WindTapper's Journal - Grassroots Green Energy Projects

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WindTapper's Blog

December 2013

My Little Pea Brain. Uh, Duh.

So, I am trying to sort out negative and positive charges while studying static electricity regarding using those charges to help me charge up a 12 volt battery. I know I am supposed to connect positive to positive, negative to negative, but with static charge materials, the inherently negatively charged material attracts positive ions, thus giving the inherently negatively charged material a patina of positively charged ions. Of course the reverse is also true for inherently positively charged materials.
The question arises, then, why would I connect the inherently positively charged material to the positive terminal if that material inherently is attracting electrons? Are the electrons then going into the positively charged terminal as a matter of course?
So I went to Google's picture files of battery charger circuits, since the book I bought called Batteries tells me nothing about how they are charged, and find that I am mixing positive and negative current with positive and negative charges. Current is a whole different animal. Duh uh....
If somebody out there has a better explanation for my recent dilemma, please comment.
My goal is to create a windpowered generator for electricity that can be stored into 12 volt batteries, at least until I can create enough electricity to sell it back to the electric company. I am currently investigating static electricity generation as an alternative to magnetically induced current.
Perhaps I do not need to generate sparks, but rather, create two sources, one for positive charges and one for negative charges, then hook each up to the respective battery terminal?
No, wait. I should be generating current, not just charges. Oh me, oh my....
So how can I send electrons into the negatively charged terminal when it already has electrons, while the positively charged terminal is the one that is attracting the electrons?
I will keep digging. It never fails. When the library is closed, that is when I need it most. But I have not yet hit the Wikipedia, so there is hope yet for me.

Dear Diary - Recent Acquisitions

1. Finally found shower floor tile that I practically couldn't resist. Hope I bought enough. I got 8 feet square. 40 inches by 25 inches. Oops. It was supposed to be 40 by 36. That's a big error. Glad there is more in the store if I need it.
2. Jo-Ann Fabrics is back in our town. I got one yard each of 4 different fabrics -- two were polyester, while two were nylon plus some percentage of metals. All are for future static experiments.
3. Three colors of carpet thread plus heavy-duty sewing machine needles and some 20 yards of wide white mesh, possibly all for constructing a roof for our back porch cat house and greenhouse.

New Experiment Plan w/Note

Besides the electricity generation by wind power using static electricity, I am also cogitating on separating carbon from our household furnace exhaust. During study of static electricity, with its list of inherently negative and positive materials, I suddently realized that since PVC is Polyvinylchloride and listed as a vinyl, it could be negative.
PVC is the pipe I use for directing the exhaust to where I can "play" with it. So, the exhaust is already exposed to a long, inherently negative surface. Since ionization is a demonstrably able air purifier, then what I need is to expose the exhaust to a positive surface, too.
I have decided to put sheets of aluminum around the final egress of the exhaust, to see if I can coax the exhaust to separate further than the lime and water mixture is doing now. In addition, I might try adding some steel surface to the inside of the pipes, along with a wire, to see if I could collect some voltage difference between the steel inside, and the aluminum, outside.
Probably I will use an insulated wire running inside the pipe. Perhaps I could put several sheets of thin steel, along the PVC pipe, connected together, to add voltage differences. I suppose I could sneak some aluminum foil in around the elbow joints, too, giving the opposite charge for contrast, adding to the potential voltage differences.
I am also seriously considering merely adding baking soda to the lime inside the pipes, to give ionized water at the end, although I have no idea how the lime affects this chemical equation. That might be another potential voltage gap, if I put a steel terminal into the water, in addition to having aluminum sheeting to tap into.
So many experiments, so little time, lol.
Later note: The pipe turns out not to be the PVC I have elsewhere. It is black on the inside and white on the outside -- some sort of plastic and the white has gentle "ribs." I will have to look into the manufacture for a spec sheet and get back to you....
I found pieces of it and elbows lying under our back porch. I will wash these up and start cutting and experimenting with various sheets of flashing -- also some steel mesh. But when I get a notion to get out of the house, I'll check out the hardware store and/or Lowes to see if I can find a T or Y joint for same so I might simply separate negative from positive exhaust ions that way.

Tribo-Electricity Ideas!

Numerilogically, 12/24/2013 was a very creative day -- 5 three's right on the surface!
OK Down to business. I keep thinking I should get rid of this website and concentrate on writing a book to sell so I might make some money, but the ideas for the book must be created first. SO. I got some ideas today that seem very promising for generating voltages from what they called in the olden days "triboelectricity" which stands for electric discharges caused by friction.
Finding ideas for how to capture the volts and amps from those discharges is the problem, but I just found some dooseys.
Perhaps I will test these ideas and write a book, lol, if the ideas pan out.
Have a Very Merry Christmas Y'all!!!

Current Questions

As I try to imagine efficient arrangements for making and capturing power from static electricity, I keep coming up with questions about current directions.
If I make the positive side of the battery be attached to positively charged compounds such as nylon against aluminum, fur, and air, and the negative side of the battery attaches to negative compounds such as teflon, urethane, and polyester, doesn't the current flow the wrong way if I make a spark by rubbing the positive and negative sides together?
Then there is the "standard" way of looking at current as going from positive to negative, while electrons are flowing in exactly the opposite direction. It is all confusing to me.
So, I decided to search the web for any info on electron flow of lightning. The website I read first is and it seems quite interesting. By the way, it says you can't capture enough power from lightening to do any good. What am I working on this for, then?

Dear Diary

1. I am reading The Year's Best SF 19 and just read "Houseflies" which reminds me of my little salt experiment to confuse ants so they would stop traveling inside our house, but which ended up killing thousands of centipedes that must have been living on the underside of our basement floor. A cautionary tale, that was, lol. I am still cleaning dead centipedes from areas I hadn't yet vacuumed, such as under the washing machine, etc.
Several tales of this book are definitely worth the effort of reading them....
2. I found American Hustle to be quite amusing -- moreso than Anchorman 2 -- but perhaps that is just me, lol. I thought the sex in the former was far steamier than in the latter movie, even though it never took place. Go figger.
3. Lately I have been devising (should I add "devilishly"?) a bunt/punt MOSFET plan, made from Teflon and aluminum bunt cake pans, plus some old rusty rebar I have standing around in our yard. Maybe some playsand, plus a few grains of rusty neodymium I saved from my last experiment after cutting magnets....
Since MOSFET's are dubbed "very low [current] silicon" I wonder if sand "doped" (or sprinkled) with oxidized neodymium might suffice as the interface between the two pans...
Hope springs eternal. I could certainly accommodate the "very low current" requirement if I added a windpowered electricity generator to the mix....
4. Lately I've been working on the shower rebuild project. I have decided to tear down the plastic to get to the wall behind so that I can skim a few millimeters off the wood, so that the tile will sit flush to the wall. Some screws need to be removed and reset, and I imagine I will have problems with the corners -- flat filing instead of mechanized sanding for those cases....
The trick was to find the perfect tool for prying up the staples I had so carefully flattened....
5. The greenhouse expansion is a bust right now. It leaked in precisely the place where I had placed a new cat house bed. Bummer. With all the resulting ice, no wonder the cats would no longer use it. I have let it slip down, and rolled it up to keep it dry in the garage.
Another problem was the temporary tacking I had done to the corners, up against the house, made a permanent wet spot on the siding. This was a definite no-no. Being next to the creek we are subject to lots of algae and mildew growths whereever moisture stands still.
I own a piece of clear vinyl, though, so I might put a roof over a small portion. Any covering is too expensive for my unemployed status to afford. The plastic I had purchased, I expected to be able to see through it. But no. And I missed the vista out our back door.
6. Anyway, I am toying with ideas for controlling the vinyl, such as sewing on edging, or brass lined grommet holes.... I think the piece of vinyl is 4.5 feet by nine feet, but I purchased it originally for the front porch. So, I go back there to see if I get any new ideas for tackling that structural problem of having a roof that does not quite cover the front porch. In theory, an idea I got recently could solve some of the problems I had predicted with covering vinyl over metal pipe without any way to join the pipe pieces together, but in practice I fear it was just wishful thinking. I cannot absolutely control the angles of the bends that I make in the pipe....
6. Christmas preparations have proceeded about as far as they can, so
Merry Christmas to All
And to All
A Good Night!

Simulated MOSFET: An Impossible Dream?

Yahoo Answers has advisors on the topic of making silicon doped at home for electronic devices at
According to these folks, I have an impossible dream, unless I am only trying to make a diode.
And here I was idly cogitating on the two angel food cake pans that I have -- one being Teflon, the other aluminum. Both have centers separable from their circumferences, with cones in their middles....
An oxidated gate. Hmmm. A rusty piece of iron rod? I forget what it is called. Cement reinforcing rod. What is that called? Darn.
Then there is the trick of using a piece of aluminum as an anode in a baking soda bath, with a steel piece as cathode, thus oxidizing -- possibly both, lol.

MOSFET Simulation

I know, I said I thought it would be far easier to buy the IC chips or transistors than to try to model them on a macros scale, but my mind doesn't always behave.
The MOSFET schematic reminds me of my desire to take advantage of the inherent voltage produced by copper next to steel or aluminum. So, I am thinking of ways to simulate the MOSFET using copper, aluminum, and perhaps steel. The MOSFET has two positive sections with a negative section underlaying and in between the two positive ones. This looks like a way to increase the inherent voltage. However, what I've been learning about static electricity says that one does not have to stick to a particular element, but rather, take elements along a continuum of more or less positive and negative.
The negative element in the middle of the top of the MOSFET looks like a place where a rotating positive could brush across the MOSFET and "release" current -- since current is "conventionally opposite to electron flow." A rotating nylon "brush", rubbing against the two less positive MOSFET sections plus the middle, negative section, might allow the static to discharge through the MOSFET's negative "gate" and then "drain."
The upper, negative "gate" is where the electrons would enter, I think. Maybe not. Perhaps the ground at the drain is where the electrons could come from. I am considering making a test model to see if any voltage could be collected. However, I should first establish a ground in my workshop. That could take a few days....

Rethinking My Strategy

After studying the handout on transistors, which includes schematics of an Op Amp, I am thinking that my whole idea of building transistor-like models is a waste of time and money. The ion-producing aluminum phosphate and silica dust cost too much money, for one thing. I am trying to build an inexpensive system here.
Yer average Op Amp and Bridge Rectifier don't cost all that much to purchase. Plus, I found out that baking soda in water makes ions. Admittedly, I am mixing two projects -- carbon sequestration and electricity generation, but, I still have to keep my eye on the bottom line, here.
Back to the drawing board.
I also saw a Chinese invention while surfing the web for generating electricity using static. It has promise, and gives me some inkling of new ideas for generating static. Anyway, an Op Amp could amplify small discharges, while the rectifier could sort out the direction of current flow, into the batteries I am trying to charge up.
The trick to generating static is to find materials that will not be used up too quickly from all that friction, you see. If air is providing most of your friction, you have less wear and tear on materials! There is a role for windpower after all!
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Reading About Transistors - Thru 12/15

This entry will receive bibliographic data regarding reading about transistors, as I go along.
I got a 32 page handout that I have just printed out. This one does not cover the physics of the junctions, but I daresay it is a good place to start.
(I wonder what the "wwwp" part of the web address denotes? originates in Concordia College in Moorhead Minnesota.)
After reading a bit of this document, I find I must look up some terms:
            a. Definition of "bias"
“In a semiconductor P-N junction, forward bias occurs when the P-type material is positive with respect to the N-type material; in reverse bias, the P-type material is negative with respect to the N-type material.” Bias refers to Direct Current, btw, specifically regarding the direction of current between a transistor's emittor and base, and between a transistor's emittor and collector. I imagine I will be working with an NPN transistor, where the Base is the Positive portion, in the middle, because the schematic arrow on the emittor faces outwards from the transistor, which feels right, somehow, given its name, lol.
          b. Direction of current vs. direction of flow of electrons. For some reason, the convention of current flow direction is opposite that of electron flow. I am pretty sure this has been messing up my calculations, or rather, my mental simulations of current flows vs. book schematic flowcharts of same. I am so glad I had the time to read this from the doc.
          c. The MOSFET transistor uses oxidized metal as an electrical lead contact on its base, which is closest to the modeling I had envisioned myself doing, so I am working now on making a macro model of the MOSFET. The oxidized metals I know about are aluminum and steel.
          d. Seriously considering whether or not I could bias the EB and EC parts of the MOSFET environment with aluminum and copper or steel joined together, providing a rather passive or quiescent voltage to activate the MOSFET.
          e. Capacitors transmit AC signals while blocking DC current....

Plans (Dear Diary)

Today the outside temperature is supposed to approach 35 degrees Farenheit, by around 3 p.m., at which time I hope to make some adjustments to our plastic covering contraption over our back deck area. Yesterday I mostly rebuilt the little cat house where our two cats can rest in relative warmth -- hopefully avoiding frostbite -- as they wait for one of us humans to let them into the house at odd times of the day or night.
I still have Christmas lights to put up and Christmas cards to send, but I am starting another project as well. I hope to study electronic components well enough to be able to model them to good effect. Transistors, particularly, can amplify signals. They are either PNP or NPN type, where N stands for negative and P stands for positive.
As I have materials on order that, when put in proximity to humid air -- their being hydrophylic, btw -- will produce negative and positive ions, separately. And so, I am hoping to be able to understand the functioning of transitors and diodes well enough at the most basic level to be able to model them on a more macro scale, in order to use their salient features to produce power -- to generate electricity.
Transistors usually require a 5 volt "bias", meaning that the circuits in which they operate need to be charged to 5 volts. 5 volts is not much for a windpowered generator to produce. Then the transitor needs a "signal" to amplify. That is the second bit of electricity that I need to create, I imagine.
So, anyway, I have started to review basic electronics this morning as I wait for outside temperatures to rise....
Engineer's Mini-Notebok: Op Amp IC Circuits by Forrest M. Mims III (1985 from Radio Shack is the first publication I have chosen to review, but of course, I might find that I have an incorrect understanding of electronics. At least I'm keeping my mind busy learning, lol....

Winter Is Here

Another picture of our new bridge. I took about 1000 photos of it being built. They had to build a temporary crossing before they brought approximately twelve pieces of cement culvert to assemble the bridge which is 10 feet high by 12 feet wide, and perhaps 26 feet long. Adding to the complicating factors is a second creek, along the other side of the lane.
I did not have anyone's permission to photograph them, and I do not feel right about publishing people's pictures without their permission, unless they are politicians running for office, lol. That's the truth, though, so I am not posting so many pictures of this project, it is not even funny.
Lots of guys were involved in this project, and several utility companies had to sign off -- sometimes more than once. The gas company had to redrill and relay pipe across the creek, for example. Three sets of landowners had to sign permission slips for the County Engineer Department to have access and make small changes to our lands in order to accomplish this project.
I dealt with a couple of surveyors, too. The road was not built in the middle of its right-of-way, as some guys had assumed, so I was glad I was home to stand guard, so to speak. They might have put the gas line on our property if I hadn't been there, for example....
Yesterday there was an article in our local newspaper saying that the funds were taken from an emergency State fund to rebuild this bridge. Too bad, because another bridge, just one block up from here, needs to be rebuilt, perhaps even more than this bridge needed replacing. Oh well.

Rethinking Greenhouse Project

Currently, the covering for our greenhouse project is temporarily tacked in three places. Three days in a row I got rained out while attempting to cover the frame. And when I first encountered the rain I had the covering -- which is 30 feet long -- rolled up and placed at the edge of our main house roof. I grabbed the wrong end of the roll, unfortunately, and started to unroll it -- backwards. As it continued to rain, I continued unrolling the plastic covering backwards.
Backwards is how it is tacked up now, while it is anchored at the top middle to the top of a ten-foot ladder. This morning, at about 2 a.m. I finally got an idea of how to fix this mess, although its temporary condition has worked well enough to keep the snow and wind away during our latest ice and snow storm.
I have access to the seam that was supposed to be at the topmost line, because it is hanging down on the far end of the porch. I am considering reinforcing and sort of sewing the top seam, and adding long chords to use later for hauling that seam up to the roof. Then it would all be doubled over while I figure out how exactly to attach it securely on top and to the house and/or frame of the greenhouse.
I find that I do not have to completely seal the greenhouse because the plastic cuts the wind so well, plus air is actually needed inside the greenhouse, to breath. However, I will have to get up onto the roof in order to haul the covering up there, and this will need to wait until the roof is dry....
As for the doubling over, I will then -- after securing the plastic covering at the top edge -- figure out how to pull the lower half into place, bit by bit. Luckily, where I stapled the plastic and some netting to the house to temporarily hold it, the staples pierced plastic that won't be needed in the final cut because they are the extra corners which are redundant plastic....
See picture in previous entry. And since I have also categorized this entry as Infrastructure, I am putting a picture of our lane's new bridge. It took our County Engineer's department only a few weeks to do that whole major project -- in the flesh plus previous planning and design -- btw, in November. The water in the creeks is high, btw, because we were having a rainstorm a few days ago. Was it yesterday? Oh my. Rain turned to ice rather quickly....

Greenhouse Work In Progress & Etc.

We had a couple beautiful days recently, so I got the idea I might yet be able to assemble my homemade greenhouse before Dec. 15th, and thus have 6 months of greenhouse before our May 15th safe date to plant outside.
Unfortunately, I keep getting shut out by rain lately, so the greenhouse is DEFINITELY only a work in progress so far. I'm afraid that it looks hideous on the outside, and will until the rain stops falling....
On a happier note, I got some cute pix of our cats, and I have been running through various scenarios for harvesting energy from negative and positive ions, as well as reading some more out of our Moore book on Electrostatics.
Let me see if I can get you a cat pic. OK. I got one. I do not understand why Vistaprint puts the pix backwards! Last in, first out, is not how it used to display pix!

Air Purification by Positive Ions

A catalog from Hammacher Schlemmer might at least partially be seen at has an air purifier that applies negative and positive ionic reactions to air. The positive ions possibly live within a clear plastic chamber. What a coincidence!
This looks like it might be a better air purifier than the Ionic Breeze from Sharper Image because it does not have grillwork that needs cleaning periodically. Grillwork can be such a pain to clean, especially if one is clearing cigarette smoke from one's air. I am SO happy that I quit smoking regular cigarettes.
Now I make my own electric cigarette liquid mixtures and save mucho dinero, I can tell you! Lemon oil flavors one, hazelnut flavors one, and kiwi flavors a third e-cig smoke liquid, along with Vitamin E in one and Vitamin A in another one. Needless to say, they do not create the obnoxious smelling or looking residue on the air purifiers of any type, that real cigs make....
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