Turquoise Energy Report #179 - April 2023
Turquoise Energy Report #179
Covering April 2023 (Posted May 3rd 2023)
Lawnhill BC Canada - by Craig Carmichael
(CraigXC at Post dot com)

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

Month In "Brief" (Project Summaries etc.)
 - Volunteer Citizen Grievance Panels (recap) - Magnetic Variable Torque Converter - Copper Peltier Heat Transfer Elements - Acoustic Heat Pumping - End of EV Adoption?

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
 - Safer Tree Cutting? - Journalism: Shoot the Messenger! - Scattered Thots - ESD

- Detailed Project Reports -

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

Other "Green" & Electric Equipment Projects
* Peltier Module Cooler: Copper Heat Transfer Parts

Electricity Storage: Batteries [no report]

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

April in Brief

Volunteer Citizen Grievance Panels

   Last month in In Passing I wrote up a proposal
for this, a new institution of governance by the people. I wish here to stress its "game changing" importance. Today we have no organized feedback channel from individuals and the public to our institutions. As a result, our major institutions have over the decades become "feral", less and less in touch with the society they exist to serve. Mostly they have become self serving while begrudging whatever service they have to provide to justify their existence.
   Grievance panels will provide that feedback and forever change our relationship with our institutions. One reason drivers behave well - and learn to behave well - is that nobody likes being honked at. The fact of the public having a horn to honk with will very much help bring institutions in line with public expectations and requirements. Once they are set up in localities everywhere, a group of impartial volunteers is able to judge actions or inactions by institutions/organizations in response to individual complaints and if appropriate demand individual redress from the institution, in a single regular session. Just as importantly, responding to the realization of that, the whole attitude of those making and implementing policies in our institutions will become more reasonable and responsive - more caring.

   It does need to be approved in legislation. Most institutions/organizations would just laugh at panel judgements if they carried no official or legal weight. I sent a copy on paper to my MP, who is certainly one of the more active and dynamic members. Whether our ossified institutions of government are capable of implementing any important change to "the way things work" before they collapse remains to be seen, but the idea is now "out there" for the future, in small now but spreading circles I trust.

   Just think... If Dennis hadn't told me, out of the blue at lunch one day in (?)1978, about his experience with an overbearing Vancouver city official and then the Vancouver Board of Variance (last example in my writeup), I'm sure I would never have thought of this. An unsuspected link in the chain of social progress!

Thanks Dennis, (? - 1979) RIP!

Magnetic Variable Torque Converter

   I was unable to get pure alume unless I wanted to pay a crazy price for a whole sheet - probably over 2000$ plus shipping. or 1100$ plus shipping for 1/8 of a sheet. At that point I thought that since copper was better anyway, I should use it instead. Since I had copper bits but not a copper plate, I thought I would cast a copper disk. Having the metal melting furnace, it sounded simple enough. Except for the furnace not being able to hold enough copper. IIRC:

copper 401
pure alume 243
alume alloy 167

   With pure alume not available, copper was 401/167 = 2.4 times more conductive than the alloy. Even a 7mm (1/4 inch) thick copper rotor, closest to the magnets, should be substantially better than the ~10mm present alloy alume rotor. In fact, headed for twice as good.

   After practicing on the parts for the Peltier module camping cooler, I went to cast the rotor. I had learned that the furnace actually could melt copper and that if copper was cast in two or more pieces, they did seem to "glue" together (however imperfectly), unlike alume. I thought I could cast the disk in three 1Kg melts instead of having to figure out how to melt 3 Kg of copper at once.
   If I made it 10 inches diameter instead of my preferred 10.5, it would fit on my lathe, and I had a 10 inch steel rotor for an "Electric Hubcap" motor that was just right as a pattern, so I used that. I made a plywood box big enough to cast it on the flat and put in some "greensand" mix (fine sand, 10% bentonite clay, and just the right amount of water, per youtube videos. I threaded 3 bolts into the bolt hole in the disk so I could lift it out without disturbing the sand. Then I pressed in the steel disk and and padded some more sand around it and in the center hole. But I had to cut into the sand around the edges with an exacto knife to keep the sand from coming up when I lifted the disk out.

   I'd like to be careful and take it slowly, but you only seem to get 2-3 seconds to pour the copper before it starts hardening as "slag" as it comes out of the crucible. I wanted the rotor to be 1/4 inch thick, and liquid copper seems to have enough surface tension that it wants to be roughly that thick rather than flow farther. The first cast (900g of copper) seemed pretty good, if a bit rough at the edges.

   Things went downhill from there and it got really ugly. Only the thought that I could grind off and then mill off all the excess metal on the lathe kept me from starting over.

   For the second cast (1Kg, no picture - the 3rd cast is partly on top of the second here), I thought I would follow the outside edge and then it wouldn't matter if the drying sand around the edge crumbled. With the copper not flowing as freely as I expected and my shaky hands (worse and worse as I get older), there were a bunch of gaps around the edge. Oh great, now I had a bunch of little voids to fill instead of one big area!

   The third cast (1Kg) filled in the remaining big void area toward the center -- leaving more smaller voids. This time I sprinkled some borax flux on the rotor to help the new stuff bond to the old. (What is with this camera?)

   A fourth and fifth cast (500g, 540g) filled in some of the voids. But the whole thing had warped without me noticing and wasn't sitting flat in the sand, so a bunch of the metal went through the voids and made new lumps underneath. At least that bottom face should have ended up nice and flat, but no!

   There were just another little spot and a couple of major cracks I wanted to fill, but after 3 days of hour long waits for copper to melt and then donning protective gear and then pouring, I was pretty much fed up and left it. (and it was also the end of the month.) The warp flattened easily with a big hammer. If only I had noticed to do it earlier before making the flat side lumpy. It's going to be a heck of a machining job.

   Someone suggested using (HCl) acid to clean the copper off. No doubt the joins would be more solid and I'll try it for the last cast(s).

   Now that I've tried casting I'm sure it would have been much simpler to order a 10x10 inch square of copper plate, cut it round, and turn it on the lathe. I may yet end up doing that. But it also would have been much easier if the crucible held enough copper to cast it in one pour. (Might I have cast it as four 1/4 circles and then joined them with a pour to fill the four joins?)

Copper Peltier Cooler Heat Transfer Elements

   In order to practice casting copper, I decided to remake the heat transfer block and the heatsinks for the Colman Peltier cooler in copper. I made the heat transfer block (hot cast block shown), but it seems sand casting of heatsinks is beyond my skill level and maybe not really doable at all.

The heat transfer block with the Peltier face milled smooth

Making tapered slots for heatsink fins in "greensand" casting mix.

Result, fins side. There should be 10 equal, well shaped fins.

Bottom side. It took two pours, which if nothing else proved the two casts would basicly stick together.

   The result was disappointing. Some fins were wider, and the copper filling them had pushed other channels closed. It didn't seem usable (and would take hours to smooth the face!)
   So Instead I hope to solder a copper plate I had to the bottom of the hot side heatsink, and solder the heat transfer block to the cold side heatsink. (Soldering alume, TEReport176) Assuming the sodlering goes okay, the copper facings should improve the heat transfer in and out of the Peltier module, achieving most of what copper heatsinks would have.
   So far I've cut and polished the plate.

   If I ever do make a copper heatsink (and if I can solder a copper block to an alume heatsink, is there any real reason to?), it will probably be by soldering copper sheet fins to a copper plate base.

Acoustic Heat Pumping

   I saw an interesting video on this topic, which I had never heard of. It was well presented and explained. Sound waves hitting an object make a momentary pressure, which makes a momentary heat, with a corresponding momentary drop in pressure nearby. This occurs at the frequency of the sound, so a 200 Hz sounds hits the object 200 times per second. In a closed tube a resonance frequency amplifies the effect at the ends of the tube, and heat collector "fins" near an end of the tube can get warmer or cooler - or both at opposite ends - depending on the size, placement and resonance.
   The presenter got 14°C difference between warm and cold temperature sensors with an 8 inch "subwoofer" speaker, he said at 200 Hz resonance. (But I heard it as treble clef C# - 518 Hz.) He noted that he could connect the 'collectors' at each end thermally in series and double the temperature difference (to 28°).
   The one vital parameter that wasn't touched on was how much power was driving the speaker. One can get those temperature spreads with a peltier module. Which technology would use less power? Could acoustic cooling be as low or lower power than refrigerant pumping? Then again, the thing I like most about Peltier modules is that they're silent. Still, acoustic heat pumping seems an interesting phenomenon.

Acoustic Cooling & How To Manipulate Heat With Sound (Thermoacoustics Part 2)

End of EV Adoption?

   Sales of new gasoline powered vehicles peaked in 2017 and have been dropping since. In 2022 EVs (PHEV, BEV) accounted for 13% of new car sales. In China the figure was 25%.

2019 -   2.5%
2020 -   4.2%
2021 -   8.3%
2022 - 13.0%

   Of course, as more and more high quality oil reserves are located in easier and easier places to get to and to pump out on this smallish world, there will be abundant fuel for tens of thousands of years of future driving by hundreds of billions of people, liquid fuels will become ever cheaper and infernal internal combustion vehicles are bound to make a comeback. And the environment will be just fine.
   Right now there are a couple of video titles being suggested to me on youtube explaining why "EV's aren't the answer". The absence in such videos of alternative "answers" to our ever more serious problems with non-renewable fuels implies the authors consider them to be somehow eco-friendly and long term sustainable - somehow renewable or infinite in supply. Our present problems are apparently just the result of bad policies and manipulative governments, not a badly depleted resource that has been largely squandered and will be unavailable to all future generations.

   After all, lithium use, mining and prices are apparently shooting up and up, not dropping and prices falling as statistics are presently showing, partly with Australia's new refining technique that extracts twice as much lithium from the ore. And there are no other kinds of good batteries like the NiMH's that were in use for EV's in the 1990s, and none of the cheaper high energy types under development will ever succeed. (Sodium Ion batteries have just hit the market in some new EV's.) Even EV car bodies take five times as much energy to produce as the same body for a petroleum vehicle. And I keep hearing the usual song about how much coal your EV burns regardless of your electrical utility's power sources or the number of acres of solar panels you put up. (Funny how with just 18 panels on my house roof here on the cloudy north coast I make 3x as much electricity as my EV car uses annually in 12 megameters a year driving, actually reducing total fossil fuel usage.) Maintenance costs are horrific. (Why, I myself have needed new rear brake disks & calipers and new tires over several years of winter-salted/graveled highway driving. Of course I'd never have needed those or anything else [like oil, filters, PbPb cranking batteries...] on a gasoline vehicle.) Even insurance is more, and when eventually you need a new main battery it will cost more than the whole car. Surely EV's will be as dead as dodos within the next few years, another bizarre eco-lie fad foisted on us by the "woke left", doomed to be cast aside as cooler heads prevail. Anything else is just Russian propaganda and misinformation. Or so say those still driving petroleum vehicles.

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

Safer Tree Cutting?

   There are two cases (well, among many) for for felling a tree. One is where there is an open place where it is a solid tree likely to land safely. The other is where it has a good chance of destroying something valuable when it falls. In that case, either a risk of damage is taken or someone has to climb the tree and disassemble it from the top down until it is short enough to fell safely - sometimes almost to the ground in a built up area. That is certainly not without risk to the climber. A hollow or dead, rotting tree is even more dangerous. If there's room for a bucket truck and the tree isn't too tall, the cutter could stand in the bucket - still not without hazard, and costly.
   It occurs to me that having a saw operated by remote control that could cut high up the tree with everyone standing at a safe distance would be much better. My first thought was a flying drone with a chainsaw. Then I thought that would be pretty hard to control accurately and to press the saw against the tree. And if the saw jammed even slightly the drone and saw would be stuck up a half sawn tree. And the blades might get caught in branches.
   An accordian type extension with the saw assembly at the top might be good for 15 or 20 feet. (Or else a fixed tower that the saw can ride up on.) But it might be necessary for the first cut to be made higher up.

   Okay: how about making it so the top of the assembly where the saw is can latch onto the tree trunk? There's the stability for cutting. The bottom of a much shorter accordian extension or tower - maybe 6 or 8 feet - can also grip the trunk. So the top extends and then grips the trunk, and the bottom lets go. The accordian closes taking the bottom up the tree. The bottom grips on then the top lets go. The accordian extends again and the unit inches its way up the tree. Either the branches are cut along the way up or the grips must be flexible enough to go around them. Hmm... if the branches aren't cut on the way up, when the top part is felled it might hang up in the branches. So that's probably a good idea anyway.

   Or, a shorter assembly is pulled up the tree by getting a rope up over a high branch and pulling down. Then the assembly clamps itself to the tree and cuts where it has been pulled up to. That was starting to sound simpler until I had the thought that it would saw below the branch that was holding it. How about the rope is attached closer to the middle of the unit, below the saw?

   Or what about making the saw assembly so it can climb a ladder? Probably not climb the rungs, but drive up the side rails? Extension ladders come up to about 40 feet long. That might be high enough for most situations. Put up the ladder, then attach the heavy saw mechanism at the bottom and let it climb up and latch onto the tree itself.

   There's still the chance of getting the saw stuck, but at least there's some leverage to push or pull on it. Something like this, albeit it would be a specialty tool, would seem far more desirable than the hazards associated with the present methods, which now, thinking of a potentially better way, seem "primitive" and "reckless". This is just some first thoughts. I have a number of trees that would hit my house roof or other things if they fell toward it, but there is no other clear direction for them to fall - they would get hung up in other trees. It would be more than cool to be able to bring them down safely by felling the top half first, while standing at a distance.

Journalism: Shoot the Messenger!

* I had read that journalists/reporters were being murdered by the dozen. 67 last year IIRC - and that's ones known to have been murdered, not those "missing" or died of unknown causes or killed without being recognized as being a journalist. When anyone tells a real story from their own viewpoint about any dispute or issue, one side or the other doesn't like them, and tolerance for airing of dissenting views continues to reach new lows. I think the worst is for those who deviate from the American propaganda as broadcast ad nauseum on US mass media, but there are slain bloggers on both sides in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and probably many more in Sudan where the even larger war with far more civilian casualties is ongoing.

   In an interview someone noted that journalists have become more of a target for assassination than politicians. He had little sympathy for those who commit such crimes. If someone would murder with planned and malice aforethought an innocent, law abiding person just because they express views or expose facts or truths they (or their employer) don't like aired, is it not just basic and vital for society to protect itself by eliminating such murderous types before they take even one more productive, innocent life?
   Allowing the hateful and conniving to carry on their business, perhaps after a fine or a prison sentence, is not "compassion for those who had a poor home life" or mercy. It is a prime reason our society has grown into the sad state it has over the last century and is about to collapse. Among a long and distressing list of other things that have been done to us all by such people, think of a world war started by a man whose life was spared after his violent coup attempt. For him prison was just a 'time out' to plan more carefully how to go about seizing power next time.

* On top of those assassinated in 2022 Harpers magazine says there were 363 journalists imprisoned. (Again neither Russia nor Ukraine seems to have much tolerance for adverse reporting.)

* That's not even counting Julian Assange who for some reason "doesn't qualify" as a journalist. How many others who "don't qualify" for the count are in jails around the world?

* The hypocrisy of persecuting Assange for two decades for no crime, while none of those who committed the war crimes his work exposed are investigated or prosecuted, is surely apparent. "Shooting the messenger" is still very popular.

* Likewise someone who recently leaked damning US documents proving the government has been lying to the US public is in trouble, while those guilty of the crimes exposed will never be charged.

* In 2012 after sending an email to Wikileaks that he would soon release an exposé on the CIA, journalist Michael Hastings' car was boobytrapped. But his death was never investigated. Those who committed this heinous crime and those who ordered it still walk the streets, while Hastings is still dead. In a sane society [if such a thing could ever have happened in a sane society], those involved would have been quickly rounded up, tried fairly, and the ringleaders treated with the same compassion they had shown to Hastings, never to murder again. Betrayal of Public Trust in itself would be a capital crime. Instead, we are left to suspect that Hastings is just one that came to light among a trail of innocent bodies - mostly journalists - both before and since.
   The gangsters running Washington only want their own narratives to be aired on TV or printed in establishment papers and magazines, and they pay the mass news outlets really well to ensure their cooperation. Nothing embarrassing or contradictory is permitted. But in spite of various measures, they are having a hard time censoring the internet and the public is very gradually waking up to its own naivety.

* Nobel prize winning and long respected journalist Seymour Hersh finally broke the story whose main feature everyone was already pretty sure of. Inside sources told him in detail about the US government's blowing up of the Nordstream Gas Pipelines, running under the Baltic Sea between Russia and Germany. (And after all, Biden said months in advance that he would "end it".) It was the world's biggest terrorist act. Hersh's story has apparently now been banned on youtube. An official UN investigation wanted by Russia seems to have been blocked, and American intelligence agencies have been busy concocting alternative "explanations" for the pipeline explosions and feeding them to the propaganda machine to confuse the issue.(Norway did it... It was Ukrainian sympathizers...) Will Hersh too somehow soon be dead, or is he too high profile?

* Now Tucker Carlson, by far the most watched journalist on mass media television, who has been boldly tackling head-on some of the biggest issues of our time on his Fox News Network show Tucker Carlson Tonight, has been abruptly fired, without explanation. Apparently one or some or maybe all of his "truth bombs" were finally too much for elitist owner Rupert Murdoch and friends, notwithstanding that Carlson was the main thing keeping Fox popular. According to Megyn Kelly (another former Fox star now with her own show on youtube), Fox viewership has immediately fallen by half. She had actual figures for various timeslots, like 3 million viewers down to 1.2 million. Most people don't wonder that he was canned, they wonder how he got away with reporting truth in the mass media for so long, contrary to the narrative and covering awkward topics that people were supposed to just forget about or go along with. And because Carlson was a member of the US mass media his stories were never blocked on youtube. Now, who knows? Perhaps like many others (eg, Greg Hunter, onetime CNN anchor) he will have to find an alternative media platform such as Vimeo or Rumble.

Scattered Thots

* Late in the month Yujeny Prigojan, head of "Wagner PMC" fighting for Russia, who has gained public stature and has been saying some strange things lately, ordered "no more prisoners" in Bakmut. This is truly shocking. Prisoners have to be fed and guarded, and troops and resources have to be allocated to them for this. But "No prisoners" hearkens back to TE Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") and the first world war, and more especially to the Malmedy massacre at the start of the "Battle of the Bulge" in WWII, when the Germans shot 50 unarmed American service (non-combat) troops who had surrendered, so they wouldn't slow them down. This became known (a couple escaped) and the result was that from then on the allies fought to the death rather than surrender.
   In Ukraine it comes at a time when an increasing trickle of Ukrainians have been starting to surrender or even switch sides. As at Malmedy, this will make them fight to the last instead. Shooting prisoners is truly a war crime -- and it can't possibly work out well. I hope someone higher up in the Russian military was or is able to veto his crazy and inhumane order.

* A "SciShow" video said we have UV filters in our eye lenses. Those with lenses removed, usually due to cataracts, and without an appropriate artificial lens with a filter, we can apparently see in UV colors. But these higher frequency and higher energy rays are damaging to the retina, so UV filters in both real and artificial lenses would be standard. And under certain circumstances with lasers, we can see a whole octave of IR below the visible spectrum octave.
   Another factoid: generally we have 3 types of cone cells in our retinas: RGB. But a few people have 4 types. They might be able to identify more colors than the rest of us. But the fourth types are not of the same wavelength in all those who have them. The Urantia Book says that as civilization and evolution progress humans will eventually be able to see the "midwayers", semi-material beings between humans and angels. I wonder if this is related? (One person said he used to see them when he was little, and he wondered who were those people that came to family meals but never spoke, sat down, or ate with the family, and who everyone else at the table completely ignored. But he lost the ability. As an adult eventually he was able to enter a trance state and contact them - when and if they wanted to converse.)

* I was looking at plants in a store. There was one called "chokeberry". I didn't know what that was, but somehow I just had to buy it. Looking it up later I found that many berries have a substance that helps prevent or reverse eye cataracts, and chokeberries have substantially more of it than any other. Unlike "chokecherry" they have no pit. The name "choke" is because they are very tart in the raw.

(Eccentric Silliness Department)

* Silvergate, Silicon Valley, Signature and Credit Suisse banks collapsed almost all at once, sparking fears of widespread problems in the financial sector with banks that start with "S". (This follows that 100% of space shuttles with names starting with "C", but no others, were doomed to crash.)
   What I should do is unclear. Do I need to get out of Island Savings, or does the "I" on the front insulate the "S" in "Island"? (It's a silent "S", after all.)
   Wait, now "First Republic" bank? That doesn't start with "S"! (Who's next!?!)

* They call them "intelligence" agencies. Might they be better denominated "intransigence" agencies?

* Referee: The one referred to by the referer.
   Refuree: The one whose parka was refurred by the refurer.

* Top soil, arable land, coral reefs, forests, peatlands, swamps... even the deserts are being threatened. That's quite the achievement.
 -- "harrisonhopson" (video comment)

   "in depth reports" for each project are below. I hope they may be useful to anyone who wants to get into a similar project, to glean ideas for how something might be done, as well as things that might have been tried, or just thought of and not tried... and even of how not to do something - why it didn't work or proved impractical. Sometimes they set out inventive thoughts almost as they occur - and are the actual organization and elaboration in writing of those thoughts. They are thus partly a diary and are not extensively proof-read for literary perfection, consistency, completeness and elimination of duplications before publication. I hope they may add to the body of wisdom for other researchers and developers to help them find more productive paths and avoid potential pitfalls and dead ends.

Electric Transport

Magnetic Variable Torque Converter with Planetary Gear

[14th] I was given a price of 1100$ for a 2x2 foot piece of 1/4 inch pure alume. That seemed ridiculous. Copper would be better and cheaper.

Steel Molds for Casting Rotors?

   I had never heard of using a steel mold for casting copper. always heard "sand casting" or "plaster & silica". So I assumed that one couldn't use steel because the copper would bond to it and the part wouldn't come out. or something. (It seems it might be dangerous. I'm not sure why.)
   But in further looking up the subject of casting copper, I found a video titled Melting Copper Casting Copper Coins with Homemade Steel Mold by channel bigstackD casting. He said himself it was an experiment and he didn't know how it would turn out. He poured maybe 1/4 inch thick, 2-1/2 inch diameter "coins" in an open top cylinder he had turned on a lathe.
   Contrary to my initial expectation (and perhaps his), when the piece had solidified he dumped it right out! He cast seven coins in succession from the 1+ Kg of copper in his crucible. They weren't perfect: the copper "balled up" in the middle some and left the edges thinner and uneven, but not as badly as I thought they would be. The tops were rippley and the bottoms had some grooves and voids - but were essentially flat. They looked quite good enough for me.


   That revolutionizes the whole picture. A disk rotor is just a bigger coin. I need to find a brake drum the right size and turn it smooth on somebody's larger lathe then mine. Then I'll turn whatever little piece(s) it needs to fill in the center about how I want it before machining it exactly. I'll still need more than 1Kg of copper, hopefully in a single melt & pour. (Refuse station's open tomorrow!)

   Wait... 1.086 Kg made 7 coins of 2.5 inch diameter...  1/7 * 1.086 Kg = 155 g for each coin

Area = π * D^2

So a 10.5 inch diameter rotor the same thickness would need:

(10.5^2 /  2.5^2) * 155 g = 2734 g.

   If I just cast the ring to spin in the vicinity of the magnets, to bolt to the alume disk behind, then the center 5.5 inches could be void.

(5.5^2 / 2.5^2) * 155 g = 750.2 g less. 2734 - 750.2 = 1983.8 g.

Hmm... that's down to 2 Kg. Not triple but still almost double what the crucible for the electric furnace holds.

[15th] There were hardly any brake drums. Hundreds of brake disks. I guess it's all "four wheel disk brakes" on all the newer cars. But Steve who sold me the scrap copper also had a stainless steel pot just the right size!

   At this point I decided to practice casting some smaller bits of copper first, and I chose to do heatsink parts for a Peltier module camping cooler. This turned into quite a project in itself (next article below), but I learned a few things about casting copper. One important one was that if I cast something in the stainless steel pot, I could probably do it in 2 or 3 castings, because (unlike alume) newly poured pieces seemed to bond to the already solid ones to make a single solid object.

[17th] I had a thought for casting the rotor. Making it a copper ring (to bolt to the alume rotor) would reduce the amount of copper from 3Kg to 2Kg. The crucible holds 1Kg of copper bits, but they will liquify and then maybe another 200 grams can be added, so 1200 grams. That allows for the "extra" needed for casting 1 Kg. Then it could be cast as two 1/2 rings, each pour needing only about 1000 grams. These could be silver soldered together. This may be the most practical and safest way. (No funny stuff like melting 2.5 to 3+ Kg of copper in the bottom of a propane cylinder "crucible" of uncertain reliability in the mini-kiln, and having to make tools to hold and pour from that.)
   Hmm, hmm... maybe an inside ring and an outside ring? Then they would be solid complete rings. Maybe this is all getting silly. Anyway, I didn't do it.

   Just before the end of the month I figured I was about ready to cast a copper disk or ring for the torque converter. Then I decided that the thin metal pot wasn't like the heavy steel mold the guy used for the 'coins'. It would doubtless warp badly with the heat from the molten copper. So in the absence of some heavy steel mold for the big rotor it looked like I would have to do a sand mold after all. And apparently it's safer. Any explosive gasses or steam can escape through the pores in the sand.

[27th] I made a shallow plywood box 16 inches square, put in some sand, sprinkled on some talcum powder and put a 10 inch diameter, 5/16 inch thick "Electric Hubcap" rotor into it. I didn't have anything 10.5 inches. Hopefully the electromagnetic coupling will be about right. I built up the edges and pressed them down. To get them to stay relatively intact as I drew out the disk, I had to "cut" around the edges with an xacto knife and brush the sand away. Without that, some outer edges crumbled and the whole center "island" came right out with the rotor. (And I had hoped to cast heatsinks with closely spaced fins? Hoh! But a polished disk instead of rough wouldn't have caught the sand on vertical edges.)

   I loaded the crucible with 900 grams of coppers - to the brim until I shook them in a bit - and put the furnace on at 1070°C with a timer set for 70 minutes. After 55 I looked and it seemed well melted. I set the box in place, donned my protective gear and put on the fan (another ~ten minutes), then poured the copper. It only filled about 1/4 of the mold rather than 1/3. I guess it'll be four pourings, then! Hopefully I can aim the rest better, but you have to pour fast. (Although, 1070° did seem to work better than 1060°.) It being evening and not wanting to do another pour after dark, I left the box for 30 minutes to cool and then picked it up carefully and took it into the shop.

   Later I looked at some of the copper pieces. In the first couple of handfuls I had checked, there was only one piece dated after 1991, when it had become zinc with a copper plating instead of 98% or 95% copper, 2% or 5% zinc. Mostly they were from the 1970s. So I had quit checking. In the ones I now checked, there were quite a lot of zinc ones. It won't take a lot of 99% zinc pieces to turn copper into brass! This probably explained why the heatsink casting looked rather brassy color instead of coppery. From now on I'll have to go through and fish all those out. Later: But looking at an actual piece of yellow brass, I see my castings are much more coppery with only slight shades of yellow.

[28th] I tried to pour the next (1000g) batch around the outer rim. That way I figured the outer sand could crumble later without affecting anything. Instead, with only 3 or 4 seconds to pour before it solidifies, with my increasingly shaky hands as I get older and it didn't flow as far as I expected, it only contacted the outer rim in some places, leaving multiple little gaps to fill around the edge. Yuk! And then it was solid, so I put it back in the furnace for 10 minutes. But it was hardly liquid when I tried to pour it again. Even messier. (I guess it had become "slag"? ...oops, no picture)

   I did a third 1Kg pour, which went just as badly. I had to put some back in the furnace again, and that poured badly. I put the rest back for another 10, but it came out in a soft but solid blob even right away. (It looked like a little "ladle".) Now it has lumpy copper everywhere and lots of tiny gaps to fill - all within 3 or 4 seconds of pulling out the crucible??? I'm tempted to just start over, but it might be little better and just more work.

Ugly disk after 5 castings

Bottom of Rotor with Various colors.
With a chunk of "copper" (probably has a little zinc in it)
and a piece of actual yellow brass.

   I now have the theory that the smoky (?)flame I see when I open the hot furnace is the zinc boiling and maybe burning off. The boiling point of zinc (907°C) is lower than the melting point of copper (1086°). When the zinc is reduced or gone, the melting point of the copper goes up and 1070° isn't hot enough to melt it any more. So by leaving it in longer, maybe I'm not ensuring that it's hot enough but instead causing it to need to be hotter. If I use the original pieces (and don't leave it in too long), 1070° is good, but to remelt any, it is surely purer copper and it looks like it has to be about at the furnace's design maximum, 1100°. At least, that's my theory.
   The things nobody told you when they said "brass is an alloy of copper and zinc"! That sounded quite simple. Ah... Wikipedia... The melting point of brass (which is often Cu:Zn 66%:34%) is between 900 and 940°C. Brass that is more than 15% zinc used in wet places has to have other things in it (lead, tin...) to prevent the zinc from leaching out and leaving porous copper.
   More than I wanted to know. But I was told pure copper was hard to cast ("could turn to jelly" - as seemed to) and that I should add a little zinc to it. And the pieces came with 2%/5% zinc anyway. All very tricky, sigh!

Other "Green" & Electric Equipment Projects

Peltier Module Cooler: Copper Heat Transfer Parts

   To do the rotor for the magnetic torque converter, I had decided to cast a copper disk or ring for maximum electromagnetic interaction with the hallbach configured magnet disk. First I was going to experiment with casting some smaller things. What better to cast than the heat transfer block and heatsinks for a peltier cooler? I had recently measured a table of figures for the cooling of the Coleman peltier cooler with the alume alloy heatsinks [TE Report #174], and I have been saying it would get colder with pure alume -- or even better, copper. Copper is about 2.4 times as conductive (both heat and electricity) as alume alloy.

[16th] Simplest first: the little cube from the camping cooler. Kamile told me the copper would shrink 5-6% as it cooled. It needed to be full size so I couldn't just use the original alume block as a form. (The peltier module couldn't stick out over the edges (x, y) and it had to make it though the side of the cooler (z). So I had made a slightly larger one from wood a few days ago. I mixed the "green" sand (90% fine white sand, 10% bentonite clay, a TEENY bit of water in a few mistings). I put the block in the bottom of the mold sticking out a quarter inch, and tamped in the sand. I worked it out to make sure I could. One wall of the sand broke, so I did it again, successfully. When I went to do the top, the clay didn't part cleanly where the flour was supposed to keep it from sticking. After about 3 tries I gave up and decided to just pour copper into an open cube pit and the top wouldn't be square and even. I put the drag back on top anyway and built up some sand around the edges so any excess copper wouldn't hit the wood and catch it on fire.

   The temperature crept up slowly after 1050°C. Wikipedia said copper melted at 1084.68° so I was waiting, but I opened the top at about 1070° (and 60 minutes since I turned it on) and the 540 grams was already fully melted. I guess that 2% zinc lowers the melting point noticeably. I hope it doesn't affect the thermal conductivity very much.

   Suddenly I was in a rush! safety glasses, coveralls, leather boots, welding helment (non-darkened - just face & head protection), vent fan ON (the fumes are toxic warned Kamile and others), and (...came with the furnace: leather gloves, tongs for the crucible), position the mold on the steel plate on the concrete next to the furnace. I dumped in a teaspoon of borax, closed the lid again and grabbed the tongs. By this time it was already up to 1098°, which was probably a bit hotter than it should be. (Next time I'll set the furnace to 1060° instead of 1100°.) I opened the top, grasped the crucible with the tongs, and carefully but rapidly poured the copper into the hole. It seemed to just barely fill it (glad I added an "extra" 90 grams of copper), then a solidified chunk of (?)slag, instead of pouring, just fell out and landed next to the piece on the mold. (the extra 90 grams?) I think the crucible is empty now! ...still holding it in the tongs... I figured the best thing to do with it was stick it back in the furnace and let it cool slowly.
   The copper piece was probably solid quickly. Over some minutes it went from yellow to orange to dull red to black. It appeared successful. Rather than work with the hot stuff I decided to just let it sit until it was much cooler.

The copper heat transfer block, as cast and after milling the heat contact faces flat.
The whole 40x40mm Peltier module has to touch on the one side,
but a dip in the middle of the heatsink contact wasn't important on the other,
so I didn't mill it any thinner.

   After a couple of hours the piece was just warm. I dug it out of the sand and used the wire brush on the bench grinder to brush off the black oxide. 489 grams. The two faces that have to be flat shrank in in the middle, concave. Oops, I was expecting shrinkage, but EVEN shrinkage. One face has to be perfectly flat and smooth for the peltier module. The other needs to contact the inner heatsink over a considerable area, but it doesn't have to be 100%. I can work with it, but the peltier side is going to need and awful lot of grinding/filing/sanding/polishing. Wait! I should mill the faces flat with the milling machine! Is it working? 'Click!' Nothing. Didn't last time I tried it, either. Maybe I need to bring it into the house where it's warm for a week? 50-50 that'll work. Fickle machine!

[17th] For some reason I went out to the shop at 10 PM and tried the milling machine. It decided it would run. Maybe because I had unplugged it yesterday, but I've tried leaving it plugged in or out before and there seems to be no rhyme nor reason. In spite of the lateness I couldn't pass up the opportunity and I spent 2 hours flattening the ends of the copper block with a 4 flute end mill. I had to go pretty deep on one face because of the dished-in middles. But I made it flat, and in spite of the rounded corners it was just big enough to fit the peltier module across the flat face.
   The other face I allowed the dip in the middle to remain. It had to contact with a metal heatsink and it wasn't vital that the entire flat faces touch, only the majority. It would still be 99% as effective.
   It ended up 2mm thinner than the original after the machining - 4mm thinner than the wooden block that made the mold. Those dishes in the middle were the killer. But I think it'll work okay. (Later: I will be adding a 7mm thick copper plate under the other heatsink. I may actually have to make it still thinner to compensate.)

[18th] Trying to cast the heatsinks turned out to be a totally different proposition. The fins are too tall, too straight and too close together, and much of the sand loosens and even pulls out with them when I try to remove them, instead of staying packed in place. regardless of orientation. If the alume was polished instead of rough it should help, but probably not enough. Should I just forget the camping cooler "practice pieces" and get on with the ring for the torque converter? Then it occurred to me I could push individual "fin" strips of something slippery into the sand and work/pluck them out carefully one at a time. That should leave the requisite fin stripes in the sand. I could also make them somewhat thinner, since copper conducts heat better than alume but is quite heavy. (And I could, in a rough way, make any heatsink shape I liked.)

[20th] I cut some pieces of nickel-brass to insert to make fin slits. Each one disturbed the one next to it, and the sand tended to come right out with the piece, even without another fin coming out and the sand being between two. I decided I could probably make heatsinks if the fins were twice as far apart as the one I was trying to copy.

   There was one other chance. Instead of sand, one can mix casting plaster and silica, about 50-50, to make a high temperature mold "for brass or glass". or copper I presume. Unlike sand with a bit of clay, this sets solid. There was a chance I could do a mold, let it set, and pull the old heatsink out by the end without wrecking it. I tried to make the mold as small as possible and managed to pour it with the heatsink at one end of the box without quite using all of it. My level of confidence was not high.

[21st] The plaster was still limp and wet. I managed to remove it from the wooden box (pasting some pieces back in as I went) so it would have air around it to dry faster. It was still like that and not dry in the evening. (I could have put it by the woodstove, I suppose.) My confidence for pulling the heatsink out without shattering the mold is very low. (Sure enough, it broke and the strips between the fins had to be scraped out into powder.)

[23rd] I went back to the idea of poking single heatsink fins into sand. But the sand was breaking up. Instead of putting in thin pieces of metal and moving them back and forth to make a wedge shape, which seemed to break up the sand, I cut cut thicker alume pieces (about .1") and sanded them into wedge shapes, then polished them smooth. They weren't perfect wedges, rather convex curves. But they seemed to work. Sinking them into the sand in the box seemed much more promising: push them in - all ten of them in lines - and tamp down the sand between them. Then wiggle them a bit to loosen them, and then pull them straight out of the sand one by one with small pliers. The trenches in the sand looked like they should be workable if carefully doctored up, brushing off the loose sand and evening them out with a (?) spatula.

   But the box seemed too small, so I made a larger area one from some bits of plywood. I wasn't sure the heavy copper would pour into the grooves and I wanted it to flow in from one side rather than pouring it straight on top. better still would be to have an enclosed "cope and drag" mold with the space on end, with a "regular" sort of pour hole leading near the bottom and air vents. If I could manage to set it up, with those fragile slots. I decided that would be beyond my skill.

   I did up the mold, on the flat with the base up and the fins sticking into the sand.

   Then I took it out and started the furnace. IIRC I had put in 900 grams of copper and the flask was almost full. By 40 minutes when I opened the lid "lazy" flames and smoke were coming out, but I could still see the copper pieces. In 50 minutes still smoke & flame (I don't remember that from the first time) but the copper was shrunk into the crucible. In 60 minutes still a bit of flame & smoke, but the copper seemed to have melted. I couldn't see it inside somewhere down in the bottom. Had it all burned up? I had donned protective gear and I poured it into the mold. As I had surmised, there wasn't enough. A good portion of the base didn't fill, and who knew about the fins.
   I guess this will be the test to see if a second pour will adhere to the first (unlike alume) to finish the casting. If it works I'll know I can cast the torque converter rotor in 3 or 4 pours rather than trying to melt a larger "bottom of a propane tank" flask in the mini-kiln. That will be good info. I'd rather deal with small quantities of dangerously white hot melted copper anyway, even needing multiple sessions, rather than try to lift and pour a heavy pot of it while holding it at arms length with my shaking hands.

[24th] The next pour didn't go very well. I only used 500 grams of copper so I shortened the time by 10 minutes. I don't think it was hot enough. It seemed to solidify almost as I poured it, and I put it back in the furnace for a few minutes. But it was little better and a last big chunk poured out on top as a glowing solid piece.

Even after cutting some bits off with the angle grinder and wire brushing it off, it was pretty ugly. Heavy liquid copper had pushed some grooves open wider, which closed off other grooves. I decided it wasn't usable. Also for some reason it had something of a brassy color instead of coppery, which doesn't bode well for high thermal conductivity.
   But in spite of all that, the multiple pours seemed to hold together fairly well. It wasn't going to break apart at the seams. It would be better if I could pick up and wire brush off the first piece(s) nice and clean before casting the next one(s) - I couldn't in this sand mold because I would surely break it up.

The bottom. It would take a lot of milling to flatten this!
(Looks as much like brass as copper!)

[26th] my plan now for the heatsinks is with the original alume ones, but copper Peltier module contacts: The copper block is a good contact for the cold side. Having learned how to solder to alume, I'll solder the other face of the copper block to the cold side alume heatsink. The heat transfer should be excellent.
   For the hot side, I'll cast a copper plate about 6 by 6 cm and solder it to the underside of the hot side heatsink. (If I had a piece of copper plate about 4mm thick I could just use that. Fat chance finding any around here!) The 4 by 4 cm peltier module will conduct its heat into the copper which will spread it out, so instead of a 16 sq.cm peltier connect to the alume, it will be the 36 sq.cm. of the copper. That should at least pull a lot more heat away from the immediate vicinity of the module.
   Or so is the plan with simplified casting, at the end of the month. If the heatsink still fits with a (4mm?) copper plate under it. (Ah, there's a hole larger than 6x6cm through the cooler wall under it - it will fit!)

   Finally I decided to use a piece of 1/4 inch (7mm) copper plate that I had instead of casting. It wasn't quite the square size, shape and thickness I wanted, but I saw the Peltier would fit between some annoying existing holes and it could be cut down to fit in.

Cu cut to fit in the cooler space, here as I intend to solder them together.
(4 useless holes in the copper.) Two new bolt holes need to be drilled & tapped.
Long 1/4 inch nylon bolts clamp the entire Peltier assembly together.

Electricity Storage

New Chemistry Batteries

   I had a NiMn2O4 - Zn cell almost ready to go near the end of March. Instead of finishing it the next day, I got onto cutting trees for firewood (before too much sap was flowing) and other things, and it sat for 2 weeks.

[13th] I managed to get out a 'glue brush' for the epoxy. Then, sidetracked again!
[19th] Epoxied the cell shut.

   I decided to put a little sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate into the electrolyte as a "gelled" electrolyte. But I didn't get to it.

   Finally I decided not to work on it this month, with too many things to do. Once it's running, I'm repeatedly spending an hour or two running tests. The better it works, the more the tests, the less time for other things. Apologies to anyone waiting.

Electricity Generation

My Solar Power System

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

The Usual Daily/Monthly/Yearly Log of Solar Power Generated [and grid power consumed]

(All times are in PST: clock 48 minutes ahead of local sun time, not PDT which is an hour and 48 minutes ahead. (DC) battery system power output readings are reset to zero daily (often just for LED lights, occasionally used with other loads: Chevy Sprint electric car, inverters in power outages or other 36V loads), while the grid tied readings are cumulative.)

Daily Figures

Notes: House Main meter (6 digits) accumulates. DC meter now accumulates until [before] it loses precision (9.999 WH => 0010 KWH), then is reset. House East and Cabin meters (4 digits) are reset to 0 when they get near 99.99 (which goes to "100.0") - owing to loss of second decimal precision.

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

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

Date House, House, House, Cabin => Total KWH Solar [Notable power Uses; Grid power meter@time] Sky/weather
        Main       DC      East  Cabin

31st 4442.07, 2.47,   4.11, 31.78 => 16.01 [90Km; 6726@19:00]

01st 4448.62, 2.54,   8.64, 35.60 => 14.97 [55Km; 6758@19:30] Frost overnight, decent - calm*, then snow, sun, snow, drizzle.
* Put up/replaced 3rd solar pane on carport roof on this morning opportunity.

02d  4457.97, 2.62, 15.92, 41.57 => 22.68 [6784@19:30] Sunny but cold. (High 6.5°?)
03rd 4464.26, 2.70, 20.83, 45.45 => 15.16 [6813@19:00]
04th 4467.39, 2.78, 22.26, 47.03 =>   6.22 [25Km; 6848@19:00]
05th 4470.00, 2.85, 23.39, 48.36 =>   5.14 [60Km; 6874@19:00] Cold, drizzle, strong wind, big waves & misery. Not working outside.
06th 4473.05, 2.93, 24.82, 50.02 =>   6.22 [65Km; 6906@19:30] Drizzle. Wind finally calmed by evening.
07th 4479.48, 2.99, 29.40, 54.06 => 15.11 [90Km; 6931@19:30] Worthless bitcoin miner/travel trailer heater OFF, maybe for the summer? (not that it's anything like warm out!)
08th 4483.25, 3.07, 31.42, 56.16 =>   7.97 [6947@19:30] More wind, clouds & such crap
09th 4489.78, 3.15, 36.28, 60.16 => 15.47 [10Km; 6966@20:00]
10th 4495.51, 3.22, 40.13, 63.67 => 13.16 [6977@19:30] +7° seems balmy.
11th 4503.07, 3.34, 46.31, 68.55 => 18.74 [55 Km; 7002@19:30; 55Km] Driving at night - ug! Counted 5 deer on hwy. shoulders.
12th 4507.68, 3.42, 49.04, 71.12 =>   9.99 [20Km; 7032@19:30]
13th 4513.45, 3.53, 52.43, 74.86 => 13.01 [7045@19:39] rain.
14th 4515.95, 3.64, 54.02, 76.11 =>   5.45 [90Km; 7077@21:00]
15th 4523.30, 3.72, 59.11, 80.59 => 17.00 [60Km; 7094@19:30]
16th 4529.39, 3.79, 63.42, 84.44 => 14.32 [7109@20:00]
17th 4537.74, 3.89, 69.52, 89.07 => 19.18 [7133@20:00]
18th 4546.35, 4.02, 76.09, 95.33 => 21.67 [55Km; 7148(?)@20:00]
19th 4553.74, 4.11, 82.44,   5.32 => 19.15 [7166@20:00]
20th 4558.80, 4.15, 86.15,   8.74 => 12.25 [7187@20:00]
21st 4564.82, 4.30, 89.90, 12.24 => 13.42 [55Km; 7209@20:00]
22d  4569.02, 4.43, 92.16, 14.61 =>   8.96 [105Km; 7234@20:00]
23rd 4574.56, 4.51, 95.37, 17.73 => 11.95 [35Km; 7259@19:30]
24th 4579.97, 4.65,   3.61, 21.18 => 12.61 [7277@20:00] Lotsa dull days!
25th 4584.97, 4.72,   6.58, 23.98 => 10.84 [55Km; 7302@20:00] somewhat dull, then overcast, rain and wind. Still around 7 or 8°.
26th 4593.63, 4.80. 13.14, 29.79 => 21.11 [50Km; 7322@20:30] Nice day! Hit 10° (first time this year I think) Wow!
27th 4596.48, 4.92, 14.70, 31.26 =>   6.00 [7345@19:30] Less nice. 8°.
28th 4606.22, 5.04, 21.92, 37.56 => 23.38 [7358@20:00] More nice except for an awful lot of jet trails.
29th 4612.99, 5.11, 26.39, 41.55 => 15.30 [100Km; 7388@20:30] Hit 12°!
30th 4618.64, 5.18, 29.95, 44.79 => 12.52 [7402@19:30]

1st 4629.70, 5.26, 38.49, 52.53 => 27.41 [7412@20:00] Real Sunshine! (Some jet trails)
2d  4640.40, 5.33, 46.19, 59.59 => 25.53 [55Km; 7429@19:30; 50Km] Hit about 13°, similar to yesterday
3rd 4650.31, 5.40, 54.07, 66.20 => 24.47 [7447@20:30] Nice again. More jet trails

Chart of daily KWH from solar panels.    (Compare APRIL 2023 (left) with March 2023 & with April 2022 - but note number of solar panels.)

Days of
__ KWH
April 2023
(18 solars - rep-
aired last carport
pane Apr. 1st)
March 2023 (15
then 17 solar
panels after
repairs - 22nd)
April 2022
(15 s. panels)



















Total KWH
for month
404.17 (was
a new record
Km Driven
on Electricity
 1038.7 Km
(160 KWH?)
(ODO: 94576)
954.9 Km
(~140 KWH?)
(~170 KWH?)

Things Noted - April 2023

* There were definitely not as many sunny days this April as last year. So notwithsanding having 3 more PV panes at a good angle in the sunniest place, collection was only similar.

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

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

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

Annual Totals

1. March 2019-Feb. 2020: 2196.15 KWH Solar [used   7927 KWH from grid]
2. March 2020-Feb. 2021: 2069.82 KWH Solar [used 11294 KWH from grid] (More electric heat - BR, Trailer & Perry's RV)
3. March 2021-Feb. 2022: 2063.05 KWH Solar [used 10977 KWH from grid]
4a. March 2022-August 2022: in (the best) 6 months, about 2725 KWH solar - more than in any previous entire year!
4. March2022-Feb. 2023: 3793.37 KWH Solar [used 12038 KWH from grid]

Money Saved or Earned - @ 12¢ [All BC residential elec. rate] ; @ 50¢ [2018 cost of diesel fuel to BC Hydro] ; @ 1$ per KWH [actual total cost to BC Hydro in 2022 according to an employee]:
1. 263.42$ ; 1097.58$ ; 2196.15$
2. 248.38$ ; 1034.91$ ; 2069.82$
3. 247.57$ ; 1031.53$ ; 2063.05$
4. 455.20$ ; 1896.69$ ; 3793.37$

   It can be seen that the benefit to the society as a whole on Haida Gwaii from solar power installations is much greater than the cost savings to the individual user of electricity, thanks to the heavy subsidization of our power owing to the BC government policy of having the same power rate across the entire province regardless of the cost of production. And it can be insurance: With some extra equipment and a battery, sufficient solar can deliver essential power in electrical outages however long. (Feb 28th 2023: And it's probably well over 1$/KWH by now the way inflation of diesel fuel and other costs is running.)

Haida Gwaii, BC Canada