Google
 

Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2018 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

More power!

2 August 2018

I'd already the story which prompted today's column when a reader dropped me an email with a link to it.

Originally I'd thought "so what", this isn't really new but, on reflection (thanks Perry), I realised that this really is the sort of thing that every "bloke" can relate to.

Here is the story and I expect a great many Aardvark regulars will have already read it but it does bring a smile to my face and remind me of the type of project we should all be showing an interest in.

I bought one of the first F&P direct-drive washing machines -- albeit not the very first "Gentle Annie" version (which had its problems).

To be honest, I wasn't totally impressed with the reliability of our machine. In the few short years we owned it from new it needed a couple of logic board replacements, a new switch for detecting when the load was unbalanced and a new pressure switch for measuring the water level.

I was not that happy with the mounting repair bills, especially when I compared this machine to the uber-reliable F&P 400 we'd owned for more than a decade previously and which had never caused any problems at all... except that sometimes when performing the spin-cycle, it would wander across the laundry floor and wedge itself against the door, such that I had to pull out the louver windows clamber through a small hole in the wall to gain access to that room.

When the direct-drive machine was finally put out of its misery (apparently the bearings on the tub had failed after only a few short years), I did strip it down and take a look inside.

The logic board was a whole lot of nothing (and I'd already seen those twice before) but the tub and motor assembly was something far more fascinating.

The very first thing I thought on seeing that neatly wound rotor and all those rare-earth magnets was "wow, this would make a great generator".

Obviously, I was not the only one who thought this and since then there have been countless DIY generators built around these things.

The repair-man who read the last-rites for my own machine told me "you're lucky, they're using much weaker magnets now in the newer versions so they're not as good for turning into generators". Sad news indeed!

However, even the newer machines are still quite viable as a low-cost way to generate electricity and I have to wonder how long it will be (if it hasn't already been done) before some bright-spark (no pun intended) repurposes them into direct drive motors for a home-built EV.

I seem to recall that there are now quite a few instructional guides online to help with the task of turning your old direct-drive washing machine into a generator and indeed, I had planned to use one of these as the generation element for my low-profile, low noise roofline generation project -- which I may revive in the near future.

The only gremlin with the project described in the Stuff story is (as you'll see in the comments) the spectre of "government intervention" and New Zealand's penchant for over-regulation. There are fears expressed that now it's become very public, someone with a clip-board will arrive and demand all sorts of red-tape be complied with in order to meet the demands of council or some government environmental group.

There are at least two Aardvark readers who are "off grid" so I wonder if anyone has their own stories of DIY generation to share in the forums?

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.

PERMALINK to this column


Rank This Aardvark Page

 

Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines

 


Features:

Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam

 

Recent Columns

Sony's blockchain DRM?
We all know how the music and movie industries have been moaning that nasty customers keep copying their products without permission...

So much money wasted to ignorance
I have been keeping an eye on a number of different technologies around the world of the past decade or so and it makes my eyes water...

Entertainment, the future of mankind
Many years ago, humans lived a subsistence life...

Iceberg? What iceberg?
New Zealand has a relatively healthy, robust economy...

Jesus wept, Google again!
What, this is the third column in a row I'm writing about Google and (yet again), it's not good news...

Get out of the way Chrome!
I am a big boy now...

Google+ headed for the knackers yard
One of the worst things ever forced upon Internet users... that's how *I* would describe Google+...

A worrying trend
Hands up everyone who remembers HAM radio?...

Bloomberg goes all "fake news"?
There was a time, back in the 1990s, when Bloomberg was a respected and trusted source of news -- especially financial news...

The tech equivalent of clean needles?
Drug abuse is a big problem around the world. So big in fact, that the USA declared a war against drugs several decades ago...

Nothing to charge
Apparently we're headed for a battery shortage...