Magnetofunky - Transcripts

Episode Transcript. Length - 43:05

Image: The 100W Benitez-8 Self-Charging Power Plant is 5-by-5, here running the 90W laptop on the crackerbox 150W inverter...

Magnetofunky No. 151. It's Friday, December 20th, 2019.

[intro theme]

Hey. Larry here. Merry Impeachmas! Anyway, last week and this week my demo power plant went through much evolving and debugging, but now my device is running 5 by 5 in both battery charging directions, and I finally had a good place to stop and do the show. The music is what came in last week and this week, an interesting mix, starting with another seasonal treat from Sue Hutton and Athan Maroulis.

[song] - 01:01

Ok, that was Carol of the Drum - Sue Hutton and Athan Maroulis, from the new Projekt Records release, Christmas Nocturne. Nice...

This is a laid back (and often explicit - you bet your ass) weekly international podzine of extremely eclectic music and progressive politics, with a focus on energy independence for the 99%. My podpage is The Twitter is @Magnetofunky.

[Grid Theory] - 05:33

Shakedown Redux

In Grid Theory,

Well, it was a healthy mix of both theory and practice last week and this week as the coefficient testing turned into another shakedown and debugging adventure. Anyway -

I'll go over the particulars of the different time test stages, but incidental to that I discovered that you can't get a current reading off the line from the charge controller to the common ground, or from the controller to the 'B' side switch, only off the line from the 'A' side negative to the 'A' battery.

Anyway, the first test (without inverter) delivered a 0.8443 C of P = 84%. My immediate thought was the system itself is off, and in checking the parts I discovered that the boost converter was fried - it was only outputting the battery's 12V and change, not the 16V I set, so after swapping out the spare and recalibrating it, I repeated the test, now seeing 14mA like before instead of 7-8mA. I ran the numbers of the first test with the 14mA current and on paper I got a final C of P of 1.005, or exactly 1.

A third baseline test at 14mA gave me a C of P of 0.9992, and after another hour or so to rest the batteries, I did the inverter idling stage and got 350-360mA during the charge/discharge phases, and a CoP of 1.03, suggesting that the open circuit load taps need to be engaged to make the system more efficient.

Anyway, as a safety measure to protect my boost converter (I thought), I installed a big 6 Ohm 50W current limiting resistor to make sure the current never goes above 2A. Then I found a free energy forum where some guy a couple years ago suggested the same thing and a spotter reminded him that 'you can't use a current limiting resistor on a variable load, like a boost converter. Just use a fuse.' Feeling stupid, I took the resistor out and put the 3A fuse in front of the booster.

Anyway, next I set up the system for the moderate inverter load. I decided to skip the nitelight stage because it's pretty much a repeat of the idling inverter. With the system up I plugged the boombox in and forgot that even this thing causes a surge and knocks the ammeter silly, so I had to turn it all off and back on with the boombox plugged in, then it read a steady and very slightly pulsing 750mA, and a C of P of 0.9976. After a couple hours I ran the boombox test again and this time got a C of P of 1.0545.

So, the immediate takeaway is that the system with just the 12V outlet idling is the least effective, while the system is nominal with the inverter, whether a small or moderate load is plugged in - you gotta have some wattage pumping through the load taps to get a C of P right around 1----[bell]

Anyway, I next went on and tried the laptop. Those results in a bit...

[Back To The Stage] - 09:45

Ok, Back to The Stage, continuing with a pair of tunes separately similar, two atmospheric pieces and two hip hop numbers. First, The Celestial Diver (the no. III. Traceries version) by veteran Bay Area electronic musician and multi-instrumentalist Forrest Fang, followed by Best Life - Boski, who I'm guessing is with the crew (Boco from LA), the first of two LA artists who only sent me their work and a e-mail address. Anyway, the piece is gloriously not work safe, which means you can crank it during the office Xmas party...

[songs] - 10:34; 16:15 [Second set]

[songs] - 20:23; 23:21

["Geeknotes"] - 27:15

Geeknotes: [No dates this week, only a short rant...]

Hey, Geeknotes!

Ok, I'm gonna keep it short but - yeah, P-Grabby's name is now 'P-Grabbed' and yeah we all know Moscow Mitch McConnel is gonna give asshole the same kinda trial the klansmen who murdered Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman got the first time around (woo, the good 'ol boys had fun that day in court), or, the standard trial a cop who murders an unarmed kid gets. I'm still pissed that the corporate Dems didn't go after more Articles of Impeachment; makes me suspect you didn't target the stuff you'd like your Pres. to get away with. We'll see how Speaker Pelosi continues playing the long game.

Anyway, I'm cutting out the calendar holidays starting this week, but I'll still plug cultural/political events of interest, and any I don't do on the show will get posted on the Twitter, so...

If you have promos, pluggers, gig info, an art opening, etc, send me an email. The address is And bands, artists and poets - download links, no attachments, please, and no promises...

[Grid Practice] - 29:38

Slight Hitch

Ok, In Grid Practice,

Before we continue, the tests had the 'B' side battery bank being measured during the input and output phases (either 1 or 2 hours each) with an hour pause after each phase before reading the voltage.

Ok, seeing the system operate within reasonable expectation, I went on and tried the laptop. I plugged the 90W device in and got a clicking laptop power brick and current surging from 0 up to 4A as the inverter blinked red. I tried my 160W inverter that the laptop does work with and got the same result. This is what sometimes happens with an appliance that can't take a modified sine wave. I then tried to plug in my 7 year old laptop with the dead battery (it's only 65W), got the same no-go.

To doublecheck, I ran the 'B' battery bank directly to the 12V outlet and the crackerbox 150W inverter, plugged the laptop in, and it worked fine, no clicking or surges, strongly suggesting that the charge controller and the laptop's power brick don't mix, maybe only a PSW inverter will do, but after a day debating whether to break my Walmart boycott and spend $60 on a 300W dingus I don't want, screw that. If I was in a campervan, I'd just run the inverter off the car's 12V outlet. This so far is the only hitch in the system, so back to filtering out the PWM's on the load tap side of the split positive using a Bridge Rectifier and RC Low Pass Filter. I spent Mon. morning using a Filter Design Tool from Okawa Electric Design for the two parts - 500 Ohm R, 10uF C, and pulling that baby breadboard off the old prototype board.

Tue. morning I wired the filter in, set up the system, plugged in the inverter and checked it with the nitelight, an AC fan motor I salvaged, then tried the laptop, but the juice is still too dirty. I tried the bridge rectifier and the filter separately, still no-go, but now the nitelight was no-go. I took out the filter, wired the load taps back to the boost buck converter, but the charge controller now won't blink with the inverter plugged in. Then I flipped the battery switches down to B-to-A side mode, and the inverter went back to green, it ran the nitelight, ran the fan motor again, then I plugged the laptop in. The brick clicked exactly one time, the inverter went from red to green, and the controller's blinking like normal. No rectifier, no filter, no PSW needed - the damn thing is doing everything I want, just in one direction.

There was either a short or a break on the A-to-B side that's not on the B-to-A side, so I went over all the connections to and from the battery switches, nothing on the negative switch, but, staring me in the face was the positive wire going from the charge controller battery terminal to the 'B' side on the positive switch. When the switch is up, that wire goes to the 'B' battery in charge mode, but with the switch down, that output still goes to 'B,' now in run mode. Finally the light bulb went on! I moved the output wire to the 'A' side and switch up, it ran the laptop. Ok, the circuit didn't blow up, but no charge to the charge battery.

So, I wasted a little time evolving the solution, from a split output to both sides using 2 diodes wired back to back, but when I tried it on the java circuit simulator, it wouldn't work till I remembered to put a resistor on it. I played around with it and settled on 15 Ohm 25W cause it limited the max current to just under 800mA. And that's my brick resistor from the old protoboard. I didn't like the idea of splitting the current and wasting half, so Thur. morning I turned the Y-connection into a switch with my SPDT knife switch.

I hooked everything up and did a run test with the fan motor, still got intermittent play, then I disconnected the ammeter, fired it back up, and this time the fan motor workedfine. I got the laptop powercord and plugged it in, the inverter balked for a second till I played with the plug, the power brick clicked once, inverter light went green. The ammeter? Anyway, I cut the power, flipped the switches, and the inverter went to green, the laptop brick clicked once, no muss no fuss.

Ok, finally the 100W version is solid, running 5 by 5, but I still need to read the volts and amps, and is that external current limiter screwing with the charge controller, and I think the test results were probably stepped on by the output wiring fault, but for now it's completely passed the run test, and now the lab notes are all caught up...

[One More Tune] - 36:40

Ok, for this week's One More Tune, we close out with the other piece from LA with just an e-mail address - Set 'em Rollin' - Minton Reed. This piece is kinda hard but so what? I dedicate it to, not the #IMPOTUS who just got P-Grabbed, or the despicable motherfuckers who've turned a political party into a terrorist org., but to the super-rich assholes who pull both parties' strings and think they have enough money to bribe both the Devil and St. Peter at the Pearly Gates...

[song] - 37:23

Well, OK.

[Closing] - 40:40

Hey, this show is a 1223studios joint.

I'm on Internet Archive, Spotify, Tunein, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, PlayerFM, Listen Notes, Podknife and Mixcloud. Show notes are on the podpage. Send email to

If you like the show, tell your friends, and, you know, the sainted - and slave-owning - founding fathers formed the government into 3 co-equal branches, but they never intended for factions or parties, to form, otherwise, they'd have done that, and it wouldn't have been a two-party, rather a three-party system, so the parties would be a co-equal check on each others' BS. That's why both of our corporate instruments of imperial power will never allow an independent legitimate national third party - it's got nothing to do with fringe-issue puppet parties, either. Maybe the only option is to take the non-corporate progressive and liberal majority of the Democratic Party and break off and form a third party - but only once the current GOP gets the enema it needs before the rot from within kills this country and turns it into a very short-lived global empire. Unless you assholes actually do have a 'Planet B' with a couple active plantations on it...

Show themes "Rocket Power" & "Spy Glass" by NY musician and composer Kevin MacLeod. Some additional audio from

Next episode is set for Friday, Dec. 27th.

I'm Larry, trying hard to stay chill at my garrett in the Mission, and this is Magnetofunky, from San Francisco, where we go through, not into, the darkness.

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