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WindTapper's Blog

Library Research

Vacation Is Done

After a rather extended vacation from trying to design wind powered electricity generators I was back at it today. My latest rough outline includes hanging a doubled set of hoops -- one inside and one outside -- from the same hoop above it. Within the two circles would be a circle of circles. That is, a set of coils around the central circle.

I was thinking today of how a fellow squared the circle as I was cutting watermelon rind away to get to the fruit. I was thinking that housewives square the circle often while peeling fruit....

So anyway, the trick to this design will be to provide stable yet lightweight platforms on the two moving hoops in order to mount magnets that can be somehow waterproofed -- also in a lightweight fashion.

The central circle also needs to be protected from the elements while simultaneously not allowing much distance between the central circle and the circles on either side of it.

Ho hum. So much to do....

Oh yes. Another trick: keeping the two magnet circles from grabbing each other, even though the magnets should be pointed in exactly that direction. How to keep them apart enough to send their flux through the coils, without letting them touch the coils or each other? Have I chosen an impossible task this time?

Later Note (6 a.m. 9/24/15): Yes. This is impossible, given the horizontal wobbles inherent in the whirligig's spin. Even if I were to insist on rounded corners on the edges of my magnetic circles, and/or sides high enough to prevent the circles from cutting the central circle; indeed, even if wrapped in antistatic cloth, friction would fray the cloth and/or cause too much drag on the device. The cloth would also collect debris over time and be cut eventually.

So, I revisit old design ideas every so often with the effect that I recheck those designs in light of any new information I might have obtained during the interim. This is much the same process I have observed myself performing as I remember family events out of our past experiences. Dreams do this, too, I think.

I should make a separate entry for the following, but I already provided the segue. I am reading Developing a Social Psychology of Monkeys and Apes by John Chadwick-Jones. It provides -- so far -- a very organized review of research on this topic. I love how the topic shows the overlapping of Psychology and Anthropology in what we call in the states Physical Anthropology and Comparative Psychology. The somewhat new overlap here is between Social Psychology and Physical Anthropology.

This book should be sent back to the library from which it came, and I intend to do that after I have either read it or found a non-library copy. Bolton University of the UK seems to have lost it to an Amazon book-seller in the U.K.

(Later Note, 10/6/15: After being attacked by unseen but biting and roaming critters while first reading the second Appendix to the book over a week ago; and again experiencing the same event last evening after reading Appendix one -- after finishing the book -- I have decided to do my best to get this book incinerated by Waste Management. Sorry, Bolton University, but you do not want this book to return to you. I will send a note to them to this effect.)


I have been watching all the "Castle" and "Bones" episodes on TNT for what seems like a year now. TNT replayed its SteamPunk episode recently, and I finally connected the dots last evening. One of the books I am reading these days is on Static Electricity... and was first published in 1886.

Last evening I ran through a section that seems to think like I think, or have thought on many occasions: running through all the parallels among physical phenomena showing the transfer of energy in waves through materials. The book was likening heat and light energy waves which radiate spherically out from their sources to electricity spreading through materials. Specifically it was mentioning how polarized light can be blocked by a material that is out of phase with its waveform.

Also, the little metal balls suspended in a row, where you let the last one swing against the row and only the ball on the opposite end moves in response....

I am having a bit of fun, you see, because I think of the ether as getting short shrift (:-).

Dielectric Constant Again

Reading the two books plus Wiki articles mentioned previously, in no particular order I might add, I found an explanation for why "Dielectric Constant" is getting a bad rap now. Over 100 years ago, when experimenters were guessing where the charge rested inside the Leyden jar capacitors, their first guess was that the charge was kept in the water.

Then they guessed that the charge stayed in the two layers of foil on each side of the glass jar, since the Leyden jar worked as a capacitor without water, at a later date. Now the Wiki has a "Dielectric Absorption" term pertaining to a rebound of charge after the capacitors of various configurations regain charge after full draining of charge.

It seems to me that the molecules of a capacitor become polarized to some extent when the capacitor is charged, losing polarization after discharge, but some materials retain a partial memory of the polarization which reappears to a greater or lesser degree after discharge. The greater or lesser factor goes between 0% up to 15%, btw.

And so, some capacitors present a danger to people who handle them -- particularly electrolytic, high voltage capacitors. So these dangerous capacitors I will avoid, since I cannot control stray pets and/or children who might find my apparatus intriguing enough to sniff around, touch, or push or chase their companions into....

By the way, I find myself reading the first part of these two books because they are so old that they both deal with REALLY old research in their beginnings. So they progress in a sort of parallel fashion, yet from different perspectives....

More Reading

I started reading Static Elimination by Horvath et al last evening. Whew! Static can even be created by cutting a log!

I had thought originally, that static elimination was exactly what I was trying not to do, but it turns out that -- besides needing to know about dangers that can be created by static electricity -- the control of static is exactly what I want to do, if I am going to build a safe and robust electricity generator using static.

Gardening and Spring cleaning are distracting me right now from actually working on this engineering project out in our yard. Oh yes. Rain puts a crimp in measuring static, too, lol. After today, though, the weather forecasts say no rain for 4 or 5 days....

Oh yes. After we get our taxes done I will be switching over to a new computer, so next week we could be incommunicado for at least a few days. I will even be delisting all my books on Amazon during that time, but all of this is only temporary. Heck. Everybody deserves a vacation once in a while!

Meanwhile, if you haven't already done so, check out all the links up the left side of this computer page, and categories down on the left for this blog.

Not Much Happening Here These Days

Yard work and gardening are my basic activities these days, although I continue to hope some brilliant idea will pop into my frond (see Stargate) on how to get the most power from my generator design without burning it out in storms -- in other words, voltage regulation.

I took the 3-minute tour of IEEE Explore, then linked to the Free Trial option, but at the bottom of the form it says you must have more than one person to qualify for the free trial. Oh well. Back to the library I go. IEEE does let you search their database for free. You just cannot access their publications other than the abstract and indexing information.

Actually, I have yet to request a copy of a pub from them because of my tight budget. And their indexing is not detailed enough to let me know beforehand whether their pub will actually pertain to my situation, or rather apply to large-scale electricity transmission or generation such as utility companies might use, unless, of course, I get good at guessing from abstract descriptions.

I think that once I get our yard and garden in shape for the summer season,  I will be requesting some IEEE pubs through the library, just to see if that is a way to get them.

So, toot-a-loo. I am off to work on the yard before it gets too hot....

Later Note: Actually, I am curious to know if my whirligig set-up has an intrinsic speed limit. Probably the more levels the gigs have, the fewer RPM's that can be achieved, due to that magical nemesis, turbulence, plus weight. I should run some tests to see if there is a speed limit. Having a single ball bearing on top and a single ball bearing on the bottom of the stack of levels would present the most likely cause of speed limiting, especially with 18 fins per level, pulling in not exactly the same direction simultaneously.

Later Still: After going to see MIB3 today I was toying with an idea using mercury to connect to a shunt circuit when it finally dawned on me that thermostats are an old technology and should be readily available. Over voltages should produce heat, no?

Surfing for Voltage Regulation

Several general and many specific ideas for regulating output voltage of a wind powered electric generator showed up on our computer today. All About Circuits dot com had an interesting little discussion from 2008 and 9 using "wind generator voltage controller" as a search term. gave tons of citations but wants at least $10 for each article. I am going to check the library to see if anything can be obtained for free. I sort of doubt that they could be gotten for free, although you never know what e-files are "lurking" at Amazon, lol. It is kinda too bad that our university library doesn't have access to those online either, but "we does what we ken."

One concept intrigues me a bit: Reactive Power Control from ScienceDirect dot com. Too bad they want $34+ just to see it. I am having fun just imagining how induction could control voltage. But it also brings up the idea that I should build the design that I have and just see what its top voltage turns out to be. Although, at All About Circuits dot com someone said that when voltage climbs then amps decline, which says that a simple fuse will not work to protect the generator from overvoltage events.

I wonder if I could put three batteries in parallel and just let 'er rip? They were talking about having 48 volts (presumably going to a 12-volt battery) but few amps. Of course, a charge controller was assumed to be installed on the battery receiving the too large, 48 volts....

Searching for Voltage Regulation Info

For most of the last 10 or 15 years I have been hugely addicted to Google, but not anymore. And neither did the library supply much help in the field of electrical engineering. But I went back to which came up with oodles of information for me. My life has been one big conundrum lately, trying to figure out how to regulate voltage on a variable speed wind power electric generator.

I now have lots more ideas and leads since I went to They sent links to places such as yahoo,www., and wikipedia, but some of the answers were right there on the page! I am so grateful to because I don't know enough yet to even formulate the proper search strategy on Google, which has seemed to me to be less and less useful as more and more is added.

G'night, y'all!

Testing Graphics

"Armature Winding of Alternators" is Chapter 22 of Volume 22 of The Dynamo by C.C. Hawkins and F. Wallis. No date is listed on the front pages. I will have to look it up on the online catalog.

Testing my scanning and pasting the scans into this blog now on page 813:

Picassa3 Autocontrast is not getting through the paste process or something. Oh yes. I usually have to log out of Picassa3 and/or out of Vistaprint to make any graphics changes completely satisfactorily. I just today noticed that I can enlarge photos for readers....

Winter Finally Arrives in Southeastern Ohio

I was beginning to wonder just how quickly global warming was going to progress when the weather finally turned cold in January! But when I think on it now, I always wondered why the winter season didn't officially start until December 21 or so every year while we had snow every Thanksgiving.

(Pictured to the left, Sun on Snow. The apparition in a previous photo turns out to be the lower edge of a decal of an angel on the window.)

I watched a TV program about the Mayan prediction for the end of the world next December. I forget which channel I was on. This program showed 5000 year old moss at a site in the Andes where the ice cap had recently melted off. And the program said that the Mayans predicted the world will end in flooding. "End of the world" should be taken as a metaphor for "things change", with lowercase letters this time, I believe. However, I learned in English class -- of all places -- that western Russia was much warmer 5000 years ago -- in relation to the development of the Indo-European language family tree. The TV program mentions several places around the world had sudden freezing hitting them 5,000 years ago.

We know that pluvial sediment and valleys were created 9 thousand years ago in these parts, as the huge glaciers melted over what are now the Great Lakes. Since we can see our ice caps melting now in the news, we also can notice flooding along coastlines in present day weather reports. The implication I take is that 10,000 years ago things froze over and stayed frozen until 9,000 years ago when they melted in a big way. Is this another melting of a 10,000 year cycle?

How do I love winter? Let me count the ways. Number One: plenty of time for reading. If I ever feel the need to be reminded of how much I don't know about power supply engineering, I have a new favorite book: Practical Design of Power Supplies by Ron Lenk. This book is a jewel, not only for its very realistic treatment of low watt power engineering, but especially for the author's sense of humor and his timing for delivering his humor. His occasional jokes creep up on you and leave you rolling in the aisles. I do hope that everybody who reads his book gets his jokes, however. No. I do not believe he was serious about guarding his power lab station at night from accidental shocks to passersby by tying magnet wire to two chairs in front of it. That was a joke, son.

Last night I finally cracked open Volume 2 of The Dynamo: Its Theory, Design, and Manufacture by C.C. Hawkins and F. Wallis. Winding armatures is where I have been working lately and this book has a lot of armature windings illustrated, so I am fairly glued to it nowadays, when I am not reading Lenk's book, that is.

Now that it is quite cold outside, I think I had better set up my interior electronics lab. Brrrr..... Except that I can't quite afford to heat that area. What better incentive for producing my own electricity than to have to freeze where I am testing designs? At least the magnetics and electronics lab is not outside.... I think I will crack open a few vents for a while, until I become acclimated to these colder temps.

Down to the Wire

I had hoped to make my first generator by Jan. 1st. Only two full days left, now. I find deadlines helpful to get me moving, to create focus. Even if I miss the deadline, I will still want to accomplish my task ASAP afterward.

The topic of toroidal coils arises as this is the model on which I plan to build my first generator. Homo/mono-polar is another term used to describe it. After a nap I wondered if I could write a science fiction story about how several of these 15 or so inch diameter inductors attracts beings from another dimension to bask in their hallucinatory properties as they stand in the middle of rotating coils of this size, tee hee. Too many movies, I guess....or rather, too many short stories of the sci fi gender in my past. Oh I know. Eureka! the TV show. I will miss that one as it is ending soon.

At the Red Cross Blood Bank today I was reading from Practical Design of Power Supplies from IEEE Press of McGraw-Hill, 1998. In places this book reads a bit like the more organized entries of this blog, which isn't saying much, but I enjoyed what I read. I started around pages 115-7 with "Tips for Designing Manufacturable Magnetics"; "Tape versus Wire Insulation"; "Wire Gauge Ratio" and "Number of Windings." I enjoyed the jokes Ron Lenk makes about making toroidal coils.

Fortunately, I have segmented hoops I have decided to wind in separate segments, threading an "iron core" and re-connecting the wire segments at the end of the process, when I combine the segments into the final hoop. This way I can make the manufacturing process more nearly repeatable among the segments....


Books I wish I had read:
QC 518 M96 (Theoretical Electromagnetism);
QC 518 K87 (Electricity and Magnetism);
TK 7825.C63 1989 (Analog Electronics Handbook);
T 19.A3 (Great Inventions: Smithsonian Scientific Series 12);
QC 518 N56 (Electricity and Magnetism).

I dipped rather heavily into the last three books but I hope to revisit them all. It takes time to find books that are pertinent to one's topic, so I record these call numbers to save time on my next search.


My mapping of magnetic fields combined with imagining magnets rotating due to wind power has me obsessing about how to configure conductors. Lately I have been concentrating on the notion that when a set of horseshoe magnets are all facing the same direction, side-by-side, facing outward on a rotating hoop, plus putting all the north poles on top or on the bottom, forces the field further outwards because having like poles next to each other concentrates the fields even further than the horseshoe configuration normally does -- off to one side, mostly, as it were.

I tried all kinds of ideas for coils using this rotor configuration and came up with zilch  aka nonsense, until the light came on. Searching through Electricity and Magnetism (1956, Philosophical Library, Inc., New York, but printed at Bath, Great Britain) I finally found on page 301 "Fleming's Right-hand Rule" (which I have seen so many times previously, but not specified as being Fleming's). Many other good things are in this book but I was particularly interested in the chapter entitled "Electromagnetic Induction" which has a better explanation of Faraday's Disc than I had noticed previously.

My roughly parallel, like-poled horseshoe magnet rotor -- the light said -- works with a hollow disc rather than coils of any kind. Instead of rotating the disc, I could rotate the magnets.

I think I will try to return 11 of the 12 magnet wire coils that I purchased.... I have yet to find out how many connections I could make simultaneously between the outside and inside of the hollow disc in order to tap into the electricity that would be produced when the disc is held exactly half-way between the poles. Mind you, I am not putting the disc actually in between the poles but at that elevation. The magnetic field bows outward at least 6 inches from the magnets..

"Coil Winding Jig" and YouTube List Start

"Coil winding jig" search term in Google got me to the YouTube videos for the coil winding topic, including how to make your own coil winding equipment. I will probably be busy watching these for a while. PrestoWind seems to be a good source of videos.... What a wonderful world where anybody can see how to build stuff in workshops all around the world!

On another topic, I had put my library book bag down into a box and forgot about it for 5 days, but now I have been reading some today. So much to do, so little time!

OK. Here I give some YouTube links.
Gerry-rigged coil winding rigs:
Stator assembly:
Homemade wind electric generator:

10,041 Page Views and Library Research

My website has gotten 10,041 pages viewed since I started it in May of 2010, today! 7224 visits is the other statistic. Readers have spent on average, I think, 2 minutes per visit as opposed to the 1 minute I used to have as an average. More people are actually viewing more than one page per visit, also. Some, of course, get here and leave immediately, probably because this site is not at all what they were looking for.

Also, there is some large percentage of hits that comes from somebody trying to sell something, however, as I refuse to post spam left as comments, those advertisers will eventually realize that they are wasting their time here.

I spent time at the library today because the parking meters don't have to be paid on Sundays. I read from A History of Invention, Great Inventions, and World of Inventions in order to track the development of the electric generator. Oersted, Faraday, Siemens, Gramme, Tesla, Swineburne, Gaulard, Gibbs, Deri, Blathy, Zipernowski Westinghouse, Pixii, Coulomb, Hall, Varley, Peregrinus, Wheatstone, Christie, Halske, Henry, Davis, Fontaine, Volta, Bakelite, Sturgeon, Kotaro Honda, etc. are names from the 19th and 20th centuries whose inventions I read about today. Zenobe Gramme plus the Union Carbide start with Swineburne and Bakelite might be the first people's stories I look further into. I already checked out Hippolyte Pixii, getting to "eddy currents", "skin effect", "Litz wire", and Horace Lamb 1883 from "Pixii" in the Wiki online encyclopedia.

I used to read biographies, so tracking inventors has been a little bridge from one career to the next, besides having been interested in epistemology, the history of science, and of ideas.

Yesterday I scanned some 140 pages of The Dynamo and saved them to disk. I had read them and want to be able to quote them if needed in the book I plan to write. I plan to take at least the first 48 pages of the Smithsonian Institution's Great Inventions, Smithsonian Scientific Series 12 book the same way, but I will have to check on its copyright protection before using it in some publication.

I rapidly scanned several books from the library shelves of various electronics technology sections, looking for the geometric graphics I need for building a generator using coils and magnets -- particularly horseshoe magnets this time. I  found about five books having at least something I thought I might be able to learn from, and checked them out of the library. More on my finds another time.

Reprint from Forgotten Books Dot Org

Searching on the word "Dynamo" at Amazon I found Dynamos and Electric Motors: How to Make and Run Them with numerous engravings and drawings by Paul N. Hasluck. It cost about $8 plus standard shipping at around $4. Neither this book nor Dynamos has precisely the configuration that I am aiming to build for my home-based wind-powered electricity generators. The alternators, for example, spin centrally in the Hasluck collection and later in Dynamos while my magnets are what rotate because they are far smaller than my coils.

So, I am still in limbo as far as the engineering sources are concerned. I will have to move forward in time from the 19th and early 20th centuries, probably, to find exactly what I hope to build and/or design. I hope I can find what I need and I hope I don't have to apply for a patent or pay anybody for rights.
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