Friday, 22 October 2010

A few problems

Well, it seems that we’re not quite ready for customers yet, as we still have a few issues, like getting enough power to keep The Door open longer than a few seconds at a time. Tom doesn’t like jumping through, hoping that it doesn’t shut down with him half on one side and half on the other. Besides that the local power company has started to complain about the lights in the city dimming down every time we crank it up. Frank’s got an idea to fix both problems, though. He says that we can tap directly into the power mains and slowly charge up a bunch of capacitors (no, not flux-capacitors; they don’t really exist). When they are fully charged, we can use them all at once to run The Door for almost a whole minute! He says it has something to do with serial or parallel or something like that. Sounds to me like just more of that engineering talk. At least the techies understand it.
Anyway, so Frank and the techies seem to have worked out most of the details. One problem still remains though: at this point it takes about three and a half weeks to save up enough power for that one minute of use. What they need, so I’ve been told, are more Farads (what ever they are). Easy solution, I just sent a few of my ‘friends’ out to dig into a bunch of really old computers destined for the scrap heap. Apparently we can get what we need there, so soon, even that won’t be an obstacle.
Things are working out rather well. Every time a problem pops up, Frank devises a solution and I procure the necessaries to make it work. We’ve become quite the team. We’ll continue adjusting things, and soon, very soon, we’ll be ready to send out more than just a single person. We’ll start off with a few initial expeditionary forays, then expand from there.
Keep an eye on this space, and you may be the first in your neighbourhood to be our guest!


Aaron said...

I don't see how more farads will decrease the charge time. The farad is a measure of a capacitor's capacity to store charge. More farads would mean it would take longer to fully charge all the capacitors. What you need is a better source. I wonder if you can use some transformers to get higher voltage with lower amps to get a bigger boost to the capacitors during the charging phase? Or what about trying to get an additional power source: solar, wind, water? With an additional power source, you wouldn't need to drain the city quite as much to get the same voltage to the capacitors. And just remember, the basic idea of a capacitor is to discharge all the stored energy in one massive burst, so you'd need some sort of resistance to keep the discharge to a manageable level. But that could lead to a massive heat source as your resistors all melt under due to an inability dissipate that much power. You're going to need some first class cooling equipment too.

Eugene said...

Actually what Frank said was that increasing the Farads would increase the time between uses, but it would also increase the time we can keep the door open. The problem is that with increasing the Farads, he says that we have to add a resistor to slow down the charge time. Get more, then we get less. [shrug]

Adding more power sources would certainly help; the problem with that is the location. There's not much available in this local area. That's why we're looking into moving.