Exploring Possibility of Test Automation Team (Builditnow)

The following comment was made by Builditnow on the thread for the latest MFMP test by Alan Goldwater here

Thinking ahead. IS ANYONE INTERESTED IN FORMING A TEAM TO HELP AUTOMATE ALAN’S TEST SETUP?
I personally think it’s a good system to run lots of tests, looking for excess heat greater than about 100 watts. With a few modifications it could be made more sensitive (with the addition of insulation and active cooling for instance).

I discussed with Alan a future thinking, “kicking the tires” idea of automating his system to enable experiments to be carried out production style. The reactors themselves are relatively inexpensive from a materials point of view.

The estimate is that Alan could do this automation himself in 6 months, with another suitable person, 4 months, 4 people 3 months, (20 people 2 years LOL ). There would be opportunity for others to contribute time such as monitoring experiments, helping run debug tests, buying supplies, collecting donations etc. etc.

Since Alan is in the Silicon Valley area, there are numerous people here with all the skills needed, it’s really a matter of are the right people interested and willing to put in the time. Of course, people here also earn nice big salaries, so, they are giving quite a gift to donate their time.

There is potential for a financial benefit, a quality lower priced product for monitoring and control that could then be sold to all sorts of garage startups who likely have a need for a similar as against the currently expensive “professional systems”. An add on board for a Raspberry pi for instance. Such a board does require very skilled design to eliminate the noise from the power control systems from the measurements. Alan does have related experience from designing audio studio equipment.

If you are interested or know of potential people, you can comment below for the moment as a way of “measuring the enthusiasm temperature” we have at the moment.

I have now run some errands, so I’ll check back later this evening for comments.

Builditnow

  • magicsnd1

    I’ve received the PA1000, updated the firmware and installed the logging
    software. It all seems to work after the usual Windows glitches. Thanks to everyone whose donations made this possible!

    The software logs data into a MySQL database, and with a bit of poking
    around I found the database file and successfully opened it with SQLite
    Browser. This is good because HUGnet also stores data in a SQL database.

    So it appears there may be an easier integration path than faking a DAQ
    board interface. It should be possible to create a php script to extract
    data from the end of the PA1000 database and insert it into the HUGnet
    database.

    The two databases will reside on different computers on a LAN, so that may be tricky. Anyone have experience with SQL?

    ________________________

    The GS4 pressure is now under ambient, with constant slope. So it
    appears that the pressure drop is due to absorption, diffusion and/or
    reaction with the mullite tube, rather than a fitting leak. Sometime
    next week with the pressure well below one bar, I’ll reheat the cell and
    see what happens. The HUGnet data streaming is currently disabled. I’ll see if I can get it
    back on line and post a notice before the reheat.

  • builditnow

    Thanks everyone, Alan has proceed to purchase the PA1000. Donations received were $768 towards the price of approximately $2200.
    An automation forum is at
    http://www.lenr-forum.com/forum/index.php/Board/42-Programming/

  • builditnow

    Update on Alan’s automation project: Purchase of a Tektronix PA1000, one part of the project.

    Alan’s team has arranged to an eval Tektronix PA1000 unit to be in house for testing and evaluation. The team plans to report their findings and recommendations on e-catworld.

    Alan wants to find a way to go forward with obtaining a PA1000 or equivalent, so will be holding the donations of $768, made towards the purchase, until after evaluation and decision to go forward, or not. I guess the evaluation could take a month or so to complete and write up.

    Thanks to all the donors, you can donate via paypal to Alan at magicsound3 at aol dot com.
    At least $1200 is the target we set, based on a demo unit on ebay for around $2400, with shipping. Alan said he would personally match the donations, or, return donations if the donations are insufficient, depending on the wishes of the donors.

  • magicsnd1

    @builditnow:
    Thanks for your work in setting this up. I admire the work done by me356 and will probably follow his lead in designing for test automation. However, power measurement of chopped (scr-controlled) power is very tricky and requires high sampling rates to be accurate. Even the PCE-830 that MFMP has loaned to me356 is limited in this regard. It also uses clamp-on current probes with limited range options and is thus has poor resolution in the critical range 10-15 amperes.

    I chose the Tektronix PA1000 because it has internal current shunts for direct measurement up to 20 amps, and because it samples at 1 mHz for very good accuracy on complex power waveforms. It also streams data in real time on USB, which can be integrated into MFMP’s Live Open Science experiment protocol.

    • builditnow

      For what it’s worth, IMHO Alan is correct, for truly accurate power measurements using scr power controllers (or triacs) something with the sampling rate of the PA1000 is required. I have not studied or tested the PCE-830 and I do wonder if the clamp-on approach is good enough. I have some training and employment experience in this area, EE degree in electrical power systems if that lends any weight. From my view after visiting, Alan knows his stuff, is very detailed, knows his limitations, knows how to find those who are good at their “stuff” and does excellent work.
      A great asset for the LENR community, an experimenter to support.

  • http://www.lenr-forum.com/forum/ barty

    At LENR Forum we just added a new subforum titled “Programming”, where interested people and replicators can discuss and exchange about measurement equipment controlling by arduino and raspberry pi (or more general single board computers and microcontrollers).

    http://www.lenr-forum.com/forum/index.php/Board/42-Programming/

    We hope to support the replicators this way, so that everyone can help to make the data more unified and better accessible for the open science approach.

    • builditnow

      Thanks Barty, perhaps the name could be more encompassing, like “LENR experimenters measurement and control systems strategies and practice” or some such with key words so that google searches bring the page up. I’ll check in with Alan about how the donations are going. Alan explains why the PA1000 above.

      • http://www.lenr-forum.com/forum/ barty

        I will think about a more matching name!
        Thank you!

  • builditnow

    Alan reports that donations are up to $768 for purchasing a power analyzer, a Tektronix PA1000
    This will help Alan run more tests and run longer tests, see below.
    To reach $1200 we need another $432, this could be another 4 or 5 donations.
    Send donations via paypal to [email protected]

    Donations will be returned if the target is not reached or if the analyzer is not purchased.

    Why the power analyzer? When I was visiting Alan I asked how I could help him be more effective in running his LENR experiments and he pointed to his need for a quality power analyzer that would allow him to run tests unattended. Currently his test setup requires manual monitoring and adjustment due to the limitation of his power measurement equipment. A PA1000 type analyzer is capable of recording accurate power usage when power is regulated by triac power supplies because these power supplies result in choppy and spiked power regulation that cheaper equipment cannot accurately measure. Triac power regulators enable complete control over power from zero to full power, without manual intervention. Hence allowing experiments to run unattended for periods of time, fully automated. This equals more test runs, longer test runs and the ability to program heating profiles ahead of time.

    If you feel particularly encourage by Alan’s work and his dedication, feel free to donate more as Alan has generously offered to pick up around $1200 of the cost himself.

    Alan also pointed out that I may be in violation of this forum’s rules which may have “no solicitation” rule, I have not checked. If so, I ask the forum moderator for forgiveness and thoughts on the matter and hopefully permission to finish up the “donation effort”. It seems to be for our common cause and it’s not for me and it’s a small acknowledgement for the quite considerable resources, time and top talent that Alan has put into these experiments.

  • Gerard McEk

    Yes, automation is a good idea. I would have joined Alan if I lived near to him! I hope many will join (but less than 20 😉

  • Bob Greenyer

    Me356 has pretty much done this with rPi and Arduino + EGBT driver, he now has the data for all these devices able to be streamed

    – PCE830
    – Optris Pi160
    – TCs
    – Pressure Gauge
    – Geiger Counter
    – PID / Manual control
    – Volts
    – Webcam

    – Maybe domestic power meter next

    It allows anyone anywhere to remote control the experiment – scripting will allow automation.

    It would be great if we can get the data stream into the format for HUGNetLab as it is such a powerful way to visualise the data. HUGNetLab is on GitHUB – this is a major bit of software programming though.

    • builditnow

      Something to look into. Does Alan have Me356’s contact info? If not can you send it to Alan.

  • Stephen

    Great Initiative Builditnow! Your name tag seems even more appropriate now. I have just added a donation to the Tektronix PA1000 Single-phase Power Analyzer.

    I like your great idea for building a team all the best with that.

    • Bob Greenyer

      Thanks Stephen!

    • builditnow

      Stephen, much appreciated. I’ll ask Alan to comment as to how close we are to hitting our target of $1200.

  • Mats002

    Yes automation is the next step. Why? Those of us who have followed the MFMP/Me356 live experiments closely have seen anomalies in behaviour of temp and pressure. And of importance: When hydrogen is leaking the temp and pressure behaves as expected without effect, but when we have a hydrogen source (LiAlH4) and a good sealed vessel not letting the hydrogen escape, the anomalies occur (wow!)

    I have witnessed quite a few experiment runs now, this last one endured for 47 hours, the previus run was even longer, without ‘bang’ or burned out heater coils. The engineering solutions have been evolved step by step to a reliable test platform, the latest is GlowStick4, GS4.

    This latest run showed in best case 25% more heat (XH) for hours compared to a reference run without a hydrogen source. OF COURSE this can not be taken as a final result, many more runs, both with and without a hydrogen source must be executed. Automation is needed to make that happen.

    I have contributed $100 to Alan for automation, please do the same!

    Here is a plot that makes me excited:
    http://s9.postimg.org/oa5x75ilr/150830_0048_Cal2_Run2_Active_vs_Null_4.png
    It shows that at about 700 C some effect ‘kicks’ in. Yes it can be equipment errors causing this, but because I have seen many runs, I make a conclusion this is of importance.
    More runs will tell.

    • SG

      And of particular note, 700C outer temp translates to about 950C internal temp. Lithium hydride’s boiling temperature is between 900C and 1000C. Seems an unlikely coincidence.

      • Freethinker

        I concur. Relates to effects I seen in my own experiment with the reactor in open air.

  • Ecco

    Being able to reliably assess the amount of energy going in the system is paramount, but so is that going out.

    I think part of the budget should go towards building a more or less universal mass flow calorimeter system. Denis Vasilenko showed a couple months ago or so that it’s not too hard or expensive to build one.

    • Sanjeev

      I agree. MFMP already have a good power analyzer (PCE). To be certain that there is excess power, the output power needs to be measured accurately. No amount of testing with TCs and IR cams can do this.

      We have seen many experiments now (MFMP and others) where there are interesting events but we are left hanging in the air on the question of certainty of excess. Yesterday’s test with GS4 is a good example. It surely is a good candidate for calorimetry.

      So now is a good time to shift to the next step of calorimetry, perhaps of a simple Parkhomov style garbage can setup. It should not cost a lot.

      Of course, some tests with new fuel (with pure Li) can be tried before this. There is already one top notch calorimeter (built by Mathieu Valat in france), it can be adapted for testing the E-cat fuel.

      http://www.quantumheat.org/index.php/en/home/mfmp-blog/501-mass-effect

      • Bob Greenyer

        Due to family reasons – Bob Higgins has had to pause his Garbage Can experiment – but he is nearly finished with the control and monitoring.

        • Sanjeev

          Questioning is no problem, all questions and doubts are welcome actually. (Except the pathoskeptic knee jerk insults). I saw that isotopic results were also questioned. But anyway, calorimetric measurements are needed for boosting experimenter’s own confidence in the results, the opinions of others are a secondary matter.

        • ss dd

          My intuition is that isotopic changes won’t be detectable until a high enough COP is achieved (e.g. 1.5+), and a high enough COP won’t be achieved if we don’t have the means to detect smaller COPs (e.g. 1.1) that can be built upon.

          • Mats002

            My intuition says the same, and it must run for quite a long time with a high-enough COP. But soon we will have results from isotope analysis, hope we are wrong 😉

      • builditnow

        Sanjeev, no disagreement, here are my thoughts.
        Alan’s system is about as sensitive as Parkhomov’s early experiments
        that had calorimetry accurate to about 10%. It was a small cooking pot
        mounted in a larger pot containing water, insulated with used carpet with the reactor in the smaller pot operating on the kitchen table. The water that boiled off was replaced manually, the amount of replacement water was used to estimate the power in the system. Subtract the electricity in and you have the excess.

        Alan’s system is currently sensitive to 100 watts out of about 1000 watts, around 10%.

        Parkhomov found his initial results using a system with similar accuracy to Alan’s. The key is he tried many experiments before he got clear evidence of excess heat.

        The way I view Alan’s work is it’s the search for the high output system based on the hope that we are close to the right setup, given Parkomov’s information and others.

        I would like to support all the efforts. Alan happens to be physically close by which enables me to participate in this particular effort.

        Alan’s system can also be made more sensitive with insulation and forced
        air cooling. Insulation enables heating with less power and hence any
        internal excess heat shows up as a larger temperature rise. I plan to
        discuss this with him.

        I fully support the calorimetry efforts as these can be very to extremely sensitive. It seems we could be achieving small excess power that require this
        sensitivity to measure. We may have to use these smaller outputs to refine what factors cause increased power. Definitely Important.

        The goal is for us to discover how to make multi kW reactors and start heating our hot tubs. 🙂 (and more serious things)

        • Sanjeev

          I fully support all efforts to make it happen. No doubts about it.
          Collect money and buy whatever is needed. I just wanted to point out that one must do calorimetry, however simple, to arrive at a conclusion and so some effort and money should be put into that asap.

          The thermometry can only tell us if a sample is interesting enough for calorimetry (unless you are very lucky and see SSM for many hours). IMO the GS4.2 was interesting enough to perform more precise measurements.

          • builditnow

            Sanjeev, yes I think Bob Higgins will be duplicating Parkhomov’s test, which is what Alan did in the last run, and, I think Bob or others in MFMP are building very accurate calorimetry, as we type. (correct me if I’m wrong).
            Any suggestions for Alan’s next test everyone?

            I’m separately working on a test rig myself based on a gas fired and air cooled concept. Think of it as a mini furnace with automated heating and air cooling. I may switch my efforts over to helping Alan (already have to some extent) as he is further ahead and my setup, while different, may not be particularly better than Alan’s for a series of test to figure out the magic required for successful reactors. If more people get involved, we can do more tests with more variation in the test setups.

      • ss dd

        Sanjeev, MFMP does own a PCE, but it is with me356 in Europe. Hence the fund raising to get one to Alan. I agree with the need to measure output more precisely, either with IR or calorimetry.

        • Sanjeev

          Yes, I’m aware of that. I guess it can be shipped back and forth in case the donations falls short.

  • builditnow

    Frank (of E-Cat World) thanks for starting this thread on your site.
    I will also be looking around for locals in the silicon valley area through my contacts to see what team emerges.

    I encourage those who appreciate Alan’s experiments to send him $100 or more (or less) towards a Tektronix PA1000 power analyzer (or if you have some other method of getting Alan one).
    See the post below by SG. Use Pay pal to send Alan the donation and he will return all the donations if there is insufficient to buy the PA1000.
    I visited Alan and he is a top class engineer / experimenter.

    • Bob Greenyer

      Great Idea, Alan is working so hard and sharing that great work.

  • SG

    As part of this effort, we are currently trying to round up support to purchase a Tektronix PA1000 Single-phase Power Analyzer, total cost $2149.00. The power analyzer will allow Alan to run tests unattended. His current system requires human supervision. We ask any and all who follow the MFMP open experiments and feel that it is a worthwhile effort by volunteers who give of their time freely, to consider making a donation, however small or large. Several of us have already contributed $100. Alan said he would keep track of the donations and return them if there are insufficient funds. Alan also said he would put in matching funds, which means our target is $1200 (to allow for shipping)–or we could go higher if we want to show more support.

    To send a donation, use Paypal to send to [email protected]. I estimate we are about half way to the $1200 based on comments from a previous thread. We need another 6-10 generous souls to bring us to the total.

    As builtitnow previously explained in another thread:
    “The power analyzer enables the use a triac style power regulator and
    being able to accurately measure power. At the moment, in order to
    measure power accurately, Allan has an on / off power controller with
    zero voltage switching coupled with a variable transformer. This
    switches on an off every few seconds. His currently system enables easy
    calculation of power, accurately, using his current RMS meters, but has
    the down side that it requires manual intervention to adjust the power.

    With
    a triac power supply, full control of the power can be completely
    automated, so, tests can proceed while Alan is asleep etc. enabling a
    lot more tests to be run. This type of power analyzer is required for
    the output of triac power supplies because of the rather extreme spiky
    choppy wave forms produced that cause cheaper meters to be inaccurate.The bottom line: Lots more tests more frequently from Alan.”