Turquoise Energy News #139
covering December 2019 (Posted January 5th 2020)
Lawnhill BC Canada - by Craig Carmichael


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

Month In "Brief" (Project Summaries etc.)
  - 12/36 Volt DC CAT/HAT plugs and sockets - Woodstove Steam Engine Generator - Power outage and running 230 V well pump on an inverter - Ground Effect Vehicle - New Chemie Batteries - A Solar Kayak

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
  - Hair Loss: the Demodex Folliculorum Mite / Helpful Methods for Keeping (& Restoring?) Hair - Social and Political Evolution - Small Thots: "5G"≠"5 GHz", Supercorder, Nuclear waste - Disaffected Generation - How food shortages anywhere become a global problem - ESD

- Detailed Project Reports -
Electric Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems
* Ground Effect Vehicle (Still the Prototype 1/4 scale R/C Model... continued)
* EV Transmissions: 5 to 1 planetary gear for the Miles electric cargo truck

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects
* HAT & CAT Plugs & Sockets

Electricity Generation
* My Solar Power System: - Monthly Solar Production log et cetera - Notes.
* Woodstove Stirling Engine "Carmichael's Woodstove Engine" (& generator)
 - Rapid design metamorphosis - Design Arrival: A "Closed Cycle Steam Engine"
 - Noted in passing: Woodstove or Stirling Engine as a potentially very high COP Refrigerator or Heat Pump

Electricity Storage
* Turquoise Battery Project (Mn-Zn or Ni-Zn in Mixed Alkaline Salt electrolyte)
  - "layed down" flat case - Gold electroplating copper current collector - Natural Resources Canada's Charge The Future Battery Challenge Rejection Notice




December in Brief

The Weather

   Here I am at 53-1/2° north latitude, same as Edmonton where we left when I was 17. What's notable about winter in this moderately far north? I'm only 5'8" tall (maybe 5'9" with shoes and tuque), but at the start of December around noon, my shadow was about 23 feet long. This also explains how it is that spruce tree shadows, even from 200-300 feet away on the next acreage to the south, shade the solar collectors (especially the ones down on the lawn) so much of the short day.
   Luckily the climate is very different from Edmonton. None of that -20°c lasting for weeks stuff. In fact, being a Pacific Island not so close to the mainland, the winters seem hardly colder than in Victoria, about 48° north. But it's not the tropics either. When I went outside on a starry night, I discovered the lawn suffered from "crunchy ground syndrome" and the wooden deck was very slippery. It stayed down around 0°C day after day, and soon there was hard water in every shady area. And my firewood started evaporating - I had to buy a cord since I didn't want to burn wet or green wood. (But I checked on the 15th and at 8 to 9°C at night, we were Canada's 'hot spot', above Victoria and Comox with 5°.)
   But summer here isn't hot. In fact, two out of three so far haven't been very nice with a lot of clouds. (As part of the global climate chaos I look forward to more nice summers like 2018 when I grew quinoa.)

Commercializing CAT and HAT Components (plugs, inline sockets, connectors, 3 or 4 socket wall plates, "cigarette lighter" adapters, click-lock plugs and sockets, 50 amp plugs and sockets... for solder-on, crimp-on & screw-on connections)

 
  In keeping with frustration in making myself a new 36VDC HAT plug I decided that it was high time I tried to find ways to make CAT and HAT plugs and sockets easy to produce, and then to commercialize them. I talked about them with Mike on Saturdays when I went into QC to check my mail and he would be in his new (now almost completed) shop. Between us we came up with some good solutions, and I started designing new shells to accommodate the new pin/blade and blade receptacle designs. This wasn't any change to any specs, just to the insides of the plugs and sockets. The old ones and the new ones will still plug in together.
   With me using 36 volts, it suddenly me occurred to me: that's just me. I may (or may not) convince people that 36 volts is better for DC house wiring than 24 or 48, but by far the most common DC power is 12 volts. The 12 volt CAT parts will surely outsell the 36 volt HAT ones by 10 to 1. "More." said Mike. So once I had done a decent new shell for HAT, CAT will definitely be the thing to focus on for commercialization. With the new techniques like the "Z-fold" blade receptacles, they'll connect better - more reliably - than with those crappy Pico ones. Somehow it's ironic that I designed the CAT system to use the same pins and receptacles as AT fuses so as to not have to make pins and sockets myself, but now every piece will be made from scratch.
   And I hope to bring out a good line of mutually supporting products with CAT and HAT connectors besides just plugs and sockets.


Carmichael Woodstove Steam Engine?

   With the solar collectors not making much juice in the winter and the windplant sitting motionless for 3 or 4 weeks, I thought again about making electricity from the heat of the woodstove. But TEG modules didn't seem to have much "bang for the buck". So I thought of Stirling engines, and looked into them for the first time.


"Exploring Stirling Engine for the woodstove" concepts.
When the lid is tightened on the pressure cooker pot on the woodstove,
the formerly cool open air (+ water/steam) inside expands with the heat and partly
fills the balloon, which in the engine would become the stroke of a power piston.

   I started drawing one up, but it rapidly metamorphosed into a simpler engine especially for the woodstove (or of course any "stove burner" heat source): a "closed cycle steam engine". My target is 100 watts continuous electricity from a moderate fire, and I collected parts to build it.
   I did some work on one hard part: the flywheel/magnet rotor and its mountings. It sits above the pot to connect the piston rod to.


If ever an invention was "drawn on a napkin over coffee", this was it.
But this simple concept drawing was the culmination
much thought over some days of rapid design evolution.

Weather and Power and Running the Well Pump on an Inverter

   Winds off the ocean had warmed it back up to +7°C. On the morning of the 11th it was blowing very strongly. The mostly idle windplant came to life and started delivering record power, around 100 watts, with much fluctuation. (I think I saw over 170 at just one point.) And my gold plating solution arrived. I decided that was what to do that day. Then the power went out. Why had I not expected that some tree would blow down across the power lines? Of course one doesn't know how long a power outage will last.
   Last December it was out for 25 hours after a windstorm - I think three trees in different places had broken the lines. (I found 2 of the stumps when I drove into town a day or two later. That should be, um, TE News #127.) Toward the end of that I had plugged in an inverter and ran my fridge and then the freezer, which were getting pretty un-cold. Since then - and partly because of it - I had got serious and hooked up the solar system and more panels than my original four - eventually 8 more.

       2500 watt inverter plugged into kitchen 36 volt water heater's power socket in
    order to run fridge & freezer (both here unplugged as the power had come back on.)

   Since there was almost no solar power to the DC system in the winter overcast (and of course none to the dead power grid), the heretofore seemingly useless windplant was just what was needed. This time I just plugged the inverter in to the 36 volts in the kitchen by unplugging the water heater under the sink. It was making enough power to keep one or the other, fridge or freezer, running much of the time without too much drawing down batteries.
   Since I ran it through the DC solar (& wind) equipment and its meter, I discovered that the new 2500W and the older 1800W "pure sine wave" power inverters themselves used 30 and 55 watts, eg, 150W was being used but just 120 was going to the freezer. No wonder inverters kill batteries if you forget to turn them off! But they let me run the fridge and freezer enough in case the power failure became long.

   And then, what project for the afternoon instead of gold electroplating with no power? I had purchased a 2500W, 230V inverter (...looks identical to the 120 V one above!) so I could run my well pump if the power was off, and a 230V AC plug and socket. But I hadn't done the wiring. The pump was hard wired to the breaker box. So I shut off the (dead anyway) power to the whole shop and garage sub panel and rewired the pump. Now it can be easily unplugged from the mains and plugged into the inverter.
   Then somehow I didn't have the courage to test it. The power came back at 6:30 PM after just 5-1/4 hours and the pressure tank still hadn't dropped to where the pump would come on. (I was conserving.) I could have run a garden hose until the pump came on but I didn't.
   I plugged the pump back into the mains. Then I ran enough water to get it to come on to verify that I hadn't made a mistake wiring the plug or socket. But I really ought to test it on the inverter!
   (I also baked an applesauce cake while the power was off on top of the woodstove by arranging firebricks for an "oven" and putting the small pan inside. It took over twice as long, well over an hour. It wasn't well done, but the bottom had a crust. I wished I hadn't given my old, even smaller pan to the thrift shop, because it was hard fitting the new smallest one into the bricks. (It sat for many many years unused, and I gave it away a month ago. OTOH it was just one of many items cluttering the cupboards, and I wouldn't want the rest back.)
   The 12th was calm again.
   On the 16th I decided it was stupid not to test the well pump on the inverter when it wasn't needed, instead of during some power failure when it was. It worked, but it sure was a heavy load. It drew the Sprint car batteries down as low as 36.3 volts from about 40, and the drop fluctuated. When it was lowest I could hear the sound of the flow change a bit, so the 230 volts from the inverter must have dropped a bit too. It kept running, but no doubt it was pushing the limits.
   Let's see... The well pump has to draw the water up about 66 feet. That's 30 PSI. I had neglected to measure the DC current, but I didn't want to repeat everything. So later I measured the pump's AC current with two amp probes by opening the breaker panel. They said 5.7 and 5.4 amps - not as bad as I had feared. If the pump drew 5.7 amps at 240 volts, that would be 1368 watts (almost 2 horsepower), and 38 amps at 36 volts. With what the inverter drew for itself, it would probably be a little over 40 amps. I'm glad it wasn't higher, and I would probably restrict my water use to essentials during a power failure. I wouldn't for example grab a shower in the first hours while there's still hot water in the tank. I'm not confident this pump power offers complete, satisfactory service. Of course one must remember it takes a lot of power to pump water up over 60 feet. I keep a couple of 200 liter barrels of rain water around just in case, too.

   Before departing the "windplant" subject, here are some windplant flared exit ducts that might be easier to make than the one with more compound curves shown last month. (Youtube) Like them, these probably put out at least twice the power of an unducted propeller. I still can't help but think that adding a flared entrance as well to create a full venturi effect would be even better.



   (On the 4th of January at 11 PM, just as I was thinking if I stayed up late enough I might get this newsletter out, the power went out again while I was typing. It was only off for 1/2 an hour, but it reminded that I still hadn't got the solar charging to the Sprint car's lithium batteries done, which I had started in November but stalled out on in December to make HAT plugs and sockets instead.)

Power Co. Troubles

   On the 13th I heard BC Hydro was having equipment trouble around here. Surprisingly in the high wind, the power failure wasn't a tree across the lines. Evidently all the diesel generators in the Sandspit power station are at or beyond service life or time for maintenance shutdown, but apparently it was some insulator or something that failed. What happened to the hydro plant? What a spur to get a woodstove powered electrical generator working!
   On the 16th there was a Hydro crew working on the pole in front of my house. (They were actually putting a transceiver for the nearby smart meters on the next pole over. Out here in the country it's too far between meters for them to talk to each other direct. I wonder what will happen now about my 'stealth' solar tie-in?) When they were finished I talked to one named Rob. He had noticed my windplant and I told him about my wind and solar, the woodstove steam engine and the idea for a floating tidal power project. I asked about the diesel generators. The reason maintenance is behind is because the main power transformer from the small river hydro plant blew last summer and it hasn't been replaced yet, so the plant has been running on the 'auxillary' diesel generators ever since. (The new transformer has arrived at and is being tested in Vancouver.) I've seen a few big ones blow with a blue arcing glow on youtube and it was mentioned how the power grid could be down for a long time if more than one or two blew at once because they take so long to replace.
   Evidently also, the load on our little grid is much greater since since everyone in Skidegate Village (technically a Haida Indian reserve) got heat pumps a year or two ago - and mostly threw out their woodstoves. (Your federal tax dollars at work.)

Ground Effect Craft/Vehicle (RC Model)
 


   I had been trying to get around to more battery work and experiments (not very successfully - waiting for supplies) and had been working on the torque converter, the new woodstove electricity generator, and the ground effect craft. Sometime on the 13th it occurred to me that if I did get funding, I might be doing little but batteries, ad nauseum, for quite some time. And working on too many projects meant little steps with nothing getting finished. I decided to try and get the ground effect craft model into shape before Christmas. or at least in January. So from that evening I did some thing or other on it most every day - mostly gluing and painting fabric. It was very near Christmas when I painted the second side of the vertical fin and the cloth sagged and became loose and baggy. (Evidently I hadn't "primed" that side with polycrylic.) It would have to be stripped off and redone. That meant I wouldn't get it flying before Christmas and it would be January.
   I figured out that each of the powerful ducted fans would need its own set of batteries - better, two sets each - and set about mounting small lithium cells as "flashlight tube" batteries in oversize ABS plumbing pipes. From the specs it appeared they were strong enough to lift the craft straight up like a rocket if I applied full power.

New Chemie Batteries

   I received the gold plating solution I had ordered and plated a copper current collector sheet with a thin layer. If it works (as I hope and seems likely) it will make for much lower internal cell resistance than a graphite sheet. The pure zinc to make a new cell arrived just before Christmas, too late to start anything.

   Before doing a current collector I printed the new "lay down" battery case I've been intending. It has a electrolyte reservoir on one end instead of on top. Whether or not it's a final configuration for production, it'll make experimenting easier because I won't have to glue the front - now top - cover on to keep it from leaking. That of course makes disassembly for inspection and electrode replacement much easier.


   On the 20th an e-mail said the application to the "Charge the Future Battery Challenge" for funding to finish the research and then hopefully get the batteries into production had been rejected. They were awarding funding for up to five projects. I had only asked for 1/2 the maximum amount. I was planning to use that to not just create a prototype but to get to initial battery production. What was it about this that it wasn't their dream project? Of course I won't abandon it since I think the batteries will prove to be both better and cheaper than lithiums, but it is certainly disappointing to get no help for getting to production stage.


Plain copper, gold plated copper, pure gold anode for electroplating.

A Solar Kayak

   It doesn't have to be complicated... Here is an interesting kayak that is powered by the sun, which runs the white motor and propeller on the side. No batteries. In the video the power would cut out whenever he went under the shadow of a bridge, and he would coast through. (I was guessing he was on the Danube river but I don't remember why and I've misplaced the URL.)







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

Hair Loss: the Demodex Mites

   I came across a word, "alopecia". On Wikipedia it redirected to "hair loss". There is a considerable article. But I think Wikipedia and many others err in the belief that little can be done about it - and about its prime cause.

   One point which wasn't stressed but that grabbed my full attention, is that an almost microscopic mite is 'sometimes' involved. I had so strongly suspected some mite as the prime cause of hair loss as to be virtually sure of it. But until now, I've never seen any mention of one anywhere. So I had thought, well, surely it would be known if there was one... Maybe it was an unknown bacteria then? But that didn't seem to fit the observations.
   But such a mite is known (apparently not by very many people!) and it is called Demodex folliculorum. Apparently many or most people have it on their skin. It lives only on human skin. It multiplies in the hair follicles 'especially on an oily scalp' and its food includes essential hair nutrients (sebum) secreted in the follicles. (One expects the scalp is the oiliest skin, with extra from infrequent shampooing, or maybe a poor shampoo.) I would say they must also live quite well on a perennially cold scalp.
   Related Demodex species cause "mange" - loss of fur in dogs and cats with weak immune systems. Perhaps one might ask: Why would they not be the cause of human hair loss? Perhaps our hair thins as we get older because parts of our immune systems weaken? Where would it be weakest? Where the blood flow is least, in top-of-scalp blood vessels, especially when vaso-contracted and with the pores closed off in cool to cold air? I suspect this mite plays a far larger role in hair loss than is apparently suspected, either by its immediate or its long term effects or both. In fact I think it is central to the whole topic - the primary cause of hair loss.
   On January 5th I did another web search and discovered that there is another species: demodex brevis is half the size, (about .15 to .2mm long) and also feeds off sebum. It is the mite that inhabits eyelashes, but it can be found anywhere on the body including the head and may cause scaly skin and other skin conditions. Demodex mites are more common in men than in women... and which sex is it that often becomes bald?

   How is it these mites are never mentioned, even in writings and studies about hair loss? The Wikipedia article was the only place I'd seen it mentioned until my web search, and the couple of articles I looked at about Demodex weren't about hair loss but skin conditions. Surely all this should be common knowledge... but evidently it isn't! At least the mites seem to have never been taken seriously as related to hair loss.

   The existence of mites explains the likely reasons the several methods I've unearthed for helping to keep hair work: they eliminate or reduce populations of these critters to harmless levels or keep them from multiplying and thriving - much as I was suspecting but had no real evidence for.
   I now wet my scalp with ethyl alcohol just before a shower, once a month. (Over Christmas I discovered once a week should be much better. The shower is because once it has killed the mites it seems to have no further purpose for being on one's scalp and I would rather wash it off, after having apparently got shingles from it by the daily use experiment without washing it off, a few months ago after 3 or 4 (?) weeks.)
   And the reason letting shampoo sit on the scalp for a couple of minutes is helpful would also be so that it penetrates the pores and hair follicles where the mites are living.

   In fact it would seem that all the things I mentioned in TE News #137 (updated list below) are helpful, and that the things that are helpful to keeping or regrowing hair are things that eliminate mites or make it harder for them to thrive and multiply.
   For me the extra pillow to keep the top of the head warm at night (or a nightcap, as well as a tuque or hat in the daytime in winter) seemed to be the last missing piece, as my hair seems to be getting noticeably thicker again in the areas where it had become so thin.
   Unfortunately as ideas and treatments regarding this topic gradually came to me, I didn't have the thought to take any "before" pictures months ago or any previous time, so once again it's just an impression that is hard to verify. (I've taken a couple of pictures now. I was going to wait another month or two before revisiting this topic to be quite certain it's thicker if not back to full thickness, but learning about the nearly microscopic (.3mm long, thin) mite I thought surely must exist, has prompted me to write.)

   The mite is doubtless easily spread by contact. For example, someone with it rests their head against the back of a sofa, or on a cushion. Another person occupies the same seat or uses the same cushion... Small wonder "most" people have them!

   During my Christmas holiday I had other things to do than think about it. I took a comb and no brush. I also had no shampoo except in one shower. There were no light, formable pillows to pull over my head. By the time I was returning home, I could scratch little bumps off my scalp, which are surely an indication of 'robust' mite activity and conditions for hair loss. (Shall I call them "scabbies"? - flakes like little scabs. It seems the mites prefer closing off a door between them and the outside.)
   The very few days it took them to multiply and become so active suggests a more frequent ethyl alcohol treatment is desirable. I think I'll go for once a week just before a shower, instead of once a month. From my own experience one wouldn't want to do it much more often than that, and I'll wash it off soon after.

Helpful Methods for Keeping (& Restoring?) Hair

- tuques, beanies, caps and hats for keeping the head warm and the pores and follicles open in cool and cold temperatures. (indoor and out)

- lightweight, "shapeable" extra pillow 'overhead' or a nightcap, likewise for keeping the head warm, in cool to cold bedrooms.

- frequent shampooing/showers, leaving shampoo on the scalp for a couple of minutes or more to soak into the hair follicles where the mites are living. (Some shampoos are evidently considerably better than others. It would seem there's a reason the most popular brands are popular.)

- at least a daily hair brushing for more scalp stimulation than using a comb. Some brushes offer much more stimulation than others. It seems to get the blood flowing more, which would boost the effect of the immune system on the scalp.

- weekly spraying or rubbing of ethyl alcohol on the scalp to wet it all over and kill the mites, before a shower. Ethyl rubbing alcohol and vodka have both been used. Once applied for (?) a couple of minutes it is desirable to wash (shower) it off.

- I understand cutting the hair very short or shaving it off is helpful. I'm not sure why. Perhaps the mites have nothing to cling to or climb on as they try and spread from follicle to follicle?

   I suspect that these methods just might bring back hair to a bald person or at least one with very thin hair, perhaps only eventually, but that's not a promise.

   Here's a perhaps humorous aside: When I was first suffering from itchy scalp and the probable beginnings of hair loss in about 2004, I knew little about it and I went to the clinic to see a doctor. The doctor that saw me was bald! This seemed ironic. All I could think was that whatever advise he gave me, I should do the opposite. After that I began looking for my own information.


DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional.
Any use made of this information is by your own judgment and at your own risk.




Social and Political Evolution

   Just as scientific and technical progress comes about through experimentation with new ideas and concepts, so does social evolution. Somehow while we experiment freely with physical sciences and technologies, we have been conditioned to be exceedingly timid with social experimentation. To an extent this is probably good, but if we are so blind as to attribute longstanding and developing social structural problems to individuals and think things will go 'back to normal' once they are gone and someone else is in charge, if we are so timid as to refuse to face facts and experiment when changes are clearly needed, if we too much fear any slight possibility of making things worse, we end up with an unprogressive "status quo" whereby the few rich and influential increasingly have hijacked our democratic social processes and have been converting them into a shell, a facade of democracy that they control for their own benefit behind the scenes.
   It has become almost impossible to win an election in western nations without being beholden to these special interests. Vast numbers of people, especially older people, don't understand that there has been an ongoing shift away from meaningful democracy and toward it being merely a façade for hidden totalitarianism - so far by an oligopoly rather than a single dictator. But many - especially those specifically wronged - are coming to recognize that the government at present is no longer their friend but their enemy. "I'm from the government, I'm here to help." is a phrase that strikes terror into many hearts rather than assurance.

   I say social experiments can only very temporarily make things worse, because once people start to recognize that the worst problem of all is fear of changing existing systems and institutions, they become unafraid of social experimentation and there evolves a culture of social experimentation (and not only political but in family, education, economics, health - all social areas and institutions), whole new arrays of possibilities will open up from each experiment. The better models will be chosen and the poorer ones will be dropped. Even failures may illuminate the way toward a bright future - if they don't become "the new normal" that is too sacred to change like so many long-ago-failed experiments or utterly outdated techniques and procedures in use today.
   For a parallel, the whole vast internet with all its intricacies has opened up in just around 30 years because of people with vision and ideas, and some pretty wild experimentation. Things that didn't work well have dropped away, and things that did have opened up more and more realms for exploration. Even the failures, the "wastes of money" and the "dot com bubble" have paid back a millionfold in progress. The changes we've seen and have so quickly taken for granted weren't even imagined in science fiction when I was young.

   It has been stated that if one asked an audience to list 50 technical advances in the last 50 years, most could come up with a fair list. If one asked the same people to list 5 social advances in the last 500 years, few would complete the task.
   Why are we terrified to experiment socially? Why do we stick with what used to work 100 or 200 years ago in preference to trying anything new? - just in case it might not work out? But what worked for a while back then isn't working any more.
   The most damaging and dangerous thing to democracy and the continuing evolution of peaceful civilization is unwillingness or inability to change when society and the whole world is continually changing. If a democracy has finally become disrupted and bankrupt, if violence and riots instead of peaceful and working processes become the only effective method of voicing distress and getting change, there is a reversion to dictatorship where there is no active social participation by the public, and it may be 50, 100, 150 years before democracy is able to emerge again.

   We must act to evolve our social mechanisms in all areas, progress instead of reverting. While social experiments should be cautious to a point, we should not be starved of them just because not all of them will prove to be the ultimate in nutrition.

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - John F. Kennedy

"Riots are the voice of the unheard." - Martin Luther King Jr.


Here is a very pertinent present political example to take this from the abstract to the concrete. I have no doubt many readers will take strong exception to my view of the situations, but they are as I see them and I know many others hold similar views:

   Virtually the whole social decision making body in the USA, which includes (at least) the strongly intermingled members of the upper civil service, the justice system, the largest corporations, and the propagandizing oligopoly (virtually monopoly) major news media, had become almost completely corrupt - self serving, for sale to the highest bidder, and filling all the posts with more like themselves. Political party matters not. With their own corrupt people heading the justice system, they have felt - and have been - more and more safe to do whatever they please without fear of prosecution. They have pillaged the society they supposedly work for until most of the population is in overwhelming debt and 50% of Americans say in surveys that they couldn't come up with 500 $ in an emergency.
   Those in all the high places universally detest and fear the new president because he won in spite of all their machinations and whatever else he is doing, he is indeed attempting to 'drain their swamp' as he would put it. Before that they had everything their own way. Those behind the scenes bought the elected 'leaders'. The public was 'free' to pick anyone, but from a slate of the gangster "elite's" behind the scenes choosing - Tweedledum or Tweedledee. No one got into high government or corporate offices without first proving they were corrupt and would play along.
   A great many people realized that government had become their enemy instead of their friend, but there was no avenue of expression for it until someone - anyone - from outside that "club" was able to run for the presidency and have a serious chance of winning. It seems incredible how bad it has become. Laws were passed to protect the 'cleptocracy' from the public instead of the other way around, not excluding permanent suspension of the centuries old and hard-won rights of Habeus Corpus (innocent until proven guilty) and the right to a fair and speedy trial. No such safeguards for "terrorists!" -- to be defined as expedient. Forget the fair trial: Take a plea bargain sentence or we'll throw the book at you. Many people, often America's real elite of creative problem solvers and thinkers, have been thrown in prison without trial, died "accidentally", been murdered or "suicided" with no investigation over the last two decades. How many political and social prisoners does the USA now hold?

   Their chosen figurehead for 2016, Clinton, early and clearly indicated her willingness to take orders from them rather than to exercise leadership against their wishes if she won the election. Her astonishing statement to that effect to the Council of Foreign Relations (the "CFR", perhaps the heart of the "club"?), "I'm so glad we have you to tell us what to do!" (I'm not sure those were her exact words. There was a smile on her face.), from the lady who wanted to "lead" the nation, made it onto Youtube. They have done their utmost to prevent democracy from working against themselves, or for the people, not short of illegal acts (to brag about at the CFR) and a continuing barrage of unsubstantiated allegations and a false narrative - not excluding outright lies - on television and in print, repeated over and over a la Goebbels/Hitler, which unfortunately are swallowed by so many with no inkling that they might not be true or that the media is biased.
   Perhaps most famously "Saddam has weapons of mass destruction.", repeated over and over and over on the news, was used to justify invading Iraq. None were found. Well, let's blow some other minor story(s) out of proportion for a week or two that will make the public indignant and distract attention from that.

   Or how about:
Media: 'Worthless Trump is playing golf over Christmas [2018] and ignoring the many things that need to be done.'
Actual: Trump was in Iraq visiting the troops, and trying to figure out how to extract them from Syria.
   To be fair Trump doubtless didn't tell anybody where he was going until he was there, and the white house may have even put out misleading hints. Saying he was traveling to the Middle East would have invited planning for an attack on himself.
   (It was Obama who was always off playing golf. That wasn't a criticism then as "Mr. Teleprompter Reader" was pretty much doing whatever they wanted. ...But I do credit him with calling off the imminent US invasion of Syria in October 2013 after George Galloway in parliament caused Britain to back out of the operation against prime minister Cameron's plans and wishes, and Syrian leader Assad offered to dispose of all Syrian chemical weapons under international supervision. What a relief that was! It then degenerated into a poorly coordinated proxy war supported by USA and Soggy Arabia. At one point Pentagon backed rebels and CIA backed rebels were even fighting each other. ...Hmm... notice all the US drone strikes seem to have stopped since 2016?)


Frequent floods covering seemingly vast areas are why I now call it "Soggy Arabia".
Here is yet another bunch of camels up to their necks with someone trying to lead them to higher ground.
(Nared King Youtube videos show the various unprecedented cataclysms happening all over the world.) But I digress.

   Social media telling a wholly different story than the "sanctioned narrative" - with prompt reporting on attempts to rig ballot boxes - probably turned the tide in 2016. And polarized the nation and other nations - and even families - as never before, because the two "visions of reality" (as my grade 9 English teacher in California would put it) were so different and so utterly opposed.
   Since 2016 some of the worst of the corrupt have resigned, 'not run for re-election', retired or been fired, and some of the many pedophiles in high places are being weeded out. A great many in high places know the many crimes they have committed, never expecting to be called to account in their mortal lifetimes, and are now in fact terrified of being sent to prison. That's why they they fought so hard against an honest judge being appointed to the supreme court. (H. Clinton saying "If that ___ing Trump wins, we'll all hang!" ...was that a clean conscience speaking?) Whatever one thinks of Trump as a person, his almost miraculous election - and the fact that he has so far avoided being murdered or deposed - in fact gives hope that democracy may be salvaged. But what happens when the billionaire they can't control is gone, and the corrupt go back to work to restore their hidden influences and "refill the swamp"?
   They have done nothing but demonize, fight and obstruct everthing the president tries to do, and to try to find - or falsely create - any grounds for having him dismissed. Agendas given strong approval in lip service but no action in the past (like a Mexico border wall) are suddely "pure evil" when the new white house tries to actually implement them. (After all, it interferes with their highly profitable drug running and human smuggling.) Having failed for almost four years, they now presume to impeach the president on (groan) "Trumped Up" allegations amounting to nothing.
   (The corrupt who may well have had Bobby Kennedy shot, and got Nixon elected, behaved similarly when he turned about-face and ended their "profitable" Vietnam war, diplomatically recognized China, and started nuclear arms limitation talks with the Soviet Union. Until then he was immune. Anyone trying to expose him would have been silenced. After he "double crossed" them by doing things for the nation and the world instead of for them, the dirty laundry was brought out and he was forced to resign.)

   How can things be "brought back to normal" without the house burning down besides by making social advances toward a new and improved "normal" - a society which will ever be adaptable - flexible and able to change with human progress, and in which concerned citizens - or 'social sustainability design teams' of concerned citizens - have a say in the operation of the government instead of just a vote every few years for someone whom they then have no control over?



Small Thots


* I'm sorry no virtuoso player was ever able to take up the "Supercorder" instrument I created and made over 20 of between September 2003 and sometime in 2006. In order that a fine instrument with such a gorgeous sound may not be forgotten (and perhaps may even be produced by someone?) I (at long last) made a video of me playing Vivaldi's Recorder Concerto in A minor RV445, and put it on Youtube. I was never a virtuoso player and not in my prime either, but perhaps the qualities of the instrument itself may be heard here and there in the playing.

https://youtu.be/MErSlx1luuQ (Yes "youtu.be" is a valid Youtube URL.)

*  When I saw a "5GHz" light on my fiber optic router I naively assumed that was the same as "5G" cellphone system - and that that must be why it was called 5G. Sorry, my mistake. Apparently they are completely different entities.
   I do however still maintain that microwaves go though people rather than around them and that you're better off if they don't, and the more powerful and the closer they are, the worse it is. There is various evidence for and stories about this even tho no proper long term studies have ever been conducted. Sumsung brand cellphones have one of the lowest radiations, but I usually put it on "louder" and hold it away from my head when I'm talking.
   ...I also still don't understand why the new cellphone system is called "5G" instead of "G5".

* What kept me from designing the flat battery cases and new HAT plug and socket shells? ...The "notebook" computer I use and 3D printer were in about the coldest little alcove of the house. I didn't just move it because it was attached to a big video monitor for doing the graphical work, and it was next to the 3D printer. Being winter the situation could persist for months. Say... how about setting a small electric radiant heater there just for when I want to work? Duh!

* USA nuclear reactors produce about 2200 tons of radioactive waste per year, with an accumulated total of 88,000 tons so far. One of the waste byproducts, plutonium, needs to be stored for 30,100 years. (or is that just the half life when it becomes only 1/2 as radioactive?) Nobody wants it stored in their state, even in a hollowed out mountain. (in which some tunnels have already collapsed.) In 30,100 years of nuclear power, 66,220,000 tons of spent fuel would need to be stored. Then in the year 32040 (maybe) the first fuel from the 1940s can be released from storage. Yup, nuclear power is a great, sustainable solution! New solar plants are much cheaper to build and to operate. It seems to me that for anyone to propose a new nuclear power plant today betrays either willful ignorance or vested personal financial interest or both. Fusion or thorium reactors too would create radioactive waste - perhaps less of it, perhaps shorter lived, but that would just be reducing a still seemingly unsolvable problem.

* Every generation since world war two has been poorer than the one before it. This is in large part due to dilution of resources - their being spread between more and more people, including with older generations that "already have", on average living and retaining their resources longer.
   Adults under 40 in North America today command only about 3% of the GNP instead of 25 or 30%. The generalization is that they are still living in their parents' basements. They mostly have low paying jobs while everything needed to live (especially housing) costs more and more. They can't afford homes and a large percentage don't have and will never have their own families. (Of course the gap has not gone unnoticed. This article speaks of organizations trying connect old and young people together for mutual benefit: https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-real-trick-to-staying-young-forever?utm_source=pocket-newtab   [hmm... had to type that in - hope it's right])

   They have developed a disdain for the societies that nurtured them in youth but provide them so little for life in adulthood. Most of them have no idea of the societal collapse that is soon to happen, but those who do say "Yay, it's all going to end!" (As an accomplished inventor with so much to offer who has been repeatedly spurned and has got so little from - and been able to contribute so little to - our society, I have over the decades come to share their disdain. Apparently I am now much more valuable to our government for having reached the magic age of 65 on January 1st 2020 than for a lifetime of inventing new or improved things to try to improve the world, and I will finally get some funding: old age pension. It'll be more money, and how each penny is spent won't even be scrutinized, audited and disallowed! How much longer currency will be worth anything is another question.)
   But soon the younger people will be inheriting everything as older generations die off, and will occupy the seats of power and influence. Then as they don't have the same values and ideals as their parents, rapid social change is not only possible but inevitable. The various calamities we are starting to face will propel this change.
   If change is channeled in positive directions, social evolution may take a great leap toward sustainability.

* Notwithstanding all the global crop failures, South America's crops did well. China bought corn from Brazil this fall. USA also bought corn from Brazil. Now a Brazilian company has bought corn form Argentina because Brazilian corn has become too expensive. Now Argentina is putting very large tariffs on corn and other grains for export, probably fearing there soon won't be enough for Argentinians. China will probably just pay the tariffs.

   Unlike in past times, crop failures in some countries have become everybody's problem worldwide and if the 2019 and 2020 forecast crops continue to fail, hunger threatens to be global. Some have noted on youtube hints that governments are planning for potentially rationing food.



ESD
(Eccentric Silliness Department)

* Which salad has the darkest color?           -           Coalslaw                    (Okay, I admit that's pretty juvenile!)

* Apparently it wasn't "cake" that Marie Antoinette commended to the peasants. It was "brioche"(SP?), a favored bread of the French upper classes.
Squire: "Majesty, the peasants have no bread!"
Marie:  "Then let them eat brioche!"
Squire: "Majesty, have you lost your head?"

* A Title for the accelerating collapse of glaciers and rapid melting of the ice: "Antarctica, the Incontinent Continent"




   "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 and completeness before publication. I hope they 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


Ground Effect Vehicle (...first the 1/4 scale R/C Model)


State of the model before Christmas

   It occurs to me that at least one of the RC catamaran models on Youtube could fly up way above the ground. Its motor seemed perhaps strong enough to almost lift the lightweight craft straight up, and it flew at a high angle of attack, the propeller almost dragging along the body as a dead weight. And the Wises craft had gone a ways above the water. It's possible the two ducted fans, each rated at over 3 Kg of thrust, might likewise be able to pull this craft up out of ground effect and higher up (if not straight up like a rocket). If so, it should have ailerons to prevent tipping over sideways! (Split the canard in half as two independent airfoil surfaces? - yikes!)
   Flying up high is not a design aim, but it might have value for avoiding, say, a whale that suddenly jumped up in the path, or a deadhead bobbing up from the waves. Or to fly over ice or a protruding sand bar. Or even a boat or ship. But it would require substantially more skill to drive it... Hmm.

   Another thing that occurs to me is there are all these radio controlled(?) drones with GPSes that can be programmed for various things like to fly a specific path, maintain an altitude, return to their starting point and land, and so on. I'm not much into trying to duplicate that sort of programming, but somebody might be. Then even the model could be programmed to deliver something somewhere or to take video along a route.

(15th) Controlling the two ducted fan motors remotely in order to steer seemed to pose a considerable extra problem because the radio control wasn't set up for it and its options were so limited, but I have thought to use the "ailerons"(?) control, sideways on the same stick as the motor control, and take out the springs that return it to center. OFF would be bottom right, FULL power would be top left.
   If I found when I removed the cover that I could somehow twist the whole control 45 degrees so "up" was full and left and right varied each motor to turn the craft, so much the better.
   In connection with this whole thought, perhaps I should look on line for a different handheld remote control transmitter? Just because I bought this one am I stuck with it? Maybe there's one already made with the "two throttles" configuration I need? Nope - they all seem to have the same left-right-hand, two-simple-joysticks arrangement. If the canard was computer controlled I could use the left and the right joystick as 'throttles'. But for the first model it's not and I don't fancy having the canard be a sideways motion on the same stick as a throttle.
   On January 4th I opened up the controller/transmitter and took the spring out. Trying it then, it didn't seem it should be too hard to control.

Canard & Ducted Fans Mounted on Canard

(8th) Having mounted the ducted fans I started painting the "Minwax Polycrylic" on the fabric now and then. For all that the model airplane builders raved about it, it seemed to be taking a lot of coats. From 75% thinned I went to 67% and then 50%. And I turned the craft vertical so 'drips' ran along the fabric instead of through it. That and more coats seemed to help - it started to get harder to blow through it. And I cut and shaped two pieces of styrene foam for top covers for the hulls.
   Nothing fast, but the snail had picked up a little speed. I'd like to get it done and try flying this thing!

(13th) I decided to concentrate on it. Could I try to fly it before Christmas? If not, perhaps in early January? Unrealistic? How about "Sometime in January"? I had already done a couple more coats of polycrylic "dope" on the fabric.
   That evening I did a bit of epoxying on some flakes of foam to fill in some low spots on the bottom. Then I could put the fabric on the other hull.
   Then I cut and shaped pieces of wood for the "dorsal fin" lateral stabilizer. Then I epoxied them together. (14th) I added some triangle gussets and more epoxy to strengthen it. But I was still wondering how to attach it securely. I decided to more or less epoxy it into the wing.
   Then I got out the thinned carpenters' glue, spread it around, and glued the light fabric onto the other hull. The styrene foam needs at least some protection. I'm bound to fly it into something or run it across some gravel. It took a long time to do the whole hull in one go. (15th) Covered the fin. Later gave it and the wind a coat of polydrylic.
(16th) In spite of the model aircraft builders raving about it, I got fed up with doing coat after coat of polycrylic - and it was still transparent and still had the grain of the cloth. I really wanted a smooth, solid, white finish. I dug out a can of Tremclad oil based white rust paint that I had got at the recycling center a couple of years ago. (4L, almost unused and still like new - hardly even needed stirring! Probably cost somebody 60$.) I filled a large ointment jar and painted the underside of the rear 'elevator'. It didn't seem to sag the way the wing fabric had when spray painted, whether because it was primed with the polycrylic or because it was a different paint, I don't know. Then, not wanting to wash the brush with paint thinner after such a small job, I did the bottoms of the hulls. The fabric being glued to the styrene foam, it couldn't sag.

   On the 19th I found out: I painted the second side of the fin and it stretched and sagged badly. I guess I hadn't 'primed' that side with polycrylic. But later both sides looked just as baggy. After that I decided I shouldn't have just bare fabric anywhere in the full size vehicle. Instead I would put the fabric over styrene foam, even very thin foam, to keep it flat and smooth. (Score one for learning by making a model first!)


Wiring

   The "ESC" motor controllers seemed to have awfully heavy power wires - about #8 AWG. I looked at the motor specs again: 112 amps. Okay, they probably needed at least #8 wire. To go across the wing from the battery to the other motor would need two wires over 3 feet long. I got out a scrap piece of #8-3 electric stove wire about 4-1/2 feet long. 600 grams. Then I weighed the batteries.
* 40 inches #8 AWG copper wire: ? 200-250 grams.
* 6 of my intended lithium cells: 640 g
   Adding a second set of 6 batteries in the other wing would save having to install the heavy wires, so they would only add an extra 440-390 grams instead of their full weight. And they would double the potential travel distance. Besides... Oh wait! 100+ amps was an awful lot to ask of these little cells. 200+ was much worse. In fact, the motor sheet recommended larger cells. So I should probably put in, not one set, but two sets in parallel for each motor - four sets, 24 individual cells, 2560 grams! That would about double the entire weight. Without giving it too much thought, I had expected the batteries, for short test flights, would be pretty trivial. Like my quadcopter drone. Well, it won't fly without power. And if the motors really do put out over 3 Kg of thrust each, in theory they should still lift it straight up if it was launched like a rocket.

   Obviously then it should also be easily capable, power-wise, of flying above ground effect. But if it did, it would need ailerons. I decided to forget about that for now. If it didn't need anything like full power at any time to fly in ground effect -- Good! Low power is supposed to be a big benefit of flying in ground effect.
   And I don't want to get into aircraft regulations or needing pilot skills to drive the vehicle. OTOH... being able to fly up higher, even tho using more energy, could be a safety feature if a stormy sea with very big waves blows up during a trip. It would be fantastic to at least be able to stay safely above those notorious 4 meter wave crests on stormy Hecate strait. Or I suppose, on a vessel intended to travel between open Pacific (Hawaii...) or Atlantic (Canaries...) islands, to be able to go up as high as necessary whatever the sea. That would be the ultimate in seaworthiness. And one could, of course, computerize the elevator and aileron controls to minimize the skill level required. The driver just tells it the desired height. ...Then of course there's 'just program the entire travel path via GPS' and the driver merely watches for obstacles, then taxis it to the wharf and ties it up. But I'm looking far ahead here.

   I took apart the battery pack I was to take the cells from. It didn't lend itself to any reconfigurations. The cell voltage was higher than I'm used to for lithiums, almost 4 volts. But I don't know the chemistry of these ones. Would they drop to 3.2 as soon as there was a load? I discovered that 6 in series read 23.05 volts. The motor said 22.8 max. No doubt as soon as there was a load the voltage would drop under 22.8, and maybe under 20. But I didn't want to exceed any specs at any time. The motor controllers said 22.2. So for now the series sets would be of 5, which read 19.2 volts. I'm pretty sure there's lots of excess power. If it won't take off, or if the voltage drops a lot once they're in use, I'll go to 6 cells.
   So how to mount the batteries? I decided putting them in tubes of 5 (or 6) sounded like the best option. For that I needed to find (or make) a plastic tube of the right diameter. I didn't have any. Shopping list... I couldn't find anything different than what I already had. I decided to use the smallest I had that would hold them: 1.25" ABS drain pipe. I could put in a bar or two to hold them at one side of the tube. Or maybe I could heat and stretch a 1.25" PVC "sprinkler system" tube into an oval shape, and put two sets in each tube?




EV Transmissions: Off-the-Shelf Planetary Gearbox for Miles Truck

  
The 5:1 planetary gear. The input is a socket instead of a shaft.
It is intended that a motor's shaft insert into the socket and that the gearbox bolt onto the motor,
but it will be ~18" away from the motor and the socket is too small for the shaft anyway.


(18th) The 5 to 1 reduction planetary gear finally arrived. It looks pretty tiny for a vehicle transmission and the shafts are pretty small, but the torque specs looked adequate, and then much of most transmissions is the housing. This was the innards in a small shell. (It was sent by Federal Express, but I picked it up at the post office. On January 3rd I got a bill for 101$ from FedEx, of which 37$ was tax. The rest was FedEx collect charges. Total FedEx bill for one small (albeit heavy) item: ~ 125 $.

   Distraction!?! The ground effect craft model that I was focusing on could be done in a month. Could the truck be done in a week? It was tempting. Well, I didn't even have a week before Christmas.

   Presently the motor is bolted to a bracket which holds it in place under the vehicle. The front of the transmission bolts to the motor, and another bracket holds the rear end under the truck, which of course holds the driveshaft steady.

Now I have to figure out:

a) How to attach the gearbox to the truck where the back end of the transmission was.
    It will need some sort of mounting plate. It needs to hold up itself and
    the driveshaft securely, the body not twisting (in any direction) with torque or axial forces.

b) How to attach the motor to the gear. It will need to be some sort of adapter shaft,
    with an extension to take the place of the removed transmission (~18 inches).

c) How to attach the driveshaft to the gear. Doubtless it too will need to be some sort of adapter.

   But perhaps the first thing to do is to get the truck running again after the "Delta Q" battery charger boiled at least some of the cells dry. I hate to look! If I can't get those working again, even temporarily just to move the vehicle, I'll have to put in 2/3 of the lithiums from the Sprint. (That's the plan anyway for once it's running well. Can I make batteries before I just really really need to buy more?) And then work out a charging setup that won't do what the charger that came with the truck has done to the batteries that came with the truck.

   At the start of January I looked under the truck in the cold garage again. I had the thought that it would be much nicer crawling under it in the summer when it was warm.




Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects


Easier HAT Plugs and Sockets

   On the night of the 3rd I did up a "simpler"(?) shell to hold the 36V, 15A HAT plug pins described in the previous issue. Owing to the fat 1/4" pipe squashing out so far - to at least 9 mm long, they were rather large. I'd even say "clunky". Very square. I can only hope the 5 mm or 6 mm pipes allow for smaller shells. I'm even thinking I should have ordered some 4 mm. One could always squash them down to an oval to fit over the pin before completing the crimp.
   At this size one might almost put screw connections on the blades. Perhaps I could move the screws to the sides instead of the ends. The would make it shorter but fatter.

   Of course there were teething troubles. Even on "take 2" The crimps were still hard to fit in - must have squashed out to 10 mm instead of 9, and the machine screws didn't hold well. (What, specify even smaller holes? Usually I have to ream them out with a tiny screwdriver to get the screws in at all.)

(8th) After talking with Mike the previous day, we decided the new shell for the "crimp-on connection" type HAT plugs was nice, but that rounded corners would make them nicer. I did beveled corners thinking that would be easier in OpenSCad, and "3D" beveled the back part to make the corners protrude a bit, to make it a little easier to grip to pull the plug out. I had thought it was awfully bulky, but Mike liked it that way. There can be more than one type and style. I think a smaller shell for "solder on" wire connections would be nice to offer.
   I also noted that with the "front-back" two piece shell, the "crimp connect" sockets could be quite similar to the plugs, with just a couple of dimension tweaks. I verified this by sticking in a couple of "Z-fold" blade receptacles (they stuck out the back) and trying to plug in a plug. It worked, depending on the exact sheet metal and fold. So, longer shell and slightly wider spaces for the "Z-fold" pieces. (9th) I designed it and made a socket. (No pic - looks about like the plug without pins.)

Small Screws

Something I've always been on the lookout for - and never seen anywhere - is a source of small "self tapping" screws for plastic. All the local dealers stop at "#4" screws, and trying to find anything smaller has been frustrating. If you only want a few you can take apart some old cassette deck or computer. The hobby shop in Victoria had a few, priced "each". Sometimes one can find an "eyeglass screw assortment" with a several, of various sizes. But where were the bags of 100 for actually making things?
   It started to get really frustrating when I started making CAT plugs and sockets. I ended up using 2mm "machine screws" (tiny pan head bolts) for them because they were the closest thing I could find. (And I was doubtless lucky the local electronic parts store even had those.) But the fine threads don't hold in plastic very well.

   Now I got on line and looked for them. That didn't look very promising either. And if I order anything from USA they always insist on shipping any little thing by courier and then there'll be "brokerage fees" and tax - all for a few stupid little screws? And still no bags of 100 the same anyway.
   Finally I gave up Amazon and e-bay and went to China, to AilExpress.com . Sure enough there they were. Several stores, good selection, great prices, cheap or "free shipping" by mail for small things. I ordered about 300 from one store in a small assortment of sizes close to what I think I want: 30$C.

YAY!

   I could have ordered just 4$ worth (50 screws), and paid 4$. How can North America compete? Just the obligatory courier shipping - or even postage for a bubble envelope - is more than that. And then if you buy enough quantity or "extras" to get up to most companys' "minimum order" purchase, it's also enough to trigger customs brokerage fees and taxes, for which the minimum is only 20$, doubling the price again. You're up to 40-50$ for one little bag of a few screws. The Chinese rarely have a minimum order, and they usually write a lower value on the package so customs won't bother it. And we mostly don't have the selection - virtually nothing for small screws. Even when we do, the prices are much higher.
   Of course once I had ordered, the system showed me even better bargains from other stores, that hadn't shown up in my original search. Maybe next time.

Cura Slicer

   Now that I finally have high speed internet I downloaded Cura (perhaps not the first time?). The file called itself a ".AppImage". That sounded like some sort of archive file, like an Apple ".DiskImage" but there was no suggested application for it and I couldn't get anything to open it. (I think that's about where I got to last time.)
   Finally I just double clicked on it - again, I think. After several seconds a small window opened. It was a "ready to run" application program. That's something I probably missed too: with the delay when nothing seemed to happen, I didn't wait long enough. Well [your choice 4 letter word]! Why couldn't they just call it ".app"?
   Then one could select print material, printer, and item to print, and it would "slice" it into layers of print filament in a G-code file for the printer. There were also "settings". My RepRapPro usually did .4mm per layer. Cura defaulted for the AnyCubic I3 Mega (which was on its list of printers - yay!) to .2mm per layer, optionally .3mm. The default print time for a battery cell case was something over 2 hours instead of 40 minutes - ouch!
   I may wish to use some lower rez settings for many items. After all, the printer printed from the old Skeinforge slicer decently. And using the low rez print at slightly low temperature allowed me to print the "porous" separator grilles which had previously been so elusive.

High Temperature 3D Printing Filaments

   While exploring Cura I noted various filaments and their settings. "PC" was supposed to be good up to 110°C. I thought that would be a hot enough rating to print electrical sockets from, instead of going to labor intensive porcelain. With a bit more exploration starting on the Ultimaker (Cura) website, I found 6/66 nylon (PA, polyamide), which was also high temperature but didn't look unprintable. (And if "666" is the number of the beast from hades, it should withstand very high temperatures.)
   It claimed detail when printing with this material was almost as good as with injection molded parts. I ordered some from a Canadian source because the ones on AliExpress didn't specify what type of nylon they were and for once they didn't seem much cheaper. (Got it January 3rd.)

   Sufficiently high temperature printable plastic, plus proper screws, and the metal part designs, should at last enable commercial production of the redesigned 36 volt HAT plug and socket items. Next I need to redesign the wall outlet plates and all the 12 volt CAT plug and socket items.

Essentials For Commercialization:

* CAT plugs and sockets (crimp wires)
* CAT Click-Lock plugs and sockets (crimp wires)
* CAT Wall (triple or more) socket plates (Pigtails or crimp wires)
* CAT Cigarette Lighter adapter socket (CL to CAT only... or both directions?)

* Same items for HAT 36V. (Lower Priority)

   But I would like to come out with a broad range of related products. It would be best to have at least some of them on offer at the first launch.

Desirables:

* Wall sockets with built in switches.

* DC to DC Down Converter, in a housing with HAT plug and CAT socket for running 12 volt items from 36 volts supply.

* Meter box with CAT plugs and sockets to check voltage and current, and maybe count up watt-hours used.

* Similar converters that also show the voltages.

(Unfortunately I have two such converters out of two that seem to have quit working - Vout~=Vin. I either need to find better ones, or figure out why they're blowing.) One of them worked for a few days, and it was very nice to be able to read the state of the batteries from the livingroom, as well as adjust the 12.0 volt output. I was running a 12 volt LED light with it. A "production" one needs a 3D printed housing with integrated CAT socket.



The HAT input plug


* CAT and HAT Programmable voltage and time delay switches (eg, to turn on loads when solar or wind is available, and off when it's not.) Ideally this would have many programmable features and monitor voltage, current and watt hours consumed.

* 12 volt LED lamps with CAT plugs.
* 36 volt LED lamps with HAT plugs. (the 12 to 72 volt DC LED 'bulbs' that fit regular E27 sockets, and some regular lamps might be good.)

* CAT and HAT 'electric heater' dump loads. (Probably to be used with the voltage switches.)




Electricity Generation

My Solar Power System

Month of December Log of Solar Power Generated [and grid power consumed]

(All times are in PST: clock 48 minutes ahead of sun, not PDT which is an hour and 48 minutes ahead. DC power output readings - mostly the kitchen hot water heater - are reset to zero daily, while the others are cumulative.)

Solar: House+DC, Trailer  => total KWH [grid power meter reading(s)@time] Sky conditions

November

30th 18.12,(1.11),915.01-1.30 [55Km,Charging; [email protected]:00; 50Km,Chj.] Not sunny.

December
01st  18.84, (.71),915.41=> 1.12 [[email protected]:30] Even more not sunny.
02nd 19.58, (.63), 915.84 = 1.17 [55Km drive,Car chjd; [email protected]:00] Clouds and Rain.
03rd  21.26. (.52), 916.77 = 2.61 [[email protected]:00; laundry] Am? - PM Sunny.
04th  22.58, (.56), 917.60 = 2.15 [[email protected]:00] Mostly sunny.
05th  23.04, (.64), 917.82 = 0.68 [[email protected]:00] Mostly cloudy.
06th  24.23, (.62), 918.36 = 1.75 [85Km,Charging; [email protected]:30] Cloudy AM, sunny later PM.
07th  25.93, (.67), 919.49 = 2.83 [[email protected]:00; 55Km,charging] Sunny except overcast with jet trails
08th  27.10, (.56), 920.15 = 1.83 [[email protected]:30] Earlier AM cloudy, then similar to yesterday
09th  27.34, (.88), {.3}, 920.28 = 0.37 [[email protected]:30] Clouds, wind, bit of rain. {windplant - not added to total}
10th  28.79, (.75), 921.00 = 2.17 [[email protected]:30; 55Km,chjng] Some sun, clouds
11th Power fail,(.45).52*,921.10(est)=0.62 [? - Power fail and I didn't read the meters] Gloomy, high winds. There would have been hardly any solar anyway.  *DC power from windplant
12th  00.00, (.00), 921.52 = 0.42 [[email protected]:00] Mostly cloudy, a little sun with obscuring jet trails. I forgot to turn the inverters in the garage back on. I had neglected to turn the one in the trailer off, so it was on.
13th  00.64, (.04), 922.10 = 1.22 [90Km,chjng; [email protected]:30] Rain, later PM sun.
14th  01.08,  .05,  922.38 = 0.77 [60Km,chjng; [email protected]:30] Fog, mist, overcast.
15th  01.20,  .19,  922.45 = 0.38 [[email protected]:30] Yikes! Might we just call it "gloomy" again? OTOH apparently at +8 to 9°C at midnight we are the "hot spot" for Canada, most of which is at zero or much colder. (2nd place: Victoria & Comox @ 5°.)
16th  01.92,  .08,  922.96 = 1.31 [[email protected]:00] Pretty dreary again.
17th  02.52,(.53), 923.36 =  1.00 [[email protected]:00] Mostly overcast, a bit of sun.
18th  03.80,(.91), 923.94 =  1.86 [[email protected]:00] A little sun, but more rain and clouds.
19th  04.44,(.49), 924.31 =  1.01 [[email protected]:00; 50Km,chj.] About the same as yesterday.
20th  05.24,(.45), 924.69 =  1.18 [85Km,charging; [email protected]:00]
21st  06.79,(.85), 925.67 =  2.53 [60Km,chj; [email protected]:00] mostly sunny, a bit of rain. WINTER SOLSTICE.
22nd 08.05,(.75), 926.55 =  2.14 [[email protected]:30] neutral to sunny.
23rd 08.31.(.53), 926.71 =  0.42 [[email protected]:00] dull.

   I turned off the grid tie inverters while I was away over Christmas and New Year's Day - just in case there might be any trouble. (While I can't believe they could somehow put power into a dead line and be dangerous to BC Hydro crews, I am slightly concerned about the potential for an inverter(s) to be damaged by some bad power spike while unattended for 10 days in winter winds. Perhaps it might even even cause trouble to my buildings, although it's also pretty unlikely no fuse would blow - each of them has three fuses. The power was in fact off just long enough sometime in there to start a clock blinking, altho it still kept the right time.)

Jan 02 08.31,(0), 926.71 =  0000  [[email protected]:30] sleet, rain, dull. OUCH! Over 41 KWH per day keeping the house at 12°c over the holidays. That's a main reason I have a woodstove. I couldn't afford the power bill to keep it at livable temperature full time electrically. With everything so cold to start (and the woodstove being no great performer), it took a good bundle of wood and 3 or 4 hours to get the livingroom tolerably warm when I got home. The rest of the house stayed pretty chilly.

Jan 4th --- [Car 72 Km, chj, 55 Km, chj; [email protected]:00] Cloudy 3rd & 4th. Snow on 4th early AM, then sleet, misty drizzle. Bit of sun. The solar equipment is still shut off.
Jan 5th --- [[email protected]:30] Snow.

Daily-
KWH-  # of Days (December)
Made
0.xx  - 7
1.xx  - 10
2.xx  - 6
3.xx  -
4.xx  -
5.xx  -
6.xx  -
7.xx  -
8.xx  -
9.xx  -
10.xx-
11.xx-
12.xx-
13.xx-
14.xx-
15.xx-
16.xx-

Monthly Tallies: Solar Generated KWH [Power used from grid KWH]

March 1-31: 116.19 + ------ + 105.93 = 222.12 KWH - solar [786 KWH - used from grid]
April - 1-30: 136.87 + ------ + 121.97 = 258.84 KWH [608 KWH]
May  - 1-31: 156.23 + ------ + 147.47 = 303.70 KWH [543 KWH] (11th solar panel connected on lawn on 26th)
June - 1-30: 146.63 + 15.65 + 115.26 = 277.54 KWH [374 KWH] (36V, 250W Hot Water Heater installed on 7th)
July  - 1-31: 134.06 + 19.06 + 120.86 = 273.98 KWH [342 KWH]
August 1-31:127.47 + 11.44+91.82+(8/10)*96.29 = 307.76 KWH [334 KWH] (12th panel connected on lawn Aug. 1)
Sept.- 1-30: 110.72 + 15.30 + 84.91 = 210.93 KWH   [408 KWH] (solar includes 2/10 of 96.29)
Oct.  - 1-31:  55.67 + 13.03 + 51.82 = 120.52 KWH - solar [635 KWH - from grid]
Nov. - 1-30:  36.51 +   6.31 + 26.29 =   69.11 KWH - solar [653 KWH - from grid]
Dec. - 1-23*:  18.98 +   .84 + 11.70 =   31.52 KWH - solar + wind [711 KWH from grid]

10  month total March 1 to December 23: 2076.02 KWH made; [5394 KWH consumed from grid]

* On December 24th I went away for Christmas until January 2nd, and I left the solar equipment turned off for safety. (And I kept it off into January, there being power bumps and flickering lights.)

Things Noted

* The sun is so low in December that shadows from the spruce trees on the next acreage to the south, 200-300 feet away, cast shadows on the two solar panels on the lawn. These panels are at a steeper angle than the ones on the roofs (rooves?) and should have the most collection in winter. Instead they have very little.

* The panels on the roof over the travel trailer are about 100 feet south. They too must be getting lots of shade from the neighbor's trees, judging from the low amount they're collecting.

* After a power failure it was discouraging watching the KWH generated meter take 10 days to not even get up to what it would make in one day in the summer. Seeing the meter showing 150 watts one day, I reflected that that plus what the trailer was probably making was just 5% of the 3800 watts the car was using to charge.

* When the weather got cold, I (belatedly) turned up the heater in the trailer to 500 watts. For a few days I was surprised by how much electricity I was using. But of course, 500 watts is 12 KWH per day, just from that one heater. That makes for a pretty high starting point, so when everything else is added in... But it's doubtless cheaper and better than getting mold growing in the trailer. (Somebody in town has lost over a million dollars from prefab 'apartment' units that sat outside in Prince Rupert unheated for too long and got moldy inside. The loss was made worse by installing them anyway, but no one could get them clean and now they have to take it all apart.)

* In the cold weather in December I used a lot of electricity - more before the 23rd than in any previous whole month since I started recording last March. And 96% of it came from the grid.

* On the morning of the 11th there was a strong wind blowing. The windplant, which mostly sits idle, hit a new high: around 100 watts, gusting from 75 to over 130 watts. I even saw a "155" flash by on the display. Nice when you get it! At the same time it was overcast and dull, and the DC solar system, 4 panels "1000 watts", was making 25-40 watts. (Yes, the grid ties were turned off.) Before noon the intensity had dropped and readings were averaging around 80 watts. (On the morning of the 20th it came on fitfully for a couple of hours of breeze, then quit again.)



Woodstove Electrical Generator with Closed Cycle Steam Engine?

(3rd) I seemed to be gathering up parts for this rapidly - largely because they were things I already had. A 10 inch frying pan with straight sides from the thrift shop seemed like a special "score". It even had a super flat bottom that could conduct well from the woodstove.

* Pressure cooker for tests
* Frying pan for a large, shallow cylinder
* Balloons for "power piston" membrane
* 1/4 inch birch plywood for a flat, lightweight, "insulating" (compared to metal) displacer
* flywheel/magnet rotor: 10 pound "Electric Hubcap" prototype magnet rotor (6 magnet poles, 12 magnets NNSS...)
* 3/4 inch center "H" taper lock shaft hub to fit rotor
* 3/4 inch by 4 inch steel shaft
* Two 3/4 inch inside diameter ball bearing units

   In keeping with units I was seeing on youtube, I figure it should be "pretty high" RPM - maybe 500? And as I realized that a short stroke would be best with the large diameter, I gave up on the frying pan. Two aluminum plates with a wooden ring between them for side walls would be better. (and I had 1/4" aluminum plate.) But the design quickly changed... and changed... and changed. But by lunch time on the 6th I thought I had a pretty solid one.

Rapid Design Metamorphoses

   I also found units with "rhombic drives". These operated a double lever system that accomplished something I wanted: they drove the displacer (and the power piston) quickly through the middle part of the stroke and near to each end for more of the cycle. But the forces were so off axis, pushing the rods more to the side for part of each stroke than up and down, that they were doubled, with two gears rotating oppositely and two mechanisms, so that the sideways pushing forces would balance. This seemed rather complex, and the gears made noise.

   So I came up with another, simpler system with a "cam wheel". The displacer will fall toward the bottom by itself (I trust) and only needs to be pulled up. It is easier to show in the diagram than to describe. I drew a 60mm diameter disk with cutouts at 25mm and 15mm outer radiuses and straight slopes between them to move the displacer up and down 10mm. As drawn the displacer would sit on the bottom for about 1/3 of the cycle, at the top for 1/3, and move between them for 1/6 of the cycle each, up then down.


   That would be at one end of the flywheel shaft. Making it of slick UHMW plastic would let the pin on the displacer rod slide easily around the cam - or a bearing could be used to roll around it. The piston/diaphragm would be driven from the other end with a regular cyclical motion from an off center pin.

   On one side the flywheel assembly mounting would be metal. On the other side, to prevent magnetic drag, it would be wood (or?). The mountings would hold the 3/4" ID bearings for the flywheel shaft. An epoxy molded ring of coils for the generator would attach to the wooden mounting.

(4th) On youtube I saw an interesting demo: it was a stirling engine connected to a generator. But instead the generator was used as a motor to drive the stirling engine. Instead of applying heat, the engine got cold - frosty - on one side and hot on the other. That means a stirling engine could be used to power a refrigerator. The two questions I would have (in that order) are first, is it quieter than than a compressor fridge, and second, what is the coefficient of performance? (I looked into it later - more below.)

(5th) Having departed from the traditional designs, I came up with something wilder: What if the displacer was well above the bottom, but sealed all around the edges at the bottom of its stroke? It would just let the water boil and build up pressure while it was closed. (If it wasn't hot enough to boil water, the warming air would still build up pressure.) It would be the "lid" on the inner pressure cooker. One could go for the simple offset cam, but when the displacer hit the bottom, say about 1/2 way down, a spring would start to compress as the rod driving it continued down lower. Thus it would to enabled to be closed for half the stroke while pressure built up, and open for half - and beyond a narrow point, it doesn't matter how wide it's open. It would be the "on-off" displacer action I was looking for, and it could have a very short stroke - less actual motion and less noise. In fact, since it would be closing against slight air pressure, it might close very gently.
   As it opens the steam is released into the upper chamber and of course it cools as it expands (while driving the power piston), and it cools more as it contacts the cool top of the cylinder. (That's the place for the finned heatsink.) Despite the bottom still being heated, the steam cools and condenses and drips back down.
   Another way to do the same thing would be to have the displacer under the lip instead of over. At the top of the stroke it would be pulled up to seal it against the lip, and the pressure would keep it closed. Before the bottom it would be pushed open, and it would stay open because (once the pressure was released) there'd be nothing to pull it up again. (OTOH, the pressure would then tend to "pop" it closed, which would be noisier.)
   The displacer would then be a lightweight flap, perhaps hinged on one side. It wouldn't have to match the profile of the cylinder at all. Even the 'cylinder' could be square or any shape at all.

   With this redesign, I decided the pressure cooker would be the better vessel. Well, that was handy - a ready-made, sealed but easily opened cylinder! I drilled out the center hole in the lid, which somehow wasn't round near the bottom, to accept a 3/32" round steel rod to move up and down. There was a simple connection rod to a displacer.
   One problem with this pressure cooker was that it was notably rounded on the bottom. Only the center touched the woodstove surface. (I suppose they thought it would be going on a gas stove and it wouldn't matter.) I soon sanded off the brand ("Blaze"?) and model number from the middle, and remembered only that it had said "Made in Canada". But it was still quite rounded. I set it on a table - yup, still a 16th of an inch off the table all the way around at the edges. After a lot of sanding with a handheld power sander, it at least was sort of flat toward the middle. I hoped it wasn't getting too thin in the middle. At least it won't be holding much pressure.

   And by night, with the new idea for the "displacer" came a new idea for the sequence: There could be just one arm coming up, with the power piston and the displacer connected - the displacer still with a spring, and on the underside of the separator. As the arm goes down because the piston is going down, it reaches the point where it opens the heated chamber.


Arrival: The Carmichael Woodstove Engine



(6th) The idea continued to evolve and change in my head rapidly up into that morning. But by lunch time I had drawn two diagrams (the second remedying a small problem in the first). If ever there was an invention "drawn on a napkin over coffee", this was it. It could no longer be described as a Stirling engine. Rather, it had become what I might term a "closed cycle steam engine". In keeping with Stirling I'll name it after myself. (I know if it becomes popular everyone will just call it "the woodstove generator" anyway.)
   The pressure cooker was divided into upper and lower chambers. A single cylinder with a piston (a lovejoy coupling - ?) went up and down between them. A rod from the piston still drove a flywheel above the unit.

Operation:

 - starting with the piston (and flywheel cam) at the bottom, pressure builds up in the bottom chamber owing to the woodstove heat heating the air and steaming the water in the bottom of the pot.
( - Probably the flywheel will need a turn by hand to start it moving. )
 - The pressure pushes the piston up (and up), causing its connection rod to press up on the cam and rotate the flywheel.
 - As the piston (and cam) reach the top, the gaps in the lovejoy piston rise over the top of the separator.
 - Compressed air and steam from the bottom chamber escape into the top one. Pressure is equalized throughout the pressure cooker pot.
 - The flywheel continues to turn by momentum, pushing the piston downward again. Because pressure has been equalized, there is at first little force slowing its descent. But with the heat still applied, pressure starts to build again.
 - By the time the piston (and cam) has reached the bottom, pressure is building again.
 - At the same time, the air and steam in the top chamber is in contact with the outer walls and is cooling. The steam is condensing back into water, which runs down the sloped separator to sit next to the piston, and the chamber becomes a relative vacuum which helps draw the piston up.
 - The piston rises again. When it nears the top, the gaps open. The pressure is equalized, and the condensed water drains back through the cylinder to the bottom.

   By night I had thought of a further refinement: If instead of being tied exactly to the cam cycle, the piston is able to descend rapidly from the top to the bottom, there will be little pressure and vacuum built up to impede its drop and things should run more smoothly. Then I would think that on the power stoke it should ideally be made to rise more or less linearly to near the top. Perhaps I could make use of that "cam wheel" idea after all?
   Originally I was thinking of a lightweight displacer, then a lightweight piston. But what could push the piston down on this rapid downstroke? Maybe if it was heavy (like the lovejoy piece) and if the friction in the cylinder was very low, it could fall by its own weight?
   ...Or should I just settle for the sinusoidal motion of the offset cam? It has the advantage of simplicity and would probably be quietest in operation.

(9th) I went out to the workshop to do a small job...
1. Replace the 1 inch bore "H" taper lock hub on the 10" magnet rotor/flywheel with a 3/4" "H" hub.
2. File the slightly rusty 3/4" shaft a bit so the bearings would go on.
3. Drill and tap a hole in the end of the shaft to hold the offset cam pin.

Time budgeted: An hour.

1. It turned out that the "H" hub had been specially turned to fit this rotor. I had to duplicate this custom lathe job on the 3/4" bore hub.
2a. Bearings went on shaft okay.
2b. Then I tried to put the shaft through the rotor (3/4" "H" hub) and discovered that it was actually a 5/8" shaft, not 3/4". Oops - I had estimated the size wrong.
2c. With no 5/8" "H" hub, I tried to fit in some shims to make the shaft fit. I wasn't happy with the result.
2d. I cut a length of 3/4" shaft.
2e. Since the bearings were much smaller and I (thought I) had no 3/4" ID bearings, I had to turn both ends of the shaft to 5/8" to fit the bearings on.
3. Drilling and tapping the end hole went okay.

Time taken: All day.

   Then I thought, wait... I have some 3/4" "steady bearings" mounted in pressed metal holders, that could be bolted onto something. On looking I decided to leave one and change one end to the steady.

(10th) I had been thinking (a) that the sinusoidal piston motion would doubtless be quieter than one that made rapid moves, eg, a rapid drop down after a slow power stroke up. (OTOH it would have less power per size.) And (b) that it would still be better if no pressure built up while the piston was going down, since that pressure would be counter to what was desired. That would need some sort of valve. With a sinusoidal cycle and no valve, half the pressure would build up as the piston descended (the flywheel keeping it turning against the pressure) and the engine would be operating only off the increase in pressure as the piston rose again.
   One thing or another would be best to arrange: a valve that stayed open between the chambers while the piston descended, or a way for say 3/4 of the cycle to be the piston rising (power stroke) and have it go down again in just 1/4 of the cycle, asymmetrically. If this rapid drop down could be arranged, it would have the most power AND there wouldn't be time for much pressure buildup, obviating any need for a valve. But even the rhombic drive of some of the Stirling engines was symmetrical overall. Was there any way to do it, even theoretically?

   Let's see... On the upward power stroke the piston is pushing the flywheel. On the return stroke, the flywheel is pushing the piston. An sloping cam, perhaps? The piston rod would push straight up, and the flywheel would turn based on the slope of the cam. (A bearing on the end of the piston rod would be needed to reduce friction? or some UHMW somewhere?) If the piston went from flush to about 1/8" above to let the pressures equalize, its stroke would be about 28mm. So there was the difference in height of the cam from bottom to top of stroke. But the slope could occupy more than 1/2 the circle.
   For the return stroke, the cam part would need to be outside instead of inside, to push the piston down. It needed the same 28mm but over a shorter part of the circle.

   I sketched it out. I made it go in from 44mm to 16mm from the center from bottom to top. With the need to have an outside area to push the piston back down, the cam wheel, if made circular overall, came to a surprising 140mm (5-1/2") O.D. But I didn't see why this arrangement couldn't make a great engine, that would push the flywheel, rather linearly, for well over 1/2 the cycle, briefly releasing the pressure at the top of the stroke, then rapidly returning to the bottom (before too much pressure could build) for the next push.
   If all the cam wheel bends are gentle, I have hope for relatively quiet operation (in spite of hearing some pretty noisy Stirling engines on Youtube as well as tiny silent ones) because the only percussive sound would be the "pop" or "puff" as the steam was released from the lower to the upper chamber, and that sound was contained inside a heavy cast aluminum pressure cooker pot. Both sides of the piston are enclosed, with only the connection rod sticking out of the pot. The heavier the load, the stronger the "pop" would be. The less power with the same fire on, the higher the RPM and the lighter the "puff". I'm counting a lot on the heavy cast pot damping that internal "pop" sound.

(13th) At lunch I showed the drawing to someone who suggested that rather than having the flywheel slow down as it pushed the piston back down, a counterweight could be placed on that side to help push. The piston would have to push it up again, but the velocity would be more constant. This seemed to make quite a bit of sense.
   Later in the day I realized it would be better just to weight the connecting rod. I already had a somewhat heavy piston in the L095 lovejoy connector piece, but if desirable, another wieght could simply be clamped onto the rod.

   At the start of January I had the thought that the rather special shape of the "air escape" bottom end of the 'lovejoy' piston could be made in the cylinder wall instead if desired, and the piston would then be replaced by a simple cylinder shape.

The Woodstove Engine as a Refrigerator or Heat Pump?

(7th) Having found from a youtube video in which a motor drove the engine and the heat fins got heavily covered in frost, that the stirling engine can be used as a cooler or heat pump, I searched on that topic. Wikipedia had an article Applications of the Stirling Engine which went into it. I saw another youtube video, and finally hit on a scholarly article on what I was looking for, Coefficient of Performance of Stirling Refrigerators.
   I confess that my eyes mostly glazed over the math formulae presented. But thankfully a very useful set of figures was given: For a temperature drop of 30 °C for temperatures around room temperature, the "reversible" cycle COP was 10, "hybrid" was 9.2 and "irreversible" was 8.2. Obviously these must be theoretical figures. I am under the impression that Rankin cycle compressor refrigerators are under 5 if not well under 5. (And so much for the efficacy of doing magnetic refrigeration where the potential COP was also only around 5 - I'm glad I dropped it!)
   Another article (U of Canterbury) says that "Such machines theoretically have the highest efficiency possible for any practical thermodynamic system."

   One question is: "Can such an engine (in real life) beat a compressor fridge in COP?" and the answer is provisionally yes, assuming one can come relatively close to the theoretical limits.
   The second major question is: "Can such an engine be made to run more quietly than a compressor fridge?"

   If the answer to both these questions is yes, then such refrigerators should definitely be developed. (And the next question is: Why haven't they been?) If the answer to either question is yes and the other is comparable, the answer is still yes, they should be developed. If they are worse in either respect, they may not be worth pursuing, especially if they aren't better in the other.
   (I have recently found some higher performance peltier modules on line for solid state refrigeration. They would be quiet and I may well order a couple to try out in my peltier shallow chest fridge and camping cooler, but the COP is still much lower than the compressor - or Stirling - method.)

   Another useful question is: "Can my new design be run as a heat pump/refrigerator/cooler?" The answer would be yes. Instead of gas expansion from heat pushing the piston up, a motor turning the flywheel pulls it up, creating a vacuum in the bottom chamber and compression in the top one. Compression heat is transferred into a "regenerator" (internal heatsinks?) and from there dissipated to the outside in the external heatsinks. (Usually a fan would be used. It could be on the driving motor.)
   The reduced temperature created by the vacuum in the lower chamber is transmitted through the bottom of the pot, which would be on the top of the fridge. Heatsinks would extend from under the bottom of the pot and thus to inside the fridge (or freezer), and a fan would blow the cooled air around the compartment.
   When the piston reaches the top and the air in the engine compartments is mixed, the resulting air temperature would depend on the relative coolness remaining in the lower chamber versus the relative warmth in the upper. If the upper chamber is continually vented to the room and the lower one is in a gradually cooling fridge (or freezer) space, one can expect the mixed air inside to gradually cool to somewhere midway between the room and the fridge temperatures.
   There is more to making a cooler with a high COP than this. When the cold air and the warm air mix, they should do so through an internal 'heat exchanger' - this seems to be really what was meant by the term 'regenerator' in the article. When mixed this way, when the pressures are equalized and airflow stops, the bottom compartment will still be pretty cold and the top pretty warm. Thus they will start each cycle with more temperature advantage than the last.

   I have no plans to get into creating a unit for cooling or heat pumping at this time. It seems like an exciting prospect especially for very low cost home heating/cooling, but the woodstove electricity generator is already an unexpected additional project, one of too many. And as an engine, the "Carmichael Woodstove Engine" will have the special advantage of H2O undergoing phase changes between water and steam, liquid and gas, which should give it much more power for its size than a Stirling engine. The temperatures involved in refrigeration or home heat pumping are too low to take advantage of this.
   If I can figure out how to include one, a heat exchanger/regenerator would probably boost efficiency. How much would that help? After all, there is no such thing as "waste heat" from a woodstove in winter!





Electricity Storage (Batteries)

Turquoise Battery Project: Long lasting, low cost, high energy batteries

Gold Electroplating

   On the morning of the 11th the gold plating solution finally arrived. I decided to stick with the present test cell size for now but to tip it face up. Then I wouldn't need to glue the face on to keep it from leaking. So I just needed to gold plate a piece of copper the same size as previous copper and graphite sheets. And redesign and make a new shell.
   While I was doing a few things before starting to plate, the power went out for 5 hours.

(12th) I decided if I was going to make a "lying down" flat test cell, I should do that before starting on the electrodes. Even if they were the same size the terminal tabs would be different. Somehow the day went by - again- but I got it designed and made in the evening.


(14th) I re-read the gold plating instructions. They said that it was best if the anode was about the size of the object being plated. Also, if one used "scrap gold" for the anode instead of stainless steel, the solution would last longer. The solution being 200$, I sacrificed a little 5 gram gold pendant I had, running it through the jewellers rolling mill a few times until it was much longer, if not much wider. Hmm, that was worth... about 320$ spot gold value. Well, all for the cause!

L: plain copper sheet, gold plated copper sheet, gold anode.

   The eye of the pendant was useful. I put a loop of copper wire through it and thus had a good way to hang it from the top of the beaker, also making electrical connection.
   I tried to follow the instructions. I got the solution heated up to 60°C. It said 2 to 4 volts, current .005 amps per square inch. Surprisingly low current. It said it in 2 or 3 places. To get the current down to that low value I had to reduce the voltage to about 1.3. And it said 30 to 60 seconds, but there was precious little plating going on in that time. I finally decided somebody had slipped a decimal point and the current was supposed to be 50mA/sq.in., not 5. (Maybe it was originally written "0.05 amps" and some unknowing person changed it to ".005"?)


   To get that I had to raise it to over 2 volts. That was making more sense. Even at that I'm sure I had to leave it over 60 seconds to get a bit of yellow color on the copper. I was thinking of a nice solid yellow like on printed circuit board edge connector fingers, but it just wasn't there. But then to protect the copper it didn't need to be very thick. It just needed to cover ALL of it, 100%.

   To appearances it was somewhere between copper and gold in color. But one could clearly see on the tab where the gold plate ended. I decided to leave it at that.

   
Terminal tab plated to half way up.

   Then I set it into the 3D printed cell case and looked. I wondered if I had gone high enough up the tab. I went back, reconnected, and dipped in just the tab, upside down, to make sure at least most of the tab, the part that might still be inside the cell, had at least a bit of coverage. I'm tired of connection tabs corroding off. When it happens it doesn't matter that the rest of the electrode is still good.

   Being the same size, an old separator grill fit right in.

   I now awaited the pure zinc sheet before putting together a new cell. Some came on the 21st - too late to do anything before Christmas. More came after new year - I had ordered some from 2 or 3 places.



Charge The Future Battery Challenge Rejection

   On the 20th an e-mail came from Natural Resources Canada / Charge the Future Challenge.

   Somehow I was pretty sure what it would say even before I opened it. The application was rejected. Perhaps it was because it came in December instead of January. That meant they had rejected it early without even any serious thought that they might fund it.
   It puzzles me what goes on in the realms of finance. They claim they want to improve the future. They said they will fund up to five projects. Have there been more than five of Canada's best inventors working for a decade on making improved batteries, who seem to be getting close to production stage? If that isn't just what they want - almost beyond their best hopes - what are they really after? It often seems more like government wants showcase art with a good spiel that will never go anywhere, and are afraid of anything that might actually make a real difference.
   Of course, one of the reasons given for the challenge was that the battery industry is growing rapidly in scale and monetary value. Perhaps they are actually afraid of something that might reduce the overall monetary value of the industry by being cheaper, easier to produce and better? Or perhaps they have put themselves into a box of fixed ideas and are unwilling to think outside of it. A move away from element #3 just isn't something they are prepared to contemplate.
   Or could it be, once again, simply that my name was "Mr" Carmichael instead of "Dr" Carmichael and I wasn't associated with a university? One may think I am biased, but an impression has grown on me for decades: It seems to me that those associated with disbursing funding in any any way associated with universities hate discovering that there are knowledgeable, talented people who didn't come up through the university system, and they give them the cold shoulder. I often think they are prejudiced. And of course one "good word" from a university 'expert' would probably sway everyone else - "It's been repeatedly proven that zinc electrodes don't last." Who would dare argue against him?

   Of course one might always hold out some small hope that the rejection for this funding portends some other interest, perhaps in private funding, or that the application might be passed on to some other government department with a more direct interest. Of perhaps I should be launching a "go fund me" campaign or something through social media? Perhaps there's nothing like the power of lots of people with some trust and ideals, each expressing some small and very affordable token of financial interest.

   Just one time in my life, in 1985, did someone in authority believe me when I said we could do something, that we could create a computer to control and monitor heating and ventilation etc. in schools before such a thing was available commercially. Facilities manager Keith Hawkins, P.Eng, hired me to pursue his project, and for the only time I got a salary and a budget for parts, and over about three years I went on to do just that and install a very fine product (including as evaluated by others in the field) in several schools. But he ran into the same hurdles as I always do when he tried to find money to commercialize this fine product. (What this high official of the Victoria School District said about his meeting with NRC-IRAP was pretty much unprintable.)

   We will grind on toward battery production. A little funding could have gone a long way toward expediting the process. If you grind on slowly enough, someone else will eventually get there first. Someone else has come up with an "ultra-efficient electric car" which I've worked on for free with no budget for so long. (Albeit their stated price for their car leaves lots of room for commercializing my goal - "simple ultra-efficient EV conversion" components.)
   If someone does get a similar battery first, I will at least have the satisfaction of knowing there's every chance they used Turquoise Energy News to help them get there. Marconi got the credit for inventing radio, but he did so after being taken in as a new immigrant by Tesla as an apprentice, and then using Tesla's radio designs. (Marconi had the gall to try and patent it, but it was noticed that it was almost the same as Tesla's prior patent.) In this millennium the stories of Tesla's works over a century ago have started being seen by the public, but without him we would not have had radio when we did. It might have been decades later. (Not to mention the electric power grid we all enjoy. The free energy he harvested has been kept from the world so far - apparently in order that we not destroy ourselves. Tesla offered a "death ray" to the USA during world war two, but somehow no one paid attention until he died (January 1943). Perhaps just as well! Then his apartment was raided and all his papers seized, but at that point the design may have been more in his head than detailed on paper. But once again I digress.)


   I keep at it because although I haven't yet proven it, I believe that once developed, this battery technology will not only be cheaper but should last forever and will be definitely superior to lithium types.



http://www.TurquoiseEnergy.com
Haida Gwaii, BC Canada