Mark of Zero Logo
Main menu
   You are here: /Home/FAQ

Get my instant news
alerts now on Twitter!

Donate Bitcoins

K&J Magnetics, Inc World's strongest magnets

           
Frequently Asked Questions
I have created this FAQ to address many of the most common questions I receive regarding electronics, HHO and Alternative Energy in general. And believe me, I have received each and everyone of these questions hundreds if not thousands of times already. Think of this web site as a free, all you can eat buffet. I've prepared all the food and I give it away for free. Please understand when I don't have the time to be your waiter too and do me the honor of reading these questions before you write to ask. If I've answered it here you will not receive a reply. I'm not trying to be rude. I just don't have the time.

Please read on and enjoy.


Z
Related links

Q: Can you help me with...?
A: I'm sorry but I barely have time enough for my own experiments. I'm not being rude when your email and phone calls go unanswered. I just don't have the time. The best I can do is take your most common questions and try to answer them here. I have exhausted great energy to be as thorough as I can with my information. If I missed something or you find an error, please tell me and I will try to find time to add or correct it.

Q: Can I buy ... from you?
A: Only my PWMS and EBN 6" cells are available through this site, FOR NOW. My PWM is so unique that I am planning on having etched, drilled and silk screened PC boards mass produced for resale as the board only, complete kit and finished units. For other HHO related goodies please check out http://www.hhoconnection.com/ .

Q: Where can I get ... ?
A: Please Google it.

Q: What are the dimensions of...?
A: My plates are 2" x 6.5" x 0.048", gap 0.049", stainless steel grade 316L, connected +nnnnn-nnnnn+nnnnn-nnnnn+
I chose these dimensions because they fit neatly into a tube and create a chimney stack effect for convection cooling. This is not etched on stone! Be creative.

Q: Why do you use neutral plates?
A: Neutral plates form a series resistive network that divides the available input voltage across the plates for the optimum voltage/plate gap of 2.1-2.4V. If automotive charging systems were 2.3V I would not use neutral plates at all. If they were 4.6V I would use one neutral plate, etc. etc. More than 2.4V per plate gap wastes energy in the form of heat.

5n at 12v / 6 = 2v per plate. Works but still requires very strong electrolyte. At 13.8v / 6 = 2.3v. So, you can see that 5n is IDEAL for a car with the charging system running.

4n is 12v / 5 = 2.4v per plate. This configuration is ideal for running on a 12v battery without a charging system. At 13.8v / 5 = 2.76v per plate. This is too few plates for a car with the charging system running. It will likely run too hot and inefficiently.

Q: How did you create the tabs?
A: The five electrode plates start life 2" x 7.5". I cut a 1"h x 1.5w" piece from the top to form a 1" tab that's .5" wide. To the ends of those tabs I have .5" wide strips spot welded by the same sheet metal shop that stamped the pieces for me. They could start life taller and remove more material to create tabs without any spot welding. My decision to spot weld was dictated solely by the size of the pieces I received from a friend.

Q: What is your electrolyte?
A: KOH (Potassium Hydroxide). Other possible choices are NaOH (Sodium Hydroxide) and NaHCO3 (Baking Soda).

Q: Should I sand my plates?
A: It has been my experience that sanding is a complete waste of time.

Q: How do you control temperature? Why does mine overheat?
A: Excess heat is created when you get more than 2.2V between any two plates in solution. You're probably using parallel plates or too few neutral plates with 12-14v DC going in. Also, rapid electrolyte circulation helps to dissipate any heat that does build up.

Q: Why do you close in the edges?
A: Edges are sealed to prevent electrical leakage and raise efficiency. At any voltage above 2V there is an avalanche breakdown effect in water where current increases exponentially. Current takes the path of least resistance. It will prefer to jump past a plate to the next adjacent plates rather than pass through the intervening plates, unless you seal the edges to prevent it.

Q: What adhesive to you prefer?
A: For quick assembly of experimental test fixtures, 3M White 1 hour fast cure urathane Marine adhesive available at most hardware, marine and Home Depot stores. It's easy to work with, sets quickly and doesn't create too much foam in the electrolyte. The reason for marine adhesive is because it is designed to hold up well in extremely caustic environments. I have tried other marine adhesives such as Goop Marine which is clear. It's also is easy to work with but I have found that it still poisons the electrolyte causing large amounts of foam buildup.

For permanent assembly of acrylic I use Weld-On 3 which is extremely fast cure but not legal in some states. In those cases use the somewhat slower curing Weld-On 4.

There are special adhesives for clear PVC pipes and fittings but I haven't tried them yet. Clear PVC is expensive! The only place I have found so far to buy Schedule 40 clear PVC is from clearpvcpipe.com.

Q: Why not just use Silicone glue or epoxy?
A: Because silicone, like most epoxy resins, will break down in caustic electrolytes and poison the cell.

Q: Why does my electrolyte turn brown?
A: Because you're probably using lesser grade stainless steel like 304 which leaches ferrous oxide from the metal, not to mention large amounts of Cr(VI). 316L is much less prone to this, albeit considerably more expensive.

Q: Why don't you use tubes like Meyers did?
A: Tubes offer the advantage of no vertical edges to seal to prevent current leakage. They may or may not be better suited to pulse resonant designs, if such designs truly enhance HHO production. I personally have not seen it. A disadvantage is they are best suited to two electrode designs.

For brute force designs, nesting enough concentric tubes to provide the optimum voltage drop per fluid gap creates a huge imbalance in surface area between the innermost and outermost electrodes. Production is limited by the smallest tube in the cell. It's also mechanically impossible to tweak the gap spacing without rebuilding with an entirely different set of tubes.

Q: Can I pressurize HHO?
A: Only if you have a death wish. A stoichiometric explosive gas mixture at atmospheric pressure is extremely dangerous. Stored under pressure is a disaster waiting to happen. The only way to store hydrogen safely is without the oxygen. The only way to use HHO safely is on demand. To my knowledge, there is no easy way to create the gases separately and efficiently at the same time. You either create and collect them separately and inefficiently for later storage, or you create them together and efficiently for on demand point of use.

Q: What should I do with waste electrolyte?
A: Stainless steel leaches hexavalent chromium into the solution. VERY HAZARDOUS MATERIAL! If you've never seen it, watch the movie Erin Brockavich. NEVER dump it down the drain, onto the ground, into a stream or the ocean. The dangers are absorption through the skin from regular skin contact or ingestion through ground water contamination. Precautions one should take are to:

1) Handle carefully wearing latex gloves.
2) Collect waste electrolyte in empty plastic milk containers.
3) Label the containers with the contents - Cr+6 or Cr(VI) and your electrolyte, KOH, NaOH, NaHCO3.
4) Dispose of through hazmat collection points.
5) If grinding stainless, wear a respirator.

Many towns and municipalities regularly sponsor free hazmat collection drives. Check with your local town to see if they offer this service.

That said, only the first batch of waste electrolyte is very toxic. The Cr+6 leaches from the surface once. As long as the cell is not being over driven and metal is not being eaten away, subsequent batches should be safe. That's why it's a good idea to precondition plates in a bath of weak electrolyte for a while first, alternating charge about once an hour for about a week, before putting them into full service. Even 316L.

Q: Why should I use a PWM?
A: A PWM is an electronic switch that turns on and off at a very fast rate of speed. To the load it appears smooth because it's so fast, just like our vision can barely detect the flicker of a fluorescent bulb even though it goes completely off and back on again 120 times a second. The duty cycle of a PWM is the percentage of on time vs. off time.

Cells draw more current as they warm up. All cells will warm up, even the most efficient cells I create. At the end of a day it can be easily three times the current that you started with at the beginning of the day. Without a PWM the problem becomes finding the correct electrolyte concentration for an entire day of driving. If you start out weak then production is very slow to start out with and you lose the benefits until much later in the day. If you start out strong enough to see benefits right away, by the end of the day you're blowing fuses or greatly stressing your alternator.

With a current limited PWM you set your electrolyte for the target operating current at the beginning of the day. To start the output duty cycle is nearly 100%. Half way through the day as the cell is getting warm it may want to draw twice as much current from straight DC. The PWM, sensing that twice as much current is flowing every time it switches on, rolls back the duty cycle to 50%, thus maintaining the same average current. At the end of day when the cell wants to draw three times as much current the PWM is operating at 33% duty cycle.

There is no other PWM design I have found that incorporates this feature, at least not at a price that anyone can afford.

There are some small changes for 24-28V.

Q: Will your PWQM work at 24-28V?
A:
Yes, with some mods.

1) The stiffening cap C7 must be rated for 36V or greater while still retaining the other critical characteristic of very low ESR (<0.040 ohm). This makes it physically larger and does not fit in the standard case but must be connected outside the case. Or you can get a larger case.

2) The fan power must be moved to the regulated side of the voltage regulator. Otherwise you'll burn out the fan. Or you can find a 24V fan instead of 12V.

3) Because of the higher voltage and fan load, the voltage regulator must be bolted to the case to dissipate the additional heat.

Other than these changes, the rest of the circuit can remain the same.

Q: How do I adjust the PWM without an oscilloscope?
A:
I get a lot of email asking how to adjust this thing without an oscilloscope. To be honest, the only reason I use a scope is to adjust the frequency to precisely 2.5KHz and observe visually when the PWM starts to limit. The frequency range is 1KHz-10KHz. The frequency of the PWM is far less important than most people think. More is not better. In fact, I'm considering changing the range to 500Hz-5KHz by changing the value of C1 from 0.022uF to 0.047uF. Usually the VR pots ship adjusted to the mid point. By default your PWM should operate around 2KHz (1KHz if you change C1 as described earlier). There really should be no reason to change it unless there are some resonant acoustic properties of your cell that you'd like to experiment with. In that case you can just adjust the frequency pot VR2 by ear.

To set your PWM to limit current you will need some way of measuring the large current being drawn by your load. You can buy ammeters that have external shunts for this purpose for around $30, just the shunt alone if you have a digital multi-meter for about the same price, you can build your own shunt as I've shown in video #43 for mere pennies, or you can get a clamp on DC ammeter as I did for around $80 from Harbor Freight.

  • First, adjust the electrolyte concentration of your cell to draw the amount of current you want it to draw at its coldest operating temperature from straight DC (without the PWM). Measure carefully as you do this so you will know what the concentration is the next time you have to flush the cell and refill. Otherwise all you should have to do is add distilled water to keep topping off your cell.
  • Pots are 20 turn. Start adjusting the PWM by turning the Current Limit pot VR3 and % pot VR1 fully CW. Just keep turning until you start to hear them click or until you're certain you've turned them at least 20 turns. They won't break if you try to go beyond maximum rotation.
  • Connect your PWM to the cell, apply power and monitor the current. As the cell warms up it will start to draw more current.
  • Once the current exceeds where you want the cell to operate, rotate the Current Limit pot VR3 CCW until it settles to the operating current you want. As the PWM starts to limit current you will hear it start to whistle.

Done! As the cell heats up, peak current will rise but duty cycle will fold back an equal amount to keep the RMS current constant. You should also view my video #119 prior to operation.

Q: Aren't you violating Conservation of Energy?
A:
No.

Here's the simple math I use to stuff it in the face of "the experts" when they say we're attempting to violate the "Laws" of conservation of energy. Please feel free to use it to stuff it to them too.

1) The best I.C.E. is 18% efficient, 20% on a good day.
2) The process of brute force electrolysys today has been pushed to about 85% efficiency.

Note: Based on the energy available from burning Hydrogen, by using Faraday's "Law" to translate from electrical energy it is estimated that 100% efficient hydrogen electrolysis is achieved by creating somewhere between 5.5-7.5 milliliters of gas per minute per watt of energy consumed. Members of our research group have run the numbers several ways which all seem to point to around 7.0 m/m/w or mmw for short. Many of our cells have operated as high as 6mmw or roughly 85% efficient

3) The product of electrolysis is HHO which has it's own energy value, up to 85% of what we put in.

If all we considered was the return of energy value when we inject the HHO as a supplement to gasoline, then yes; Conservation of energy applies.

HOWEVER!

We believe HHO as an additive does more than return 85% of the energy we put in to create it. We believe its properties enhance the slow burning gasoline, speeding up the rate of combustion, causing much more of the total combustion process to be translated into mechanical energy rather than being lost as waste heat out the tail pipe, raising the efficiency of the total system. Returning to the simple math...

Let's say we're able to translate just 10% more of the total system energy to mechanical energy. Seems like a reasonable goal. We have still not violated conservation of energy, only raised the total system efficiency from 18% to 28%. But that's an increase of 55%!!! Now deduct the energy loss of 15% to create the HHO that made this possible and you still end up with a total net gain of 40%!

This is not rocket science. It's simple math. I intend to validate the hypothesis and help others with their own experiments by releasing my designs into the public domain and selling accessories such as the PWM for those who do not possess the technical skills to build them.

    About Contact Legal        
Site design by Zero Mark of Zero logo Trademark 2008 ZeroFossilFuel. All rights reserved.