There is nothing magic about free-energy and by “free-energy” I mean something which produces output energy without the need for using a fuel which you have to buy.
There are many different successful designs which extract power from permanent magnets, including the magnet motor/generators of Wang, Shenhe which produce kilowatts of electrical power. Here, we will look at just one example:
Charles “Joe” Flynn’s Permanent Magnet Motor.
While we are aware of buoyancy being used to convert wave power into electricity, we seem to neglect the idea of using the very powerful buoyancy forces as a direct tool at locations away from the sea. This is definitely a mistake because serious levels of power can be generated from such a system. One such system is:
An exploded view, shows the different parts clearly:
This construction is relatively simple and yet the operation is powerful. The power is provided by three magnets, shown shaded in blue and yellow. The lower magnet is in the form of a disc with the poles arranged on the large, circular, flat faces. This is the stator magnet which does not move. Positioned above it is a disc made of non-magnetic material (shaded in grey) and which has two magnets embedded in it. This disc is the rotor and is attached to the central vertical shaft.
Normally, the rotor would not rotate, but between the two discs there is a ring of seven coils which are used to modify the magnetic fields and produce powerful rotation. The powering up of these coils is very simple and it is arranged by shining a beam of Ultra Violet light from one of the Light-Emitting Diodes through a slot in an optical-timing disc attached to the rotating shaft. The LEDs and the photo-transistors are aligned with the centres of the seven coils. The position and width of the slot controls which photo-transistor gets switched on and for how long it remains powered up. This is a very neat and compact arrangement. The really interesting part of the design is how the coils modify the magnetic fields to produce the output power of the device. The orientation of the magnet poles can be swapped over, provided that this is done for all three magnets.
Shown here is the situation when one of the rotor magnets has rotated to where it is above one of the coils which is not yet powered up. The South pole of the rotor magnet is attracted to the North pole which is the entire upper face of the stator magnet as shown by the three arrows. If a voltage is applied to the coil, then this magnetic coupling is disrupted and altered. If any torque is developed as a result of the coil being powered up, then it will be developed to either side of the energised coil. If the coil is not powered up, then there will be full attraction between the magnets and no rotational force will be produced. You will notice that there are two rotating magnets (an even number) and seven coils (an odd number) so when one of the rotor magnets is above a coil, then the other isn’t. This staggering of the two positions is essential for generating smooth, continuous rotational torque and self-starting without any need to rotate the shaft manually.
The diagram above shows a piece from both sides of the rotor disc, to explain the operation of the coils. On the left, magnet 56 overlaps coil 32 and coil 34. Coil 32 is powered up and this breaks the magnetic link on the left hand side of magnet 56. But, coil 34 is not powered up, so the attraction between magnet 56 and the disc magnet under the coils remains. Even though this attraction is at a downward angle, it creates a push on the rotor, driving it towards the right as shown by the red arrow.
While this is happening, the situation around the other side of the rotor disc, is shown on the right. Here, magnet 54 is above coil 36 and that coil is not powered up, so there is no resulting drive in either direction - just a downward pull on the rotor magnet, towards the stator magnet below it. The adjacent coil 38 is also not powered up and so has no effect on the rotation. This method of operation is very close to that of the motor design of Robert Adams described in the next chapter. It is important to understand that this method of operation is nothing like that of the John Bedini pulsers where the rotation of a disc is caused by the electrical pulse applied to a coil creating a repulsion thrust to a rotor magnet. Instead, here, the coil acts as a magnetic shield, being provided with the minimum possible power to do its job. The coil is, in effect, a shield which has no moving parts, and so is a very clever mechanism for overcoming the tendency for the rotor magnets to lock on to the stator magnets and preventing rotation.
At any moment, six of the seven coils in this design are inactive, so in effect, just one coil is powered. This is not a major current drain. It is important to understand that the power of this motor is provided by the permanent magnets pulling towards each other. Each of the two magnets applies a horizontal pull on the rotor every seventh of a turn, that is, every 51.1 degrees in the rotation. As the coils are an uneven number, the rotor gets a magnetic pull every 25.5 degrees in the rotation, first from one rotor magnet and then from the other rotor magnet.
It follows then, that the power of the motor can be increased by adding more magnets. The first step in this search for additional power is to add a second disc magnet and coils on the other side of the rotor, so that there is a second pull on the magnet. This has the added advantage that it balances the downwards pull of the first disc magnet with an upward pull, giving an enhanced and balanced horizontal thrust as shown here:
The coil switching with the additional layer of coils is shown here:
This produces a larger horizontal thrust. While this design goes for optimum performance, I suggest that a much more simple form of construction with a ring of standard circular neodymium magnets could be used instead of one large disc magnet, and ordinary circular coils placed on top of the circular magnets, and this allows large diameter rotors to be constructed, the larger diameter giving greater output shaft power:
To increase the power of the output shaft further again, additional sets of magnets and coils can be added as shown here:
It should be remembered that the timing section shown above could be replaced by a NE555 timer circuit which generates a steady stream of On / Off pulses. When those pulses are fed to the coils, the motor rotates, slaving itself to the pulse rate. This gives an immediate speed control for the motor as well as avoiding the need for the precise positioning of the slotted disc which allows the LEDs to shine directly on to the phototransistors at the appropriate instant. If that approach is taken, then the timing section shown above would be omitted.
The circuitry that Charles specifies for powering the coils to block the magnetic fields of the permanent magnets uses N-channel MOSFETs and is very simple. Here is his circuit for driving one of the coils:
Just five components are used. The current through the coil is controlled by a transistor. In this case it is a Field-Effect Transistor usually called a "FET". The most common type of FET is used, namely an "N-channel" FET which is the rough equivalent to an NPN transistor as described in Chapter 12. A FET of this type is switched off when the voltage on it's "gate" (marked "g" in the diagram) is 2.5 volts or lower. It is switched on when the voltage on it's gate is 4.5 volts or more.
In this circuit we want the FET to switch on when the motor's timing disc is in the right position and be off at all other times. This is arranged by shining the light from a Light-Emitting Diode or "LED" through a hole in the timing disc which rotates with the shaft of the motor. When the hole is opposite the LED for the coil which is to be powered up, light shines through the hole and on to a light-sensitive device, Charles has opted to use a Light-Sensitive transistor, but a light-dependent resistor such as an ORP12 could be used instead. When the light shines on the "Opto1" device in the circuit diagram, it's resistance falls dramatically, raising the voltage on the gate of the FET and switching it on. When the timing disc hole moves past the LED, the light is cut off and the FET gate voltage drops down, switching the FET off. This arrangement causes the coil of the motor to be switched on and off at just the right time to give a powerful rotation of the motor shaft. In the circuit, the resistor "R1" is there to make sure that the current flowing through the LED is not excessive. The resistor "R2" has a low value compared to the resistance of "Opto1" when no light falls on it, and this holds the gate voltage of the FET down to a low value, making sure that the FET is completely off.
As you can see, this is basically a very simple circuit. However, as one of these circuits is used for each coil (or each pair of coils if there is an even number of coils in this slice of the motor), the circuit in the patent looks quite complicated. It is actually very simple. The resistor "R1" is used to limit the current flow through all of the LEDs used and not just one LED. You could, of course, use one resistor for each LED if you wanted to. The circuit for powering two coils (and not showing the timing disc) looks like this:
The section inside the green dashed line being the identical circuit for the second coil. This addition to the circuit is made for each coil, at which point, the motor is ready to run. If, as would be normal, several layers of magnets are being used, then the coils positioned above each other can be connected in a chain like this:
Connecting several coils "in series" (in a chain) like this, reduces the number of electronic components needed and it makes sure that the pulses to each of these coils is at exactly the same instant. Alternatively, it is possible to wire these coils across each other "in parallel", the choice is generally dictated by the resistance of the coils. The patent drawing shown above seems to indicate that there is a big gap between the LEDs and the optical devices. This is probably not the case as most people would choose to keep the gap between the LED and the light-dependent device as small as possible, mounting them so that they are just clear of the timing disc on each side of it.
In this patent, Charles Flynn remarks that this magnet motor can be used for almost any purpose where a motor or engine drive is required and where the amount of energy available or required to produce the driving force may vary little to nil. Charles has produced motors of this type which are capable of rotating at very high speed - 20,000 rpm and with substantial torque. Lesser speeds can also be produced, and the motor can be made to be self-starting. Because of the low power required to operate the device, Charles has been able to operate the motor using just a nine volt dry battery.
One application which sees most appropriate for this motor design is the Frenette heater shown in Chapter 14. Using this motor to drive the discs inside the heater drum would produce a heater which appears to be driven by just a nine-volt battery. However, while that is the appearance, the reality is that the power of this motor comes from the permanent magnets and not from the battery. The battery current is only used to prevent the backward pull of the magnets and it is not used to drive the motor.