Turquoise Energy Ltd. News #67
Victoria BC
by Craig Carmichael - September 4th, 2013

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

Headline MnMn batteries: Self discharge is the last problem; cause identified

Month In Brief (Project Summaries)
- Improved(?) Peltier module camping cooler

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
- Book: Limits to Growth - a financial educational documentary; Hungary, doing it right - USA to attack Syria?: "DHS" to be deployed there? - Cold PNW winter ahead? - Challenge for the next civilization.

Electric Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems
* Improved rotor magnet attachment?
* Electric motorcycle with belt clutch?
* More Mazda/Battery tidbits.

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects
* Improved Thermoelectric Camping Cooler

Electricity Generating
* Magnet machines: Spiral(s), More Magnets!
* Vertical Axis Wind Turbines

Electricity Storage - Turquoise (MnMn) Battery Project etc.
* 20 ton hydraulic press with gauge - indicates my electrode compaction until now has been wholly insufficient
* "Pin Frog" AKA "Flower Frog" from florists to perforate zinc and graphite sheets
* Manganese electrodes with stibnite & zircon additives appear to hold valence 0 metallic charge, at room temperature and below pH 14.
* Last Major Problem: self discharge is via an internal cell reaction is causing both electrodes, the whole cell, to discharge overnight.
* Solutions? (1) trap permanganate ions within +ode container (2) make Ni(OH)2 +ode...  Various tries to trap permanganate.

No Project Reports on: DSSC solar cells, LED Lighting, Pulsejet steel plate cutter, CNC Gardening/Farming Machine (sigh, maybe summer 2014?), Woodstove/Thermal Electricity Generator, Peltier & vacuum pipe heat pumping, Ultra-efficient torque converter transmission.

Newsletters Index/Highlights: http://www.TurquoiseEnergy.com/news/index.html

Construction Manuals and information:

- Electric Hubcap Family Motors - Turquoise Motor Controllers - Nanocrystalline glaze to enhance Solar Cell performance - Ersatz 'powder coating' home process for protecting/painting metal

Products Catalog:
 - Electric Hubcap 4.6KW BLDC Pancake Motor Kit
 - Electric Caik 3KW BLDC Pancake Motor Kit
 - Sodium Sulfate - Lead-Acid battery longevity/renewal
 - NiMH Handy Battery Sticks, 12v battery trays
& Dry Cells (cheapest NiMH prices in Victoria BC)
 - LED Light Fixtures

(Will accept BITCOIN digital currency)

...all at:  http://www.TurquoiseEnergy.com/
(orders: e-mail craig@saers.com)

August in Brief

   I went camping from August 5th to 9th, so not much R & D work was done near the beginning of the month except an MnMn battery experiment or two in the first few days, and on the 3rd I bought a 20 ton hydraulic press. I saw this unique unit while browsing in Barclay's Exchange: it had a hydraulic pump cylinder with a long handle separate from the press cylinder... and a pressure gauge!
   I've always suspected many of my battery troubles were from insufficient compaction (verified with the gauge) and or poor connection between the electrode briquettes and the current collector plates. Here was a unit to not only apply very high compacting pressure for the edge compactor and maybe for munching the electrode and current collector together, but also to know how just much pressure was in fact being applied.

   For the camping trip itself I took the original Peltier Module cooler I had bought to initially investigate thermoelectric devices for the refrigerator, and re-assembled it but in a slightly modified form: I used two 8.5A peltiers in series (electrically) instead of the original single 5A peltier. Owing to the increased efficiencies of Peltier modules when driven at lower currents, this arrangement is theoretically superior, cooling to similar or lower temperatures with lower current (~3A versus ~4.2A) from the battery. In fact the unit cools poorly. The warm side heatsink does get too warm (~35°c), but I'm still puzzled that it does no better, the cold side only dropping to about 10°. My fridge does much better with almost the same arrangement, and it's much larger. The difference would seem to be two 15v peltiers in the cooler versus a 15v + an 8v in the fridge. I'll try some modifications next time - the lower voltage peltier, and a better heatsink or an evacuated tube radiator.
   As long as the weather was sunny and direct sunlight was accessible (which it was the whole time), a 65 watt solar panel ran the cooler all day. I had to move it around the camp a couple of times every day to keep the collector in the sunlight and pointed towards it. Whatever voltage the collector put out was fine because the cooler had no delicate electronic smarts to burn out.
   Next time I'll bring a very long extension cord so the cooler can be kept stationary in the cool shade instead of dragging it around in the hot sun with the collector.

   After I got back I kept reminding myself that I had other projects besides trying to make batteries, some best done in summer weather, but the cell seemed to be almost working and I kept thinking "maybe if I just..." and I kept plugging away at it.
   I had thought the batteries were about there by the end of July, but although the permanganate-manganese cells would now charge at summer temperatures as well as winter, and if heavily charged began delivering worthwhile amounts of current for many minutes at levels of 2.0 to 2.5 volts (even up to about 450mA, which is over 10mA/sq.cm, or 225mA for over half an hour), they still had unacceptably high self discharge, losing most of their energy overnight and sitting at about 2.0 volts by morning. I expect that the self discharge is the only remaining problem, and that without it higher currents and much more energy storage giving long discharge times would be attained.
   I made the important step of identifying the discharge mechanism. Neither electrode will discharge when immersed in electrolyte by itself. What happens (I believe) is that a few ions from the slightly soluble permanganate dissolve into the electrolyte (contrary to my previous assertions of having chelated them into position) where they travel to the other electrode and mutually discharge against the Mn metal without an external circuit connection. Then, being turned into solid manganese oxide particles no longer dissolved in the solution, more permanganate ions dissolve to continue the process.
   I'm trying various measures to block the ions and hence reduce the discharge, with some improvement but so far no very effective real solution. The other solution might be to make a simple nickel hydroxide posode. That would have much lower amp hours per weight than permanganate and the cells might not beat lithium ion for energy density.
   It does seem that if discharge proceeds under about 1.9 volts that the zinc current collector starts to deteriorate, so the idea of letting the cells run to lower and lower voltages and putting them through a DC to DC converter to get a regulated output is out. They seem to run best from about 2.4 volts draining to 2.0 volts under load.

   I did give other projects some small consideration. I
spent a couple more days trying fruitlessly to repair my 3D printer with the help of an "Arduino Guru"... who got no farther than I had. I started in on a V-belt drive for the motorbike and put a 10" V-belt pulley on the back wheel to replace the chain sprocket. Next it needs a new (or the same resurrected) motor on the front and a belt tensioning clutch of some sort.

Bike wheel with V-belt pulley.
Belts can slip to provide clutch action. Chains can't.

   Wind turbines seem like something others have done, and done pretty well, and I'm not in an area with frequent strong winds. So I haven't tried tackling one myself. But looking again, vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) evidently work much better in the unsteady winds with gusts and shifting directions that are most common here when there is wind, than horizontal axis propeller types, and they seem so simple it seems almost silly not to make one. I'm planning one out. Apparently the speed is more self-limiting than for propeller types, but if it should tend to over-rev in strong winds, I have a couple of ideas for gravity retracted centrifugal fins that will swing out at high speeds to act as air brakes, limiting the top speed.
   I think I have all the parts necessary already. I hope to get some other free energy zealot to put it together.

There's probably some "optimum" blade shape, but unlike propeller types, all sorts of VAWT blade shapes can be made and will spin well.
This one promises easy connection of guy wires at the top (which requires a bearing up there since the shaft spins).

Alex Erauw says he has "Les meilleur du Monde" ("world's best") vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs).
They start turning in a very light breeze. Evidently he sells them.
Everything above the stand spins so all support must be underneath, but the unsupported axle section is fairly short.
Presumably the distorted half elipse is an "optimum" blade profile.
I'll try to incorporate such features.

   A late thought on construction is to simply glue something looking like Erauw's turbine together out of various PVC plumbing pipes and fittings.
   The thing about doing one is that much of the system complexity is in what is done with the rather unpredictable and varying electrical output, and this little different than for solar, ocean waves, or woodstove thermoelectric power generation, so doing a wind turbine will help advance the techniques and equipment for the other types as well. The output can go to the same 12v distribution panel as the solar PV panels, occasionally providing power including when the sun isn't shining. I'm not expecting big energy from this (especially in the occasional winds here), but it's all a part: everything generated locally is power that doesn't have to be made at some big plant elsewhere, often by polluting sources, and transported along long power lines with losses.

   I did a fair bit of shopping, and I saw some juicy 90 watt solar PV panels at HES wholesale that I couldn't resist - just what I've been wanting for EV use - so (being a dealer with them) I bought some to use or to resell, and I put them in the TE Catalog at 225$. Personally I think that compares well with a 60 watt panel discounted in a recent Canadian Tire flier to $350. (If I sell any I'll buy more for myself.) I could use three on the roof of the Sprint car assuming I get that going (36 volts), or two on the boat for the electric outboard (24 volts).
   They're just a bit long and I suspect they'll be good for bumping your head on getting out of the car. Solution: have them stick out on the passenger side, not my side. Looking now at the voltage/current graphs, I'd say that instead of using them with charge controllers, I'd try just putting two of them in series, simply connected across the batteries with an isolation diode. This looks just about perfect for float charging 36 volts of NiMHs or lead-acids, avoiding all electronics and losses and providing almost the same charging as three connected through all the 'stuff'. (and they could then be turned the other way to avoid bumping of heads.) Of course, that would probably work best with the collectors facing directly at the sun, which won't be the usual case on a car roof. Unless maybe they were mounted raised and could pivot left or right from the center axis.
   On the boat I'd have to make a frame and use them for a roof. (and at that point, should I put in windows and make it a cabin? then move the outboard controls to the front, inside? all on a 14' aluminum boat?)

   If anybody around here wants anything items www.HESPV.ca has available, for local (Esquimalt) pickup 'cash and carry', I'll pick it up for a 10% markup plus GST and PST if applicable (no PST on solar panels). (I may ask for payment in advance.) E-mail or call me: Craig, 250 384 2626.


In Passing
Incidental news, editorial comments & opinionated rants

Limits to Growth

   A celestial being (named Serara, IIRC) suggested to his audience that for their enlightenment about the coming collapse they might want to check out a book: Limits to Growth, by Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and William H. Behrens III. This controversial 1972 work, Funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and commissioned by the Club of Rome, used computer modeling to explore what happens on a planet of limited resources confronted by exponential growth of human population and economic activities.

"Five variables were examined in the original model. These variables are: world population, industrialization, pollution, food production and resource depletion."

 Evidently most scenarios for unguided growth, with various reasonable values plugged in, ended up not with simply rising to some equilibrium, but instead rising to an "overshoot" peak followed by a major collapse. At no time since the book's 1972 has there been any political will to guide our growth (other than China's marginally effectual 'one child' policy), and many of the projections for peaking evidently bear an uncanny resemblance to the world today.
   The same authors did a 20 year update Beyond the Limits in 1993, and a final update Limits to Growth: the 30 Year Update in 2004. I confess I've only read articles and abstracts about the books using a web search, such as the article on Wikipedia.

   But even without having read these works, I have the sense that, having done no population planning, we are very near the apex of the "overshoot" zone, with a world population (7.3 billion) probably triple what it should be over many regions of the globe (...and 2-1/2 times greater overall than when I was a child myself). The effects are certainly being magnified and exacerbated by the greed and corruption. Without that, considering the dropping birth rates in what were "more civilized" lands, and the more lands advancing, we just might as a species have managed to plan better and maintain an even keel. That which hasn't been learned the easy way must now be learned the hard way.

An interesting comment on global population distribution!

An Educational Documentary

   I watched a 2 hour documentary that had a lot of excellent background on why our society is just now coming apart at the seams, with 1% of the population having half the wealth and 80% having not much or even less. First it goes into the diabolical workings of the pyramid scheme of the financial system, how the banksters control and enslave the people and nations of the world by inflicting debt. Then it explains about America's 'clandestine empire' which insidiously installs the "leaders" the USA wants in every country where the resources are coveted and inflicts crippling debt to control and enslave it, and about the corporatocracy.
   I saw it on youtube.com, titled "Life Hidden Truth - 2013 Global Financial Crisis", but the title when it came on was "Zeitgeist: Addendum". At the end it brings it back to individual responsibility and the coming age of greater... humanity. It mentions "The Venus Project" as a venue to help work towards a sustainable future. [ www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aq-FSI9x6fo]
   I don't see how their idea of doing away with money is supposed to work, unless there's something to replace it with (could I be too indoctrinated to understand?), but I'm in harmony with many of their ideas. For example, I've written myself that automation should shorten everyones' work hours, not cause layoffs and unemployment. And they mention that there's no effective democracy, and furthermore, when you step into a workplace you step into a dictatorship. (My own suggestions that shop foremen should be elected for a two year term in the Greater Victoria School District, and that that would bring out the talented and prevent the indolent or incompetent from rising to such positions by seniority and holding them until they retire, didn't go anywhere. It would have been a start.) Another point is that politicians pass a restrictive law to solve most any immediate problem (and it would seem with no thought about the broader consequences of what they're banning or prohibiting), when improved technology could better solve that problem, because they know nothing about technology. Those who might deliver technical solutions have no power to implement them.

   Few except banksters understood the financial pyramid scheme -- until people recently started explaining it on youtube, and still most people don't get it: You put 1000$ in the bank, and the bank is required to keep a 10% reserve. So you think they have 900$ to loan out at a higher interest rate than they pay you, the depositor, and that that rate difference is how they make their money. This would be reasonable.
   Instead, they keep all your money and enter on their books that they have 9000$ to lend out, and they lend it. They have their 10% reserve - your 1000$. With your 1000$ deposit, the bank has created 9000$ of potential debt out of thin air, which is soon made actual. The recipient of the loaned money (eg, the seller of a house) usually deposits it in a bank, so the bank has 1000+9000 = 10000$ on deposit and is owed 9000$ (by the house buyer). The interest from the fictitious 9000$ loan comes in, and the principal is gradually repaid, so the bank gains more and more money on deposit, which they treat the same as your deposit and lend out nine times as much as they have. The money, created as debt, inflates the money supply and robs value from your 1000$, said to amount to 98% of the value since 1913: what cost ten cents back then now costs five dollars. And the money that exists, all created as debt to be paid back with interest, can never equal the amount owed, so the debts can never be repaid. In this game of musical chairs, unless the money supply continues to expand, defaults are inevitable, and in today's shrinking economy the banks in many lands have seized major portions of the whole real estate 'inventory' through foreclosures while tens of millions go without.
   If you or I lent money the same way the banks do, we would quickly find ourselves in jail. Therefore this "ponzy" scheme creates a two-tiered justice system with a powerful unfair leverage given to the banking institutions over the citizens. The price of the house was 10 times higher than it could otherwise have become owing to 'cheap', easy bank credit - supplied from money that didn't exist. The citizens become economic slaves to the parasitic banks for decades, effectively on an almost life-long "rent to purchase" plan - as if it was the bank that had built and sold them the house! And the financial sector has now grown far larger than the real economy, on the backs of the productive. Only "the 1%" can buy a house for cash without involving a bank, which accrues a fortune off each transaction, off each purchaser, with the debt they created out of thin air.

   Again, nations should control, create and print their own currency, not print bonds and and sell them to borrow money from a private central bank that creates the money out of thin air privately. No private institution should be permitted to loan out money it doesn't have - it is in fact (even if not in present laws) a criminal offense and banksters responsible for it should be personally punished the same way you or I would be. Perhaps there should be no private banks, only public financial trusts. It's almost beyond belief that unprincipled politicians have permitted this insidious, heinous pyramid scheme to be installed everywhere in the world, against the interests of their own people. On the other hand, someone has pointed out that every politician that has tried to end the banking system's fleecing of the public has been murdered. (This isn't quite true, as the assassination attempt on Andrew Jackson failed and the US treasury printed the USA's money for 80 years following his "takeout" of the First Central Bank, until in 1913 the bankers reasserted their overlordship.)
   The article quoted from below, seen just while I was doing a final editing of this newsletter, appears to be a great example of what can happen when it's done the right way.

Hungary Tells Banksters To Get Out Of Their Country And Take The IMF With You. (excerpt from article:)

"According to a report on the German-language website “National Journal,” Orbán has now moved to unseat the usurers from their throne. The popular, nationalistic prime minister told the IMF that Hungary neither wants nor needs further “assistance” from that proxy of the Rothschild-owned Federal Reserve Bank. No longer will Hungarians be forced to pay usurious interest to private, unaccountable central bankers.

"Instead, the Hungarian government has assumed sovereignty over its own currency and now issues money debt free, as it is needed. The results have been nothing short of remarkable. The nation’s economy, formerly staggering under deep indebtedness, has recovered rapidly and by means not seen since National Socialist Germany."

http://americanfreepress.net/?p=12418 .

   The ruling political group was in fact elected on its promise to nationalize the currency supply as stated. Will this be squashed, or can it spread to become the herald of a more sustainable way of doing things? Anyway, congratulations to Orbán, his group, and to Hungary as a whole!

USA's DHS headed for Syria, Iran?

   US president Obama said, seemingly out of the blue last year, that if Syria - the Syrian government - used chemical weapons to defend itself, the USA wouldn't tolerate it. There was no threat or promise expressed or implied that the USA would help Assad put down the insurgents if they used chemical weapons, and they were found by the UN to have used them at least twice with no moves or even verbal condemnation from the USA. The statement was thus purely a threat against the Syrian government, not a statement of principle against the use of chemical weapons. And it came after the USA itself had been selling chemical weapons to the Syrian military. It would appear that the USA has been supplying arms and training to any insurgents willing to go into Syria for several years, and while Assad is perhaps no more popular than other middle-eastern dictators, the current problems in Syria seem to be largely "Made In USA". And even if there was no other criminal intent, Obama is culpable just for aggravating the situation with his inflammatory statement, which would obviously tempt the rebels to use chemical weapons and try to frame the Syrian government for it.
   This month's nerve gas event that killed hundreds of people just after UN inspectors had arrived on the scene at the invitation of Syria and Russia, then, came as no surprise, and had every appearance of being a stage-managed propaganda stunt to get the American and western public behind an invasion of Syria, similar to Hitler's staged "Poland Attacks Germany" attack just before Germany invaded Poland "in retaliation" in 1939, incidentally starting world war two. A lady in Syria near the scene said it was done by the rebels and she named a rebel leader who she alleged had ordered the attack. (See Corbett Report of August 21st on youtube.com explaining how little rhyme or reason there would have been to Assad launching this gas attack on his own people, especially at this time.) Israel claimed to have heard "radio chatter" pinning the blame on Assad's brother. Is that the best "proof" they could find? Nor was it a surprise to hear a rumour a day later there were American paid mercenaries already next to or even in Syria, and within a week that the USA could be expected to attack "any time".

   A bunch of other stuff suddenly started to add up, too. Why did the American "DHS", "TSA" and expanded "FEMA" really exist, why did they have such a huge personnel, and why did they need (according to various reports) 400,000,000 or 1,200,000,000 rounds of "dum-dum" hollow point bullets, placing orders to the point that not only the public but the police can't buy bullets? And why did they need state-of-the-art armoured vehicles? Why were they said to be using pop-up silhouettes of civilians for target practice? What was the purpose of them being ordered (a week or so before the nerve gas attack) to complete various training programs and, essentially, mobilize, by October, with placement of large food ration orders? What were the various hints being dropped that "something big" is afoot for October?
   What it seems to add up to to all appearances, is that the "homeland" forces are going to be sent to Syria. They were never intended to be employed within the USA - the names were just blinds, perhaps for the recruits as well as the world. (This blind has worked well: even the ardent critics of the US government thought they were meant for imposing martial law at home. I don't how and whether they were included in foreign calculations of US military muscle.) The first step would be invasion and occupation of Syria, and that's probably all that will be hinted at while it's happening. That would give the USA a port in the Eastern Mediterranean. But all these violent weapons and all this force can hardly be necessary to subdue Syria alone. The obvious next step is to march from Syria through Iraq and invade Iran - the other country the USA has been targeting with threats, propaganda and sanctions for some years now. I wonder how many of those who joined the "DHS" and "TSA" had any inkling that they would be headed overseas to invade foreign countries?
   If they are successful they'll have a "secure" route for transport and oil and natural gas pipelines to the Mediterranean through Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.

   But such plans are madness. Russian deliveries of missiles to Syria and Russian naval movements in the Eastern Mediterranean would suggest they aren't to roll over and take it. Furthermore, the US government won't get away with it at home. American protests that will gradually turn into bloody uprisings as people wake up to what's being done and why are almost inevitable. We may look at Egypt as a template.
   Speaking of which... it also seems there may well have been American influence in the overthrow of Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected leader, where they seem to be trying to pull a repeat of slandering and overthrowing Iran's first elected leader in the 1950's and installing the Shah as a USA-friendly puppet who would give them Iran's oil instead of selling it at a fair price, and the many repetitions of that theme since in South America for resources there.
   But this ain't the 1950's no more. As Zbigneuw Brzezinsky says, there seems to be a raising of consciousness around the world, with people everywhere having an increased sense of political awareness. People are starting to catch on, and government and business are starting to have a hard time pulling the wool over their eyes. Furthermore, some critics argue that the US economy will implode, either simply under the strain or because some countries will cease shipping their commodities to the US. They say that the other countries will win this way instead of trying to fight the militarily powerful USA with weapons, "without firing a shot."
   Why is Obama now asking for Congressional approval? Some think it's a face-saving way of stepping back from the brink, others think approval through blackmail will assure that the juggernaut will roll on and give the appearance of solidarity. The latter idea seems more in keeping with the rest of a plan put into motion well before Obama's time.

   There is of course no hint of the USA wanting to actually take the steps required to exit the oil dependency that is at the root of all this in order to move towards a peaceful world. not even the most basic step (taken most everywhere but in North America) of electrifying the railroads. That doesn't fit the part of the "business model" of the clique of gangsters who rule the world from behind the scenes (and for whom Obama is "an asset") of sapping wealth from the public (in case there is any left) via petroleum. As Jesus said, "A corrupt tree can't bear good fruit."

   I'm starting to think that the fearsome collapse of the global financial system, and the global chaos and dislocation of plans and supplies it will cause, can't come a moment too soon! So far, the can has been kicked down the road farther than many (lately including me) have expected, but at some point "the can" will turn into "the bucket". I'm in tune with those who advise "Get your money out of the banks!", "Use local banks and credit unions.", "Become your own central banker.", and "Have cash, gold, silver, bitcoins, assets, commodities, food, energy, for the day the banks close their doors." It's not like banks pay interest any more, and with the threat of "bail-ins", money in the bank is starting to look less safe than cash in a jar buried in a field. As Max Keiser recently put it, the world's people are now not just being fleeced but plucked like chickens.

BC Winter?

   Last winter was very cold in many parts of North America. We were spared here in the PNW, but somehow I have a sense that after this great summer there's likely to be an exceptional winter with mountains of snow here on the coast. Heavy snow may block roads, and bring down power lines causing lengthy power failures. It's another reason besides potential monetary system collapse to have some food, fuel and any vital meds stocked up. I've bought snowshoes, which I missed having in 1996. (Remember the 1996 snowstorm when nothing was moving for 3 weeks in Victoria?) We are now globally seeing various weather extremes and the PNW may not be immune. People did freeze in the Quebec ice storms a few years ago, and in Russia last winter. The flooding in Russia's far East this summer doubtless brought most everything to a halt there, too, and just now unseasonable early spring snow and bitter cold (-20°c) is killing livestock and people in Peru, which is in the tropics. Victoria wouldn't fare well at -20°c either. The shrinking of the Arctic icecaps might produce glaciers and colder temperatures elsewhere, especially at higher elevations. Could it all be related to HAARP? Who can tell?
   I could just be a worrier and Victoria's winter will have it's usual rain and clouds with occasional frost and a few flakes of snow that soon melt. Look at all the nasty weather there's been, and all the crop failures last year (2012), and decide for yourself whether it's too much bother or takes up too much storage space to be prepared just in case there's a nasty weather event here too. Just before hurricane Sandy, NYC grocery store shelves were emptied in something like an hour or two.

Challenge for the Next Civilization

   Formerly lands were ruled by kings and dictators, then the concept that people could rule themselves evolved, and democracy and representative government followed. However, these concepts were new, untried, and while the greatest minds of the day framed the new systems, they couldn't see ahead far enough to see the more distant ramifications of the choices they were making. Their frameworks had serious flaws that are now proving fatal to peaceful evolution of society.
   In most countries, parliament acted as a legislative branch under a king, but assumed the powers of both the executive and legislative branches of governance as soon as there was an incompetent king. Mostly the judicial branch was properly separated from the other two. In the new United States of America, the founders wisely realized that the executive branch was separate from the legislative (as any high school political textbook will tell you today), and created the elected office of president to replace the hereditary executive office of king.
   But in no cases did anyone proceed farther with the actual selection mechanism than the idea of marking the "illiterate's X" on the ballots for the offices to be filled. (After all, there were plenty of people who couldn't read or write.) It seemed - and was - a tremendous advance over elections with swords and spears. But I've written before about how this primitive voting system is unfair, and how it polarizes and politicizes our governing systems and our whole societies.

   In this unfairness, permanent political partisan groups, "parties", soon begin to form. Quickly power exits the elected legislatures and becomes concentrated in party hands and it is seen that "independents" in the legislature can accomplish little when confronted by organized voting blocks, and the voter begins to feel they must vote for a "party" rather than for a person, and that voting for the best person is a "wasted vote". It is a fear based voting system where one votes instead for the "most likely to win" alternative to the "least wanted" likely outcome. As the polarization proceeds one party gains power over all others combined, and the legislature becomes merely a rubber stamp for the decisions of the largest party's leader, who in most nations is also the "Prime Minister". (a term first applied derisively to Robert Walpole for his staid, churchman-like leadership. [Walpole is also of "Bob's your uncle!" fame for giving his relatives the choice jobs.])
   Ambitious people, greedy or hungry for power over others, start finding their way to the top of the parties, and thence by default to the top of the political system. And since they have no guiding ideals or ideas for social progress nor principles except "What can I get out of it?", but occupy the seats of power wherein such new ideas and progressive forms are implemented, sociopolitical progress grinds to a halt, and as events of the new century have shown, go into reverse. Former "bastions of freedom" are rapidly becoming brutal dictatorships.
   Similarly minded people who have connived their way to the top of the economic system are also able to get what they want politically, by rewards to the unprincipled party politicians. And now with their vast stolen fortunes they lavishly support all political sides - any who may perhaps form the next government must be beholden to them. This is why there are two laws: one for those with the money who get the politicians elected, and one for the rest of the people. We see today the transfer of the entire wealth of nations to wholly corrupt bankers and commerce based people (often the same people, as a handful of families controls 70 or 80% of the world's commerce) by various obscure fraudulent and underhanded processes, best described as brazen theft on a grand scale, that would land any of "the 99%" in jail, with politicans in connivance, aiding and abetting the crime -- and then choosing not to arrest or prosecute.

   A major challenge for the next civilization will be to frame its democratic and representative governmental institutions in such a way as to foster election of talented and morally qualified individuals to governing offices, people with ideals and ideas for further improving society, while giving the greedy and power hungry no foothold. Along with treason, betrayal of public trust in any form by anyone in any position of political or economic power, must come to be treated as the culpable offense and capital crime that it really is.
   Today getting involved in political processes seems virtually futile, and the "political class" is more and more separated from society and reality. The seeming apathy of the masses is due partly to powerlessness more than to lack of desire or interest in effecting change. The choice ranking voting system, separation of the executive and legislative branches, power to control the political process and agenda through referendums, and (IMHO) the Department of Progress, are all basic components to fixing this. These things will empower people to be effective when they get involved in governing processes, able to provide input and influence to make needed changes and advance society and culture.

Electric Hubcap Motor Systems - Electric Transport

Better Rotor Magnet Attachment?

   I considered or started in on some things that were going to need Electric Hubcap type motors or generators. I had been trying to think of a stronger way to put the magnets on the rotors, and I think I've come up with something simple: a better pattern of polypropylene strapping. The biggest problem with the existing method is that the outer end of the magnet isn't covered. The magnet can simply slide out if it doesn't adhere well to the epoxy, and this happened to my first (so far only) Electric Caik rotor at some very low speed. I re-did the rotor after I sanded the slick coated magnets. I'm still afraid to run it above around 2000 RPM, when my intended design speed was 3000.
   But I didn't want to add another layer that would make the cloth thicker on top of the magnets. Axial flux magnet gap is quite wide, but having placed a wall between the magnets and the coils, the air gap isn't very big... and I don't want it to become zero or negative with the magnets rubbing the wall owing to extra layers.

   The new idea is to put a first layer of strapping over the outer end and wrapping it around the sides of the magnet. It would just be the thickness of the magnet tall and hence add no material on top. An aluminum clip can hold it in place while the epoxy sets.
   When the "regular" strapping is laid on, it would be the same height, one material thickness over the magnet, but it would enclose the material now underlying around the sides. The material now covering the outer end would thus be supported all the way up the sides. It could also extend down the edge of the rotor and even wrap around the back if I feel disposed to cut more complex shapes and extend the epoxying down and around.
   Maybe then I'd feel confident of testing the Caik motor up to 3500 or 4000 RPM and (assuming it holds together) calling it a 3000 RPM motor as I had planned.

The Electric Motorcycle - with V-belt & clutch

   Having somehow not got the Chev Sprint with the ultra-efficient torque converter transmission working this summer, I decided I should try out the belt-clutch idea in a simple way: by resurrecting the electric motorcycle project. This rather heavy frame machine (plus the rider) had needed about 80 amps out of an Electric Hubcap motor to start moving on level ground with a 4 or 4.6 to one chain sprocket reduction. It was like trying to start a car moving in 3rd gear, and it was pretty disappointing.
   This time I decided to try a 4 or 5 to one reduction with a V-belt, with an idler operated by a clutch pedal to tension the belt. On the 27th I made the drive to Princess Auto (and other destinations in the Langford direction) and picked up another of their flat-plate 10" V-belt pulleys, and a cast steel 2.5" one for the motor end. I didn't see any ready-made idlers, but that wouldn't be hard to make. The next day I drilled the bolt holes, turned the center hole larger on the lathe, and (with considerable filing to fit) mounted the big pulley on the back wheel of the bike. I'll use a link belt in order to get the belt through the frame.

The 10" V-belt pulley - with center hole expanded and bolt holes drilled - on the back wheel.

   With the bicycle rim motor unmade, the Sprint car still sitting, and all the other things I could be doing, I'm not sure this project is the most effective use of my time. But once it's working, I see no particular use for it myself, so I won't be fitting it all up with battery chargers, weatherproof equipment covers, signal lights and so forth to make it a practical vehicle. I tell myself it should be a short project. Haha! Anyway, putting the pulley on was just part of one afternoon.

Mazda: Battery #12

   I was told the Mazda would run with 8 to 12 twelve volt batteries. And so it does. But using regular "marine-RV deep cycle" batteries, with sodium silicate or not, has shown a problem: they're not really made for delivering such high continuous currents, often well over 100 amps on an up slope, except maybe for a moment to start an engine, and so they run down rather quickly under heavy EV loads, reducing the expected driving range. Golf cart batteries would be better, but only uncommon 8-volt ones fit in the Mazda. Also, my 70 amp-hour NiMH "D" cell batteries aren't charging right up to 14 volts owing to somewhat weak chargers, and they run down prematurely.
   Every battery that's added raises the voltage and thus reduces the current required to attain a given power, and the lower currents make for more gain than just the added percentage of storage capacity. I finally got around to juggling some batteries around and putting in battery #12 on August 31st. (with Tom's help lifting them.) I expect to go from about 5 miles range with what I think is reasonable voltage drop to at least 6. Speaking of which, the "Cycle Analyst" won't say the voltage is above 155.3, and I was worried about why it wasn't charging higher. But I finally noticed that the other meter says 166 volts, so the Cycle Analyst is wrong.
   But the batteries that run out of charge first are the NiMH ones -- because they aren't charging up to the full 14.0 volts. I've found Toshiba 15 volt, 8 amp power adapters that aren't too costly. I have one now. I put it on the lowest NiMH battery with a smaller value current limit resistor on September 1st, and it looks like it's charging faster. (I'll order a bunch of them soon but the cheapest store is presently out of stock.) That'll probably add another mile or two of range as well, and faster charge recovery although it's still a slow float-charge system. But I haven't have time to put the improvements to the distance test yet.
   I picked the float charge as surely being the easiest on the batteries and hence having them last longest, with overnight charging. I still think that. But it can limit driving if you want to drive two fairly good distances on the same day. But evidently I shouldn't have left the new charger on overnight: it was still pumping in heavy current and overheating the battery the next day. I'm worried its capacity may have been reduced or that some of the cells may be ruptured. It turned out to be 15.5 volts instead of 15.0, so it needed another diode in series to output the proper voltage. (Starting with a 14 volt supply would be better, if such a thing can be found at an economical price.)

   Of course, an inefficient automotive transmission is a big part of the problem. Without its 30% [typical manual transmission] losses, the currents would be 30% lower and the vehicle would have much greater range with the same batteries. In spite of all my failures and setbacks, I trust I'll be able to get back to the variable torque converter "ultra efficient" transmission project and bring it to a successful conclusion - hopefully as an "Electric Hubcap" add-on motor system.

Electric Equipment Projects

Improved(?) Thermoelectric Camping Cooler

   For the camping trip I took the original Peltier Module cooler I had bought to initially investigate thermoelectric devices for the refrigerator, and re-assembled it but in a slightly modified form: I used two 8.5A, 15V peltiers in series (electrically) instead of the original single 5A, 15V peltier. Of course, running the modules below 1/2 voltage, they lose considerable capacity if the voltage goes down to 10 or 11 volts. But my plans were for higher voltages if anything, rather than lower.
   There was a spot on the warm side heat sink machined flat for the peltier module. To fit the two modules, I machined it a little longer (it was too short by all of 2mm or so) on the milling machine. After putting it off for weeks, I started putting it together on the evening of the 4th, and finished the assembly on the morning of the 5th before I set out camping.
   Performance during the campout was meager. It was better than nothing, but not a whole lot. I think the 4 liters of ice lasted a day or so longer. I didn't have time to look at it while camping. After I got home, I started checking and found that the two bolts clamping the warm and cold heatsinks together onto the faces of the Peltier modules weren't very tight, and the cold side fan was jammed by a part that was out of place.
   With the problems fixed, the doubled module cooling should be superior - especially with the limited power usually available while camping - pumping more heat with less current from the battery (~3.0A vs. ~4.2A = ~70%). But in a couple of attempts, I haven't proved it so far. Perhaps I should try the 12v-8v series peltier arrangement I'm using in the fridge.

   A second component to this project was to power the cooler directly off a 65 watt solar collector intended for 12 volt applications (putting out probably 12-17 volts while powering the cooler). As long as the weather was sunny and direct sunlight was accessible (which it was for the whole campout while the sun was above the trees surrounding the clearing), this ran the cooler all day from about 8:30AM to 6PM (That's DST, so 7:30 to 5PM local solar time). I had to move it around a couple of times every day to keep the collector in the sunlight and pointed towards it. Whatever voltage the collector put out was fine because the cooler had no smarts to burn out. I had put a resistor in series with the outer fan to reduce its speed/noise, and the two 15 volt Peltier modules were in series and could tolerate up to 30 volts. The only fan that could be run at somewhat more than its rated voltage was the inner one. It was a small quiet fan and I doubt it cares much about voltage.

   The one important change I'll make next time is to bring a very long extension cord so the cooler can be kept stationary in the cool shade instead of having to drag it around with the collector in the hot sun.

Electricity (Energy) Production

Magnet Machines: More Magnets?

   The type of magnet machine that seems most likely to succeed might just be the "magnetic ramp" type, with the ramp formed into a circle. I now envision one where instead of a ramp with two rows of magnets that gradually get farther apart, it would have just one row, around the outside as a stator where the magnets gradually get farther from the rotor, in a one-turn shallow spiral.
   Either by repulsion or attraction the rotor magnet would spin the rotor for one turn until it came back to the start and end of the spiral. We'll consider repulsion. Normally there it would encounter the equal and opposite magnetism that would bring it to a halt. Instead, at the optimum moment some sort of cam would push the last magnet from the outside of the spiral to the inside, so that the rotor magnet, instead of being at the end of the spiral, is at its start and will spin another turn. Some will hold that the force required to push the magnet into position will be equal to that gained in the rest of the circuit. If it's less, the machine will be obtaining nuclear energy from the magnets via their magnetism.

   I had some sort of mental block against this type of machine because one magnet on a rotor pushed by one ramp doesn't make for much force. But obviously as many magnets as practical can be placed around the rotor at the best angle, and all of them will be pushed. The cam will be activated as each one passes the start and end point... with the others still pushing. The unbalanced component of the force driving the rotation, which will doubtless be quite small, will be multiplied by the number of magnets on the rotor, and will be smoothed out if the magnets don't all line up at once at certain points, ie if the numbers of magnets on the rotor are slightly different than the number on the stator.
   Hopefully several magnets would overcome inertia and friction and also be able to do a useful amount of work.

Another Video of Alex Erauw's Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (Aug 26th)

   I've been convinced by Erauw's videos that If I ever make a wind turbine, it'll be a vertical axis one. They seem so simple, and are apparently more effective in shifting winds and turbulence: ie, at any location shorter than a tower that sticks up above everything else around. (Or as I previously proposed, strung along a cable between two mountains.) Erauw has some impressive units and equipment to make them, but it should be simple to do a small unit with some of the same shafts and bearings I've been using for motors, a piece of plywood or two (depending on the unit's size), sheets of aluminum, and perhaps just connect it to a lawnwower motor or one of my own motors with a flat belt (or V-belt), rather than build coils and a magnet rotor into the unit itself.


   Since I already have too many projects, I got the idea to offer to create a design, buy someone the parts, and have them put it together. This does have the danger of drawing me into assisting with various aspects, doing charge controllers and hookups, and so on. But these are things I'm doing anyway, presumably for various types of power generation. And I have a couple of prospects of interested people.
   Let's see... maybe an aluminum and 3/4" plywood rotor about 3' diameter by 3' tall, unit mounted on an angle iron frame, with a 1" shaft and bearings below  the rotor and a V-belt or flat belt step-up drive to a lawnmower motor for a generator.

Electricity Storage - Turquoise Battery Project (etc.)

Plastic Jar Cell #1

Self discharge: is interaction between the two electrodes

   On August 3rd I ran a load test on the 'new' PP#3-b cell with the zircon in the negative electrode. It started with the cell having charged to over 2.5 volts, and ran for 30 minutes until the voltage of the manganese negode dropped to that of the zinc 'test/reference electrode'. Beyond this, the zinc would start to oxidize. Since PP#3's original zinc terminal strip had corroded off, I decided that lower voltage operation was a bad idea after all, and that discharge to under 2 volts should be avoided. Obviously if the zinc was allowed to oxidize, the cell wouldn't last long.

   A piece of zinc sheet makes a crude reference electrode. At the pH, 13, it should be ~ -1.20 volts according to the zinc Pourbaix diagram. (That can only be considered quite approximate. The diagram is suspect because it doesn't seem to match standard dry cell voltage near neutral pH, showing ~ -.84 versus the actual ~ -1.07.) Before discharge, the Mn negode tested as about 1/3 volt more negative than the Zn, ie, around -1.5 volts. That meant the nickel hydroxide:potassium permanganate posode was about +1.0 volts.

   The cell recovered strongly to ~ 2.35 volts. Unfortunately I didn't get a reference electrode test at that time. After almost 4 hours, it had dropped to 2.15. The negode was still .280 volts more negative than the zinc reference, or ~ -1.48 volts. This meant the "+" side was down to around .67 volts, probably accounting for much or even most of the self discharge and the lower cell voltage. I later realized the the discharge was interaction between the electrodes.
   I charged it up over 2.5 volts again, and put it in the fridge.

20 Ton Press

   "Window shopping" downtown on the 3rd I noticed a "King" 20 ton hydraulic press with some nice features at Barclay's Exchange. One of its nice features was a gauge saying the pressure being applied. It was about 380$. After thinking about it I went back later and bought it. I've long suspected that that insufficient compaction might be the reason for the poor conductivity of my cells, and that I could do a better job of compacting electrodes. With the edge compactor, 20 tons should be sufficient, and hopefully more than sufficient.
   A key point was the gauge. Previously I suspected that I wasn't compacting enough, but I didn't even know how much I was compacting. With the slot in the compactor 3.2mm * 64mm, the area being compacted is known (2.048 sq.cm) and so from the pressure, the pressure per square centimeter can be calculated. (Ie, divide by 2.) Knowing the compaction pressure may be as valuable as greater compaction itself, because then it's replicable instead of haphazard.
    I carried the pieces (it came unassembled) upstairs in about 5 trips, and completed assembling the beast in the battery lab on the evening of the 10th - not without having to drill an extra 1/2" hole and mount the pump cylinder askew to have it on the left side. (Can't move one hole position and drill 3 extra holes to enable proper left-handed pump mounting? Come on, guys, 12% of men are left handed!) I pressed some steel blocks to about 11 megagrams (Mg, "tonnes", a bit more than a 2000 pound "ton") and it seemed to work fine.

The new press from above

How much to press?

   I then looked up the "optimum" compaction for an Fe 'trode from the 2004 Bangalore research paper and found it was only "675 Kg/sq.cm". My memory was that the pressure worked out to a very high figure -- which was probably based on compacting electrodes on the flat. To compact the 64x64mm electrodes (41 sq.cm) on the flat would take 28Mg. [megagrams] But for edge compacting, only 1.35Mg! Had I wasted my money on the press? But every electrode element would be different, and I can now try everything from 1 to 20Mg for the Mn and Ni:Mn electrodes.
   Perhaps I should consider the possibility that I was compacting them too much and the impedance problem was that they weren't porous enough for the electrolyte to enter freely? That seemed a bit far fetched, but again without a gauge I didn't even know what pressure I'd been exerting. Using the gauge on the press compacting a few test electrodes should tell the story!

   Late at night on the 10th I thought of a simpler test. I closed the valve and pumped the press a bit, put in some steel blocks, and used them as a fulcrum for the same pry bar I had been compacting electrodes with. I levered up on the press cylinder, with the same sort of leverage and force I had used to compact electrodes. I could hardly get the pointer to move on the dial. It must have been less than 250Kg - at best 1/5th of the force recommended for the iron electrodes, and perhaps as little as 1/10th!
   There was the answer. Much more pressure, easily obtained with the press, would doubtless make much better electrodes.

   When I tried the press on the 12th it turned out the suggested figure was good: 1.5 Mg was the most force it was prudent to apply. At 2 Mg the die sheet suddenly bent and had to be hammered straight again. Later at 1.75Mg there was a "bang" - one of the bolts holding the press together had stripped its threads. It was also impossible after applying such pressures to get the bolts out afterwards with the nutdriver - holding the compactor in a vice and a good wrench was required. I drilled out the threaded holes in the compactor and put through longer bolts with nuts.
   In theory the book press should be able to provide enough pressure if it had a working swivel on the end of the threaded press rod - and it was much faster to operate. Evidently I had wasted my money on the heavy press - at least for the way I was presently making electrodes - except for the precious gauge. I finally know how much actual pressure I'm applying. I now know the lever arrangement I've been using lately has entirely insufficient pressure.

   On the other hand, I could press electrodes up to about 25 or 30 square centimeters on the flat with pressures up to 20 Mg. (hmm, 45 x 45mm = 20 sq.cm = 1/2 the present size, ~13 Mg of press. That might be a convenient size. The smaller they are the less likely they are to crack during handling - just stack more of them.) Then they could be pressed straight onto/into a perforated collector sheet for best contact, and double sided electrodes with the current collector in the middle could be pressed, all in one go.

How to Perforate Sheet Metal: Pin Frog?

   I wasn't satisfied with the roughing up of the zinc sheets with the rasps - they weren't really perforating - and I kept thinking about how to properly perforate the metal to obtain a high surface area grid for better connection. I haven't found such sheets in zinc or graphite anywhere. I looked on line and found perforating machines, but they looked like they'd cost many thousands of dollars, even tho from China.
   Then I had an inspiration: Take a plate of aluminum and use the CNC drill-router (or finally install the CNC kit in the milling machine) to drill out the desired hole pattern. Then take a bunch of small finishing nails, grind off the points, and stuff them into the holes. Screw a solid plate over the heads of the nails so they can't come out. Drill another aluminum plate, with slightly larger holes, as a die to press through the zinc sheet and into. Voila! One could drill a third plate that can left on while puncturing and pried up to push the zinc sheet evenly off the nails.
   Even simpler, just drill one plate and pound the nails with a hammer (in bunches) through the zinc into a soft wooden block under. Pry the wood, then the zinc, off the nails - or pound the nails out again, backwards.

   My thought then is to place the perforated zinc (or graphite) sheet in the compactor and press with it in place, expanding the thickness of the space a bit and having the die come down next to it. If it doesn't fold up or crush, this should hopefully make for well connected electrodes and current collectors.
   And if I do smaller size electrodes, it should get easy enough to make the simple 'bed of nails' with a drill in the hand operated milling machine: just turn the crank the same number of turns for each hole position.

   I made a 1/4" aluminum test plate with 5 rows of about 30 holes. On the 15th, a friend saw the new creation, and later he e-mailed suggesting I try a "flower frog" or "pin frog". These are a block of lead or solder with the pointed ends of nails sticking up from them. They're used in flower arranging: the stems of the flowers are stuck into the nails to hold them in place.
   The nails proved to be steel and didn't bend when I hammered on it or put it in the press to punch the holes in the thin zinc metal (which took about 3/4 of a ton of force, since many holes are being punched at once). By pressing several times I covered the electrode area, mostly with multiple offset copies of the pattern, and had jagged perforations sticking out both sides for good contacts to both briquettes of a double sided electrode.

Zinc sheet perforated several times with the pin frog and a hammer.

   It easily perforated the graphite sheets, barely moving the needle on the pressure gauge if at all.

   Now the only thing I could wish for would be a larger, square pin frog to cover the entire electrode area in one pass - preferably with a denser pin pattern. I checked the web, and found they do come in various shapes, sizes and materials. Denser pins might be problematic. Some are wholly unsuitable, eg, some have holes instead of pins to stick the stems into, so I was lucky Michaels had the right thing.
   But now that I know what they are, I could probably make one easily enough if I decide it's worth while. Easier to make than melting lead might be to cast the nails into epoxy - assuming a thick slab of epoxy would be strong enough not to crack in the press. ...Or PP-epoxy composite?
   I checked local florist shops. One had quite large round pin frogs. They wouldn't quite get the corners, but I paid 40$ to reduce the number of times I have to press for each electrode (hydraulic presses are anything but fast), or to save having to get into making a big square one myself.

Plastic Jar Cell #1 (PJC1)

   On the 17th I put together the first cell in a (ABS?) plastic jar. I cut slots in the lid for the terminals to stick out of. I glued on a 1/4" ABS tab to protect the graphite of the positive current collector. I "sealed" the slots with modelling clay, since I might want to disassemble things. My first idea was to do a two-face negode with a posode on each side, doubling what I had been doing for higher current and storage capacity, then I decided to just do single electrodes and see how it worked. The negode was 48g and the posode 30g. Theoretically, it should have 20 or 30 amp-hours of material.
   I backed the electrode briquettes, which had been better compacted by the hydraulic press than previous ones, with the perforated zinc and graphite current collector sheets. The posode's graphite got painted with osmium doped acetaldehyde and calcium hydroxide. I wrapped each electrode in polypropylene fabric, a thicker white variety. (called "Crop Cover" of some such name.) Between the electrodes I also placed a piece of fat, rough embroidery cloth as a holey place for gasses to bubble out. On the outside of the sandwich I used two pieces of 3/16" ABS plastic, cut about the same size as the electrodes. I wrapped this with cable tie wraps then inserted the terminals through the slots in the lid. I didn't fill it above the tops of the electrodes - probably they weren't even entirely immersed. I figure the top will wick up water and work as something of a dry cell.

I made a little metal tray to dump eectrode materials into the slot in the compactor.

I pulled the first piece of hydraulic pressed briquette out to see what it looked like:
almost like a chunk of metal with that zinc sheen.

I tried compacting an electrode with considerable material dumped in for each press.
One can see that the lower end material of each press isn't as well compacted.

So... it's back to 'one teaspoon at a time'.

Negode on perfed zinc sheet - still very fragile in spite of high compacting pressure.

   It started out reading over 1.7 volts. This would basically be the zinc (-) and permanganate (+), with the Mn and MnO2 (in the minus side) having discharged each other to some intermediate state when I mixed the electrode powder and wetted it. After a day's charging at 25mA, 50mA and then 65mA, I went up to 90mA. After a while the charge voltage was about 2.9 volts. I put it in the fridge part of the time. It seemed to make some difference to the charging voltage, but it didn't make "the" difference between charging up to higher voltage and not, as it had without the zircon.
   I tried a 1 ohm load test and found it would deliver about 1.2 amps (= 1.2V) after 30 seconds. Doubtless this was draining the zinc as well as the manganese, but I think it's easily the best figure so far with MnMn. It's 30mA/sq.cm, which if not high is at least into real battery territory.
   Later I tried it in the fridge and it would only put out .9 amps. Higher resistance when it's cold probably explains the higher charging voltages as well as the lower discharge voltage. Apparently MnMn prefers it warm, at least above fridge temperatures -- as long as the negode has the antimony sulfide and the zirconium silicate to raise the hydrogen overvoltage so it charges at "room temperature". (at least up to about 30°c.)
   I tried a short load test and compared it to the first few minutes of one with cell PP#3. It didn't seem to be faring quite as well, but close. Well, it wasn't very charged yet. Then I realized I was using a 25 ohm load where the PP#3 test had been a 50 ohm load, so the new cell definitely had better current. With 50 ohms a bit later it seemed to fare slightly better than the best test with PP#3 - and after only a day, I trusted it had a lot more charge to charge up to.
   The Mn negode was about .3 to .4 volts more negative than a zinc one, depending on the state of charge.
   It wasn't charging up to the now expected 2.6 open circuit volts, hovering around 2.4 to 2.5 depending on the charging current, and dropping relatively quickly. It fared somewhat better in the fridge.
   I started to consider that if the cell really had 10 or 20 or more amp-hours in it, tens of milliamps was pretty small peanuts, and the discharge currents were always puzzlingly low. If indeed I had a good cell I might not be exceeding the natural self discharge rate, and so not really charging up most of the manganese. On the 19th I raised the charging current again, to 220mA. Charge voltage rose to almost 3.1 volts... then dropped back to just over 3.0. It's such high voltages that make me flinch - they're ridiculous for any other battery cell. But why should should they bother me when I've created such a high voltage cell, with its own unknown characteristics? I went up to 300mA (at 3.15 volts).
    I did a 25 ohm load test after 3 or 4 hours, with the best results so far - marginally: 33 minutes at over 2.0 volts, 46mAH. Later the water was purple (& pH ~7). I replaced the electrolyte and reduced the charge to 185mA to reduce bubbling.
   The next day gave, again marginally, the best results I've had. But after another day I got fed up with that and tried 670mA. The water was purple anyway, and the cell *should* have at least 10 amp-hours, not milliamp hours, so why should it be charged with less than pretty high current? The bubbling was audible and the charge voltage, 3.6 volts, seemed ludicrous, but when it was taken off charge after only 1/2 an hour, it stayed well over 2.6 volts for a bit, and under load delivered the highest voltages yet. I put it back on. But the graphite terminal had got munched when I had the cell in the fridge (when I closed the door it pushed it back against a shelf which broke off the protective plastic tab), and now it finished breaking off. Attempts to tape another piece of graphite to it were unsuccessful and it broke off right at the electrode. I disassembled the cell and stuck a new graphite terminal tab behind the current collector sheet. It seemed to work okay.
   It later turned out that one alligator clip leed or its contacts had a rather high resistance, almost an ohm, and that the charging voltage at the actual battery terminals was around 3.1 volts (not 3.6), with a current of 700mA. Another 50 ohm load test in the early evening (21st) gave incrementally the best results yet. Most exciting was that the voltage previously started dropping typically from under 2.4 in less than a minute, and now it was all but 2.5 volts, dropping to 2.4 only after 15 minutes of discharge, and it stayed above 2.0 volts for over 90 minutes. That's about 70 mAH at above 2 volts - not much but improving.
   It continued improving. A while later after some more charging a short 50 ohms load test stayed over 2.5 volts(!) for 5 minutes, and it put out nearly 2 amps into 1 ohm for a few seconds, instead of under 1.5 amps. Before bed a test with a 10 ohm load stayed over 2.0 volts (average ~2.3v, 230mA) for 16 minutes (61mAH), and 17 minutes near noon the next day (22nd). This current actually warmed up the six 1/4W resistors making up the 10 ohms.
   I let the cell sit overnight and in the morning (23rd) it was under 2 volts - essentially discharged, notwithstanding that it was in the fridge where I had hoped self discharge would be lower. But I charged it up for some hours, mostly at lower current then at ~700mA for an hour, and in the evening tried the 10 ohms test again. This time it ran for 36 minutes (134mAH). This was double, more than "incremental" improvement!

   Evidently it's true: I've been too timid all along, charging at currents much too low to really start charging the bulk of the manganese to metal. If it keeps improving with every cycle until it has a few amp-hours of capacity per pair of electrodes and good current drive - and if the self discharge becomes manageable - it's not so important how long it takes to get there.

   In the whole discharge region from the highest (2.55v?) to around 2.05 volts, voltage drop is gradual. From there it sinks rapidly to about 1.94 volts, then slows again - at that level the zinc starts to discharge as well as any remaining manganese.
   pH is staying around neutral, and the electrolyte is staying black, obviously with a substantial level, perhaps saturation level, of permanganate. If it works, do I really care about these things? Neutral pH is safest to the humans using the batteries.

Self Discharge: Cause... Cure?

   Towards the end of the month it was becoming evident that the self discharge wasn't being overcome. With both stibnite and zircon additives it would now take charge at room temperature, and one could get some real energy out of the cell by charging it hard, but wherever it started it would still be discharged down to 2 volts overnight.
   The mechanism started to look less mysterious, too. One thing noted was that it seemed both electrodes were discharging, and at something like the same rate. And on one occasion I stuffed some bits of plastic under the tie wraps to press the electrodes together more firmly, and the self discharge then became much higher.
   From this one could conclude that the electrodes appeared not to be each or either one *self* discharging, but discharging together internally without an external connection.

 Then, the separator sheets became black, and the water was black, but it mostly wasn't permanganate, it was black particles which could be filtered out - evidently manganese oxides. I had been assuming this had leaked out of the electrodes somehow... but in cell after cell?

White PP cloth full of black MnO2 oxide.

New separators. Could the migration of permanganate be stopped?

   A likely discharge mechanism started to dawn on me: Potassium permanganate isn't very soluble, but it's not entirely insoluble either. It's likely enough is getting out of the positive into the electrolyte (contrary to my previous assertions). This MnO4- ion then drifts over to the negative and (with 2 H2O) discharges to MnO2 and then maybe to Mn2O3, Mn3O4 and Mn(OH)2 (loose) and to Mn(OH)2 (in the electrode). The loose material evidently doesn't (or doesn't all) attach itself to the negode but instead becomes the solid black particles noted in the electrolyte and coating the separator sheets.
   This was in fact heartening: neither the permanganate electrode nor the manganese metal appeared disposed to discharge by itself. The electrodes, per se, hold charge fine.

   It would seem that it'd be necessary either to use some kind of containment within or around the posode that the permanganate ions can't penetrate, or else to abandon permanganate and make purely nickel hydroxide posodes. The containment of the ions isn't without precedent, but I seem to have somewhat miscalculated somewhat with the chelation by organic ligands, as chelation normally traps positively charged ions, in which category MnO4- doesn't qualify. But MnO4 is a fairly large ion, with an atomic weight of 119, so surely there's small holes it can't fit through.

   But cell #3 seemed to hold charge better as time went on. I decided to try wrapping the electrodes in things that might be not just micorporous, but almost nanoporous. The first one was packaging tape.

Electrodes wrapped with packaging tape. This was a flop.

   This made the battery a virtual insulator. The voltage could be read, but it would drop to virtually zero with the slightest current draw. I guess it wasn't even nanoporous. Then I tried masking tape. After a few hours, the cell would supply just a very small current, with substantial voltage drop, and it could be charged very slowly with considerable charge voltage.
   But it also held charge better - perhaps in proportion to the current reduction - taking almost a whole day to drop to 2 volts instead of just overnight. This at least seemed to demonstrate that it was the interaction of the two electrodes causing the discharge. Like many of the cells, it also seemed to improve over a couple of days, holding charge longer while conducting about the same amount.

Then wrapped with masking tape.
Current capacity was much reduced, but the self discharge,
occurring via interaction between the two electrodes, was markedly slowed.
I retained the coarse embroidery cloth in between. (far left)

   One precedent for the trapping of soluble ions including negative ones was with zirconium hydroxide in a vanadium-iron ("V-Fe") 'dissolved ion battery':

   On the 29th I painted a good soaking of ferric chloride into the posode, and also coated a watercolor paper separator sheet with it, which I wrapped around the electrode. I also filtered the black particles out of the water (again) with a cone coffee filter. At some point that day I also remembered that oxygen discharges the negative side, and I put some more modeling clay around the terminals to fill the cracks - neglected with reassembling the cell so many times.
   The cell went from 2.53 volts to 2.2 volts overnight, and the next night from 2.50 to 2.18 in eight hours. This is still wholly unacceptable; most of the energy has dissipated - but it's above the usual 1.95 or so. Having noted the trend of the cells to improve over time, starting at where they usually improved to might mean it would improve to the point of acceptability in a week or two. However the first night didn't show it.

   Another thing to try will be ceramic for a separator. Unglazed ceramic (not porcelain) is very finely porous once fired and might be just about ideal. In early battery days, clay pots were used inside glass or other containers. I think I'd rather make thin sheets - thin tiles, but it must be admitted that electrolyte can't bypass a pot open only at the top, whereas the electrode will have to be sealed around a flat sheet. Perhaps I should do a flat vertical slit 'box' open at the top... if I can make one that doesn't crack in the kiln.
   On the 30th I found my ceramic clay, almost 10 years old, dried out in its plastic bag. It'll take a few days to re-hydrate it before I can work with it.

Recap: What's been accomplished?

   This project has been long and drawn out, headed for six years now, and I had to learn a few things doubtless known well enough to others with more electrochemistry training than I had, and locate materials that are in fact common enough, but often having unknown names/terminology and from supply sources unfamiliar to me - in fact, from many diverse sources. But new ground has been broken. I explored all sorts of elements and materials before I picked manganese for the negative electrode, manganese-nickel oxides for the positive, and potassium salt for electrolyte, and found the right accompanying additives, current collectors and constructions to make them work.
   And I'm still anticipating finding some way to stop the electrodes from discharging each other.

   A key exploration has been the use of lower alkaline pH electrolyte. This enables new chemistries, potentially improves certain old ones, and is far safer than either strong acid or strong alkali. Instead of sulfuric acid or caustic potassium hydroxide (KOH), edible potassium chloride (KCl) salt is the main ingredient. According to Pourbaix diagrams (which I finally 'discovered' after 3 or 4 years), many chemistries work out better at pH 8 to 13 than at highly caustic 14. If the pH needs to be a specific alkalinity, dumping in some calcium hydroxide (lime) can raise it to about 12. There may be ideal alkalinity for a particular chemistry, but so far I've been finding it doesn't seem very important.
   But a lesson it took me 3-1/2 years to learn was that all metals will rapidly oxidize away to nothing in the positive electrode at pHes less than 14. They all charge to oxides becoming active electrode materials, and only carbon/graphite based conductors will work. It took another year and a half of exploring various materials from standard dry cell electrode rods to carbon fiber, to find there's such a thing as "graphite sheets" or "graphite foil". It's cheap, comes in big rolls and is commonly used for gaskets. It's quite conductive compared to many other carbon/graphite forms. Then I had to realize that it can't in fact be made entirely impervious to liquid and swelling, and find electrode designs with no metal anywhere inside the cell to allow for that.
   No non-caustic chemistries were going to work properly without this vital background detail in place.

   Manganese as a negative electrode was an especially enticing possibility. Zinc has often been said to have the highest reaction voltage that won't discharge itself and bubble hydrogen in water: ~ -1v at neutral pH or -1.25v in alkali. But zinc gradually dissolves and grows dendrites during charge and discharge, so zinc electrodes are generally short lived, with gradually decreasing cell capacity. Looking over the elements I noted that manganese is -1.19v in neutral and -1.57v in pH 14 alkali, a little higher than zinc. It has no soluble states in the negative charge areas, and has no insulating states of charge, so it should last indefinitely.
   I have now proven my idea that if zinc could be made to bubble less hydrogen when charging by use of additives to raise the hydrogen overvoltage, going from "just works" to "works better", then manganese could probably go from "doesn't quite work" to "just works" the same way. The "just works" was shown when it worked but only at cool temperatures (<~20°c) with antimony sulfide (1%) added. With zirconium silicate (3%) added as well, it's better than "just works" - it charges fine up to at least 29°c, the highest temperature I happened to test when I put the cell in warm water for a while.
   Manganese probably makes the highest attainable voltage for an aqueous negative battery electrode. It also has the most amp-hours per weight, since manganese has a lighter atomic weight than zinc, cadmium or iron, and forms the same two-hydroxide compound (Mn(OH)2, Cd(OH)2...) when discharged. Thus it has the highest specific energy figure attainable, over 1000 watt-hours per kilogram of manganese. (theoretically, using -1.18 volts: 1158 watt-hours/Kg.)
   It also developed that zinc, perhaps ironically, is a good and perhaps the best material to use for a conductivity additive and current collector, with only a few metals having themselves a high enough hydrogen overvoltage not to bubble hydrogen at manganese's high potential and discharge the electrode. (Lead and bismuth are other possibilities. Graphite might or might not work.) Using zinc does constrain the electrode to not being too far discharged. If the voltage gets down to zinc's voltage, it starts behaving like a zinc electrode and the zinc gradually dissolves. Thus we do have one more type of battery that does get damaged if it's run down to nothing. But that's a small point in an age of battery monitoring and management devices for larger systems like solar installations and EVs.
   The crux is we now have a superior type of battery electrode that didn't exist before, that extends the voltage and energy density possibilities of aqueous batteries. Probably it could be used with a typical nickel (hydroxide) electrode with a cell voltage of over 2 volts. The positive current collector at a pH less than 14 would have to be graphite rather than nickel plated metal. (I haven't tested this, so it's just possible there would be some unforeseen problem like bubbling of oxygen with the higher voltage of nickel oxyhydroxide at lower pHes. If so, again additives to raise oxygen overvoltage, eg samarium oxide, could take it from "not quite" to "just works". It doesn't seem to happen with the nickel hydroxide-permanganate mix.)

    For positive electrodes, potassium permanganate has probably been used before, but not in the way I'm employing it.

Victoria BC