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WindTapper's Blog

November 2011

Electrical Data and Mapping Magnetic Fields

Please be advised that this entry will probably grow slowly, over time, meaning that it will change much -- especially today, Nov. 30th 2011.

I have been looking for electrical resistivity data in various places on the web, although I probably have books around here somewhere with tables of data. So far the data I have seen has been either variable or I have not been able to understand it. "Ohm meter" has units that so far have boggled my mind to try to imagine them, for example.

Anyway, one site that seems useful: I am trying to calculate the number of amperes that I might expect to flow out of a 30 AWG copper wire that is some 3300 feet long. First I have to understand some of the figures that I am getting off the web, but also I have gone back to basic electricity formulas, and am reviewing some basic principles of electricity.

I must also be wary of the average website's data. For example, does not state which metal the AWG applies to. I assume that the website designer is referring to copper, but I am somewhat accustomed to finding comparisons among metals so the lack of the explicit naming of the element from which the wire is made makes me uneasy.

The modot site above says that the smaller the diameter of the wire, the greater the voltage. This makes sense from the perspective that the greater the diameter of the wire, the greater the conductivity, which is inversely proportional to resistivity.

The ohmslawcalculator site indicates that 3000 feet of 30 AWG wire should have approximately 310 ohms resistance. Mind you, I will not believe this until I can confirm it somehow....

I have other things to do today, but I am interested in getting back to the modot site as soon as possible to finish reading there....

What I have been obsessing about of late has to do with getting too little amps. Using the I = V/R formula I was getting only 0.01 amps for a $35 spool of 30 AWG wire, based on a 1700 ohms figure I had derived from some website for 3300 feet of wire. The site I found this morning has 310 ohms for 3000 feet of wire, which gives 0.06 amps if 18 volts are in fact produced. This is still not much, especially since AC gives even less power than the straight DC calculations.

I have started working toward reducing the diameters of my spools in order to get more turns per foot. This takes me back to the smaller magnets, by the way, and spacing them closer together so that more coils can be gotten onto the outside perimeter. My next mapping project will be working with the 2 lb lift, 1 inch high horseshoe magnets. But first I must clear off a table that has no metals in it. I finally realized that my previous magnetic field mapping might have been affected by metal fasteners in my table, so I will be rechecking all of those maps before displaying them here.

Also, I get "funny" shapes sometimes that may or may not be caused by the differences between the South and North poles. Certainly the fields are different when another magnet is nearby, so I will have to examine a completed rotor some day. Perhaps I will find inconsistencies among the magnets due either to differences in their manufacture or how they were stored.... Certainly I do not subject my magnets to any great heat that would explain their difference field shapes.

A Little Bit of Sun

We had a tiny bit of sun this afternoon, so I was able to finish the two support pieces. I wonder who coined the phrase, "A series of successive approximations"? That is what I imagine happening as I continue to make these pieces that take the weight off the aluminum chain holding back the crossbeam from sliding off the frame and off the porch.

Dreary Day -- Yet Again

Rain, rain, rain, but "be careful what you wish for" comes to mind. "Rain, rain, go away" could become "Ooops! It's snowing!" We started out at 50 degrees this morning, windows open for fresh air. I vacuumed and washed the worst areas of our main rug. Now the temperature has dropped to 45 degrees and it is still raining....

Still hoping to get make support for the first crossbeam I installed on top of the Lowe's greenhouse frame, pictured below.
The aluminum chains won't hold this 3 X 5 inch X 8 feet long board up for long. I plan to hang four whirligigs along its length, plus with a tarpaulin over the whole thing, it will have to withstand the weight of snow.

I put U-bolts at each end to keep the board from moving off the frame lengthwise. My husband suggested it could use two more U-bolts in the center, so now it has four U-bolts to keep it  from shifting off the frame as the whirligigs get buffeted by the wind.

As soon as it stops raining so hard I plan to take another board back out there to take a tracing off this closest corner in order to plan how to cut the board so it will hold up the weight of the board. The board wants to slide down to the right, off the frame. I will be resting the end of the support on the side cross-pipe. I just thought I should get a picture now, before I add the supports. The other crossbeam is ready to go, but again, I am still waiting for the rain to stop.

This morning I started setting up a work station on the front porch -- when it was still 50 degrees outside -- so that I would have ventilation while putting nail polish on all the north poles of my horseshoe and bridge magnets.

So much to do! By the way, I have narrowed the design of my whirligigs. I hope to have room to walk down the center of this framework, once I have eight gigs installed, although, I will have to step over the anchor boards every couple feet. At least now we have enough light for pictures, before I put a tarp on it.

Some Progress Today

I spent hours looking at YouTube videos showing how some people built their own coil winding apparatus. Some more hours flew by while looking for used coil winding equipment. Mapping magnetic fields was another job, after working on the framing for my back deck roof over what might become a power generating plant.

I got an email back from one used coil winding equipment seller. They asked what size coils I want to make. I took my little six-inch ruler over to my latest magnetic flux line map and got measurements to report -- approximately. Then I realized that the size of the coils that the magnet wire comes to me as, is nearly the size I was describing to the gentleman. So, it looks as though I will be able to make my first generator before the First of next year.

I should do my estimates again for how many windings are on the coils that I receive. I discovered upon second, third, fourth, or fifth measurement that I had left out of the calculation the fact that the spool has 2 mm thick walls. This means that instead of a one inch center hole, it is 3.1 cm, which is actually big enough for my purposes -- for my bridge magnets. This will throw off my previous calculations, however, of how many windings are on each spool.

I think I will build my first rotor from the 1 lb.lifting force, 1 inch magnets and use them to fly past one of the coils. The next size up is the 3 lb. lifting force, 2 inch high magnets. Using the smaller magnets first I should be able to take a reading of the amperage without fear of overheating the coil. If I get less than 0.3 amps, then I will try the larger magnets because the limit for 30 gauge wire safety is 0.89 amps. I should be able to get at least 18 volts out of one of these coils, given enough magnetic flux, but probably the smallest horseshoe magnets will not be able to reach far enough into the coil with enough flux lines to get that much voltage.

I wish I could say I would test my generator theories tomorrow, but snow and/or ice might be on the way. I will have to shore up my back deck framing before ice forms because I have only temporary aluminum chains holding the rather heavy board in place right now. But I have a plan for making things more secure, tomorrow. Mañana, chicas y dudes.

Ellen Shultz and "Enron: The Smartest Guys..."

Two programs this weekend had similar themes. My husband was saying something about the age of the Robber Barons, I think referring to the days when railroads were being built. The Wikipedia tells of the Gilded Age, 1870's-1900 and of Robber Barons, btw, but I replied, "The Age of the Robber Barons is still with us!"

We had watched Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (available on DVD, btw) earlier this weekend. Then this morning on C-Span we saw Ellen Shultz talking about her book, Retirement Heist, and how top company executives robbed the pension funds of millions of dollars, legally. Mergers and acquisitions (remember Wall Street, the movie where "greed is good"?) played a big role in all of this, but Congress was duped, and so were several courts by small print in contracts for buyouts of employee benefits for early retirees. And the pensions also paid for the legal and accounting advisers who came up with all the loopholes for robbing workers of their pensions.

Enron traders caused the rolling blackouts in California in order to run the price of electricity up and made millions in the process.

So Bush Junior comes along and is hooked into the mindset of the robber barons, and guess what juicy pot of gold he goes after: social security.

Is it any wonder that we have tent cities of protesters declaiming the management of our resources, our jobs, our futures -- just as the tent city in Cairo is still there?

C-Span has a lovely website where you can view book programs right online, btw. Take a look for Ellen Shultz's Retirement Heist, broadcast Nov. 27, 2011.

Reading and Infrastructure

This morning I read from the Green Entrepreneur Handbook that I cannot get a patent on my design if I publish the design the year before applying for a patent. Well, I've been publishing every nano-step in my development and research into past developments for the last two years regarding generating electricity. Apparently, patents do not work the same as copyrights. OK. I can deal with it. I figured I would be using technology invented long ago, anyway. It is the trademark that I was aiming for anyway, and when I can start selling wind-powered generators of electricity, then I can apply for a trademark.

Also today I have been trying to finish the structure on our back deck so that I can hang 9 whirligigs to eventually use for generating electricity. I went to hardware stores three times today, and now I am too tired to keep working. It is supposed to rain tomorrow -- is why I was putting a push onto finishing this project today. And the weather will be colder soon. Ah well.

It usually snows here the first time at Thanksgiving. It is not the weather's fault that Thanksgiving came early this year....Next week we may see snow. Until tomorrow, dudettes and dudes.

"Immortals" and 2" Magnet Mapping

Immortals had all the sex appeal of the average action adventure -- perhaps more, with vestal virgins, and goddesses, plus their male counterparts in evidence practically everywhere. I suppose some people like violence in their fantasies, so some people would have been satiated by that aspect of the movie. As more of an intellectual, I went into the movie thinking of Theseus as representing rhetoric skills. When the war-like demons got a-hold of the gods' and Theseus's best weapon things looked quite grim -- which also describes our current political situation, btw.

I was nonplussed by Zeus's statement that the gods must follow the Law that the gods must not help humans, for several reasons, but then I remembered Prometheus was punished for helping humans, so maybe I am wrong about Law not being invented until the Jews or Chaldeans or whoever it was invented it....

Later I started mapping my new 2 inch bridge magnetic field. I don't exactly have the set-up correct yet because I taped the magnet down to the page and then tried to map the plain of the page. However, my field detector is 3-dimensional itself and won't fit into the plain, exactly. The field is not exactly symmetrical, either. I think that is because the magnetic flux travels -- so to speak -- from one pole to the other -- North to South is the convention.

Anyway, the field is much larger than what I had imagined. What looked to be perhaps a 1 1/2 inch breadth between the vertical flux lines turned out to be 2 1/2 inches. The vertical flux lines are what I was aiming for this time, looking for a possible diameter for a spool of magnet wire with the flux lines shot up through one side, returning through the opposite side,  while the magnet moved horizontally, more or less.

I still need to map more plains, fanning out from the magnet, especially because the spools are not flat themselves. I need to watch out for countervailing flux lines that could cancel out the lines I am targeting. Winter provides much time for such activities, though, and it is not even winter yet....

Geometries and Reading

I keep going over the geometries of magnetic fields passing through coils, particularly with the horseshoe magnet on its side, poles stacked on top of each other, facing outward from a rotating hoop. I keep trying to find ways to get more juicy goodness in the form of electricity out of magnet-coil geometries.

I happened upon the idea that some geometry might net double output from the same coil because as the flux lines from two different poles travel -- using a horizontally arranged horseshoe instead of the vertical -- you would have opposite flux  lines (N&S) traveling simultaneously over the opposite sides of a coil. So, my next musings will investigate the horizontal placement of horseshoe magnets in a rotating hoop.

Also, I am working on reading the Green Entrepreneur Handbook: The Guide to Building and Growing a Green Business, by Eric Koester who is both a lawyer and an accountant. I am alternating between reading from the beginning of the book, and skipping ahead to Chapter 9, and eventually Chapter 29 -- both of which chapters deal with protecting intellectual property. I found that one of the recommendations of this book is what I am already doing: documenting my development of my ideas so that I can prove -- if need be -- that I am the sole developer of the technology that I hope to sell.

Of course, I must look into patents to see if I am doing, eventually, what someone else has already done -- a very likely possibility, since there is nothing new under the sun, as they say.

I come, however, from a back-to-the-lander mentality that writes articles for Mother Earth News, sharing homesteading technology for do-it-yourselfers.... I am not trying to build the next Google, but rather, I have modest monetary goals, and hope to help people learn to make their own electricity....

3-D Drawing Pad

One of these from Edmund Scientific was around $8. Not bad. I had hoped it would have instructions for drawing 3-dimensional pictures, but it says to draw only in black. Watching 3-D movies I was fascinated with the technology, wondering how to do that.

When my husband looked at the picture that comes with the pad, the first time, he couldn't see it in 3-D. I finally got the idea that the angle of viewing it is important. Now I have 6 X's drawn in my notebook, each in blue with a red-line shadow that rotates with the blue, rotating X's.

The most raised image on the pad had a background grid where I could represent the grid with a single X in the normal X position (as in the letter X), written in blue, with the red shadow lines above and to the right of the upper left to lower right line of the X, plus the red shadow underneath the lower left to upper right line of the X.

As you rotate the whole X clockwise, the first one you get looks like the Cartesian coordinate system's XY lines at right angles, straight up and straight across. Just rotate your blue lines clockwise, along with the red shadow lines, in the same relative position as in the first set that looked like an X. This gives the least raised effect for the black image.

Continuing to rotate the X, and 3-D pad page, you push the black image further and further back, going through flush with the background, inside the background, then behind, and finally furthest behind is the X again, but with the red shadow lines exactly opposite of the first one I described.

I guess you'd need a bunch of transparencies to layer a three-dimensional picture together. Or else maybe you could draw in blue and just put the red shadow lines in positions based on how far forward, flush or back you want the blue line to appear. I have not tried that yet. Maybe I should draw in black and then add both blue and red lines. Let me experiment some more and get back to you.

The pad comes, of course, with 3-D viewing glasses that are red and blue. Red on the left, blue on the right. When I turn the glasses upside down the effects are reversed from what I described above.

In any case, this will be a lot of work to map the flux lines of magnets. A computer program would probably come in handy. Just getting the data will take a lot of time, but now I have an idea how to do it. Tomorrow.

Gee. If I get a picture done, you won't be able to see it in 3 dimensions unless you have 3-D, red and blue glasses. Shucks!

Magnets Come Home to Roost

Lowe's, Promag, and Edmund Scientific orders all came in today. I am overwhelmed with magnets, books, magnet wire, and magnetic field mapping technology. I probably have enough materials to make several generators, mostly, now! Well, I at least have the magnets and the magnet wire. Those make a very good start. I have enough materials to make several wind turbines to drive the generators, so yippy!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Dear Diary + Green Entrepreneur Handbook Arrives

I ordered 65 magnets through this morning. They also offer a 25% off coupon on a subsequent purchase if you will tell them what you are doing with your first purchase and give them permission to share what you tell them. In addition to a synopsis of what I am trying to do, I pointed to this website.

My email this morning included an eNewsletter that has some forward-looking articles such as the idea that retrofitting existing power plants for pollution control creates jobs. See for more info on that. I think I will go to my "Current News" page and add this link there.

I am still mapping magnet rotor-to-coil geometries, trying to figure out if I need to curve the sides of my coils to reflect the curve of the rotor. At least I should probably angle the sides of the coils that fall along the radii of the hoop. I have yet to figure out how not curving the sides of the coils parallel to the circumference of the hoop will affect power output.

Oh yes. I have given up the idea of a mass of coils at the bottom of the stack of hooped levels because a single hole in a gutter above the turbine blades in winter can create 12 inch icicles on a hoop with turbine blades on it. I think I will keep the bottom hoop above 12 inches off the ground, thank you very much, lol.

My copy of Green Entrepreneur Handbook: The Guide to Building and Growing a Green and Clean Business, by Eric Koester, published by CRC Press, 2010, just arrived. At 432  7 X 10 inch pages, even this paperback is hefty. Sneaking a peak at a few pages I see that it is very encouraging for wind power, lol....More later. Gotta go read, etc.!

Later Note: The author is a lawyer, btw. I got up to page 8 last night. So far it makes eminent sense except the first edition (2010, copyright 2011) needed a copy editor. Hopefully people have been logging onto the book's website and providing the author with feedback about that. These days books are printed in small batches at least until demand outpaces supply, so I assume -- and the author mentions this -- corrections will be made over time to fix obvious errors of grammar and such like. I will probably skip ahead to chapter 15 since that is listed as being about intellectual property (IP). A major problem I have with protecting IP in my case is that I have not yet worked out the details of the design, and I suspect that most if not all of what I end up with will be made from public domain information.

I cannot be sure of that, however, so I will probably delay posting final versions of my generators until I get a handle on all that, lol. Plus, I need to save something for the book that I hope to sell one day.

Dear Diary

I found a supplier of magnets. I'll let you know who after I successfully deal with them.

Thoughts on voltage control today might or might not be rooted in reality. Since the amount of voltage depends on the number of turns of wire in the coil, I should be able to control the voltage by controlling the number of turns of wire in the coil. Voltages in parallel do not add, so once I have turns in coils sufficient to make the needed voltage, I put more coils in parallel connections to add amperes.

One of the YouTube videos had a generator that made more volts the faster it turned. This does not make sense to me if one has sufficient turns. Another video showed how slow turbines require fine wire, so I got that correct, but the tall turbines don't use fine wire and neither do they turn particularly quickly. They must have gearing that multiplies their generators' RPM's, though.

My overall design parameters do not allow for any extra drag such as gearing, although I see on the videos that belts on variable size pulleys provide some of this multiplication in coil winding apparatus, and they don't seem to suffer from excessive drag. Although, tension needs to be applied to coil winding....

So, you see, I am still a novice at all of this. I look forward to viewing many more videos, but I couldn't get around to that today. I sold two books today through Amazon. Hooray! More money for magnets! I had 68 books with the word Shakespeare in their titles, still left for sale last week. Now I have 67 left but not all of them are posted at Amazon because they won't bring enough cash in to pay for their packaging and shipping. I still hold them in reserve, though. Maybe some year some of the books will become worth more than a few cents....

I continue to go over and over my tentative designs for coil placements, and will soon have two more magnets -- one twice as powerful, another 3 times as powerful and a slightly different shape (called a bridge magnet).... I am also working to see if can predict any extra potential value to putting all my electrical eggs into one "basket" by pointing the horseshoes straight down and jamming all my coils underneath the bottom level of turbine blades -- encased, of course, in fiberglass resin to make them water and perhaps rodent-proof.

Sustainable Energy Usage

Given the forthcoming and past ravages of global warming (Katrina, Vermont, and New Jersey flooding) that touches even the United States and not "just" Bangladesh, "sustainability" means to me that I must seek to reduce my "carbon footprint."

I feel as though I am not doing enough to reduce carbon emissions from my own use of energy until I find a way to produce our own electricity from the wind, switch to electric house heating, get and use an electric car. The reason I need to produce my own electricity is because our power company uses coal fired plants along the Ohio River, which also contributes to acid rain in the East. Our electric company also uses nuclear power, which will come back to bite our descendents, if not us, in either the form of radiation or in the form of pilfered nuclear materials for bomb-making terrorists. When we dwell on the national debt and how our offspring will have to pay for it, let us not forget the climate deficit we all contribute our carbon footprint toward making worse.

Even using natural gas to heat our homes has its carbon footprint; even biodiesel. Although the algae used to produce some proposed biodiesel may mitigate the emissions from the exhaust pipes of our vehicles, zero emissions are better.

Now that our human numbers have reached 7 billion, perhaps it is time to remember that each time one of us farts, we are contributing to global warming. Birth control is a must, all 'round the world.

Cigarette smoking, bonfires, cooking over wood fires or coal fires, or dung fires -- these all make carbon dioxide. Burning off forest in Brazil; wildfires from drastic droughts in the western parts of North America -- all of these seem only to get worse every year.

My own carbon footprint will probably never be zero until after I am cremated. When I ride the escalator three floors up to the top of a hill, it is the electric power company burning coal or making heat-producing nuclear energy that makes my ride possible. Even electric transit systems have escalators in some locations to get people across the tracks safely. Elevators, too, use electricity. Do you know where your electricity comes from?

Until all the incinerators and coal fired plants in the world are retrofitted or originally built for a zero carbon emissions footprint -- we all at least indirectly contribute to global warming that will produce more and more storms, floods, and droughts for the foreseeable future. The technology has already been invented that will turn the emissions from coal fired plants into cement. Why not do that? Certainly power companies can go to their government overseers to get the rate increases that will pay for such retrofitting and re-engineering of our existing power plants.

When the American Tea Party talks about moral imperatives regarding future generations, they should also think of the havoc being wrought by their insensitivity to environmental issues. Vote Green!

Rather than building a pipeline from Canada so we can burn even more fossil fuel and create a few thousand jobs, we should be connecting our electric grid to the huge wind  and solar farms that are springing up all around this country, seriously developing our sustainable energy industries. Making green electricity generators, green cars and green mass transit systems -- these are the jobs in infrastructure that we should create to contribute to a sustainable future

"Coil Winding Jig" and YouTube List Start

"Coil winding jig" search term in Google got me to the YouTube videos for the coil winding topic, including how to make your own coil winding equipment. I will probably be busy watching these for a while. PrestoWind seems to be a good source of videos.... What a wonderful world where anybody can see how to build stuff in workshops all around the world!

On another topic, I had put my library book bag down into a box and forgot about it for 5 days, but now I have been reading some today. So much to do, so little time!

OK. Here I give some YouTube links.
Gerry-rigged coil winding rigs:
Stator assembly:
Homemade wind electric generator:

"Happy Feet 2" & Coil Testing

Thumbs up for Happy Feet 2! I almost didn't go to see it today because its trailer made it seem as though it was all about a tiny tike -- making it too juvenile for me, but I remembered the first movie's environmental message, fun music, amusing characterizations and other choice vocal skits. This latest chapter in the saga of the survival of the penguins had some elements in common with Finding Nemo -- another of my favorite movies -- such as comic relief from Australian accented sea creatures.

The messages about love and working together are SO appropriate for all age groups that I say, Bravo!

Back to my previous ideas on testing how much electricity can be made using pristine coils, I have changed my mind. I would hate to spoil an entire spool by cutting its middle with too many magnetic flux lines all at once. That could spoil the whole spool and waste a valuable potential resource, so it is back the idea of hand winding coils for now -- after I map some more magnetic fields, that is.
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