I mention them as their own topic here because they are the bane of alternative energy systems and the downfall of the over-unity crowd.
So what is a loss? Anything that converts the EMF to light, heat or RF that you do not want. In circuits it is a resistance that can limit current flow, reduce voltage and disipate energy in general. Resistors radiate energy they absorb as heat. Capacitors and inductors have a resistive component, and even wire has resistance.
Losses can also occur in energy transfers that are less than unity- or less than 100% conversion. Be it in an AC transformer, a pulse transformer, rotary transformer as in a generator or dynamo, essentially anything that is in the circuit has some loss to it. No matter what- entropy is the winner. In the case where a dynamo or generator are involved the losses reduce the amount of energy netted in the conversion of mechanical energy to electrical energy.
In coils made from copper, silver, gold or platinum wire all have some resistance from the wire material itself, and when wound as a coil; partly from impedance where the EMF becomes it’s own enemy, plus capacitance losses between the insulated wire winds. There is also loss in energy transfers from a collapsing magnetic field. There are losses in a building magnetic field as well which is why coils and transformers of any size cannot be 100 percent efficient. In transformers energy conversion can in some cases be lower than 50%- which is why the free energy claims will fall short when their systems are scrutinized.
I have stated before- patents mean next to nothing. They do keep the large corporations playing nice with each other in the giant corporate sandbox, but the reality is a patent is nothing more than the equivalent of a copyright, or a trademark stamp to the rest of the world. To the average American who tend to be ignorant by choice in such matters, it is presented as a stamp of authentiticy in advertising often implying that the item MUST work, or it would not recieve a patent. When you read patents closely when they get cited in free energy claims- it may be nothing more than the ignorance of the claimant who does not understand what they are working on, that thinks something applies. In the end it is nothing more than advertising.
For those who know their radio history will know that Deforrest really did not understand completely how his audion tube worked, but it was his patent, yet Armstrong and others had a better understanding of that new technology because they approached it initially without bias. And in that case we have benefitted greatly from it.
Let’s face facts of imperfection with a good case in point of CD audio. It has been around for a long time now. It is fundamentally nothing mote than small bursts of audio signal that come off the discs. It is not continuous audio like vinyl or analog tape only you do not percieve the ultrasonic whine that accompanies all such audio because it is outside of your capability to hear. And all manner of gimmicks have come along trying to tout how they improve sound quality of a CD by “zapping” it with something. The text claims and patents are pretty laughable, especially when a few have tried to use their gimick patents as a badge of credibility.
Back in the mid to late 1980s It was rumored that taking a green marker and coloring the edge of the CD disks would improve their sound- the bottom line was this: If you “thought” it was helping- it helped. The truth was it just gave a green edge to your disks. Just like the petro mags of the 1970’s were thought by some to help gas mileage. If you truly convinced yourself they worked- they may have subconsciously made you adjust your driving habits just enough to make them appear to work for you. And many of these items held patents even. yet the bottom line was simply those were items that caused you other losses- to your wallet.
When these things come out, some people are so blind to the shortcomings or just lack a knowledge base to make an informed judgement of the validity of the claims, they end up believing the hype and not the facts. Then people like me come along and point out the flaws. Now I am not against looking at new ways to do things,
- I am not against honest research
– if it is something like hydrogen production from water for a motor vehicle- someone may happen across the right combination to make it work, but to date NOTHING has worked. The chances of it ultimately working are highly against it, but it does not hurt to try. But this too represents another loss- lost time. Time lost to pursuing dead ends, and I am honest enough to say that some dead ends do not appear to be dead ends until you reach the end.
So one needs to look at their alternative system or implementation in a manner that allows you to reduce losses. It means avoiding re-work; it means reducing the number of items between charging system and batteries and batteries to loads. So try avoid doing anything temporary or incremental in a way you have to undo it later to make it the way you wanted it ultimately to be.
Overbuilding something can sometimes help you avoid rework. Sizing your wire runs is a perfect example. There is a generalized table in the Electrical code books- at the risk of some taking me out of context here- the Universal Electrical Code for example it has it’s wire sizing table for AC voltages. It is intended as a minimum standard; reasonably Safe- but sometimes it is just a bit more than the bare minimum for acceptable margins of safety. It gives you a point where you can take some latitude with the installation with respect to going with heavier wire without issue, fewer power taps, etc as long as the cosmetics and mechanics of the installation are good and sound basic design.
Don’t get me wrong- I am not stating code is bogus, it is not- code just gives a baseline of safe practices. You can make things safer than code demands provided you use sound installation practices. For example: If you have a 120 VAC installation built strictly to code- is is perfectly safe and adequate for 120VAC. What I am getting at with referencing code as I am I merely seek to illustrate to you while one size of wire for 120 VAC is fine for say a 25 foot run for a given load; at 12 volts however, that changes, there is a resistance loss in the wire itself that common sense should tell you to go to a larger gauge wire than the table shows. There is no harm in going heavier when wiring DC or AC even.
If a table indicated 14 AWG was adequate on 120 VAC- which is actually quite a lot- when you go to power at 12 VDC- you really want to make that run with at least 12 gauge wire or even 10 in some cases, but if you are going to run more than lighting on that circuit- go to 10 gauge AWG or heavier.
In DC and RMS AC: Power is volts multiplied by amps- measured in Watts- therefore the same wattage lightbulb on 12 volts uses 10 times the current the 120 VAC bulb uses. Current is the measure for a quantity of charge per second. There is math to go with this, but I shall skip that because I do not want to wander far from the topic. Current is what makes wires heat up. Current is what dictates wire sizing in the code book.
At 120 volts a given example circuit may be safely rated for 20 Amps. A load pulling 15 amps on that circuit for example is drawing 1800 Watts. At 12 volts on that same circuit has that same wire rating of 15 Amps- The power you can net from 15 Amps on 12 Volts is only 180 Watts. The wire will heat roughly the same amount, if actually not a slightly more on DC )nut imperceptably so to your senses) at the same wattage load because there is no cooling pause/zero crossing voltage in the cycle as there is with AC.
Current flow is what intereacts with the resistance of an item or a wire to make it heat up. The smaller the wire, the greater the resistance. Resistance also varies among the same diameters of different materials/metals.
With regards to a complete alternative energy system, loss has meaning beyond just wire size. Part of the effort to make a system work is to size it well and keep it in budget. The easiest way to do that is change how you use most energy. Obviously some ways cannot be changed. However when it comes to something like a home stereo, much of the inefficiency comes from the power transformer. In a low voltage system it makes no sense to run it on 120 VAC from an inverter except in situations where the Amplifier is a higher output type that utilizes 48 to 80 volts for the main buss voltage for the power output stage of the amplifier.
In other words, an inexpensive “all in one” amplifier is ideal for the conversion in most cases. It simply is a matter of tapping the system at the end of the power supply- or it’s “output” to the rest of the stereo with the connections to the alternative energy power buss. If it has a remote control, it will often work as well, although the amp in standby mode is actually another loss on the energy system as it is still drawing power from the main buss. If something is shut off, it should not have any measurable resistance between the buss and ground. Some items when shut off with a switch may still have paths to ground from the filters in the unit. I have seen instances where a CB radio drained a vehicle’s battery in just a few days even, just drawing current through the filter network of the radio.
So- it makes little sense to use a laptop with an AC inverter to power the battery charger/power supply. Some manufacturers have made available small “Buck/Boost” inverters for their laptops- which can work on other laptops of other brands. This little device replaces the conventional charger as it is designed to plug into the cigarette lighter plug of a car or truck.
By the same token operating LED lighting off of 120 volt inverters is truly a waste as the LEDs are low voltage devices. By removing the inverter and step down transformer/power supply, you remove a great deal of wasted energy/losses. The same applies to low voltage halogen lighting.
These are not the only losses you will encounter, this is just a general summary to get you thinking about what can constitute a loss in a circuit. This will also allow you to parse claims in the free energy arena to discern fact from hype. So, Bedini’s battery chargers can be honestly evaluated. Are they over unity? No, not even close. Is he generating energy from nothing? No. Can he charge a battery with his “basic circuit”? Sometimes. His 100 dollar “kit” may charge one battery when powered from another battery- it will not be able to charge both batteries. But he makes a tidy profit from kit sales since you can go to Radio Shack or other vendor and get the same parts for less than 1/3 of what he is charging you. The reason is simple- there is no external energy input, and the resistance losses of the system as a whole dictate his rewired fan circuit will not charge the battery running the fan- it cannot.
So fundamentally, if you change how you use and utilize energy you can get a great deal more out of a small energy system than you may have realized. If you make these changes while still connected to the AC grid, you can cut your energy bill significantly.
I happened across a blog last night while doing some research on a repair I was working on, and I happened across another over unity claim- a Dr Steven_E_Jones (of Physics- who should know better) happened to discover a variation of a Colpitts oscillator.
Thinking he stumbled across something never seen before- he will be next “supressed” individual for the ZPE and overunity crowds to unite around. In fairness however, I do plan to build his oscillator and see if it will fit in an application that I have if it clocks slow enough. It is really not a discovery of anything, and as a physics professor no less- he should know better because such an oversight as simple as that is a carreer ender. So if you see his name attached to something, go ahead and read it, but if it has anything to do with his “Boost Oscillator” circuit- be skeptical.
If you have purchased the “Practical Guide to Free Energy Devices” grab the sections of the book dealing with the magnet motors and rip those off to save. The rest of that book is just a waste of time and money promoting things that the “inventors” do not understand well enough to see where their math fails, and where entropy and resistance dictate their demise. Burn the book- at least you can use that energy to heat some water or something more practical.
The bottom line for the ZPE crowd- when you can demonstrate true RMS measurements on your systems- make them do work, measure it, calculate it, quantify it accurately– put it in a real quantifiable term that no one, not even myself, would disagree with you. Then you might have something.