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Technical Editor John Clarl e, B. ACN No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Printing: Hannanprint, Noble Park, Victoria. Distribution: Network Distribution Company. For overseas rates, see the subscription page in this issue.
Phone 02 Fax 02 E-mail: silicon siliconchip. Publishers Letter Electrolysis of water in cars is a fuel economy mirage Two month's ago, in the September issue, I answered a question from a reader concerning the supposed manufacture of Browns Gas. This is the mixture of hydrogen and oxygen evolved from the electrolysis of water. It is called Browns Gas in some sort of canonisation of the ratbag engineer Yull Brown who promoted the process in Australia some 30 years ago.
This Browns gas is injected into the en- gine's inlet manifold to be burnt in the cylinders. Depending on the site where you find this topic, this is claimed to give large gains in fuel economy. Confronted with this nonsense, I gave a fairly detailed answer on the ques- tion in the hope that it might kill off the whole silly idea. But guess what? Since then we seem to have had a rash of questions on the topic.
Mostly these questions are related to pulse width modulation circuits which could be used to drive the electrolysis process and also control the current drawn, as it tends to "run away". None of the people who contact us on the topic have any idea that it is just a silly idea.
This is another consequence of a population who have very little knowledge of science and technology. Obviously my attempt to discredit the whole concept has so far been a com- plete failure.
There seems to be an increasing interest in the process, possibly driven by the production of hydrogen-powered prototype cars in the USA. It should be obvious that this is a technological dead-end, but that is another story, associated with the attempt to kill off the electric car in the USA some years ago. So without repeating all of what I wrote in the September issue pages , let's attempt to dispassionately review the topic of producing hydrogen in a car so that it can be burnt in the engine.
First of all, the electrolysis of water into hydrogen and oxygen is a simple but energy intensive process, even when platinum electrodes are used as a catalyst.
The popular internet process using stainless steel electrodes is much less inefficient.
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To generate any significant amount of hydrogen, you need large amounts of energy. That energy has to come from the car's electrical system ie, battery and alternator driven by the engine and fed from the petrol tank.
It should also be obvious that you also need to carry substantial quantities of water - which is even heavier than petrol or diesel.
So we attempt to run a very inefficient chemical process in order to get some hydrogen and oxygen to be used in the car's engine. To me, this just beggars belief.
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If it was that easy to get such a major increase in fiiel economy, why hasn't a single car manufacturer ever done it? Why have the car manufactures resorted to ever increasing complexity in their engines to eke out fuel economy improvements over the decades? Why have Toyota and Honda developed even more complex hybrid cars such as the Prius, Insight, Civic and others, to get better fuel economy?
Confronted with these questions, some people start to mutter about oil company conspiracies. Just in case, people don't get the message, this process does not improve overall fuel economy in the slightest - it can only lead to a decrease.
On the positive side, I suppose it is good that so many people are thinking about ways of improving fuel economy in cars.
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It is just a great pity that more people cannot see the blindingly obvious approaches to saving fuel: 1 Drive a light car with a small engine and 2 drive less. Leo Simpson 2 Silicon Chip siliconchip. Tribotix are now developing our own robots and associated processing systems.
Hyint is the powerful processing system used within HyKim. This allows Hyint to be used as the main processing system in any Dynamixel based robot. Robotis Cycloidll with Hyint fitted. The wCK modules can also be programmed to perform simple sequences, without the need for a host mcu. The wCK modules are well worth considering for your next project. Other products we supply Letters to the Editor are submitted on the condition that Silicon Chip Publications Pty Ltd may edit and has the right to reproduce in electronic form and communicate these letters.
A balun IS a transformer Thank you for including my recent letter in the October edition of Silicon Chip magazine. However, the more I think about it, the more Tm sure that your definition of a balun is technically incorrect.
As Silicon Chip shows the diagram of a balun page 40, August , it clearly represents a simple coupling transformer with a primary and a secondary, as per con- ventional transformer definitions, with the core used for coupling energy. In the "choke" balun, as used in typical RF antenna applications, the choke balun windings are closely coupled as a tight bifilar winding and the RF energy is transferred es- sentially in "transmission line mode" between the windings and not as in a conventional transformer through fiux linkages.
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The core plays a significant role but not the critical one. It serves mainly to improve the low-frequency TV could be used for education The editorial in the September issue touched a nerve, at least as far as I am concerned. It echoed thoughts that I have had for at least 30 years. Probably no other medium reaches such a high percentage of the population. I know that it means different things to different people but there are many programs watched sim- ply because the watcher considers there is really nothing else to do.
It is also often used as a babysitter for the young.
How many young, fertile minds have lacked development due to endless hours of so-called entertainment? Sometime during the s I re- call a computer education program response of the balun. Comment: by definition a "balun " is a "balanced to unbalanced" transform- er. It serves to couple signals from a balanced circuit egj a dipole antenna to an unbalanced circuit [eg, a receiver input stage with one side referenced to earth.
You refer to "windings that are closely coupled". That describes a transformer.
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A transformer does not need a core to be a transformer. Air-cored trans- formers are common in RF applica- tions, apart from those referred to as baluns. None of the material you quote from the textbook "Transmission Line Transformers" contradicts this. Argu- on the ABC but there has been pre- cious little else. Sure, there are very informative documentaries but these are of a general nature.
Who said that TV has to be restricted to entertain- ment anyway? Education via TV could help to reverse the current skills shortage without clogging up over-crowded teaching institutions and occupying teachers who are over-stretched any- way.
How many electronics-related suppliers currently advertise on TV? Electron- ics-related training programs would surely bring a few of them out. Kevin Crockett, Axedale, Vic. Any basic transformer consists of two or more windings coupled together. Flux is created by the primary winding and is coupled to the secondary, whether there is a core or not. Furthermore, even where a balun is made from lengths of coax cable transmission lines and has no obvi- ous windings, it can still be shown to be a transformer, with flux being coupled from one circuit to another.
Do not wrire to the Active pin I agree that it's a very bad idea for D. Gordon Drennan, Burton, SA. Comment: ostensibly that is a safer ap- proach but if a plug wired in this way is connected to a power point which has Active Neutral transposed not an uncommon situation , you still have a potentially dangerous situation - both for the equipment and the user. There is really no way around it - it is just a very bad idea.
I disagree with Silicon Chip's and D. I refer 4 Silicon Chip sificonchip. I have long been frustrated at the digital TV situation.
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We the consumers have the ad- vantages of digital TV available to us but much of its capability is not being used. Several channels are available but these often show the same program and in the case of the high-definition channel, nothing but confusion. TV stations should not be allowed to up-convert standard definition onto their high-definition channel for starters.
This only creates a mis- conception of what high- definition is.