Turquoise Energy Ltd. News #85
February 2015 (posted March 2nd)
Victoria BC
by Craig Carmichael

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

Month In Brief (Project Summaries)
 - unipolar motor & controller - variable reluctance motor - magnetic shielding material? - aquaponics & LED lighting - Giant Electric Weel motor/generator & floating hydro power

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
 - Improving Systems of Governance: Election CampaynCentral.com web page - Airless World Life in the Solar System: alien plant seed found... vegetation on Ceres too!?! - Offensive Cartoon - Precious metals: Silver investing video series; the investor fleecing game; Operation Chokepoint - Feedback on Patent Suppression of energy inventions - NO MORE WARS!

Electric Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems
* Unipolar Motor & Controller
* Turquoise Bipolar BLDC Motor Controller Problem Identified?
* RX7 New Battery Notes
* Electric Weel Generator/Motor

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects
* Aquaponics & LED Grow Lighting

Electricity Generation (No reports)

Electricity Storage - Turquoise Battery Project (NiMn, NiNi), etc.
* Leonardo Elionix's Manganese-air cell

No Project Reports on: Variable Torque Converter Transmission, Turquoise Battery Project, Magnet motor, Lambda ray collector, evacuated tube heat radiators, CNC gardening/farming machine.

February in Brief

   After more time setting up finances and then finishing the January newsletter on the 5th, on the 6th I installed the new 11th battery in the Mazda RX7 EV, bringing it up to 140 nominal volts. On the 9th, quite a warm day, I drove 3.4 miles using just 252 WH per mile (1.8 AH/mile @140v) instead of about 300 WH or more (2.3+ AH/mile @128v). That's over 15% less energy per distance. Theoretically it should be the same. Does the 144 volt motor become less efficient at lower voltages, or was it "luck" with traffic, traffic lights and the route? I drove it quite a bit towards the end of the month, knowing that if I had to go two or three extra miles it now wouldn't poop out on me. Mostly with traffic and shopping stops and starts it used around 280 WH/mile, but occasionally on smooth trips, catching most of the traffic lights green, it would do notably better. I can see that on level ground at low constant speeds (under 50Km/hr) in warm weather it would do much better, but that's not the driving conditions around here.
   On adding another 10 amp-hour set of dry cells to the weakest NiMH battery (in PVC pipes) to make it 110AH, I found it still loses the most voltage under load, but after stopping its voltage would now recover to above its "twin". It seems as they age the NiMH dry cells lose current drive more than storage capacity. This is probably from gradual escape of the tiny amount of liquid in the electrolyte - the dry cells actually drying out. The big flooded NiMH cells that Chevron won't let anyone make wouldn't have that problem.

   I got back to the unipolar motor on the 6th. I fixed the too-large bolt holes by using waxed threaded rods to shape the holes and keep them open, and using them to push in some PP cloth and epoxy filler. It's great to be able to add material back into the motor body as well as remove it! When the epoxy was set I unscrewed the rods and screwed in the nylon bolts to fasten the rotor end cover on. The next day I added 5 bolts to the stator side. (The 6th one couldn't be placed because the heavy wires inside were in the way.) That finished the motor!

   But tests on the optical rotor position sensors indicated they might cause trouble. Everything fit well and it turned freely, but with the wide gap for the thick plastic slotted drum, the phototransistors were too far from the LED.s and so weren't driven anything like as hard as they should be.

   I asked on the motor controller e-mail group (osmc@yahoogroups.com) if there was any other type of motor that could run unipolar, with no H-bridges in the controller - fully expecting the answer would be "no". But some smartass came up with one: the "switched reluctance" motor. The name just sounded so weird I'd never looked it up before. The rotor has no magnets, just iron.
   Because of the shape of the rotor, if any coil is on, a long axis ("salient pole") will try to align with that coil, and running the motor can be done exactly like my own unipolar system, with the very same controller I've just made. The inductance of the coils varies with the rotor position, and this is said to be a control challenge. But the CRM type modulation I use in place of PWM adjusts cycle by cycle anyway: the value of the inductance is accommodated by the variable frequency cycle. The only difference in the motor from my unipolar is the rotor, which for axial flux might simply be a silicon steel plate with cut-outs. (It should apparently be soft magnetic material: Silicon steel, Mu-metal, the same iron powder toroids I use for the coil cores, or...?)
Surely it wouldn't take much to convert any of my motors to switched reluctance type. The main questions will be about torque and efficiency, but I suspect they wouldn't be much different.
   As the month wore on, I became more and more enamored with the idea: a rotor without magnets to fly off could tolerate much higher RPM.s safely, and the labor and cost for the rotor would drop - the labor to nothing if a simple steel plate (with a correctly patterned outer edge) was waterjet cut. It sounds like a better, cheaper motor!

   With the motor together I wanted next to start on the motor controller, but I became busy with other things.

   On the 13th the customer for the big Electric Weel called, at last wanting to finish the Weel. We must be headed for the 2 year point. His floating hydroelectricity project seems to be running on and on like many of my projects. That's just as well for me since I've had so little time to spare for the Weel. But it sounds like the vessel and mechanism is nearing completion.
   He came over and drilled the holes and we assembled the stator side. We decided to use #10-24 stainless steel bolts (AKA 'machine screws') on the inside area (which is farther from the magnets) and the rim area, using 1/4" nylon bolts only for the coil centers where metal would be magnetically heated the most.

   The unit except the rotor weighed only 58 pounds! With the lexan rotor (and 32 magnets), hopefully it'll be around 80 pounds complete. I think a low RPM unit probably good for almost 20KW continuous would usually want a hoist to lift it.

   When I wrote the G-Code for routing out the lexan rotor I came up with a new idea. The 26" O.D. steel ring around the outside holds the magnets, and I sized the lexan the exact inside diameter of that ring. Thus it would fit flush with the metal. The slots for the magnet strapping would be CNC router cut through the lexan (much easier than through steel!), and the epoxied straps would wrap around both lexan and steel (and the magnets - plus maybe some extra straps) to bond everything together. The strong outer steel ring should guarantee a strong rotor good for higher RPM.s. (Which means only maybe 750 RPM for such a huge diameter machine.)
   A couple of days later I wrote G-Code for, and made, 3 lexan reinforcing rings, to be glued to the main ring. With two keys on opposite sides of the shaft, running across an inch of lexan, I hope for the sort of strength that a thinner piece of metal with one key would provide.

   It occurs to me that I myself have two skinny 12', lightweight, foam sandwich 'catamaran' floats that I made long ago as part of a trimaran boat idea. (The center hull is long gone.) Unfortunately they're rather small to use as a catamaran (tho my brother and I once put a sail on it and took it out on a lake). With these I could probably make a small version of a floating hydro power plant myself. But I don't have river or stream front any more than I have ocean front for doing wave power, so I wouldn't know where to install it and would have a hard time deriving any benefit myself.

   I met someone who was connected with someone reputed to have created some special magnetic shielding material, supposedly useful for making a magnet motor. This was interesting because the keys to making a magnet motor work are getting intense flux at the right point, and (presumably) creating an asymmetry of strength interaction as seen by the rotor between the forward propulsion and the reverse propulsion magnetic fields. Both of these would seem to be strongly influenced by magnetic shielding factors.
   There was a video clip with a stator and a rotor magnet, showing that the rotor would turn strongly in one direction as it passed the stator magnet, with seemingly very little reverse force at any point in the rotation. But it didn't do a full circle. The construction was amateur and the magnets were only held down with cable ties, so they shifted around as they crossed paths. The originator doesn't want to disclose the material without a non-disclosure agreement... and he's also in hospital. (Hmm... He had a heart attack returning from a trip to promote a material for free energy. Something untoward happens to yet another free energy inventor... is that suspicious, or just a coincidence?) I asked if they knew what the material was, thinking of one elderly person who had made something unusual and maybe useful which he demonstrated in a video, and then died without revealing his secret. "More or less." Perhaps if it turns out to be anything more special than Mu-metal, I'll be told some day. Certainly there are also interesting materials like bismuth that are diamagnetic and might deflect a magnetic field. Bismuth will in fact float over top of supermagnets.

The Weel rotor, with outer steel ring, lexan center with slots for the magnet
straps, and reinforcing pieces for the center area and shaft connection.

   It seemed I was diverted every day by something or other more pressing than the major energy projects, aside from the sudden productive day working on the Weel - which was itself that day's diversion from the unipolar motor. By the 16th, I felt like I was just treading water. After spending the day with my two brothers (one of whom had just arrived from Toronto for a visit and the other who was in hospital), and desperate to get something underway, I started shortly before 10PM to cut the lexan rotor for the big Weel motor and worked into the wee hours. I got it done. The next day I cut off the welds holding the metal outer ring for the magnets from the previous heavy steel rotor piece, ground off the weld crap, and sanded down the lexan to fit inside that ring by some millimeters. (It was somehow a bit too big by in spite of careful measurements and calculations.) On the 18th or so I cut some smaller diameter pieces to reinforce the center axle area, to be glued to the main rotor piece.
   After that, it needs some sort of jig for placing the 32 magnets in exact positions on the rotor ring. Then the rotor can be made and installed, and the first Electric Weel will (at last!) be complete.

   With the big cutback and year late refund for 2013 from Canada Revenue (still not received), I spent a lot of time in February on "financial affairs" of one description or another. I traded last summer's high rate house mortgage for a CHIP reverse mortgage, for those over 55, where they assume you'll die or sell the house in a foreseeable future, and that the dollar value of the home will rise over time. In this mortgage, a value up to somewhat less than 1/2 the home's value may be borrowed (depending on age), and the interest each month is added to the amount owed instead of being paid off monthly. Indeed, one can even get money monthly until the limit is reached, and I'm taking a modest amount to help stay afloat. CHIP never forecloses, foreseeing getting all their money plus the interest due 99% of the time, perhaps taking a small loss of interest very occasionally if an owner should live for a very long time and values fail to rise.

Unipolar Motor & Controller testing. (Bottom of
motor, on table within reach, is just visible at top)
   From the 20th on in bits of time I found, I put the unipolar motor and controller together and began to troubleshoot and test it. I wired the controller out of its box so I could measure voltages and make any needed changes.

   There was a problem with the optical interrupter system. One phototransistor wasn't matched to its LED and (as I had feared) I had to take the motor apart and replace the pair, with new optical parts received since the original assembly.
   There were problems with the modulation system, which had to combine CRM and PWM owing to the overcurrent signal not being available on the MC33035 motor controller chip. I made some changes, but I'm still not satisfied.
   On March 1st (call it February 29th!) it finally ran. But most of the 80 or so watts seemed to be going into heating up the power transistors. I had blown 3 before it was going, and they were still getting hot. This behavior might (perhaps) be explained if the coils are attracting the magnets instead of repelling them, so the polarity needs to be verified.

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

Improving Systems of Governance:  CampaynCentral.com  web page

   I wrote a draft letter for the newspapers about the civic e-mail group list which I hope will become the main vehicle of communication for civic governance discussions. In it I gave a URL to go to "for more information". I couldn't think of much that I hadn't already put in the letter, but I thought I'd better at least write up a web page and put it at the URL given so people wouldn't get an error trying to look it up. I copied the letter to the page.

   Then I started to write up the web page, just a couple of sentences saying there was no additional info so far beyond what was said in the letter... and what I think is a brilliant idea came to me as I wrote: "Election Campaign Central". (That seemed too long and I made the actual title "CampaynCentral.com". CampaignCentral.com and most anything with the word "campaign" was taken. Some appeared to be being held for ransom.)
   Please note that the page/site doesn't exist yet at this writing. I've only had time so far to reserve the domain name, so you'll get an error if you try to go there.
   CampaynCentral.com would be a web site where most of the promotion for any election would be done - all at no cost. At first I was only thinking of civic elections, but it should work just as well for state/province and national elections... anywhere! It would soon become known as the place to find information about all elections. As a starting point, I would divide the page into three sections.
   First, candidates for office would put up a main introductory video and or write-up. They would be free as to content and length. For example they could introduce themself and state their qualifications, and their goals and ideas of what they would like to do if elected.
   The next section would be a place for public questions and comments. In the third section the candidates (or in larger jurisdictions perhaps their campaign representatives) would be able to respond by video or in text to any of the topics raised by the public that they care to address.

  The mainstream media is almost 100% delinquent in putting this sort of essential information across to the public, so candidates become known only in proportion to how much money they have behind them, and elections have become corrupt, with the whole agenda controlled by the ultra-rich. This web site should go a long way to removing the dollar sign from election success prospects. Having the ultra-rich buy candidates and buy elections should become impractical. Voter apathy has become inevitable as people see how they vote usually makes no difference to anything.

   Once one candidate for office puts up a promotional video, then, given a certain minimum amount of publicity for the site, the other candidates wouldn't dare ignore it. Anyone not bothering to do their video or other introduction would stand out as being an "absentee" candidate, someone not really serious about winning votes and the office. This will ensure universal, 'permanent' adoption of the site once it's been used in an election or two and people are familiar with it. Promotions elsewhere and by monetary means should become much less effective.

   A follow-up idea is to get the world's open source programming community behind these projects instead of trying to do everything myself. As readers of this newsletter know, I already have projects to from here to yin-yang. Someone suggested I could do it all with "JOOMLA" web page environment, which I haven't had a chance to look at yet. But that doesn't fit in very well with "offloading" the project!

The descriptive page for more information is here:

Airless World Life in the Solar System

   The airless worlds orbiting Jupiter and Saturn seem so cold and distant and well... airless... to us on this planet that the mind simply rebels at any thought that anything could possibly live on them. And when one does think of life on other worlds, one thinks of animals, or maybe microbes. But plant life, the "forest canopy", is what will be observed from space.
   Spectral readings in specific locations on various of these worlds are described as showing mainly 'polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons', with carbon dioxide in a 'stretched' or 'energized' state. And descriptions such as "fluffy" and "very fluffy" have been derived from analysis of diurnal temperatures.
   It has for some years now been apparent to me that these things, however impossible it seems, can hardly mean anything but that there's some sort of strange alien vegetation growing on the surface. (Another scientist's skeptical writing about the 'fluffy' layer actually reinforced the picture. He said (not an exact quote): 'Sunlight would have penetrate the proposed fluffy layer in order to produce the results as described.' Thus it sounds more and more like vegetation.) But how did it spread from world to world?

   This month two new findings have hit my eye. The first is the collection of a what was described as an alien "seed" by a balloon sent 27 miles above the Earth's surface. It left a crater in the sample collector, indicating it must have come in from space at a high rate of speed rather than having a terrestrial origin. (One of several links:
   The object was "the width of a human hair" and with a hard "metallic" shell (but organic looking), and what might be a root or stem coming out of a hole in one side.
   My theory of one technique for spreading of spores or seeds on airless worlds is that the plants would shoot them out at high speeds to fall and start to grow elsewhere. Once such plants got transplanted from Ganymede (...the likely guess since it's half the size of Mars and has a magnetic field) to any tiny world, in debris kicked up by meteors, their ejected seeds would escape the tiny gravities and start flying all over the solar system. This seed sheds light on the specifics, entirely in accord with and reinforcing this theory. That anyone might find it without going to another world was a surprise, but the balloon experiment by believers in "panspermia" was searching for exactly this sort of thing. What a stunning success!

   This follows intriguing findings by others in recent years of what appear to be microbes or diatoms, in carbonaceous chondrite meteors, which I believe are composed of soil debris kicked up by larger meteors from airless worlds that have this same strange life, somewhat fused into a solid by passage through Earth's atmosphere as well as heat and pressure from the original meteor impact that kicked it into space. This same may be what "fossilizes" the organisms. (Links: http://www.panspermia.org /hoover.htm and http://www.usaukonline.com/latest-news/8091-second-study-finds-extra-terrestrial-fossils-in-meteor-fragment.html. One person, widely quoted, "debunked" the first findings, but a second thorough university study concluded the diatoms weren't of terrestrial origin. This too found its detractors.
   Unless my memory is bad, there have been other meteorites (one or two) previously said to contain "primitive (non-eukariotic) microbes" from space, but the Sri Lankan meteor is the only one I seem to be able to find reference to at the moment.)

SEM Electron microscopic image of a bit of the meteor, seemingly a sample of
"diatomatious earth" with a diatom (algae cell) that looks a lot like Earthly ones.

   The second item is new "highest rez so far" images of Ceres from the Dawn spacecraft. In March 2015 Dawn is to enter orbit around Ceres, the largest asteroid orbiting the Sun in resonance with Jupiter. At 915Km diameter Ceres is about 2% of the size of Earth's moon (3476Km).
   (Note: It's an almost ubiquitous mistake to compare diameters of worlds as "sizes". Volume - size - of a sphere is 1/6 pi D^3, and (3476/915)^3 is a 48 to 1 volume ratio. A baseball may be, say, twice the diameter of a golf ball, but that's 8 times as large.)

   Expecting that Ceres consists primarily of water ice, scientists anticipated a high albedo with a lot of reflected light - like the trailing hemisphere of Saturn's moon Iapetus. Instead, Ceres is quite dark - like the front hemisphere of Iapetus.
   Any plants on the trailing hemisphere of Iapetus would be irradiated by Saturn's deadly ionizing radiation, swept around at high speed by its magnetic field, so mainly the leading hemisphere can grow vegetation. Ceres is far from Saturn's or Jupiter's radiation, but evidently isn't too close to the sun for this type of life and probably it would have decent soil. Two bright (ice) craters similar to some bright craters on the front face of Iapetus visually indicate compositional similarities. On Iapetus, space scientists estimated that for there to be so few bright craters, the world is being resurfaced with the dark fluffy organic material in, at most, 100,000 years, and more probably in much less time than that. (Apparently that didn't lead to any thoughts that the fluffy organic surface might be composed of living vegetation.)
   Another reason for bright areas is glare ice rather than good soil. Inner worlds of Saturn and Jupiter (Europa, Rhea, ...) are tidally churned so that the heavier elements sink to the middle leaving ice on the whole surface, and various bright ice extrusions are found around many craters on the outer worlds - since water expands as it freezes.
   I have been idly wondering for some time if some of the asteroids might be covered with the same vegetation as Ganymede, Callisto, Iapetus and other airless worlds of the Jupiter and Saturn systems. I couldn't think of any good reason why not unless they were too warm. After these images I am waiting to hear that the surface of Iapetus is "fluffy" and that spectral readings are of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. And that small scale surface features such as small craters are obscured by the dark material. And I'm wondering if the Dawn might actually give us a tantalizing glimpse, or even a good view, of the plant life canopy as it approaches Ceres in the coming weeks.
(One link is here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150217111111.htm)

   My most recent write-ups of these various phenomena are in my space "updates" web page on my site at:
http://www.saers.com/recorder/craig/ . There are also links here to my older writings, which should be read after the "updates" page, which illuminates and corrects some errors I made in the older material. (scroll down near the bottom to find the planetary explorations links.)

Offensive Cartoon

   When India put its brilliantly successful (and cheap!) space probe "MOM" (Mars Orbiter Mission) into Mars orbit in January, the New York Times published an article, with a cartoon. Evidently some found the cartoon offensive, and they apologized. Indeed, the depiction of bright western and Russian engineers and space scientists as balding, bespectacled old slobs lounging about some posh, decadent clubhouse is sickening. Even more offended should be the Chinese, with manned space flights to their credit and the only remotely operated rover ever landed on the moon. Leaving them them out of the picture was a real "thumb your nose" at China, for which the Times should apologize 'till the cows come home!

Feedback on Patent Suppression

   After writing about suppression of inventions by patent in the USA "for reasons of national security" last month, one reader said the patent office had no mechanism or authority to suppress patents. Certain sensitive patents in already classified areas could be withheld for a period of time and the inventors compensated. Certainly his description of how it worked was how it ought to work, supposedly works, and probably would work in a rational and sane world. He thought peoples' ideas that energy patents were being suppressed were paranoid.

   Then another reader wrote what he had found about patent suppression on The Orion Project, a site promoting breakthrough energy inventions. (http://www.theorionproject.org/en/suppressed.html) IIRC, The Orion Project originally was started a few years ago to try to fund work on such inventions. Now the web site seems to focus more on how such technologies are being suppressed. (In fact, I seem to be using up quite a lot of virtual paper on such subjects myself of late.) The Orion site states:

"The U.S. Patent Office has a nine-member committee that screens patents in order to protect “national security”.

"A hidden purpose of this committee is to also find and remove from public access energy-related patents which could threaten the fossil fuel and power monopolies."

   There's more. Then it shows the gag order sent to affected inventors, and penalties which will be applied should the inventor or anyone he knows (even including his heirs) ever talk. "SECRECY ORDER (Title 35, United States Code (1952), sections 181-188)..." I looked this up and indeed found it on a US patent office web site. http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/consolidated_laws.pdf

This says in officious language pretty much what I wrote of last month. It's couched in what a friend of mine would call "weasel words". Notably, where the invention needs to jeopardize "national security" to be kept secret at the top, farther down it says anything violating "national interest". And while the duration of suppression is "for a maximum of one year", it can be arbitrarily renewed each year. Then, compensation is to be given to the inventor... That sounds reasonable, but compensation starts from the time the government starts making use of the invention. Since they won't use the energy inventions, no compensation is ever due or paid.
   The agencies which may order the invention to be kept secret are stated as "the Atomic Energy Commission, the Secretary of Defense, and the chief officer of any other department or agency [as designated by the president]...)

   The maximum penalty for talking is stated to be a 10,000$ fine or two years in prison, but there was more to read than I have time for and I wouldn't doubt it says something much harsher somewhere farther down. The patent secrecy law is clearly intended to be wide open to whatever interpretation the government agents decide to put on it, without any recourse by the inventor or anyone else involved.

   The Orion site suggested patenting in Canada where there is no [known] security committee screening applications [so far], and only later applying for a US patent when it's too late for USA to invoke secrecy. But that's playing their game against the pros, and I expect it would turn out badly one way or another. The person who sent me the link and I both agreed that open source publishing is better than patenting if knowledge is to be spread.

Precious Metals & Investing

   I recently found a set of highly interesting, quite condensed and perhaps entertaining presentations about investing in silver, done as a computer animation & voice series of short (~5m) "conversation" videos on youtube by "Brother John F", called The Office Series. I also thought the program used to turn typed scripts into videos, Text to Movie, was very interesting.

Brother John F youtube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/user/BrotherJohnF
First video in the series (of 19):   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iX8GHFiCbaA

   It's probably the most interesting "money" information video set I've seen since Mike Maloney's Hidden Secrets of Money, packed with good information.

   On a somewhat related note, on the 17th I looked at the Kitco.com silver and gold prices. Silver had dropped overnight from about 17.20$US/ozt to 16.20 and gold from 1235$US/ozt to 1205, after rising substantially in January, from 14.xx and 11xx in early December.
   All over youtube one hears that gold and silver prices are being suppressed to keep fiat paper currency from looking bad and demonstrating how much inflation there's been in recent times. No doubt this is true, but I suddenly realized there's a second reason - the reason why the prices puzzlingly seem to go up and down markedly with no evident cause. It's a game played by big investors and banks in the stock markets... and now with gold and silver and bitcoin. It's said that with SLV and GLD, there's actually only one ounce of physical bullion in stock for every 100 ounces traded "on paper" by investors and banks. And the terms for actually taking physical delivery of the bullion one supposedly has a claim check on are impossible for small investors. So the actual metal plays only a minor role in another big ripoff.

   We've all heard the basic investment advise: "Buy low, sell high." But these manipulators have the money behind them to actually cause prices to rise and fall substantially through high volumes of strategic buying and selling. This includes (eg) selling a huge amount (on paper) below the current value to an allied bank one day and buying it back at an equally low price the next. As prices drop, people who bought a little higher and planned on it going up further often start to panic and sell.  A rapid drop may even trigger automatic "sell" orders in trading computers. People who bought on margin (borrowed money) may be forced to sell by the lender (which may be the same banks that do the manipulating). A few may have bought too much (again, expecting it to go up) and now need cash. (In the case of stocks, many investors are tricked into thinking somebody with inside information knows something bad about the company, that the stock may be about to become worthless, and they panic and sell. Some bitcoin holders might panic as well, but obviously gold and silver are real property with an intrinsic physical value.)
   Paper futures contracts, and little bits of real gold and silver, are sold, all at a loss. Except to the manipulators, who now do the buying at the low price they've created. Once the purchases drop off - no more sellers, they then raise the price again at some unpredictable time and rate of speed to some unpredictable level, getting peoples' hopes up, and do a major sell-off at the higher prices, reaping huge profits at the expense of the investors who sold low. No one, however experienced at analyzing "trends", can figure out or guess when the where the prices will go next. Then they lower the prices again and start all over to fleece a new crowd, or perhaps many of the same crowd over again.

   So the price fluctuations have almost nothing to do with the actual metals, or with supply and demand. However, as recent record sales of one troy ounce silver eagle (US) and silver maple leaf (Canada) coins show, those who invest in and hold the actual metals as a hedge against the stealthy theft of value from paper money (ie, as an inflation fighter) or as insurance against the seemingly inevitable coming demise of fiat currency, are only a little concerned whether it's a little lower or higher, and they simply use the low "subsidized" prices as opportunity to stock up more if they can afford it. This is adversely affecting the fleecing... er, metals trading... business. See next.

Operation Chokepoint

   The US executive has bypassed congress, the legal system and they hope the public eye with Operation Chokepoint (new: "Operation Choke Point"), a devious and non-legal move intended to shut down targeted types of businesses. There is a considerable list of types. Many of them such as "escort services", "drug paraphernalia" and scams that should already be culpable by law and hence shouldn't exist anyway, seem designed to deflect attention from the obvious real targets: gun and ammunition dealers, and bullion dealers ("coin shops").
   It's hardly a secret that the administration has been trying hard to pry the guns out of the US public's hands for some years. A little sticky point is that the US constitution guarantees "The right to bear arms". This was specifically included, for one thing, to allow the public to defend themselves should their government become tyrannical.
   Operation chokepoint, instead of going after the public or gun dealers directly, puts pressure on the banks where these businesses have their accounts, and makes life rough for them until they will decide to close the business's account. And there are threats to the banks against talking about the operation or explaining it to those affected. There's no legal recourse against a decision by a bank to close your account, but a business can't operate without a bank account. Cash that can't be deposited would become a grand target for thievery, and how does one order supplies without credit cards or ability to write a cheque? Again, large sums of cash in motion would be targeted - not only by ordinary thieves but by agents of the same government that would start an "operation chokepoint" in the first place.
   As far as bullion dealers (see "precious metals" topics above), if one can shut them down, one can keep the prices of gold and silver set to any arbitrary low level, once people can't actually buy any to finish exhausting the dwindling reserves.

   Apparently after being exposed by Mike Maloney on youtube, the Wikipedia article about it was changed to say that Operation Chokepoint has been terminated, but as Maloney says, when the light is shone on them, the cockroaches crawl under a log, only to reappear once the light has passed. As of the 27th it appears the article has been changed again and renamed from Operation Chokepoint to Operation Choke Point, perhaps in order that the links given to it won't work.

No More Wars!

   As politicians and corporate leaders push an agenda of hegemony over the world, and nations and peoples of far-off lands increasingly resist the ever increasing, disruptive and deadly interference in their affairs, let us remember how they convince us by ongoing repetition of baseless accusations (remember "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction"?) that their "fears" must be real and somehow justify militarizing and invading foreign lands. (A Pakistani lady on youtube said "America is afraid of its own shadow!")

"A lie, repeated often enough, will be believed." - Joseph Goebbels(sp?), propaganda minister for Nazi Germany.

   Would "Iraq is selling oil for Euros instead of Dollars!" have rallied the American public to support an invasion?

   We too can all state our demands for an end to militarism ad nauseum, to remind those in charge that we can see via the internet and alternative media what's happening, and that no one wins in wars. Certainly not the peoples of either the aggressor or the invaded, who are impoverished, displaced or killed, and stripped of their rights and liberties. Bankers and arms dealers get rich, but only in a shallow material sense to the detriment and peril of their own souls. The horrific possibility of destroying all mankind can't be overlooked, but alarmingly likely is long-lasting environmental devastation making vast portions of the planet uninhabitable for decades, or hundreds or even thousands of years, and destroying much quality of life most everywhere for many generations.
   With viewership of mainstream "entertainment" or "propaganda" news programs dropping and dropping as more and more people either get the real news on line or simply find nothing of value in the "distraction" news stories, recently US officials have authorized actual state "propaganda", and are calling for a 700 million dollar budget "to counter RT" (RT.com). The total budget for RT, according to RT, is about 230 million US dollars. Several news shows on youtube subsist on donations or specific sponsors (eg, bullion dealers). Apparently it costs far more to lie than to just tell about things the way you see them.

   The impetus for war needs to be replaced by global trade and industrial competition, and fair play. We are all one people, and we all want mostly the same things. "We all drink the same water. We all breathe the same air." - John F. Kennedy


Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream  by Ed McCurdy
as sung by  Johnny Cash,  Simon & Garfunkel
("I dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war.")

  What more can be said about some of the above topics? Only that governments that continually put corrupt vested interests ahead of the public interest kill social and technical progress, and are bound to bring the civilizations they lead to grief eventually.
   That "eventually" draws near. When it arrives, the next generation of idealists must be so practical as to find means to defend and protect the new, more idealistic civilization they create, from the many weak and unscrupulous elements who seek out holes in the defenses in order to take unfair advantage of the productive and the provident without contributing themselves.

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

Construction Manuals and information:

- Electric Hubcap Family Motors - Turquoise Motor Controllers
- Preliminary Ni-Mn, Ni-Ni Battery Making book

Products Catalog:
 - Electric Hubcap 7.2 KW BLDC Pancake Motor Kit
 - Electric Caik 4.8 KW BLDC Pancake Motor Kit
  - 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)

Daily Log
(time accounting, mainly for CRA - SR & ED assessment purposes)

1-5th: Finished January newsletter/report (#84)
6th: Installed new lead-acid battery in RX7. "Shrank" unipolar motor rotor cover bolt holes to "threaded" size by filling in with epoxy resin and PP cloth.
7th: Added 5 nylon bolts to stator side.
8th: Crimped lugs onto motor heavy wires, checked fit of connections to controller, checked installed optics.
9th-12th: Mostly busy with other things (especially CRA demands/paperwork)
13: Worked on Electric Weel generator with customer who wants it for hydro power. Wrote G-Code for making rotor.
16: Revised G-Code and cut lightweight lexan rotor for Weel motor/generator with CNC router.
17: Cut out metal ring & fit it to lexan rotor piece for Weel.
19: Cut lexan reinforcement pieces for the Weel rotor.
20: Hooked up unipolar motor to the controller and did some testing. Disassembled motor owing to problem with an optical rotor position sensor.
21: Replaced optical components & rewired temperature sensor (wrong pin of plug). Reassembled motor.
22: Sunday!
23: Tried to run motor. Found problems - troubleshooting.
24: (working on my finances)
25:   "
26: Purchased pond liner and cleared ground for pool for aquaponics. Repaired motor controller (blown transistors)
27: Ran tests on unipolar motor and controller. Possibly figured out long-time problem with my regular bipolar BLDC motor controllers.
28: Redesign & rewiring of PWM/CRM control circuits.
March 1: Finished changes. Ran motor. (Some problems remain.)
March 1 to 2: Editing this newsletter of February's work.

Electric Hubcap Motor Systems - Electric Transport

Electric Caik Unipolar BLDC Motor

Unipolar Electric Caik motor from stator side.
Nylon bolts to clamp it together won't get warm electromagnetically.
(Hopefully the bearing flange is too far from the rotor magnets to be much affected.)

    As explained last issue, the bolt holes for the rotor side were somehow too large. The bolts slid in instead of threading in. On the 6th I folded a cut strip of PP cloth over the end of each #10-24 waxed threaded rod, painted it with epoxy, dripped a bit more epoxy into the hole, and stuffed the rod with cloth into each of the 6 holes, going down at least 2" and in fact right through to the stator compartment with most of them. This seems to be another advantage to the molded PP-epoxy body - to be able to modify it later by either subtraction or addition of material, which would also apply to stripped threads.
   It was quite tedious turning out the threaded rods with visegrips, and almost as bad putting in the nylon machine screws with a slot screwdriver. It's a good reminder why square, hexagonal and "X" screw heads were invented and are almost universally used. With nylon, you take what you can get, and that's slot heads because they're the least likely to strip. But I finally tried a slot bit in the drill and found that with care it worked well enough and saved a lot of wrist twisting.

   Then I crimped (and soldered) connection lugs on the ends of the 4 heavy wires. The motor was at last complete. As with the LED lights, I must remark that unless I can greatly speed up the manufacturing, the motors would have to command an exceptionally high price if I made them for sale. However, a do-it yourself kit might work out.

   On the 9th I checked the installed optics again. With 47K ohm resistors pulling up the phototransistor outputs (to 12v) it worked great. With 22K two outputs were okay but one wouldn't pull down to full 'on'. Looking at the MC33035 it seemed quite marginal - the specs were vague with wide margins from 'min' to 'max', but the typical load was somewhere between my 22K.s and 47K.s. I might or might not have trouble with the prototype's sensor system. (I did.)

   With the motor magnetically cogging at 12 positions per rotation, each sensor was low (light) at one cogging spot then high (no light) for two cogging spots. Somehow this seemed inexplicable to my brain when the slot sections are the same width as the wall sections and the cogging is (surely!) at even points in the rotation. But there are 8 slot and wall pairs and 12 cog points, so the cogging obviously occurs in the middle of each slot and near both ends of each wall.

   Since the cogging was pretty strong as usual, and since part of the idea of the unipolar motor was that the natural attraction of the magnets to the coil core iron [iron powder] was used, I contrived a way to put the torque wrench onto the motor shaft. It's hard to read low torques when the smallest divisions on the wrench are 5 foot-pounds, but it looked like somewhere between 1 and 2 foot-pounds of purely magnetic attractive force. Pretty small compared to the electrical part with 50 or 100 amps going in.

 Back to the controller!

Unipolar ('monopolar', 'homopolar') BLDC Motor Controller

   Owing to many competing attractions and problems taking up my time, I didn't get the motor and controller hooked together until the 20th. I decided to run the controller board out of its box, where I could access it for voltage readings and any needed changes. My first check after ensuring nothing was smoking was the optics. As I had earlier feared, two of the optical pairs worked fine, but the third phase couldn't drive the signal low, only down to 2.5V. Already the motor had to come apart!
   I had hoped one would be able to remove the circuit board without disassembling the stator compartment, but I hadn't reckoned on the rubber connection plugs coming out from the board to the side of the motor. There was no way to pull them through to the middle area, and even less way to put them back in if they did come out. Sigh! I took out all the screws and pulled it apart. It occurred to me that the new optical interrupters, tho identical in spacing to my board's layout, were too tall to fit (a dimension I hadn't concerned myself with when I ordered them), but that I could probably cut them down or use the inner components. I hacked one apart, and sure enough, the LED and phototransistor were much the same as the ones I had taken from old computer mice. And of course, they would be a matched pair. By the next afternoon I had them installed, tested with the controller outside the motor, and then the motor together again. Another item that came up was that the 12 volt supply was way below 12 volts unless the main motor voltage supply was around double that. Most of them previously have worked with the supply down at 15 volts. Apparently the base resistor of the pass transistor needed to be much lower than 39K ohms with the low Vce-sat 2SC5101 pass transistor.
   On the 23rd I tried some live tests on the motor, hooking up one coil. Altho the power supply registered several amps when the control was turned on, no thrust or rotation was evident. Then a power MOSFET burned out. It seemed strange that this should happen at under 10 amps with paralleled transistors each rated for 120 amps and even more peak amps. I tried a different phase and got the same result. The main thing I could think of was the the sense resistor was quite large, since I was limiting current so much, and that the mosfets' source voltages were rising to, say over 5 volts and with the gates at 12 volts, they only had 7 or less, and the transistors were operating in a linear region instead of on-off switching. Having this effect blow them still seemed out of proportion to the currents and watts involved, and contrary to the sense resistor circuit. And why were all the transistors equally a little warm?

   A couple of days later (25th) I came up with another theory: It was intended that the power spikes when the coils were shut off would discharge their power back into the battery. But I was running it from a lab power supply. If its voltage was raised above the selected output voltage, it wouldn't absorb it, it would just let it rise. Thus, the turn-off spikes could exceed the (60 volt) voltage rating of the MOSFET.s and potentially blow them. I looked up the 'avalanche' specs of the MOSFET.s and found currents of less than ten amps being above the limit depending on pulse width. The fix would be a capacitor across the 'battery' supply from the lab power supply to absorb the spike current and prevent serious voltage rise. Luckily I hadn't had a chance to try again in the meantime, since I'd probably have just blown more transistors.
   I replaced the blown transistors on the 26th. I put in some heatsink grease on all of them, just in case there wasn't a good thermal connection between the transistors and the copper bars. (As expected, the closely spaced nuts and bolts holding the bars to the transistors were somewhat frustrating to disassemble and assemble.) On the 27th I added two 270uF, 100V capacitors and I replaced the thin wire "shunt resistor" with a 2 milliohm piece of #6 AWG nickel-brass wire. I tried again to power up one of the motor coils. It went smoothly up to about 2 amps, then "avalanched"(?) up to 10 amps, and wouldn't come down again except to below 2. It was the same regardless of which coil I tried, in turn. Only in one position did I feel a very slight magnetic force. It was so faint I wouldn't even swear which direction it was trying to turn. I had inserted a 1.2 ohm, 5 watt resistor in each phase to limit currents to non-destructive levels, but these soon started to smell hot and one burned out, so I bypassed them with the test clip leeds.

   With the supply at 14.5 volts, the current would 'avalanche' to 4 amps. A very slight turning force could be detected and I tried all combos:

















   When testing phase B I tried turning the voltage up from 14.5 to 18 volts, expecting to feel stronger force. I had already turned up the current limiting, as it wasn't reaching the limit anyway. The current pinned the needle at 12 amps and phase B shorted - another transistor blown! The phase B output copper bar was warm. (Here the 1.2 ohm resistors might have been valuable.) It would seem a lot depends on the motor's supply voltage. (The two "*"s in the table indicate the expected readings, since I couldn't do the last two tests.)
   But at least, with no floating high-side voltages, and perhaps since I was keeping the supply under 20 volts, the motor controller chip wasn't being affected. Replacing a surface mount chip is much more time consuming than just a transistor.
   Note that only in one configuration (A-Wh, B-Bk, C-Gn) will the motor run both directions properly, with "forward" being counterclockwise and "reverse" being clockwise. If "forward" is chosen as clockwise and the wires connected accordingly (Bk, Gn, Wh), it looks like it'll run fine that way - but it won't run the other way. This is similar to bipolar BLDC, where it runs more or less okay in one direction but crappy and with high current drain in the other. Except it appears the unipolar type won't run at all in the 'wrong' direction, but will probably run just fine the 'right' way.
   Before it'd run I wanted to figure out what's blowing the transistors. I looked at the control circuits and I think I made a mistake. I wanted to implement constant torque "current ramp modulation" (CRM), but on the MC33035 the output of the current limit comparator isn't available on a pin as it is on the IR2133. I set the PWM to "on" and made the current sense variable... but the current sense in the MC33035 shuts off the PWM, so there's two contradictory things happening.
   Instead of straight CRM, I changed the circuitry to do a modified CRM/PWM where the cycle starts as a regular PWM cycle, but when it's terminated by overcurrent (sensed when all three drive outputs are 'off', since there's no access to the overcurrent signal), the components then activated will finish charging the oscillator timing capacitor much faster, causing the cycle to terminate rapidly, instead of at its own leisurely pace with commensurate loss of torque. This still allows a far lower PWM frequency (eg, 1KHz or lower instead of 16KHz) with reduced ultrasonic noise irritation and switching losses. Unfortunately the current limit has to be fixed at the maximum value, eg 200 amps, since it would be hard to adjust both the PWM and the CRM at the same time. I can't say I like this much.

   I finished wiring this up on the morning of March first. After testing and finding a couple of bad connections, I hooked up one phase to a coil. Currents rose only somewhat more smoothly, but I had them limited to about 5 amps. Then I hooked all three coils to the correct wires, turned it up to a couple of amps, and spun the motor by hand. It slowed down much faster in one direction than the other. I turned up the voltage to 18 and the control to four or five amps and tried again, and it kept turning. Both directions worked. The unipolar motor runs!
   However the power transistors were strangely getting quite warm even at this low power, and the motor didn't seem to have much "oompf" for 70-90 watts of power in. Apparently most of the power is somehow being used to heat the transistors.
   I opened the rotor end of the motor and pulled out the rotor to access the slotted drum. I reversed the magnet sensor shaft rotation adjustment, exchanging the slots and solids. This changed the sensor readings at the cogging points from two high and one low to one high and two low, but except exchanging forward and reverse, it didn't change the operation.

   So there's more to do, and I'm probably missing something. I'll probably want to be able to set the controller output by CRM rather than by PWM (with CRM set to 200 amps) somehow. (Fix the PWM at 90% - instead of 100% - and then adjust power by the current sensing?)
   Later it occurred to me the behaviour might be explained (maybe!) if the coils are attracting the magnets instead of repelling them, so that should be checked again. I did check coil polarity before wiring the motor since getting it wrong would mean rewiring the stator, but a lot of building went on after that.

   Further trials will have to await the next newsletter. At least I got it to run!

Turquoise Bipolar BLDC Motor Controller Problem Identified?

   Readers will know that I've had trouble with my controllers blowing transistors at higher currents, which problem I haven't managed to solve. In working out the unipolar controller, I suddenly realized a mistake I was making. Bypass capacitors are used on each transistor pair. I was soldering the capacitors right to the source of one and the drain of the other mosfet. That seemed the most direct and shortest path. But the sources aren't connected directly to ground, they go through the shunt resistance to ground. As the coil current rises, the voltage across the shunt resistor should rise to match the current, and end the cycle at the cutoff current.
   But the voltage across the shunt can only rise as it pulls voltage off the bypass capacitors, since they are on the wrong side. Thus, the indication of high current is delayed. Perhaps at higher currents it's delayed long enough to burn out transistors before the cycle shuts off? On the other hand, the capacitors will continue to charge and draw current while the transistors are off, leading to falsely high readings at other times, which may somewhat negate the problem. But putting the capacitors direct to ground is certainly something to try out.

Mazda RX7 New Battery/140 volts notes

   On the 6th I installed the new 11th battery in the Mazda RX7 EV, bringing it up to 140 nominal volts. Hopefully it'd be back to at least 7 miles range again. On the 9th, quite a warm day, I drove 3.4 miles using just 252 WH per mile (1.8 AH/mile @140v) instead of about 300 WH or more (2.3+ AH/mile @128v).
   That's over 15% less energy per distance, where theoretically there'd be a 9% drop in amp-hours compensating for the 9% rise in voltage and watts would be the same. One must conclude that using a lower voltage reduces efficiency somewhere. Where might that be but in the motor itself, which is made for 144 volts? That's on top of reduced currents putting less strain on the batteries and giving them effectively more amp-hours, a separate range increasing factor.
   One might be tempted to want to add those last 4 volts to bring it to 144 nominal volts. The NiMH batteries, of which there are 5, put out around 13 volts instead of 12 when well charged, so it should already have it. But all the batteries drop in voltage under load on hills or accelerating. One suspects that with 150 amp-hour or higher batteries instead of 100, for better current drive as well as the capacity, the range of the car would be much more useful, even doubled. But I'd have to pretty much start over with new arrangements.
   The next day a 4.6 mile drive had more stop-and-go and used 280 WH/mile, but it probably still took ~15% less energy than a similar drive with the 128 volts.

   The next day a more "liberal" 6.1 mile drive with somewhat higher speeds and some faster accelerations used 308 WH/mile and brought that weaker NiMH battery down below 10.0 volts at one point nearing home. I decided I should do something about it. I'd noticed that there was room for a third "quintos" pack with the two put in a month ago, and I decided to bring the weak battery up to 110 amp-hours with an extra one. While I was putting it in I noticed an end had popped off one of the main long tubes. I pushed it back (about 1/8") with a screwdriver and applied some methylene chloride to 'glue' it back on. So! At least one of the tubes surely had no connection, bringing it down originally to 80 AH. That would explain why it was weaker. Maybe now it'll be the strongest one?

   Two lessons may be taken:

1. There's no way to tell if all the cells in the tubes are making connection. I don't trust multiple tubes of batteries as I've been making them, and have wanted to disassemble them and solder them together.

2. Don't connect batteries with bars or heavy straps where there's movement and vibration. Use stranded wire that will flex and not put a strain on the connections.

  But now I'm thinking that maybe with some sort of spring on one end (instead of gluing both ends) they could be made more reliable. Maybe an external spring? Or one around the inside portion of the terminal bolt? (The usual flashlight tube internal coil springs have inductance, most undesirable in high current, switching circuits.)

   As it is, that battery still drops voltage most under load, but now it often comes back to a slightly higher voltage than its "twin" instead of the same or slightly lower. The problem indeed seems to be current capacity (gradual loss of electrolyte?) rather than energy storage capacity.
    Towards the end of the month I used the RX7 for a number of trips, and everything seemed pretty good... except the clutch cylinder started sticking again, and the lack of clutch travel made shifting while in motion quite difficult. I've already disassembled and repaired that clutch cylinder once! Is everything going to start quitting again?

Electric Weel Motor (Generator)

   The last major items for this machine were the lexan rotor plate and a magnet placement jig (CNC design & G-Code for both). Lexan is much lighter than steel, but it would have a steel ring around the outside to carry the magnetic fields.

   But the person I bought the tilapia fish off of also was doing some interesting electrical things. And he had two big surplus PM elevator motors of very low RPM and something like 12 and 20 HP, with no cogging, which he showed me in December or January. Those seemed ideal for the floating hydro project, so I mentioned them to the developer. If that project used one of those, he wouldn't need the Electric Weel. (If that was the case, I'd probably make it into a unipolar motor instead of a generator.)

Side view of motor without rotor, shaft and rotor end cover.
Coils remain to be wired and the ends of the nylon bolts were later cut off.
Inner and outer (stainless steel) body clamping bolts remain to be installed.

View from the stator end.

   On the 13th the developer called. He had finally checked out the elevator motors. They seemed very suitable, but the present owner, who works for the elevator company, didn't like the idea of them being used "commercially" (whatever that means for an R & D prototype!), and anyway new ones were too costly to consider if the hydro units were to be commercialized. So he wanted to finish the Weel.
   He came over and drilled the holes and we assembled the stator side. As there's lots of room inside and excellent access, we just left the wires sticking in toward the middle for wiring later. The rim was a bit thin around the outside and we decided to use #10-24 stainless steel bolts on the inside area (which is farther from the magnets) and the rim area, using 1/4" nylon bolts only for the coil centers where metal would be magnetically heated the most. Perhaps the hypothetical next one should have 3 or 4 layers of strapping/webbing epoxied around the outside instead of 2, to ensure sufficient substance for nylon 1/4" bolts.
   With the rotor cover on and the bearings and (15" long, 1.75") shaft - everything except the rotor - the unit weighed only 58 pounds! With the lexan rotor, hopefully it'll be only about 80 pounds complete. For a low RPM unit probably good for almost 20KW continuous, one would usually expect to need a hoist to lift it.

Lexan Rotor

   The project having become active again, I came up with a new idea. The 26" O.D. steel ring around the outside holds the magnets, and instead of making the lexan piece 26" as well, I made it the exact inside diameter of the ring. Thus it would fit flush with the metal. The slots for the magnet strapping would be [were] router cut through the lexan, and the epoxied straps would wrap around both lexan and steel (and the magnets) to bond everything together. The strong outer steel ring should ensure no catastrophic failure of the plastic owing to centrifugal forces twisting the magnets.
   I wrote some the G-Code for routing out the lexan rotor and its slots in the afternoon, and more in the evening. Not liking the closeness of the slots to each other and the resulting thin bridges of lexan between them on the display, I re-did it with shorter slots, and then again, still shorter. The first slots would easily accommodate 1.5" wide strapping. The final ones were only 1.1" long... plus the 1/4" router bit diameter: 1.35". One just might still squeeze 1.5" wide PP strapping through them - I'll see when I try it. Aside from extra strength, if wider strapping 'droops' over the edges of the magnets, 1/4" on each side, then even if a magnet actually came loose, it would theoretically have nowhere to go.
   Late in the evening of the 16th I readied the lexan and set up the CNC router. I adjusted the program to cut the outer diameter last, so the screws at the outside corners holding the piece in place wouldn't be cut away until the final cut. It cut well, tho it didn't quite go through the plastic in some areas, so I had to lower the router bit a bit and redo it.
   On the 17th I dealt with the outer ring of 3/16" steel, still spot welded to the original rotor plate of 1/8" steel. I used a zip disk/angle grinder and cut away the 18 or so welds, and then ground off the rough weld protrusions into the center of the ring. Somehow the lexan was 3 or 4 millimeters too large in diameter, and I sanded off all around the outside on the belt sander, twice, until it fit nicely into the center of the ring.
   On the 19th I cut three lexan reinforcing pieces for the rotor. These are smaller diameter pieces (13", 8" & 6" O.D.) with identical centers, which will glue to the main rotor piece and to each other. The stack is almost an inch thick, and instead of one keyslot, I planned keys and slots on opposite sides of the shaft, to give twice as much again gripping surface. Lexan obviously isn't as strong as steel, and by broad contact area I hope to compensate. BTW of course the router couldn't cut the sharp keyslot inside corners in the lexan, so they'd be filed out by hand, and lastly all glued together, when the shaft is ready.

Total Weight Estimate

   I checked the weight of the various pieces. The original steel main rotor piece was 19 pounds. The lexan replacement was 3 pounds. The outer steel ring, still needed to complete magnetic circuits, was 6 pounds. Thus the rotor went from 25 pounds to 9. That's before magnets, and before adding the lexan reinforcement pieces to strengthen the center of the rotor. Those things may add about 11 pounds or so.
   So the total weight should be 58 + 20 = 78 pounds or so. Call it 80. That's featherweight for a low RPM machine headed for 20KW of capacity.

"Green" Electric Equipment Projects

Aquaponics & LED Grow Lighting Project

   On the 14th I got a 'new' 5 gallon aquarium, and I filled it and transferred the baby fish from a small pail into it. Once I could see them from the side instead of just the top, I discovered that all but one were guppies! They had bred about a day later than the tilapia. Now I'm kicking myself for not filling the bucket and transferring each one to it as it appeared. Surely several baby tilapia must have been eaten by the adults.

   That evening it occurred to me that I needed a water tank for summer garden watering owing to the rising price of city water (in a land where the yard is flooded half the winter!), and also I was going to make some sort of expanded aquaponics fish pond. What about a plastic swimming pool for both? I looked on UsedVictoria.com and found an inflatable one for 50$ complete with filter, pump, patch kit (might be vital!), ladder, and every accessory, even the original manual and box: "best offer takes". There was nothing else like it in the ads. I offered 70$ and it was brought from the town where it was to my place the next day. The extra 20$ probably saved me from 2 or 3 hours of driving. Meanwhile, the weather had turned from months of drizzle and flooded lawn to sunny and drying, almost overnight. Now I hope I can get it set up and then there's enough rain before summer to fill it!
   Where to put it was a problem. My original idea was to put it in the garden where (hopefully) the deer couldn't reach it to possibly stab it with their hooves. But at 14' diameter - and around 11,000 litres - it was so big it would take up half the garden. It was huge! I finally (with some help) emptied and removed a 'temporary' shed and leveled a presently muddy patch of dirt/lawn in the back yard for it.

   I started thinking that it might not be a good idea to put fish in that huge inflatable pool. If deer should get to it they might puncture it with their hoofs getting a drink. And raccoons with sharp claws and teeth would surely try to go fishing in it. I would hate to come out and find all the fish lying dead on the bottom of a deflated, empty pool. Even if I was in time, where would I then put them all? Furthermore, now it wouldn't be in the garden by the greenhouse with the other components of the aquaponics system. And on top of all that, if it got cold, it would be really hard to heat so much water - and even to net the fish!

   I decided to use the pool for rain water storage for garden watering, and to dig a trough in the greenhouse for the fish (and use the filter, pump et al from the pool for it). Rubber pond liners are available to line such excavations, and my brother has had several such ponds in his back yard for years that haven't sprung any leaks yet.
   On the 26th I got a 5' x 10' piece of liner. A friend and I started clearing the area for the pool, and I thought about... where did I really want to dig to put the fish?

   The beans continued to grow, and their roots to spread throughout the grow bed, and into the bell syphon where I had to keep ripping them out to keep it flowing properly. They still had no flowers. Some people told me they wouldn't flower until the days started getting shorter, but others said "They bloom all summer - they should be flowering." So they were probably lacking some mineral. Seeing they had plenty of nitrogen, and since I had added potassium (hydroxide) at one point (albeit quite a while ago), on about the 20th I added a teaspoon of sodium phosphate to the water. There was still no sign of flower buds by the end of the month. If I hadn't planted the beans, surely I could be eating lettuce leaves and basil (the most popular aquaponics plant?) by now. But the beans shade out the light and their roots fill the 'soil'. Doubtless their prolific growth is keeping nitrogen levels down in the water - but I really should test it.

   It had come to light that the primary cause of arthritis is boron deficiency, as revealed in recent studies by an Australian physician who also studied minerals. He moved to a new area and couldn't understand why he had so few cases of arthritis there, when there had been so many where he had been.
   Where the soil has lots of boron, virtually nobody has arthritis. Where it's very low, it's over 1/2 the population. (I purchased some 3mg boron pills from a heath pharmacy. Now it's in short supply as the news spreads. Evidently the pharmaceuticals industry tried to have the doctor thrown in jail "for selling 'poisonous' boron", and he had to defend himself in court, but luckily others supported his findings. Motive: Shut the doctor up! Who will buy our lucrative arthritis 'remedies' that cost many millions to develop if no one has arthritis?)
   Even before hearing about this, someone I met was raving that taking borax had cured his arthritis, and that of the person who had told him about it. I decided to add a teaspoon of borax to the water and let the plants process it.

   This brings up a wider question. Recent studies, notably by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have declared our present methods of agriculture to be unsustainable. While chemical fertilizers replenish nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, many trace minerals are insidiously being gradually depleted from farmland soil, causing gradually increasing levels of health problems such as arthritis, possibly increased prevalence of allergies, and probable increased susceptibilities to diseases, for all of which the origin is hard to trace back to the root problem, the soil.
   (Furthermore, other studies indicate that peak production of food occurred in many of the 21 main types of food that people eat, from rice and meat to eggs and milk, from about 1988 to 2008. Some foods have fallen in production since their peak. But the world population - so far - continues to grow.)

   The little tilapia started the month almost the size of an adult guppy. By the end it was about four times the size (~1.5" long and substantially taller). The 5 'big' tilapia were also growing and were mostly about 8" long or more, the large female being 10". They'll want those larger quarters soon, and the level of the fish food in the big coffee tin has dropped to half.

Electricity Storage
(Sorry, No Report on Turquoise Battery Project)

Leonardo Elionix's Manganese-air cell

Leonardo Elionix is a fellow battery researcher I've corresponded with occasionally who obviously knows more chemistry than I do. He writes of his new cell, which he has been working on for some time.

Subject: Re: Manganese/Air battery
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2015 03:00:37 +0100

Hi, Craig

I'm doing it with deep eutectic solvent and this cell works well... very well.

Deep eutectic solvent has neutral to slightly acid PH and dissolves well discharged MnO and MnO2.
I could even do a flowable anode with nano-Mn, because it stays well dispersed in DES.
Vapour pressure is so low that no need PTFE at the air cathode.
I'm using 5mm graphitic felt as electrode/air cathode, with a nonwoven  separator, from a compound of manganese powder/graphite powder as anode.

Need only to find a catalyst for air cathode, because DES dissolves all metal oxides of transition metals!

OV is 1,62V, because low conduction of DES.
I'm waiting to receive DMSO to make a new DES with higher conductivity.

If you want to replicate, no problems, but please add my name.

Best regards.


   I had been considering that manganese-air might work better than zinc-air if the manganese will hold its metallic state charge. It should certainly be better for a rechargeable cell. As I've said before, I got it to hold its charge in KCl-water based solution by adding 1% antimony sulfide and 3% zirconium silicate as trace additives. (Seems to me I had trouble with graphite powder - at least the one I was using. The conductive carbon black may work better.) It may perhaps hold as-is in the lower pH of the DES, or these traces may have been added.
   I at one time looked for a salt with a low melting point (preferably below room temperature) but didn't find one. I hadn't heard of deep eutectic solvents (DES) before, but according to Wikipedia it's a eutectic mixture of certain salts (various salts and mixtures) that melts to liquid at room temperature instead of a much higher temperature. Some DES.es should make potentially exciting electrolytes: Some types have been used in fuel cells. Some of them will dissolve much higher concentrations of substances than water. Existing types of molten-salt-electrolyte based batteries perform very well - but at the oven temperatures needed to melt the salt. The idea that vapor pressure (and hence evaporation I presume) is very low is highly appealing for a cell with air as one electrode.
   DMSO (dimethyl sulf-oxide) is a unique non-toxic aprotic solvent that I once looked for for battery experiments, that appears to been made unavailable in British Columbia because some people found some effective topical medical use for it, that was deemed risky by someone -- owing to the death of just one user, where the cause of death wasn't even determined. (By comparison Tylenol kills 50,000 people in the US each year, IIRC.)
   The problem that all metals oxidize in the positive electrode forced me to use graphite/carbon structures such as graphite foam and graphite foil. It sounds like here the oxides themselves dissolve. (Great solvent!) Perhaps heavier transition metal oxides (of lead, bismuth, gold, platinum or medium weight silver, palladium, cadmium, indium...) would remain solid.

   Apparently it needs improvement with a catalyst and a higher conducting DES would also be better, but Anything-air batteries are tricky to implement and the DES idea could solve the big problem of evaporation of the water. Congratulations to Leonardo on this fine and very innovative accomplishment!

Victoria BC Canada