Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hobbyist: Workspace

I can’t write a line today without saying that every hobbyist deserves a dedicated workspace/place. I once had a study but as soon as the baby came after marriage, Titi turned it to the baby room. I have been running my projects from a desk in our bedroom. This has always been a subject of concern to Titi. My projects lay in the balcony, the guest bedroom, the walkway the guest bedroom and sometimes our bedroom.

With Titi away on a one week break to United States, I moved into the room permanently. I must confess it was a sorry sight by the time she returned to find that the door of her wardrobe was a prop for my make-shift spray booth. That the entire floor was littered with metal fillings from drilling multiple holes in the rotor hub. Half the space on the king-size bed was covered with tools, and other equipment. I moved the jig from the balcony to the bedroom.
To cut a long story short – the pressure was on to hook up the turbine and hoist it on the roof, while I start the second phase and test the turbine.

Putting it on the roof was exciting…. I couldn’t help but wonder if it would spin or not. Though I could feel the cool breeze, I knew it was not as fast or focused like the electric fan I used to test the turbine in the house. I ran the line down to my flat 2 floors down allowing enough slack to ensure I can cut (if the wire twist around its axis) the wire to fix a plug to routinely unwind the twist.

Just as the final bolts where being tightened, the turbine caught the wind and like they say the rest is history…

I will put up a video of the turbine flying as soon as I can upload one on u-tube. But I was such a pleasure to watch people stare at the alian object on my roof as the walked by. I gave me so much satisfaction to see the smile on their faces - that suggested this house hold has gone "green". Eventhough I was yet to rig it up to the grid, I was humbled that with the help of the internet, I too could cut down on use fossil fuel and save the ozone.

As soon as I finish the volts up option to boost the output current, I can officially say - Phase 2 over!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

“Gear Up” or “Volt Up” Part 2

Volts Up
While testing the turbine on a jig, I realized that there was a need to boost the voltage, I identified two different approaches to solve the problem. the first one, Incorporating gears to speed up the turbine did not come up to scratch as it was crude, noisy and would require strong winds to turn the blades. So I was left with the second option - The electronic voltage boost.

A simple DC – DC conversion should be able to boost my 8 Volts to about 16 Volts. I saw circuit diagrams from numerous hobby sites – but they all had some unique integrated circuits (ICs) like Max (http://para.maxim-ic.com/en/search.mvp?fam=stepup&tree=powersupplies), y, z, that local electronics component stores did not stock. I had almost given up on this option (planning to return to perfect the gears option above) when I stumbled on a power boost circuit that used a simple 555 timer. The 555 series of ICs is one of the most versatile IC in the whole world – and yes, we do have plenty of them in Nigeria.

http://www.elecfree.com/electronic/voltage-doubler-with-ic-555/ posts a simple 555 voltage doubler circuit. See google result - http://www.google.com.ng/search?hl=en&q=555+voltage+doubler+circuit&btnG=Search&meta=

The components are:-
  • NE555 timer IC
  • 2.2k ohm resistor
  • 15k ohm resistor
  • 0.01 uF ceramic capacitor
  • C2, C3 220 uF electrolytic capacitor
  • C4 470 uF electrolytic capacitor
  • D1, D2 1N4002 diode

This circuit will now increase the output voltage from 8Volts to about 16volts. Optionally, I can throw in a regulated 14Volts at the end of this to ensure the output never exceeds 14Volts. One problem though is current. Will this circuit provide enough current? I will cross that bridge when I get there. For now, this will no doubt charge a flat battery.