Archive for the “Mad Scientist – Boo” Category

Any technology, sufficiently advanced, is indistinguishable from magic.

This is the circuit I’m using for a Dave Lawton style dual 555-timer circuit Stanley Meyer water fuel cell pulse width modulator (PWM). I’m using an LM556, as there appears to be a run on 555s. This is the ‘D14’ circuit.  All the parts were acquired via , who continue to do an outstanding job… great web site, good prices, fast shipping.

27-JUL-2008 Something is wrong with the MOSFET bias.  I’m not getting any amperage.  I had this plugged into the test power supply I’ve been using, and while I’m seeing voltage, I can’t get any current flow.  It should have blown the fuse.  I’m thinking I’ll put a trimpot on the output of the second timer to the MOSFET.  Schematic shown here updated.  Quick fix for old circuit: cut resistor from MOSFET gate to Ground, it’s 1.1K, so brown-brown-red.  There are two of them, cut the one that connects to the busbar running under the IC.

28-JUL-2008 It works.  Schematic above updated.

01-AUG-2008 Here is a scope picture from my analog Tektronix 475, 5 volts per division vertical and 1 milliSecond / div horizontal.  This is with the 28V supply, scope hooked to the output across a 4.7K resistor… so this waveform is about 200 Hz gate and 2900Hz hum.

I put a self-resetting circuit breaker in the box, I was blowing too many fuses.  Also added was another LED with a 1.5K resistor across the breaker, this indicates when the breaker is tripped.   At 14 volts, 6 amps would be 84 watts, 7 amps would be 98 watts, and the MOSFET is 100 watts, so I thought a 6 amp breaker would work right.  Turns out it snaps (kinda makes a “ponk” sound) at a steady 2.4 amps, although it takes a while for it to heat up.  This isn’t really bothering me, as I don’t really plan on running it at more than that, but it is a little curious.  I suppose I should have expected it, but only experimentation really showed the result.  The breaker is in series with the fuse holder, which is now a 15 amp fuse, this will provide some safety, but likely still blow out the MOSFET if the electrodes get shorted.  With the zener diodes, maybe not.  I suppose I will find out one day on accident, not sure I actually want to cause that yet, I’m wanting some mileage out of this thing before I have to redesign or scrap it.  Then again, the incredibly awesomely named OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER circuit should run circles around this open-loop approach.

DOH! this isn’t a steady 2.4 amps, it’s an average 2.4 amps.  Maybe the breaker is more reactive than I thought it would be, and is doing what it can with a pulsed current.  Okay, I can’t blame it for that.  Another theory: I damaged the breaker soldering the wire to the spade lug and it’s overly sensitive.

Comments 1 Comment »

The main cell is glued and gooped.  It’s all PVC, the long clear pipe is also PVC.  Clear PVC is a little expensive, but I got it from Aquatic Eco Systems, and it was cut to size.  I have decided that this design is not good, in that there is way too much space above the water line.  It will be dangerous to have a space with that much gas.  It’s adequate for experimentation, but it will have to be redone before I hook up any type of delivery.  I’ll probably saw it off right on the top of the clear tube and figure something to make the entire top of the cell a blowout.  This won’t be easy as I still need to hook in the delivery pipe, dial pressure gauge, and one or two pressure switches.  The water level float switch is also not yet installed, that will go into the side of the clear PVC.  I might use two float switches, one for ‘add water’ and one for ‘low water disable’.

Here are the tubes with the wires attached and gooped, inner tubes in place.  These are seamless 316 tubes from 12″ long.  They were a little pricey, but I didn’t have to recut them.  I wire brushed them a bit, especially the outside of the inner tubes, and I used a modified wire pipe brush and a hand drill to scrub the insides of the pipes.  The outer tubes are 1″ outer diameter, the inner tubes are 3/4″ diameter, all are 16 gauge (0.065″ thick).  This calculates to about a 1.5 millimeter gap between inner and outer tubes.  This has left me with an unexpected problem in that the inner tubes acoustically ring a lower pitch than the outer tubes. For this reason, the tubes have not yet been slotted and tuned.

Bottom of tubes with wires

26-JUL-2008 The test cell dry assembly.  That’s a weird power supply I found in the basement, 28 VDC at least an amp, along with the PWM.

Here is a bi-filar coil I wound with 24 gauge magnet wire on a ferrite rod type 33, 3/8″ diameter by 4″ long.  I didn’t count the turns, I just did one ‘ply’ as far across as it would go, but it’s pretty tight and I think I did a good job.  The raw rod and the finished coil are wrapped in 3M Scotch 92 tape, a polyimide ‘kapton’ tape with a 7500 volt dielectric rating. My cheap new meter says it’s about 190uH on the one side with the lead attached, I assume the other side is the same. If I hook the end leads together, the two coils combined measure -11uH. Not sure how that works, but that makes the field reverse half way through, and the meter only cost $76.  Maybe the other side is closer to 200uH.  It’s my belief that this coil will be too small for production use, so I have more ferrites on the way.


Comments 11 Comments »

I think I might do a few calculations on this technology chain.

Referencing a Kohler 26KW residential generator model 30RYG ( ) and observing significant figures…

Assumptions (yeah, yeah, => ass-u-me):

Generator needs 5.1 cubic meters / hour of LPG (or 12.7 m3/hr of natural gas) at 100% load
Generator needs another 1.8 cubic meters / minute of combustion air
LPG (or Natural Gas) burn in this generator at 8% concentration (<= IS THIS RIGHT)
Hydroxy burns at 4% concentration (<= IS THIS RIGHT)


LPG: 5.1 m3/hr = 5100 liters/hr = 85 liters/min
Air: 1.8 m3/min = 1800 liters/min
Engine: a 1.6 liter 4-stroke engine consuming 85 + 1800 liters/min would be running at (1885 * 2 / 1.6) = 2360 or approximately 2400 RPM, which seems reasonable, so the math looks good
Hydroxy: 4%/8% * 85 liters/min = 42 liters/min

I need to generate 42 liters per minute of hydroxy gas in order to run this generator at 100% capacity.  (Why is 42 the answer to life, the universe, and everything?)

* Maintenance:  Multiple generators of lesser output might be better in that one at a time can be shut down for maintenance.
* Tax lawyer:  When you call the power company to pull your electric meter, they’re going to rat you out, and whatever state you live in is still going to want the taxes you used to pay on it.
* Optional grid power: you can install a transfer switch backwards (uses the grid in emergencies)

The hydroxy cells are going to need to be very efficient, which is not most people’s concern as they are using spare alternator amperage within a vehicle.  I’m not going to argue physics, I like Smack’s attitude on this, which I believe can be summarized as “Who cares, does it work?”  This scenario is totally dependent on this as-yet (not that I’ve seen anyway) unproven idea: The generator will produce enough to power the hydroxy generators and what’s left over will power the house.

Okay, so once again assuming all of this works, is it worth it?  Assuming the sky is blue, grass is green, you are Elmer Fudd Millionaire and live in a mansion or a yacht, the earth is flat, and the dollar is worth what it was in 1969…

Average power bill: $200
Average natural gas bill: $300
Generator: $13K
Changing all the appliances to use electricity (furnace, water heater, clothes dryer, stove, oven): $7K
Cost of 25 2lpm hydroxy generators ($300 each): $7.5K
Yearly maintenance: $1K
Legal: $20K

Investment: 13 + 7 + 7.5 + 20 = $47.5K
Cost savings: $6K / year gross, $5K less yearly maintenance

About 9 – 10 years.  Assuming the engines last 9 – 10 years, your hard fought tax-exempt status lasts that long, and there’s not a smoking crater where your house used to be, this should pay for itself.  A little more than half of this if you’re lucky enough to live in a state that won’t need litigation.

Maybe less if you can sell excess power back to the grid. By the way, don’t assume you can do this.  Just putting the electricity ‘backwards’ can KILL a power company employee working on broken lines, when your illegal juice goes ‘backwards’ through the transformers.  Yes, they *will* prosecute you for negligent homicide if they catch you, more likely your power just won’t come back on until they find out who’s doing it.  Days later.

And now… the bottom line.

Amount of hydrocarbons emitted as a result of your self-sufficient energy production:

BIG FAT GOOSE EGG ZERO, BABY!  (but remember to recycle your motor oil)

and claiming fair-use of the American Express copyright,

Feeling you get when laughing at the meter reader:
(yeah, you know the word)

Comments 2 Comments »

Funky science parts

I got some nifty parts from , some really outstanding quality parts for pretty cheap.  Hey, this project is about cheap… but not DEAD.  It’s good stuff and cost a bit, but not as much as it could have.  The gauge goes from 0 – 30 PSI, the rotameter goes from 0.2 – 1.5 liters/min.  I’ll be lucky to make the ball bearing rattle.  The penny is for scale, the mouse snuck in because the shot was too tight for any cat help.

Comments No Comments »

Okay… I’m confused.

I have two stainless steel tubes:


Each is 12 inches long.

The 1 inch outer diameter tube weighs 280 grams and rings a pitch of 1555 Hz,
the 3/4 inch outer diameter tube weighs 212 grams and rings a pitch of 1167 Hz.

The larger heavier tube rings a higher pitched tone than the smaller lighter tube.


Comments 1 Comment »

The relationship between the pulse generator frequency, the capacitance, and the inductance follows the formula for series resonance from Wikipedia LC Circuit :

2 (pi) f L = 1 / ( 2 (pi) f C )

where f = frequency in Hertz, L is inductance in Henrys, and C is the capacitance in Farads


f = 1 / ( 2 (pi) sqrt( L C ) )

C = 1 / ( L * ( 2 (pi) f )^2 )

L = 1 / ( C * ( 2 (pi) f )^2 )

For example, if frequency is 42800 Hz and capacitance is 0.1uF,

L = 1 / ( 0.1e-6 * ( 2 * pi * 42800 )^2 )

L = 130uH

Steps to take:

* Hang the tubes by thread, or you can also hold the tubes 22.4% from the end between thumb and index finger.  Strike with a small piece of wood or rubber to determine the acoustic frequency of the tubes using a computer with a microphone, or a magnetic pickup device (guitar pickup) and an oscilloscope, or a frequency counter (or a musical instrument tuner if you are so lucky to have one).  See for some software tools which may help.

* Tune the pipes to the same acoustic tone using physical means, grind the lower pitched tubes to be the same as the highest pitched tube.  Use caution to never take off too much metal at once, you can’t put it back.  It may be desirable for the tubes pitch to be a harmonic of 42.8KHz (21.4KHz, 10.7KHz, 5350Hz, 2675Hz, and the ultra elite 1337 Hz).

* when all of the tubes ring the same note, this is the frequency to target with the pulse generator

* assemble the capacitor.  Hang the tubes in such a way as to allow the most acoustic movement in the center of the pipe, with the tubes held 22.4% from the ends.

* measure the capacitor with a capacitance meter

* given the frequency and capacitance above, calculate the inductance required

* determine existing inductance in the circuit by measuring the inductance of the secondary power coil with an inductance meter

* wind two wires onto a coil such that each wire is one half remaining inductance (so total inductance will be the secondary power + each wire of the two-strand coil)

* assemble cell

* adjust pulse frequency to specification (tube tone), then adjust for maximum output

Comments No Comments »

This is it

Comments No Comments »

ChumbySorry about the Eddie Murphy joke. I’m an embedded processor fan, and just saw this on the cover of the May 2008 issue of Linux Journal. It’s pretty darned cute. The processor isn’t too shabby, the memory is miniscule, and I must have one at least one. $179 buys a 350MHz ARM with 64MB RAM, 64MB NAND ROM, Wifi, USB 2.0, 3.5 inch touchscreen, speakers. It’s a programmable house radio. All the code is GPL or LGPL. This really makes the old Pimp-a-sketch project look pretty pwned. I’m pretty sure that’s not actually an image of an Elder in the logo, but it gets points from me.

Comments No Comments »

I work for a nice place. I’ve worked for a lot of crummy places, so I know the difference. If you haven’t worked somewhere they have padlocks on the garbage cans and you lock your phone receiver off the hook in your desk drawer when you go home at night, consider yourself lucky. At any rate, my Current Employer recognizes the difference between just paying employees a wage to do a job, and making it something they want to do. The management makes goals each year, if we meet those goals, there are rewards. Rewards do amazing things for working people. They turn unwilling “that’s not my job” employees into “how can I help you sir” positive thinkers.

So I have a little money to do something with at the moment. We made the goals, and I have my employee incentive profit-sharing. Not a lot or anything, but more than nothing. I asked Wife, and she had a good idea. The new digital TV standard is pretty much finalized, NTSC is dying, and I have a twenty-something inch Zenith console tube at home… it’s time to buy an entertainment monitor.

I’m not even sure I want a tuner on it, but yeah, come to think of it, that might come in handy in case of… what? We don’t watch any actual television at our house any more. We play DVDs, we watch video tapes, and I still haven’t built a MythTV box. All that extra stuff is on top of the big wood console, and if I got rid of that, I would have to replace it with shelves or something else.

So I need an LCD TV that fits inside the wood cabinet of an old Zenith console TV. I’m looking forward to removing the old guts. First, I can use the flyback transformer to build a tesla coil. That ought to scare the drool out of the cats well, just about anybody. What’s that pink mist out by the bird feeder? I can also use the huge remainder of space in the cabinet for more shelves, or for a cat fort, it will be nice and warm in there. Should I go ahead and pimp the sound system? Ah, maybe I’ll wait on that.

Comments No Comments »

Copyright © 2010, Multi-Dimensional Visual Echo. All rights reserved.