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Re: It's Alive

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  • Craig Fuller
    Awesome! Congratulations on bringing your machine to life! What s perhaps equally or even slightly more important than the spark length is the spark
    Message 1 of 7 , Mar 1, 2007
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      Awesome!  Congratulations on bringing your machine to life!

      What's perhaps equally or even slightly more important than the spark length is the spark frequency.  This is a direct indication of the amount of current your belt is supplying to the top terminal.

      What's best is a microammeter, and it can be needle type or digital.  A multimeter can easily measure this microcurrent, but you must be VERY careful that it is connected properly.  If you have the wire connected to the voltage input on the meter, you are going to destroy it.

      It must be plugged into common, mA, and then set to it's lowest mA DC range.

      The other ends of the leads go to top and bottom brushes.  I have several of the needle type with an upper scale of 100µA, which is perfect for the goals of this machine.  I can't imagine this size of machine ever needing to go above 100.  With the mods I am making now, I am aiming for 50µA or above.

      There have been reports of aluminum rollers depositing a conductive dust onto the belt and the machine ceases to produce any charge at all.  DO NOT coat the roller with anything.  That would form a capacitor between your brushes and the aluminum and you will lose the benefit of having a conductive roller.  Is something rubbing causing the aluminum to wear, or maybe something else is rubbing and grinding into a powder and you haven't noticed it yet.  Just some thoughts.  It should take a decent amount of time for the aluminum to wear off onto the belt surface in any VDG, so I would clean off the roller with soapy water, and then rinse with distilled water.

       


      --- In VanDeGraaffGenerator@yahoogroups.com, "charlesbuthala" <charlesbuthala@...> wrote:
      >
      > I am so proud; I generated my first spark last night. The generator
      > runs great up to 8000 RPM (3" dia pulley), no belt explosions, fires or
      > other unforeseen events. The only problem is the amount of
      > generation. I got a healthy 2 inch spark, estimated at 30,000V / cm =
      > 150,000V, about one per sec. I think this is a bit low for the size of
      > the generator. I am going to cover the lower roller with Teflon and
      > see what happens. The upper roller is POM homopolymer. I am not sure
      > where that stands on the scale. One question though, when you use an
      > aluminum upper roller do you coat the roller with something?? I have
      > one upper roller made of AL and it blackened the back side of the belt
      > and generated no charge.
      > Any other ideas to get it up to its true potential.
      >

    • jacobsmach
      Charles, Your VDG must be pretty impressive, guessing from the 3 dia. pulley running at 8,000 RPM. I d like to see some photos of the construction details.
      Message 2 of 7 , Mar 2, 2007
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        Charles,

        Your VDG must be pretty impressive, guessing from the 3" dia. pulley
        running at 8,000 RPM. I'd like to see some photos of the construction
        details. Sounds like you've got a working machine which needs a little
        tweeking to optimize current and voltage. I believe you have received
        good advice to increase the current, but the spark length is
        disappointing.

        I'm getting off the intended subject here... what I really meant to
        suggest is the maximum voltage (and spark length) being determined by
        the HV terminal construction. It will never get over about 150KV per
        3-1/2" of terminal diameter. If terminal diameter is not the limiting
        factor, look for leakage. It can take the form of corona, which is
        visible in the dark as a bluish glow at any decreased-diameter
        portions of your terminal... burrs, specks of dust, sharp edges at the
        hole, dents, and things like that.

        Other leakage paths are down the column or the belt. Dirt
        (fingerprints, lubricating oil, carbon motor-brush dust, etc.) here
        can short it out. Some materials can absorb moisture and become
        conductive. I may install an inspection mirror on the machine I am
        building to look up the inside of the column for problems. That's one
        of the nice things about a clear column or open construction... you
        can see what's going on. Too bad clear column materials are so expensive.

        Don Jacobs

        --- In VanDeGraaffGenerator@yahoogroups.com, "charlesbuthala"
        <charlesbuthala@...> wrote:
        >
        > I am so proud; I generated my first spark last night. The generator
        > runs great up to 8000 RPM (3" dia pulley), no belt explosions, fires or
        > other unforeseen events. The only problem is the amount of
        > generation. I got a healthy 2 inch spark, estimated at 30,000V / cm =
        > 150,000V, about one per sec. I think this is a bit low for the size of
        > the generator. I am going to cover the lower roller with Teflon and
        > see what happens. The upper roller is POM homopolymer. I am not sure
        > where that stands on the scale. One question though, when you use an
        > aluminum upper roller do you coat the roller with something?? I have
        > one upper roller made of AL and it blackened the back side of the belt
        > and generated no charge.
        > Any other ideas to get it up to its true potential.
        >
      • Lincoln Ross
        There are conductive coatings of various kinds, not sure where on triboelectric series. Friction on aluminum DOES tend to produce black stuff that comes off.
        Message 3 of 7 , Mar 3, 2007
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          There are conductive coatings of various kinds, not sure where on triboelectric series.
          Friction on aluminum DOES tend to produce black stuff that comes off.

          In the electronics industry, when we want a piece of aluminum to have a conductive
          surface, we have it chromated. Chromated aluminum doesn't get black stuff on my hands
          the way untreated aluminum does. Not sure of the cost. Perhaps, as an alternative, you
          could have it plated. Or, I understand, electroplating is not beyond the capacities of a
          hobbyist, though I don't know if you can do it without very toxic chemicals. Nickel comes
          to mind, though I'm guessing you'd have to do a lot of homework.

          I note that you can get nickel and stainless steel "foil" from McMaster Carr. It's .002" thick,
          not sure how hard that would be to work down onto the crown of a pulley.
          --- In VanDeGraaffGenerator@yahoogroups.com, "Craig Fuller" <craigbfuller@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > Awesome! Congratulations on bringing your machine to life!
          snip
          > There have been reports of aluminum rollers depositing a conductive dust
          > onto the belt and the machine ceases to produce any charge at all. DO
          > NOT coat the roller with anything. That would form a capacitor between
          > your brushes and the aluminum and you will lose the benefit of having a
          > conductive roller. Is something rubbing causing the aluminum to wear,
          > or maybe something else is rubbing and grinding into a powder and you
          > haven't noticed it yet. Just some thoughts. It should take a decent
          > amount of time for the aluminum to wear off onto the belt surface in any
          > VDG, so I would clean off the roller with soapy water, and then rinse
          > with distilled water.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > --- In VanDeGraaffGenerator@yahoogroups.com, "charlesbuthala"
          > <charlesbuthala@> wrote:
          snip
          > > where that stands on the scale. One question though, when you use an
          > > aluminum upper roller do you coat the roller with something?? I have
          > > one upper roller made of AL and it blackened the back side of the belt
          > > and generated no charge.
          > > Any other ideas to get it up to its true potential.
          > >
          >
        • charles buthala
          Thanks for all the input. I am in the process of writhing a report of the construction with plans. The column and most of the VDG are clear so I am just
          Message 4 of 7 , Mar 3, 2007
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            Thanks for all the input.  I am in the process of writhing a report of the construction with plans.  The column and most of the VDG are clear so I am just waiting for a nice dark night with no moon shine, the thing orbiting the earth not the drink.  When you say 150kV per 3.5 inch dia.  do you mean the diameter of the metal sphere?  I used a 14 inch so that would be 600kV sounds right.
            I also found on the Internet a place that sells Teflon shrink tubing for the paper industry.  I am trying to get a sample, will let you all know what happens. 
            When I first tested the device it had just been brought in from the garage,60% humidity, now that it is in the house at 40% maybe it has dried out some and will work better.
            I will try to get the report on the forum within a few days.  Thanks again all.


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          • jacobsmach
            CORRECTION: That sould have been 100KV maximum for every 3-1/2 of terminal diameter. So, a 16 diameter terminal would max out at about 457KV. Don Jacobs ...
            Message 5 of 7 , Mar 6, 2007
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              CORRECTION:
              That sould have been 100KV maximum for every 3-1/2" of terminal
              diameter. So, a 16" diameter terminal would max out at about 457KV.
              Don Jacobs

              --- In VanDeGraaffGenerator@yahoogroups.com, "jacobsmach" <mail@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Charles,
              >
              > Your VDG must be pretty impressive, guessing from the 3" dia. pulley
              > running at 8,000 RPM. I'd like to see some photos of the construction
              > details. Sounds like you've got a working machine which needs a little
              > tweeking to optimize current and voltage. I believe you have received
              > good advice to increase the current, but the spark length is
              > disappointing.
              >
              > I'm getting off the intended subject here... what I really meant to
              > suggest is the maximum voltage (and spark length) being determined by
              > the HV terminal construction. It will never get over about 150KV per
              > 3-1/2" of terminal diameter. If terminal diameter is not the limiting
              > factor, look for leakage. It can take the form of corona, which is
              > visible in the dark as a bluish glow at any decreased-diameter
              > portions of your terminal... burrs, specks of dust, sharp edges at the
              > hole, dents, and things like that.
              >
              > Other leakage paths are down the column or the belt. Dirt
              > (fingerprints, lubricating oil, carbon motor-brush dust, etc.) here
              > can short it out. Some materials can absorb moisture and become
              > conductive. I may install an inspection mirror on the machine I am
              > building to look up the inside of the column for problems. That's one
              > of the nice things about a clear column or open construction... you
              > can see what's going on. Too bad clear column materials are so
              expensive.
              >
              > Don Jacobs
              >
              > --- In VanDeGraaffGenerator@yahoogroups.com, "charlesbuthala"
              > <charlesbuthala@> wrote:
              > >
              > > I am so proud; I generated my first spark last night. The generator
              > > runs great up to 8000 RPM (3" dia pulley), no belt explosions,
              fires or
              > > other unforeseen events. The only problem is the amount of
              > > generation. I got a healthy 2 inch spark, estimated at 30,000V /
              cm =
              > > 150,000V, about one per sec. I think this is a bit low for the
              size of
              > > the generator. I am going to cover the lower roller with Teflon and
              > > see what happens. The upper roller is POM homopolymer. I am not
              sure
              > > where that stands on the scale. One question though, when you use an
              > > aluminum upper roller do you coat the roller with something?? I have
              > > one upper roller made of AL and it blackened the back side of the
              belt
              > > and generated no charge.
              > > Any other ideas to get it up to its true potential.
              > >
              >
            • blulander
              hello everyone in this group I just wanted to say that I recently picked up one of these at the local dump site
              Message 6 of 7 , Mar 7, 2007
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                hello everyone in this group I just wanted to say that I recently
                picked up one of these at the local dump site
                hXXp://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Water-Lamp-By-GDL-WITH-Fish-Used-but-Almost-B-N-I-B_W0QQitemZ130086191451QQihZ003QQcategoryZ91415QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
                (
                as well as this amd 1800 xp base unit I am sat at now complete with xp
                home coa) I have one of those steel garden balls and an old sewing
                machine motor with speed control pedlo , I am using an old aluminum
                axle as my top roller, but am on the look out for a polypropylene
                conveyor roller for my bottom arm so its pretty much cost me 30 GBP
                for the steel ball so far> I will up some pictures in a while, But the
                reason for my reply was that I think that if you look around there
                are really cheap alternatives for most things you need :-)

                Nik Fenning Doncaster UK


                > good advice to increase the current, but the spark length is
                > disappointing.
                >
                > I'm getting off the intended subject here... what I really meant to
                > suggest is the maximum voltage (and spark length) being determined by
                > the HV terminal construction. It will never get over about 150KV per
                > 3-1/2" of terminal diameter. If terminal diameter is not the limiting
                > factor, look for leakage. It can take the form of corona, which is
                > visible in the dark as a bluish glow at any decreased-diameter
                > portions of your terminal... burrs, specks of dust, sharp edges at the
                > hole, dents, and things like that.
                >
                > Other leakage paths are down the column or the belt. Dirt
                > (fingerprints, lubricating oil, carbon motor-brush dust, etc.) here
                > can short it out. Some materials can absorb moisture and become
                > conductive. I may install an inspection mirror on the machine I am
                > building to look up the inside of the column for problems. That's one
                > of the nice things about a clear column or open construction... you
                > can see what's going on. Too bad clear column materials are so
                expensive.
                >
                > Don Jacobs
                >
                > --- In VanDeGraaffGenerator@yahoogroups.com, "charlesbuthala"
                > <charlesbuthala@> wrote:
                > >
                > > I am so proud; I generated my first spark last night. The generator
                > > runs great up to 8000 RPM (3" dia pulley), no belt explosions,
                fires or
                > > other unforeseen events. The only problem is the amount of
                > > generation. I got a healthy 2 inch spark, estimated at 30,000V /
                cm =
                > > 150,000V, about one per sec. I think this is a bit low for the
                size of
                > > the generator. I am going to cover the lower roller with Teflon and
                > > see what happens. The upper roller is POM homopolymer. I am not
                sure
                > > where that stands on the scale. One question though, when you use an
                > > aluminum upper roller do you coat the roller with something?? I have
                > > one upper roller made of AL and it blackened the back side of the
                belt
                > > and generated no charge.
                > > Any other ideas to get it up to its true potential.
                > >
                >
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