WindTapper's Journal - Grassroots Green Energy Projects

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WindTapper's Blog

May 2015

Bad Year for Irises?

I was wondering if Irises have bad years, as Bamboo does? Not very many blooms this year, of either species that we have. Lack of fertilizer? I doubt that because Irises will grow on clay, with its root under a stone.

Then I realized that even our Day Lillies are doing poorly this year. Oh. Right. Last year I sprayed poison all around in order to get rid of poison ivy. Notice how I capitalize the plants I like, but not the one that I hate?

That poison must be very pervasive, as in airborne, because even the Irises that I did not put poison near to, are suffering. Pooh Bah! And I didn't get rid of all of the poison ivy, either. Crap!

Dear Diary

Besides the normal springtime activities and tribulations involving the yard and gardening projects, my before-bedtime reading has included books for learning Calculus.

Calculus Made Easy by Silvanus P Thomson and Martin Gardner (1998) seems surprisingly stodgy and long-winded to me. I only made it up to page 33 before I sought out a thin paperback I finally remembered I had acquired years ago: Cliffs Quick Review: Calculus.

This second book is going MUCH faster. I am already up to (having read) page 69. A few pages ago I passed the point where I was reviewing material already studied in college.

Recently on TV I heard the statement that half of all college students who [initially] take calculus fail it." That was news to me....

So anyway, some day I hope to get serious about memorizing all the rules of calculus, especially the trigonometric equivalences, lol. But for now, I am happy to look forward to the introductory overview of derivative applications and Integration that are yet to come in this 130 page Quick Review.

Carbon Dioxide on Nova

"Lethal Seas" on Nova just aired here. Carbon dioxide emissions are causing the oceans to become more acidic and are impairing the ability of shelled sea creatures and coral to survive.

More electric cars, please! Carbon dioxide sequestration!

On a more local scale, I found many pieces of information on this program that I can use. They showed how carbon dioxide in the water creates hydrogen ions -- which are the acid. I am going to start testing the water around our furnace exhaust system. Perhaps the acidity explains the algae that grows on our porches. Perhaps it even explains all the moss that is taking over sections of our lawn.

I should collect the water runoff from the exhaust pipes to test also for electrical properties.

The grass certainly likes the carbon dioxide emissions. Oh. That reminds me. I'd better get the plants under cover tonight....

Glorious Spring!

Ah! 50 degrees! I love it!

Shopping for veggie plants today I saw some birdhouse hangers that have inspired me to look again at planter hangers that I have collected over the years. Lots of possibilities came to mind for my wind powered generator -- to be assisted, perhaps, by actually separating and collecting electrons and positive ions from simple materials such as fine, dry sand, and the air and moisture in the air.

Bicycle tethers are natural materials since they are insulated on their outside, metal on their inside. And the hoops that I make from black plastic, bendable water pipe to mount my turbine blades on -- these are hollow, in which I could place the fine DRY sand, perhaps some "diamon" nail files, plus a wire to collect the electrons. A simple hole in the bottom of the plastic connector (to keep water from flowing in) would allow an uninsulated aluminum wire to sneak inside the pipe, where it could be pushed all the way around the hoop to collect and carry electrons to the insulated hanger -- and then to where I have yet to determine.

[By the way, it seems strange to me to think of the above as the positive terminal and the source of the electrons. However, The Weather Channel says the ground is actually positive, which makes sense since the air is possibly the most positive natural substance. The negative terminal is where electrons go to, from the device that is being fed electrons by the positive terminal of a battery. At least I THINK that's how it goes. But what do I know? I figured out today that I planted some grapes without even thinking about how they were seedless grapes, a few days ago. Boy do I ever need some more HDL. More avocados, anyone?]

Then there are the plant hangers. Those might be sufficient to hang screen around the ceramic pipe for collecting positive ions from the atmosphere, once the screen is impregnated with polyurethane. I am still considering how to coat the combination of screen and polyurethane. The coating needs to be tough and naturally negative. Oh yeah. I have a sheet of thin, flexible PVC! A tension strap or two should secure that....


What a dunce I am! I've been sweating for months, perhaps years now, over that stupid little problem of tethers breaking where the whirligig attaches to the anchor. I've been trying to design all sorts of contraptions to lessen the swinging during turbulent winds -- all to lessen the stress on that tether.

Why not just put a stout ring? Sure, the swivel has only a small loop to attach to, but there must be a way around that. And it doesn't matter how many swivels I would use, as long as they are attached end-to-end.

I also keep playing with different magnet configurations, until I remember that I already figured that one out. What's wrong with me? How can I be so stupid?

Anyway, on another topic, I saw the new Avengers movie today. The theater was as packed as I have ever seen it. The movie turned out to be much better than I'd imagined it would be. I don't cotton with violence for its own sake, and this movie actually had some other meat to it, regarding the attitude toward AI development that the Terminator movies have....

Happy Spring, dudettes and dudes!

Turbulence Problem

I am still working on the turbulence problem especially during these wee hours of the morning. Without anchoring, the turbine blades -- which are horizontally hung by the way -- are blown side to side and swung up and down relative to the central shaft during high winds.

Therefore, the central shaft also -- if it is not anchored -- suffers the same irregular paths, especially at its lowest point. To have a magnetic rotor on the central shaft would put too much wear on both magnets and coils unless I can figure out a way to link the circular motion of the blades to the central shaft without also transferring side-to-side and up-and-down motions to the shaft.

1. One possible solution is to set the weight of the central shaft onto a bearing at its bottom. The bearing creates a drag on the whole she-bang, especially if any dirt got into it -- and that is likely since rain and dust would naturally fall toward it. However, ignoring that problem, then there is still the problem of coupling circular motion without sideways and vertical motions also being translated.

Relatively large hoops of steel, heavy  wire could accept and ameliorate unwanted vectors of motions, but attaching the hoops to the central shaft would create negative forces, threatening the integrity of the shaft. In other words, the shaft would probably break unless it were also heavy metal, but that would interfere with the magnetic flux of the magnetic rotor, no?

2. A second solution is to apply a braking/limiting hoop hanging from the lowest blade level, which is limited by the size of the ceramic pipe sitting centrally under the blade levels. This could provide much triboelectric power, but would necessitate frequent replacement of the materials set up to rub on each other to also reduce noise. The maintenance would also be irregular because it would depend on the amount of high winds encountered during each period of time.

Also, attaching the lowest level -- for braking/limiting -- could add even more stress points at the junctions of vertical with horizontal materials due to the friction with the pipe.

It is in times like these that I wish I were a genius....

Adventures in Batteries

Spoiler alert: I surf the web, so many of my adventures are virtual and voyeuristic, lol.

Today I sought out the "smart battery charger" graphic that I had printed off poorly previously. Putting that phrase into quotes in the Google search engine found WAY more than I had envisioned this narrower search would produce.

Backtracking now, I had been studying what I had earlier printed out and saw that the first element of the schematic was labeled "15-24 Volt, 5 Amp DC Input" and this had me thinking about our commercial charger's 2 amp/10 amp toggle. The 2 amp side took a long time to charge our riding lawn mower's battery, while the 10 amp side exhibited some wild, disturbing fluctuations on its monitoring meter.

I finally let the 10 amp side work til it started jumping around on the meter, then backed off to 2 amps. And so forth and so on. Using the 10 amper toward the end of the charge cycle sped up the charge time enough -- even though it was a pain to keep monitoring it -- that I was finally able to use the battery for our first mowing of the year.

Anyway, back to "15-24 Volt 5 Amp DC Input," I think I will be lucky to generate 15 Volts at 2 Amps, but the wind blows so long each day, as does the sun shine, that the long charge times will be most inconvenient at night, on cloudy, or windless 24-hour periods. In other words, I finally have a quote and parameter for the supposedly most desirable input to a battery for charging it.

Adventure 2: at we find some marvelously practical information about a system of batteries on a sailboat that apparently has a cabin. Both sun and wind charge batteries on this boat, plus the batteries need to power the "house" and the starter on the motor. Excess charge is shunted to the hot water heater! How wonderful! What a very great idea!

Making Lists, & Etc.

Making lists of possible collectors, transmitters, and storage devices for electrons and protons garnered from the sun and wind has become a very large task. Some value to this task can be seen as I work through the problem. Concentrating on a single attractant at first is helping me to discern the large number of permutations, at least, of treatments of the single attractant as it relates to the idea of collecting electric charges.

Then there are another set of possible mounting devices, on which I also made some progress today in our yard, but only some. I sawed the 20 foot reinforcement rod in half. Whoopee Do!

I also purchased some new foam that might insulate the rod. The foam is also cut weird. Instead of being purely round it has four notches down its considerable length -- four feet. It can be fit together lengthwise, too. So some other possibilities arise, not only for mounting electron and positive ion attractants, but also for winding coils.

So today I had some fun imagining various sets of variables to experiment on, besides planning how to straighten out our backyard weed and erosion problems.

Not a bad day, all in all....

Weather, Etc.

I love 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with no rain. I think I would very much enjoy Van Couver. My husband, on the other hand, prefers 95 degrees on the Gulf Coast. Ah well. No accounting for taste.

This morning I finally succeeded in splitting our furnace exhaust into two streams so I might perform some Lord Kelvin experiments with some relatively passive voltage production. I already had the parts -- just had to saw one pipe in half and switch a few joints. Probably, however, I start with a disadvantage. It finally occurred to me this morning that all the pipe is PVC, which is inherently negative. The positive ions are probably sloughed off during cooling when the condensation runs off the inside and flows down the pipe to the ground. I will just have to try to keep my negative and positive metal inside sleeves out of the run off at the bottoms of the pipes, I guess.

One thing that I am sure of. Regardless of my success or failure in carbon reduction for the air, I definitely enjoy sending the CO and CO2 away from our kitchen window, our back door, and our back porch. This makes our immediate environment safer for ourselves and our cats -- possibly adding to our collective longevity.

Also, this morning I realized that I already have a supply of carbon. I have been saving all the water purifier filters, which contain activated charcoal. I have a couple quarts of this stuff. It is already containing chlorine, calcium, and perhaps a few traces of metals, but I should do my carbon experiments using this stuff, too, as well as the carbon fibers.

This morning I will run the ignition and conductivity tests on the fiber and activated charcoal. I am still wondering how to mount the test cells, both in wind and in the best sunlight I can find around here. Those are two MORE variables to track.

Tomorrow's Experiments

Tomorrow looks like it will be a good day to start experimenting with collecting electrons and positive ions. I hope to mix up my most potent sounding insulator so that I can pair up the negative and positive sacks to help each other attract more of each item.

When I listed possible ingredients, terminals, and insulators, the matrix of possible combinations grew and grew. Right now I have only plastic bags or acrylic packing tape in which to hold a variety of compounds.

I had been trying to figure out how to attach these to my whirligig, but preliminary experiments don't need to be mobile. I could just hang them in a windy place and insulate their terminals with tape for now.

Wish me luck!
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