Turquoise Energy Ltd. News #80
  September 2014 (posted October 5th)
Victoria BC
by Craig Carmichael


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

Features:
* Unipolar 3-phase brushless motor
configuration offers greater performance and inherently better motor controller economy, efficiency and reliability (see bottom of Month in Brief and or Electric Transport - Unipolar Motor and Controller)
* Government Program for Sustainable Energy Development: Lots of Hype, no Support (SDTC Funding Workshop & Critique - see month in brief)
* Simple Ocean Wave Power System (originally from TENews #59 - see month in brief)

Month In Brief (Project Summaries)
 - Solar panels: cheaper and cheaper! Get yours now because the low prices may not last. - Electric Hubcap motor family developments - peltier fridge notes - Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) funding workshop at University of Victoria (UVic) & Ocean Wave Power - Unipolar motor & controller.

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
 - Electric Transport's Effect on Power Grid - New Institutions must have Provision for Future Growth - Pandemic: Worst Case Scenario Video - Shoot the Messenger! - Truth on the Internet


Electric Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems
* Electric Weel project progress: body molds done, body done, bearing holders done.
* Variable torque converter transmission
* An ultra-efficient manual transmission with flat belts?
* Unipolar Brushless Motor and Motor Controller
* Kelly 300 amp BLDC Motor Controller

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects
* CNC Gardening Machine: Tools
* Aquaponics & LED Grow Lighting Project

Electricity Generating (no reports)

Electricity Storage - Turquoise Battery Project (NiMn, NiNi), etc.
* Conductive Carbon Black Arrives (no other developments)

No Project Reports on: Lambda Ray Collector, Magnet motor, Woodstove/Thermal Electricity Generator, evacuated tube heat radiators.



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

Construction Manuals and information:

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

Products Catalog:
 - Electric Hubcap 7.2 KW BLDC Pancake Motor Kit
 - Electric Caik 4.8 KW BLDC Pancake Motor Kit
  - NiMH Handy Battery Sticks, 12v battery trays
& Dry Cells (cheapest NiMH prices in Victoria BC)
 - LED Light Fixtures

(Will accept BITCOIN digital currency)

...all at:  http://www.TurquoiseEnergy.com/
(orders: e-mail [email protected])



September in Brief

   I found a small Ryobi brand "Extend-It tools" rototiller type cultivator I figure I can use for the CNC gardening machine on the 4th at Home Depot building supply. A couple of days later I bought the electric power head for it. (Later in the month I got the "Extend-it" 'weedeater' attachment that I think could have several CNC gardening uses.) I'm excited by the cultivator, which if it works well - and probably in conjunction with a couple of other tools like something to carry off rocks and roots - could make easy work of preparing a lawn or other unprepared or neglected plot for gardening. With the top guard removed as shown, I think it could be dug right under the ground for deeper cultivation than if used by hand. If it proves too hard to turn, some of the tines can be removed - who cares how long the machine takes to finish the tilling?
   It's a start at answering what sort of tools might be mounted on the CNC gardening machine. Apparently I won't have to make them all myself after all!


   After that, September developed into a month concerned largely with several aspects of the Electric Hubcap Motor & drive system. And I spent a worrisome amount of money.

* I made the last mold piece and molded the 8 pieces for the rotor end of the giant Electric Weel motor or generator. Then I did the shaft bearing holder drill template and the holders for one end. (The uneven thicknesses and the flatness got better.)


* I gave more thought to implementation of unipolar motors and motor controllers for them, ordered electronic parts, and started designing the unipolar motor controller circuits and circuit board. (More below.)

* I also thought about a way to make an ultra-efficient vehicle transmission using 99% efficient flat or poly-V belts instead of gears. There would be two or more pairs of pulleys (think drill press pulleys, eg: small-large (start-up, low speed); medium-medium (city driving); & large-small (highway)), each with its own belt. Idler wheels rotated into position using the single line shift stick would engage the desired belt, while the other belts would (ideally) stay loosely sprung out and not even touch their pulleys. Such a transmission would have almost no losses, compared to the typical 30% power loss of most manual transmissions. But when I started trying to fit the design using cardboard pieces, there seemed to be complications to making it for the Sprint without starting from scratch, and besides, the variable torque converter should be better.

* Then I figured out a simpler way to lay out the transmission extension for the variable planetary gear torque converter: use short pieces of steel rectangular tubing (2" x 3") as "stand-offs" to mount the motor to, thus extending the effective width of the transmission box by 3" to avoid considerable reworking. A 3" shaft will carry the output of the planetary converter to the inner drive rotor of the centrifugal clutch. This will have to hang between the ring gear and the output shaft, rotating independently of the output shaft with a bushing keeping it centered. (A bearing would be better but difficult to mount with the present arrangement.) Near the end of the month I began assembling and mounting these "stand-offs", but at a snail's pace among other tasks.


* Finally, on the 13th I ordered a Kelly BLDC motor controller that would put out 300 amps at 24 to 36 volts. This should allow me to test my motors up to much higher powers than my own controllers, which I still haven't perfected. They tend to burn out somewhere still under 100 amps.
   For example, 200 amps at 36 volts would be 7200 watts (headed for 10 HP) for the 36 volt Electric Hubcap motor. That should easily move the Sprint car on level ground with the 4 to 1 chain reduction, even without the torque converter.

   And now I expect I won't bother perfecting my BLDC controllers assuming the unipolar brushless motors work out well. They use a different controller - and one that would inherently be cheaper to make and much more reliable. (That by itself attracts me to the unipolar motor idea.)


   In the second week somehow I volunteered to make a sawdust-proof computer cabinet for the Victoria Makerspace's new CNC router machine. I want to be in touch with this project in order to learn more myself for setting up the CNC gardening machine. Somehow for a week I seemed to get little else done. It seemed a bit extravagant to put my own projects aside for a week, but I made a very nice cabinet.
   It ended up with a nice kitchen countertop piece for the top and a unique arrangement of two blocks with two pins at the front-right corner (that I thought was pretty clever!) to hold the two easy-access doors closed. Pulling either pin releases both doors. Unfortunately I neglected to take a picture of the completed unit.
   And I have learned a few tidbits about CNC drives.


   On the 14th I put another battery in the electric Mazda RX7 - one I had renewed when I first bought the Mazda and now belatedly realized the lower voltages didn't mean it has a problem. The second battery had higher voltage than the first, and started by giving about a 3 mile range. That seemed to improve to about 4 miles over the weeks, but I got tired of having to stop and disconnect it during longer trips. This "new" (3rd) one has the low voltages of the first one I tried a month or two ago, and it seems to be giving maybe a 3 mile range initially. I hoped that would improve, but I think I left it much too long on charge and then discharged it too far while driving, several times, reducing the performance instead. That seemed a pity since it doubtless had the potential.
   I decided to keep using it a while, then I thought about cycling it with the 'pentagon' headlights as a load. Say... That's what I did with the first battery, the one that seemed to work consistently once it was in the car.

   On the 15th the conductive carbon black for making battery electrodes at last arrived. A big (6 L) pail was over 1/2 full of featherweight, very conductive powder. I didn't find time to make the electrode and put a cell together.

   Also that day, just to drive the car and cycle the battery, I went out and bought ice cream and frozen chickenburger patties... then a very large roll of polypropylene ("landscaping") cloth for making motors, a piece of 2" x 3" steel tubing for making the variable car transmission (my intended purchase), and - when I found out the price - two 250 watt solar panels to mount facing west for catching the afternoon and evening sun. It turned into another expensive day of shopping!

   The price of solar panels has dropped so fast it's hard to realize how the economics is changing - about 30% per year. In 2010 they became cheaper per kilowatt than making new nuclear plants, and the capacity seems to have crept up from typically 225 watts per panel to 250. The parts for a 250 watt off-grid or grid-tie system are now in the hundreds of dollars instead of thousands, and the payback time has halved again - probably to under 5 years in sunny climes, and even less where electricity is quite costly like Hawaii. I had been waiting to hear about some discount panels being dismounted from somewhere, but when I finally asked and heard that brand new, mint condition panels were now 255$ (wholesale price for Turquoise Energy) instead of 500$ I broke down and bought them. The price has to level out now tho, since just an aluminum framed tempered glass window that size could easily cost that much even without any solar cells in it.
   Also, the low prices may not last. According to Harvey Organ (interviewed on USAWatchdog.com) the world's available silver stocks are dwindling rapidly owing to its use in making solar panels and other electronic goods, jewelry and other uses, and increasingly purchases by consumers as monetary instruments to hedge against fiat currency collapse, especially in Asia. The Shanghai exchange where most of it is traded has reportedly gone from 30 million tons to 2.9 million in a year. (The SLV and LBMA exchange traded silver funds reportedly have only an ounce of actual silver backing every 50 to 100 claims, so there's little actual silver to be had in the west. The prices of silver, gold, oil and other key items are manipulated downward with "naked shorts" paper trades by banks (that they can never deliver on) to prevent people from noticing that the currency is starting to lose its value month by month now more than year by year. So the price of silver won't rise until there's none to be had. Then it'll skyrocket.) Perhaps other metals can substitute, but the trend for the next few years looks like production costs will be rising.

   On the 16th I cast the last piece for the body of the Electric Weel generator, the rotor end cover, and epoxied the 8 pieces together. It's taken perhaps 300$ of epoxy resin and 30-40$ of polypropylene cloth, and headed for maybe 100 hours of labor. I can get the labor down some, but I don't plan on building another one any time soon (unless of course someone wants to order a kit, which will probably be around $4000). I also temporarily put up one of the panels on a low roof facing west and charged the Mazda EV via solar for an hour later in the evening than usual. Spreading the panels east to west seems much better than having them all face south. For my roof, 2 facing east, 2 south and 2 west might be optimum. It would be too hard to move the four already up on the south, but as the scary high and steep roof works out, it should be easy to put the two new ones on the west side.
   On the 18th I had the bearing holders (4-1/2" washers) reamed out to the desired inner diameter. And I started in on the unipolar motor controller circuit design in the evening.


   On the 19th I finally bit the bullet and spent the whole day and evening on the main page for the web site. It still had a number of deficiencies, but it was better than what was there and I uploaded it. And the MC33035 motor controller chips arrived. I didn't get much project work done on the weekend except to make a small table for the aquaponics setup, but I spent a very late Sunday night (21st) doing a few more things to fix up the web page, adding some content and eliminating some obsolete menu links that would cause confusion. I'm calling the short blurbs about various projects on the main page "introductions" to the subject.
(http://www.TurquoiseEnergy.com/)

   On the 20th I made a small table for the aquaponics drain-down bed, but I didn't get much else done on the weekend.

   On the 22nd the Kelly 300 amp BLDC motor controller arrived. With the 300 amps it's rated at, the Sprint car should have started moving on level ground even without variable torque reduction beyond the 7 to 1 reduction from the chain drive and planetary gear.

   On the 25th I made the hole drilling template for the bearing holders for the Electric Weel, drilled one set, and mounted it in the Weel to check the fit. It fit. I'll just buy the washers rather than having the holders waterjet cut, as I'm only planning to make one more, to electrify the Toyota 4runner truck, unless customers can be found who will pay a considerable sum for kits. (That's not impossible -- in addition to having the best, I expect I'll have virtually the only unipolar motors and controllers being made, and they'll be an even better combo than regular bipolar BLDC.)
   The Electric Weel is an exciting project and a huge and valuable motor or generator, but I'll be glad to have the first one done and to move on to other things for a while before I make a second one.

   On the 24th and 26th I cut the "stand-off" 2"x3" rectangular tube pieces, for mounting the motor away from the Sprint transmission box to gain width for all the parts. By the 29th I had located exact positions and drilled some mounting holes, and fit them on.

   Finally on the 25th I took the renewed battery out of the Mazda, since its short range was keeping me from using the car much. On the 26th, instead of buying another lead-acid, I put the other 16 volt lithium in, and then it was up to a theoretical 140 volts. I drove 4.7 miles to buy a power adapter to charge the new battery, which seemed well charged when I put it in. I plugged it into one of the two 'spare' voltmeters on the dash to keep an eye on it. So now there's two 16 volt lithiums, three 12 v NiMH.s, four size 27 lead-acid, and two size 24 lead-acid. I tried to figure out a way to replace the two smaller lead-acids with the larger size, but couldn't find room unless I replaced the two with just one.

   On the 27th I tried out the aquaponics setup with a 12 volt "utility pump" I had purchased for 50$ because earlier I had found that the circ pumps seemed to ooze rust. I can't say I wasn't warned in the store about the iron pumps, but it was really rusting far faster than I'd expected. I guess I should have sprung the extra 100$ for a brass one. The utility pump was noisy and pumped water far faster than was needed, and reducing the voltage to 6 or even 2.4 helped only in degree: it was still noisy and I doubt it was made for continuous service. It's a pump to occasionally move a lot of water fast - not what I needed at all. Furthermore, the little fridge leaked onto the floor when just partly filled. It didn't seem to leak when it was out in the greenhouse. Fixing up the pipe exit gland area won't be easy.

Funding Workshop: SDTC Critique & Simple Ocean Wave Power

   On the 29th I went to an all morning SDTC funding workshop put on at the university. It's my understanding that SDTC was created by parliament to fund prototype stage development of sustainable energy projects where it's too late for university research funding but too early for private or commercial investment - the forgotten "D" of R & D. But now they say they won't fund ideas that are just on paper - you have to have something built. Instead of "prototypes" they now speak of "pilots", and instead of "inventors" they want "entrepreneurs". That would seem to me to be a violation of their mandate. And they went on from there to demand "a consortium of companies, at least one of which would be a customer for the finished product" - hardly the scope of an entrepreneur trying to start something. The presenter frankly admitted when questioned that an individual, or even an individual company, had no chance of getting funded. What? A consortium of companies is to be involved at early stages to build prototypes where commercial or venture capital would be unavailable? A prototype is usually built by an individual, who may or may not contract out specific parts of the work to others (since no one can do everything or have all the specialty equipment to do everything).
   As usual, creating a business plan and supplying mostly one's own money to qualify for getting just 1/3 funded are the criteria for a successful application. Since the whole reason SDTC was created was that no other funding is available at the target stage, where is the applicant supposed to come up with other 2/3 of the funding? If someone with a renewable energy vision got that far, the efforts to get there would be such a distraction from those required to design and build prototypes that the intended focus on developing a product or system would be entirely lost and the work sidetracked, while the money obtained would go for office staff to maintain the corporate facade window dressing demanded.

   As I've said before, inventors with an idea they wish to pursue are almost by definition unemployed people -- otherwise they're working for someone else on some other task and have no time to pursue their own vision. Asking an unemployed person who's looking for funding to create something new, to supply 2/3 of his own salary to qualify for receiving the last 1/3, isn't a path that's likely to allow anyone to invest their time and put their creative talents to use. On the other hand, asking an established corporation to come up with a grand vision for a new sustainable energy device is equally unlikely to provide any positive results. Sometimes a vision can drive a new enterprise. But the old enterprise is normally commercializing some other previous vision, not generating - or even accepting handed to them - new ones that would be sidelines to their present business. Existing enterprises normally buy patents to suppress new technologies that would compete with their existing business, not to develop new products.

    A rep from Schneider Electric spoke at the end to talk about their SDTC funding experience, which helped them obtain the money they needed to expand into a new area of power metering. But he said they had to have someone work full time to fill out the forms and meet all of SDTC's requirements in order to get funding - which was for only 1/3 of the amount required, the company having to supply 2/3 plus the salary of that worker. Once again, you have to already have lots of money in order to qualify for funding, and unless you're after at least a million dollars it would be more work to apply than the value of a successful application. With cash already coming in from sales, customers waiting and a relatively developed product line, this project really started almost at the commercialization stage, which could have, and obviously did, find other funding. I question that they couldn't have done it without the SDTC money.
   Near the start the presenter asked how many people were considering a submission by SDTC's October 15th deadline, and of maybe 25 to 30 people (at least a few of whom were actually already building interesting clean energy prototype designs from their own meager resources), two raised their hands. He asked again after the presentation, and it was down to one! Everyone laughed.

   As long as governments refuse to invest in Canada's talented inventors and visionaries, even those with long experience and excellent track records and having designs in line with what the government wants made, with money to live on and to make prototypes - most often the price of a modest salary plus a limited budget for parts and small specialty parts contracts - the funding gap identified by parliament will remain untouched, the payback from the costly funding programs will be very limited, and the government won't help achieve the nation's sustainable energy goals and hopes. Why should everything start with entrepreneurs with no product? Wouldn't it make more sense to start with talented inventors and developers who create new product prototypes, and then link the products thus created with talented entrepreneurs who'd like to start manufacturing businesses, or with governments and utilities who need to build the infrastructure that the product could enable?
   As far as I can see, the tax department's SR & ED program remains the only realistic source of funding for inventing, and without other sources of money it's difficult to work that up into even the amount of a decent pension - out of which must come the funding for the projects as well as a living. And even that has just shrunk markedly - now they say they won't even accept rental of shop and lab space as an R & D expense.
   Of course I hope to sell motors, controllers and generators like hotcakes, and others of my products as they mature, or, better, to have others do that, and they'll then be worth vastly more than the time and very modest sums I've been able to invest in creating them and the pittance SR & ED has invested in me to do so, but The Best is usually developed from concept to market-ready over several years, and for some things like ocean wave power, the entrepreneurial model just doesn't work to start with. In addition to funding, the government has to push the regulatory hurdles out of the way and grant foreshore access, and say "This is to be done." (Can anyone imagine a new entrepreneuring company, or any company or even a consortium of companies, trying to build a dam on the Peace River, to be connected over hundreds of kilometers of transmission towers to the power grid, without the government behind it? - and inventor Nicola Tesla's induction motor-generator on which such projects are based is now century old, proven technology. And no private entrepreneur wired the world with the internet without government involvement. The scope is too large and the land use issues are insurmountable.)

   At the beginning someone from the university gave a brief presentation of the various researches going on there, and as the list went on I realized that over the past almost 7 years I've also done work on every one of the same project topics mentioned except metal oxide fuel cells, along with my other projects such as motors and controllers. Of course there's a lot more there than that quick skim indicates, but going just by the project topic lists one might get the impression that I do more R & D than the university.
   I think my new chemistry batteries are generally a better bet than any fuel cells for electricity storage. Among the university's projects mentioned, I was doing but dropped magnetic refrigeration, because I think improved Peltier modules under development for solid state refrigeration will make magnetic methods obsolete (unless for large industrial installations) before they're even on the market. I was familiar with the UVic work up to the point I dropped it. I had a very different approach that I thought would work better for a lower cost. And while I made a nanocrystalline titanium dioxide borosilicate glaze/frit to improve solar collector performance (for any glazed collector - PV, hot water...), I never put it to the test or went any farther with it. Hopefully UVic has gone much farther with their solar performance improvement material.

   An NSERC (National Science and Engineering Research Council) rep was also there, and he mentioned they had a program to fund a university researcher (who is probably already getting a salary) with 25000$ to work on solving a company's specific scientific or technical problems 'for 3 or 4 months', free to the company. 25000$ is more than my annual income, but not being with a university I'm not eligible. As a company Turquoise Energy might perhaps contract someone else and he could rather casually be granted 25000$ to do research for me, but I can't get anything towards a salary for myself to do the same research. Again no funding for inventors. - except the tax department's SR & ED tax credit program, where I have to spend weeks on paperwork to justify every detail in order pry what will now amount to half the above sum out of CRA annually.

   I drew a sketch of the ocean wave power system on an 11" x 17" sheet of paper the day before (below), and I gave it to the presenter at the end to take away with him. I put in as scattered bullet points, the various technical features and the advantages and the potential, since I knew I wouldn't have time to say much. (I added my contact info to the sheet after I took the picture, and I also gave him my card.)
   I pointed out in my brief moment with him that the design had sat on the shelf for two years (I showed it in TENews#59), and I said that if I personally had to go through all the rigamarole they had to get funding, it would sit for the next twenty as well. Perhaps he'll be impressed by the potential of doing something with the generating capacity of the Peace River Site C dam for 4 billion dollars instead of 8 billion, and figure out some way through all the BS.
   But the presentation certainly gave me the impression that there was no overriding sense of mission, of trying to accomplish Canada's real energy goal objectives. There was no list of "preferred project areas" that might be fast tracked as being in line with near-term targeted government objectives. They seemed much more interested in their own convoluted application process and seeing that all their arbitrary "i"s are dotted and "t"s crossed, and in running a funding lottery for grand looking "duly diligent" but costly "megaprojects" rather than in finding individual talent, in actual practical and economical designs, and in potential for achieving paradigm shifting results. Maybe there's a big political component to who gets funded, or maybe it's like the NRC/IRAP program, where the main concern appears to be how much money a university can get out of it: Money granted to non-university applicants is, in the eyes of the university NRC/IRAP reps, "wasted" or even "stolen". Should a project somehow get IRAP funding and be a success apart from the university, it's somehow an affront to the university that someone else did it, and with "their" stolen money. I've seen it: money for various UVic student software projects, nothing for an accomplished inventor trying to put an electric motor on a car wheel. Anyway those are my impressions and experiences. "Don't bother applying." was the message to me, and rejection the only result when I did once apply (in about 1997).
   If all these people had to spend 10% as much time to justify their own salaries annually and document how the money was spent, of the same justifications and documentations they put other people to, even to disburse much lesser amounts than that, they might be more sympathetic and come up with some better and more realistic solutions.

Simple Ocean Wave Power (better diagram)


   Germany is rapidly adopting renewable energy; here they've put windplants in the sea near Heliogoland Island.
   I get something of a laugh out of marine wind plant installations like this, because there's doubtless more energy, more of the time, in the waves beneath the towers than there is in the wind, and an installation can be concentrated into a smaller area. There's an episode of "Mega Builders"(?) from Discovery Channel where such a giant windplant farm is being erected in the sea, and the waves are wreaking havoc, trying to batter their ships and equipment to pieces while they try to work - and that's in the calm season.
   Ironically the wave power would be much easier to install at sea than the wind towers. Just lower the anchors with the floats attached and run the cables to the shore. Everything else is done on shore. (Of course, a tower with multiple floats could be sited offshore if it was advantageous.)



Sea Waves could add a good bit to Canada's "renewables" side alongside "Hydropower"



   Time was spent towards the end of the month ensuring that I could be self sufficient and still carry on with the projects even if supply distributions should disrupted for some period of time, and of course that ate into present project time.
   On October 2nd Canada Revenue made their scheduled visit to see what I was doing and ask questions. Apparently a new policy is that rents can't be considered part of R & D expenses. That'll knock my refund, essentially my income for my work of 2013 already six months late, down from about 20000$ to 15000$. With only 15000$ to claim as salary next year, the 2014 claim and refund will be still smaller - maybe less than I spend on materials to keep the whole thing going. A disability pension would pay more, without all the accounting and paperwork. I may have to start collecting Canada Pension at age 60, and it could be hard to pay down my growing debts unless I start selling a lot of product, which has shown no sign of happening so far. It may be that the government - probably pretty broke itself - is trying to slash even this meager source of funding. And now they want me to account for my activities day by day. (At least they didn't demand hour by hour.) I'm not sure whether to make "Month in Brief" into a daily diary or put it in a separate section. "Month in Brief" has been getting less and less brief as time passes.
   In the afternoon I refitted the lower gland for the aquaponics tank (apartment fridge on its back), which had leaked in the previous try, with a more solid threaded unit instead of a simple rubber compression fitting. (Why should it be amazing to me that some little thing like that would take two hours?) This is the one joint that, if it leaks, will drain all the aquaponics water onto the floor. It now occurs to me that it didn't have to be at the bottom - anywhere underwater would have worked as long as the pump intake gets water. From 10:30 PM I worked on this newsletter for nearly 3 hours.
   On October 3rd I fitted out some more pipe and attached the pump. Since the iron circpump had been emitting quite a lot of rust when I tried it even for short periods, I took it apart. I thought of trying to use the Caswell hand plating system and nickel plating it, but I settled for scouring out the loose rust and spraying the insides with polyurethane spray paint. Somehow, in spite of all the plastic plumbing fittings I'd bought, whenever I went to do anything I had to go buy some other little bit. As I generally wait to fit in such shopping with some other trip to get more things done at the same time, this definitely slowed things down. I bought a metal garden hose attachment as an aerator to spray water back into the tank. Evidently a tank full of fish can start suffocating in 20 minutes with no water circulation and aeration. That's pretty critical. I'll have to give thought to a separate battery and inverter, hooked to the solar PV system, in case of a power failure.

Peltier Fridge Note: needs a defrost cycle?

   When I change peltier modules to some new configuration, I keep getting what appear to be good results with the fridge... then it gradually deteriorates. For a while I started thinking the modules themselves must have quite short lives.
   I think what's actually happening is that water condenses under the peltier module and turns to frost, which builds up, pushes the module slightly away from the copper bar, and the thermal conductivity drops. Once pushed away a bit, there's room for even more water to get in. Ice expansion may also be the reason I've had a couple of cracked modules, rather than tightening the screws too hard or the assembly being hit by anything.
   This time, I turned it off a while for the ice to melt, then retightened the clamp bolts (to the point where I was afraid it might crack), and turned it on again. The temperature dropped from the 9.5° it had been for some while to 7° in something under a day, which is better but I think still isn't as cold as it was when I first installed it. It formed just a bit of ice in the tray, which it hadn't for some time.
   The solution is probably to have a short defrost cycle, perhaps daily, allowing the copper bar to thaw, or even reversing the voltage and having the peltier module briefly heat it up and hopefully dry it off. That means that even if it needs to run most of the day to keep the fridge cold, it needs that computer control I haven't made yet. Two out of four times I've defrosted it manually I've forgotten it all day and it got pretty warm inside.
   FWIW the set of two Cui peltier modules of equal thickness, 8.5 amps at 15 and 8 volts electrically in series (hence rated for 23 volts max on the 12 volt supply and with 212 thermocouples in series), was the most successful setup so far, using the least amps and watts to make the most cooling. That's the combo that froze the whole ice tray and brought the temperature (at the cold end) down to 2° or even lower, albeit in the winter when the kitchen itself was rather cold. I'm still looking for economical peltier modules to get a 20-24 max volts rating instead of the pricey Cui modules from Digikey, but it's very hard to find Peltiers with any construction besides 15 volts/127 thermocouples.

The Unipolar Motor and Motor Controller

   The 3-phase unipolar motor is similar to the usual BLDC motor, but all the rotor magnets face the same way: instead of N-S-N-S-N-S- it's N-N-N-N-N-N- (6 magnet poles for 9 coils). Bedini claimed to get more energy out of his single phase version than he put in, and I think the focus on this claim obscured another important detail: It would appear that this unusual, non-intuitive configuration is actually better for brushless motors with solid state controllers. It has several advantages over the regular bipolar one.
   First, the three phases are driven separately and in only one direction, the "Y point" now being connected to the B+ supply by a fourth wire. One phase is driven at a time in a three step sequence, the same as the bottom half of the usual 6 step bipolar sequence. When "magnet 1" gets past the phase "A" coil, "A" turns on to repel it. As it approaches "B", A turns off, but at this point "magnet 2" has now passed "C", and "C" turns on to repel it. As "magnet 2" approaches "A" again, "C" turns off, but now magnet 1 has passed "B" and "B" turns on to repel it. As the coils are only energized to repel rotor magnets, not to attract them, the core iron isn't driven repeatedly through its zero point of magnetic hysteresis, so iron losses are reduced. (Not that Electric Hubcap motors have significant iron losses anyway.) The iron in the unenergized coil cores attracts the magnets naturally as they approach, helping to pull the motor through some points of rotation with less torque ripple.

   But the biggest advantage is in the solid state motor controller. Since it only has to drive the coils in one direction, the common 3-phase "H" bridge isn't required. Only low side drivers are used. It's probably the only motor that can be run both directions without a bridge circuit in the controller, the direction being reversed by reversing the drive sequence (which is done simply by inverting the rotation sensor signals). This does several things:
1. Eliminating the high side drivers reduces the cost of the controller.
2. It cuts the internal heat and energy loss of the controller in half.
3. When magnets are being pulled toward unenergized coils, those coils generate electricity, which (according to Bedini) can be utilized.
4. Since any voltage generated by the coils (including the coil turn-off decay voltage as well as the above) is reverse polarity and hence always goes above the B+ voltage that the other end of the coil is attached to, it can be fed into batteries to charge them. (But how to charge the batteries that are driving the motor isn't entirely clear so far since these coil voltages aren't referenced to B-.)
5. No high-side floating supply charge pumps with their complications are required.
6. Glitches can't short the B+ supply to ground, which condition usually blows mosfets or the entire controller.
7. The control chip and other circuitry is less likely to blow even if a mosfet(s) blows (especially if B+ is below the voltage rating of the controller chip such as the 40 volt MC33035), so repairs are more likely to be limited to replacement of the blown transistors... which are less likely to blow in the first place.



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

   Yikes! I'm actually embarrassed that I've written all the stuff and vented all the opinions below! Anyway, I wrote them and here they are.

Electric Transport's Effect on Power Grid

   Here's a link to an article by Guy Dauncey, who started the BC Sustainable Energy Association some years ago. He goes into figures about how much load mass adoption of electric transport (EV cars) would add to the power grid... and it's really not a lot extra: around 12%. Certainly nothing like detractors of electric transport would have us believe. I was once told "50% more" by an engineer. There are lots of ways to generate or save that much electricity and more... like Solar PV panels, wind power and LED lighting.
www.bcsea.org/blog/guy-dauncey/2014/07/25/could-bc-become-100-renewable-energy-region ?



New Institutions Must Have Provision for Future Growth

   In viewing all the many man-made horrors and travesties occurring around the world, we must remember that the basic problem is that we haven't evolved solutions, systems that prevent such things from occurring. We have antiquated and increasingly unworkable democratic systems that have no provision for growth, for evolving to suit the needs of advancing civilization. These have been increasingly "hacked into" by corrupt special interests to bend public decisions to suit their ends. (It's been said that hardly a US federal law has been passed in decades except to benefit some corporate interest or other.) And restrictive laws are rarely rescinded, increasingly hemming people in and destroying individual freedom of action. One can hardly do anything without technically breaking some law or other. What's wrong? There are many ways to look at it.

   From one perspective, there are systemic problems with the setup of governing institutions. Many countries such as Canada still haven't separated their executive and legislative branches of government, making both branches somewhat dysfunctional.
   The "illiterate's X" single ballot voting system is far more unfair than is generally realized. It promotes and empowers partisan political groupings ("political parties") ahead of talented individuals, even when no "party" has more than time-worn rhetoric to offer. With only party candidates really being electable, anyone who would hold office spends a political career trying to work his way through and up a party hierarchy -- years during which he can't present his vision to the legislature, and in which he is open to influence and compromise by the corrupt. He must cast aside his ideals to finally get to where he wanted to be years previously, by doing their bidding and thus gaining their support and party endorsement. A legislature is supposed to be where ideas are proposed and debated and decisions made, by a representative cross section of the electors, not a bunch of yes men to rubber stamp decisions really taken elsewhere behind closed doors.
   Simply ranking the choices 1, 2, 3 on the very same ballot and recounting until one choice has over 50% (which gives the same result as running multiple "X" ballots) would solve that problem at a stroke - provided the executive and legislative branches are separate.
   If individuals were ascendant over political "parties", we could start electing lawyers who would fine tune the system, doctors who would really care about people, and inventors and visionaries who might have ideas for better systems.
   And we concentrate far too much power in the hands of a single individual, who then virtually dictates what will happen, and nothing happens if it's not on his personal agenda. And when that one person is given carte blanche immunity from regular law he is in effect invited to commit crimes and to force the nation to obey him in committing those crimes. If anyone should be bound strictly to the law and be subject to checks and potential swift arrest for violations, it is the chief executive. The legislature also should specifically have the power by majority vote to immediately arrest the chief executive even without a judicial ruling, since leaving him in power while such a matter is under discussion is to invite him to dissolve the legislature as Hitler did, or manipulate it into submission.
   A legislature shouldn't try to run things - it's a place for debate - but executive governing functions somehow need to be split up more - more functions should be delegated without having to refer them to the chief executive except in unusual circumstances.

   Compounding the problem, there's generally no effective provision anywhere for citizens to initiate referendums, where the public's will can be clearly made known. The US statewide initiatives are an excellent step in this direction, the most promising political advance in my lifetime, and in some US states the public has caused laws to be passed or rescinded that no "political party" would have sponsored. This needs to be extended to the federal level as well as local, and to every country.
   And obviously we now have the internet, which could make casting votes simple and cheap, which ought to be opening up new opportunities for social progress and institutional change at the governance level. The Department of Progress which I have proposed would be charged with looking at ideas that are presented from any source, testing them at lower levels (municipal, state) if feasible, and presenting worthy improvements for legislative enactment.

   From another perspective, people today seem socially uncaring and too much wrapped up in their own little affairs. Why? Partly because the corrupt or overgrown institutions sponging off the productive require that so much of the day be spent working to make ends meet. For many, getting up at the crack of dawn has been replaced by getting up while it's still dark out, and then making a long drive to work. What other reason but economic slavery can there be for people, now both men and women, to work longer hours today than decades ago, in spite of all the labor saving devices that have been invented over this time? People are either working too long hours or they're unemployed. Where's the balance?
   The ancient but still extant (last I heard) British law of Attainder, in effect the right of parliament to vote to seize the 'attainted' properties of someone who owns far too much (on pain of being beheaded and the property seized anyway), needs to be generally applied. There is only so much it's reasonable for a person (or any entity) to have, and equality needs to be applied, by confiscation if necessary. When one person owns four houses in a town, three people have to rent instead of owning. When 1% own half of a country and have 1/2 the national income, the other 99% is immensely impoverished. No such situation should ever be allowed to develop.
  But p
artly the populace allows themselves to be diverted by entertainment media... this is again fed by the fact that they are too tired after work to do much fresh thinking or acting. And partly they are too often overmaterialistic and overextend themselves to attain material goods beyond what they really need, and keep themselves working those long hours to pay for it all.

   From another perspective, our educational institutions don't seem to teach much on the subject of how things are run, and so ideas for how they might be run better aren't getting into young minds. Finance, economics and politics, subjects that affect our lives so greatly, aren't taught at any basic level. In fact, corrupt interests see to it that they are left off the curriculum. In the USA, certain "foundations" (Ford, Carnegie and others) worked for decades, successfully, to prevent the US constitution from being taught in schools. Thus the social ferment that should lead to such better institutions and methods as mentioned above isn't present in the population. Education is the only path to real individual and social progress. Let the population be enhanced with knowledge and thinking skills instead of "dumbed down". Let youth understand the ponzi scheme financial system and problems with other institutions to help them invent better institutions. Let the three core values: quality of life, provision for growth, and equality, be inculcated in the next generation and institutions be judged by them.

   But many people do have a sense that something is wrong, and that their governments and societies are out of control. The Basques and Catalonia have long desired to separate from Spain, Quebec almost voted to separate from Canada quite a few years ago, and Scotland has just had a similar referendum to Quebec's again with evenly split results. Ukraine and the middle east are in turmoil. Lots of separatists are elected to the European parliament, and over 1/5 of Americans now think that having their state peacefully secede from the union might possibly be a good idea.
   Many people think shrinking the administrated area will render the government more responsive and accessible to their needs. But all these splintering movements, even if fully and peacefully achieved, will solve nothing unless the structure of the new government is set up along lines that grant power to the people and fully engage them in decision making processes - such as those presented above. Advancing the structures is a major key to fixing things, with or without breaking existing administrative units into smaller ones. Let the advance be the key, and let the governing institutions of the whole country advance on pain of otherwise having a break up and seeing the splinter group be better and its citizens happier, healthier and better off than those in the main body. Then either way there's progress.



Pandemic: Worst Case Scenario

   I watched a long documentary including a movie that illustrated the points made on youtube called  SHTF - After Armageddon . It paints a bleak picture of the world after an epidemic wipes out a large portion of the population all at once. The sequence I think is more likely is the economic deterioration (well underway now), the global financial collapse (on the verge) followed by breakdown of distribution networks, and hunger and famine which will finally lead to epidemics (plural) and a more gradual population collapse. (On the other hand, Ebola is looking very scary!)
   I think it's exaggerated. But it does say it's a "worst case scenario". I don't think the power, water, phones and internet will stay down too long if they are lost and that we'll go back to 1800's conditions and horses for decades or longer. But then, it focused on Los Angeles, which, with desert all around, could indeed be a terrible place to be when food distribution is interrupted. It opened my eyes to some of the problems, chaotic conditions and long term changes that are likely to occur. They also missed some fairly obvious or new individual solutions such as travelling by bicycles (electric or not, they give essential evacuation or migration mobility without gasoline), electric machines for farming like the CNC gardening/farming machine, and aquaponics.
   It may well be that national and even state and regional government will break down and there'll be a temporary return to local governmental conditions, as portrayed. If so I'd like to see that grow rapidly on Vancouver island into a modern type of island-wide government based on all the new principles, and then a restoration of the rail service for a basic island-wide food & trade distribution system, even if only by using an old steam locomotive from the logging museum until new lightweight electric cars can be made and the track electrified or with 'free energy' devices on board for power. (If the movie is at all accurate they may need armed guards on board for a while in order to travel safely!) But it may prove necessary for a time to ship cargo by sailboats, which will also be the obvious means for shipping to and from the mainland.
   Unions of such new local or regional governments may unite or upstep the remnants of larger state/province and national governments along the lines of the new principles and the three core values, and there will be - already is - celestial help in helping people educate themselves about how to achieve progress along these lines.



Shoot the Messenger! - Truth on the Internet

   If "ISIS" is beheading American journalists, they would seem to be in harmony with the US government. 'The messenger' is being killed, discredited, jailed or otherwise shut up whenever he or she dares try to bring a message to the public that isn't what a government wants the public to hear. In the USA only the few approved propaganda networks have unfettered access to the public to keep them in blissful ignorance of true states of affairs financial, economic, and political. But Washington isn't alone. I saw for example on the Al Jazeera website a plea to Egypt to release their reporters from Egyptian jail with the phrase "Journalism isn't terrorism.", and two RT reporters were thrown in jail for a while in the Ukraine. On sufficient protests they were released without comment.
   Canada has forbidden its scientists from speaking to the public who fund them and for whom they work without prior approval, just "so that the minister of science doesn't have to read something unexpected in the morning paper." Of course, this means a fight with the bureaucracy for which scientists have no stomach, and long delayed approvals, in order to convey every little piece of news and interesting - or important - or urgent - discovery or event.

   It is said that in war, the first casualty is truth. False flag events, false accusations, misrepresentation and inflammatory rhetoric show this is already true before the war starts. But governments no longer have a monopoly on public communications. Those who want to find out what's really going on now go to the internet: to youtube, RT, Aljazeera and a host of private sources and specific news and opinion websites. In addition to scores of journalists interviewing various experts (especially economists and financial specialists) telling quite different stories than those the 'major media' focus on, one can find for example Putin's speeches and interviews as easily as Obama's, and decide for themself by the stark contrast who is a militaristic aggressor and who is working for freedom, peace, dialogue and due process of international law. (I suppose Assad is there too. Who's actually heard his side of the story?)



Electric Hubcap Motor Systems - Electric Transport

Electric Weel Motor-generator Project

 


The 28" O.D. Weel Motor/Generator body pieces with a chair for size comparison


Put together (with a few coil cores for the spacing)

  On the 3rd I wrote the G-code, tested it with a few dry runs on the CNC drill-router, and then routed out the lower mold piece for making the rotor end cover. (This is the "end bell" in traditional motor terms, but it's a flat plate.) Again the G-code was mostly cut and paste, from the stator end cover, but there were a few new points of that nasty trigonometry for cutting the arcs, where the radius of the router bit (1/4") has to be accounted for in two dimensions. I'm sure there's modern software to do this automatically. I decided I should help set up the new Makerspace CNC machine and learn more in the process, especially about stepper motor drivers and modern CNC related software that they've probably all read up on.
   After that there was cleaning it up, drilling and threading the bolt holes to hold the upper piece on, and waxing it so the workpiece would come out easily. I keep thinking there must be spray wax, but I never could find any, so I end up brushing on a rather thick and uneven layer of parafin, melted on the stove.

  On the 7th I finally made two sections of the rotor end cover with the new mold, and another on the 8th. (On a small motor, three moldings is the whole motor body except the rotor compartment rim. This is looking like a great motor or generator, but whether it's really practical may just depend on people being willing to pay several thousand dollars for one, or on them ordering their own molds instead of the actual bodies, and molding their own bodies on their own time.)
   I had decided last month that the parts needed more epoxy to polypropylene cloth, partly because some were a little dry, and partly because I was noticing at various times that they had more flex to them than was probably desirable. Since the epoxy by itself is pretty stiff, a little more should help.
   Mixing 5 parts epoxy to 1 of PP cloth (by weight) I found that more epoxy oozed out of the mold, probably not changing the final ratio very much. I've always squeezed the mold parts very tightly together with the C-clamps. For part #4 and probably on, I decided to clamp the part less strongly - just enough to be sure the air was squeezed out of it. The last three in particular (14th, 15th & 16th) were thicker and indeed seemed better.

   On the 17th or 18th I had the bearing holders, 4-1/2" diameter washers, reamed out to the required inside diameters at AGO. Then I found that the Victoria Makerspace lathe has a larger 3-jaw chuck than mine and I could probably do it there next time.


   On the 25th I did the hole drilling template to drill the 6 bolt holes in these bearing holders to mount them in the motor body, and I drilled out the two pieces and the body with it. Then I expanded the outer and body holes to 1/4" and threaded the inner holes for 1/4" NC bolts (1.5" long with locking nuts), and mounted one bearing end temporarily to check the result. The customer did the other one and we both did some of the spray painting of the body, finishing a couple of days into October. I also helped him with a piece for a chain drive sprocket for transferring the 'paddle wheel' turbine rotation of the floating hydro power machine to the generator. After the bearing holders are galvanized and painted, and the holes drilled for the body case bolts, the body of the Weel generator will be complete. (The case bolts will need a CNC cut drill template.)

         


Planetary Gear with Clutch Torque Converter Transmission Project


   At one point, for a few days, I thought again about doing a manual transmission with flat belts. It would still be 'ultra efficient'. But on closer examination, it looked more difficult to build than anticipated. I leave my ideas for it written up in the next topic below.
   As I considered that, I suddenly thought that instead of making the transmission box itself wider (wider is necessary whatever I build) I could just get a couple of short pieces of 1.5" x 3" square steel tubing, bolt them solidly to the outside of the box, and put some bolts through the other side for the motor to bolt onto. The motor mounted on the tubing "stand-offs" is then 3" farther from the far end. This extra width provides for putting a 3" shaft from the planetary gear output to hold the input rotor for the centrifugal clutch. It should be just the right width. (Or the tubing could be any size from 1" to 3" as required to link some 'regular' sort of automotive clutch.)

To repeat here, the components for the variable torque converter transmission are:
- motor.
- planetary gear (or other three-element gear that would do the same thing(?))
- A mechanism controlled by the driver to implement controlled slipping of one of the gear elements, making the ratio between the other two variable. This is the 10" pulley on the planets assembly with 3/4" polypropylene rope looped around it and connected to the original automatic transmission shift lever to tension it.
- a clutch: either some sort of manual clutch or (hopefully) the new large, low RPM centrifugal clutch.
- flat or poly-V belt, or chain drive (as-is), to the original differential and drive shafts.

   The clutch is necessary because it seems (from my trials in 2012) that the variable planetary gear only starts working and giving the variable ratios as expected once all three gear elements are in motion, which can't be done if one is connected to the wheels and the car is stopped. All I can think of for the reason for this is it's something like a "divide by zero error" when one element is stopped. Whatever the problem is, it shows no sign of working until the car is moving, and then it does and the car will continue slowly moving with very little power. (I found a September 2012 video of the best example of this sitting forgotten on a video recorder. With probably under 1 KW of motor power the car went a few feet over rough lawn including a bit of a rise into the shed. I should upload it for viewing!)
    The clutch could possibly be eliminated by instead putting a large flywheel on the motor shaft, to store enough energy that the revved up motor can get the car to start moving while it slows, without the variable torque conversion, by applying tension to the slipping element once the motor is spinning well. But this is probably harder to operate.

   I had the major things made except the short shaft and the square tube motor mountings. I'd also have to redo the mechanism for slipping the planetary ring gear. The linkages won't fit where they did before because it's been moved over 3", and from inside the box to hanging over the outside.

   Sometime in the 3rd week I got some 2" x 3" rather heavy rectangular steel tube. (close enough to 1.5" x 3" - or maybe better!) I cut three short lengths of it (about 3") for a 3 point 'stand-off' motor mounting. I started with a metal cutting abrasive blade on the radial arm saw, because it makes straight cuts and because I saw the guy cut my piece of tube with a big, high RPM circular abrasive blade. But his must have had a lot more horsepower behind it, or something non-obvious that was different from my setup. I very slowly cut the first piece off on the 23rd, and part of the second piece on the 26th, and finally I gave up and used the angle grinder with a zip disk. It may not make very straight cuts, but there's no comparison in cutting speed and I was wasting my time. I was soon done the second piece and the third. I got things lined up and drilled some holes on the 28th, mounting two of them. I didn't seem to find much time to get things done.

An Ultra-Efficient Manual Transmission Project?

   As I've said, I think I've figured out the components for the variable torque converter transmission. Notwithstanding that, earlier I wasn't entirely sure of all the major construction details to make it all work effectively, and I'm still worried about lubricating the planetary gear if I do get it on the road, and perhaps heating of the slipping element. So I thought to finally get the Sprint on the road I'd simply buy a regular, lossy transmission at an auto wrecker. But with the car having been an automatic transmission model, there are big differences to the mountings, and after I got the transmission I realized I'm still missing some clutch parts. And besides, it just wouldn't have the sort of range the ultra-efficient transmission would give. Why would I want another vehicle like the short range Mazda?
   Then I thought the transmission might still have, in all those rotating and counter-rotating gears, some gears that might do the job of the planetary gear in a mechanically better way. But too much was hidden away inside, and when I tried to disassemble it, I couldn't get one of the end bearings off, and being unable to get it off, I was unable to proceed. I have bearing pullers (which got one stubborn one off), but I suppose they heated the bearings up and expanded the metal when put them on, and so they're extremely difficult to get off - even with heat since one can't now heat the bearing without heating the shaft. (Hmm... maybe I can cut it off with the angle grinder? I didn't think of that at the time.)

   So I thought about another plan entirely. Flat belts or poly-V belts have very low losses. Flat belts are said to be 99% efficient. One could make an "ultra efficient" transmission where flat or poly-V belts are selectively pushed against their pulleys by an outside idler pulley. They might be just stiff enough that if not engaged, and with a proper shroud, they could mildly spring open and be entirely or virtually out of contact with their pulleys. A different set of pulleys with a different idler would actuate each "gear", a small pulley driving a large one for a low gear and a large one driving a small one for a high gear. A single lever such as an automatic transmission lever would press the different idlers against the belts depending on its position, with the idlers offset at different angles from a shaft pivotted by the lever.

   My plan for making this was to have:
- The top of the transmission 'box' widened out to 10 or 12" to accommodate longer shafts.
- a long motor shaft with the first set of three flat belt pulleys, with a third bearing at the far end wall.
- a second shaft parallel to the first, with the other three pulleys on it, about 10" away. A bearing at each end. (Think of a drill press here with triple or more pulleys for different speeds.)
- The second shaft would also have the chain drive to the car's original differential and drive shafts (as is), with about a 3 to 1 reduction ratio. A rather heavy belt drive could also be used. This would be the most efficient and also eliminate chain lubrication concerns.
- A third parallel shaft, connected to the shift lever, would hold the three idler pulleys or 'sheaves'. (The idlers might need to have some springyness to allow for belt variation and stretching.)

   The car would thus have three speeds, low for getting moving (0-30 Km/Hr), medium for town speeds (eg 20-70 Km/Hr), and high for highway speeds (60 Km/Hr up). Reverse will hopefully be accomplished by just running the motor backwards in low, although the idler would ideally be on the other side of the pulleys for reverse. (I'd make the unit with room to put one there if required, if possible.)
   Note that if the final chain drive has a 3 to 1 reduction, the transmission belts only see 1/3 of the final torque, of course at 3 times higher speeds. The chain drive ratio can be adjusted without changing the flat belt pulleys: decreased to as low as 2 to 1 if it works out better, or increased to 4 to 1 if necessary.
   Also note that a gentle clutch action is accomplished as belts disengage and engage when going between speeds, and this might be used manually from a stop if necessary to help get the vehicle moving, eg, on a steep hill.
   This plan seems pretty straightforward, so hopefully one wouldn't spend years at it.

   On the 7th I put the transmission box in the car to eye things up. I wasn't sure how it was going to go or where things would fit together, then I got the idea to make cardboard templates and make sure everything fit together. Much easier to make those and then do another one when changes are required than to start by cutting and welding steel, and then discovering things don't fit the way you thought!
   In fact, they didn't fit the way I had intended, to the point where it began to look more complicated again. With the motor in front, the idler pulleys would have to be underneath where there was no room for them, instead of on top where I wanted them and where there was lots of room. If the motor was at the back, the idlers would be on top, but that would change everything else.
   Once again I started reconsidering the whole thing. Maybe the variable torque converter, in addition to being the best, would be no harder to mount. I reverted to that and almost immediately thought of the above mentioned square tubing motor mount "stand-offs" idea, that suddenly made the variable converter probably the easier to do.

Unipolar Motor & Controller

Motor: convert one

   To convert a 'regular' Electric Hubcap type BLDC motor to unipolar requires a new magnet rotor with a unipolar configuration, attaching the "Y" point of the coils with a fourth conductor to the battery voltage (B+), and desirably, replacement of the hall magnet sensors with optical sensors. (Hall sensors could still work, but without definite magnet polarity reversals where the transition is exactly between two magnets, to get N-S transitions at the right places would be tricky. They'd have to be placed at some exact and unknown points that could only be located (at least by me) by moving them around and observing the transition points as the rotor is turned by hand and estimating whether the points seem even. Those points are unlikely to be at convenient mounting points.)

   It occurs to me to put two projects together: I want to re-do the Electric Caik rotor in the outboard with the new PP-strapping-thru-slot magnet fastening system, expecting to make the motor safe for at least 3000 RPM instead of 2000. If I do a new rotor, I could also make it with unipolar magnets and try out the unipolar system with it.
   The usual 3 coils per 2 magnets configuration seems to apply. But if the magnet poles are each made of two magnets and all the magnets have equal spacing, there'll be 8 poles of one magnet each instead, and a ratio of 4 magnets per 3 coils, or in other words N-N-S-S-N-N-S-S- can be four opposite poles, but N-N-N-N-N-N-N-N- with the same eight evenly spaced magnets, is eight like poles instead of four. Doubtless that won't work. The magnets either have to be bunched into pairs, or only 4 magnets should be installed. Perhaps this is a place for the larger 2" x 2" supermagnets?

   One potential concern about unipolar motors is that there might be considerable torque ripple, in particular, segments of rotation with substantially less than full torque. But this concern pertains mainly to the ability of the motor to start turning under load, and an outboard's load starts at zero and increases with speed. If the car transmission has a clutch, that is also not a concern there. In the bicycle the rider can push off or peddle to get started, so it's not a problem there either. And on further consideration the ripple may not be as pronounced as I was at first thinking. Some coil/phase is always on at all points of rotation, and where the repulsion is weakest, the magnet is most strongly attracted to the core of the next coil. Magnet configuration counts too. The larger magnets will probably make it smoother.

   It may also be desirable to change the coil windings, or else reduce the battery power voltage, since each phase now gets the entire battery voltage instead of 1/2 of it. (because two phases were in series through the "Y" point. Now that's tied to B+). A 3-step sequence replaces the 6-step sequence, but it's with exactly the same low-side activations.
    With, eg, a lowered 24 volts to the coils of each phase from a 24 volt supply instead of 18 volts with a 36 volt supply, to get the same power of 7200 watts will require 300 battery amps instead of 200. One might also consider motor coil resistance to be halved, counting any given phase to B+ instead of across two phases. Batteries can be increased in amp-hours capacity or more cells/batteries can be put in parallel. After all, 24 volts can be obtained from just two 12 volt batteries or four 6 volt 'golf cart' batteries, which overall battery capacity will have to be multiplied to give good vehicle range anyway.
   To use higher voltage, I could probably fit 30 turns (3 layers) of the #11 wire on each coil instead of 21 without making the coils too bulky -- except maybe for the Caik motor, where things are very tight. There the wire gauge might have to be reduced. For existing motors the lower voltage, higher current option seems attractive unless the back EMF lowers the maximum RPM too much.

   Of course, there's a couple more small complications: It needs a different motor controller, and the hall effect magnet polarity sensors will best be replaced by optical sensors.

Unipolar Motor Controller

   Thinking back to the old MC33033 chip that I used a few years ago in my first fairly successful motor controllers, its big drawback - aside from production having reportedly (by Digikey) been cancelled - is that it has no proper high side N-channel MOS gate drivers. But with a unipolar motor, only low side drivers are needed.
And evidently only the DIP type package was canceled, not the whole chip. Mini-dip surface mount versions are still available. I much preferred the socketable DIP.s, but if reliability of the controller is excellent that may not be of real concern. On checking the datasheets, the MC33035 with four more pins (24 vs 20) has a "fault" output, which could probably be used to terminate and restart each 'PWM' cycle 10-50 uSec after overcurrent is detected, to enable the improved variable frequency 'CRM' current ramp modulation, or some hybrid of CRM and PWM, instead of fixed frequency PWM.
   With one side of each coil tied to B+ and the other side only driven low, the unipolar controller may be unique in that it doesn't need driver bridges to run brushless motors, and even more uniquely, it can drive the motor both forward and reverse without them. Three-phase bridges inherently have the possibility of shorting battery power to ground through any one of the three legs, burning out the mosfets and other driver components. So, however reliable typical BLDC controllers can be made, these will be intrinsically more reliable as well as simpler and cheaper. (3-phase frequency drive controllers also have 3-phase bridges and the potential of shorting power to ground, so this design is also simpler and more reliable than AC controllers too.)
   I noticed that the MC33035 comes in two versions: 30 volts max or 40. For a few days this warped my thinking -- that they couldn't be used with motors much over 24 volts, considering "36 volt" lead-acid batteries will charge at over 43 volts. (and so I ordered the 40 volt units thinking 24 volts.) Then I remembered that with no high side drives, they only need drive the low side mosfet gates, which themselves are generally rated at maximum 20 volts regardless of the voltage drain to source. 20 volts max rating would be fine for any motor voltage. Still, if the chip's maximum rating is above the supply votlage, mosfet blowouts *shouldn't* take out the controller chip with them, probably making repairs easier and cheaper.
   The drive current from these low side drivers is only 100mA, which is fair but less than most power MOS gate drivers. I think it just means I won't bother with gate resistors. Anyway slower switching means smaller switching transients.

   With the BLDC controller two phases are always in series. In the unipolar controller, one end of all three phases is tied to B+ so each phase gets the full battery voltage - twice the voltage it had before. That means the B+ supply voltage for the given coils should be substantially reduced, ie from 36 to 24 volts or even 18 - maybe even 12 volts for the Electric Caik. On the 17th I decided to buy a tube of 30 MC33035.s (40 volt version) to experiment with, and on the 18th I started in on designing the circuit schematic and PCB.

   And ...not to get sidetracked... I'm wondering: are N channel mosfets the only reasonable choice of coil driver? What about NPN IGBT power transistors? Or even darlington NPN power transistors? They might switch faster with the same gate/base drive or be more reliable. It guess it all comes down to individual device switching characteristics and ON resistance or Vce on, and Hfe for the darlingtons (or two transistors to get sufficient Hfe with lowest Vcesat.).


Kelly Controller 300 amp Brushless DC Motor Controller

   I seem to have excellent "world class" motors, but all along my controllers have been a weak point, burning up with 36 volts supply at somewhere under 100 amps. And if I find the unipolar motor system is better, improving the regular BLDC controllers will be pointless since I won't be using them.
   In order to be able to test the motors as-is under higher loads, on the 13th I finally ordered a Chinese 24-36V, 0-300A BLDC motor controller. I could see driving these motors at 200 battery amps, perhaps continuous... 36 volts, 7200 watts (Hubcap) and 24 volts, 4800 watts (Caik). With 200 battery amps the Sprint car would have started moving on level ground with the 4 to 1 chain reduction, regardless of other torque conversion. (200 amps should give 30 foot-pounds @ ~~1.5 foot-pounds per 10 battery amps, * 4:1 chain reduction = 120 foot-pounds at the wheels.)

   The other component to being able to test is to have something that loads the motor down enough to use such currents. That may be coming with the higher RPM outboard (unless I convert it to unipolar), or just another motor on the motorcycle, which needed 80 or more amps to get it moving at 4 to 1 reduction. Or perhaps some sort of dynamic brake for formal lab/bench testing?
   But it's the Sprint car with the variable torque converter transmission that I really want to get moving and then hopefully onto the road that'll need the amps. So I started getting on with the transmission.

   The controller arrived on the 22nd
. I immediately scraped off the potting on the screws and opened it up for a look inside. It had quadruple TO-220 case transistors for each part of the bridge, standing up and with the drains or collectors connected to aluminum bars. (Say, won't those get hot? - They're not connected to the case heat sinking.) Three of the bars were longer and stuck out the side as terminals for the motor power connections. I may use that part of the layout in my next controller. But I'd prefer copper bars. The propensity of aluminum to corrode and lose contact may explain the frequent failures of bike & electric scooter controllers, since poor contact can cause those sorts of glitches that short the power through one mosfet leg on the 3-phase bridge. There was a lot of silicone rubber in there, which prevented me from seeing the numbers on the driver transistors. (...which also all faced inward so I had to use a dental mirror too.) At one point I thought I saw lettering on one I'd rubbed the goop off, but couldn't read it. I couldn't get the mirror, a magnifying glass and a light into the tight channel all at the same time. That seems a pity. The control chip couldn't be seen - probably under the goop - but there was what looked like an AT Mega/Arduino programming port (3x2 header pins) by one side. There were seven 1000uF capacitors rated 63 volts, all at one end. (I've been using 270uF, spread out next to each bridge leg. I use 100 volt ones as probably being more able to take current, since some 100uF 63V caps had actually popped in one of my earlier controllers.)
   I think the silicone was all to keep machine screws and nuts from turning and vibrating loose rather than deliberately trying to hide the numbers... but it so effectively hid the printing I could be wrong. Gooping things up to prevent them from vibrating loose is probably another part of the design to copy, tho. Maybe heat glue for me.


The connector end. (the other end is blank.)
The RS232 port instead of USB betrays that the design
contains an AT-MEGA microcontroller "brain", for which
RS232 is the simple communications system - except at the
computer end where few new machines have RS232.


Note how the heatsink rails from the transistors extend out the end to become the power wire connections.


View from the other side.
A unipolar controller would cut the number of power transistors in half from 24 to 12.



"Green" Electric Equipment Projects

CNC Gardening Machine: Tools for the carriage

   Last spring I dug up a couple of short rows of my front lawn and planted wheat, and a row of barley. Both grains grew nicely and yielded seed. Next year I'd like to be more ambitious and do a wholely larger area to get useful amounts. But it would take a lot of manual work to dig up a whole good section of lawn with a shovel and prepare it to plant. Yet it would be too small an area to bother bringing in a tractor, even if one were available. It might be feasible with a rototiller, but I think it would probably be most practical with the CNC gardening machine.

   As I occasionally think about the CNC gardening machine idea, I try to imagine what sort of tools will attach to the tool carriage. The most important thing is a cultivator - the really backbreaking job is tilling the soil in the spring before planting, especially on unprepared ground, eg, ground that has been a lawn. I've thought of trying to adapt rototiller parts, small plows, and post hole augers to perform this function, or even to have it simply drag a steel rod through the ground.
   At the start of the month I discovered my brother had a small electric rototiller. I had never seen such a thing, only fairly large gasoline powered ones. Where from?... Home Depot. I went out there on the 4th and found they had the rototillers ("Ryobi" brand, 240$), but also electric or gas "Extend-It line" power heads that fit a number of tools including the same rototiller mechanism with a pipe extension, for 110$. This seemed like the very thing needed and I bought one. The tines were just 7" in diameter (and stamped out of fairly thin steel plate), but with the pipe head and by removing the guard (since no one would be near it while it worked) it could be dug in right under the ground to go deeper. It had 4 sets of tines, but if it proved too hard to turn the soil, or if it pulled or lifted the whole CNC carriage assembly against its will, 2 or even 3 of them could be removed. Since the computer will do the work, we don't care much how long it takes to do it. Another thought is that if a computer is controlling the motor, the tines might be made to churn back and forth instead of simply spinning. A third thought is that if it was too hard to turn, tines of even smaller diameter could be made, eg, 4", 5" or even 3" -- whatever would work easily, along with the machine digging it right into the ground to cultivate at any desired depth.
   Next, the loosened dirt will be full of weed or grass bits or clods. Something like a coarse pair of curved 'pitchforks' that come together like a jaw with saber teeth can pick them up - pick up whatever they may latch onto - then they can spin or shake to release dirt, then carry whatever they're still holding over to one corner and dump it.
   For a simpler tool, the machine could just rake the dirt back and forth, pulling whatever came with it over to the sides.

   Or, something I saw once that seemed quite effective, was a big drum screen that turned slowly. The dirt (hand shovelled into it) fell through as it turned, while rocks and plant parts gradually moved along the length and fell out the back end. Perhaps one of these could be worked into the picture, but with the gardening machine picking up and dumping in the weed clods, and then returning clean soil.

   The closest Home Depot had no electric power heads. The next day (5th) I decided that since it needed power of some sort, I would go to the Home Depot store in Duncan, where there were said to be three of the electric power heads in stock, and get the one made for it. It also occurred to me that if I didn't get around to doing the gardening machine by next spring, this 45$ part would at least allow me to use the tiller by hand.
   That 125 Km round trip winding over Malahat mountain and through the hills, with road construction delays, finding the store, getting lunch et al, pretty much shot the work day. I was amazed to find that this small town seemed to have more and bigger box stores than Victoria, and Home Depot was in just one of two or three giant box store clusters, this one well beyond the town itself, with many more stores along or near the main road/highway in between.

   On about the 24th I decided that a 'weedeater' attachment might also be very useful, for mowing a lawn or reaping grain, or turned vertical to cut an edge or to whack weeds between plant rows, right at the ground. I went back to the closer Langford store. They had just one unit of one of the two 'weedeater' models. It cost more than I hoped, 90$, but I bought it.

Aquaponics & LED Grow Lighting Project

   It seemed to take all summer to get the greenhouse for the aquaponics done, and now it's fall. I have no workable plan for making the greenhouse heatable for the winter. I got the apartment size fridge for an insulated tilapia fish tank earlier, and now I have obtained a larger, but still not "full size" fridge I saw on a boulevard - if it can be made waterproof.
   With that in mind, I thought it might be best to use the small one indoors for baby fish and the large one in the greenhouse - but only in summer months. I would set up an indoor aquaponics system in the battery lab, which has a south wall with windows. (LED lighting is great but some actual daylight would be helpful if not essential.) Facing facts, that's probably the only real chance of getting a system working any time soon, and indoors would probably be the best place to have it in arctic dwellings too, so that nothing external would have to be heated.
   The fridge/fish tank would be on the floor under the windows, and the plants above on two levels, on a table and an upper tier with the LED lights not very far above them.
   Later I was reminded that in the arctic the sun doesn't stay toward the south: it goes around in circles, from south at noon to north at "midnight". Maybe some tracking mirrors? And it may not be seen much or at all in winter.

   On the 16th it occurred to me the small fridge could be an insulated flooded plant tank, which would prevent loss of heat there as the water went through the system. For this winter I'll stick with the indoor plan. On the 20th, having decided I didn't like any table I had, I made one for the drain-down plant growing tub.



Electricity Storage

Turquoise Battery Project

   On the 2nd I e-mailed Barite World to see what had happened to my order of conductive carbon black ordered in early August. (He had said he'd be on holidays until the 24th.) The response was something like "Yes I got the money. I'll get around to it this week." (Arg! Hey, it's all waiting on this, eh!)
   It finally arrived on the 15th, in box containing a sealed black pail of about 6 litres. I expected to open the pail and find a small plastic bag with the one pound of product in the bottom, but there was no bag. The amazingly lightweight conductive carbon black filled this big pail to a little over 1/2 full.
   Furthermore, dipping the leeds of the ohmmeter into the bucket of loose, flowing (and drifting into the air) powder gave a reading of 48 ohms. Pressing them against the side of the pail to compact the powder brought readings down to the ones of ohms level.
   Graphite powder in a jar gives the tens of ohms readings, or sometimes over 100, but it's much denser. I'm sure this conductive carbon black is the best stuff!
   No loose active chemical powder has given me any ohmmeter reading. Only if it's well pressed together is there any real sort of conductivity.
   Much as I wanted to get the project going again, the Electric Weel motor had priority and I didn't get anything done.



http://www.TurquoiseEnergy.com
Victoria BC