Turquoise Energy Ltd. News #93
  covering October 2015 (posted  November 8th)
Victoria BC
by Craig Carmichael

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

Month In Brief (Project Summaries)
- Pulse Width Modulation for motor controllers - Atmospheric Energy - High vacuum pump for evacuated tube radiators for thermoelectric cooling? - NiMH Battery connection problems.

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
 - Legislation must be Ratified by the People - Energy Density: Gasoline vs batteries? - Importance of Location for Industrial Activities - Negative interest rates - Another High Frequency Trading Scam - Itchy chocolate - Book Barn Mini Library - Supercorder at Band & more interest in it

- In Depth Project Reports -

Electric Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems

* Unipolar Motor Controller: pulse speed control input to improve performance.

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects
* Peltier Module/Thermoelectric Cooler ('TEC') Experiments: supply voltage versus attained cooling - 15 amp Peltier module - better ice tray - internal fan - evacuated tube heat radiator - DC to DC converter

Electricity Generation
* Atmospheric Ions - free energy from the electrical charge of thin air?
* Sigh, month ends with far more questions than answers.

Electricity Storage - Turquoise Battery Project (NiMn, NiNi), etc.
* Lead? Lead? The acid battery element has potential uses for alkaline or salt batteries, where it just might have 'forever' cycle life.
* Lead-acid battery charging & cycle life extension: pulse charging.

No Project Reports on: Variable Torque Converter Transmission, CNC gardening/farming machine, Electric Weel, battery making, aquaponics, Magnet motor project.

October in Brief

   A lot of October just seemed to slide by without getting a whole lot, or even anything, done on sustainable energy projects. There were many things needing doing around the house. I went to Comox on the last weekend for my mother's 90th birthday party, and then my brother who had come from Toronto stayed with me for a couple of days, leaving on Halloween morning. I caught his cold, with headache most days. That delayed this newsletter as well as projects. Somehow, however, I have touched on quite a number of diverse topics in "In Passing".

   Early in the month I designed a circuit and PC board for a pulse width modulator (PWM) for the motor controller. It would be an external input to the motor controller board, the PWM at 7Hz replacing the usual analog speed control potentiometer.
   According to things I've heard, at least with a unipolar motor controller, one gets better energy usage with low rate pulses to get the desired power level than with analog modulation, with the reason evidently being to saturate the magnetic cores of the coils (or at least to run always at full power), then letting the force drop to zero, repeating in succession. This may not entirely make sense in a traditional design sense, but according to many it works. But after completing my design and layout there was a long pause.

   I wanted at least to start in on atmospheric energy experiments. I made an antenna for it and installed it at the peak of the roof by the 16th. I ran a shielded cable down the same route as the solar panel cables into the solar equipment closet.

   In all the searching through youtube for atmospheric energy info, inevitably some enticing videos about other forms of 'free energy' including magnet motors were in the 'suggestions'. One person, "(Something) Stators", had a bicycle wheel rotor test setup with a well shielded magnet on his stator, which he said offered the rotor magnets little resistance as they approached but gave them a big push as they passed by. It was similar to an idea of mine but he had done a working construction with the bicycle wheel. I too think the shielding and concentration of flux is the key - or at least one key. I started coming up with new designs in my head again.
   However, only once did he seem to have a design that actually kept turning. Even then, after a bit his cat, tentatively pawing at it a few times, dragged it to a stop, showing (along with the pretty low running speed) how little actual torque there was. As a generator it wouldn't put much out. Yildiz, with his 2000 magnet motor, seemed to get a measured maximum of 200 watts AFAIK (tho I remember hearing 400 somewhere). Given the time quite a few people have put into getting meager results or failures, I think I'll stick with the atmospheric energy as the better bet!
   Moray got up to 50 kilowatts. Five kilowatts would of course be fantastic. (If I ever get my bitcoin miners running properly, I could then run them and they'd also heat the house for free!) One KW would still be great. A hundred watts would require installing a goodly number of antennae and units to make a real dent in the hydro bill. Ten watts might be practical for limited off-grid applications. Of course, a unit generating 24/7 would have far more impact than solar panels of the same rating that run a few hours a day and only when it's sunny and there are no chemtrails. But reading more on Moray at the start of November, I discovered that his later units actually needed no antenna or ground, and worked for example inside a submarine. That would indicate he was surely harvesting "lambda rays" rather than atmospheric ions - at least with his later units... but weren't they just derived from the earlier ones? Hmm, hmm!
   Again I got sidetracked into other things. It was the end of the month before I tried the oscillator(?) circuit of 'Tesla Cult's youtube videos of 2012. It didn't seem to work for me. Furthermore, the oscilloscope disclosed only a 60 cycle hum at about .4v peak to peak and virtually no DC component. There was none of the high frequency noise components noted by Moray and seen on Tesla Cult's oscilloscope. Perhaps insulating the antenna with high dielectric constant material as suggested by someone else is a mistake. Maybe good, clean metal is better. Gold plating?

The bottom end of the atmospheric charge energy experiments, in the solar equipment closet.
Cable from antenna with spark gap, antenna grounding switch, shelf with the air core coil/transformer and circuit breadboard.
(At the far right is solar PV wires and equipment.)

   Someone long involved with refrigeration came over (from across town in an electric handicapped scooter) and we talked on the subject. He mentioned having a high vacuum pump. I thought it might be used to make the evacuated tube radiators I've been wanting to make but have been unable to get a sufficient vacuum in by the steaming method. He pointed out that the water in the pipe would turn to steam and condense in his pump. Somehow I quickly thought of freezing the water and pipe in the freezer and then evacuating it. Then the water (ice) would stay in the pipe as desired. He thought that could work. Now I must talk with him again soon and get moving on it, as there's no guarantee at his age and health he'll be around and mobile when it's convenient for me to get around to it. Maybe I can learn some more, and perhaps buy the pump?

   In August and September I had been smelling a "burnt plastic" smell at times when driving the Mazda RX7 EV - often when I needed the most power, climbing hills. Finally in September the culprit was located: a loose connection nut on the soldered nickel-metal hydride battery in the back of the car. (this battery: see some TE News issue of maybe 2013.) With the loose connection, the bolt with the wire had been getting hot, and pressing against the side of the neighboring lead-acid battery it was melting its way through the side. Luckily it hadn't got all the way through the wall yet, and just as luckily the car hadn't let me down going up a hill. I tightened the nut and put a piece of wood between the two batteries to keep them apart.
   The smell stopped, but the problems weren't over with. I connected the NiMH battery to one of the voltmeters on the dash and found that it seemed to now be the weakest of all the NiMH batteries, with the voltage dropping lower when power was needed and the charge being depleted sooner than any of the others. Although it was the first soldered NiMH battery I had installed, it had been with all new cells. I wasn't driving more than about 4 miles, by which time it obviously needed recharging. Finally it occurred to me that it behaving was as if it was 50 amp-hours instead of 100. And it was made in two 50 amp-hour boxes.
   I pulled it out, brought it inside, and started to disassemble it. On the bolt that had the loose wire there was a nut with melted plastic on it facing a washer with melted plastic on it, and the wire in between from the lower box to the upper had some grit on it. Although the nuts had been tightened, these things had conspired to cause the lower box to be unconnected. I cleaned it up. While it was out I opened the lids, and found that two of five wires in one box had come unsoldered and so two sets of 10 amp-hours weren't making connection. At first I thought they must have melted off, but close examination showed untinned copper surface - the original solder joint had been poor.
   Also in October, the owner of the one NiMH D-cell car battery I had made and sold (somewhat ironically for his Honda Insight hybrid) brought it in because after 3-1/2 years it wasn't working well. (battery covered in some TE News issue from 2012 or 2011.) I had asked him a couple of years ago to bring it in as I had discovered the safety concern with just the thin plastic sleeve casings on the cells, and had had some packs burn up on me after being badly overcharged. And I had used the stiff copper "buss bars" to connect the cells together, which I gradually found out gradually come loose with vehicle road vibrations. I wrapped the cells in masking tape for thermal protection, and replaced the bars with AWG#16 flexible stranded wires, formed into little arcs to allow for more flexing. There were 3 or 4 copper bar connections that had come loose, definitely explaining the reduced performance, and a couple more that might have gone soon. One of the terminal posts was also quite loose, and I pointed out that the clamping nut had to be on tight to ensure good connection. I tested all 30 cells with a voltmeter while I had them apart, and they were all holding their voltage.

   As I write about the loose bolt/post, a better system comes to mind: instead of clamping the connection bar between the bolt head and the case with a nut on the outside, clamp the internal connections between the bolt head and a nut inside the case. That (hopefully) can't be loosened from the outside. There would still be a nut on the outside to hold the bolt in place, but it wouldn't affect the connections and pehaps cause the case to get hot if it came loose.

   On the 26th I finally got back to the PWM for the motor controller and I got the board made, working (not without a couple of little problems along the way), and installed in the test controller. Then it sat a while again. On November 3rd I decided as it was made I'd better at least try it out for this newsletter, so I hooked it all up and ran a few tests. It seemed to run about the same except for the definite pulsing action. As the power supply was balking at the currents, I powered it off the handiest thing: the 14.4 volt, 65 amp-hour Honda hybrid battery. So I was running it at half the voltage and the same current, and getting similar results. That seemed agreeable. I bypassed part of the shunt resistor (for a lower shunt resistance) and got higher currents in both directions, which provided a higher but still very low top RPM of about 225. The DC clamp-on ampmeter attached to the oscilloscope seemed to indicate that the energy return current spikes were higher voltage than the supply current spikes. Doubtless that must mean they were a little narrower, but the battery voltage dropped surprisingly little over the course of the testing, indicating pretty low energy use. The peaks were about 14 amps used for the 225 RPM, delivered as short spikes of 150 to 300 amps with return spikes of around 250 to over 400 amps. The energy return coil still got hot, and obviously the average supply current has to be a lot higher to get any real power out of the motor.

Pulse Width Modulator Board on pot, and installed in hand-held control (SOIC 555 timer chip on bottom)
Aside from the direct-soldered potentiometer it has 3 leeds coming off it, just like the analog pot alone:
Ground, Power (12V), and PWM out (0 or 4 volts with a resistive divider).
(Circuit drawings/files in detailed project report.)

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

Legislation must be Ratified by the People

   As we enter the internet age, new forms of communication and democracy, such as direct voting via the web are becoming feasible for the first time, and at the same time there is a global awakening in social consciousness.
   Today's governments have mostly turned their backs on the real needs of their citizens and social progress in favor of special interest groups who broker their power for profit. When the politico-economic power base is shattered as it doubtless will soon be, from semi-chaos we will have the chance to reorganize from the local level up in sustainable ways.
   On the one hand, there is a need for elected government made up of experienced, concerned citizens who have spent more time than most studying the problems of society and devising solutions. On the other hand, centralized power seems to increasingly attract virtually the opposite type of people: the corrupt, the greedy, the power hungry, the manipulators - insincere liars and sociopaths, devoid of progressive ideas and ideals of social sustainability. And these shut the honest and good-seeking citizens out of the fierce competition for political and economic power. We need leaders, not rulers.

   Some aspects of power need to be widespread, so that those elected will have no opportunity to run roughshod over the rest, and holding office won't attract those types. This has become possible. People today know a lot more than those of previous generations, and can learn more about what's going on more quickly. They will want to know first why their social and political institutions, unexpectedly to most, suddenly fell apart, and how it was that so many were so asleep until it happened. And they will want a more direct say in running the new ones to ensure that autocratic decisions aren't imposed on them by those from whom the police and the military take their orders.

   Of course the citizens need the right to hold referendums on any chosen issue. But it now seems to me that a possible solution, a balance to the centralized power, is that any bill passed by a legislature would have to be ratified directly by the citizens, doubtless after time for due consideration and discussion. This seems like the best way to eliminate odious and perhaps deceitful legislation turning peoples' rights over to the state or to special interest groups, and increasingly micro-managing everyones' affairs with thousands of laws and bylaws. Such bills would probably fail at the public scrutiny level, and the leaders would realize it would, therefore they're unlikely to be pressed forward, and the types of people who would press them will be the ones who won't bother running for office. Both of these polling functions would be implemented via the internet in some form.

Gasoline: high energy density?

   I happened to look up aluminum ion batteries on Wikipedia to refresh my memory, and saw it said that even tho they were over a kilowatt-hour per kilogram, petroleum was much higher energy density. So I looked that up, converted joules to kilowatt-hours, and got 12.33 KWH/Kg for gasoline. At a glance, this is twelve times better. But one must consider that the automotive gasoline engine is seldom over 20% efficient, and add to that the inefficiencies of the drivetrain components like the 30%-40% loss in a typical transmission (standard-automatic). Call it 50% loss overall. The overall efficiency of the typical car drive is then around 10%. So the 12.33 effectively becomes 1.23 KWH/Kg. The rest of the energy is wasted as heat. An electric drive can be made much closer to 100% efficient (up to the rubber tires and their road friction being similar), and of course a major goal of my projects has been to improve efficiency, eliminating the wasteful transmission one way or another and achieving the highest drive motor and controller efficiency.
   Of course no one is actually using aluminum ion batteries at this point, and typical automotive lithium batteries are probably under 200 WH/Kg at best. (Don't quote me on that!) Lead-acids are 40 WH/Kg or less. Furthermore, as the gasoline is burned its weight vanishes, while the batteries remain as dead weight until recharged.
   Still, there are promising new battery chemistries out there such aluminum ion and several enabled by new DES electrolytes, and as battery energy density increases over 100 or 200 watt-hours per kilogram, the weight of the batteries as a percentage of total vehicle weight starts to shrink and battery weight starts to matter less than battery cost and cycle life. Add to that a reduction in required battery capacity through higher efficiency, the ongoing cost of gasoline and the likelihood that it won't always be available, Fast charging and new public charging stations popping up everywhere, and the electric car starts becoming the obvious economic as well as ecological choice.

Importance of Location for Industrial Activities

I read an article in the Financial Times [http://www.ft.com/] about industrialization creating less and less in the way of jobs and wealth with each new industrializing country. I found one of the comments someone posted below the article to be of particular relevance to the work I've been doing. The writer says that industry even in "industrialized" nations is concentrated in a small number of "clusters". He went on:

"In a former life I have worked as an industrial consultant and by observing it became clear companies inside the industrial cluster have a competitive advantage in that they have access to a dense local network of specialized suppliers and know-how that often requires proximity to work well and is absent outside the cluster. In other words, network effects are at play. Furthermore, the presence of a sophisticated manufacturing base allows new types of technologies and niche suppliers to develop, often requiring proximity to customers - e.g. machine vision systems for automated quality control. These then further strengthen the competitive advantage of that cluster.  The more technology advances, the stronger these network effects become thereby further cementing the competitive advantage of the cluster versus the world around it. 15 years ago, when visiting competing companies in the same sector, it was obvious the ones in Germany/Italy were way ahead of those in France, Spain as the latter lacked plug-in into a strong local eco-system. I suspect since then the divergence has only widened.

"This is also why Australia's doesn't manage to industrialize and despite its highly educated population, one should always be short the Australian dollar outside a commodity boom. This is also why Greece will always run a deficit when in a currency union with Germany and the EZ crisis is perpetual: if Greece were somehow geographically moved in between Germany and Switzerland, its problems would quickly disappear. 

"This is also why everybody now wants to move to Germany as the manufacturing base won't come their way. They have a point..

   I have struggled from the beginning of the "car hybridization" projects with the fact that nobody around here seemed to know anything or have any parts when one gets into the nitty-gritty of various mechanical and technical areas. If I was located in a "cluster" area where cars were manufactured, I'm sure I'd have had a much easier time with a lot of things.

   But I think as the internet has further developed, some of the handicaps are being removed, and that this trend will continue into the future. More information is more accessible, and it's getting easier to access parts and services. Progress in manufacturing automation has also progressed. With various computer controlled devices, for example abrasive waterjet cutting of steel and 3D printing, many things that used to require expensive design and setup or painstaking fabrication with lathes, welders and milling machines, can now be designed on a computer at home and done either there or at a local facility by automatic machines. Low cost services are available for making printed circuit boards in China simply by e-mailing the design, with the finished boards being thrown in the mail - no need for proximity there! - and there are now automated PCB assembly facilities even in Victoria BC. And prototype boards can be done in a day at home as I've been doing, with laser printer toner transfer techniques.
   As communication and distribution improve, more and more we can have self-sustaining local communities.

Negative interest rates

   Today bank deposits earn almost no interest. With inflation, it's effectively negative interest rates - the buying power of your savings shrinks. For many currency is safer at home in cash. (IF it can be very well hidden, preferably divided into small packets, and that doesn't mean somewhere in your bedroom. A hidden safe, well bolted down, might be invaluable - they start at under 100$.) Or maybe some in a non-bank account such as paypal. In some European countries actual negative interest rates, albeit small ones so far such as -.1 percent, have been applied to bank accounts. It's hardly a way to watch your savings compound! In recent weeks there have been mutterings from the US "Federal Reserve" banking corporation about instituting "NIRP" (negative interest rate policy) in the USA. Such a "policy" hardly seems designed to attract deposits. Indeed, it has been noted that people in affected countries have been gradually withdrawing their money. In order to combat this, rather than making banking more attractive, there are plans, or at least ideas, afoot to ban cash in order to force people to keep their money in the banks - to force them to lend the banks their money regardless of negative rewards and risk - and by the way allow the government to spy on and review each and every financial transaction of every person - rather than keep it more safely (less dangerously?) themselves in cash.
   I tend to dismiss this problem because I think the whole ponzy scheme global financial system will crash before such a system could ever be implemented. One can never say what surprise tricks might be used to "kick the can down the road" a little longer, but personally I expect the can to grow a handle well within a year. Then it will be a bucket, and the financial system will suddenly "kick the bucket" on its next kick. NIRP or "bail-ins" (the everywhere-threatened direct theft from deposits by government and banks) might do it, or the bond bubble implosion, or derivatives dominos, or running out of gold or silver, or there might be some unexpected cause. Expect chaos to spread quickly when that happens and last for years (2 or 3?) until the survivors figure out how to get vital trade and food supplies moving again.

   In the meantime, as long as negative interest rates are fairly and consistently applied to all, I am for them! In fact, I look forward eagerly to getting interest payments from the banks based on my mortgage and credit card debts instead of having to pay out on them!

Another High Frequency Trading Scam

   Last February the CAVirtex.com bitcoin exchange in Calgary Alberta announced it was shutting down, citing "a security problem". It was a complete surprise to all. It asked all account holders to withdraw their bitcoins and Canadian dollars amounts within the next month and close their accounts, and trading ceased in March. I withdrew "everything", but as it wasn't possible to get everything exact, I had left over one penny and something like .00012 bitcoins - trivia.
   The next surprise was two or three weeks later, when CAVirtex.com re-opened under new management. It didn't look like anything had changed a whit. My account was still there with the small change.

   But I had already noticed in the weeks leading up to the closing that suddenly most of the trades were being front-run by some high-speed computing algorithm. This has become common on Wall Street in the stock markets (and as usual there's no investigation, and no one is ever charged or goes to jail), but is a huge cash cow in the bitcoin market on CAVirtex.

   The price of bitcoin having risen recently, I decided to sell some to pay expenses. Normally, when you go to buy bitcoin on an exchange you can look at the trading page and either offer the amount of the lowest sell offer and buy immediately, or you can make a lower offer and wait for someone who will sell at your price.
   Now (buying) if the lowest offer to sell bitcoin was for 500 $/BTC, you can offer that price to buy immediately. But when you do, your purchase instead goes through for 499.99 $/BTC. Afterward, the bitcoins for sale at 500$ are still all there: the seller has sold nothing. Instead, when you hit the last key or mouse click to buy, somehow before your offer hits the exchange, it's intercepted, and instantly someone else puts in a sales offer for your exact amount of bitcoins at 499.99$. That 499.99$ offer takes precedence over the 500$ and immediately goes through, so fast that it never appears on anyones' computer displays in the 'bitcoins offered', only in the 'completed transactions' section. Unless he looks down there, the only thing the offerer for 500$ sees is that none of his bitcoin has sold yet.
   The same thing happens with selling bitcoin: if the highest offer to buy is 470 $/BTC and you offer to sell for that much, your trade goes through instead for 470.01$, and the would-be buyer is left high and dry. Instead, the front-runner, who just sold bitcoin at 499.99$ moments ago, now buys it back for 470.01$ and pockets the 29.98$ (less the exchange's transaction fee of .75 or .5%). If the exchange trades 200 BTC a day and the spread is 30$, and if 90% of the trades are front-run, the scammers are making 5400 $/day. This money comes off the backs of everyone trying to buy and sell bitcoins on the CAVirtex exchange, who can't make their trades go through except by buying and selling at the asked and offered prices, always getting the least "bang for the buck" with most of the trades going through the hands of the scammers who pocket the difference.

   This is just now appearing also on the Quadriga.com bitcoin exchange in Vancouver: I just lost a sale for .75 BTC, with a "sell" offer for 1.00 bitcoins being posted as I watched and asking a dollar lower than me, which proved to be exactly the amount of an offer to buy 1.00 bitcoins just before it appeared. It was visible on the listing for just a few seconds before the trade went through. Then I looked at 'recent trades' and saw that they all had been for a dollar less than my price. I don't remember that happening before.
   It may be that the scammers have acquired physical intercepts into the exchanges' internet lines, so that all the communication goes through their equipment first and their computers can pick and choose with every transaction. This would be a variant of what's been done to the New York stock exchanges for high frequency trading. It may even be that it was the scammers who re-opened the CAVirtex exchange after it was shut down. They could certainly afford to buy it with their illicit profits, and they certainly have every incentive to keep their rigged game running! And then they even keep the transaction fees.
   Perhaps more needs to be done through "local bitcoins" - private buying and selling of bitcoins not through on-line exchanges.

Itchy Chocolate

   I used to get unbearably itchy in my 20s, and I scratched so much I now have various nasty moles and things on my back and chest. When I was 29 I finally discovered it was from eating chocolate, which I was eating a lot of. I quit eating chocolate and gained much relief. A lot of things give me migraines, including most processed or non-fresh milk products including milk chocolate. But after over 30 years, I forgot the other reason I don't eat chocolate, and I bought a big dark chocolate bar at a grocery - maybe dark chocolate wouldn't didn't give headaches like milk chocolate? After having too much for 2 or 3 days, I was unbearably itchy the next night. I thought maybe pollen, which I'm allergic to, had somehow got on my bedsheets. As I washed them the next morning I remembered about itching from chocolate. I related this to a friend and gave him the rest of the chocolate bar. The next day he said he had had several itchy sessions at night for no apparent reason. I thought it was just my own allergy. Is this a common reaction? After a few days of itchy chest, I also got a zit there, also doubtless from the chocolate (not from the itching per se).

Book Barn Mini Library

   In the middle of the month I finally finished a project inspired by a "resilient streets" meeting in the spring and made from a boulevard giveaway cabinet I put a cor.o.plast "roof" on: a very local place for people to exchange books. A number of books have come and gone. I think more 'duds' have come or remain, and more interesting ones have gone. The books mostly seem to have come in three batches: the ones I initially set out, a batch someone else brought, and a batch of cookbooks from another person. At one point, some 'librarian' set them all up nicely. Someone kicked in one door. I feared it might soon be completely vandalized and wondered if it was silly even attempting it, but it hasn't happened yet. Lately there's been a big plastic bag over it to keep the heavy rain out.
   I found a video of the original "Resilient Streets" book boxes, and they were nicer, mounting on posts and with glass (lexan?) doors that open, to keep the rain out.

Supercorder at Band & more interest in it

   Having been asked to leave the "Intermediate" band because my Supercorder "doesn't sound the same as a flute", in the last week of October I re-joined the "Junior" band, where the conductor, and a few players who said something had seemed to be missing without my sound, seemed more than happy to have me back. As there were no oboes I'll mostly play oboe parts - and sometimes flute where the oboe part has nothing, tho there are six flutes this year.
  There was further interest in my instruments in an e-mail. Some else wanting to experiment with improving recorders asked where I had got my information. That was here and there, and I realized that if I wrote up some "tips and principles" of recorder and supercorder design, it might save people a lot of time and grief. Doing so further contributed to delay in writing this newsletter. And I think expanding on the subject, showing some of my jigs and techniques, might also be more than helpful to potential makers, so I may take some more time out to do so. There are lots of guitar and violin makers and doubtless lots of books and plans for them, but there's really not much info for an aspiring woodwind maker to go on.

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

(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)

Oct 1-4: More research on aerial energy devices - Read Tesla's famous patent on the subject. (Also watched a technical video about Bedini motor.) But mostly editing newsletter.
5: Picked up NiMH Honda Insight battery sticks & cleared through customs.
6: Researching on aerial energy (a couple of good technical videos - Ion Power Group, more).
7: Started laying out a PCB for a 555 timer based PWM control to attempt some additional pulse strategies with the unipolar motor controller.
8: Finished PCB layout
9: More video 'atmospheric energy' studies.> (Inevitably some stuff on magnet motors too.)
10: Still more video 'atmospheric energy' studies.
11: -
12: ditto to 9th and 10th. I also spent quite a while writing an e-mail to MicroMetals[.com] looking for advice on coil core types for the motor controller.
13: Bought heavy "battery" switch for grounding atmospheric energy receiver antenna. (safety for electronic circuits and for people, esp. me.)
14: Bought a "gutter guard" aluminum plate to use for plate antenna.
15: Constructed atmospheric energy receiver antenna assembly and mounted it up on peak of roof. (~40' elevation above ground)
16: Ran cable from antenna to solar panel/12 VDC equipment closet.
17: Major cleanup of the closet.
18: Formed a ceramic insulator set for the spark gap pieces.
19: Fired insulator set in kiln, mounted it in wiring closet.
20: Finished up wiring spark gap and grounding switch, added a small shelf to place circuit breadboard on for trying things out.
21: Wired up coil, connected it to antenna, and tried a couple of things. (No notable results)
24-25: family
26: Made PCB of PWM control
27: Drilled holes in PCB
28: Mounted components & tested & troubleshooted(?) PWM control, mounted in controls box.
29-30: family
Nov 1: Atmospheric energy experiments.
2: (bad cold)
3: Testing motor with PWM controller.
4: cold
5: cold
6: cold
7: newsletter

Electric Hubcap Motor Systems - Electric Transport

Unipolar Motor Controller

   I decided to try pulsing the drive at a low frequency, just a few pulses per second, like maybe 6 to 8. This idea goes back to my earliest motor controllers... like the one that actually moved the car, however feebly, with direct drive on the wheel in October 2008. This feat was never repeated in spite of improving the motors. A couple of times I had heard Toyota hybrids make the same sort of pulsing sound as they started moving on electric power.
   By repeatedly giving the transistors a brief rest the current, and hence torque, can be permitted to go higher when they're on without overheating them. I also suspect it's the way to get the best performance out of an "active generator", where the motor controller acts like a "regenerative braking" circuit and dumps power 'back' into the 'supply'.
   For the PWM generator I made a simple 555 timer based pulse width modulation circuit to feed 7.8Hz PWM to the controller in place of the simple analog potentiometer. That's the Schumann resonance frequency, for want of any particular reason for any particular frequency. (Any RF emitted would travel around the world in all directions and back to the motor in that length of time, FWIW.)
   I remembered doing such a PWM generator when I had first started in on doing motor controllers, and I looked for it in my EAGLE PCB files. I couldn't find it. But I knew I had it somewhere! Where was the circuit and the board design? At length I remembered I had wired up the first controller on a breadboard, so there was no PCB layout. I found the circuit diagram (originally off the web somewhere) in the last undamaged copy of the "early motor controllers" manual - an image of the circuit drawn on paper with pencil and pencil crayons. I had forgotten how primitively I started out on all this!
   I did the schematic in EAGLE and the PCB layout on the 7th and 8th. There was one aggravation: I had selected the DIP package of the 555 timer and designed the board. Then I checked my stock and found I had the SO08 surface mount package instead. To change it on the single sided board meant it would mount on the bottom and so all the pins were not just smaller but mirror imaged. So it all had to be rerouted, taking 2 more hours, and it ended up needing a jumper, which it hadn't originally. But at least I shrank the board to 1" x 1.2". I would just solder it onto the back of a rotary potentiometer control to 'mount' it. External connections are +12 volts, Ground, and PwmOut (7.8Hz, 5 volts).

   I finally got around to printing the 555 timer based pulse width modulator circuit board on the 22nd. Here are the files.

555-PWM.sch - 555-PWM.brd
Ready to print artwork (2 copies) at 600 DPI, with the pads expanded in a 'paint'
program (Graphic Converter) to make solid solder points on a single sided PCB:

   R1 should be omitted entirely. C2 and C5 are just filters - .1µF or whatever is fine for both. R3/(R2+R3) sets the output voltage. The potentiometer and C4 set the frequency. As it says in the schematic, f = 1/(1.4 * R * C). If my 500,000 ohm potentiometer is 1/2 way, that's 250,000 ohms in each direction. That's muddied a bit by the diode drops, but we'll use it. Let's see...

  7.8 Hz = 1/(1.4 * 250000 Ω * C4 [in Farads])
  1.4 * 250000 * C = 1/7.8 Hz  or
  C = 1/(7.8 * 1.4 * 250000)  or
  C = 1/2730000 or
  C = .3663 µF.

.4 µF gives 7.1 Hz. So how about four .1 µF capacitors in parallel? (Perhaps I should have allowed for multiple capacitors on the circuit board layout?) We still have the diode drops to consider, and the frequency might skew as the pulse width is changed.

Image of (untested) V2 board

Artwork, first printed on paper (right),
then on toner transfer paper taped to the original piece of paper and run through the printer again (mid),
then laminated onto a copper faced circuit board (lower) with 10+ passes through the laminator,
then the board is etched to leave the desired patterns (top).

   I only got around to the project again on the 26th, when I printed and etched the PCB. The next day's puny accomplishment was to drill the holes. On the 28th I finally soldered on the parts and tried it out.
   Testing disclosed a mistake in the design, a hangover from copying the schematic from something a little different. "R1" (51K ohms) should simply be omitted. After a couple of hours debugging and changing the design and layout, measurements confirmed that the pulse width varied the frequency somewhat, from 125mSec to 170mSec, frequency range 5.9Hz to 8Hz. Target was 6 to 8 Hz, so that's great. Pulse width can vary from under 1% to over 99% by adjusting the potentiometer. The potentiometer with the PWM board simply replaces the regular control pot and outputs a duty cycle at about 7Hz at 100% amplitude (or adjusted lower via R2/R3) instead of an analog voltage. It worked for me, and it seems it works for Toyota.
   Then my brother from Toronto came to visit for a couple of days and give me his cold. I figured having built the thing that I could at least try it out, and on November 3rd I ran the motor with it. It didn't seem too different from the analog operation except that the on-off pulsing was quite distinct. I put the current meter on it and it said up to 11 amps, same as before. I shortened the shunt by putting the connection in the middle, and it went up to about 15 amps, and a little higher RPM (225). Then I attached the oscilloscope to the current meter so I could really see what was happening. I got the following waveform, shown at 3 time scales. (Upper white figure is time per division.)

Power Supply/Battery Current via DC current clamp: Vertical scale is 100 amps per division.
The 200 amp cutoff is apparently a more approximate spec as made than expected, but it works.
Most 'on' pulses seem to stop at 100 amps, but a few go up to 350 amps, and energy return pulses go down even beyond 400 amps.

Left: the overall 7Hz pattern, with a pulse duty cycle of about 85%(?)
Middle: Beginning of the "on" section expanded 10x
Right: expanded another 50x.

   An interesting feature is the high return currents as the coils are switched off, apparently higher current than the input current (but probably of shorter duration). Someone mentioned that the return spikes would be about (or exactly?) twice as large as the original current spikes. Apparently true for current as well as for voltage... but wouldn't that make more power returning than entering? The energy return coil still gets hot rapidly. Now if I had only examined these waveforms with the original analog speed control differences might be evident. Maybe I'll try looking at that later.

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects

Peltier Module / Thermoelectric Cooling

   With the old 8.5 amp peltier module, it didn't seem to make a big difference how fast the fan was running to carry off the heat. With the new 15 amp one, it definitely cools better with the fan on higher speed. With the internal fan and the larger peltier, the whole fridge is now cooler, mostly 7 or 8 degrees C instead of 10 or higher toward the far end, with the area near the ice tray being around 5 or 6, which it still is. (Lower winter room temperatures sometimes lower that to about 4°.)

   That brings us back to my desire for a quiet large evacuated tube radiator, which would have sufficient cooling surfaces to operate without a fan. I talked with someone I knew involved with refrigeration. He said he had a double vacuum pump that would create very high levels of vacuum. But if I had water in the tube, it would evaporate and come out as water inside the pump, doing the pump no good and leaving no water to boil in the pipe. I hadn't been able to make the steam-out of the air work, and now I was disillusioned about my alternative idea of simply sucking out the air.
   But I soon had another thought. If one put the pipe with the water in the freezer, the water would freeze. Then the air could be sucked out without sucking out the water. Now all I need is time to put together a pipe with some sort of pinch-off end or other means of sealing it, and go to my friend's shop and see how to best do it. (Does he have a freezer?)

Electricity Generation

Atmospheric Charge Energy

Recap - What and from Where is Atmospheric Charge Energy?

   The Earth is a giant dynamo with 200 million amps flowing continuously around it. It might seem only natural that such current provides the known electrical charges in the air, which voltage levels may rise on a clear day by almost +100 volts per meter of altitude. So, if the Earth is neutral in charge, there are more and more electron deficient ions in the air as one ascends. This is what can electrocute linemen touching unconnected power lines from tall, grounded towers, and cause big sparks from cables hung from helicopters. Furthermore, that voltage is an average. There is also a large AC component to it, ebbing and flowing, according to Tesla, and to Moray it sounded through headphones on an unconnected telegraph line like static, pulsating rather like crashing waves, with big peaks followed by decreasing ones until the next big one comes along. On a stormy day, moisture in the air multiplies the effects by orders of magnitude, and the DC charge is often reversed, with negatives at or above the clouds. Lightning is the sudden discharge of the turbulent, highly charged air either to ground or to a "nearby" air space with a different charge. But some of the atmospheric electricity that causes lightning is always present, and can be harvested in controlled, useful ways.
   It is well known that a simple circuit of diodes and capacitors can capture the ions that happen across its antenna, producing a small current that can gradually charge a cellphone. (It can also harvest from nearby power lines and radio signals.) A huge antenna such as Ion Energy Group's is required to harvest much power.
   But it appears that an oscillating circuit such as those made by TH Moray from 1926 to 1929, probably resonating with natural frequencies of the energies, can multiply the energy, bringing the ions to the antenna and generating vastly greater quantities of useful electricity, apparently at ultrasonic or RF frequencies - LF, MF and maybe HF. The difference is between milliwatts and kilowatts. A good number of testimonials written at the time demonstrates that it did indeed work as stated, leaving no credible possibility of a hoax. [A compilation of them are here: http://svpvril.com/Moray.html -- "Of the great number of learned men who have seen or heard of Moray's work, not one of them has ever been able to disprove his theories, claims and discoveries."]
   This apparently first and very successful resonant circuit atmospheric energy harvester used some unique components in his circuit, and also never fully explained how his device worked. For these reasons, no one ever managed to copy his design. One key device was the world's first semiconductor diodes, made from "Swedish rock" germanium, which even Moray, a mineralogy and crystallography materials expert, was never able to adequately synthesize once he ran short of the original natural material. Another device was his specially made vacuum tubes with unique sounding operation that I won't attempt to describe here. (He made three models of the tubes, that all worked in the energy devices.) Moray described the energy being harvested as "radiant energy" as he was aware that it was radiant energy that ionized the air, but it seems he thought it was the atmospheric ions he was harvesting.
   Soon corrupt interests sabotaged Moray's efforts to patent anything at all, and tried to have him killed, apparently on three occasions. Moray had become suspicious and carried a small gun, and he evidently kept his wits about him and was a very good shot, because he came out alive on all three occasions. Finally a jealous person smashed his machine, and the work came to a sudden inglorious end. (Moray went on, among other fascinating projects, to invent/design improved (vacuum tube) radio receivers and amplifiers for well known companies such as General Electric and Sylvania, which units graced many homes up until the early to mid 1960.s when the first small, portable Japanese "transistor radios" came out, followed by more modern solid state stereo equipment in the late 1960.s. But I digress.)

   A researcher tried to draw Moray's energy harvesting circuit schematic from memory from seeing it in the patent application. (Moray's patent applications were denied on specious grounds, and the contents of the application envelopes mysteriously disappeared from the patent office.)
   Of course the chances of it being mostly correct are small. The person didn't know what the bimetallic lead/silver piece was for, and its placement between two capacitors (according to his memory) is even more puzzling. (Doubtless all explained in the patent.) One recognizes a potential L-C oscillator involving the two tubes with the lower coil and switch, which (having no source of power until the unit was working), had to be "stroked" with a magnet to get it started, at least in the early units.

   Today's problem is that while atmospheric charges are better known, the resonant oscillations technology for harvesting them effectively has been little known or misunderstood and has never spread. Only recently with the advent of the internet has it started to become somewhat easier to separate facts from myths, and to find nuggets of information about Moray's work and other more recent apparently successful work. Still those with nothing real to offer, perhaps some of them shills for the corrupt, seem to shovel out all the disinformation they can, and by perpetrating so many convincing and unconvincing hoaxes, make it seem like it must all be hoaxes.
   Yet we understand that the atmosphere is in fact full of ionic energy. And that Moray's energy harvesting device worked to the extent of at least several kilowatts, day or night. Today we have a wide variety of electronic devices that were unavailable to Moray. One person described the tubes as "oscillating tubes", and there are lots of ways to make an oscillator. We have both germanium and silicon diodes readily available, and active rectification if extra-low forward voltage drop proves somehow instrumental to the harvesting. Surely in the 21st century, Moray's pioneering work can be explored and expanded upon. Even if there were no other, this well known - if not well understood - form of plentiful free energy is all around us, seemingly just waiting for appropriate circuits to be invented or reinvented in order to harvest it!

Correction: The air-core coil I got last month (left) is about 25 microHenries, not 25 nanoHenries. (Small slip, BIG 1000x difference when designing a circuit!)

   On the 6th I searched youtube for "Atmospheric Electricity" and found a channel called "LaserSaber", who had done some experiments in that area, using a hexcopter to lift wire high up into the air. The most interesting video was one where because of a high voltage electrostatic motor (with considerable torque!) that he had built and shown on youtube, he was invited to visit Ion Power Group which has been working on harnessing atmospheric energy for 10 years in Florida. I was impressed with several things, not the least of which was the many kilovolts coming down from the 4 antenna wires 130 feet up, strung between 4 poles in a very large square. The danger of working with such high voltages was impressed on me many times in the video, from heavy rubber gloves, to 6" long ceramic insulators, to a 1000 to 1 reduction voltage probe (reading ~9 = 9000 volts, or ~12 = 12000 another time), to a continuous thick arc bridging a gap of nearly an inch on a turbulent day, to 4' long sticks used to hold and connect wires, to a giant shower of sparks that lit the room from connecting something wrong. And they spoke of 250000 volts on a stormy day!
   But they were using passive collection. Their web site mentioned the collection of energy "skyrockets by many orders of magnitude" when the atmosphere is disturbed, but not that they had any thought of electromagnetically disturbing it to get the same effect. They had big, high antenna lines and got energy, and used some streaming wires with graphene that formed micro-spikes that would multiply their charge collection by 10 via the corona effect, but it still wasn't the sort of high energy Moray was collecting with what appeared to be resonant circuits -- except on stormy days, when they got up to over a kilowatt. Moray got several kilowatts any day.
   I plan to try out Moray's route... with considerably more caution than I was thinking of and a much smaller, lower antenna. (an aluminum plate, tied to my chimney about 40' up?) Evidently it could still make potentially lethal voltages. But if I can make the resonance technique work, it should still produce very useful power instead of milliwatts.

   It occurred to me that a good place to start might be to connect a diode or a diode bridge and a microampmeter (big needle, -50 to +50 µAmps) between an antenna and a ground wire and see what DC current might flow. I could also hook the oscilloscope in there and see the actual voltage waveforms instant to instant. With all the nearly "mystical" talk about germanium, I got four 1N34 germanium diodes for the bridge. From what I've been seeing the difference between .3v (Ge) and .7v (Si) forward drop should be a drop in the bucket. And yet...
   Then there's spark gaps. Apparently blue sparkles could be seen running down Moray's "Swedish stone" germanium diodes. Did the germanium crystals in his stones form tiny spark gaps? Is a spark gap a diode? Maybe sort of. Depending how it's made, it should be more prone to arcing in one direction of voltage than the other, again by the corona effect. There's no current at all until the arc begins. (Then when current starts to flow, does the forward voltage drop drop to zero?)
   But I decided to make a spark gap as a safety device to protect both my circuits and myself against overvoltage. On the 9th I came up with a tentative plan for a one: an outside surround of metal such as a round or square pipe or tube, with a gold surface, perhaps simply plated with gold, arcing to something like a stainless steel sewing needle. The needle might be placed in-line, parallel, with the surround metal, just an 8th, 16th or 32nd of an inch (or whatever seems to work at a desirable voltage) from one edge. The surround metal (anode) goes to the antenna at the top, and the needle (cathode) is grounded. Where most metals will corrode and form an oxide layer of some sort under positive voltage (anode) conditions that will hinder arcing, gold, almost alone, is very difficult to oxidize. (I wonder if my ~2004 Caswell Plating gold brush plating solution will still work?) The metal tube could be inside an insulating plastic or ceramic pipe, and the needle could be mounted in a big ceramic block... after seeing all the arcs and sparks at Ion Energy's facility, I want to try hard not to electrocute myself. Or get the radiation(?) burns that Moray got on his hands, that were probably the same as those I seemed to be being warned of in a dream. Maybe I should make some ceramic parts first in my mini-kiln. And maybe the antenna will go next after the spark gap to a big knife switch... enclosed in something... that I operate from a distance with a plastic rod. It can also have a shorting switch to ground to prevent high voltage from getting to the circuits as the antenna is switched in - assuming I always remember to turn the short on before activating the antenna. But relying on memory for the switch-on sequence isn't a reliable technique. Maybe if opening the knife switch automatically closes the shorting switch. I think I like that idea. Well, doubtless I'd have to make my own switches regardless to get that to happen!
   And yet, from the passive designs I've seen, the voltage builds quite gradually in the circuit when the antenna is connected. Should it not be possible to make, eg, a 12 volt DC output unit, and the oscillator shuts off momentarily or something shunts off the excess if the voltage gets too high? Except at the spark gap and the knife switch, with the circuit turned on there should be no high voltages. An inverter can be used to change the 12 VDC to 120 VAC/60 Hz as required.

   On youtube I found an explanation of sorts for active use of a "spark gap" of sorts... a "Toroidal Power Unit" ("TPU") was shown as being kind of like a vacuum tube effect with no vacuum, the electrons flying toward a high voltage 'plus' plate.

   Just how or whether this fits in I'm not sure.

   I decided to use an "extension cord", a cable having an outer sheath, for the antenna leed wire. I could drill a hole in the roof near the chimney and feed it through. First I selected an aluminum plate from my collection for the antenna. Next question was, what to use for an insulated "mast" to hold up the antenna. I would tie this to the chimney. (Say, how come I've never heard of people getting shocks putting up or hooking up, eg, a TV antenna?)
   Then on the 9th I thought that if the Ion Power Group was using spikey bits of graphene not only to make lots of little spikes but also to increase surface collection area in general, maybe an aluminum window screen - lots of fine wires - would be better than a plate. Or even such a screen with some graphite fiber wrapped around it?
   On the 10th a considerable search with some clean-up found the ±50µAmp meter, and a cable for the antenna connection, but not the big knife switch. Further searching over the next couple of days was to no avail. Who would ever dream I'd ever actually want to use that antique?
   Soon I decided I'd have to make my own special double safety switch: Opening the antenna knife switch would automatically close the safety ground-short switch to protect the electronics and perhaps myself. Only once the antenna switch was reclosed could the ground short switch be opened, allowing the antenna voltage to rise to power up the circuit. The electronics itself would have some means of preventing the antenna voltage from rising too high. So the electronics need not be designed for high voltages, except perhaps for the oscillator to 'stir' the air.
   Then I realized that the antenna never needed to be disconnected. If it was grounded everything was safe. It just needed a simple knife switch, but to ground, not to the electronics, which could always remain connected. I still couldn't find it. Perhaps I actually threw out something that looked sort of interesting, just because I couldn't think of a use for it? On the 12th I gave up and bought a new large size switch, a battery switch from an automotive place. It's probably better because the wires (in particular the antenna wire) are enclosed.
   On the 14th I went to buy an aluminum screen. But I got a thin, solid aluminum "gutter guard" instead. It was bigger in area than my aluminum plate but it had holes to increase the surface area and to let some wind go through. I thought about the idea of insulating it (it was already painted), more particularly with a high dielectric constant insulation. On the 15th I thought of the static cling of transparent tape. Since I couldn't see wrapping it with countless skinny pieces of that, I used packaging tape, which also has a lot of static cling. If it makes all that static as it's unwound, surely it has the right characteristics? (So much for the holes in the aluminum!) Then I mounted this plate on a 5 foot PVC pole, clamped that to a piece of wood, connected the cable, and tied it to the chimney at the peak of the roof with a few wraps of rope, about 40' up from the ground. I drilled a 3/8" hole through the roof, next to the peak and next to the chimney, and pushed the cable through, into the attic space. The next day I donned gear and ventured into the attic (full of blown-in-fiberglass dust, cellulose fiber dust, rat droppings et al) and ran the wire through to the solar equipment closet below.
   Cleaning the closet occupied the next day's work session. It was full of plaster and drywall compound from fixing the wall when I first did the solar stuff along with crap from the holes for wires into the attic, some firebricks and other bricks I had set dry cell batteries on for fire safety, batteries lying around, and various bits of electrical stuff, both on the floor and the shelves. I did a lot of vacuuming. None of it my favorite work. But I think I'm digressing from the story here. Comes of writing late at night.

   On the 18th I formed a couple of ceramic clay pieces for an insulator to hold the spark gap. I left them to dry overnight, then fired them in the mini kiln.
   On the 19th I voted, marking my ballot 3 - 4 - 1 - 2 in my order of preference for the candidates. No 'illiterate's X' ballots for me! Hopefully it'll at least give the vote counters something to think about!
   Then I contrived to mount the spark gap and the antenna grounding switch on the wall in the closet, and connected the antenna. Then next day I added a couple of wires to connect to a nearby circuit and put in a small shelf to hold a circuit 'breadboard' to try things out. I measured the voltages from the antenna: .34 VAC, and -.012 to -.02 VDC. Not only were the voltages trivial, the DC component was backward compared to expectations. Quick attempts to hook up diodes and 2.2µF capacitors seemed to kill it. It turned out to be the 2.2µF ceramic capacitors, which *should* have virtually no leakage. A .1µF capacitor charged up so slowly to over 1/2 a volt (still backward polarity, with the diode either way around!), that simply connecting the voltmeter - doubtless quite a high impedance unit - caused the voltage to rapidly start dropping instead of rising. Variations on the circuit seemed just as futile. Had I made a mistake by insulating the antenna? It certainly appeared, as many have found, that a simple diode-capacitor circuit doesn't bring in much power. Others have had better (less trivial?) success on youtube. The possibility remained that a resonant oscillator would revolutionize the picture.

   The next morning (21st) I looked again at the "Tesla Cult" circuit. (but remember "ground rod south" was replaced by "antenna".) My antenna voltage of only .34 VAC was hardly enough to overcome the forward voltage drops of semiconductors. It didn't even seem to matter which way around the 1N34 germanium diode was. But the coil with the tap, the "variable air core transformer", would magnify the voltage by the ratio of:

 the whole coil
 the tapped portion.

If that was (say) 6 to 1, the tap 5/6 of the way to the bottom, it would be .34v * 6 = 2.04v making the voltage high enough to work with. The already feeble current would be similarly decreased by 6x, but it seemed the voltage was too low to make good use of whatever current there was anyway, so it's probably all gain. Here was the first key: the coil makes for not just a resonant circuit, but an AC/RF voltage multiplier. Here we get the impression that it may be more the AC component of the atmospheric ions that is important than the DC one, which can't be amplified by a transformer. But maybe it's the combo. But when I connected the coil, the AC voltage dropped to zero. That suggested a low frequency rather than RF.

   Being busy with other things, it wasn't until the 31st I brought over the oscilloscope to better see what was coming in. With no other connection to the antenna, the DC component was pretty much imperceptible and the AC component was just mostly 60 Hz hum, .4V peak to peak - no surprise in a wired house. There was another sinusoidal waveform on top of it at about 1MHz, but only about 20mV peak to peak. This could have been a nearby AM radio station - in fact the signal's amplitude modulated probably about like music playing. Something else briefly appeared at regular short intervals that seemed to be about 10 MHz, but it seemed to be synced to the radio station. Nothing seemed anything like a random sort of atmospheric noise, but it had an 'artificial' look to it. I saw no lightning from distant thunderstorms but then it was October, and we get less lightning on the west coast than anywhere else on Earth. Where then was this atmospheric energy?

   Nothing ventured nothing gained, it was time to breadboard the oscillator. I thought I'd start with Tesla Cult's circuit since it was simple. I plunked in the components and connection wires. Nothing seemed to happen. That was as far as I got. Next will be a real oscillator with a tuning capacitor to vary the frequency and a battery to provide initial power to make sure it's working.

The test setup.
The red shielded wire comes from the antenna. The black wire
is grounded at an electrical outlet. The spark gap to ground is
to help protect circuits and ensure safety should high voltages
actually become present if it works. Likewise, the red switch
shorts the antenna to ground. I screwed a piece of wood into
a board in the closet wall to make a small shelf for trying out

(The wires on the far right are from the solar PV panels and the
black box is the Zahn DC to DC converter that converts the solar
panels' output to 14.0 volts to charge NiMH and PbPb batteries and
for the 12V receptacles around the house, so far used for LED lights
and the Peltier fridge.)

   In early November I read that Moray's later energy units worked in locations where they couldn't be tapping atmospheric energy, and without an antenna or a ground. It seems he must actually have been tapping "lambda ray"/"short space ray"/"VHE gamma ray"/"zero point" (surely all the same thing) energy after all. Why would he get radiation burns from atmospheric electricity?

   Frankly as I write, I realize that I still have virtually no success and far more questions than answers. Is atmospheric energy worth pursuing or just a curiosity? Or is the seemingly elusive lambda ray energy the only practical pursuit along these lines?

   I think that a spark gap, like Moray's sparking mineral diodes and like the "TPU" circuit diagram above, has some valuable if not fundamental purpose in capturing lambda ray energy. But if so, just how and where should it be employed? Perhaps the "TPU" illustration is a clue - maybe it just makes a high frequency, high voltage diode?

   Well, perhaps I'll try a bare metal antenna next, as the dielectric coated one doesn't seem to do much of anything. One thing sure: if anything I try yields success measured in tens of watts or better, I'll document every aspect well so hopefully everyone can achieve similar results.

Electricity Storage - Turquoise Battery Project Etc.

Lead? Lead?

   On the 30th I was thinking about the nickel-nickel cells that keep having more self discharge than nickel-manganese, which are double the voltage. Something I don't understand is going on there. Then I thought of zinc, that elusive metal that works so well... except for gradually dissolving during discharge (and sometimes shorting the cell) and so giving short cycle life.

   Then I thought of lead, similar to zinc in some ways, but it doesn't dissolve even in sulfuric acid. I looked again at the reduction potentials diagram. (the one that had steered me so wrong in the past by having a wrong value printed on it.) In sulfuric acid, metallic lead discharges to lead sulfate, PbSO4. This substance gradually forms larger, non-conductive crystals that can't be recharged, helping to give lead-acid batteries their well known limited cycle life.
   But in alkali the chart shows it discharging to lead oxide, PbO. (or more likely to lead hydroxide Pb(OH)2 per the Pourbaix diagram below. It make little difference which it is.) This (surely?) won't have such a problem. And the reaction chart is dead simple - no branching tree or dissolved ion or non-conductive states. (We know from lead-acid that batteries that PbO2 (or, surely, Pb(OH)4) is a conductor.) So unlike nickel-iron, I would think it shouldn't have to be used at pH 14 to prevent irreversible corrosion to a non-conductive oxide form. It should thus have a very long cycle life. As we all know lead has a high molecular weight (207.2), which does little good for energy density (theoretically 259 WH/Kg for the metal)... but might it work for me better than things I've tried? Might nickel-lead provide a simple chemistry for small scale production which has eluded me so far?

   The reaction voltage of metallic lead to valence 2 is very low in acid. But in alkali it's over 1/2 a volt. A nickel-lead cell in KCl solution at pH 12-13 should work with a voltage of about +.85 - -.54 = 1.39 volts, or maybe somewhat less. If it worked well, I'd be farther ahead than I have been so far!
    I decided the thing to do would be to take apart a lead-acid battery and disassemble some of the plates. I have a simple candidate in a small one about the size of a 'D' cell that has been sitting around for years and has just turned up from a dusty cupboard. Or maybe just find a chunk of lead for a quick experiment.

   One is tempted to look above lead on the periodic table for a lighter element in the same column. But the next one up is tin, which has many soluble reactions. Above that are germanium, then silicon, then carbon. Carbon, and probably silicon, wouldn't oxidize. My mind balks at the idea that germanium might work even without checking it out. Lead seems to be unique.

   A separate possibly useful lead reaction is Pb(OH)4 to Pb(OH)2 for the positive electrode. It moves 2 electrons where simple NiOOH to NiOHOH only moves 1. In alkali the theoretical reaction voltage is a little lower than NiOOH. The high atomic weight gives it a theoretical energy density of just 200 WH/Kg (at pH 12, counting the atomic weight of three 'OH's), versus 289 for the NiOOH (at pH 14).

   There are two ways this might be useful in place of NiOOH. The first is if it has significantly better percent utilization of the atoms. Then it might outperform the nickel, which I've heard somewhere gets around 90 WH/Kg in actual use. The second is if a solid piece of lead reacts on the surface without the reaction penetrating deeper, ie if the oxide layer that forms is solid and doesn't dissolve. In that case, a lead (Pb) wire in the positrode wouldn't dissolve, and the current collector and connection wires can be lead (as they are in lead-acid batteries) instead of graphite. That's not lighter but it's simpler to make and promises better internal and external connections. (Potentially lead leeds would work for nickel hydroxide electrode current collectors in KCl, too. IF it works that way.)

   But with decreasing pH, while still on the alkaline side, the lead voltage rises more gradually than that of the nickel types, so the cell voltage will be somewhat lower. Since that probably means both lower voltage and lower amp-hours for lead, and as it seems to be finding a good negative electrode I'm really having trouble with, I'll probably leave the lead positrode idea well enough alone. Except maybe I'll try out a lead terminal wire and see if it stands or dissolves. It would be much easier to seal a wire through the case than the graphite sheets.

Pulse Charging for Lead-Acid Batteries

   I've experimented a lot with using sodium sulfate to help restore lead-acid batteries. Another thing to do is to try using a high frequency "pulse charging" charger, which as I have discovered often makes the difference. The merchant said he’s brought more 'dead' batteries back to life with the "Xtreme Charge" charger he sells than anything. It’s only 2 amps, but it helps gradually break up the lead sulfate crystals that passivate the plates.

   Be sure to get one that actually does only pulse charging, or at least allows it as a user selectable option. I recently bought two cheap ones that say "pulse charging" on them, but they only do pulse charging if they decide to - I can’t make them do it, and indeed they have never entered the pulse charging mode they claim to have on any battery I’ve tried.

The top “Xxtreme Charge” is a good model that does strictly high frequency pulse charging. (bought locally at “Battery Direct”)
Its biggest failing is that it claims badly discharged batteries are "bad" and won't start charging them. Use another charger to get them started.

The bottom “genius”(?!?) one claims it has pulse charge, but it won’t go into pulse charge mode and so it's pretty useless.
It claims it'll go into pulse charge mode when it detects the need to do so... but how can it really know?
It doesn't do it or let me select it on any crappy battery I've tried. (bought at Canadian Tire)
...It's another "would have been useful" product turned into crap by another manufacturer not disclosing useful information
(like what material something's made of, etc) or (as in this case) not allowing the purchaser to make his own choices about how to use it.

Victoria BC Canada