WindTapper's Journal - Grassroots Green Energy Projects

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WindTapper's Blog

May 2014

Swivel Trouble

The smaller gig that was not turning continued to frustrate me until I figured out I had hung the swivel upside down. Also, I had chosen the smallest swivel from my collection, not insisting on the very best because the gig weighs so little.

It rained hard today, and the larger gig turned well as a kind of water wheel. The rain runs down the blades in such a way that the rain causes the gig to turn, regardless of lack of wind.

I will probably put a better swivel on the smaller gig.

Today I also drew a "best case" design for the generator coils, but plan to build the first test using the simplest method -- one that will give predictably inferior results. It is good to get a baseline from a position of simplicity and rather extreme ease of construction because then I can start to assess the value of improving the design in certain ways, compared to the increased cost for constructing the better version.

Two obvious improvements will thus be compared: 1. The cost versus effectiveness of angling the top and bottom in toward the poles of the magnets; and 2. The cost versus effectiveness of removing more and more of the warp (or weave -- I don't know which it should be called) that is not directly involved in generating electricity and which may in fact interfere by allowing eddies or cross currents.

The second one should ultimately be tested with added capacitances on the cross-current to see if additional voltage can be collected. This cross-current could also be caused by vibrations or wind forces that move the magnets horizontally with respect to the coils, instead of purely rotating in place.

I am also working out a way to connect the top and bottom of each cage, using a molten bath of solder to dip the ends of the cages into, then connecting the cages so their voltages will add to each other. If I make several layers of cages for each magnet, I can add voltages each time, using a single wire to connect cages for each level, compared to the 120 upright wires per 19 cm per layer of each cage....

I want the North pole to be pointed downward, btw, to take advantage of the magnetic field of the earth to add stability.

Also, I plan to put a layer of anti-static dryer sheet between the spinning magnet center pole and the outer (hollow) coil pole. I have yet to work out the dimensions of the outer pole because I do not yet know the optimal cost benefit parameters for the depth of the coil layers versus the amount of electricity to be gotten from each outer layer....

Enjoy Summer, Northerners! Hopefully, Southerners will find a way to enjoy their Winter, too!

I forgot to report that I made progress on figuring out a title for the book that I hope to publish and sell based on my research and testing that I have been reporting here for some years now. Windtapper's Generators Revealed: How to build low cost, low wind velocity electricity generators.


Finally, it rained today. Been waiting approximately 4 days for rain.

Finally, I hung up a small whirligig on the back porch. Unfortunately, its placement is not great for wind. While the big gig on the swing set happily rotates all day and night, this little one is too close to its roof, and too far from a natural source of wind.

On the other hand, its lack of spinning is intermittent, which is actually handy for working on constructing a generator. The large gig is very inconveniently spinning almost always, which interferes with working on it.

I have been building our septic system's levy higher, using mostly sod mined from an elevated ditch next to our property. It needs rain to help it settle down, start growing properly, and to let me know where it needs more dirt. Happily, the next several days are scheduled for rain, rain, rain....

I got the lawn mowed in time, too.

I am working to expand the lawn under both Norwegian Pine trees, clear up some weedy messes, and to finally build that out building that I bought some years ago. Then there is house painting -- preceded by scraping paint....

So anyway, I had a happy accident when hanging up the small gig, and see ways to incorporate a central pole without sacrificing stability versus flexibility required for changing wind speeds and directions. Happy Me!

Memorial Day Pix

Not to denigrate our Memorial Day rituals, I choose to celebrate life -- peaceful, productive life -- and continue to wish that we can "all just get along" rather than dwelling on military actions which many say are the reasons that we may enjoy our freedoms. Be that as it may, here are a couple happy pix.

Home Economics

Our electric bill recently doubled, so I am instituting some daytime economies. No TV or computers running as "background noise" or to contribute to AIDS and cancer research. Seriously, our bill was $360 for one month's worth of electricity.

I set the electric water heater to "Energy Smart" and turned the temperature down by 20 degrees. We have yet to see if my husband objects. He may not because the last time our electricity was out for three days in a row, I found that there was enough hot water in the tank to let me take a small bath after three days had passed.

Today is the first day of this plan, since I paid the bill yesterday. So far I have found myself to be more productive -- having more time to work on my generator, for example. I made some very good progress today.

I let myself watch TV at lunch, though, and must check my Amazon once per day to see if anyone ordered a book or DVD from me. But beyond that, off they go.

Considering studying Spanish now that the "air waves" are silent around here, hour after hour. I finally got the planting done today, some floor washing, the dishes, etc.

It is too bad that feedback on energy savings takes, sometimes, more than three months, since they don't read the meter every month.

Next I do without the dishwasher, if that's what it takes to get our bill down to reasonableness. I got rid of some night lights that I had installed for our cats. Those are more necessary in the winter, anyway. And the air purifier is not as needed when the air can come from outside. No neighbors heating with wood during warm weather means the outside air is easier to breathe, too.

I cannot leave the air conditioner off, though, during the hottest parts of the summer, because if the temps get over 90 degrees, the system loses its Freon due to too high pressure.

So, all of this leads up to the fact that I will only be able to post entries once or twice per day, depending on when other family members turn the computer on. Also, the TV will probably be on in the evenings and weekends, but off when no one is sitting there actually watching a program. Except of course for the weather report each morning.

I got a picture of more than 100 iris blossoms this afternoon and will post it soon. Have a nice day.

Disgusted. Let Me Count The Ways.

1. My stocks are all down by multiple thousands of dollars. My biggest investment merely disappointed in its earnings expectations, even though earnings were twice as high as last quarter. Somebody bailed out. The stock has a Hold rating, though, so I expect to wait a while....

2. My screen cages have too many glitches to be called a viable design. Instead I will test out an alternative and simpler configuration of wound screens.

3. Since our neighbors are stealing some of our land by diverting the creek that we share, and also threatening our septic system with new flood waters, I am building the levy around the septic system higher. Plus, I am expanding our lawn which our trees have also been encroaching on.

Which is all to explain why I am so disgusted at the lack of progress on my generator.

Still I keep getting ideas....

Oh yes. It is planting season, too. 4. The lawn has been growing at a prodigious rate due to rain as well as atmospheric moisture that drips down off the leaves of the trees. I swear I mow something every day....

Little White "Lanterns"

I go shopping in hardware stores and most recently in our new JoAnn Fabrics -- which is a bit like a carnival or bazaar, rather, for all its many and wondrous sights and gadgets. I pay particular attention to items on sale.

Yesterday, the form of a set of objects intrigued me, AND it was on sale! A boxed set or string of palm-sized, round, electric, white lanterns was still a bit too pricey, but it fell within my budget. I should get you a picture. Of course it was made in China.

The form was correct for housing my little screen cages that I have been building. These cages will hopefully help me to generate electricity. The lanterns turned out to NOT have ferrous metal in them! Yay! With magnets rotating inside them, if the wire frames had been ferrous, they would have been not so useful.

They are a bit big, but I could use them on the outside....

So anyway, now I am pondering the interface between the rotating centers and the cages. The rotating centers need to be able to move an inch or more from true center while gently nudging the cages along with the center so everything will stay in relative alignment without tearing the cages apart.

This is a tricky wicket.

Buzz Off!

While enjoying the new shade on our back porch, after having spent literally years trying to figure out how to get a roof up there without spending thousands of dollars, I found myself in competition with large borer bees. Two of them, in fact, were vying for nearly the same territory. One dive bombed the other one and the bombee flew off.

But there I was with a quandary. Having built most of the framework from wood, I wondered how to get the bees to leave. I tried e-cig vapor to no avail. The I realized I had the perfect tool. I needed to assert my territoriality, and I did so with a long-handled, yellow scrub brush.

I also started making an angry buzzing sound. I had to then fight off the one that had flown away, because he came back when I got rid of the bomber.

So anyway, I think I found the origin or inspiration for the phrase, "Buzz Off!"

This time of year the bees are looking for a place to set up housekeeping. I had watched a PBS program about a study of how bees decide where they will nest, referencing the need for them to survive.

Our place had been pretty well protected from bees nesting because we had had a spider mite infestation. But I have been spraying a Neem oil concoction all around the place to get rid of the spider mites, so we no longer have that protection.

Btw, spider mites eat leaves of fruit trees, and give nasty bites to people and pets, in addition to eating leaves. I also planted lemon balm at the bases of our fruit trees--another repellant to spider mites. The lemon balm doesn't grow as early as the spider mites start making webs, so there was a brief time this Spring when I still had to spray Neem oil....

It is also difficult to decide to spray Neem oil when it rains a lot because the rain washes it away. Luckily, we are having a few days of no rain now. I am using this time to harvest sod from the drainage ditch above and beside our house, but it has been getting hot out, so that's why I am inside right now posting this message -- a cooloff break!


We have a long haired cat who came to us seemingly from some sort of abusive situation. She seemed starved, for example, although, she is still skinny under all that hair.

She does not want us to touch her hind quarters. I guess she had gotten injured back there, especially because on the top of her back by her tail, her hair was missing as though someone had shaved her there.

Our second cat acquisition later got into a fight and had to have that area shaved by the veterinarian in order to affect the curing of his several puncture wounds back there. Perhaps both cats had gotten injured by the same foe.

So anyway, after watching many episodes of My Cat From Hell on the Animal Planet station, and after discovering that the long haired cat had acquired two long mats of hair padding on the backs of her hind legs, I decided she MUST be groomed. This morning I expanded, slowly, the areas that she would let me touch at all, and ended up cutting the hair mats off.

I had a long sleeved, leather glove to help me gently subdue her as I worked on small areas of her hair. I say "hair" because her coat's hair is finer than the other cat's actual fur. Perhaps she is a breed that is like the "non-allergenic" dog breeds.

A couple pix:
She is orange, or rather as they say, yellow. He is a grey breed that is typically, it seems, very affectionate.
Although, she seems to think he is a pain at times, but that is partly because she is super sensitive to touch on her hind quarters.

You can see how scruffy she is, but we made some improvements this morning, after this picture was taken yesterday.

You cannot see the mats, here, on her hind legs, but I cut them off this morning, anyway.

She is quite a dear, though.

Beautiful Days

Spring can be glorious even though getting back in shape after a long winter can be a bit painful. I have tons of yardwork and gardening to do, not to mention paint scraping, general cleanup, and cat grooming....

Then there is adjusting to Microsoft's declaration that they will no longer support the XP operating system. Another "learning curve" is growing on that front. But I recently got my pictures and camera set up again, and that is why I sat down to write this entry: to post a few pix.

This whirligig has been spinning a couple months in this spot. It is too large to hang from our eaves, comfortably, so it is just as well hanging from the swing set.

The saw horses might support some apparatus in future for generating electricity. They are tied down so that they won't blow away in a storm, but you cannot see the rope, nor the anchor for the whirligig in this picture.

I recently cleared away the lowest branches from the Norwegian Pine next to the swing set. I will sweep away the pine needles, add regular soil, and perhaps some grass seed.

The cats are in the lower right of this picture. Also, the top of the tree was cut off by the Electric company and I had them leave the wood, etc. Some friend use wood to heat their homes, and I used the tree's branches to prevent some erosion along our creek.

Also, I got a picture of the new "roof" on our back porch, if anybody cares....

I am slowly also working on cleaning out our gutters, which is why the ladder is still up.

A bien tot, mes amies.

Screen Cage Connections

I plan to wire the cages in series so the voltages will be additive. This requires a non-ferrous ring at top and bottom of each cage to collect the current or electrons from ground, etc. I looked several days for copper, brass, and aluminum rings that would be thin enough and large enough diameters until I finally realized that some pop bottles (of the past which I collected) have aluminum caps with a bottom ring of aluminum.

A few of these bottles still have their aluminum rings, so I at least can try out this idea. It was too difficult to get the ring off those that were left, so I had to cut the one that I am working with now. The other idea I had is rather simple: with fine copper wire I double over a piece, twist it together, then bend it into a circle. I started with a loop at the doubled over end, so I could bend the two ends of the circle together. I then attached the circle to one end of the cage with small lengths of copper wire stuck through the cage and bent over the hoop twice.

Oh yes. Also, I have two cages. The first I had cut triangles to accomplish the angles I needed to make spherical cages. Only one centimeter in their middles are straight vertical and circular walls. The second cage I did not cut off the excess screen to make triangles. I simply let the excess screen segments overlap. Then today I took a fine right angle, metal, pointed pick, and pulled out the cross wires where the overlapping had the wires going in a less than perpendicular angle to what the magnetic flux will be doing. I could then bend those excess wires toward their proper directions.

Tomorrow I hope to set up a whirligig on the back porch to get me closer to being able to actually measure how much electricity I can get from one such cage. Although, I will have two slightly different cages to compare to each other then.

I think that painting these cages will work to insulate them.

Also, I am considering how to mount them so they can move laterally to allow for natural shifting of the whirligig in the wind. I would much prefer that they be able to move rather than to have the cages be completely battered when the wind shifts direction.
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