WindTapper's Journal - Grassroots Green Energy Projects

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WindTapper's Blog


The Beatles and Physics?

I got into a chapter in Tipler's Physics called "Maxwell's Equations." After reading the chapter the song from the Beatles started running around in my head: "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" -- I suppose it could have been named, but I don't know if it was.

The Scotsman Maxwell came up with a sort of magical, silver bullet, whose math "is beyond the scope of this book." I suppose one of the Beatles could have seen or heard the story of a physics student trying to understand Maxwell's equations, and then penned that tune.

I enjoyed both.

You see, trying to compute the current across a capacitor creates the need to come up with the magical -- theoretically relatively "static" state of electricity on one side of the capacitor (which of course does not actually flow to the other side), causing a magnetic field in conjunction with the opposite side of the capacitor (since the opposite side is oppositely charged). So, you see, you have then a "displaced current" which is actually magnetism and is described by the same simple type of equation as the electrical "V = IR" type, only R doesn't exactly exist in a magnetic circuit. Or does it?

Tell THAT to a non-superconductor, heh, heh, or am I going MADD?

"Maxwell's silver hammer came down on" my "head," I guess.....LOL!

[Later Note: I think Maxwell's equations and "displaced current" across capacitors only works with AC current.]

Oh yes. I forgot to tell my reaction to the movie Insurgent which I found to be way better than the first of the series, Divergent. This one at least has a conclusion to it. Who knew it would turn out to make the case for General Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and a Liberal Arts education -- all at the same time? And in a post-apocalyptic Sci Fi flick?

I had feared this one would continue the gang warfare theme with actual disintegration of all infrastructure. It is not so hard to take as the first flick was, or that the trailer depicts. The flying building of the trailer is in a simulation, folks.

Screen Coils?

I often hoped I could find some simple assembly jobs to do at home. If I could create such a job -- even better. However, I am at a sort of an impasse. I wish to use screen -- aluminum screen to create coils around the ends of like magnetic poles revolving inside the screen. But nobody makes screen that uses a non-conducting material for one of the two directions that the wafts or weaves use within the screen.

I wish I could talk to a screen manufacturer to find out if it would be possible to combine an aluminum and plastic screen into one this way. Hopefully the plastic would be non-conductive. I imagine taking the waft or weave from a strip of screen, perhaps soldering the ends of the strip in a small vat of liquid solder, to a ring or "can lid" perhaps. Or to another screen dipped in the liquid solder. I could dip the whole thing into liquid rubber that dries quickly, provided I had covered the places where I want to make connections first.

But I would not have to remove the waft or weave from the screen if the waft or weave were non-conductive to start with.....

This problem and the problem of stress and wear and tear on where the center pole of the whirligig meets the coils and/or bottom central anchor, or top, hangar for the center pole -- these are all my sticky wickets these days....

Oh yes. Then there is creating a coil for the tip of the magnet to its middle. These screen layers need to be circular, not at right angles. This would require hand fashioning since I can't even imagine a machine that could accomplish this feat. I don't know if there are even any plastic sewing or rug grids matching this description....

Screen strips wound around a tube would suffice around the junction of two like magnetic poles, but when the flux changes direction from outward to down or up the magnet, the coil also has to lie at right angles to the pole coil, right angled eventually, after a gradual shift between the two positions....

Magnetic Flux Geometries

Consulting the K&J Magnetics flux geometry graphics for my set of 16 X 3 = 48 cylindrical magnets, plus the pounds of lift for Case 1, Case 2, and Case 3, I find that my ideas for generating electricity are wanting -- in other words, inadequate. I keep not wanting to believe K&J Magnetics' graphics, but I cannot afford to throw away the one 10 lb roll of magnetic wire on a project that their testimony says won't work as well as I had hoped that it would work.

So, now I have Plasti-Goop and string attached to 16 groups of three cylindrical magnets. I wonder if I could salvage those somehow? Clearly, the best configuration is to wrap coils as tightly as possible around spinning magnets placed on a central pole, if the amount of magnetic flux versus turns of wire is to be maximized, given limited resources.

Even the idea of multiplying flux by stacking magnets is wrong. One does not increase flux lines, but rather, possibly merely increases the distance that the existing number of flux lines can project from the ends of the poles of a stack of magnets. 

Please keep in mind that I report the above observations because I studied K&J Magnetics reports on their website, rather than actually building the whole idea from real materials. This is because I cannot afford to purchase materials such as magnets -- especially at current prices -- and have them fail.

Dear Diary

1.  Household projects have kept me hopping lately -- most notably my decision to fix a leaky faucet that has been dripping constantly for months. Our plumbing and house is perhaps 40 to 55 years old so sometimes plumbers come out to fix it without the proper parts being available and STILL charge $90 per visit. I had enough of that, and so, I decided to stick with it until I could understand and fix it myself. Either that or replace it....

2.  A day or so ago we had blustery winds that got our largest whirligig twirling briefly up to 30 RPM. So, I have been working toward calculating the best coil turn ratio, given that I will have 16 sets of magnets versus 48 coils, per RPM.

3.   Also I started looking into the number of flux lines per set of magnets. I was astonished to find that K&J Magnetics spec sheets do not increase the number of magnetic flux lines when the number of magnets in a stack is increased. K&J also depicts the geometry of the flux lines to not include a completely 90 degree, perpendicular flux coming from the pole ends of diametrically magnetized cylindrical magnets. I do not understand this because my magnetism detectors slam into the perpendicular when brought opposite to the middle of each pole.

4. Also trying to work out the logistical geometry of winding a set of 16 alternating and connected coils off a single supply spool of insulated wire. This task is surprisingly complicated. But, hey. It keeps me off the streets, as they say....

Wind Speed Today

So far I have counted 2 RPM's twice, and only once has my whirligig spun at a 10 RPM rate. The wind is so slow as to be negligible. I think maybe that is because the air is so thick with moisture, lol. I say laugh out loud because the air is so thick with moisture because there is no wind and it rained yesterday evening.

I have done some preliminary toying with the idea of using a relay, potentiometer switch to somehow deal with the 1 to 60 RPM range of generator rotation. Do I have to start with a 2 volt battery?

I saw a picture of many batteries linked up in series, starting with the 2 volt battery. There were so many batteries that I wonder if the battery of batteries might not have gotten up to 220 volts at its output end?

So far, the books I have on batteries are not very informative. They treat the reader as a complete novice, and I daresay, as a dunce. But you gotta start somewhere.

The Day After Tomorrow is playing again tonight on AMC TV, and I plan on going to see another sci fi flick that supposedly deals with a failed anti-global warming scenario: Snowpiercer. We all need to at least start thinking about alternative energy sources -- sooner rather than later, I believe.

Later Notes (7/28/14): Snowpiercer was great, btw. Lots of social value there, even though it was very heavy handed.

The wind speed kicked up several notches just after I posted the above readings. Today is actually more variable. Within a very few minutes the RPM's went from 2 to 12 to 7.5, then repeated those variables several times during the next few minutes and even for an hour or so.
We had a tornado watch last evening by the way but it was a very brief scare. Nothing materialized. 40% chance of showers today....

This morning I made an Excel spreadsheet so I can look up RPM's based on how many seconds a revolution takes. I am also starting to expand the spreadsheet for the number of magnets in the rotor times the number of turns of coil wire for each space corresponding to a magnet times the number of lines of flux per magnet that would actually cut the wires. Those calculations will give a voltage estimate for each RPM  reading, although, I suspect the actual voltage would be 2/3 or less the projected voltage due to the 3-D geometry of magnetism compared to guestimations based cross-sectional schematics.

Max and Min RPM's

What might be called "a slight squall" came across our state today, but when it got to our location, it seemingly vanished. The rain vanished, but the winds kicked up a few notches.

The winds were "variable" to a great degree. "Turbulent" seems a bit more apt. In this environment the two whirligigs did not spin out of control. In fact, the more turbulence, the less raw spinning occurs. The larger of the two gigs reached a maximum of 60 RPM, only briefly. And while the smaller can spin faster, the variable speed of the wind caused the max RPM for only a few seconds at a time.

The average RPM is closer to 30 RPM, and so, I will calculate the number of turns of wire that will be needed in the stationary coil section of my generators, based much more closely on 30 rather than 60 revolutions per minute (RPM).

One of my next few tasks includes mapping the magnetic field of the hollow, hefty magnets. I suspect that these will exhibit more of a Howard Johnson type of bifurcation of poles than the smaller, cylindrical magnets. I suspect also, that the Howard Johnson type of bifurcation of poles may have been unintentionally derived from too many cross-sectional views, lol....

Later Note (7-24-14 noon): My earlier estimates of average RPM's of my whirligigs were clearly wrong. Average RPM is closer to 10 for the larger gig, perhaps even lower if you take the whole 24 hours of every day into the average. I have been taking counts lately because it has been windy. Now, September is supposedly the least windy month of the year for Ohio, but the greatest number of Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Hurricanes is in September. This does not quite make sense to me, though, since hurricanes generally spill over onto land, at least making rain and wind speeds greater here eventually.

Later Still (7-24-14 5 p.m.): I caught the larger gig spinning at 60 RPM, tops, briefly. Earlier I also caught it at around 7 RPM. Calculations for how many turns for each coil will involve figuring out what percentage of each magnet's flux will cut the turns of wire; how many magnets are turning; how many coils will be living on the stator; how closely the coils will be packed; the minimum voltage required to produce a charge for a 12-volt battery, and how the stator will be wired to produce efficiency, stability, and safety at high and low wind speeds.

30 RPM's seems like a healthy clip, with 16 magnets, but I wish I already had the rotor mounted. The rotor will necessarily slow the spin down.

I am looking for a way to weigh all the rotor's parts since I have misplaced our ounce scale. A lot of housecleaning is in order, just to get all our tools organized! We have too many long term projects going on around here! Don't get me started enumerating THAT list, lol....

Magnet Rotor Options

I assembled 16 magnet-tape-chord columns of three magnets for tying between two flatish plastic hoops.

I like to paint the ends of the magnets to which the North Pole of my compass points. Each set of three cylinder magnets has two chords around which are wound several layers of packaging tape.

The above photos belong to Option 1 of my Magnetic Rotor experiment plans.

Option 2 was to have been several heftier magnets mounted onto the innards of an angel food cake pan, but a few obstacles have presented themselves so far....

1. These heftier magnets are magnetized in the opposite direction, on their cylindrical sides.
2. I used some of these for earlier Howard Johnson experiments, cutting at least one of them in half. This now set of two half magnets makes -- when recombined -- a quadra-pole instead of a di-pole magnet.
3. These heftier magnets present a challenge to separating them from the pack, but their central hole provides a place to hook onto....

Now quadra-pole, two halves of a cylindrical magnet manufactured originally with a hole in its center.

A clump of five hefty di-pole magnets is in upper left corner of the photo. Two of this type of magnet are placed onto an angel food cake pan innards that has gotten besmirched with some nail polish I used to mark the north poles onto the magnets.

So far I feel that the axis of the magnets' poles should at least somewhat parallel the circumference of the outside of the pan's innards. This orientation seems "lateral" to me, as opposed to facing opposite poles across the center of the cake pan. Perhaps I will be able to find an eighth, dipole magnet stuck to something around our house, lol.

Magnetic Toggle Flip?

With different search engines now rampantly competing for our "business" I get new automated suggestions when searching -- sometimes intriguing suggestions -- which I take now and then. Today I got to a website teaching about clever magnetic demonstrations. I was drawn there by a description like flipping a magnet over with only a small current applied to a coil.
Hmmm. Perhaps I could use that in an electrical generator. It does, however, put a kink in my agitator generator ideas because the current produced by the agitation will cause more and possibly unpredictable movements in the tops of my stacks of magnets.
I am now looking for rigid clear plastic tubes. I suppose glass tubes would work, but cutting them to usable lengths could be a problem.
Here's a link to the first demonstration for a magnetic toggle. It takes a while to understand it. I wish there were a link to a video for this one.
I will dig deeper into this site to see what else they have.
OK. I chopped off the last part of the above link and got a better picture of the apparatus at Magnetic Torque. It will still take me some time to imagine what is going on, and there is far more wire involved than I had originally imagined. More wire means less profit when considering designing a prototype generator....
Aha! Best Link Yet! A brochure for the instrument gives info about magnetism.
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