Turquoise Energy Report #180
2023 (Posted June 14th 2023)
Lawnhill BC Canada - by Craig Carmichael
(CraigXC at Post dot com)
Month In "Brief"
(Project Summaries etc.)
New Chemie Battery - Cleaning Oxidized Copper Wires, Pipes: HCl ! -
Torque Converter - Copper Peltier Heat Transfer Elements
(Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
- Scattered Thots/Editorials - ESD
Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems
* Magnetic Variable Torque Converter with Planetary Gear: The
Future of the Automotive Industry!
& Electric Equipment Projects
* Peltier Module Cooler: Copper Heat Transfer Parts
* Toward Open Loop Air Heat Pumping (New outdoor air heat exchanger
* Spring Gardening (Lots of it!)
Batteries [no report]
* My Solar Power System: The Usual Latest Daily/Monthly
Solar Production log et cetera - Monthly/Annual Summaries,
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
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
connections and testing at his lovely off-grid home on a beautiful
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
seasons should be simple!" (Much less moving them manually during the
day to face the sun!)
(Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
* 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
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
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
* Joe Biden had the gall to speak on
Press Freedom Day. He said
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
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" -
journalists in Baghdad carrying a TV camera on a public
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
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
his dismissal. (Can you believe it?: Russians too like listening to
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
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
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
* 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
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",
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
Some Interracial Crime Statistics
(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
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
numbers, now over eight billion people, as most every major
non-domestic species and many lesser enters the "endangered" or
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
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 -
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
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
Getting from eight to two or less only takes problems in the fragile
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
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
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
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
Hopefully if anything major has happened, only the
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
* 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
* 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
But this person had lived extensively in South America.)
The reply was "Pornada" Ack! See? I'm lost already! That's a new word
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
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
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
* 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
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
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
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.
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
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
cured Covid wasn't a miracle, it was a disaster! They publicly
poo-poohed it, made it scarce, threatened doctors who prescribed it and
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
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
* 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
"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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
only softened and flattened some more, not melted, and it hadn't
adhered to either metal. Could it even adhere to the black copper
Would the alume heatsink melt next? I decided that the weld wire wasn't
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
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.
[June 3rd] I found a youtube video where
someone had made a very different looking and compact outdoor air heat
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
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
He was "into it" in a full
scientific way. He had air
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
like I must be coming down with something, but it clears up when I
I had a good guffaw. In perfect English with no accent he
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
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
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
thin copper tubes could probably be a lot shorter for similar heat
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
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
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,
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
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
This year I hope to get better results with food trees. I
bought another English walnut ('Carpathian', the one other cool climate
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
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
deadhead at high speed, but there were no witnesses. I know of an older
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
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.
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
clamps that hold them are totally inadequate. And the trigger
switch takes all my power from both hands to initially press on, and
hard as I can press with one hand to keep it running, so it's really
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
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
first, where the Ryobi only goes a few feet before it's completely
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
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
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
using the dirt sieve. I didn't get to it.
Then I uncovered some more and
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
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
"Egyptian" multiplying onions from last year, now with multiple small
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
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
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
Rhubarb and berry bushes at the east end.
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
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.
[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
[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,
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
battery development until next winter as I have many other things to do
and to try out.
* SDBS: sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate
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
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 [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
Uses; Grid power meter@time] Sky/weather
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;
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
26th 4848.02, 7.06, 9.86, 9.54 => 16.17
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
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
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
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.)
(18 s. panels)
|547.74 (18 panels:
- all-time record!)
| 1038.7 Km
Things Noted - May 2023
* Sunshine: Over 100 KWH in the first 4 days of May! Much sunnier than
Monthly Summaries: Solar Generated KWH [& Power used from
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:
Four years of solar!
Mar KWH: 149.49 + 2.72 + 53.85 + 92.08 = 298.14 Solar
[grid: 981; car:
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: ]
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]
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
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
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
Haida Gwaii, BC Canada