Ken Hall's posts

Posted by Ken Hall on May 13, 2005 12:59 pm

#331 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Tesla Cosmic Radiation
Tesla's cosmic radiation experiments have been taken over by the free energy faction. So much garbage has been written about them, that it is hard to tell what he did and what is a figment of someone elses imagination.

To my knowledge, no one has been able to produce enough power with any similar device to power your RV.

So, I would look at some proven alternative technology like solar panels and batteries.


Posted by Ken Hall on May 10, 2005 02:00 pm

#332 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > re water wheel
You might try the waterwheel factory at

I did some rough number crunching based on your 6 feet of head and 100gpm. I came up with about 60 watts.  Utilizing the waterwheel factory calculations, I came up with 96 watts on the shaft. However, the fine print will tell you to reduce that number by 1/3 to ½ to allow for gearing and battery losses, which would yield somewhere between 48 and 64 watts.

If your car wash design includes shutting down the water flow for breaks in customer flow (to save energy), the repeated stopping and starting of the water flow will severely impact the total quantity of power produced.

You would probably be better off to put whatever money you have set aside for the water wheel into energy conservation measures.  If you have already conserved energy to the extent possible in your design, and still want to incorporate generation, I would suggest looking at putting solar on the roof.


Posted by Ken Hall on Apr 30, 2005 02:08 pm

#333 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > MPPT Circuit
Check out

Great info on a solar MPPT controller. Should give you enough info to design one for your use.


Posted by Ken Hall on Mar 21, 2005 02:26 pm

#334 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: wealth
"I could be wrong but it seems as though I heard somewhere that only 14% of the human population is as wealthy as the remaining 86%. That means only 840 million out of 6 billion humans on the planet Earth."

"My point was to illustrate what it must be like for those 840 million extremely wealthy people to be stuck on Earth with the remaining 5 billion or so people. They are terribly out numbered."

Sunour, I think you are being a little to subtle. I am not sure that most americans realize that they are in "those 840 million extremely wealthy people". The entire population of the US is about 230 million, so that would leave 610 million other extremely wealthy people in the world. Americans that are living near poverty are "rich" on a purely economic standard of comparision.  Arguing quality of life, is a different matter.

So, for everyone else, do you feel extremely rich and/or outnumbered ?


Posted by Ken Hall on Feb 3, 2005 03:17 pm

#335 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Wind vs.Solar
First thing you need to do is double check that figure of 50 watts on the small refrigerator. There is only one on the market that I am aware of, and it is expensive. There are also some 12v cool chests that might meet that.
But most refrigerators will be up in the 200-400 watt range. And although cubic footage is part of the equation, you can not rely on that. Some of the small size fridges actually consume as much as their larger cousins.

Posted by Ken Hall on Dec 18, 2004 05:26 pm

#336 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Soldering cable
No need to defend your self. It is extremely hard to dump many years of knowlege towards one person and have everybody else agree 100 percent with the statement, 100 percent of the time. Especially when you try to do it in a short post.

In re-reading my own post, the first line sounds like I may have been recomending solder over compression. Although I may actually lean that way, I was simply answering the original question. It would have been helpful if I had made that more clear.

The clarification of full compression vs crimp was provided primarily for those people that do not understand the difference, not "to correct you". I was about 95% certain of what you meant. And I am sure that you will catch me in a similar mistake of using shorthand when I should not, if you haven't already.

I think that we both agree that a good full compression connection is better than a poor job of soldering and a good job of soldering is better than a poor compression connection. Either connection will perform well, if properly made.

The only point that I would debate with you (and I do mean debate or discuss, not argue) is the one over solder being more likely to fail when it gets hot.
In my experiance, if your connection gets that hot, it is going to give you trouble sooner or later, regardless of what type of connection you have. While the compression connection may seem more mechanically sound (especially after it cools off) the damage that will lead to electrical failure is done and and it will eventually show up. The same thing can be said about the soldered connection if it happens to cool and "resolder itself". Mechanically it may be sound, but it will eventually become an electrical problem.  

It is a pay me now or pay me later situation.


Posted by Ken Hall on Dec 17, 2004 07:47 pm

#337 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > minor correction
I meant your breakers or fuses, not your breakers of fuses.

Posted by Ken Hall on Dec 17, 2004 07:46 pm

#338 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Soldering cable
I would use the paste flux and solid core solder. acid core might leave some residual acid that could cause corosion of the copper.

If your cable and connector are adequately sized for the intended use, there is no danger of overheating the connection except in a shorted condition. Even then your breakers of fuses should eliminte the short before it becomes a problem.

If you do decide to use comression lugs, make sure that you use a full compression lug and die, which is what I believe Sunour is refering to. Partial compression (which is what I think of when I hear the word crimp) is a connection looking to cause trouble.


Posted by Ken Hall on Dec 6, 2004 04:43 pm

#339 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: lattice tower
Most lattice steel towers are designed for a single purpose. So, the odds are that one designed for the windmill will not work for the drill rig, and one designed for the drill rig will not work for the windmill. One that will do both would be a custom (read that expensive) tower. The odds of finding an existing design that would work for both of your applications is unlikely.  

However, once you have identified which specific percussion drill rig you want to use (and how deep you think you will be driving the well) and an approximate size and height for your windmill, ask your question again. With some idea of the expected loads and direction of load, I might have a different opinion.    


Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 26, 2004 02:33 pm

#340 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Grid synchronizer
Why do you want to synchronize ? If you are on the generator, you are reducing the amount of power you draw from the grid. An auto transfer breaker to switch back and forth between sources will be cheaper.

If you want to synchronize so that the generators excess power flows into the grid (and you get paid for it), you had better call your utility and check with them. The interconnection requirements vary between utilities, and the rules for a emergency or standby generator interconnection are often different than the requirements for an alternative energy installation.


Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 17, 2004 02:34 am

#341 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Bad Figures
You are an electrical moron. You say you do not produce kwh, merely pure watts. Watts over time become kwh.
(and what is that "pure watt" crap, are you trying to say that your watts are different than everybody elses)

Vertical machines have their uses, you just keep making totally unrealistic claims for yours. It takes a certain amount of twisting force to turn a generator to produce 1000 watts. (by the way 1000 watts for 1 hour is one kwh)

There is no way you produce 1000 watts in a 10 mph wind with that small of a turbine. It simply violates the laws of physics.

You do not get my point, I do not object to your machine.  Sold by honest people and priced right, it would be useful.

But you show every sign of being dishonest. And it is overpriced for what it delivers.

And every time somebody makes that point, you just increase the numbers.


Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 16, 2004 01:38 am

#342 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Snake Oil

I checked your math. The only minor error that you made, was to state the answer as 540kw. It should have been 540 kwh.  

Note that William did not respond to your question directly. He now says that they have improved their figures at 10mph. Not by 10 or 20 or even 30 percent, but by 854 percent.

Take the time to examine the wind machines made by reputable companies. You will see that with 3 bladed propellers 23-25 feet in diameter, they cannot generate 1000 watts with a 10 mph wind speed.  And William wants us to believe that one of his engineers has figured out a way to do it with a turbine that measures 16 inches in diameter by 27 inches tall.

What a snake oil salesman.


Posted by Ken Hall on Nov 14, 2004 04:53 pm

#343 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Revolutionary "SeaBird" Small Low Wind Speed Wind Turbine
I see nothing revolutionary about this product.  It is a simple vertical shaft wind turbine.

The disturbing thing is that despite his “no false promises” statement, I find his statements to be mis-leading at best, and in some cases outright falsehoods.

A 3 kw machine, at a 50+ mph wind speed.  At 30 mph, it is more comparable to a 1 kw machine.  In fact, at 15, 20, and 25 mph, the Bergey XL1 will out perform his machine.

He claims that his machine is capable of 4,000 kwh per MONTH. (Not only in his statement here, but it is repeated multiple times on his website.)  It is not. A 3kw machine has a theoretical gross output of 2,160kwh a month. 3kw x 24hours x 30days.

In reality, this machine would not obtain  4,000 kwh per YEAR at most wind sites in the US.  1,500-2,500 kwh per YEAR (depending on your site) would be a much more reasonable expectation.

Unless he is including a lot of extras with his machine (which you cannot determine from his website), it is overpriced (in my opinion) for what it will produce.

Caveat Emptor


Posted by Ken Hall on Oct 19, 2004 12:24 pm

#344 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: splitting power
As pointed out above, what we call 220 volt power is two phases of 110 that are 120 degrees apart in phase rotation. (Each phase will measure 110 to ground, but will measure 220 phase to phase.)

All of the transformers that I am aware of, will produce 220 single phase (european power). Connecting an american 220 device to a single phase 220 transformer will either smoke the device, or smoke the transformer.


Posted by Ken Hall on Sep 19, 2004 12:49 am

#345 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: New to Solar need help with setup
In his "automotive" set up the wiring is pv panel to battery to inverter, so you need the blocking diode between the PV panel and battery to prevent the panel from siphoning power off of the battery. In solar setups where the wiring is panel to inverter/charger to battery, the inverter often performs this function and the blocking diodes may not be necessay.

Sorry if my verbal shorthand was misleading.


Posted by Ken Hall on Sep 18, 2004 02:30 pm

#346 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: New to Solar need help with setup
Sunour has a workable alternative suggestion.

But, back to the solar question.

You did your calculations for 120 volts when you needed to be on the 12V side.
To produce 79 watts on the 120V side, you are going to be pulling about 90 watts on the 12V side, depending on the specs for your inverter. 90watts/12v=7.5 amps.
So, your 18AH battery will last about 2 hours. You would also be exceeding the 5.4 amp current. (Are you sure that is a discharge current and not a charging current limit ?) If you really need the three hours (and to help prolong the battery life), I would either go with a larger battery or wire two of the UB12180’s in parallel.

Your solar panel is way to small to support your intended usage. The 20 watt rating is a full sun rating, which is for a stationary mounted panel that is pointing south and aligned for the sun angle. In that situation, it would take about 4.5 hours to produce the 90 watts required for one hour of playstation time. Many US locations do not get 4.5 hours of full sun, for parts of the year.

In a flat mount (and mobile) situation, your panel will produce significantly less than the 20 watt rating. My guess is that you have about 1/10th of the PV power that you would need to make the system reliable.

If you already have the inverter, you could do an experiment. With the battery fully charged, hook up the inverter and play station and see how long you can run it. Next day, wire the PV panel directly to the battery and lay the panel flat in the yard.  At the end of the day, hook up the inverter and play station, and see how long you can run it.

Inverters that are designed for solar applications generally have a blocking diode or equivalent circuitry in them. If you are using an automotive type inverter, you will definitely need a blocking diode to prevent discharge during non-sun hours.

If you end up linking multiple smaller panels, you should also have by-pass diodes on each panel to prevent them from affecting the systems output as individual panels are shaded or otherwise limited in output.


Posted by Ken Hall on Sep 11, 2004 04:06 pm

#347 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Intertie question
What does "matching what is coming in" mean?
A. It could have been a caveat that since you are in another country, you may not have 120vac 60hz power on the grid.
B. Verbal shorthand for you have a stand alone inverter.
C. both of the above.

A stand alone inverter works under the logic that it will only accept generation for the amount of load on the system, whether that is battery charging or the house load. They will work without being plugged into the grid. If plugged in, they will only accept power from the grid to charge the batteries or carry load. They do not put power out on to the grid, under any conditions. THIS is what you have.

An intertie inverter has a different logic that says I will accept all of the generation available, and put the excess at a higher potential than the grid, so that it will flow outward.
So, to do what you want, you need a new inverter. (Make sure it is an intertie with batteries, some intertie inverters are designed to function W/O batteries and have no provision for them)

Your other choice is to install what you have, and forget the intertie until you see how much excess you actually have. Since you have frequent grid outages, I doubt that you will have much (if any) excess.

"A dump load would only run when the batteries were charged and there wasn't sufficient load to use all the power that is being enerated..correct? "

Partially correct. A dump load is not designed "to use all of the power" that could be generated.  It is designed to put a base load on the wind turbine when the inverter is not accepting enough power from the wind turbine (medium-high winds and low electrical load). This prevents the wind turbine from going into a "no load" condition and overspeeding.

As such, it should be wired in so that it dumps excess generation from the wind turbine, not the solar panels.

If you do decide to go with the intertie system, you need to check with the local utility on their requirements for an intertie. Although most utilities accept running the meter backwards, some do not and require two meters, one incoming and one outgoing.

You kinda blew off the comment about AC & DC disconnects with your "code is the last thing on anyones mind" comment. Although most intertie inverters will recognize a grid outage and disconnect from the grid for the duration, some utilities will require a visible disconnect that can be physically opened and locked out by them during outages, so that they know their personnel will not be harmed by your system.  DC disconnects (particularly fused disconnects or breakers), should be installed, both for your safety and convenience.


Posted by Ken Hall on Aug 10, 2004 02:53 pm

#348 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > windpower
If you meant can you attach the blades directly to the alternator, the answer is no. The rear thrust bearing of a vehicle alternator is not designed to take the tremendous rearward thrust that would be generated by the blades.
The other problem is the rpm for the alternator to reach full output is generally higher than what your blade rpm will be, particularly at lower wind speeds.

You could build a "windmill" and then utilize a v-belt drive, chain drive or other gearing to eliminate both problems.  If I were to attempt it, I would take a look for a cheap source for a truck alternator or some diesel powered equipment alternator. These tend to be higher amperage output and are available in voltages higher than 12 vdc.

The other two items for consideration are parasitic load and maintenence.

Vehicle alternators utilize a small amount of electicity to energize the field. So, you are consuming some of what you generate, to generate more. So with x amount of wind and two identically sized alternators, the permanent magnet alternator will put more juice in storage.

If we assume that an alternator will last 100,000 miles without need of repair and that your average vehicle speed is 40mph, your usefull life of an alternator would be about 2500 hours. If you assume it turns 24 hours a day, the life would be just over 100 days. If you change the assumption to it only turns about 1 third of the time, it would still only last about 1 year before needing repair/replacement. How often do you want to climb (or lower) the tower ?
These two factors are the reasons that most people will recommend not using vehicle alternators in wind power applications.


Posted by Ken Hall on Jul 9, 2004 02:23 pm

#349 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Books
It would help to have a better description than "practical alt-E books". So, I am not really sure of what you are looking for.

Having said that, the best all around reference I have seen is "The Solar Living Resource Book" by John Schaffer & Doug Pratt.  Doug gives a lot of practical tips on everything from batteries to wind turbines. It is not a "step by step how to manual". It is more of a catalog with articles and simple explainations of how the various equipment works, both as individual items and as systems. It also points out common mistakes people make.  It is about $30 retail, so you might want to check out the local library and see if they have a copy, so you can read it before putting out the bucks.
If you are looking for something on wind power, try "Wind Energy Basics" by Paul Gripe.


Posted by Ken Hall on Jun 17, 2004 08:45 pm

#350 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: GRAVITY POWER
Yes Bobs, the forum is topics in alternative energy.
It is not "pie-in-the-sky" or "sci fi" energy.
Roland is doing a public service by questioning the feasability of this device.

You say they are producing it. No, they may have taken a few orders for it, but they have not delivered any of them to anyone.
The first public showing of the prototype is scheduled for August.
(By the way, the smallest machine is supposed to produce 10,000 watts, not volts)

You posted the site link and asked "what do you think ? ". Roland gave you his opinion. Then you start insulting him because he doesn't agree with you. That is no way to win an argument or settle a difference of opinion. I think that you owe him an apology.

Roland has a higher level of understanding of engineering/scientific principles than most of the people posting to these boards. I am sure that if you had asked him for clarification of his opinion, he would have provided it.

So why don't you explain to us why this device should not be considered perpetual motion ?


Posted by Ken Hall on Jun 5, 2004 04:29 pm

#351 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: panel size
I do not know while you are asking about panel size, a load of less than 3 amps can be added to almost any household circuit without overloading it.  If you are asking about a switch for it, your common light switch will handle it without any problems.

The other Item that you should add to the installation is a thermostatic switch with the thermostat (or sensor) mounted as high up in the roof ridge or peak as is convenient.  You pick the tempurature (I like about 120 degrees). The fan will not come on until that temp is reached and will shut off when the temp falls below it.  Depending on the house design and roof color, the results will very, but my fan runs about 10 minutes an hour on a 90 degree day and no more than 30 minutes an hour on a 102-105 degree day.


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