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Home Up Contents Information Archive A Basic Cell

September 2009

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2 September 2009                                                                                                                             

I have not stripped the cell yet but today I decided to check it to see how it was operating. I had just returned from a visit from town where I had been driving stop-start for about 10kms. I diverted the gas line to my 20 liter bucket and there was no gas. I checked the circuit breaker and found that it had tripped. I reset it and checked the system out: Gas production was 1,1 liter per minute, amp draw - my multi meter would briefly indicate 19, something amps before tripping out to zero. This means that the amperage was in the region of 20 + amps. The cell terminals were also very hot.

I had last set the electrolyte concentration so that the amp draw was 16,5A with gas at just under 700ml per minute. Obviously as the cell has run it has become more "run in" and therefore more efficient, hence the higher amp draw and greater gas production that I found today. I diluted the electrolyte concentration so that the amp draw is now 19,2A and the gas production at 750ml per minute. I will run it again tomorrow (I have more stop-start visits to make in town) and see how it responds.

8 September 2009                                                                                                

We went to Toti for the weekend for my twin brother's engagement. The slow movement of the fuel gauge needle boded well for improved consumption during the hour long trip. Late on Sunday morning the children asked me to take them to Durban (a round trip of about 40 minutes. It was a reasonably warm day (28c) and on returning to Toti I felt the positive and negative terminals with my hand: the positive in particular was cooking! When I tried to turn the wing nut holding the positive cable, to see if it was still tight, the whole assembly turned and a gap appeared where the bolt went through the side of the container! So without the cell running the ride home later that day was far more expensive on petrol - the fuel gauge needle traveled twice as far as it had done on the corresponding trip going there.

Nou ja...

Back to the drawing board! 

This now forced me to strip the cell as I had previously mentioned. I recently purchased a fibreglass electrical box, the type that houses electronic or electrical components. I bought the cheapest one available that looked like it could hold about 2,5 liters as far as capacity is concerned. It had a flimsy black foam rubber seal between the body and the lid, which I removed. The lid closes with the box with 4 screws, one in each corner. With a line of silicon where the flat surfaces meet results in a very good seal.

I cleaned the 9 plate cell and mounted it in the new housing.

The positive and negative terminals.

The gas-out fitting on the top corner.

The gas-out fitting viewed from the inside.

Making the anti-splash guard from a pill container.

The anti-splash guard in place over the gas-out fitting. The only hole for the gas to vent out is located on the underside so that if any electrolyte splashes up into this guard then it will easily drain out while still letting the gas out.

   Another view.

The brass fitting at the top of the photo is the return line for the electrolyte, the fitting top-right is the out-line for the electrolyte.

The completed cell. On the left is the water bottle that I previously tried using as a reservoir (unsuccessfully) which I will now use as a scrubber. I was never very happy with the previous scrubber as it could only effectively hold 350ml of water.

I fill the water bottle with 1,350 liters of water. The incoming fitting has a length of tubing on the inside which reaches to the bottom of the bottle. At first I thought I'd keep the electrolyte at the 2,2 liter level in the cell. But later I changed this to 2 liters so as to give more clearance between the level of the electrolyte, the connecting bolts at the top of the cell and also the gas outlet.

The cell in place under the bonnet. I could get it into the space where I previously had the reservoir. The cooling fin on the positive terminal is probably unnecessary but I thought I'd maar put it there for die wis en die onwis.

Another perspective. I decided to use the radiator with the cooling fan again to keep the electrolyte temperature under control, so as a result I had to revert back to bicarb. I am first mixing the bicarb in hot water which hopefully gets rid of the carbon component so that it generates more oxygen from the outset. Perhaps there is a fundi out there who can tell me if this is so? The fan is mounted behind and under the headlamp here.

I mounted the scrubber on the same wooden bracket where I previously had the old cell. The Gas tube runs from the cell, on the left/front of the engine bay, along the front just above the radiators, to the scrubber which is on the right/front. I have kept the stainless steel heat shield in place to protect the scrubber from the heat from the engine and exhaust manifold.

I made a round trip today of 30kms, mostly 80km stretches and some in-town driving (60km, start-stop).

Afterwards I checked it all out: cell temperature warm (35 - 40c), gas output 650ml per minute @ 19A. I upped the electrolyte concentration and increased the amp draw to 19,3A and the gas output to 780ml per minute.  I will run it like this and see if the circuit breaker will handle it. I know that the cell's housing will now withstand any heat that may be generated but I still need to control the temperature of the whole system for the sake of the wiring and the circuit breaker.

This is the most confident that I have ever felt with any of the systems that I have ever installed in my car. The cell housing and the size of the scrubber have gone a long way to resolve and address certain issues that I previously was unhappy with.

9 September 2009                                                                                                

I did a short town trip about 7kms. Both terminals were barely warm, and so also the circuit breaker. I checked the system and gas output was 550ml per minute at 18,1A. I presume that I never gave the system enough time to circulate the electrolyte yesterday so perhaps that's why today's reading is so much lower. I added more electrolyte and upped the amperage to 19,2A and gas output to 770ml per minute.

There were kinks in the incoming electrolyte line and the gas-out line (as you can see in the photos above) so I decided to put barbed elbows on those spots to eliminate this problem. The elbow on the right gets tucked away before I close the bonnet!

10 September 2009                                                                                      

Went for a round-trip of 40km today and at the end I checked the system out:

Temperature: 33c.

Gas output: 550ml per minute.

Amperage: 17,9A.

The terminals and circuit breaker were barely warm.

I can't understand why the amperage and gas output drops each day. Perhaps the plates in the cell are fouling up that quickly? In any event I added more bicarb: amps upped to 19,2A and gas output 850ml per minute.

I made another scrubber which will also hold water. I will use this one in-line after my fridge water-bottle scrubber, and before the small jar with the 2 foam rubber layers. This is just an additional safety precaution to prevent any possible contamination reaching the inlet manifold, and also should there ever be a flash-back then only this scrubber will take the knock.

Silicon on the inside of the lid to ensure an air-tight seal. The rough rim of the lid are the results of my hasty attempts to remove a sharp edge.

This jar holds 350ml, so I'll fill it with 200ml ordinary tap water.

Tomorrow I'll be going on another run and so I'll check the readings again beforehand and then compare it to the results at the end of the trip. If there is a significant drop in amps and gas output as in the last 2 days then I'll strip the cell and see what's going on inside.

My wish is to find a stainless steel radiator so that I can run the system on Potassium Hydroxide (KOH), do these type of radiators exist?

11 September 2009                                                                                 

I did a total of about 65km driving in 60 and 80 km zones today. The last leg was 24km. On my return home I checked the system out:

Temperature: 36c.

Gas output: 450ml per minute.

Amperage: 17,3A.

The terminals and circuit breaker were barely warm.

I can't understand the ongoing drop in amps and output. A thought came to me today that perhaps the new cell housing has something to do with it. I will strip it all down this weekend and have a boogers.

I am very excited! I have conceived a setup where I can run the cell on KOH and at the same time use my aluminium radiator to keep the electrolyte cool - without the danger of the KOH eating away at the radiator! I have purchased the items I need for this and as I put the new system  together I will keep record and post the info.

Definitely something to look forward to!

15 September 2009                                                 

Here is my new "cooler" system for KOH electrolyte. The electrolyte circulates through a coiled tube (about 3,5m long) inside a sealed container. The idea is to circulate water through the container (around the coiled tube) which is then cooled by the radiator. The electrolyte does not come into contact with the water which passes through the radiator.

The tube is fastened with cable ties onto a section of pvc cut out from a pipe.

Another view.

The casing with the fittings.

The plastic fitting couples to the electrolyte tubing, the metal barbed fitting is for the circulation of the water.

Slim n? Ja boet...slim vang sy baas!

I looked, I probed, but try as I might there is just no room under the bonnet for this contraption! Kadonder!

So...I put this idea on hold until I get my next car which will hopefully have the space I require. I am hoping to buy one in the next week or two. I haven't got much to spend so I cannot dictate what type, make or model it will be. However I spoke to my VoB so whatever I get will be blessed.

Good news! I have eventually found a local engineering firm that actually has 316 ss on hand! I asked them to quote me on 10 plates, 90mm x 190mm notched and drilled to my specs. Their quote was the same as one I received some time ago from another engineering shop which only dealt in 304 ss! The 316 ss plates will hopefully be ready by next week. The plates I ordered are similar to the design I have been using until now:

I will not make the mistake that I previously made with the 304ss plates by sanding or "cross-hatching" the 316ss plates. I have found that this does not contribute to more gas being produced and, as Eddie says, why contribute to the wear and tear? I have experienced more corrosion of the plates (which contributes to the production of gunk) which would not have occurred if they had been left smooth.

I will re-iterate the principles that I am trying to follow in order to achieve my aim for increased economy:

By improving the "burn" of the fuel going into the engine so that as much of it as possible is actually used, rather than about two-thirds of it being blown out to the exhaust. Because this is exactly where the greatest savings can be realised and at the same time helping to reduce harmful emissions. This is where the potential of a 200% increase in economy lies - if all this wasted fuel were utilised.

I am attempting to achieve this, not by trying to pump massive amounts of hydrogen into the engine as a supplement to the fuel, but by providing oxygen and hydrogen so that the combustion of the fuel is improved so that there is less wasted fuel blown out to the exhaust.

I am not saying that I cannot attain my target by dumping massive amounts of hydrogen (and oxygen) into the engine, it is just impractical and at this stage too costly for me to follow this route. Also, to find a vehicle where large cells and other paraphernalia can be accommodated under the bonnet are hard to find. As a result I am sticking to small systems which can be accommodated around the engine. I am uncomfortable with mounting these things in the boot and also with running gas lines and positive cables from the back to the front of the car.

In any event, of all the guys on the net who claim to be able to generate tons of gas per minute, I have not seen one posting figures of how this has improved consumption (significantly!) with the diligence that Eddie Batista has. Certainly no one else has claimed increases in fuel economy of in excess of 100% by using a brute force cell, and this without any electronics for amperage control! Go Eddie Go!

My motto? Stick with what works! So... I will stay with Eddie's idea of trying to find the right gas "curve" and by following the HHOO method, and by building a cell loosely based on Bryan's design which has proved to help keep gas production high and temperatures low.

Having said that, I have recently tried another adaptation of Bryan's 9 plate design by incorporating a tenth plate.

This design puts paid to my idea of the HHOO principle. BUT the 4 centre plates also produce gas so it means that irrespective of the ratio of hydrogen to oxygen, there is still more oxygen being produced which contributes to the improved burn of the petrol. However, the proof is in the pudding...

I found a hardware store who has nylon washers, nuts and bolts which are better than the plastic nuts and bolts used for fastening on number plates. The bolts are 6mm in diameter and 25mm long (threaded portion). These are long enough to hold 4 plates together. The washers are 1,5mm thick so at last I can now try to copy the exact spacing that Bryan uses in his 9 plate design. With this I can go back to Bryan's 9 plate configuration and Eddie's HHOO principle.

My philosophy is to find a system that works for me, that I am comfortable with and which I can work on improving to give me the best gains possible.

23 September 2009

I have received the 316 ss plates that I ordered. I am not very impressed with the engineering firm (in Durban I think) that the local merchant got them from. First of all they are not flat - most of them have a slight warp. Also, the 8mm holes are almost triangular - I suspect that they used a very poor quality bit for drilling. I had to hone these holes out with a rat-tailed file in order for a 8mm bolt to fit. The 6mm holes down the centre of the plates were okay. Thirdly, the notches (which look like they were cut with a blow torch) are untidy. But I am still happy at eventually having this grade of ss to work with! The plates were very grubby with grease, permanent marker notes and hand prints, which I had to clean with my trusty pine gel.

Here are various shots of my newly assembled cell, ready for mounting in a new container. 9 plates in a HHOO configuration. I straightened the warped plates as best as I could with my hands. Where the spacings deviated too much I used cold room insulation (those plastic strips that hang in front of cold room entrances) material as spacers.

I had to grind the heads of the 2 bolts down, those that joined the outer set of 3 plates to the inner set of 3, so that there would be a sufficient gap between it and the nut from the next set of plates.

I still cannot space the plates exactly as Bryan does as I need to have nylon threaded rod long enough to be able to join all nine plates together. Then I can space the distance between the sets of plates with the correct number of washers as per Bryan. As it is I have already filed the nylon nuts down so that they have a lower profile to fit in with the spacing of the bolts and nuts which connect the plates. Each nut is the equivalent of 4 of the plastic/nylon washers. These spacings are the closest that I can get for now, but in previous bench trials I have found that it still works very well.

Here is the new housing for the cell, waiting to be drilled to for the gas and electrolyte fittings and also the terminals. I cannot do this until I have first seen exactly where everything will fit.

The lid as well as the box had a raised rim which I ground down, so that when they are fitted together with silicone in between there will be a better seal. The lid originally had a pathetic "weather proof" rubber strip around the rim which I first removed.

Road trip!

My new (secondhand) car will be ready tomorrow and we will be leaving soon for Joburg to visit family and friends for about 2 weeks. I won't have time to fit this cell before we go, but it at least gives me the opportunity to benchmark the car's consumption on the up-journey. Once we are in Jozi then I will fit the cell and our time there should be enough to settle the system in for the return trip. I will be recording the installation as well as the consumption and I'll post this information when we get back.

I am looking forward to the next updates!

25 September 2009

Well, we decided not to take the particular vehicle offered to us as there were just too many problems with it. So I hastily refitted the Audi with the electrolyser and off we went. I had no time to see if it was running properly - in fact the relay went faulty and even after delaying our departure further to buy and fit a new one - this one also never worked!. I eventually bypassed the relay and manually connected the electrolyser directly to the battery (but still with the trip switch in between the two). At every stop I had to manually disconnect the electrolyser so that it would not continue to run and drain the battery.

The (economy) results of the trip up are as follows:

1st leg:    180kms    9,67km/l

2nd leg:    254kms    14,8km/l

3rd leg:    346kms    11,4km/l

At our destination (Roodepoort) I found that the trip switch had tripped out, which would explain the poor economy on the last leg. As to the poor economy on the first leg - anghasi!

To cut a long story short, soon after our arrival we traded the Audi in for a 16i VW Polo with no frills except for an aircon and power steering.

I decided to finish our holiday and return home before fitting an electrolyser, so that I could benchmark the economy (km per liters).

At first I was only getting 7,88km/l (after 177,3km) and mostly on the open road. I was now worried until my brother on the Westrand told me that there were many mechanics who would charge for a major service (as my new car had received just before I took delivery) and yet they would leave the old oil and air filter as well as the old engine oil! He said that often they found that this was the cause for their cars riding the same or worse after the service.

I immediately checked the air filter and oil: the air filter was new as was the oil - except that there was probably a liter too much oil in the sump! This explained the poor consumption. I did not have suitable facilities to drain the oil so I decided to ride it out.

For the rest of our holiday I got 12,747km/l (518km traveled mostly on the open road).

The (economy) results of the trip home are as follows (no electrolyser):

1st leg:    308kms    14,399km/l

2nd leg:    464kms    16,099km/l

Needless to say this made me very happy. Imagine what improvement an electrolyser would make!

The consumption back home (all town driving) gives 11,16km/l.

Then I got busy with my new set-up. See the October 2009 page for these details!


Home Up October 2009


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