Category: Generator

Insulating for 750°C

Here’s the hot box sitting on firebricks. To the left you can see one of the metal sides with exit holes drilled for the wires.

Before start

In a previous post I showed the lid I’d made for the hot box. I’ll put it in place after I’ve gotten most of the insulation around the sides.

Two Sides

Above I show two of the sides in place. These are the sides where most of the wires emerge, so I’m installing them first. As the sides are rather flimsy, I’m using those wooden braces at the top to hold them in place while I work. Later they’ll be removed.

In the next picture I show how the insulation fits between the hot box and the metal sides.

Part insulated


box with sides

Above, the back side is just propped into place, so I can make sure everything is going to mate up. When it came time to secure the sides together I used a strap to hold them while I screwed the corner braces on.

Installing the sides

In this next picture you can see how the various wires come out of the core, pass through the hot box and finally out of the metal sides.

Core wires out

In this picture you can see most of the insulation in place. At this point I installed the hot box lid and added the insulation all the way to the top of the outer container.

Hot zone in its insulation

Once fully stuffed with insulation, I made a metal lid. It’s removable as I will want to take it off after doing a run, or the hot box will take days to cool down.

Ready for lid

Yes, now that it is finished, it really looks like a big white box.

Compteted insulation


The fiscal cliff

Now that the election is behind us, the ever-alert media has turned its myopic eye to what they’re calling the fiscal cliff. From all that I’ve read, the planed response to managing the current national debt doesn’t look good for middle-class taxpayers. Republicans hint they might concede on a few minor tax increases on the richest in return for major social program cuts. Expect those tax increases to fade as their ‘smarter-than-politicians’ lawyers find new tax loopholes, but the cuts will be forever. And even that vague promise remains in doubt considering that whenever those who care about our nation’s economic future have offered concessions, the richest have responded by moving the goalposts.

I guess I keep thinking of how we could avoid all of this foolishness with a real commitment to alternative energy. The methods to embrace solar and free ourselves from oil and coal are there. A fully developed ferromagnetic generator could boost the middle class economy by creating millions of new jobs. And this country’s wealth has always come from a prosperous middle class, no matter what lies the ‘one percent’ spread.

We don’t need the small-minded austerity of Wall Street’s bean counters. We need a strong leader who’s willing to embrace science and say let’s do this. Remember, this is the country that once put a man on the moon in less than ten years of development—that’s what free people can do when the naysayers are ignored.

Electronic controls.

I’ve been rebuilding my electronic control assembly. I need two current sources, one for the core and one for the coil. In addition, I need to monitor both the input and output. I’m relying on two oscilloscopes to detect any change.The idea is simple but changes will be difficult to detect. As I’ve not included any cooling system in this prototype, my intention is to discover if iron’s Curie Point can be changed by applying electrical stress in those few degrees before the core becomes completely non-magnetic.

Most probably, this should be noticeable by a change in the current used to energize the coil. When the core is below its Curie Point, it behaves as an iron-core inductor. When it is close to its Curie Point, it acts more like an air-core inductor and draws additional current. (After compensating for the increased resistance of the copper wire at those higher temperatures.)

If all works out like I hope, when the core’s temperature is around 690-750°C sending a bias current through the core will have the effect of increasing the coil’s inductance and be noticeable by a drop in the current draw.  When the bias current stops, the current should once again increase.

This is not an especially elegant test of the theory. I’m simply hoping to get enough positive data to make more intense studies worthwhile. Working with mild steel’s lower permittivity and over-high Curie Point has proved to be next to impossible. But without some indication the Curie Point can be changed by electrical stress, the research necessary to produce a high permittivity, low Curie Point core metal just isn’t going to happen.

Here is the main control table:

Control table

I’m running the coil at 120V 60Hz AC from the wall outlet. The core can be energized by either 24V or 13V AC transformers. There’s a reversing switch to invert the phasing.  The meters and oscilloscopes should tell me what the current is doing.

Here is a closer look:

The table

The back of the control table looks rather confusing, but it’s all wired point-to-point so if I didn’t make any errors, it’s good to go.

Back of controls

As the core resistance will change significantly once it’s up to temperature, I need to use ballast resistors for testing and making the initial measurements. At room temperature the core has a resistance of 0.4 ohms, so these resistors are necessary to keep the current under control. They might get hot, so I’m using that cooling-fan tower I made previously to keep them cool.

Balast resistors

The generator unit isn’t connected at this time. (I still have to apply its final insulation.) But this is its connection point plus a monitoring panel for observing the output of a secondary winding. The yellow and black input wires are for energizing the core and coil respectively. The two plug and switch boxes are for the heaters. There are two 120V heaters and one 240V heater down the center of the core.

This is as far as I can go until the insulation around the core unit is finished.

The price of hurricane Sandy.

It’s difficult to talk about monetary costs after a disaster in which people lost their lives, homes and jobs. I think such things are best left to the small world of insurance actuaries. But as a guy who’s trying to convince others to take research on alternate energy devices seriously, I need to focus on the multi-billion dollar price tag created by this latest weather catastrophe.

While no single weather event can be directly linked to our warming planet, all legitimate climate scientists agree that in the future such costly events are bound to increase, if not in frequency, then in raw power. As some have observed, we’ll soon be having one of these hundred-year events every couple of years. We can only hope congress will finally understand that a national catastrophe fund is necessary.

The price of converting to an electro-hydrogen economy should be compared to the cost of recovering from these events. Electric power taken directly from the sun would replace the costly carbon-oxidizing methods we use today. And cheap solar-based electricity means we can make low-cost hydrogen to power our vehicles and run the electric grid throughout the night.

As a bonus, when hydrogen burns it produces water—not a greenhouse inducing gas. Hydrogen gives us a real way to slow, and will eventually stop the planet from getting warmer. I’ve even been told that converting today’s automotive engines to run on hydrogen doesn’t require extensive modifications. The change-over to non-climate endangering fuels could be performed in such a way that it didn’t place an undue burden on the economy.

So when we start talking about spending twenty or thirty billion dollars to fix this year’s climate induced damage, doesn’t it make sense to invest a few million to research some of the many alternate energy methodologies such as the ferromagnetic generator? The science is there, all we need is a serious commitment.

We could have cheap power not imported from an unfriendly nation and a climate more amiable to long-term human survival.