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Thread starter #1
Hi everybody. I live in Delaware and I am interested in alternative power sources. Currently playing with earth batteries but I hope to soon branch out into gravity powered generators and TEGs. Managed to make some LEDs glow dimly and the future is hopefully brighter.

I'm wrestling with self education. Reading around online leads me in circles of the basic concepts but with no applied examples. Any reading that could be recomended, or workbooks to practice on would be appreciated (bonus points for legally free ebooks!)

I hope to learn and grow into a useful member of the community.
 

Andrei_D12

Active Member
#2
Hello and Welcome to Electro Tech Online. Hope you'll feel good here.
As for your alternative energy interest, there is a dedicated forum (Renewable energy),suitable for you. If you have a problem, idea or question, post it and you will get an answer in less than a day. Specialised engineers will help you.


Andrei.
 

strantor

Active Member
#3
I'm wrestling with self education. Reading around online leads me in circles of the basic concepts but with no applied examples.
The reason why you cannot find any applied examples of what you're looking for is because they don't exist. The information You're looking for is fringe science at best, and mostly lies. You're calling it "alternative power sources " which is not to be confused with alternative energy.

Gravity powered generator? Never heard of it, but if the name implies the concept, it sounds like overunity to me. Thermoelectric power generation, now there's real science behind that, but if you're thinking Peltier modules to power a car, you're in for a big letdown; you should think of it more as thermoelectric SIGNAL generation. It's only slightly better than a middle school potato battery; still waiting for potato powered automobile to hit the streets.

If you want to know what "alternative power sources" are promising, look at what knowledgeable scientists have already pioneered, and more importantly, look at what knowledgeable investors have already assessed as holding promise : solar, wind, and to a limited extent, ocean currents. If you're looking outside of what's already being exploited, or what's already being researched (by credible organizations) for exploitation, then expect disappointment. I'm not saying don't look into it, I'm just saying that there's nothing new under the sun. If you've got what you think is an earth shattering idea, chances are you're not the first, and someone else had the same idea a century ago and invested time and money to find out all the gotchas.

Beware there are A LOT of snake oil salesmen out there claiming to have secret (but for sale) ideas for free or near-free energy. You can spot them easily by looking for the reason why nobody is using their methods on a large scale; the answer is always the same conspiracy theory (actually it isn't a theory, it's a lie): that big oil and big energy don't want you to know about it.
 
Thread starter #4
The reason why you cannot find any applied examples of what you're looking for is because they don't exist.
Well by examples I mean the uses of parts in a system. Such as resistors and capacitors. I can read the concept of how it works but if I can see an example circiut and the math behind it, or even practice the formulas it would help a lot.


You're calling it "alternative power sources " which is not to be confused with alternative energy.
I spoke wrong, alternative energy is more along the lines of what I'm trying.

Gravity powered generator? Never heard of it, but if the name implies the concept, it sounds like overunity to me.
It sort of is.
is a pretty good explanation and how to build your own. I've joined an over unity forum but there is some heavy spam bot protection and post approval delay.

Thermoelectric power generation, now there's real science behind that, but if you're thinking Peltier modules to power a car, you're in for a big letdown; you should think of it more as thermoelectric SIGNAL generation. It's only slightly better than a middle school potato battery; still waiting for potato powered automobile to hit the streets.
Thinking wood gasification for the car. ;) But no I understand alternative energy like this doesn't compete with industrial grade. It can still do small things. I'd like to play with a heat stove/teg/passive heat, maybe even gasification/charcoal production and steam. In my area there is tons of free firewood and other fuel sources.

....
Actually if there is a potato powered car if you distill said potato into alcohol. :p

If you're looking outside of what's already being exploited, or what's already being researched (by credible organizations) for exploitation, then expect disappointment. I'm not saying don't look into it, I'm just saying that there's nothing new under the sun. If you've got what you think is an earth shattering idea, chances are you're not the first, and someone else had the same idea a century ago and invested time and money to find out all the gotchas.
I doubt I'd find a world changing power but it is a tinker hobby for me. I'm certainly not going to exclusively power an off grid house. Far from grand there is growing potential though. Energy efficiency is improving as are materials and tools (the gravity motor for example couldn't power a standard lightbulb, but it can light up LEDs). Tech from 10-20 years ago is now incorporated into children's toys.

Beware there are A LOT of snake oil salesmen out there claiming to have secret (but for sale) ideas for free or near-free energy. You can spot them easily by looking for the reason why nobody is using their methods on a large scale; the answer is always the same conspiracy theory (actually it isn't a theory, it's a lie): that big oil and big energy don't want you to know about it.
I'm a cheapskate and don't buy secrets, just parts. If a youtube video can't explain it reasonably I don't get into it.
 

strantor

Active Member
#5
It sort of is. [video] is a pretty good explanation and how to build your own.
That's a nifty gadget and a great conversation starter, but nothing more. If you're a total noob and interested in learning electronics then that would be a cool beginner project. But it's important that you realize the physics behind it and why it will never power anything practically; The weights must be lifted up before they can generate any power. It takes more energy to lift the weights than what you get out of the light. If you were to scale that apparatus up to the size necessary to power your house for example, it would require a bulldozer to lift the weight, and the bulldozer would expend much more energy (and waste) than simply utilizing the mains power already being generated at the utility with super efficient generators.

That being said, this is the same principle as a water wheel or hydroelectric dam. They capture energy from the falling weight of water. This water must be lifted from a low elevation to a higher elevation before it can fall, same as the weights in the video. But the planet (actually, the sun, via evaporation and rain) does that work for us. The hydro power is "free" (to us) but not FREE (thermodynamically), nothing ever is.

I've joined an over unity forum but there is some heavy spam bot protection and post approval delay.
Please, leave those forums alone. That's where the con men hang out. I promise you, spambots and post approvals are the least of your worries. You know why they have such a problem with spam? Because those sites are goldmines of gullible, and frankly stupid people.

Thinking wood gasification for the car. ;) But no I understand alternative energy like this doesn't compete with industrial grade. It can still do small things. I'd like to play with a heat stove/teg/passive heat, maybe even gasification/charcoal production and steam. In my area there is tons of free firewood and other fuel sources.

Actually if there is a potato powered car if you distill said potato into alcohol. :p
Woodgas and ethanol are real, but more trouble than they're worth. Woodgas, charcoal, ethanol, these are all "free" like the hydro power (generated by the earth, ultimately by the sun) so they should be viable alternative energies, right? Wrong, at least right now. The reason why there's no woodgas pump at the gas station is that the process of converting trees to engine fuel costs way more than people are willing to pay.

Same for ethanol. The only reason you find ethanol mixtures at the pump (in America) is because the government subsidizes the production of ethanol. Ethanol cannot compete with gasoline without the help of free money from the government. I know this for a fact because I did the research and I built my own still. I created ethanol pure enough to run an engine on, and I actually ran an engine off it. It works, I proved it. In the process, I also proved that it costs several times more than gasoline to manufacture at home. I did a youtube series about my ethanol experiments. My cost to produce ethanol at home was $73.50/gal. The cost goes down as you increase the scale, but it never goes anywhere near the cost of gasoline. The conversion process is just too expensive.
 
Thread starter #6
I have to say I'm enjoying the conversation.

I do recognized these methods wouldn't be conventional for a fully modern house, but they are options for off grid living. I could be overestimating some but I don't think my ideas are massively unrealistic.

I acknowledge these methods aren't 'free' but a different form of cost, and consequence.
That's a nifty gadget and a great conversation starter, but nothing more. If you're a total noob and interested in learning electronics then that would be a cool beginner project.
That is exactly what I am. :D

But it's important that you realize the physics behind it and why it will never power anything practically; The weights must be lifted up before they can generate any power. It takes more energy to lift the weights than what you get out of the light.
It would not be total energy independence but I think there is merit for applications if hybrid with solar/wind. A large consideration I think is it depends on the context and perspective of the situation. For example here it is a novelty, but in rural African villages it is a way to light up a school.

You would need to invest in materials heavily but there are generators that run on the weight platforms you park your car on.

Enhance the process and it becomes more functional. For example some designs use liquid filled containers as the weight. They utilize a pump to transfer the liquid to another container, self reseting. If you had a top and bottom catch tank and solar/wind powered pumps to move the water you would have a steady system (admittedly not perpetual motion though) Hiccups, complications, and costs associated but possible and potential for refining.


As an example a 'night light' for a chicken coup. Water would be pumped and stored through the day, then released (triggered by a light sensor? controlled valves and pumps) to work the machine through the night. A battery would be easier and cheaper probably but I find the renewable aspect appealing.

The reason why there's no woodgas pump at the gas station is that the process of converting trees to engine fuel costs way more than people are willing to pay.
The difficulty of storing woodgas is the major hurdle for this. From what I've researched it's more practical to make it in real time. Admittedly this still comes with labor in working the gasifier, maintaining/cleaning the engine, a more involved fuel system and so on. Not free but the cost changes from cash at the pump to labor on the machine, which for some is fun.

Ethanol cannot compete with gasoline without the help of free money from the government.
I would say that hinges on the context of 'At this time, given the current technology of ethanol production and sheer quantity of oil available for processing.' I don't think Ethanol will be the answer; I do think it has potential to improve; and hope that it plays a part in the development of other options.
 

strantor

Active Member
#7
Ok Prismseed , to be 100% transparent (if you haven't figured it out yet) I'm trying to suss out your motives/beliefs (believe it or not, for your own benefit). Are you or aren't you a believer in "free energy" AKA overunity AKA perpetual motion? ( you don't have to answer that).

Some of the things you've said "smell" like you might be. Or like you might not know where the line is between sound physics and flim flam.
In talking, you transition from viable alternative energy sources and proven technology to questionable concepts and back again. For example:
there are generators that run on the weight platforms you park your car on
Yes, there are. I've heard they control the street lights. But are you referring to this as a potential energy source? Do you believe that there would be any gain over simply using a car engine as a power source? Because if so, you must realize there is nothing gained; the car parks on the generator, power is produced by lowering the car, and then the car must drive up hill back to it's original elevation, expending more energy than what was harvested by the generator. net loss.

I say all that to say this: If you believe in "something for nothing," and you want help on this forum, a science based forum, I must caution you to keep your beliefs to yourself and keep your questions technical, pertaining to specifics about circuits. If you start to let on that you're into overunity, you won't be taken seriously. Your questions will be ignored or worse.

This isn't meant to ridicule you, it's meant to protect you from ridicule. A friendly warning.
If I'm off base and this is a misunderstanding, feel free to clear the air.
 
Thread starter #8
I poorly tried to convey that I don't believe in nor am I attempting perpetual motion.

I understand physics and I'm not trying to get something for nothing, I'm just trying to get it from a different way than the standard.
 

strantor

Active Member
#9
Ok then, sorry about that. Now that's out of the way... what, if anything, do you need help understanding specifically? You mentioned resistors and capacitors; do you have some specific application in which you saw them that you didn't understand?

speaking of capacitors...
On the road you're headed down (I've been down that road, still on it ;)) you'll inevitably come across supercapacitors. Able to hold an immense charge, at a very low voltage. Intriguing stuff, but I've done a lot of math on them, and to me they don't look like the solution to the battery problem. You just can't get the voltage up to a useable level while maintaining the advantage of the huge capacitance. Well, you sorta can, but then you need really low voltage, high current motors, which come with their drawbacks.
 
Thread starter #10
I've stumbled a bit with A=V/Ω, is that only if the original amperage is higher? I thought that with a suitable voltage and resistor I could boost my μA earth batteries but attempts to simulate it in CAD haven't gone well.

Ohm's law of V=A*Ω, is that usable voltage or just a rating for the stress a section of the circuit is under?

Could a series of batteries run through an operational amplifier create the current to achieve something or am I trying to get blood from a turnip?
 
#11
Running electricity through ANY device follows this inequality.
Pout < Pinput​
It also follows Ohm's law. Hence,
Vin = In * R,​
where R is the resistance presented by the device. So if
Iout > Iin,​
then it must be that
Vout < Vin.​

TANSTAAFL
 
Thread starter #12
Don't capacitors, transformers, and joule thief bend or work around that to a degree even if some energy is lost in the change?
 
#13
Nope. The increase in one area must come at the expense of the output value somewhere else. You cite the joule thief. This reference explains how the joule thief works. "The output voltage is increased at the expense of higher current draw on the input, but the integrated (average) current of the output is lowered and brightness of a luminescence decreased."
 

Dr_Doggy

Well-Known Member
#14
HI, what you see there is a modded water wheel, the way he has got it hooked up is just using gear ratios to torque it up

the answers you seek are related to torque/mass and motion over time, f=ma work and all those things in physics i slept through, a key hint is that: power*time = joules
P(W) = E(J)/ t(s)

and here is what joule is:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joule

the jug of water has the force behind it and that is what is doing all the work to run the bulb, which is low power anyway,
transformers & joule thief are like gear shifters, just cause its easier to pedal doesnt make it more efficient . transformers can change VI relationships, cannot boost power value, its easy to push the pedal in high gear, but it don't send you far, low gear pushes you good, but requires more force, or more water to move the pedal faster..
 

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