WindTapper's Journal - Grassroots Green Energy Projects

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WindTapper's Blog


A Very Sad Day For Environmentalism

Barring vote counting irregularity revelations -- which will always be possible given computer counting of ballots -- President-elect Donald Trump's attitude toward reducing carbon emissions portends a VERY bleak outlook for reduction of global warming.

While Hillary promised to retrain coal miners for environmentally progressive careers in solar and wind energy production, The Donald promised to restore black-lung and carbon emission-producing coal mining. Way to go Donald! Buy votes in coal mining states, thereby promising to continue flooding low-lying coastal areas, and continue to burn the Southwest, and dry out our southern states.

It's going to be a VERY long 4 years, except that The Donald might find a way to shorten all our lives with his hands on "The Button" -- KNOCK WOOD! And not only that, but since he has no idea of how his low-class, but very public blustering can anger foreign leaders such as reside in other nuclear powers.... I shudder to think.....

All we can do is keep working on alternative energy production to try to counteract The Donald's vote-buying strategies. My commitment to wind and solar power has just increased immeasurably.

Later Note (11/9/16): Wait a minute. "Hillary won in the popular vote, but lost in the Electoral College"? This reported on PBS today. The Electoral College does not actually vote until January 2017, folks. This gives us time to dig up whatever dirt we can find on Trump and change the minds of the electors. Tee Hee. Or The Donald might do something grossly negligent, perhaps, but I doubt it. Anyway, that's what the Electoral College is for, after all, to protect us against someone found to be grossly unfit for the office of the Presidency, before he takes office officially.

Later Note (Veterans Day): Thinking that Jill Stein pulled off another destructive, Nadorite coup is tempting; however, the Electoral College aspect of our democracy inserts the Constitutional Convention's compromise into our selection of President. Like the Senate, which gives 2 votes to each state, regardless of its population totals, the Electoral College provides a hedge against the most populous states' citizens dictatorial power over the rural and relatively unpopulated states. As the electoral maps all showed, a handful of coastal states went for Hillary, while the vast middle of the lower 48 went the other way. So, our most populous states: New York and California cannot dictate to all the rest of us.

I still shudder to think what The Donald and his progeny will do to us, but we were all pretty much expecting some sort of Armagedan anyway, don't you think? "Live and Learn" and "Adapt or Die" are the only platitudes I can muster, right now.

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....

Wire Size for First Generator

I had hoped to use the thicker, fully insulated size of wire, but my magnets are only 1/2 inch wide. Since the flux is thickest, closest to the edges of the poles, the return of the flux to the opposite pole would cut the wire in the opposite direction, thus negating the direction desired, thus negating part of the electricity flow. If I go beyond the 1/2 inch in size I will negate the maximum electricity flow.

The larger, fully insulated wire will not suffice, therefore. Also, since I am using only 6 magnets for the first generator, I cannot get up to the 12 volts in any case. I was avoiding using more than 6 because I felt that the closer proximity on a circle of a larger number of magnets would mean losing more of a percentage of flux among the closest magnetic poles.

At 6 magnets, with slightly less than 1/2 inch thick coils, I could pack 48 coils around the 20 cm diameter circle. Only 6 coils would reach their peak of electricity production at each instant, given connections among them congruent with the correct pattern of winding six coils to be simultaneously cut by the magnetic flux of the 6 magnets.

I considered getting another 6 magnets, but without the higher safety of the thicker wire, I've decided to experiment with only the 6 to start. I would like to experiment with finessing coil shapes to see if I can detect differences in their electricity production.

Also, if I let the center pole of the whirligig be free then two benefits occur: 1. High winds will take the rotation off center, thus reducing power output, away from dangerous levels; and 2. I can keep the coils fully separate from the elements as they can be contained underneath the magnetic rotor and unattached to the rotor.

BTW, I believe the gage 14 for the smaller will give enough turns for experimental purposes, although, coil shapes are very dependent on gage in useful sizes. 9 is the recommended wire gage using opposing magnets cutting through the wire coils. However, the drag caused by fixing the rotation slows down and breaks my apparatus eventually, so far, 'though I am working on that, too.

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!

Carbon Fiber Experiment

Getting the material is Step 1. I received some fabric from Soller Composites yesterday. I see now -- from their website -- an alternative form which they call "tape." Its edges appear not to unravel, although, it is not sticky tape, as one might imagine when seeing the word "tape."

I also ran into their business card stapled to a warning and information sheet that must have come with the fabric that I ordered.

They say that the carbon fiber will conduct electricity. For that reason, they warn that I must keep their material away from all electricity. Hmmmm. They warn also that it has a limit of 150 Fahrenheit degrees, and to pay attention to all their safety information. Cutting into it creates dust that is hazardous, and epoxy resins carry their own risks and limits on temperatures, etc., etc.

So anyway, apparently the tape is the way to go in order to provide a stable material for encapsulation experiments. I am not so concerned about temperature since my product will be outside in the wind in a temperate climate, but I would have to be concerned if somebody in a hotter climate were to use it.

Also, the encapsulation materials will carry their own temperature limits, besides the idea that I will indeed be working with electricity -- if at all possible. I suppose I will have to try experiments first using single strands. Each strand is very wide with multiple fibers side-by-side. I should conduct some basic electricity experiments on it, too, testing for conductivity....

I do not expect high charges to be generated, and in fact seek to bleed off all charges continuously and quickly in order to keep the operator and any stray cats, dogs, neighbors, and babies from being zapped in people's yards that have my devices working to create electricity from the wind.

Oh yes. Soller Composites has website links to both spellings that their name's letters generate aurally: and

What If?

Discussing capacitance today with a fellow, he was saying that capacitors are not so great because they give up their power very quickly. I agree that they have their downside in that regard, except when there is very quick build-up and release of charges, as, say, when you have a generator flinging relatively small charges back and forth with AC sent to a rectifier, then to a battery.

Another idea I considered today -- but have no notion of whether it has any merit at all -- is that when one is charging a battery one has a sort of intrinsic voltage control. If the voltage is not high enough to overcome the 12 volts, then the battery won't be charged, but if the voltage builds up to be higher than the 12 - 14 volts on the battery, then the battery will be charged. If the charge is coming from a capacitor, it will be discharged quickly.

If the capacitor is constantly in contact with the battery, then it shouldn't build up too high of a charge, but rather discharge itself when its charge becomes high enough to overcome the voltage of the battery....

Of course, things are more complicated than this. I will have to think long and hard on this idea in order to come up even with something I might test....

Getting too much charge built up is, of course, dangerous on a capacitor since it can discharge so rapidly, so please don't try this at home unless you absolutely know what you are doing!

Later Note (4-15-15): Well, dudettes and dudes, I pretty much blew this one. I googled "voltage regulator,"  chose the "12 v" variety, then the images for circuits and devices. 300 pictures came up on page one. So, my experience with 12 volt batteries is VERY skewed by the existence of voltage regulators already on our vehicles.

Lately I have also been continuing to try to read Tipler's Physics. I am pretty much fooling myself that I am getting anything out of it. You know, when I studied speed reading, they told us to go ahead and read three times faster than you can understand because your comprehension speed would catch up eventually. They also had you read the material at least three times, btw. So I guess this is my first skim through the material in Vol. 3, lol, although I am not speed reading it by any means....

CO or CO2 Detector Alert!

The pipes in which I put lime, attached to our furnace exhaust, I just broke apart because our CO or CO2 detector went off and it did not seem to be a simple low battery signal. The weather has been below zero for more than one day now, and will be so again, later this week.

I guess the pipes got clogged with frozen moisture from the exhaust, although, there was still exhaust coming out the far end. I don't feel like messing with it outside in this weather, so I just finally decided to break the joints apart all the way back to the house so there is no possibility of screwing up our air.

At first I thought the wind was simply blowing in exactly the wrong direction, bringing the exhaust to our back door, but later I went out to examine the far end. It was frozen to the surface on which it sat, so it could not be moved. I didn't like the lack of full pressure on the far end. Some exhaust came out there, but I could only really feel the exhaust coming from one outlet -- not both.

I did not see an obstruction beyond a few moderate blocks of ice which were easy to remove, on the far end of the pipe, but there might be a blockage inside the middle pipe. The first pipe had only the normal layer of lime near the beginning of the pipe. The layer of carbon attached to the lime is not great enough to justify taking risks of CO or CO2 poisoning.

Aw. I should go out and look at the middle pipe.

I'll be back in a few minutes.

Later Note: Perhaps my wet hair in curlers got freeze dried, lol. Anyway, I have pictures of all the pipes being clear. Also, I have pix of big piles of ice underneath where each joint of the pipes laid. So, if you are trying this and the weather is very cold, I recommend that you disconnect your pipes. When ice builds up at the end, it might put too much back pressure on the exhaust fan. I did not seal each joint, by the way, which allowed moisture to drip out at each joint. If you sealed yours, you are already dead from the exhaust backing up into your house if your pipes got clogged anywhere and you did not take the precaution of having a COCO2 detector.

After I disconnected the extra piping, I watched the vapor coming from the furnace, right by the egress at the outside wall of the house. The vapor was not continuous. There might be a pool of water somewhere, I guess, inside the furnace. This experiment seems to create extra stress on the exhaust fan, so don't try this CO2 reduction experiment!

Above shows a pile of ice that formed under the first large pipe junction. Successively smaller ice piles formed at each later junction.

All the pipes were clear inside except for some ice at the far end of the last pipe.

Snow accumulation. Temps indicate 16 - 21 degrees Fahrenheit -- with two thermometers at 5 p.m. For some reason our weather channel no longer tells our temp. Go figger. Temps are dropping, however, an hour later. I think it is supposed to rain tomorrow. Very sorry for Boston roofs.

Basic Research

I am getting ready to set up some crude experiments in conductivity and perhaps positive-negative comparisons of materials. I got a goodly portion of viscous silicon yesterday from cooking up a bunch of cut-up okra. It is in our freezer right now with a copper wire sticking out of it. I should have put two wires in before I froze it.

This gave me an idea about freezing a variety of materials in ice cube trays with copper leads sticking out of each cube of different materials. I have activated charcoal from our drinking water filtering system; Rooibos tea (for copper possibilities); lime, water; and of course, the viscous silicon. I could also test with other metals, and by coating metals with these substances to see what happens. Not to mention hydrogen peroxide, but I'd better be careful around the charcoal, don't cha think?


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!

Windy Day

Trying to get some parameters for the design of a robust, wind driven electricity generator, I took pictures on this windy day to show the range of motion for various parts of the device during wind gusts:
As luck would have it, the best sequence of photos was taken from furthest away, so details are not clear. It is the position of the gig and its yellow center pole that matters, however.

This first picture is of a gig that is nearly centered in place. The rest are not. I call them "Far Afield."

Far Afield

Farthest Afield.

I took many, many photos, giving range of motions for both the blades and for the center pole, which rock sideways almost independently of each other.

The center pole is the crux of the matter if I wish to hang a magnet rotor there. The range of motion affects the structure of the coil housing, unless I simply flatten and cover it, underneath where the whirligig can reach.

If there had been a coil assembly under the center of this gig, this major wind gust would have taken the magnets away from the coils, thus preventing overheating, or overcharging due to wind speeds. However, the wind is not always gusty when it is traveling quickly, so I cannot rely on this to always provide a breaking mechanism against overproduction of electricity.

Just A Note

A few days ago I installed a grounding rod at the site where I am hanging whirligigs, in preparation for the day when I install some seriously massive capacitors. The site is very inclined, so I must deal with that, but whatever surface I end up with to level the massive capacitor housing, I will have a steel screen grounded over a large area so that I can connect at least one side of everything to ground, including the swing set which is over everything.

Being so close to a tree that also overhangs the swing set, I decided the swing set also needs grounding for possible lightening strikes. Additionally, our power line, cable, and phone lines all travel at least near the tree. The power company trimmed the tree so the power lines no longer bleed sparks from their line(s).

Getting Started on Static Generator Eperiment 1

The Christmas song goes: "Making a list. Checking it twice." In my case, I am making two lists. One for Christmas. One for generator experiment building parts and design elements.

1. Ground rod buried appropriately with access to its salient feature.

2. Good drainage for the site and all its components.

3. Solid ground connections, regardless of how I must rework components as I am building and testing the device(s).

4. Test variety of compounds of various grades of components for their ability to a) insulate, and b) conduct electricity across parallel planes of metal.

5. Put holes around edges of metal planes for attaching leads -- especially ground wires.

6. Level the site and place a steel screen that is securely grounded and stable under weights of components, while being well drained.

Transistor Research

I was thinking I could model the transistor large, as it were, within my wind powered electricity generator, and I spent today looking for information on transistors to try to get better acquainted with that technology.

Among other sources of information I found -- after googling "how to make a transistor" -- the following link: showing how difficult the process is.

I guess I'll go back to simply building large capacitors that are properly grounded for the sake of safety. These ostensibly will collect positive and negative ions for use in static discharges. Purchasing transistors seems to me a much preferred way to go, after all, rather than building them.

Okra Silicon Design

Producing anhydrous silicon is potentially a source for negative charge. Okra has lots of silicon in liquid form. Yesterday I was imagining recipes using the green portion of the okra, which would be a waste product from subtracting the liquid silicon. Grinding it up to use as a flour is one possibility, plus as zucchini is used in baking, and as a substitute for spaghetti.

Capillarity comes to mind, in conjunction with evaporation. I have a stash of celery stalks in the compost pile. I tried to grow celery this year and it was very tough. It grew to six feet tall. I tried drying it out in hopes I could get some useful flavoring, but it turned greyish black and looks quite unappealing.

I vaguely recall a demonstration of capillarity from my youth, using celery and colored water. This method of bringing liquid silicon up to a point where it would evaporate seems relatively viable, but does not require the turning of a wind powered central screw, unless I might figure out a way to heat the uppermost ends of the celery stalks to get evaporation faster. Later Note: even a swath of fabric rotating on the uppermost ends of the capillary tubes could provide enough friction and aeration, as well as separation, to free silicon atoms from their bindings to the liquid from which they were born in the okra. Talk about a green solution!

Of course, now that I feel anhydrous silicon could be dangerous to breathe in regularly, I would work to enclose the chamber where it transferred from its source to the aluminum collector via the air.

I wonder if this type of electron collector should be called "static" or if it should be called "chemical"? Or as in the Later Note, above, "frictional"?

Research on Anhydrous Silica

Surfing the web using Google, the first in the list for Anhydrous S is Anhydrous silica. The reason I am doing research is to find properties of anhydrous silicon which I believe is negatively charged and therefore a potential source of electrons for my wind powered electricity generator.

I was going to collect these free-floating, negatively charged anhydrous silica atoms via a sheet of aluminum backed by a sheet of steel -- but insulated from each other --as a sort of large capacitor. The idea is to have the interior of my ceramic pipe have a central pool of silica which would be churned by the action of a chain coated with fabric that would allow for capillary action to draw silicon up the chain to evaporate. The interior of the chamber thus needs to be relatively dry, for the atoms to traverse the distance from center to outer, metallic circumference.

The problem with this is the rain. So now I am wondering what is the best way to make a cone from a rectangle of sheet metal, to make a roof for the pipe. However, I run into this
sarcoidosis  question. "A disease of unknown etiology... can affect any organ... most commonly the lungs... also the skin' which is associated with anhydrous silica in one entry on Google.

I had not considered potentially harmful medical effects of anhydrous silica, but will continue to look into this.... Perhaps I will have to forgo the anhydrous chamber, sending the electrons on a more direct, metallic route....
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