Turquoise Energy Ltd. News #97
  covering February 2016 (posted  March 3rd 2016)
Victoria BC
by Craig Carmichael


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

Feature: "Electro-Permanent" Magnets Could Revolutionize Motors & Electric Vehicles -- 500 mile range?
(see Month in Brief & longer article below it... also "Detailed Report" - actually my first thoughts on the idea.)

Month In Brief
(Project Summaries)
- Hands-On Democracy - Electro-permanent magnet motors - LED Plant Growth Lighting Idea - Chevy Sprint: Electric Hubcap motor, frictionless centrifugal clutch - An E-Bike with Motor Components Around Wheel - Miles Electric Cargo Truck Repairs

Electropermanent Magnets & Motors - seems "COP" may be over 5x(?) input power!

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
  - Rising Financial Woes - USA Election Rigging - a funny or two

- In Depth Project Reports (Not e-mailed, please go to full newsletters posted on web) -

Electric Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems

* Electro-permanent Magnets and Motors (yet another little write-up - my early thoughts when I first found out about the idea.)
* Lower RPM, Frictionless Centrifugal Clutch Making progress

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects (no reports)
Electricity Generation (no reports)
Electricity Storage - Turquoise Battery Project (NiMn, NiNi), etc. (no reports)

No Project Reports on: Lambda ray converter, CNC gardening/farming machine, Electric Weel, unipolar motor controller, reluctance motors (will need to modify the controllers and motors for electropermanent magnets!), aquaponics.



February in Brief

Hands-On Democracy - Proposals for How to Run a World

   On the 5th I registered "HandsOnDemocracy.org" as an umbrella page for my various political structure ideas. I pointed it to my home page at [ www.saers.com/recorder/craig/democracy ]. Then I uploaded a first draft of the text, and I put a link to it on that page. It's got the basics. I put in all the keywords I could think of so search engines will hopefully find it when people are looking up topics along those lines. Over the rest of the month I did 4 editings and made additions and improvements to the text, with even another new - if less well defined - proposal. I'll do more if I come up with any new ideas for the text or new proposals. Personally, I think what's there already would revolutionize the way societies work, and go far towards making them sustainable into the indefinite future.

Electropermanent Magnets & Motors

   On the 13th I watched a video about a game-changing new idea for motors: "electropermanent magnets".
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4YD8Nvyfa4]

   The following description is modified to how I plan to use the idea for BLDC motors, which seems to me to be simpler and better than the original:

   Instead of using magnetically soft iron for the motor coil cores, use AlNiCo5 alloy. This alloy makes a powerful permanent magnet, but it is much easier to magnetize and demagnetize than rare earth magnet types.
  Instead of powering the coil for the entire portion of motor rotation during which it is to be turned on, a very brief pulse of current magnetizes the AlNoCo magnet core, which then remains "on", magnetized, without using any further electricity. At the endpoint of the rotation where the electromagnetic core would be turned off, a weaker brief reverse pulse demagnetizes the core. The cores can be magnetized in either direction just like the soft iron cores, and to different strengths to vary the power level of the motor.

   From various accounts and rumors, this could probably give (for example) typical electric cars sufficient range for anybody's all day highway drive, even 500 miles. On March 1st I found and enquired about some AlNiCo5 magnets 2" O.D. by 1" long, which I can use in the same Electric Hubcap and Electric Caik motors, and simply replace the coils, using all the same motor making molds. They seem to be pricey (18$US each) and will drive up the cost of the motors, but the savings in batteries or increased range will make it more than worthwhile.
   The motor controllers will be quite tricky to develop, being considerably different from any other motor controllers.

   I've written this idea up in much more detail in the article following this February in Brief section.

An LED Plant Growth Lighting Idea

   Quite a while ago, Jim Harrington had given me a 5 meter flexible RGB LED light strip he had bought, to try out for aquaponics plant growth. The light can be changed or programmed to emit hopefully optimum plant growth colors. But the long thin strip seemed to me to be too dim in any given area unless it was within a couple of inches above seedlings planted in a long strip, and I was reluctant to cut it into short lengths and try to wire them side by side.
   This month he said he was planting vegetable seedlings and I gave it back to him. He came up with a novel, practical way to use it and concentrate the light. He made a circle of sheet aluminum and wrapped the light strip around the inside in a helix. The whole unit went right around a plant pot with his seedlings. The light thus comes at the plants from every direction, so they won't start leaning over towards a point light source. Much of each light will reflect off the far wall aluminum and go down, too. An aluminum or aluminized plastic top piece of some sort will ensure that most of the light is going to the pot. The solar panel he is using, planning "off grid" gardening including for the arctic, will thus need a to provide an absolute minimum of power to obtain maximum lighting effect.
   There is also a relatively bright blue LED light hanging directly over the pot.


Above, Magenta lighting.
Below, Blue.




Variable Transmission & Sprint Car: Frictionless Centrifugal Clutch Making


   I continued the Sprint variable transmission work of January, at an equally leisurely pace. It was almost the only project I did physical work on, but there just seemed - and seem - to be many other things to do including other research. With a 'dremmel' cutter tool, a 90° adapter and a wood/soft metal cutting bit, I cut the slots in the centrifugal clutch drum from a narrow "U" shape as sawed on the bandsaw many moons ago to a broader "V" shape with 45° sides. I filed them smooth and then (more or less) polished the whole inside of the drum on a polishing wheel.
   On the 9th I installed the motor in the car without the transmission and ran it. The phase wires, carefully marked with colored tape, had been wrong. Switching them got the motor running nicely in both directions - with smoother control from the Kelly BLDC controller. One problem down!

   Then I designed new shoes for the centrifugal clutch. First I cut a sample shoe on the bandsaw.
   Part of the slow progress was being unsure about strike angles with a hinge pin point that had to be itself at an undesired angle in order to be within the drum and on the rotor disk. The strike and rebound angles actually get complicated when one considers that the disk is spinning faster than the drum. The 45° strikes are supposed to be relative to the drum; the angles on the input disk matter less. At one point I thought I might use a sliding type of shoe that would go straight in and out and I made a sample of that, but then I figured it would wear out fast, and it might jam. I finally decided the first design was about right after all and better (or at least more practical), and went about manually writing G-code to produce 10 of them until it looked about right on the screen. I then routed out a sample of thin plastic. Several samples later it looked about right.
   On the 25th I got 3 of the 5 pairs of plastic shoes made, using 7/8" thick UHMW. (More ideally they should have been about 1.25" thick - the drum is 3" wide. I had lots of 7/8 and no 1.25".) Making the last 2 pairs, four shoes in one shot, the router bit snapped in the middle of the work. (was it dull?) By not panicking and letting it finish as if it was still cutting, I preserved the "home" position and commanded the router to return to it, so I could rout out the exact same path the next time on the same piece of plastic. (I was doing it in two passes anyway in the thick plastic.) By the next afternoon I had 10 identical shoes.

   On March 1st I obtained some 5/8" square steel rod and cut the first weight to go on the shoes. The 2" length said exactly 100 grams on a scale: my target weight. I look forward, somewhat nervously, to finishing it, installing it and trying it out.


An E-Bike with Motor Components Around Wheel

   In 2012 (see especially TE News #59) I proposed to place 6 "Electric Hubcap" type motor coils along a bike frame by the wheel rim, and put magnets all around the rim of the wheel, to turn a bicycle into an efficient E-bicycle with no more moving parts than it already had. Amongst all the other projects, I didn't get around to making it. Now a friend has sent me a link to a company that has done it, except they designed a whole new bike around the idea. They seem to have used radial or transverse flux.


http://electricbikereport.com/lightweight-velocitemaglev-hidden-motor-electric-bike/
(Mr. Nitpic asks: Where's the motor controller?)


   The article points out a potential mechanical problem:

"One current disadvantage of this “Maglev Transrapid technology” is that the wheel rim magnets and inductive coils must be relatively close together for it to be an efficient system. That could be a problem if the wheel rim is not very straight or if debris gets between the rim and inductive coils in the frame. It will be interesting to see if this issue can be overcome in the near future."

   While my plan wouldn't be immune to this problem (and magnets may pick up debris), the axial flux motor has a 1/2" flux gap between the coils (to be mounted to one side of the wheel) and the rotor supermagnets on the wheel. That is at least a lot of elbow room. (Here is a place a reluctance motor with its tiny flux gaps might be problematic to fit reliably.)

  Now, let's make that an axial flux BLDC type motor with AlNiCo 5 coil cores. (see Electropermanent Magnets and Motors, below.) That might well ride along under motor power for hours with only a few batteries to power it. (eg, 20 NiMH D cells for 24V)

Miles Electric Cargo Truck Repairs

   On March 1st I took someone up on his offer to help out with the Miles electric cargo truck, which has done nothing but sit in the yard since I found it was intermittent and thus unreliable to drive. Of all problems, intermittent ones are generally the hardest to solve, when something unknown quits 'randomly' while in use. He came over and in accord with his idea of disassembling a few things we managed to extract the motor shaft encoder "reader" (which I am virtually certain is the problem) from the front end of the motor, reaching down from above in the cab instead of crawling under the truck. We couldn't see it under a metal plate, but we could feel it and reach the screws from in front. He had the valuable idea to insert his cell phone, which had a light, and take excellent very close-up pictures, from which we could see where the screws were and what to do next, by feel. (Where did my 3rd new inspection mirror go?) The pictures were also vital in that we e-mailed them to Canadian Electric Vehicles so they could identify what part was required. They had them! for 81$. I ordered one.
   In fact, the slotted interrupter wheel on the end of the motor shaft looked immaculate and clean, so it was just the LED and phototransistor assembly (the "reader" according to CEV) that were probably quitting randomly. I had ruled out most other possibilities when I discovered that unplugging the plug at the motor controller and plugging it back in (hence cycling the power to the reader) seemingly always brought the truck back to life. And some of the screw sockets holding the encoder together had a bit of corrosion (visible in the pictures), which itself made the delicate miniature circuit board suspect. All it takes is one tiny bad corroded solder joint. Far less likely, it could be something in the controller itself, or in the wiring.
   I'll only be sure once I install the new part and have driven at least a few trips with no further problem.



Electropermanent Magnets and Motors

   On the 13th Leonardo Janus of "Elionix" (see his new DES battery electrolyte in an earlier TE News) sent me a video link to a game-changing new idea for motors: "electro-permanent magnets".
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4YD8Nvyfa4]
   As shown, dual magnet combinations (one FeNdB and one AlNiCo tied together with "keepers") were used which could be turned either "on" or "off" by pulsing a coil around the AlNiCo magnet in one direction or the other.


The Principle: In the original version, the AlNiCo magnet is always fully magnetized, but in
one direction or the other depending on the polarity of the current pulse that magnetized it.
In one direction the combo, with the magnetically soft iron magnetic circuit connections,
makes a strong external field, in the other it doesn't - the magnetic circuit is internal.


In a more practical configuration the straight top and bottom (soft magnetic)
bars deliver high flux to objects near the bars. The bar at the right is attracted
only if both magnets are magnetized in the same direction. A magnet above (or
below) would also be repelled then, if the pole faced that magnet's like pole.



   AlNiCo, actually FeAlNiCo and sometimes with a few minor elements, is the strongest permanent magnet material discovered before rare earth magnets. It has been widely used in speaker magnets, guitar pickups, and other places where strong magnets are needed. Rare earth magnets take a whopping jolt of current or magnetic field to change their magnetization, but AlNiCo 5 takes only a fraction as much, say 5%.

  
I keep hearing rumors about motors that give very much longer range to vehicles, for example the "Zero" Electric Motorcycle, and Troy Reed's 2011 Geo Metro video on youtube. ("You can drive it around all day.") Details have been sketchy, but these magnets would surely be how it's done. It sounds too good to be true, but I don't see any flaws in the theory (so far, anyway).
   Certainly motors can be, and apparently are now being, made using the above magnet configuration. But I can't help think it could be done more simply. Instead of just having full-strength "on" or "off", modulation of the strength of the pulses should allow low to high magnetization (in either direction) of a single AlNiCo5 magnet core for low to high power motor operation, with weaker pulses more or less demagnetizing the magnets when they're not wanted. And it should run more smoothly at lower power. Ideally it would work like this:
  1. In BLDC motors, the stator electromagnets attract and repel permanent magnets on the rotor to cause it to rotate. FeNdB 'supermagnets' are usually used on the rotor. It is very hard to change the powerful magnetization of this alloy - they are very "permanent" magnets. Someone once told me that a million amp pulse for a microsecond is used to generate enough magnetic field magnetize them. An interesting feature is that although it's a truly impressive current, it's only one coulomb, one amp-second, of total charge.
  2. Usually very "soft magnetic" material (plain iron or alloy) is used for electromagnet coil cores. This won't hold a magnetic charge - can't be magnetized to be a permanent magnet - in order that as it is electrically magnetized from 'north' to 'south' and back as the motor rotates, no extra energy is wasted to demagnetize it when reversing polarity. The coils are using power for their entire "on" time over the appropriate part of the rotation in order to continue to attract or repel the rotor magnets for that time. This is typical motor theory and operation. Conventional logic until now has said this is how it has to be.
  3. Permanent magnets made of alloys of aluminum, nickel and cobalt, "AlNiCo", and particularly "AlNiCo 5", can have fields as strong as "supermagnets". However, they require a much smaller current pulse to magnetize and demagnetize, much less than a coulomb. They are harder to induce a field into than "soft" magnetic material, but once pulsed they will hold the magnetic charge. (FeNdB: ~1,000,000 A/m; AlNiCo5: ~50,000 A/m; Soft Fe: 160 A/m)
  4. Thus, if an AlNiCo 5 magnet was to replace the soft magnetic coil core material, one would have a "permanent" magnet that would be magnetized by a single short pulse of current to the coil.
  5. Once it was magnetized, a rotor magnet would continue to be attracted to or repelled from that stator magnet without using any more electricity, until the magnetization strength and polarity was deliberately changed by another short pulse, of reverse current.
  6. So again: where a "regular" motor coil has to stay energized and draw current over an entire segment of motor rotation, the AlNiCo 5 core coil only needs to be pulsed "on" at the rotation start point and pulsed "off" again at the end point, with a weaker reverse pulse. Through the whole desired arc, it's a "permanent" magnet driving the rotor magnet. The amazing electricity saving potential becomes apparent.
  7. Current in a coil increases over time with pulse length. Thus the maximum current can be set for magnetizing or demagnetizing simply by timing the length of the pulse - no current sense shunt resistor is required. To obtain the required very high current in the minimum possible pulse width, very few turns of very heavy wire would be used. (Perhaps my usual 21 turns of #11 wire, but with the phase coils wired in parallel instead of in series? Or maybe 2 sets of 10 turns, in parallel?) The magnet magnetizes to the maximum current that hits it, even if it's only on for a microsecond. A microcontroller based motor controller could "learn" (or be programmed with) the pulse lengths required to obtain smooth control of the motor from low to full power. (Since single phases would need to be individually controlled, a full bridge is probably required for each phase, doubling the number of driver transistors. Must think about this!) But the transistors will be on for such short lengths of time they can probably be downsized without risk of overheating.
   Possible cautions?: One thing that might militate against this simpler electropermanent magnet model is that AlNiCo magnets, being said to be easily demagnetized by an external magnetic field, might become demagnetized by the rotor magnets during a single pass as they go by, strongly enough to greatly decrease their intended attraction or repulsion of those magnets. However, there is a large flux gap in axial flux motors, and the stator magnets are supposed to be off anyway at the nearest points, as rotor and stator magnets pass by each other. So I expect it would take many passes to gradually demagnetize an AlNiCo5 stator magnet -- which is being repeatedly magnetized and demagnetized in both directions by electrical pulses anyway.
   The other possible caution is that the short magnetization and demagnetization pulses might just possibly take as much or more energy than powering a regular coil ON for the entire duration. Given that the pulse if heavy wire is used will be so short, that this also seems improbable. And of course lower RPM motors such as the Electric Hubcap axial flux types will also have fewer pulses per second than very high RPM ones, and the pulses require the same current regardless of motor speed to obtain the same magnetization.
   Given these factors plus given that electropermanent magnet motors made so far are claimed to be so good, I'm going to dismiss both concerns as being highly unlikely. And the factors are adjustable.

   A reluctance motor could also be run by the same system. Since the rotor iron doesn't care about magnetic direction and is attracted to either north or south magnet poles, the cores must be demagnetized pretty fully when they aren't wanted as well as magnetized when they are. Again, carefully tuned weaker reverse pulses could be used to demagnetize the AlNiCo, rather than going to the more physically complex two-magnet system shown in the video.
   For either, the single magnet also delivers maximum flux, to the steel rotor or rotor magnets. And reverse pulses are required to demagnetize so the unipolar motor controller is "out". A whole new type of controller with different operation is required.

   The most mind boggling thing is that this electro-permanent magnet motor idea is so simple, yet no one seems to have thought of it before. (If Bedini's motors use it, it was never explained so I understood it.) Rather than in motors, its chief use so far seems to be in heavy lifting of magnetic materials such as steel plates, where the magnet can be pulsed on to lift them and then pulsed off to let go of them. It seems likely that's what it first was invented for. Certainly nothing like it ever crossed my own mind. But I was unaware of the magnetic properties of AlNiCo.

   This would add a whole new dimension to the idea of "ultra-efficient" drives. It could probably give typical electric cars sufficient range for all day highway driving (recharge at night on long trips), and the power taken from the power grid (or other source) for typical/regular driving will be quite minimal. On March 1st I found AlNiCo 5 magnets of similar size and shape to my usual coil cores so I can make a motor easily when the time comes. With a small shim (as they're not identical inside diameter) I can use the same motors and simply replace the coils, and I can use all the same motor making molds to make more BLDC motors.
   The BLDC motors being pretty much identical, the controllers will be the part needing effort to develop. The reluctance motors will need some redesign. Something much like the type I made one of is probably more practical in this case than my proposed "transverse flux" type, unless AlNiCo can be had in the form of metal plates that can be cut by CNC abrasive waterjet.



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

Rising Financial Woes

   The long predicted financial events, strongly foreshadowed since the 2016 new year, seem to be starting to unfold. Major banks withdrew much of their remaining gold from the COMEX inventory, leaving 500 "owners" for each piece of gold remaining. Demand for the actual physical metals keeps breaking records around the world as people start to lose trust in paper assets. Gold and silver rose about 10% over a week, and on the night of February 10th started to explode, rising a further 5%. The stock markets looked dismal. Then the manipulators moved in and patched things up again - don't look at that man behind the curtain, everything is rosy!

   But one hears that shipping, rail and trucking indices were at multi-decade lows, more major chains were closing more stores with layoffs probably totaling 100s of thousands in the USA, and manufacturing continued to drop - all continuing trends over several years. Teamsters union pensions in the midwest (or was it just Michigan?) were all cut, by as much as 50%, the funds having been "borrowed" (AKA looted) by government and with almost no possibility of reasonably safe interest bearing investments on the rest in the present environment. (You worked your 35 or 40 years and were told from the start your pension terms. Sorry, we spent your money!) Farmers strikes and riots in Athens speak of the dreadful pension cuts and tax demands being made on people there, and it's probably happening in various cities around the globe, so common that it's mostly unreported even in the alternative media. Many banks will need bailouts, one or two Italian one being said to be on the brink. Deusche Bank, Germany's largest (and with 70 trillion dollars of derivatives exposure), was said to be struggling day to day for funds to keep its doors open. With the low oil prices, virtually all the shale oil frackers will soon be declaring bankruptcy. With over 19 trillion dollars of debt (and far more off the books) the USA has over 3 trillion dollars in assets... but 1/3 of those "assets" are student loan debts, which are mostly in default -- non-performing loans are everywhere! Yet the US government, having lit the middle east, Ukraine and north Africa on fire, continues to spend over 1/2 their budget on the military, to threaten and posture aggressively.
   Aging populations with (thank goodness!) fewer young people illustrate Harry Dent's The Demographic Cliff - aging people don't buy larger homes, fancy new cars and the latest gadgets, and so the economy is bound to slow. But now migrants from areas still having high population growth threaten the tranquility of the established West, especially in Europe. And it is said the USA will be over 1/2 Hispanic by 2030.

   "Alta Web Bott" Reports make quite detailed incredible predictions of things to come, and not without some successful predictions although the timing for the events is often off. The guy, Cliff High, says he sends out "spiders" all over the web to search for out of place words (like "battleship" on a gardening site?) and then sorts them and finally reads the sorted data. Where he really comes up with this stuff I don't know, but much of it sounds all too plausible. (See HalfPastHuman.org or listen to summaries by 'jsnip4' on youtube for more details.)
  
The January and February reports predicted for 2016 and 2017: a mid-level bank failure that would spread to engulf the global financial system, shortages, rationing of many things, riots, break-ins to sensitive government documents and arrests by US marshals of highly prominent figures whose activities have at last been fully exposed. Much infighting in all that.
   The bank failures are supposed to leave people celebrating briefly that at least they don't have to pay back their credit cards and other bank debts. Incredibly hot weather is supposed to strike the west coast this summer, killing people and filling hospitals and "cooling centers", and paralyzing ground and air traffic. Incredible property tax hikes will lead to abandonment of condos and tax revolts. All for 2016 and 2017.
   Another person on youtube, Mike Boutwell, reading from the same report, remarks "This will hit a lot of people like a brick in the face."

   What really happens we'll have to wait and see, but don't expect it'll be "business as usual" for many more months. More and more it looks like any of a number of dominos could fall at any time and set off a chain reaction where everything will suddenly slip out of control. I'll continue to sing my old song: get your storable foods stashed away, fuel to 'get out of dodge' or whatever if required (better still a nice electric vehicle!), and some silver to trade with. Even if you're not convinced, how much do you spend per year on house insurance, just in case? You'll probably never use that insurance. How about investing in these other potential lifesavers - just in case? Besides, with rising prices, food bought now is cheaper than food bought in a few months from now - it's actually a money saver.

USA Election Rigging

   Hold the presses! We heard earlier about Hillary Clinton "winning" a state (Iowa?) because of democrat "establishment super delegates", in spite of Bernie Sanders clearly beating her in votes and bona-fide elected delegates. Today, March 3rd, it came out that in several states, votes for Donald Trump were coming out of the machines as votes for other republican primary candidates. There were thousands of calls from incensed voters to an 'electoral fairness' agency whose name escapes me. We can surmise that Clinton will be the democrat faction candidate, and that Trump will not be the republican faction's rep, regardless of the wishes of the people.
   Can we expect any better when the actual election is underway? Even if everyone picks any other candidate, it seems that the votes will switch themselves to the oligopoly's choices. It is also probable that a number of other candidates will split the vote even without rigging, so even if a majority of Americans choose "anything but republicrat", that's what they'll get anyway. It is becoming abundantly clear is that there is and will be no even nominally fair election in the USA in 2016. Until and unless the sort of events foreshadowed above unfold, we already in fact have an oligopoly-dictatorship.

   For more on "vote splitting" on single "illiterate's X" ballots, see TE News #74 and for various possible solutions, my new site Hands-On Democracy.

Humorous or not...

A word is worth one millipicture.

or

A word is worth 2 pixels.

More and more rat traps were all set up with aromatic bait. Then it was announced that all the rats were gone. After much debate about all the dangerous set traps, it was decided to set up a debaiting society.



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


Feb 1: Installed motor in Sprint and tested operation.
Feb 1-2: Working on this newsletter.
3:
4: Disassembled much and removed clutch rotor & drum from Sprint to work on them. Ordered "nickel foam" for battery electrodes.
5: Edited "Hands-On Democracy" text - uploaded to web page.
6: Found 'right angle cutter' attachment and cutter for 'dremmel' tool, bought a new file, and ground and filed centrifugal clutch drum slots from narrow "U" to broader "V" shape with 45° sides. (90° angle at bottom.)
7:
8: (yet another migraine.) Inspected "V" points on centrifugal clutch shoes. I thought they were badly worn, they were okay for another test.
9: Tested motor and changed connections.
10: Worked on new centrifugal clutch design ideas. (Added "Choice Ranking Vote" (CRV) section to Hands-On Democracy)
11: Still on clutch design - another improvement (rotor slots) or two.
12: Cut sample UHMW clutch shoe to check fit.
13: Didn't like it. Decided hinge pins was better system.
14: Cut out sample shoe for that system.
15: (Worked on personal income tax)
16: Hands-On Democracy additions.
17:
18: Hands-On Democracy additions.
18 & 19: Figuring out centrifugal clutch strike angles
20: Put together G-code to produce the plastic shoes (initial version)
21: Tried again. Versions 2,3,4 and 5. Hands-On Democracy additions.
25: Cut 3 pairs of final version shoes. (Router bit broke.)
26: Cut remaining 2 pairs.
27: (Finished, sent personal income tax)
28: Hands-On Democracy additions. Tried again to buy Dremmel right angle attachment.
29: Bought a 'new' aquarium for the tilapia breeding tank for aquaponics.
March 1: Took shaft encoder "reader" off Miles electric truck for repair. Ordered a new one. Bought steel and cut the first of 10 weights for the clutch 10 shoes. Found a web site offering the right size and shape of AlNiCo5 magnets.
2: Worked on this newsletter. Cut 5 more weights. Conversed with magnet company by e-mail.
3: Newsletter.



Electric Hubcap Motor Systems - Electric Transport


Electro-Permanent Magnets & Motors

   Well, I wrote this here when I first heard of electropermanent magnets. Then I decided to do a "feature article" on the subject. There seem to be enough different material in here to be worth reading if one is "into" the subject, so I'll leave it in.

   Checking my e-mail on the 13th, I found a link to a video about magnets that could be turned on or off, and would remain in either state once power was removed. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4YD8Nvyfa4] This device looks like a real game-changer!

   Essentially they were two magnets: a supermagnet that couldn't be modified, coupled with steel "keepers" at both ends to an AlNiCo "regular" permanent magnet that be switched in polarity with a DC electromagnetic coil, energized one way or the other. The pulse to magnetize the AlNiCo magnet could be as short as a microsecond. Thus very little energy is used to switch it. If both magnets were magnetized in the same direction, the "regular" AlNiCo magnet reinforced the FeNiB magnet beside it and they would attract metal objects. If it were magnetized in the other direction, the two opposite magnet poles would be "shorted" through iron pieces connecting the ends, and it wouldn't pick up anything. The AlNiCo was described in the article as "soft magnetic material". But surely if it was really "soft", it wouldn't hold a magnetic charge at all. So either it's simply soft"er" than the FeNdB, or I don't have the theory straight.
   I had heard about motorbikes, and Troy Reed's car, getting fantastic driving range, but details on the motors were to say the least sketchy. This video seems to clear up the mystery.

   Every time I think I've got "the ultimate" in electric propulsion motors, somebody sends me some link to something better! Now here is another worthy motor project, a game changer as I say, to make obsolete the way I'm doing it now.

   I can now think of a couple of possible ways this idea can be used in motors. Perhaps easiest, why not have a single "permanent" magnet that can be energized either direction, used in a BLDC motor with a regular supermagnet rotor? Each coil need only be turned on for a microsecond, to attract or repel the nearest rotor magnet, for milliseconds or tens of milliseconds (thousands of times as long as the pulses), depending on the RPM and configuration.
   The first version could be a modified Electric Caik motor, which could be tested in the outboard. In the motor, the modification would consist simply of replacing the iron powder donut coil cores with a more "hard" magnetic material that would hold its magnetic charge. (Usually that's just what you want to avoid!)
   The motor controller would have to be set up to put out just the short pulses, just one pulse per step. Then, some pulses would have to be be missed if full power wasn't needed. Unless there were to be still shorter, or weaker, pulses to demagnetize without magnetizing in the other direction, allowing the rotor magnet to "drift" by an idle coil wouldn't be an option.
   But why couldn't shorter and hence weaker pulses be tailored to partly magnetize, or to demagnetize, the magnets? The motor doesn't need full power all the time, and that would be a good way to modulate them.
 No doubt a microcontroller - controlling three full bridges to drive the mosfets - would be the way to handle the unique aspects of the operation. No available motor controller chip is designed for this!

   On looking things up, it seemed that "AlNiCo 5" looked like a good alloy. It has similar strong pull to FeNdB supermagnets, but is easily magnetized and demagnetized. That seemed to say they should work well in BLDC magnet-rotor motors per above. So I looked for some the same size as my Electric Hubcap type coil cores. I did find some that looked like they might be somewhat suitable, or 6" long 2" diameter rods that might be cut to length, 5 magnet cores per rod.

   On the other hand, I haven't looked into this very far yet and I'm not certain I understand all the details. I shall be checking into it in more detail before trying anything.

   And then there's Bedini... His motors are supposed to use single pulses to run. And then they collect electricity off the coils as in a generator! Now I can see how this might produce extra energy - if the pulse magnetizes a magnet, input energy is only required to magnetize it and demagnetize it again at the right times. Maybe it's an "undocumented feature" of his motors that's really how they work? Maybe that he didn't realize himself but he picked steel for his coils that holds magnetism, or holds it until it's used as a generator later in the rotation? But that's all just speculation.


Electric Hubcap motor, Chevy Sprint & Variable Transmission

The Theory of The Frictionless Centrifugal Clutch

   Insufficient traction of the centrifugal clutch seemed to be the big problem with the drive. How is it supposed to work?

   This clutch, designed for effective operation at lower and marginal RPM.s, has a slightly different operating principle than other centrifugal clutches: instead of the shoes flying out with centrifugal force and engaging the outer drum by friction, these shoes are made of slippery UHMW plastic, and have 45° "V" shaped lower points. (UHMW - ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene - long polymer molecular chains. The two 45° angles, for forward and for reverse, form a single 90° "V" angle.) When they fly out, these points slide easily along the polished aluminum drum until they reach slots in the drum wall. When they hit the far wall of the slot, they are forced to bounce inward for the input rotor to continue rotating. The momentum of the weighted shoes bouncing off the slot wall is what produces thrust to the output drum. With the low friction of the plastic on the aluminum, this should allow partly engaged operation at "marginal" lower RPM.s with low losses and little heat, with the input drum turning faster than the output.
   The angle of bounce that produces the most force in the output drum is 90° - a straight-on hit with reflection straight back. A hammer works that way. That angle of course stops the hammer. We don't want to stop the motor. The best angle of impact and reflection to impart the most force with lowest loss of motor speed is 45°, with the shoe bouncing 'directly' inward (90°) while the input rotor/motor continues to turn.

   Once the drum is turning at sufficient speed and the input torque isn't too high, the points (or at least one point) will centrifugally "lock" into the grooves and the clutch would be locked, the output turning with the input.

   In keeping with the large mass to be moved - the car - the drum is 3" wide instead of a typical 3/4" for small rotary clutches. In keeping with the low RPM.s, it's 9" diameter instead of a typical 4". The car wheels will only be doing perhaps 1200 RPM on the highway and 600 in town. The drum speed depends on the final drive ratio. If it's 3 to 1, that's still only around 1800 RPM of the drum in town at 50 Km/Hr.

Slots and Points/Dogs

   I had impression that the 45° "V" shaped "dogs" on the plastic shoes had been partly worn off of it by the edges of the aluminum slots in the drum. The slots were cut with a bandsaw. I had scraped them with a tool that smoothed off and beveled the corners, but essentially the flat plastic faces were still hitting against a 90° corner - a "V" point hitting a "U" hollow - and that was wrecking them. What was needed surely was two flat faces hitting each other. That would mean filing or cutting out all 24 slots in the drum so they were 45° "V" shaped slots instead of "U" shaped.
   I discussed this with Jim Harrington at breakfast on the 6th. I thought maybe a 'dremmel' motor tool with some cutter might work, but perhaps there was some sort of 'right angle' dremmel tool - shaped like an angle grinder - that would fit inside the drum. Perhaps a visit to a tool store? We stopped by his shop. He had a right angle attachment for his demmel tool. I borrowed that, and found a suitable rotary cutter in my own attachments.


   I spent the afternoon changing the vertical slots to 45° "V"s. I was guessing the angles at first, then I reasoned that while one may be in considerable doubt about most 'eyeballed' angles, vertical and horizontal can be judged pretty accurately by eye. If I clamped the rotor so the slot was at 45°, those would be the angles. Logic said that if there were 24 slots, a slot 3 up from the bottom one would be 45°. It looked to me more like the fourth slot was 45°. I got out a plastic 45° drawing triangle and it was indeed the third slot, not the fourth. That shows how far off my freehand angle estimates might have been, but now the walls of the slots I was cutting were to be either vertical or horizontal.
   Although the cutter wasn't symetrical it was cutting into both sides of the slot. But I thought I should flip it up so both sides were cut with both faces of the cutter to be the most symetrical. After grinding the cutter through a few times horizontal, I tried to turn it vertical, but it bounced and stuttered. So instead, I turned the drum around so the current slot was 3 up on the right instead of the left, and turned the cutter to vertical. This worked. (Hmm, I could have just flipped and rotated the drum so I could have done all the cuts horizontal.)
   After cutting a few I started filing them smooth. The whole process went smoothly, but it was time consuming to do all 24 slots. The most brilliant thing I did that afternoon was to stop after doing a few and go out and buy a new file. Not surprisingly, it filed faster than any of my old ones.


   I had, for my original experimental purposes, taken the path of least resistance in making the clutch. It was really only 'one way' and would jam going the other way. The dual 45° "V" is of course a right angle, 90°, which I got by using a corner of the rectangles. To get true symmetry, the pivot hinge of the shoes would have to be straight in line with the "V", which would put it outside the drum. That would be theoretically possible with a drum open on one side, a larger input disk outside that open side, and shoes with a "stem" attached to pins outside the drum radius through the open side. But that would be inherently weak. Otherwise, the 45° bounce from an interior hinge point has to use different angles for one direction than for the other. My "V" points and slots should be quite slanted, "in italics" to say the least, to have symmetrical forces forward and backward.

   In fact, that's probably a reason for the low force. The active side should be steeper. Now I think of that, after doing the "V" slot cutting and filing, symmetrically! It was only as I was half way through that it gradually started to dawn on me that the other sides would have to be shallower so as not to jam, and still later that the one-way active side should be steeper to match the pivot points. If it doesn't work well I could make pivot pin points closer to the outer edge of the input disk - where I had them originally - and shape the shoes' "V" points on the bandsaw - as I also did them originally. I had changed it for the last version only because they were hard to cut. (Later it seemed more complicated... read on.)

   I thought I would turn the present clutch shoes around so they would use the un-worn corners of the rectangles. Then the car would go only forward instead of only backward. To prove a point of working or not, it makes little difference. Once the point was proven, the angles would have to be adjusted... or would the active edge angles have to be optimized in order to get it to work and prove the point?
   But when I went to do it (8th), I found that only the outer bits of the shoes were badly worn - the parts that are seen from outside. Here they were hitting the support clips that hold the drum onto its backing disk. I had realized this was inevitable, but I didn't see any better way to attach it when I was making it. The corner-edge hitting along the slots was only slightly dulled. That means that changing the slots to "V"s would make little difference... except that they were now substantially wider at their tops and in total effect. Changing to the italic "V" shape might make more difference. Anyway I decided that it was worth trying again with the wider slots to see what improvement there might be.

   Next something jogged my memory: some centrifugal clutches didn't have pivot hinges. Instead, the shoe piece slides straight out to contact the drum. Two I bought quite a while ago from Princess Auto were examples of that. If I could arrange mine somehow like that, the straight "V"s would be right, and the forces maximum. Also the slippery plastic would allow them to slide in and out with little friction. Fat aluminum blocks on the input rotor disk, holding slippery UHMW shoes (with weights) that bounce in and out - Ya, ya, I thought, that's the ticket!

  
Commercial centrifugal clutches with sliding shoes for snowmobiles, motorbikes, etc.


   
Clutches from a washing machine transmission with pivoting shoes.
The one on the left would doubtless grab - jam - in one direction, slip in the other.
The one on the right will press against an outer drum and an inner drum
with strategically placed weight and springs.

   On the 10th I considered that I should make this - redo the input rotor and shoe arrangement. But to get sufficient weight in the shoes for good forces at low RPM.s, they should probably be heavy steel, with a plastic "V" face screwed onto the outer end to contact the drum. Then instead of aluminum, the side walls should be UHMW. Best might be a single piece of UHMW with four cutouts for four sliding shoes, almost as large as the inside diameter of the drum to make maximum length slots to hold the shoes. (The clearance on the small commercial clutch is about 2mm.) Let's see... The present weight of each of the 6 shoes is 90 grams. If the new shoes were 1.25" wide by .75" long by 2.5" high (depending which way you look at it) solid steel, they'd be 280 grams. (about 120g/inch^3) So 3 times the weight per shoe, bouncing in a more effective direction (and so imparting, say, triple the force?), then 8 shoes instead of 6, would likely make around 12 times the turning force at the same RPM. That seemed likely to produce results.

A shoe to slide in and out, a lead weight for a shoe (too heavy!), and a steel rectangle
to slide along a slot in the disk, with a shoe bolted to each side.
 
   In the evening I came up with a somewhat different plan than the commercial units: Leave the disk rotor centered in the drum, so that it will still have 1/2 the shoes on each side, about 1-1/4" on each side. Instead of a metal "X" for the shoes to slide against, mill short slots in the rotor, 2 for each pair of shoes. Bolts will clamp the left and right half shoes together through the slots.
   I worked out more details on the 11th. The slots will contact only the slippery UHMW plastic of the shoes, hold the shoes at right angles to the drum as the "X" pieces, and allow them to move in and out by about 5mm - from 2mm clearance like the commercial units to where the "V" points would bottom out in the "V" slots in the drum. Bolted to the UHMW shoes and fitting into the profile would be lead bars for weight. The same bolts that clamp the shoe halves together will clamp the bars onto the outside.

   All great, but by the 13th I started to think of the high transient forces knocking the shoes to the side. I started to realize that the commercial shoes wouldn't tend to twist because their feet were so wide, taking up almost 1/4 of the drum each. And they were intended to rapidly "latch" by friction against the drum, not to operate for long in a slipping mode. My shoes had to bounce in and out of the "V" grooves - they hit at specific points along the rim. The operation just wasn't the same. Could the plastic at the slot edges take repeatedly rubbing up and down against strong sideways force on the outer end? Maybe the sliding part should be inserted steel bars? Then it would need lubrication. If the sliding slot parts got too worn, or if the lube ran dry, might it tend to jam?

   I started to think hinge pins were the better form after all, and went back to that idea. Since the pivot point had to be inside the drum on the rotor disk, the best way to keep the forces relatively even between forward and reverse would be the distance between hinge pin and "V" slot in the drum where the force would be tangental to the disk. (Ie, parallel to the edge at the hinge pin. I *think* I have the right word.) That appeared to be about 2.0". The lead weight would also center over the "V" point at the 2" mark, and the shoe lengthened beyond 2" to attach the weight.
   Also on the 13th I got some lead fishing weights and a 3Kg chunk of galena from Jim Harrington to use for the weights. The galena, natural lead mineral or ore, looked to be reasonably pure lead. I figured I could melt some of these down in the mini-kiln and cast them into bars easily enough, rather than trying to source lead bar of just the size I needed. People warned me to beware of lead fumes. This is why I would use the kiln. With a torch, the temperature on the outside can start the lead boiling and giving off fumes before it's melting on the inside. In the kiln, I won't let it get hot enough to give off fumes. If I use the galena, I will still be cautious because of the unknown impurities in it.

   On the 14th I cut a sample shoe out for size and tried it for fit. A 1"x~1"x2" lead weight would go in the hollow space, perhaps 100 grams. I carefully cut out the shape on my scary big bandsaw, and drilled the hole for the pin, without incident up to the point where the drill was stopped, all operations completed. The thick UHMW plastic (as usual) had wound itself up the drill bit as it drilled. As I twisted the chuck backward to wind it off while holding the piece with my left hand, my middle fingernail caught and cut a gash in the knuckle on my left index finger. Ugh, where's the bandages? Accidents are so often when no danger is suspected! The piece seemed just about right, except for tending to jam if the middle piece was turned clockwise. Making the one edge just a little shallower angle for 'reverse' should take care of that. And of course a steeper angle would be better for 'forward' - the italic "V" slots and points. Well, I could still do them, digging all the slots a little deeper and wider. I decided it should be done.
   There were already 5 holes equally spaced around the rim of the rotor from some previous attempt. There were 24 slots in the drum. 5 pairs of shoes would mean that one pair of points would hit one slot at a time in quick succession, rather than all the points striking at once. Would that have the desired effect? I decided to try it. If it worked, it would be the smoothest. If it worked. I still didn't have any proper software to draft the shapes. The curves would be complicated to work out directly in G-code. I decided to approximate them as a series of short lines. Each shoe would be cut out with a series of relative moves, and between those, 10 absolute moves to position the router for the start of each shoe to make all 10. The italic "V" dog/point angles could be seen and adjusted to 45° relative to the hinge pin angle for optimum bounce.
   Ideally I'd use 1.25" thick UHMW, but I had 13/16", 1" or 1.5". Or there was thinner stock which could perhaps be doubled. Simplest would be to use 1" and accept that the points would only be using 2" width within the 3" drum slots. If it worked well - and if there were no other desired changes anyway - I could worry about optimizing the widths better when the first set wore out - if they did wear out over too short a span of time. (I used the 13/16" for the first experiment, since it was the one thickness I had plenty of.)

   On the 18th, I still wasn't sure about angles. I didn't want to grind new angles in the drum and then have to undo them again! And they would get wider and deeper with each cut. I had to have a clear concept. How did the forward and reverse angles of the hinge pin figure in? Wasn't it the weights, to be positioned directly over the points, that would push the shoes out centrifugally? If the rotor was spinning a constant speed, wouldn't they go out tangent to the start of the slot until they hit the far side, rather than at the hinge pin angle? Weren't the angles of the points hitting the drum then independent of the hinge pin angles? Then again, the angle of relection/bounce would be different for the input disk than for the output drum because they would be rotating at different speeds. The whole thing was more complicated than I'd realized. It seemed likely that the hinge pin point would make the action somewhat different in one direction than in the other, but it probably wasn't as much difference as the hinge pin angle by itself would indicate. If one direction worked better than the other, one would of course pick the better one as forward and the other as reverse. And the test shoes would be symmetrical and could be reversed. Or, the shoes on one side could be reversed and it would be symmetrical. But the uneven forces would stress the pins. The angles of points and slots on production prototypes and production units could be adjusted optimally for both directions.

   Perhaps the only critical point was that the "V" dog must not actually jam if one fell into one of the "V" slots while the mechanism was stopped. I checked this out with my sample shoe on the 19th and pinned at the pivot point and with disk holes correctly positioned, it didn't seem it could jam anywhere. I started in on the G-code to rout out 10 identical shoes but was soon interrupted. I got an initial version designed on the 20th, but didn't find time to get everything set up and make a sample. On the 21st I made 5 versions of sample shoes before getting the dimensions close enough to use, and a couple more later. On the 25th I figured I had them nicely figured and made a pair. It seemed to fit well and I made two more pairs. I now needed more bolts, nuts and washers and went off to do some shopping. I told the router to do all the remaining 4 at once. Part way through the first pass, the router bit snapped off. (I suspect it was getting dull - it didn't seem as smooth as usual.) Since the router now wasn't doing anything, I let it finish its course not cutting instead of shutting the machine off. That way when I told the router to move to "home", the starting point, it "knew" where "home" was to find it. From "home" it could cut exactly the same path again next time and redo the job. It was too late to go out and buy a new router bit, so that was it for the day. I finished the next.

   It seemed lead isn't as dense as I thought, 11 g/cc where I had been thinking upper teens. Then, it didn't look like it would need a very big piece to gt 100 grams. Why not use steel instead? On March 1st I got some 5/8" x 5/8" steel rod. I cut one 2" length to fit in a shoe (does that make it a foot?) and it weighed exactly 100 grams. On the second I cut and shaped 5 more.


The output drum with the input disk rotor holding the 10 shoes,
one with the first weight in it.

   A side thought was how the angles might change if there was a very short spring on each side of the hinge pin. The pin with the weight would then be free to bounce straight inward, at 90°, 45° from the face of the slot. Compared to the input disk, it could even bounce backward to an extent as it bounced out of the slot. The force to the output would be a sudden impact, but the force on the motor would be more spread out, over the compressing and decompressing of the spring. But I decided to think about that rather complicated-to-build idea later.

Motor & Kelly Controller

   Meanwhile (9th), I looked up the Kelly BLDC motor controller error codes to see why the motor would only run one direction and the red LED would start repeatedly doing 2 blinks for the other, and why it was stopping with 3 blinks at times with high load. But the blinks didn't match what the manual said, which was that 1 initial blink, or 2, or 3, or 4, would be followed shortly by a second set of 1 to 4 blinks. Unless it was 2-2 and 3-3 I was getting and I hadn't noticed a different gap length between pairs. 3-3 might make sense for "shorted throttle" for when I turned it right up... in which case the potentiometer should be "shorted", 0 ohms. Why wouldn't that be a normal condition? 2-2, "internal fault or +5v supply overload", didn't seem to make sense to happen only for one direction.
   I mounted the motor without the transmission in place and tried running it again. Momentarily not thinking I turned the control up to maximum. Sure enough, the blink had been 3-3 ("throttle shorted"), then a longer gap, from turning the throttle right up.
   I wasn't thinking when I did this. Of course going to full power also spun the unloaded motor up to a scary RPM, well over 3000 I think and maybe over 4000. But nothing happened. At least it showed the motor was substantially more robust than before! What I still didn't have was the "break-out box" for the position sensors so I could easily connect a frequency meter as a tachometer to read the actual RPM.
   It still only ran one direction. The phases were indeed wrong. The pieces of colored tape were, somehow, on the wrong wires. On the 5th try out of 6 possibilities, it ran smoothly - more smoothly than before - in both directions. Probably I didn't have it right to start with. The motor originally had only done a few spins before the magnets flew off the rotor, so the testing didn't get very far. I got some new pieces of colored tape and put them on the appropriate wires. I could clip all three pin sockets together on each side so it can't be plugged in wrong, but I've found that three big "70 amp" APP connectors in one are very hard to push together and pull apart. One at a time is much easier, and I'm doing a lot of mounting and dismounting of the motor in this.
   But there was something very concerning: I smelled something. It was the motor coils getting hot. With no load! With my controllers, the motors seem to pretty much run cold. Why should they be different with the Kelly controller? One phase seemed to be hottest, one midway and one definitely cooler than the other two. Could it have been heating up when the phases were hooked up wrong, and was still hot? That would probably result in different currents between phases... but some time had gone by since then. Or was it simply the higher switching frequency... and, should that make a difference to the coils? At least it meant that the controller must be delivering some very substantial currents to the motor! It would be something to check next time I ran it.

   I took off the motor and put the clutch input plate in, without the planets gears and pulley. That way I could see inside. I wasn't sure the sun gear on the motor wasn't rubbing against the side of the ring gear, but to my surprise, in fact there was about 1/4" gap. I had cut the splined shaft a little too short last month. That explained why the planets gear had worked itself part way off the ring gear in spite of the thrust bearing - it wasn't pressing sideways with unstoppable force, rather there was nothing to stop it from drifting sideways that far. At least that now made sense and showed it wasn't a real problem. I decided to pound the ring gear 3/16" off the end of the shaft to effectively lengthen it. That puts the strongest part of the sun gear center over the end gap, but it should withstand at least a few tests.
   I also discovered that the pin holding the splined shaft centered in the transmission had unscrewed itself and fallen out. In forward it would try to screw itself farther in, and when I had made it I had discounted the chance it would unscrew in the occasional bit of reverse driving. Now all my tests were in reverse. It would have fallen out when I took out the input rotor, as soon as I tipped it down. (Now, where did it go? Into the lawn somewhere, most likely.) Well, it was just a 3/8" stainless steel bolt with the head cut off. I didn't find it so I made a new one.
   All was then ready and waiting for the next clutch experiment.



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