WindTapper's Journal - Grassroots Green Energy Projects

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WindTapper's Blog

December 2014

"Packing It In"

During my grieving process for Robin Williams' suicide -- while still thinking, "Gee. I thought he was smarter than that" (you see, I think that Romeo and Juliet is about how stupid suicide is) -- I went to three movies. The Theory of Everything takes my view of suicide and "mercy" killing -- although not everyone is as lucky as Steven Hawkings in the brains department.

Then I saw what seemed to me to be about Robin Williams' suicide -- before I saw it: Birdman with Michael Keaton. Now that I've seen it, the movie seems to me to have been secretly written by Robin Williams, and I am feeling better about his death -- which is sad. What a waste! But Mr. Williams life was not about what we could get from him. That's where I feel guilty about grieving his death so much. We are "robbed" of him. But he had to walk in his shoes.

Now I am thinking that if he'd eaten more fresh vegetables, drunk less alcohol, and gotten more exercise (please see this week's The Week), perhaps he could have muddled through his Parkinson's Disease. You think?

He must have been TRULY competitive -- so much so that he could not face being less than he had been. Perhaps there was some of him in the third movie, Top Ten. The black pimp very slightly resembled James Brown in his hairstyle, and Mohammad Ali in his verbal bluster, but also Williams a bit in his ability to run over Ben Stiller in their video for the young actor who was asking a Hillary to go to the prom.....

After seeing the YouTube video of his interview by two Australian journalists, I see Williams' depression when he thought of going back to Broadway; facing the critics. Did he have Birdman in mind while he described the tiger who wasn't really dead because his ghost lived? I dreamed of male lions last night, btw. I was fighting them off with other people helping....

I am, by the way, also thinking of packing it in -- at least as far as this website is concerned. I am having no luck with static, but, perhaps after a few good nights' sleep and a better diet plus more exercise, perhaps I will remember, "Where there's life there's hope."

Later Note, 1/1/15: Further googling on Robin Williams got me to LBD or Lewes Body Disease for Williams. This makes more sense to me now. Reduced cognitive ability sounds like a reduction in intelligence to me. Hallucinations explains to me the hallucinations of Birdman, too. I keep hoping Williams is still alive -- just retired somewhere. I said a prayer to that effect, but without much hope. I feel that way about my mother, too. You know, all these actors have the means of faking their own deaths.....

A Jumble-O-Rama

New ideas came to mind after reading some web stuff (including on basic chemistry as it relates to "electro-negativity." One factoid has the electron reaching a higher energy state when bombarded by light, so I am considering how to get light into my proposed anhydrous silica chamber(s).

I wonder about the availability of electrons. Can wire indefinitely produce moving electrons when cut by magnetic flux, or is there some limit? Would a silica dust chamber run out of electrons?

Studying periodic tables off the web, I got from (I think it was) that silicon is a quasi-metal, or rather, its classification as a semiconductor is related to the idea that it is not really a metal. So perhaps it would not provide as many electrons as I have been imagining.

I am going to read a bunch from the chemguide site, particularly info on electron shells of elements in order to possibly find some sources of electrons. Of course, putting magnets in motion next to wires will free electrons, so I am looking at the idea of putting round magnets inside a shell of wires, coating the spherical magnets with rubber, and letting them naturally be perturbed as they hang and fly around from the lowest level of turbine blades on the whirligig.... But then I have the problem of making a circuit so the electrons would flow, although, static electricity does not exactly require a circuit -- if you catch my drift. Static makes sparks.

The jumble comes from the lack of being able to predict exactly which direction of flow of the electricity produced, but this could be compensated for by placing directional diodes in strategic places....

Merry Christmas!

We are having a lovely Christmas. After dinner I got a chance to work on the ideas I am having for creating an electricity generator. Ideas can be ephemeral so I record them in case they have legs, lol.

This evening I am working on the idea of sending the negative charge through a wire or other metal, up the central pole of the gig, from the negative chamber, eventually to the positive side of a small battery. The difficulties with this are mainly two: 1. Avoiding having the wire or other material break due to swinging and vibration; 2. Keeping the conductor insulated from precipitation, both on entry to the negative chamber, and connection at the swivel.

Using a chain inside the hollow pole and tethering the chamber at its bottom to the wind turbine blade level could reduce wear and tear, but also reduce the production of silica dust. Perhaps if I coated the inside of the pole with silicon, the chain might free some dust? But also want to be very careful to not build a design that generates noise.

Bicycle chain comes covered with a plastic or vinyl. I want to also keep the conductor as negative -- itself -- as possible until it arrives at the positive terminal in order to provide the difference in potential required for the movement of electrons. I need to cover the swivel to keep it out of the wind and rain, therefore. Perhaps a cone of vinyl would suffice for each place: the entrance to the pole as well as the swivel.

Oh. Family calls on Christmas. Merry Christmas!

Salvage Due Diligence

I checked today with our upstream neighbors to see if they or their landlord owned the ceramic pipe that I witnessed working its way down their stream some months back, and which I salvaged from the stream for my wind powered electricity generator project.

They said they heard the pipe when it was knocked around during the creek's flooding episodes -- especially at night, but that they did not know where the pipe had come from.

I had asked them to check with their landlord to see if he had left it for accomplishing some future project on their property, leaving my phone number in case the landlord had owned it. However, our neighbors believe it came from upstream of themselves, too, and apparently no one has come looking for it.

I want to start building my first static electricity collector, using the pipe, but did not want to have to give it back after investing work on it, you see. We have a law in our state saying that abandoned property left on your place becomes yours after 30 days, but it didn't exactly land on our property without a bit of help from me since that creek runs past our house on the other side of our street. It's just that the creek meets up with the creek that runs by our house which is a bigger creek, and I figured our creek would wash it much further, much faster soon if I did not rescue it from the smaller creek in time. It would have been a lost prospective resource from my perspective if I hadn't fished out of the smaller creek that ran right next to our lane.

Rethinking Silica Dust Generation

Perhaps bags of fine sand that are not very heavy, plus made from material that is permeable could be hung inside a rotating, dry chamber. With the vagaries of the wind turning the chamber and swinging it side-to-side a bit in the process -- on the average day -- perhaps the bags of fine sand bumping together would be enough to generate silica dust within the chamber.

The chamber could be lined with aluminum, to catch the silica dust on its surface but insulated from the foil's backing so that the negative charge would not dissipate. The outside of the chamber would be rotating in the wind and precipitation, so it would be naturally positive.

How does this help us?

I could send the charge from the outside of the chamber to ground -- the same ground where the battery's negative terminal is attached. Thus providing "holes" to both ground and the negative terminal of the battery. I wonder if I could send the negative charge from the center or insides of the chamber, up the central pole of the gig, and on to the positive side of the battery, without compromising the dryness of the inside of the chamber?

These opposite charges being supplied to the battery -- I think -- need directional diodes to keep the battery's charge from leaking back out to the gig. These opposite charges are for actually charging the battery and need to be above 12 volts, in order to overcome the battery's intrinsic power pressure, or voltage.

Thinking Through Recent Design Ideas, Out Loud

Take these thoughts with a grain of salt. Salt prevents ants from getting a good bead on you, lol.

1. a. Passive electron/hole collecting:  A bowl of liquid silicon with celery propped up in the middle. The tops are cut off the celery, btw. These two items are within protected, semi-enclosed walls (or one circular wall). The idea is for the silicon to travel by capillarity up the celery and have its H2O evaporate out the top, carrying with it some silicon. The positively charged silicon atoms would naturally sink to the bottom of the container while the lighter -- hopefully anhydrous -- silicon atoms would float to stick to the top of the container which is insulated from, yet close to the outside surface which is naturally positive due to air flow and natural precipitation.

So, theoretically, the mutual attraction between atoms and ions inside to outside the container topmost wall(s) (maybe conical in shape) might be used to provide stability for attracting "holes" or positively charged ions to the outside of the container's topmost surface(s) where they could be

b. actively** scraped off by, let's say, negatively charged, rotating (twice rotating*), "brushes" and transferred therefore to ground through exposed steel wire on the surface of the container.
I am thinking of a pattern of uninsulated wire that goes up and down repeatedly, wound around the container, in order to build up voltage -- rather than using screen (as a collector of "holes") which would necessarily dissipate voltages.

2. Ground is connected to the negative side of an uncharged battery, at first. (I am shopping for a good lawn tractor battery for the least amount of money possible.) With Ground connected to the collector that attracts the most "holes", the collector is like the negative side of the battery in that its terminal is made from negative materials which attract "holes."

*The action of scraping off "holes" to deliver to the negative side of the battery can be accomplished by hanging clothes lint rollers, coated with intrinsically negatively charged fabrics, and attached by a swivel to the bottom level of a whirligig. Thus, these brushes rotate around the gig, and rotate again on their own pivots as they rub against any sort of intrinsically negatively coated, circular container.

**Another active, yet negative atom production facility could be placed inside the whirligig where "diamon" nail files slide across a flat but enclosed surface coated with sand and/or other silicon compounds to scrape silicon into tinier and tinier pieces through friction. Hopefully the separation into positive and negative silicon atoms will occur, allowing anhydrous silicon to float to the top of the inside of the conically shaped container. The natural perturbations of the wind on the centralized, rotating chamber will provide somewhat random "glide paths" for the "diamon" nail files across the silicon. I am still working on how to transfer the negative charge to the positive side of the battery, prior to its first charge for my proposed and very preliminary experimental charging project that I am trying to design here.

Sanctimony Here

Seth Rogen always seems to play the lovable dufass in movies. 

[OK I looked up the spelling for dufass and it is actually reported as doofus in the online Meriam Webster Dictionary. A short list of synonyms from the dictionary: nitwit, yo-yo, jackass. So, I say we should change the spelling from "doofus" to "dufass."]

I do not like the idea of causing a bunch of people to laugh at the idea of killing someone, which, I gather, is the plotline, er punchline of the movie The Interview. Having not actually seen the movie, I can only guess about this.

I know that Seth Rogen is very funny, plays lovable dufasses, and is actually of the standup comedian ilk, but I didn't know that he had a secret death wish. Why on earth, Mr. Rogen, would you paint a target on your back and give a war mongering, nuclear idiot your address?

Is it "just" rhetoric, Mr. Rogen? Are you imitating Kim John-un? Is that your actual satire?

Are you fucking crazy, Mr. Rogen? Do you have a death wish? Aren't you playing with fire? Do you feel you must imitate every dufass on the planet, including nitwits with their fingers on nuclear triggers?

Oh. I get it now. You want to give Kim Jong-un a taste of his own medicine. Pretend assassination = rhetoric. It is the comedy part that actually baffles me. Joking about killing someone. That is very stupid -- both you guys! Give it up. And I'm not talking about applause now.


As I have no electricians or electronics engineers to help me I face the fear of electricity when I finally decide to make a real world, electrical experiment. As wonderful as the Internet can be for gathering information, it also suffers from the multiplicity of sources which results in a lack of coordination among nomenclatures and reference points. The most glaring source of ambiguity for me is the negative-positive labeling of batteries and current flows.

One graphic shows the positive side of a battery (it is unknown what actual type of battery it is) having a positive interior electrode, with electrons flowing out the top, toward the negative terminal, during discharge of the battery through a load (the load being a useful device or appliance, such as, for example, a light bulb). The battery charger, I assume, would then put electrons into the positive side of the battery.

The only correlation, then, between the symbol "+" and the positive side of the battery in the case of charging it -- in my mind -- is that the interior of the electrode with its positive terminal must be made of a positive material that can receive, and indeed, naturally bonds with electrons when they are provided in sufficient quantity and pressure (or voltages).

But don't quote me on that. I don't know for sure if this is the case. I need to do some real world measurements comparing the charge and discharge flow directions of electrons. The complication -- other than the experiment being potentially lethal to me -- are the opposing nomenclatures or indicators of current flow in terms of positive and negative. Current is labeled exactly opposite to electron flow.

Then you have diodes which also are labeled "backwards" from what I think I read on voltage meters. Diode "negative" lines are on the direction of current rather than on the direction of electrons. So, I need to do an experiment to corroborate my half-assed assumptions, or to deny them.

I am thinking of using our lawn tractor's battery, along with a power resistor that I purchased back around 1992, when I was studying and then graduating from an adult education electronics servicing, 2-year night school course. The course was 6 hours a day, four days per week at the electronics lab, with my studying all day, every day, to prepare for the lab hours.

I still miss those lab hours for the people and the equipment our class found there. I suppose there were around ten of us in the course.... Now I have only three or so hand-held volt/ohm/amp meters and a one-channel O-scope, with no regulated power supplies other than batteries....

Wish me luck, folks!

Bird Brains

Taking a bit of a Winter break from wind power, I looked with new eyes at the birds swooping down from our pear tree to light on our feeder. These little creatures -- titmice, chickadees, cardinals, and the occasional woodpecker -- all move so seemingly effortlessly. They are true athletes. Sometimes they simply jump off a branch and seemingly guide themselves through the air, past and among other branches, landing exactly where they want to be to get a sunflower seed, then fly back to the tree, again among many branches.

I habitually have thought of birds as tiny robots, being super amazed at how much their tiny brains can compute. They must have analogue computers built into their brains and bodies. That is a Winter thought to ponder -- how would one build an analogue computer? Computer scientists are so fascinated by digital logic, but it seems to me that -- at least regarding moving geometrically through space -- analogue computing must be far more efficient.

As a young athlete I could attest the fact that my own brain could automatically calculate the direction and speed that I should run and throw a basketball during a game. It is so for any sport -- that one's own geometric properties regarding movements can be exactly correlated to the environment, even if one's environment contains many moving entities, such as on a basketball court. One does not even need numbers in this analogue system of predictions, planning, and execution of directed actions.

After watching all the Terminator movies, though, I have to wonder if it is wise to try to build an analogue computer....

Trying To Free Electrons From Molecules

Some compounds with their molecules have intrinsically negative or intrinsically positive charges, meaning that they "desire" to bond with oppositely charged compounds. Teflon, being negative, and air, being positive, is one set of opposites. Anhydrous silicone is negative and so has an intrinsic nature to bond to anything with an intrinsically positive charge.

1. Lately I have been having great trepidations about my concepts of negative and positive as applied to my trying to free electrons from molecules, and pass "holes" along to a battery or circuit. My misunderstandings -- in other words -- have been "biting" me lately, in my mind. I definitely must get out into the real world to test even the rudiments of my theories.

2. I think that the newish "diamon" nail files can be made to work admirably on fine sand to separate silica powder out for becoming airborne in a closed container. My thoughts now rest on enclosing a container inside one of the Chinese made, conical squirrel baffles -- hung under the center of a whirligig. The perturbations of the wind and twirling could disturb such a nail file enough, as it rests atop a layer of fine sand, to scrape a fine layer of silica off the sand. The outermost perimeter of the container must contact the inside of the baffle yet be electrically insulated so there is no loss of charge, in order to attract positive ions to the outside of the baffle. Collecting the positive ions is a subsequent challenge, but the ions could be put to use to attract electrons, don'tcha know?

A New Alchemy of Air?

The book The Alchemy of Air is waiting for me to read it, but I looked up the names of the two guys featured in it on Wikipedia. They took nitrogen from the air, then ramped up production in order to industrially produce fertilizer for agricultural purposes.

What I am looking at now is the reported fact that air is the most positively charged compound that is readily available. In my research for using static electricity to produce charges that I might harness for the production of electricity consistently, I am seriously considering experimental devices to gather positive charges from the air.

Perhaps polyester fabric hung out in the yard -- insulated from ground but not far from a grounded surface and parallel to that surface. As it has been raining for two or three days, I am reminded that I must try to detect charges under both wet and dry conditions. With rain, I should try to collect the runoff and isolate it ASAP, into a Leyden jar, if at all possible.

So, after experimenting with both positive and negative fabric collectors, I just might be able to write "A New Alchemy of Air."

Courtesy of I present a picture of a Leyden jar that came up on a Google search of images:
This picture reminds me that negative and positive are relative. Notice that the positive side in this picture is grounded.

Most batteries, on the other hand, have their negative sides grounded.

I am fairly certain that this is an old drawing, which is beyond copyright.

I should visit to see what else they have.

Leyden jars do not have to use lead, btw. Aluminum foil is another common metal liner, but any metal that can hold a charge or transmit it will do. Fabric laced with metal is what my collector will use, at first, at least.

Dear Diary -- Christmas Lights, etc.

Christmas lights going up here.

Planted a memorial tree temporarily, for final planting next spring. A dear friend died last August. Her family and I will plant the tree in her honor.

It is raining here. Now I have to wash my coat. I was going to wash it anyway, after putting up Christmas lights in that coat in our dusty garage.

During breaks from the Christmas tree lighting, garage cleaning, and tree planting I think about how to best use the new squirrel baffle for my wind powered static electricity generator. The baffle is so large that perhaps I could put a negative ion generator inside of it, with connections hanging down to brush wires -- both inside and outside of it. I am not fond of brushes, but perhaps some light weight chains could do the job, or bicycle tethers that are insulated.

I know I will be taking patterns off the squirrel baffle. I'll be sure to note the manufacturer's name, btw, once I get started on that project. I could take patterns from both the inside and the outside of it, I suppose using the largest pages of a newspaper. I am looking forward to making the cone shape out of my steel screening which has the advantage of having beaucoup places to hook onto it, or rather, to hang things from it. The screen is not strong enough to fly alone, though, and it certainly lacks the advantage of being waterproof, lol.

But a screen with negative or positive fabric over it could collect the oppositely charged particles, provided it was insulated from yet near enough to the oppositely charged particles.

Making Do

Such great ideas I had! But now I must make do with what I have. 

I acquired a squirrel baffle made in China that cost almost $22. Its being made of metal has made me change my plans. It is also 18 inches in diameter. The ceramic pipe is 14 inches in diameter at its top -- possibly 16 inches at its bottom.

The reason I must "make do" is that my money supplies have run out -- even with a credit card. Now I must see how much potential difference I can generate, given the materials that I acquired today. I got three different types of silicone to try out, btw, and now I have another idea that perhaps KY jelly could produce some airborne silicone after evaporation, with just a tiny bit of bumping....

Vinyl is the next most negative material, after Teflon, on my list of intrinsically positive and negatively charged substances. So, the Chinese squirrel baffle, covered with vinyl, should provide not only a barrier to precipitation, but also, should collect positive ions from the wind.

I could increase the collection rate by 1. Ramping up the vinyl's draw, from below it, by somehow getting powdered silica airborne underneath it, and 2. Bumping its upper surface with flying negative materials that have collected positive ions; 3. Spinning the negative collectors to reduce friction when they bump as they 4. Rotate around the baffle, getting movement, thereby, of ions on the surfaces. This is the negative side of the generator, although it collects positive ions. The positive side of the generator stays inside the pipe, where the positively charged collectors will reside, near to its silicone sources.

All the above are only taking into consideration movements of ions in dry weather. Collectors of water-borne ions should provide a second set of charges, either directly, or during evapo-transpiration to separate and/or concentrate charges.

Clear as mud, huh?

In any case, I feel it is time to take some actual measurements of voltage differences, after I finally build a test rig.

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