seaweed on the patch to keep the ground fertile.

One apple tree ("Liberty") in bloom. The other two were hardly budding.
But the flowers lasted a long time and the others were going before these petals dropped.

Walnut tree #2. Didn't look too good to start
but this time I'm watering it every day and
it keeps looking better.

I dug/sawed out a couple more old spruce roots from the edge of the main garden and planted black currents there.

In the greenhouse, facing west. Asparagus to the right. (By June it
was blocking the path and I had to take the hedgeclippers to it.)
Grape vine top right.
Peppers in pots were in the livingroom window over the winter.
New tomatos in pots and in the ground.
My poor strawberry tree/bush with brown leaves center right.
Lots of cabbages/broccoli/cauliflowers in various stages, many going to seed.

The garden at the south wall of the house.
Front: new chokeberry bush. New beaked hazelnut in pot.
A lupin, strawberries, quinoa, sunflowers, tomatos, onions, garlic, chives, mint, blueberries.
Underwatered apricot tree died back and is now a low bush.
Far end between window greenhouse and porch: elderberry bush.

Chokeberries are not chokecherries. no big seeds. The name relates to having a tart taste.
It turns out some berries have an anti-cataract chemical for preventing or shrinking eye cataracts,
and chokeberries have more of it than any other berry.
(This one had one little cluster of small white flowers in this first year.)

"Egyptian" multiplying onions from last year, now with multiple small bulbs.
Between the two patches is the garlic planted last fall.
(Blueberry bushes under bay window.)

The sunflower seedlings did well until I planted them. (The one survivor of this variety gave great seeds by the end of August last year.)
Slugs again soon got 4 of 7 even with slug bait scattered around. One is doing fabulous. I planted more and it seems to be too dry for slugs now.

Where the portable greenhouse frame was, I left ground cover on the lawn over the winter, and now I
rototilled, raked and seived a patch of ground and added some compost, and planted corn seedlings. For
some reason only a few of the seedlings germinated, making just a half dozen good plants. I planted more,
but by mid June they still weren't very big or growing very fast. I fear the corn will again be a
disappointment this year.

The 'main' garden with some onions, potatos, peas, lettuce, carrots planted.
Rhubarb and berry bushes at the east end.

Electricity Storage

New Chemistry Batteries

[11th] The cell has sat ready to fill for the better part of two months, but I had many things to do and was loathe to add the checking, monitoring and testing that the new cell would need. In the morning I finally mixed up 100cc of distilled water with some KCl salt electrolyte. I added 1/2 a teaspoon of SDBS* to gell the electrolyte. I drew some into the (blunted) syringe and filled the cell. I tilted it a bit and filled through the upper hole until it filled to the lower one.

   Then I put the cell on charge from 2.25V through a 1Ω resistor. The current dropped as the voltage rose, and a couple of times I added ~5cc more electrolyte, then ~3cc of just water. It didn't seem to leak, but in the initial charge the chemistry was bound to be out of balance and it was using up water and oxygen or hydrogen was gassing off. (So I should only be adding water.) As the charge current dropped substantially I switched the charging resistor to .1Ω. (Measuring the charge current is more practical by measuring the voltage across a "shunt" resistor.)

[12th] After almost 24 hours of charging at between 260 and 160mA the voltages were staying much higher. For a typical charge that would be around 4 amp-hours, but in an initial one the current might be partly used up creating permanent changes to the chemicals. Bubbles (SDBS, water, gas) were coming out the air hole I left open.
   Driving a 10Ω load for a minute or so it stayed over 1.7V (170mA). With a 1Ω load it fell through 1.3V (1.3A) and was quickly headed toward 1.2. I saw 4.2A in a momentary short circuit just after that.

   The next 2 days saw slightly rising voltages & decreasing charge current, by 72 hours down to 101mA.

   This continued for the next week until the charging current steadied out at 60-70mA.

   Almost throughout, the momentary short circuit current was about 4.2 amps. That's about 45 ma/sq.cm. Double that or even up to 200 would be better, but it's in the "okay" range.

   So, it was 'so far so good' for the first "wide form" nickel manganates-zinc cell! It is also the first with the nickel manganates formed by dissolving the powders in acetone to reform into "epitaxial" crystal formations. (Meaning crystals formed of mixed oxides rather than a single pure one.)

   I tried a few little things including trying to measure the current needed to keep it at 2.0 volts against the self discharge that usually plagues my cells. It was about 15mA. Without that the voltage drops hour by hour. I start to think that one needs a manufacturing facility and to be ordering and then testing and purifying large batches of good chemicals in order to be sure that nothing has any impurities that will cause self discharge, and that with the unusual ingredients in my cells it's a harder job than with simpler pH14 alkaline cells.
   Or perhaps electrodes could be individually assembled and charged in a bath of electrolyte where impurities would be diluted out as they worked? That complicates the construction, but again that might be okay and automated in a plant set up for it.

   As I did things I shot short clips of video. (Still needs to be put together and uploaded.)

[20th] I checked the cell and it didn't work well at all. I added water and it took way more than usual. And it still didn't work well. The paper towel underneath was stuck to the cell and wet in one area.
   Apparently what happened is I had covered the second filler hole with modeling clay and the cell had built up a bit of pressure, and that cracked my thin epoxy shell somewhere. Well, that's it for now except the 'overdue' videos of the nickel-manganates formulation and the cell construction and tests.
   Hopefully it's not working well simply because the electrolyte has been quite diluted - it leaked and I only added water. I'm not confident of that, but I'll try putting on another layer of epoxy and trying again to see what happens. I keep trying to think of more robust ways to make cells. Thicker epoxy, I guess? Again, a facility for making batteries could doubtless do precision operations for stuffing cells - maybe cylinder cells - that don't work out by hand. I marvel at the absolute precision construction of commercial Ni-MH dry cells, among others: every fiber of separator, every internal piece and every bit of the double-wrapped spiral electrodes with perforated foil current collectors nowhere near a millimeter "off", or the cell would short out or not connect properly.

Pocket Electrodes

[21st] OTOH I keep thinking of modular "pocket electrodes". They would be assembled individually and decontaminated in a big tank, of any solubles that would cause self discharge. They would be inserted into a molded plastic 'pot' - even "tupperware" (things that can't leak unless at the top!) - to make whatever size cell was desired. The exterior walls would be perforated plastic and the current collector would be a wire in the middle. They could be something like 10mm square and 70-100mm tall and might be inserted in a checkerboard pattern so all four sides would face an opposite electrode. That would seem to have considerable "extra" plastic over other designs and a flooded cell is heavier. And there is a lot of separator sheet, but it all is at interfaces that contribute to higher current capacity. If it worked well and was easier to build, they'd still be great for stationary storage. And it would be the way to produce cells of most any size, since they would all consist of "n" by "m" multiples of identical electrodes.

[22nd] The more I think about it, the more I like the idea. As usual, and as I stumbled over in the early years of trying to make batteries, the hard part is finding suitable finely perforated material. But perforated plastic is easier than perforated metal. Rather than trying to perforate solid material I would 3D print tubes (square, round or...) with walls thin enough that they will end up "porous" anyway. (but hopefully still strong enough not to rip or bulge.) With a solid bottom and a solid "snap fit" top cap (with a terminal hole in the middle). Anyway that seems like the thing to try first. If the zinc 'trodes don't need to be as large as the nickel oxides ones, those could be octagonally shaped so the square spaces between them are smaller.
   For the plus 'trode, the toluened separator paper would be slipped inside the porous plastic tube. Then the substance and the Ca(OH)2 coated current collector wire or flat strip would be stuffed in and the top cap put on. It would be like a "candle" with a wire "wick" sticking out the top.
   For the zinc minus side, I'm thinking a copper screen, perhpas elecroplated initially with zinc, and with zinc powder or particles wetted with the osmium film, plus zircon and SDBS*, wrapped into a small coil. (It probably doesn't need its own separator sheet.)
   The terminal wires (Cu screens for the zinc?) would be bent over and connect diagonally to each other, probably under the lid of the cell, probably with little tube 'rivets' of the same metal, crimped flat.
   The cell would be filled with the same safe and environmentally benign potassium salt with SDBS* gel electrolyte. (pH is maintained at 12-13 by the Ca(OH)2 from the "+" 'trodes, but could be lowered if desired with a little CuCl2 salt. I'm starting to think that's not very helpful.)

BEST Positive Electrode Substance?

   An almost unrelated thought is that the beta-alpha nickel hydroxide formulation by the Ovshinsky team looks really excellent, and their flooded NiMH cells seem to have lasted well over a decade in EV use even in caustic KOH un-jelled electrolyte. (European patent EP1 672 724 A2 - 1999 / USA 135477 - 1998 [25 years ago now, so long expired]) I suppose that or something similar is what's used in the small dry cells these days. (AAA, AA, C, D) They had a considerable process for producing it. If I can make it I would drop the nickel manganates (AKA nickel-maganese oxides), even tho it seems to be working well in the latest cell. I think the utterly simple method of dissolving the electrode substances in acetone and evolving epitaxial crystals as it evaporates should work. I would certainly like to try it.
   This improved nickel oxides formation combined with 'everlasting' zinc in a salt electrolyte would surely be a dynamite cell probably rated at about 1.7 volts - perhaps 7 cells for 12 volts. A NiMH 'AA' cell at 30g, 2.6 amp-hours and 1.2 volts = 104 WH/Kg. With the higher voltage and zinc being less dense than nickel and lanthanum, such cells constructed with weight in mind could exceed 160 WH/Kg.

   Even if it seems to have taken many years too long, important progress has been made in recent months. But as inspiring as that is and as these ideas for further developments may be, I'll probably drop battery development until next winter as I have many other things to do and to try out.

* SDBS: sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate

Electricity Generation

My Solar Power System

   I think maybe I like "photo panes" as a (somewhat) short form for "solar panels", or "panes" for "panels". That would be somewhat unambiguous as people usually speak of "windows" rather than "window panes". And they are, mostly, a pane of glass.

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 PDT which 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.)

Daily Figures

Notes: House Main meter (6 digits) accumulates. DC meter now accumulates until [before] 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.

Km = Nissan Leaf electric car drove distance, then car was charged.

New Order of Daily Solar Readings (Beginning May 2022):

Date House, House, House, Cabin => Total KWH Solar [Notable power Uses; Grid power meter@time] Sky/weather
        Main       DC      East  Cabin
30th 4618.64, 5.18, 29.95, 44.79 => 12.52 [7402@19:30]

  1st 4629.70, 5.26, 38.49, 52.53 => 27.41 [7412@20:00] Real Sunshine! (Some jet trails)
  2d  4640.40, 5.33, 46.19, 59.59 => 25.53 [55Km; 7429@19:30; 50Km] Hit about 13°, similar to yesterday
  3rd 4650.31, 5.40, 54.07, 66.20 => 24.47 [7447@20:30] Nice again. More jet trails. Cold after sunset.
  4th 4660.33, 5.46, 61.66, 73.06 => 24.53 [55Km; 7461@20:30] similar.
  5th 4671.00, 5.52, 68.87, 80.10 => 24.98 [90Km; 7482@20:00] Similar but light clouds later.
  6th 4680.53, 5.63, 73.50, 84.50 => 18.67 [80Km; 7504@20:30] Not sunny (but no rain).
  7th 4684.16, 5.71, 76.96, 87.79 => 10.46 [35Km; 7524@20:30]
  8th 4695.09, 5.78, 85.31, 95.11 => 26.67 [7538@20:30] Sunny & warm, 13.5°. Gardening day! PM: Uck, blackflies have arrived! (late this year -yay!) Small rototiller (Stihl ??55 with "saw" blades) works well, is surely much more manageable than a big one. Makes it _possible_ (more than "easier") to get out the grass & roots and prepare the main garden beds. I guess I don't need a tractor after all. (A CNC gardening machine, however, would still make things easier -- if it worked somewhere near as well!)
  9th 4706.66, 5.84, 93.67,   8.00 => 27.99 [50Km; 7554@20:00] Warm, maybe even 15°.
10th 4716.01, 5.92,   6.01, 13.82 => 21.24 [7566@20:30] Increasing wind & clouds.
11th 4718.60, 6.00,   7.35, 15.21 =>   5.40 [7591@20:00] Gale, cold, bit of rain. (I bet there's no ferry today! ...oh, there was.)
12th 4722.83, 6.06,   9.84, 17.66 =>   9.23 [7606@20:30] Wind died down. bit more rain.
13th 4725.09, 6.13, 11.24, 19.06 =>   5.13 [55Km; 7630@22:00; 50Km]
14th 4736.21, 6.21, 19.64, 26.64 => 27.19 [7646@20:30] Sunny & warm, 18°, wow! (& tons of blackflies)
15th 4746.65, 6.24, 27.88, 34.55 => 26.62 [44Km; 7658@20:30; 105Km] Even warmer: by house (in shade - my usual thermometer) said 25.3°. Car said 25° dropping to 17° as I drove to town!
16th 4758.13, 6.30, 36.76, 43.03 => 28.90 [7679@20:30] 10-13°? Wow, what would collection have been if heavy fog hadn't suddenly rolled in around (?)16:30?
17th 4768.93, 6.33, 45.07, 50.30 => 26.41 [55Km; 7697@22:30] 14°
18th 4776.27, 6.36, 49.68, 54.80 => 16.48 [7705@20:30]
19th 4783.64, 6.40, 54.81, 59.46 => 17.17 [105Km; 7731@20:30]
20th 4793.31, 6.42, 61.30, 65.88 => 22.60 [55Km; 7748@20:30] 14° Ran Chevy Sprint around yard a couple of times.
21st 4800.80, 6.77, 67.97, 72.31 => 20.94 [7758@21:00]
22d  4812.63, 6.89, 76.89, 80.01 => 28.57 [7769@20:30] 17°
23rd 4824.30, 6.98, 85.69, 88.61 => 29.16 [7779@20:30] Nice again!  At long last!: Mounted the 3 panes sitting propped up on lawn onto a frame on south wall of house.

24th 4834.05, 7.01, 92.86, 95.10 => 23.44 [55Km; 7794@20:30]
25th 4841.65, 7.03,   5.36,   5.17 => 18.15 [7804@21:00]
26th 4848.02, 7.06,   9.86,   9.54 => 16.17 [7818@20:30; 90Km]
27th 4853.52, 7.11, 13.18, 12.96 => 12.29 [110Km; 7847@21:00] Cloudy, some rain, 11° 'all day' (What happened to the nice weather?)
28th 4862.75, 7.13, 20.43, 19.89 => 23.43 [7860@21:00]
29th 4868.80, 7.16, 24.85, 23.90 => 14.51 [7870@20:30]
30th 4877.18, 7.18, 31.37, 29.48 => 20.50 [55Km; 7892@21:00] 22KWH used instead of 10? Cold night (more BR heat), laundry, car trip.
31st 4885.08, 7.22, 37.55, 34.89 => 19.53 [7902@21:00]

1st 4889.18, 7.24, 40.54, 37.51 =>   9.73 [55Km; 7924@21:30] 12° - ug!
2nd4895.64, 7.30, 45.67, 42.09 => 16.23 [85Km; 7952@21:30] 16.6° max but mostly closer to 12.
3rd 4904.99, 7.70, 53.24, 48.49 => 23.72 [55Km; 7970@21:00] lost 3/4?KWH with cabin cord unplugged ~1Hr for mowing lawn. DC use: charged some batteries.
4th 4912.88, 7.92, 59.43, 54.33 => 20.14 [35Km; 7992@21:00] DC use: Ran Chevy Sprint around the yard.
5th 4920.43, 8.26, 65.98, 59.93 => 21.04 [7999@21:00] ~300 WH to run the Sprint 1 Km? Well, it is rough ground, and not a very efficient motor.
6th 4930.11, 8,47, 73.98, 66.74 => 24.70 [55Km; 8016@21:00; 50Km] Best in 2 weeks notwithstanding the spreading jet trails.

Chart of daily KWH from solar panels.    (Compare MAY 2023 (left) with April 2023 & with May 2022.)

Days of
__ KWH
May 2023
(18 collectors)
April 2023
(18 solars)
May 2022
(18 s. panels)


























Total KWH
for month
642.52 (another
all-time record!)

547.74 (18 panels:
- all-time record!)
Km Driven
on Electricity
1207.4 Km
(175 KWH?)
 1038.7 Km
(160 KWH?)
(ODO: 94576)
934.1 Km
(~140 KWH?)

Things Noted - May 2023

* Sunshine: Over 100 KWH in the first 4 days of May! Much sunnier than May 2022.

Monthly Summaries: Solar Generated KWH [& Power used from grid KWH]

As these tables are getting long, I'm not repeating the log of monthly reports. The reports for the first four full years (March 2019 to February 2023) may be found in TE News #177, February 2023.

2023 - (House roof, lawn + DC + Cabin + Carport, Pole) Solar
Jan KWH: 40.57 + 3.06 + 28.31 + 21.85 = 93.79 Solar [grid: 1163; car (rough est): 130]
Feb KWH: 59.19 + 2.70 + 38.10 + 32.47 = 132.46 Solar [grid: 1079; car: 110]
Four years of solar!
Mar KWH: 149.49 + 2.72 + 53.85 +    92.08 = 298.14 Solar [grid: 981; car: 140]
Apr KWH: 176.57 + 2.71 + 121.21 + 108.34 = 408.83 [grid: 676; car: 160]
May KWH:266.04 + 2.04 + 194.13 + 180.31 = 642.52 [grid: 500; car: ]

Annual Totals

1. March 2019-Feb. 2020: 2196.15 KWH Solar [used   7927 KWH from grid]
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]
4a. March 2022-August 2022: in (the best) 6 months, about 2725 KWH solar - more than in any previous entire year!
4. March 2022-Feb. 2023: 3793.37 KWH Solar [used 12038 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 [actual 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$
4. 455.20$ ; 1896.69$ ; 3793.37$

   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, sufficient solar can deliver essential power in electrical outages however long. (Feb 28th 2023: And it's probably well over 1$/KWH by now the way inflation of diesel fuel and other costs is running.)

Haida Gwaii, BC Canada