WindTapper's Journal - Grassroots Green Energy Projects

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WindTapper's Blog


Spring Cleaning Ritual

I once took a correspondence course in great Greek Literature -- I think it was the course I'm thinking of. I took others, and the prof was from the English department, so I'm not sure. Anyway, he wanted an essay about some ritual in my life, describing the act of fulfilling the ritual. I assume the essay was meant to be full of feeling, viscerally connecting with the reader.

Since I am an atheist, and I assume he wanted something from my religious rituals, I had to write even harder. What an expression! "Write harder." OK. In other words, connect the reader's ability to imagine my feelings to the physical acts I was carrying out. Needless to say, it was difficult to connect a man to the joys of spring cleaning. I failed miserably to engage my one and only reader, I assume, because I did not receive an "A" grade.

Perhaps it was a technical writing course that I was trying to improve my "B" grade on. Someday I'll run into the paperwork somewhere and know the answer.

Anyway, what brings this topic up now is that I find myself drawn to Spring Cleaning. We have a week of 60 degree highs, and 70 on Friday. Besides grafting scions onto the Asian pear tree, finally re-connecting a toilet, and continuing my project of insulating our basement bathroom, I am drawn to washing windows, for example.

How do I convey the pleasure of feeling useful?


The Week magazine reports that there will be a vote in California on secession from these United States. Oh boy! Then we could kick out New York, where Trump has his principal domicile and declare him King of New York and invalid as President!

Just joking, folks. But think about it. If all the states were fiefdoms -- which they CERTAINLY are not now, lol -- Ohio could charge a border tax on all good shipped across itself. Heck. We could send up drones to record taxes from all the plane passengers and goods that fly over our fair state!

Toll booths on all our highways and bridges. The railroad trains would go bankrupt paying all the foreign duties levied by each state. Not sure how fees would be assessed on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, though.

Hell, let's be honest. We've already lost Michigan and Wisconsin to the oligarchs, and who ever thought the PEOPLE owned New York?.... Obamacare would become a  far distant legend, and so would any retirement plans, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, not to mention our armed services.....

"Veentaire ees a'coomin een"

I don't know where my title's quote comes from and I spelled it like it sounds. I suppose it is German or Dutch, too, but it is apt, considering what our weather radar looks like right now. The freezing rain will start here in a couple hours, and it looks like snow is coming later, all across the Midwest.

Yesterday was glorious at 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Ah, there's another German word.

I was supposed to get our front ditch squared away yesterday, but I just couldn't do it. Lately I've been trying to get my sleep schedule back to normal, and this results in my being slower overall. Today I get another window on the ditch work before temperatures actually plummet tonight.

We had this water problem in our front yard this Fall, with the Water Dept. guys digging it up three times. One time they also took out the correct geometry of the road versus our ditch, so my landscaping job is even more difficult than making a clear shot for the runoff. We are at the bottom of two hills, with a creek that receives all the runoff.

When the Township built a new bridge they added big rocks where our runoff used to go, plus a guardrail pens in my efforts at ditch construction on that end. So anyway, I'll be busy this afternoon, after the rain stops. ...


Today was so sunny, and it was supposed to get to 63 degrees, but it was quite windy. It certainly didn't feel like 60 degrees. Today I decided that our whirligig has finally outlived its usefulness.

I had been admiring how much more stable its untethered trajectory is with its loss of blades, but at 20-25 mph wind, it was not spinning with much gusto. After I get taxes done I will replace it.

Considering the next set of experiments has occupied my thoughts lately. This is an understatement. I have so many experiments I wish to conduct, but little money with which to accomplish them, besides being so careful that I delay until I have an experiment that won't "burn the house down" or zap somebody to kingdom come. I could even kill a tree if I am not careful with chemicals -- even such a relatively harmless chemical as salt.

I do plenty of thought experiments -- this time trying to generate or collect positive and negative ions or electrons with which to create an electrical potential difference in the wind that naturally flows all around us, and under the precipitation that naturally falls onto us.

But Spring Cleaning is another consideration. I have collected so many turbine blades that parts of our house cannot be used for ordinary purposes due to their collection bags taking up space. I believe I will have to take some hard decisions soon, but AFTER I do the taxes....

If Wishes Were Horses

If I were an Industrialist I would figure out how to import aluminum magnet wire from China -- given that I had first tested the idea of using same in home-built, wind-powered, electric generators. I have demonstrated that low wind situations generate sufficient torque for generators, given the New Jersey based swivels and other low-cost materials I've been using; however, a ton of magnet wire does not get from China to here by accident.

Another hurdle is the storage of electricity in batteries or capacitors. Both present dangers to lives and limbs, as well as pocket books for their safe housing.

In my dreamland of science fiction somebody can develop a means for storing energy that does not present such dangers as massive shock potential, environmental damages, and costs for transmission beyond a beggar's salary.

Last night I tried to dream up solutions to energy storage. I came up with only a few stormy seas:

A. Somehow harnessing temperature differences to run generators of electricity [Good luck with that one!] Storage would depend largely on thermal insulation. A switch mechanism could bleed off excess hot or cold to warm or cool buildings seasonally. This brings to mind the solar heating of air that rises along an insulated column that could lie at a 43 degree, South facing hillside, or on the outsides of buildings that face South.... The wind generator could lie anywhere within the columns of air that are being heated by the sun. Of course, in the summertime, air cold be drawn in the front of the house to travel along the basement floor before being heated by the sun and vented out the top of the dwelling and/or glassed-in trench up a hillside. Water pipes could take heat to the water system. This does not store energy, however, for generating electricity when the sun does not shine. Also, I need to design a low velocity turbine for vertical rather than horizontal spinning. Our heat pump in the summer blows upwards, for example, as would the columns of heated air mentioned earlier.

B. Somehow directing light -- perhaps through fiber optics -- to drive electricity generation. Generating the light is another problem. Perhaps geothermal, as in the light from magma? I wonder how far down I would have to dig to find magma? Oh yes. That depends on where you live.  [ Which reminds me. These snake oil salesmen who tout Icelandic diets don't mention that perhaps Icelanders eat extra amounts of citrus in order to avoid scurvy, rather than their miraculous attributes being solely due to volcanic soils.] Anyway, B is the barest of starting brainstorms. It involves sunlight, too, but that is a far less constant storage system than a battery or large capacitor can be.... at least for now..... I bet the International Space Station has some interesting ideas on this topic.

Tainted Water

I think the Congress has the same problem as Flint Michigan. Somebody dumped toxic chemicals into the water that feeds their water supply and the result was a mixture that corroded the lead inside the water pipes. Lead poisoning causes insanity.

I think it was Warren Hatch on TV who said three times, about Republican refusal to deal with Obama's Supreme Court Nomination, that the Democrats would do the same thing.

That's a lie. Does he have Alzheimer's? And then there's Ted Cruz.

Reading about Cervantes being in jail when he got his idea to write a short story about Don Quixote I learned that Cervantes was jailed for being "an incompetent tax collector." Also, the Penguin edition calls Don Quixote and Sancho Panza insane, btw. (I'll have to find out more about Cervantes.)

I saw Ted Cruz say on TV that he wants to "abolish the IRS." What does Cruz think? That everyone will blithely write checks straight to the Treasury Department? Or is he, rather, trying to destroy the United States? Read The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America and What We Can Do to Stop It, by Tom Hartmann.

Is Cruz tilting at windmills? Doesn't he think that it takes money to run a country? Does he think that by wishing it, taxes will go away? Or that money will cease to exist because he promises to do away with taxes?

2 Degrees Last Night

An earlier entry described oscillations of an electrical wire strung between our porch and some parking lot lights maybe 1/4 mile away. That time the oscillations occurred at 10 degrees. This time it was at 2 degrees when I happened to go out and see the oscillations at roughly 3 to 4 beats per second, causing the light across the way to blink on and off at that rate.

This time the line was not aligned with two lights, causing them to blink oppositely. This time only one light blinked for each wave. The temperature causes the line as a whole to raise or lower -- lower for higher temps. So, the line does not cross the lights from our perspective above 10 degrees or so.....

To Tether or Not to Tether

A tethered, spinning set of wind-powered blades -- that is, tethered at top and bottom on swivels, with the blades rotating horizontally - is the best way to control side-to side motions. This is best with limited horizontal spaces.

When the wind turbine has room to sway horizontally, then the advantage of the whirligig untethered at its bottom is that when the winds blow very hard, the magnets will be blown off the fixed coils (at the bottom) and will therefore avoid overproduction of electricity. This allows for almost-maximum numbers of turns in the coils, so that low wind average speed winds can be tapped for maximum electricity output.

The tethered rigs need to have fewer blades because the adverse tensions of higher winds will break their lines, as well as overproducing electricity overall -- thus causing fuse blowing or necessitating costly measures to provide safety against heat damage or to store excess electricity.

And so, I propose two separate designs, depending on how much horizontal space you can provide to the whirligigs.

And so, I will be building both types of whirligigs in order to 1)  test various ideas for how to create better, more durable tethers for the more narrow gigs; while also 2) testing the idea that higher winds must necessarily push the untethered gigs off their main configuration for maximum output at low wind speeds.

Later Note (midnight plus 30 mins. 1/31/16): Additional benefits to the untethered design: 1) greater stabilization and support for the coils; 2) much better ability to protect the coils from precipitation; 3) greater stability also provides for longer-lasting, more durable electrical connections to batteries and ground and other circuit controls.

So, perhaps I will use the interior of the swing set for tribo-electric experiments, rather than for the narrower but tethered gig experiments. Thus, the two outside ends of the swingset can be used for the untethered generators.

Thought Experiments

Real experiments are costly, so I spend a lot of time imagining experiments -- particularly, how I would build them. This gives me the opportunity to try out ideas regarding their feasibilities -- can they be built?

Currently I am working on the idea of homemade solar cells using the spent activated charcoal from water filtering plus clear packing tape and fine wires. I need to be careful in the summertime, when I actually build such cells, not to put these up against a wooden house for the first experiment because the sun gets very hot on our back walls.

I have some extra cement board to use as the positive layer, and for protection from potential heat build-up in the cells....

No, I haven't forgotten our wind experiments. Also working on alternative framing ideas to give stand-alone places to hang gigs. Also, possible ways of firming up the blades so they would last longer....

Sorry, but our housework takes precedence this time of year due to Christmas preparations, so I have not been posting as much lately.

Just so you know, I'm still here, and still thinking....

Health Tip

WebMD dot com gives oodles of health tips, delivered to your email.

Here's one of my own:

Find a way to securely raise up the keyboard for your personal computer so that you can type and play Spider Solitaire standing up. I find that three games at the easiest level adequately substitute for "The Daily Constitutional" if you get my drift.....

Retired persons and possibly students should take note of this. Active workers, probably not so much, as they are on their feet all day....

Product Idea -- For "The Cloud" Crowd

Energy Conservation demands that we find a way to humidify our houses passively in the Winter, during the heating season. For the last 20 or so years we have employed humidifiers that run electric fans -- at least -- and possibly water heaters as well.

With central heating you already have a major fan blowing the hot air into our rooms. We need a passive humidifier which is actually pretty simple, to place next to the heating vents. We already use distilled water because all our local water comes from limestone lined aquifers that leave far too much calcium inside our pipes and within evaporation containers, btw.

A simple, small drying rack whose feet stand inside a plastic tub. That's all I'm asking for.

Surely some factory could make such items rather cheaply and ship them to the U.S.?

They should be called Passive Humidifiers or Energy Efficient Humidifiers. The consumer merely pours distilled water over a towel that hangs on the rack, with excess water descending in the tub. The tub can also be filled so that water is drawn up through the ends of the towel that is lying across the rack, to create a source of water when the warm air flows across the towel.

Details: The rack plus tub should be compatible with both the wall and the floor heating ducts, which are both aligned and adjacent to the bottom of outside walls.

Come on, somebody! This is a free product idea! Have at it!

Later Notes (11-21-15 5 a.m.): [Prices quoted here are OLD, out-of date!] Upon searching through Google Images under "Mini drying rack", the best - for the price and sizes -- that I found are one urbanclotheslines dot com, for $24.71.

BTW, makes you give them your email in order to shop there. I already get too much email, thank you very much. KTMart is in Korean, which I cannot understand. Bearstitches dot com wants you to download plans to make your own dryers, and I don't like to download stuff. Camping World has a sale, at $40.22. All of the above except for downloading a DIY project probably charge beaucoup bucks for shipping. Perhaps the kohls rack was too large.

Also, btw, some lovely drying racks for produce and herbs reminded me that this is the season for drying fruits, etc., if you are ever tempted to buy that papaya. Although, I froze the last one, cut up into little pieces and put into little bags inside a larger bag. The little pieces stick together, however, in the freezer bag....

inhousehydro had a dryracm for 30.99. I can't recall what I felt about that one, but sometimes size is too large, although, the price is more than the one at urbanclotheslines.

Part of the problem is finding a rack that whose feet will fit into a tub. That ain't goin' to happen anytime soon.

As stated earlier, prices were out-of-date. Upon purchasing from urbanclothesline I found the best price was $34 something. However, shipping costs were very minimal, at $3.99 for two 32 inch dryers, total. That ain't bad.

Nov 22, 2015:  Walmart had two or three short racks that I could use, so far, and they are very inexpensive. $10 for one, $15 for another. For under a table where the hot, dry air blasts our living room I put down a boot rack, a tray on the bottom shelf, and a wet towel that made it through the night still damp. The shoe rack expands tremendously, but was "repurposed" as a show rack over a cold air return where it would at least dry out any shoes that make it onto it....

WindAndWeather Dot Com

What lovely products are available from Wind And Weather! Except, their website is not fully functioning. I cannot place an order for any of their products. I wonder what's up with that?

Some of their whirligigs seem to have a stationary section inside the rotating blades, so I thought I might perhaps set a generator inside some blades, such as inside KA6609, for example. However, even though that item is on sale at the moment, the website will not let me "Continue" to make the purchase.

Oh well. They have so many great video's, too, of their whirligigs spinning.... on their website. Those videos work. Check 'em out!

Spider Mite Treatment

Our spider mite infestation grew large enough around the back porch to chase off the bees who were living in the ground, next to our house. I figured that would happen if I laid off the Neem oil treatments for a while.

Watch out for Neem oil Extract. It has much less oil than you need to kill spider mites, btw.

So anyway, after leaving the furnace exhaust extender pipes in a pile next to the porch all summer, they had become infested with spider mites all through their interiors. I just sent a long scrubby mop up the pipes, soaked with the Neem Oil bath that they recommend for spraying on fruit trees, in preparation for a new heating season or two.

I have yet to cut all the grass, tree sprouts, and weeds that naturally grew up around the exhaust system. You see, the exhaust makes stuff grow faster, lol.

I still need to pull out all the stuff that accumulated in the tall grass before I can mow it.

Toot-a-loo for now, mes amies.

Lotsa Plans

Evaluation of my brain after my head injury in 1993 came up with the ideas that my sequencing and therefore my planning was lacking. Well, my sequencing does leave something to be desired -- evidenced by my willingness to advertise before having an actual product to sell. Planning, on the other hand, is in abundant supply, if, admittedly lacking due to sequencing issues.

I also do more thinking than acting, which, as parents are wont to say, "Think before you leap," tells me is not all bad.

Lately I keep repeatedly reading pages from Just In Time: Algebra & Trigonometry for Early Transcendental Calculus. I finally figured out that in addition to this book's having some good algebra review, it helps make up for a lack of pointed trigonometry study in high school. We had very good algebra, but, since I skipped 12th grade, I didn't get trig in high school.

Now, what has this to do with planning? Well, some things get out of sequence by themselves, such as my education being disrupted by a divorce in the family. So now I am trying to recapture the good parts of my education, in regards to the physics I am trying to accomplish now, while adding parts that I never really absorbed from anywhere.

On the other hand, I am planning on buying some new anchors -- three of them -- that have the small and very round loops at their tops. These will anchor my electricity generators that will be driven by the wind.

Other experiments are also in the offing, these being more electro-chemical in that they should generate and collect positive and negative ions....

Saturday Chores

I am rebuilding our old car to use as a backup for my older van. Actually, I hope to semi-retire the van, but the old car -- which is 12 years newer than the van -- needs a new transmission and battery. It was my husband's car, btw. It is becoming mine/ours.

We might have one day free of rain, today. So now I am trying to charge the old battery and find out how to operate the old car so that I can "own it."

It needs gasoline, too. Oh me, oh my. Getting the gas cap open is a chore that I might have figured out how to accomplish. Getting the hood open without the battery turned out to be possible this morning.

So much of the newer cars is electrified, you see. Luckily, my experience with the van told me that I must push down on the lid to get it to pop up so that the latch can be accessed. Ho Hum.

Pulling weeds is another chore, that might have to wait a few more days. The length of the weeds helps me to grab them, plus the moisture in the soil lets me yank them out. But I need to go get a new battery for the old car today because the rain is abating for this one day.

We did not really have a "Dog Days" last year. Perhaps we won't have one this year either.

BTW, I am still studying calculus. I got a book on pre-calculus, too, which I started last night. It has been at least 40 years since I took that in the 10th grade. I remember enjoying the binomial theorem much more than is possible in my new "Just In Time" review book....

Oh yes. The Internet is wonderful! I was able to look up beet cultivation from several perspectives and ran into a multi-part piece on building an above-ground garden. That could help me avoid water-logged soil, as well as poisoned (by Black Walnut trees) soil....
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