I decided that once the Ocube arrived I would start a series of threads to keep track of the testing experience. So here we go. I’ll add to this post day by day until the week is up, then start a new thread to prevent the posts from getting too long.
Feb 9, 2016.
The Orbo O-Cube arrived yesterday. It was shipped last Thursday from Dublin and arrived in the US on Friday, finally being delivered to my house Monday. For some reason the tracking number got changed during the shipment, so the first tracking number I received did not work.
As I explained on a previous post, on Monday morning Steorn sent me an email explaining that the Ocube I was sent did not have a Li-ion battery in it as it was supposed to — apparently an mistake on their part. They said they would let me keep this Ocube, but will send another one with the Li-ion battery in it. The purpose of the battery is to act as a buffer which is trickle-charged by the Orbo pack which Steorn claims provides the power for the Ocube
In my first few hours of non-systematic testing I found the Ocube was able to light up some LED arrays for quite long periods of time, but after a while the LEDs would shut off. After leaving the unit for a while, it seemed to recharge. So it acted like it had a battery in it, which seemed to contradict what Steorn told me. This morning I woke up, and the first thing I did was to see if the Ocube could now charge any of my mobile devices, and it turns out the answer was no. Nothing would charge. However, it was able to light up the LED.
So this is not acting like a standard Ocube, as it is supposed to be a charger for mobile devices. So I got in touch with Steorn this morning and I think we have the answer — this has a 5F capacitor in it, not a battery.
Here’s my first video, BTW.
Some more information from Steorn regarding the capacitance.
“It has capacitance and a 5F cap, but the LI battery is needed to give it charge ‘depth’ can you take the back off there are two measurement points.”
“You have drained whatever energy is stored in the units own capacitance – it will recharge itself, if you can get the back off the unit you can measure the recharge”
I asked if the I was able to run the LED lights for a long time when I first started using the cube was because it had been building up charge for days:
“Yeah, it’s not just the 5f cap, out tech itself has quite a bit of capacitance as well (a by product, not a design feature) . . when you get the back off the unit you will be able to measure the charge build up”
Feb 10, 2016.
A quick video showing my attempts to get the lid off!
Thanks to Anon2012_2014 and Wishful Thinking Energy for providing the ideas and important supplies for this test.
We are using a PortaPow Premium USB power monitor to measure output energy from the Ocube. The USB power monitor measures voltage, current, and time to find the energy passing through the meter in mWh. We are using a resistive load for the Ocube starting at 1k Ohm. We are planning on reducing the resistance to increase the load until we reach the stated output rating of 400mW.
The meter has a stated error of less that 0.2%. It is not powered by the Orbo but has a separate battery.
The ocube is plugged in at 8:30 p.m. with a 1,000 Ohm resistor.
After 45 minutes with barely any change (Voltage varied between 0.0475 and 0.0482 with no amps) we are moving to a 100 Ohm resistor.
With a 100 Ohm resistor the reading is 0.000V, 0.000A, 0mWh
After 15 minutes, removed the 100 Ohm resistor and replaced with a 10,000 Ohm one.
Reading is 0.3890 V, 0 A, 0 mWh.
Feb 11, 2016
A new short video from this morning. Sorry about the blurriness!
This is my thinking. This version of the O-Cube is obviously no good as a charger or for powering any kind of USB device. With the output so limited, as we have seen, I think the best benefit for people interested in getting to the bottom of what this technology is, is to open it up. Steorn says inside the cube there are built in ports for testing purposes which they say can provide useful information. Even if everything else is potted, the ports should be accessible, providing Steorn is not making that up. So that is my goal. I have an appointment to see someone this evening to look at the cube, who should have the tools and hopefully know-how to get the lid off.
Here’s another series of tests from today:
The circumference is 420 mm.
From the top of the skull to the bottom of the chin is 144 mm.
From ear to ear is 118 mm.
Depth is 39 mm.
Thickness of top casing is 3 mm.
Another short video, this time testing with the smaller LED stick. I had not tried to discharge the Ocube since the last attempt on the previous video at 11:35 a.m.
Here’s another video showing the second two tests with the small LED stick.
February 12, 2016
Here’e a video showing the behavior of the internal LED that comes on any time you insert anything into the USB port (providing there’s enough charge to activate it)
This video shows the internal LED lighting after waiting a variety of time intervals.
Finally got the back off the ocube
The weight of the ocube without the back plate on is 853 g
Sunday, Feb 14th 2016
Here are some closeup photos of the ocube.
- There’s a little bubble of what seems to be silicon gel (soft and flexible), through which you can see what seems to be the blue casing that we have seen in some Steorn videos that enclose the orbo power packs.
2. The two sets of testing terminals.
3. The capacitors/batteries/? Someone asked the size. Each is 45 mm long and the one on the left is 15 mm wide.
4. The complete ocube
Steorn has been in touch with me today and said they would be shooting a video to be posted on their Facebook page late today which will show some testing of this ocube. They also said that I’d be refunded the full cost of the ocube, and also be sent a new one for free “when we are happy with the correction to our charge controller chip.” I will of course refund those who kindly supplied funds for the initial purchase of this cube.
Here’s a video showing voltage readings across the testing terminals. Video was taken about 2:30 pm on Feb 14th:
Here’s the latest video from Steorn
I just received this email from Steorn. They had asked for me to give them a reading from the test ports
The two voltage measurement points on the unit are as follows:
1) the one that is rising is measuring across our power cells.
2) the second one measures across the mega-ohm resistor. This should measure circa 14volts. That is to provide a permanent electric field that causes the Orbo cells to recharge faster and to a higher voltage level than they would with just their own inherent electric field.
The second voltage being zero is certainly a problem, I think that it is one that can be fixed for test purposes (until we get you a full unit). It will require the application of a voltage and low to no current at one of the test points – I will need to look at this in the office tomorrow and get back to you on how to go about it.