WindTapper's Journal - Grassroots Green Energy Projects
These archives recreate the blog format, with the oldest on the bottom of the page.CLICK ONCE ON EACH PHOTO TO ENLARGE IT. New archives added 6/22 and 6/23/10. On 6/25/10 I am loading the next, newer entries into Journal Archive 3 (Archive 3...). Please see also Arch 2 and Journal Archive 0.
Sun 2/14/2010 2:19 PM Magnets, Wind, and Solar Equipment Suppliers
            I spent hours today searching for a supplier of magnets and for magnet-making equipment. The supplier of magnets, solar and wind-power equipment that I found is at CMS. Some very wonderfully laid out and detailed information about making magnets these days -- really high tech magnets -- is displayed by VAC at VAC. You have to click on "more" at this VAC page in order to get the info, btw. I was considering becoming a magnet manufacturer, but these guys really wowed me at this site. Anyway, here is another link I just found, for magnets only: Magnet4US. The following site wants you to contact them with specs. These magnets are made in China: Chinese Magnets
These were all I got from a Google Search of "magnet-making equipment", although the VAC info link came to me through a search on "Permanent Magnets". VAC was on Page 2 of 9 pages. It is listed as being in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, although it is a German company, or Dutch. They publish magnetics research papers in German and in English that you can download from the VAC site, too, which I did.
Did I ever explain how important magnets are to electricity generation? Well, duh.
Sat 2/13/2010 2:10 PM Whirligig 2, Revision X
Copyright © 2010 by WindTapper
This whirligig has been twirling for so long that its half-bottles were no longer evenly spaced. Today I discovered there were no photos posted of it, after I realigned the half-bottles. It spins much better now which implies that there is more to its aerodynamics than I'd previously imagined. I don't have a clue how to model its aerodynamics, but I am considering how to better secure the even spacing between half-bottles. Anyway, here is the last photo of it that I took which is also prior to its realignment:
Fri 2/12/2010 1:25 PM The Next Step
I've been reading about electric circuits such as the Bridge Rectifier while looking for a voltage regulator circuit diagram. Alternators in cars have voltage regulators which might suffice for the purpose of powering a string of eight 12 volt LED lights off a homemade wind-powered electric generator. I fear that all I'll be able to manage are yard lights. I should try to put a battery and a photoresister so that power will go to the battery in the daylight, but light up the yard at night. Finding a way to wire up a battery where it will not freeze is another problem.
Anyway, the next step is to find the bearing I have from a neighbor's torn down ceiling fan. The next step involves cleaning house in order to find it! Wouldn't you know that The Merry Wives of Windsor contained lessons at its end, where the fairies tell what good wives should be doing, including sweeping, etc....
Hmmm. I wonder if I could find a wiring diagram from a battery charger? A battery charger should have some voltage regulation in it. Repair manuals often have wiring diagrams. Some of these are available on the web, too!
Wed 2/10/2010 7:00 AM Algae for CO2 Reduction
I am gathering here some links and photos so please stand by and/or visit later to see what I eventually bring to this entry.
The photo I was searching for is one from this site:
This strikes me as a not too shabby set-up for laundering the CO from coal smoke. Setting up diesel from algae plants is the next step after this -- that is, what to do with all the algae that is grown from "breathing" the CO.
 [Please go to the above site to see the photos there.]
Mon 2/8/2010 6:10 PM Fishing Leaders and a Small Ceiling Fan
I acquired some fishing leaders today. These are metal, wound wire with a metal clasp on one end and a swivel bearing with eyelets on the other end. These should make my whirligigs hang a bit longer than using fishing line to attach them to clasps and swivels.
I also priced some wire today at the hardware store. I found some inexpensive picture hanging, wound metal wire, but the galvanized steel wire that I found was too expensive, imho, to use either for electricity generation or for hanging whirligigs. I might change my mind, but I am looking more for fine, braided or wound wires, instead.
We have a small ceiling fan that was never taken out of its original box. Its blades are possibly less than a third the size of ceiling fans that reside in our home, and the bearing looks to be completely inadequate for my purposes as it is a ball shaped device housed by a round "cup-like" device -- much as the swivel bearings for fishing leaders are, but much larger than those.
I have a regular-sized ceiling fan that I removed from our living room and replaced with a hanging chandelier for light rather than wind. We have central air, so the fan is not necessary, but light is necessary.... The larger ceiling fan looks to have a much nicer central bearing on which to build a wind turbine, plus the housing for the magnets and wire windings is much larger than the other, smaller, and still boxed, fan.
Sun 2/7/2010 4:11 AM Forging Ahead
Whirligig 2's fishing line broke yesterday and I haven't replaced it yet. Some fishing leader line is fine wound metal. I plan to replace it with that.
I also happen to have purchased two sets of barbecue skewers on sale several years ago that may serve to link a central (plastic) shaft (a bookcase leg) to the plastic hoop from which the half-bottles hang. I am investigating a couple of ceiling fans on my workbenches now, to try to imagine how to attach the shaft to the ball bearing that turns in their middles.
If I cut the wooden handles of the skewers in half, then drill a hole  -- the way that the end that is attached to the skewer is -- in the newly cut-off half of the handle, I imagine I will be able to put the detached half onto the pointed end of the skewer. These half-handles, then could provide stops after I skewer the hoop and glue the second half to the tip of the skewer. In the middle, I could cut slits on opposite sides of the hollow plastic bookcase leg, and have skewered the leg, too. Of course, this would be done twice so the skewers meet perpendicularly in the center of the shaft at the center of the interior space of the hoop.
This all would be done twice for each leg so that two hoops drive each shaft. I suppose I should also mount each end of the shaft-leg onto a ball bearing somehow. Actually, the connections the ceiling fan uses for the blades of the fan should be my first priority site to consider because the opposite end of the bearing shaft should carry the magnets for generating electricity, I suppose. That is, above the bearing should be the electricity generator.
Fri 2/5/2010 3:41 PM Finally, A Rubber Band Broke
That is just an amusing way of saying that something that was shoemakered lost one of its elements due to breakage. One of the fishing line hangers broke, that is, and it is too cold outside to take the broken whirligig down off the line it is hanging from. This is the one that I hung at a corner of our house, where the most violent winds blow.
I had been waiting for something to break. The contortions these things go through is enough to break the fishing line, particularly. I am surprised that more hasn't broken so far. This storm is putting everything to the test. I'll have to start using wire more often in the construction of these for the longer term.
Also, the cost of inverters isn't all that bad except that one inverter I found from SMA-America is only guaranteed for two years. If we have to replace them every two years, that wipes out all the benefit of cost savings from generating our own electricity. This reminds me of my diesel Ford. I got 57 miles on the highway out of it but the time I drove into a snow bank, not realizing I had covered over the air intake which was down near the ground instead of on top like everybody else's air intake, required a $500 fix that wiped out all the cost benefits of driving a diesel car. That was 1985, and with a million Ford Escorts sold (not sure how many of these were diesels) the price of diesel rose for everybody. I seem to recall being upset when diesel reached 79 cents per gallon, equal to regular gasoline prices. So, diesel went from being 1/2 the price of regular to what it is now, more than regular. I had no idea that diesel supply was limited because truckers use it.
Until the economies of scale kick in to make the electronics required affordable, I fear that wind energy around the average household yard will remain too expensive for the average family to invest in, and that conclusion is based on calculating the minimum costs of setting up a system -- not that I have done the whole calculation yet.
Fri 2/5/2010 10:33 AM Decisions
With the ice and snow storm that is starting here in SE Ohio, I decided to bring Exp. 2, Rev. 4 out of the ice and snow, so I moved it back to the porch. Then I hung the original Exp. 2 up next to it, while Exp. Revised 3 now hangs from the new army ribbon at the corner of our house.
I was therefore able to compare the spinning speeds of all of these. Even at the higher concentration of wind, Exp. 3 Revised doesn't spin any faster than anything else. Also, Exp. 2, Rev. 4 spins only half as fast as Exp. 2 because Exp. 2 has the shortest turning radius. So, duh, I should develop the Exp. 2 configuration instead of trying to build more larger diameter turbines. That was my decision.
However, I told my husband this on his lunch hour and he reminded me that there may be more power with a longer radius. So, now I must not entirely abandon the larger turbines, but I am still going for the shorter diameter first.
Once I figure out how to attach a shaft to the ball bearing, I'll be able to use it for both. The larger diameter turbines, however, or going to be more complicated to connect to the shaft. That is another point in favor of the narrower diameter rigs....
Thu 2/4/2010 8:10 AM Experiment 4, Revision 1
Teachers sometimes like to open up class discussion -- which I heartily agree with, being a brain-stormer, myself -- saying, "There are no stupid questions." This is what Experiment 4 reminds me of -- my hidden response, "No. Only stupid answers, ha ha."
My reaction to the failure of this experiment was, "This is STUPID!" -- which is why I was trying to talk myself down from my failure. The first time I hung it up it had three sheets/fins/blades, but it didn't move AT ALL. Since I had only three sheets of this length, the fourth blade had to be sticky bubble wrapper. Now it only slowly oscillates about a quarter turn each way.
The reason I started with three sheets is because the Aussie Graeme Attey's three bladed, roof-top turbines turned very nicely (see G.A.1, G.A. 2, and G.A. 3) and I was trying out his idea. I guessed that my sheets probably were not wide enough, and that is what I intend to remedy in Rev. 2. The four sheets only give a slow and pitiful oscillation, you see. And the way I hang my hoops I need access to four equally spaced indentations on the hoops to tie the hangers to. (Graeme Attey's design has changed since I last saw it, too. The design now has three sections with the middle section having one blade and the two outer sections have two blades, plus a rod going down the center of all three. I was hoping to get to experiment with a central rod when I move to using ceiling fan cases and bearings.)
But I have lots of sticky bubble wrap and before I completely give up on Experiment 4 I will extend the width of the three pieces of fabric, using narrow strips of bubble wrap. This way I can more or less gloss over the hanger problem by leaving a small slit in between the sheet that must go over the hanger if I am to divide four equal parts into three equal parts.
If this next revision doesn't work, I'll probably cannibalize the three sheets out of Exp. 4 for Exp. 5, hanging the sheets either with or perpendicular to the wind, but closer to the centers of the hoops.
Oh yes. Here is my failed Experiment 4, Rev. 1.
Rev. 2 made virtually no improvement in performance.
I wish to note that G.A. 3 link above gives a current recommendation for the SMA Windy Boy 1100LV inverter, but that is from an Australian perspective. I'll have to look into SMA, however, to see if they make American style equipment.
Later Note: After a brief Google search I saw that SMA info is on Denmark and London websites. Something about a WindyBoy inverter from SMA-America advertised that one needs a WindyGirl voltage protection device and rectifier put between the wind turbine and the WindyBoy inverter. Anyway, please see WindyGirl.
I'd better get cracking on housework and job-finding or at least book-writing, at this rate of discovery....
Wed 2/3/2010 7:49 PM Nova - Saved By The Sun
program aired this evening. I went to the website for the house in Maine in order to find the name of the inverter so I could find a price for it somewhere. Trace XR is the name of the inverter but I couldn't locate it using Google, so far. Anyway, the guy's website is at Maine Solar House. The PBS website for Nova's program is at Saved By The Sun Nova Program.
Wed 2/3/2010 12:43 PM Exp. 3 Rev. 4 or 5
What used to be poetry in motion is now flashy and a bit lop-sided. Most of what I had thought was bird do-do turned out to have been sunflower seeds, and I never saw a squirrel jump onto Whirligig 3. I just figured it was only a matter of time before one did, which is why I cut out the middle. I was then faced with how to fix the locations of the half-bottles. I took the "grouping" tape from the middle and started wrapping pieces on the hoop in between each of the half-bottles, but the wrappings weren't thick enough to prevent the half-bottle necks from sliding over them.
I had a large stack of rubber bands, so I wound two and tied them together for bulkiness on each end of the interval, then I covered those with a shiny electrical tape. Now Whirligig three weighs more, I think, and it is a bit lopsided. I couldn't absolutely put the same amount of tape and rubber band into each interval. Woe is me.
Oh yes. I removed the lower level of fishing line that I had originally attempted to use for hanging this gig. I suppose I could call it a jig instead of a gig which is short for whirligig.
These things I will probably NOT do to Exp. 2, Rev. 4 or 5..... It is spinning just fine, thank you very much, since it has become a little windier than average this afternoon. I feel as though I virtually ruined the aesthetics of Whirligig 3, and its efficiency, too, has suffered....
Wed 2/3/2010 10:56 AM Further Revisions
Originally, I planned to put the magnets on the flat planes at the top and bottom of my whirligigs, but a design out in California has the magnets arrayed around the outside edge at the top of the turbine. So, perhaps I could simply remove the tape that I have making the top plane. This should make the turbine less of a temptation for squirrels to land on plus remove the plane that is now catching bird do-do under the bird feeders....
In Exp. 2 I have multiple planes, but now I could remove those planes which may be providing too much resistance. I could perhaps simply roll some of the tape back onto the hoop for stabilizing the locations of the half-bottles on the hoop.... Ditto for Exp. 3 and 4. The plane might have been concentrating the wind, but it was also blocking the wind on Exp. 2, on too many levels.
Wed 2/3/2010 9:59 AM Exp. 4 Proceding Apace
I cut up fabric last evening, trimmed it some more this morning, then ironed hems all around the pieces -- doubled-over hems that I then sewed up. Then I doubled over the end hems, stretching them around the widest part of the hoops to get a good idea where to sew the ends back together for stringing the hoop quarters.
I have a place planned for hanging this experiment on the front porch, but I decided I'd better wash the pieces before mounting them. I don't recall when I acquired this material, nor when it may have ever been washed. Since I have a dust allergy -- among many more allergies -- and because this prototype may end up as a test-model for wear and tear, also maintenance....
This morning I started a self-paced review of Basic Electricity. It goes so slowly I figure I'll have to either drive the stationary bike while reading it or else try the Eliptical workout machine.
So anyway, the whirligig fabric is sewn and washing now. I may as well iron a few of my husband's shirts now....
Wed 2/3/2010 9:45 AM Exp. 2 Revisions
Whirligig #2 seemed to be the best at spinning. It may still be except that it is not large enough to get much else spinning. Its compact radius let it spin faster, like when a figure skater pulls in his or her arms as he or she spins. The compact radius also prevented it from being subjected to no-wind situations compared to the larger radius experiment that was half occluded from the SW wind by the garage.
So, I mounted the half-bottles plus a few more of them (8 instead of only 5) onto a hoop. That was Rev. 1. Actually, I should have labeled it Experiment 1, Rev. 1 in the first place because the half-bottles are the same as Experiment 1. But I've been calling it Exp. 2 so long now that I'll just keep on doing that. Ahem. Back to Exp. 2. When I tried to put the clear tape across the hoop I found the tape interfered with the tops of the bottles, and for some reason I did not flatten the tape layer as I had in Exp. 3. Therefore, the list of differences is longer than expected. So now there are multiple levels of tape. I also pushed the tape back in order to allow the bottles a bit freer swing, on Exp. 2, so there are holes that are not in Exp. 3. I hope to correct that, eventually, and eventually flatten the tape so that I can get a better overall comparison based solely on the shape of the bottle, so I haven't yet numbered these differences.
Rev. 2 is that I cut off the half-necks of the bottles. Rev. 3 is that I cut off the half-bottoms plus up an inch or two -- at the line indention that comes with the bottles. This Rev. 3 reduced the weight of the bottles by 3 ounces. The extra ounce comes from the fact that Exp. 2 bottles were actually 1/2 bottomed, rather than 1/4 bottomed as in Exp. 3.
Another difference between Exp. 2 and 3 that I will correct is that I have two swivels stacked on top of each other in Exp. 3, but only one swivel in Exp. 2.
Last evening the wind was little. I hung Exp. 2 up from a major suet feeder that twisted in the wind which made Exp. 2, Rev. 3 into a wobbly critter. I'll have to correct that. Exp. 2 and 3 also have approximately 1 1/2 feet of altitude difference. On the one hand, having them different altitudes lessened their interference with each other's wind reception. On the other hand, I got to watch as first one, then the other, took turns turning. Some day I may figure out what was happening there, but not today....
Tue 2/2/2010 7:45 PM Experiment #4
I strung (for some reason this seems like the past tense to me -- that I should be saying something like "I strang" but the dictionary doesn't recognize "strang") some green army "ribbon" between a Black Walnut tree and a corner of our house. I went out of my way today to find a hook to put into the house (found it at Kroger's of all places) but of all things, there was already a hook exactly where I had wanted to put one. And, it is such an out-of-the-way place that it is a marvel to me that a hook was there. It is behind a downspout, btw.
I also made sure to put knots in the ribbon in nearly regular intervals so that I could hang a whirligig and have it not slide along the ribbon in the wind, before I attached it to the tree. I found some neat hooks that have two holes for nails/spikes in order to attach them to trees. The hooks were 75 cents apiece. That's not bad, but I had to buy a box of nails/spikes. I had also purchased some swivel hooks, plus some larger tree hooks, and fancy white hooks, but today I found regular ceiling hooks that were white at Kroger's.
I'll be taking a photo and giving manufacturers of these things, eventually. Anyway, I found some useless fabric in the cupboard. It has been years since I acquired it either for free or for $1/yd and I still hadn't found any use for it. Now I have it measured -- after a fashion -- and I'll use some of it to make Whirligig #4. It has an irregular stripe pattern. It was funny. The fabric reminded my husband that he had to pay a credit card bill. While I was cutting it up it reminded me of some dead cats that had fallen out of some truck -- I guess -- onto the highway in the Florida Keys. They reminded me that stupid college kids probably bring their unwanted cats to Florida and dump them on the highway -- like they do around here. We live a mile outside of a small college town and there are plenty of feral cats. One mile north of town there is a nasty feral dog problem, too. Anyway, it was strange about that old fabric reminding us of different things that way....
I chose an end of this long piece of fabric that had lots of spots on it as my first cut into the fabric. This whirligig will be shorter than I had originally planned but at least I get rid of the spots this way and waste the worst on the first attempt at this style of whirligig. It is all a learning experience, anyway....
This whirligig will have two hoops with three strips of fabric attached between the hoops as fins. I'll be simply attaching the fabric to the hoops this time, and not to cross pieces. I will anchor this gig at the bottom, too. Since it is shorter than I'd envisioned, I'll just hang it on the porch to start, although, I plan on putting a hook to hang it from that is approximately a foot and a half forward of the hook I've been hanging gigs from. That way I'll have the wind when it comes from either of two opposing directions instead of from only one of the two directions.
Sat 1/30/2010 10:10 AM Whirligig 3, Rev. 3
As I reported a few days ago, I shortened the half-bottles on Experiment 3 twice after adding a better central connection for hanging this whirligig. The photo cannot capture its aesthetic value as it turns, especially when compared to Whirligig 2.
The original hook-up for hanging it is uselessly still present, causing a very small amount of wind resistance, but I suppose I can think of it as a back-up if the proper hanging joint fails.
As reported earlier, cutting the 1/4 bottoms off Whirligig 3 sped up the rate of rotation, but shortening these blades another 1 to 1 and 1/2" did not improve the speed of rotation. However, the blades altogether in rotation now approach "poetry in motion." The static photo cannot convey this whirligig's beauty as it spins.
Thu 1/28/2010 3:52 AM Whirligig 3, Rev. 3
I cut another 1 and 1/2 inches off the bottoms of the half-jugs because there was still some curvature approaching where the bottom was formerly that I felt was counter-productive. This cut weighed another ounce which surprised me because it appears to be twice the area as the 1/4 bottoms I cut off in Rev. 2. However, the bottoms are thicker than the sides.
Anyway, I noticed no improvement in its ability to spin due to Rev. 3. I am considering cutting some corners on the sides, now, to further reduce counter-productive wind resistance. However, I'll wait a while, to observe Rev. 3 longer, before I make the next cut.
I made Rev. 3 sooner, rather than later, in order to try to take advantage of the similarilty in the wind flow between Rev. 2 and Rev. 3, since I had waited so little between them.
Thu 1/28/2010 2:59 AM Whirligig 3, Rev. 2
I cut only the bottoms off the half-bottles. The cumulative weight I removed is one ounce of material. It does seem to be spinning a little faster now. The wind is from the East, however, which is the relative direction in which all our wind chimes now hang in relation to Whirligig 3's position on the porch.
It is misting now, which the weather radar is not yet picking up, and the prevailing wind, which the radar does show, is from the Northwest. I see now that the prevailing surface wind is from the East, even though the upper level winds are from the West.
The half-bottles are situated to take advantage of the Eastern flow, rather than the Western flow. They are opposite to Whirligig 2.
Thu 1/28/2010 2:13 AM Turbulence
John A. Kuecken dismisses all the area around and near buildings as being too turbulent wind-wise for serious electricity generation. This area includes everything not at least twice as high as the building, plus 20 unit-lengths behind the building in the direction that the prevailing winds flow, and 2 units in front of the building, on the prevailing wind side. The unit is the height of the building.
So, what I am reporting is that Experiment 3 -- that is, Whirligig 3 -- suffers from turbulence because it is wider than Experiment 2 and it hangs from our front porch roof. In addition to the building's turbulence-factor, we have several hills crowding our lot. The wind that flows most today at the level of the whirligig is from the Northeast when the upper-level wind pattern is the prevailing wind for this time of year -- out of the Northwest. I wonder whether the prevailing wind flowing over the tops of the hills doesn't somehow create an opposite suction on the valley, lol, although, the flow of the creek as I wrote earlier, creates a small wind in itself which is from the East by South.
Where Whirligig 3 hangs its diameter also matters because only half of it would receive the full force of Western winds, as opposed to Whirligig 2 which is narrower. I also reversed the direction of the "blades" on this turbine. I am getting ready to cut 1/4 to 1/2 of each blade off, to see how that effects its ability to turn. The weight, and also the counter-force of the bottoms of the half-bottles may be other confounding factors.
I think, though, I should cut the least amount, first. That way I'll have two cuts possible -- two comparisons rather than only one. I'll be able to see if anything about the spin becomes progressively something, lol, with each cut.
Wed 1/27/2010 11:10 AM Experiment Number 3 Photo
I made one improvement to Number 3. Originally I hung it from the center of two fishing lines that I crossed horizontally in the middle of the plastic hoop. This was not a stable location as the wind could move this supposed center in all four directions, but not at the same time, lol.
Anyway, I strung three more lines, one of which connected to opposite sides of the hoop and ran through the bottom "O" of the lower of two ball swivels. Then I realized that not fixing the swivel's location in the center was exactly the problem. So then I strung two fixed-length line hangers between the side of the hoop and the center swivel. This improved the whirligig's overall turning performance, removing a bunch of wobble, although it seems to like turning when the wind has tilted the hoop off the horizontal plane -- but that could be a result of greater wind. It is hard to say whether the device works best in high wind, or best on an incline.
Anyway, I promised a photo. The following photo is of the device with its revised hanging apparatus. Again: sorry I don't have a video camera to show the motion but it was spinning when the photo was taken.
BTW, I don't recommend this set of elements -- especially the way the half-bottles are cut and hung. Their wind resistance has not so great of a difference between one side of the half-bottle and the other side, compared to the first two experiments. Neither the ultimate surfaces of this half-bottle, nor their ultimate presentation to the wind in Experiment 3 are optimal uses of potential resources for generating electricity using wind power.
Also, the angle at which the half-bottles hang doesn't present great resistance because the neck region is too narrow on this particular cut. The angle that they hang, also, is less than the best angle for resistance. It was very convenient to hang them from their necks, but this does not present the best resistance to the wind, in other words. Also, in shifting winds, the backsides of the half-bottles make this design "not know which way it wants to go". Possibly competing forces between the wind hitting the inside and the wind hitting the outside of these half-bottles does not result in a great enough difference between the two directions it can spin. All-in-all this is a bit of a loser design.
I haven't decided, though, whether or not it will have some benefit to be incorporated into a larger design, but probably its comparative weight knocks it out of the running for inclusion in my future experiments.
However, I'm wondering if I cut the 1/4 bottoms off these half-bottles, if I might not get some improvement in its performance. If I do this, I'll call it Exp. 3, Revision 2. I am not so sure I want to sacrifice these half-bottles in this way, though. I'll have to look at my supply of half-bottles, first, although we have another couple months-worth of bottles coming.
Tue 1/26/2010 7:31 PM Whirligig Number 3
isn't working out so well. Actually, I did another one in between 2 and 3 but I got so disgusted with it so quickly that I didn't even count it. I tore it apart right away.
I got these plastic quarters of hoops of several different colors from the website today, and made a couple hoops. Originally, I had envisioned two hoops with the fins of the whirligig somehow stretching between the two hoops that were "stacked" vertically on top of one another. But I had these half-bottles handy already and tested whether or not the hoops could be threaded into the bottle necks and handles. The answer is "yes" for both, but a single hoop with either half-bottle threaded, so far, nets nothing.
Of course it didn't help that the wind was going in the opposite direction from the way it usually goes, but these vertical axis whirligigs are supposed to work no matter which way the wind is blowing....
So anyway, the two-tiered whirligig will be my next project for wind turbine experiments. However, I have a housecleaning project that begs my attention for the next two and a half days. I want to get the center of the house in shape before the cable guy comes to install our new telephone hookup. I don't really care what he thinks of our house, but it is a goal to help me get things better organized, anyway....
I'll get a picture of whirligig number 3 tomorrow so you can laugh at it with me.
Mon 1/25/2010 3:05 PM Whirligig News
I took down the heavier of the two whirligigs made from cut-up, 1 gallon, plastic water jugs, replacing it with the lighter weight whirligig. A squirrel seemed to jump onto it and left as soon as he saw evidence that I was coming.
Tomorrow high winds are predicted, in the 25-35 mph range. Some higher winds already arrived and my light-weight whirligig got completely tangled with our 2nd Honeymoon Wind Chime momento. (I wonder how you spell momento? It is not in my dictionary.) Anyway, observing how the whirligig does in high winds will be instructive. I probably should anchor it at its bottom so that it flies straight.
On general design topics, I suddenly remembered how people object to magnetic flux from high power transmission lines and now see why the last company I contacted about their gizmos puts them up on 18-foot poles. My gizmos (also not in my dictionary) shouldn't have their magnets where they subject people to magnetic flux, which means that I'll be trying to put the magnets on top -- above the turbine-driver whirligig sections of my wind-powered electricity generators. That is OK because I'll be hanging these from eaves and the porch roof, anyway. If you look at ceiling fans, you'll see that their magnet drivers are encased above their fans. They are actually driven by electricity that turns the magnets, which is opposite of how electricity generators work, but the configurations are similarly oppositional and the magnets and wire windings are positioned in proximity to each other in both generators and motors.
My Internet research into finding DC to AC converters and AC to AC frequency converters is at my other blog, Windtapper's Journal.
Mon 1/25/2010 4:36 AM Slightly Newer Kuecken Book
I found on Amazon:
Alternative Energy Projects for the 1990's
The one-and-only review of this book is by a person who says he or she is in the alternative energy research industry; this book seems to have been written in the mid-1980's; but he/she learned a few things from it.
I am currently searching for some other book to order from Amazon so that I can get free shipping, lol....
Sun 1/24/2010 12:59 PM How to Make Home Electricity From Wind, Water & Sunshine is a book by John A. Kuecken. I can't believe it!. I am on page 122 of this book, starting from its beginning. Its copyright is 1979. I should check to see if there is a later edition.
A major portion of the tough electrical considerations are front-loaded in this book, I guess in order to make clear that the electrical stuff is very important, very necessary, very hazardous, and very tricky before finally getting to the fun stuff which is designing vertical turbines for wind power. I am now reading about the earliest design of the book, "The Portuguese or Jib Mill" after a brief discussion about water wheels, pumping water, steam engines, and some more rather obtuse information about lift and drag on propeller blades; plus the different origins of vertical axes vs propeller-bladed turbines....
The Portuguese or Jib Mill needed a lot of tweaking attention given to its sail, but I like the way its multiple masts grab onto the driver hub.... Next is the Dutch Windmille.... I'm looking forward to it....
Wed 1/20/2010 6:23 PM WePower
You gotta see these videos and announcements. I ran into this website in the catalog: WePower.US. I sure hope this stuff exists.
These guys make several sizes of "vertical axis" wind electric generators, marketing specifically to light billboards, but all of the models call for 18-foot pole mounting. No prices were listed on the website, which is always a bad sign. They have a link to "Reserve your wind turbine" without prices posted anywhere. Hrumph!
They are out in California and say they had their first dealer training.
But you can see some of their designs for the things I am trying to build.
I got to them because I decided to look for small turbines where I could buy the electrical parts while supplying my own designs for the turbine blades. 18-foot poles are not my idea of fun, either. Mine must sit on the ground or stand next to our house. These guys say you can mount these on your roof and that they have no vibration, which is possible, given the more compact blade configurations.
But I'll need to get a job in order to be able to afford the electrical stuff.
Aw shucks. I sent WePower a query anyway.
Wed 1/20/2010 3:50 PM A Tab Book by John A. Kuecken
 is what I am reading now: How to Make Home Electricity From Wind, Water & Sunshine, Blue Ridge Summit: 1979. As of page 28 I've been introduced to how phases affect current and wattage, plus several factors that must be considered in order to assure safety. Number one consideration is that electricity is generated whether or not there is a load on the system, which is definitely a fire hazard, lol, when no load -- that is, nothing drawing the power off, either by operating from the electricity, or shunting the electricity off to a battery.
Definitely a ground fault interrupt is in order.... Apparently, safety considerations are the biggest problem with generating electricity, then comes the form such as whether to stick with DC after rectification or to put an AC generator onto the electricity. Lots of options exist, which means that clear instructions, signage and warnings need to be in place all over the device regarding the electricity, not to mention instruction manuals. Building failsafe systems is my goal, besides building potentially additive devices for larger systems.
I'll be reading on, and on. I am sure that newer devices have been invented since 1979, too. I am currently getting "live" feeds from Thomasnet manufacturers in the electricity generating areas.... There is a capacitor analyzer available, for example, that lets you check capacitors within the circuit without disconnecting them....
Mon 1/18/2010 11:47 PM Paul Gipe Book
I am now reading Paul Gipe's book called Wind Energy Basics: A Guide to Small and Micro Wind Systems, which I recommend. As a part of A Real Goods Solar Living Book series, it was published in 1999 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company at both White River Junction, Vermont, and Totnes, England. Its Dewey Decimal call number is 621.31 '2136 (or Gi is its second line -- at least at our library) and Library of Congress Call Number: TJ820.G55 1999 -- for those of you who crave bibliotherapy as I do, lol.
Warning: this author repeatedly dismisses the kinds of activities that I engage in, for several reasons: 1. wind turbulence near structures causes extra-ordinary wear and tear on wind turbines; 2. mounting wind turbines on structures transmits untenable vibrations to occupants of the structures (p. 41); 3. structures such as buildings and trees diminish wind speeds ("power-robbing turbulence", pp. 41, 71-5); 4. "novel" wind turbine development is perpetual yet designs "take" investors and are perpetually abandoned (pp. 38-40).
In my defense, 1. I am not in the market for "hapless" investors -- other than my husband who supports me and participates with his ideas and his pin money (such as fishing swivels so far) to this endeavor/hobby/retooling of mine. 2. My stated purpose is creating educational materials and activities related to wind power device development. My education comes first, except that I post entries of my experiments, regardless of the experiments' efficacy -- that is, no matter how stupid they make me look. 3. Gipe completely dismisses wind turbines mounted less than 2 times the height of nearby structures such as houses, trees, and hills. This leaves us a whole environment in which to experiment. Gipe says that such experiments and novel turbine development have bilked unwary investors, but I say that since we are playing in "non-commercial" spaces, let us tinkerers/inventors/children have our fun and educational activities. Oh and by the way, "we'll show you." 4. I intend not to mount vibrating wind generators on any structure because smaller turbines such as easily rotated on ceiling fan ball bearings shouldn't qualify as "vibrators." 5. Structures: while Gipe calls structures "turbulence creators" -- I call them wind concentrators. 6. The electrical portion of wind power generation I mostly leave to Gipe's outlines of what to do and what not to do. I will be taking Gipe's advice on where to find various electrical devices, although I imagine I will need to figure out how much electricity massage will need to be built or bought for the individual, small turbines that I will build, prior to linking them all together into one local/household energy "grid." That is, rectifiers, ground-fault interrupts, etcl, needed to convert the electricity into manageable and safe forms of power.
Later Note: I was up all night scanning this book into our computer for future reference. This way I can return it to the library and still have it....
Later Still: After doing all that work, scanning this book, several days later I discovered there is a 2nd Edition of the book. I ordered it. That Amazon has QUITE a business model, I can report. They notified me that a book I'd ordered but that wasn't available when I'd ordered it was available now. So I went into Amazon to see about the book, to see if I still wanted it, to see if I could now cancel it and save money. Their "Key Phrases" feature intrigued me and led me to look at more books. I ordered another one along the same lines... by John Barton, then Amazon kept egging on my purchases with "$14 more qualified purchases and you can get free shipping" so I looked for wind energy books, after not finding any more from actors speaking Shakespeare, etc. -- which was the topic of the book that would be arriving next month after the wait.... So I ended up charging $55. What a trip!
Mon 1/18/2010 1:45 PM Capacitors
I hate batteries, so I'll be in the market for some "SMOKIN'" capacitors. Also, I am off to see the wizard (Google and to find yard lights that run off DC current. I'll have to also find those light-detectors that will keep the lights off until dark.
So, I am going to have to study about capacitors again, too. Oh, a woman's work is never done. Right after I set the dishwasher on with a full load....
Mon 1/18/2010 1:03 PM Experiment #2 Results
As per the two turbines I hung up -- reported in the previous entry -- the one on the right is the first one I cobbled together. It weighs more than the one on the left weighs. The one on the right is too heavy for the tiny ball bearing swivel to ever release, so that turbine winds itself up until it can wind no more. It then releases itself in the opposite direction when the other turbine has ceased to spin because the wind has stopped blowing hard enough to spin either of them.
The one on the left is also in a spot where the wind is more concentrated, by the front of the garage, so they are not exactly receiving the same amount of wind. The one on the right spins faster when the wind blows hard enough to spin them both and the one on the right is not wound up too tightly....
I am considering hanging a ceiling fan base on the porch now, if I can find it. That is a major reason for cleaning the house, now, to find things....
Mon 1/18/2010 12:35 PM Two Spinning Wind Turbine Experiments
Finally, I have hung my first two wind turbine experiments up on our front porch in order to compare how each of them spins. The first one is on the right. It has only four blades and is weighted down by a plastic hors d'ouevre tray that has a plastic tree standing at its middle. It turns slower than the other one except when the wind blows hard. Then it is in a better spot to get concentrated wind. They both spin gayly then.... Sorry the pic is not a video to show movement. I couldn't talk my husband into getting a video camera this year. We spent too much on vacation and souvenirs such as the wind chime from the Florida Keys that is just to the left of Experimental Turbine #1.
Oh. Here's the picture:
Sun 1/17/2010 11:09 PM Searching for Ball Bearings Supplier
I spent entirely too much time online looking for a supplier of ball bearings. On the other hand, I spent not enough time finding a source of information ABOUT ball bearings. It seems that there is much jargon in this field of mechanical engineering....and not too terribly much available in simplified form....Except for looking at stuff on the web....
I found a couple sites and a couple sources, but I don't know much about ball bearings yet.... Still, I should get to know as much as possible because they provide stability compared to swivels that fishermen use, lol... I found a good place to get one or two things. I think they are called "" or something like that....
I have all this stuff recorded in a Word document but it is too late to report it all. 2 a.m. and time to go to sleep....
Sun 1/17/2010 8:11 AM Business Cards
I want to scratch some thoughts about a possible business card here, but I must substitute my handle for my actual business name due to anonymity considerations in this cyberspace environment. That being said, let me scratch away at the "surface" that we have available on Blogit -- this entry.
Educational Activities and Materials related to Design, Development, Implementation, Maintenance, Display, Testing, Building, and Advertising of
Clean Power Supplies 
WindTapper Industries, Clean Power Supplies 
Fri 1/15/2010 8:48 AM Bottle Cuts
Various options for how to cut up the 1 gal. plastic water jugs include designs that 1. maximize strength for attachment purposes; 2. minimize weight; 3. utilize the most area of the bottle, rather than having to throw away nearly half the bottle; or 4. don't worry about the maximum utilization of the bottle, throwing away nearly half of each bottle.
Type A Cuts fall under #1, above: Maximize strength for attachment purposes; and #3. Utilize the most area of the bottle.
Several photos will follow. I placed broken lines along the surfaces to be cut and provide several perspectives on Type A-1 and Type A-2 Cuts. The difference between the cuts is how flat or not flat the handle portion of the bottle becomes. There are X's on one or two photos. These are the starting point for cutting, indicating the place to pierce the bottle with the tip of the scissors.
NOTE: DO NOT USE fabric scissors. You will ruin them and make some lady of the house upset by doing so. Obtain and use those VERY inexpensive scissors they are selling at Lowe's right now for under $2.00 apiece.
Type B bottles have their necks cut in half while the handles are preserved intact. Almost half of this bottle is thrown away to recycling rather than being used in test devices.
Type C bottles have their middle sections -- on a vertical plane -- removed in order to reduce weight.
All of these variations are going to be tested in various configurations of turbines. Don't think I won't also try these in water-powered contraptions, lol.
The cut-lines above can be described verbally. Most often, the cut-lines follow a line that you can see in the plastic bottle -- if you hold it so the light hits it right.
The Type numbering system will get more complicated as I finally start to assemble devices for testing in our yard. Some of the Type A-1 cut-up pieces -- the ones with the handles -- these will be cut up further, possibly cutting into the handles.
Wed 1/13/2010 12:22 PM WindTapper Toys
I should be able to sell lightweight wind-powered, small electric generators to toy stores. Too bad that other toy companies have such huge organizations compared to mine. I wonder if there are trade fairs for toys? Ooooh! I know about trade fairs.
I could try to sell this stuff at our local markets, too. Hmmm.... Not to mention on the Internet.... In person is so much better. Don't you think?
Part of the fun is in assembling it. I must go to MindWare with this. Perhaps I should try to Trademark my brand, WindTapper Toys. What kind of picture could I use? Do I need a picture? I'd better look up Trademark requirements.
Wed 1/13/2010 12:02 PM Experimental Mounts
On the roof of our little convenience store I saw a satellite dish, somehow mounted to a pallet, on which were arrayed possibly 6 cement blocks. The pallet, then, could act like a kind of sled. It would be movable.... Now why didn't I think of that?
Probably because I am not a guy. That is, I am not exposed to guys' ideas as much as other guys are....
A movable mount makes comparisons a bit more valid, as for different types of locations with the same device, although, wear and tear on the devices could diminish the comparisons' validity. But still, moving from place to place, I'd get comparisons that were at least noticeably different. Then there are changes not only in wind speed but also direction. OK. So these comparisons are not going to be scientifically provable, but all I need are comparisons for design considerations -- not for either rocket science or medicinal applications.
Wed 1/13/2010 9:40 AM Ball Bearings and 50 1/4 Hoops
I'm thinking this morning about how I should stabilize the plane that has the magnets mounted on it -- in future, since I haven't yet built the thing. And, touching the ceiling fan, I see that there isn't much resistance to spinning it. So, now I'm on a different type of tangent, one that involves actually connecting the top and bottom planes of the turbine so that it won't get all skewed with differing speeds.
All this adds weight.
Also, I am groping for ways to mount the devices. I almost started drawing plans for making a lattice-roof on our back deck for mounting ceiling fan ball bearings; plus thinking about metal rods on which to mount the stacked and short devices....
Oh, wait! I just now looked at the hoops I thought I was ordering. They are not 50 hoops but 50 QUARTERS of hoops. Instead of 25 devices at two hoops per device, I have 50/4 or 12 1/2 hoops, for 6 devices. This means the cost is 4 X 1.12 plus shipping, or $4.48 per device. Oops....
Tue 1/12/2010 7:16 AM Varying Heights
In my excitement about becoming an entrepreneur once again, ideas are bubbling forth like spring water over Niagara Falls. Our back porch deck has no roof and I am already working on designing a roof that will hang my devices. Placement of the devices will show how much more wind there will be next to the building than out in the yard. Corners of buildings concentrate the wind, so the devices should be shorter and stacked at the corners, like the sketch I show.
Places where there is less wind should have taller devices. The shorter ones will, collectively, generate more electricity. Perhaps not taller, but wider ones will work better in lower-wind locations, just above the ground, for example. The ground is like a building for funneling the wind, too....
I have so many ideas that this is very exciting! And setting up a business website, I hear, is not too complicated these days.... But first, prototype production; study of electricity generation; wiring diagrams; wire windings; framework for hanging the contraptions....the list is pretty near endless.... Hooray!
Tue 1/12/2010 6:07 AM Blow-Up This Morning
Boy, my husband and I surely got into it this morning! I think that neither of our brains function well first thing in the morning. I felt he was calling me an idiot when he doubted I could generate electricity with my wind designs -- which he said he wasn't saying, later. He said he was not calling me an idiot, but I thought he was an idiot because I think he thinks that moving a magnet over a wire winding causes friction of some sort or takes extra force to push it past a winding.
No. Well, of course, there is wind resistance, but not the kind of mechanical resistance I think he imagines. Wire windings such as copper, brass, and aluminum don't attract magnets, so there is little force required to move a suspended magnet. The only resistance is in the ball bearing at the top of the contraption. The amount of weight that hangs from the ball bearing is the operative factor, not resistance against the magnetic flux lines of the magnets that will be revolving over the stationary windings.   
A bit about whirligigs on the PBS Antiques Road Show yesterday appears
Tue 1/12/2010 5:23 AM Entrepreneur, I
Entrepreneur. That is I. I am going to make a business out of making and selling small electric wind generators!
Already I've been on the Internet for a couple hours this morning, looking for low-cost suppliers of parts -- at least, now, for building my prototypes. Several suppliers popped up, although, I still haven't been able to figure out B2B suppliers. I'll negotiate, though.
One supplier of rings appears to be an American Indian manufacturer of dream-catchers and other Indian products. Buying from American Indians makes me happy, although, I am more interested in plastic rings the size of hoola-hoops. Probably I have an oriental supplier at present. 50 hoops for $28 with shipping. At 2 hoops per contraption, that is $1.12 for hoops per generator with supplier shipping charge added.
Landscape fabric came in at 57 cents per square yard but the shipping charge takes that off the table -- at 81 cents per square yard, with shipping. I'll check out Lowes to see if they carry this light-weight fabric that gardeners can use to protect plants from frost....
I'm on a roll! Plastic Hoops Metal Hoops
Mon 1/11/2010 8:44 PM Ball Bearing Swivel Spinning
Our fluorescent bulbs were burnt out in my husband's fishing room. That is why it has taken so long for us to find the proper fishing equipment from which to hang my "spinning Jenny." I tried two other swivels that actually did not spin, thus the line would get wound so tight that it would not spin again until pressure was released from it.
The picture shows three swivels. The top one looks black but is actually chrome and it doesn't spin. The bottom swivel is practically black but looks chromish here. Then, up from the bottom chromis-looking swivel is a blue line that hangs the chromish-looking swivel from the ball bearing swivel, that hangs, in turn, from the chrome swivel.
Perhaps I should take a picture of the ball-bearing swivel alone.  Anyway, the five half-bottles are tied together at their handles in the center and hung from the swivels so they can rotate freely in a breeze -- which they are doing nicely as I type this entry.
Let's see. There were a couple other things to show you. Oh yes. The "spinning Jenny" contraption as it is built so far, hung by fishing line and swivels from a camera tripod by a cold air return grate in order to take advantage of relatively constant wind during these very cold days and nights:
Mon 1/11/2010 1:58 AM More Cutting Up: Unsuccessful or Developmental Experiment 1
I have been experimenting with other ways to cut up the plastic jugs. The main one I tried last evening aimed at having both half jugs have a reinforced section, but also removed as much excess weight as possible. Basically, this entailed cutting out the center seam somewhat assymetrically -- perhaps two-three inches wide, whose incision goes right between the collar on the neck of the bottle and the handle. The collar & neck go with one half; the handle goes with the other half of the jug.
OK. This needs a picture, but I am currently too lazy to produce them. Ma ñana.
I cut up several bottles this way but am now in a quandary how to mount them. These shapes don't readily lend themselves to fitting together comfortably in a pinwheel fashion....
I should have pix, but I think I'll reserve those for my next SUCCESSFUL experiment, lol. 
Or else I could start up a string of experiments called Unsuccessful, plus perhaps a series of experiments called Ongoing or Developmental, lol, for those that might lead somewhere eventually -- but "Developmental" can be said of ANY experiment over the long term....
Sat 1/9/2010 8:25 AM Experiment 1
I put together a couple experimental wind rotators. I call them rotators because I haven't yet gotten to actually building the apparatus -- magnets plus windings -- that would be mounted onto the wind generator to make electricity. We are in very PRELIMINARY steps here.
I hung the device using fishing line. The "blades" are half-bottles from Walmart Distilled Water jugs. I used a swivel from my husband's fishing gear, but it does not actually work as a ball bearing. My husband says he actually has some swivels that are ball bearings and he will find me some when he gets the time. I should take a picture of this device that I hung from a tripod, to rotate next to our cold air return in our dining room. Night before last it was so cold that the heat was on all night, so I had plenty of time to observe and experiment with it.
The fishing line turns only so far before the tension is too great for it to turn anymore, without an actual ball bearing to hang it from. On nights when the heat goes on and off, it will rotate first in one direction, then the other, with a greater frequency. On cold nights such as we've been having, the frequency of reversal   is much less.
I added the yellow padded mailer underneath in order to lessen the amount of space between the floor and the half-bottles that were spinning around. the fishing line is difficult to see. When I leaned the two pieces of cardboard against the tripod's legs, the device spun faster.
Here's a closer look:
The bottles are attached at their handles using a series of rubber bands.
As for actual ball bearings, I plan to mount half-bottles onto the bearing contraption that lies within an old ceiling fan that has been dismantled, although, I haven't yet looked very closely at how I might accomplish that mounting.
Thu 1/7/2010 2:21 PM Snow on My Last Wind Power Design
This Mid-Western Snow would have put the cabash on my stacked wind devices, except I was going to hang them from ropes which could -- in a pinch -- be shaken. But the snow from the higher devices would fall on the lower ones.
Now that I think on it, all those solar panels and wind devices need some way to protect them from snow, or remove snow from them. What about the next ice age, which seems relatively immanent? (Hey! There talking about a minus 57 degrees in the northern U.S. West tonight! Shades of The Day After Tomorrow?) So much for horizontal solar panels. Some German engineers have a vertical panel designs for solar, on the other hand.
I'll have to factor in a roof covering for my wind devices, although we do have wide eaves on our house that leave a lot of the ground next to the house dry in rain and snowstorms....
Mon 1/4/2010 6:55 AM Second Thoughts
Now that I think on it, the planes in the previous entry are not necessary. Nothing requires the magnets to be mounted on planes. It is only the magnets' relationship to the stationary windings, as the magnets rotate, that matters. The magnets should get as close as possible to the stationary windings, however. But in windy situations, you need some leeway, lol, because everything will be swinging in high winds.
Mon 1/4/2010 6:17 AM Tree WindTapper
With my current ideas on tapping the power of wind to generate electricity, I got an idea for hanging a parallel series of these from a tree. Unfortunately, the tree is in our front yard, so I don't expect it to happen anytime soon. Still, the idea exists...
The half-jugs (please see previous pix) rotate in the wind, rotating a plane that has magnets on it, suspended above stationary wire windings to generate the movement of electrons. This configuration is duplicated and stacked, with the power output traveling down the central wire to the electricity phase massagers at the bottom, in between the anchors, where one can tap into the electricity.
This tree limb, by the way, is one I wish to prune because my baby Bartlett Pear tree will be growing up into its branches in a year or two. Such windings around a tree and/or limb will eventually kill the tree and/or limb, you see. So, even if this set-up were to work it would only be relatively temporary unless it was hung correctly -- that is, would not restrict growth.
A, B, C, and D, are merely four of eight points where the stationary planes are pinned to vertical lines so that they won't rotate. Oh yes. The anchors cannot be too taut because the tree and the limb will sway in the wind.
Mon 1/4/2010 5:38 AM Factors of Plastics Use
The plastic from WalMart's Distilled Water jugs is so flimsy that I doubt it will last very long in a functioning wind electric generator. This means that even a good design would be high-maintenance using this material. I'll have to simply chalk it up to inexpensive experimentation. This plastic breaks down in the sun and has little material strength to stand the structural stresses I will expose it to, such as having to pin it down to the plane that I wish to rotate. That pinning joint will tear fairly quickly, even if I spread the forces using webbing of some sort. The plastic will disintegrate on its own.
Also, my devices must contend with busy-body squirrels looking for a hand-out....
On the other hand, perhaps if I secure the half-jugs with webbing, the plastic will "rot" away, leaving webbing that could actually adapt its form to wind condition -- billowing and filling out with the wind in whatever direction it blows. In that case, the plastic half-jugs would merely provide a temporary framework for web design and/or fitting....
Sorry, guys, but as these projects evolve, I "think out loud" here. Somebody recently said -- it was Goldie Hawn on The Actors Studio -- that creativity is life and that creativity is lonely.
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