2019-09-20 Thermonuclear Fusion And Fission, NPPs

from FB comment to Bill

Bill Sherman

When I was young, Thermonuclear fusion was “Twenty years until we have free energy.”

When I was concerned about Y2K, Thermonuclear fusion was “Twenty years until we have free energy.”

Now that I’m old, it’s Thermonuclear fusion was “Twenty years until we have free energy.”

I’ll be long dead and gone before “we have free energy.” I’m not holding my breath.

Fusion is going to be just like nuclear fission power. It will be forgotten as the costs of renewables drops, making it impractical to build a reactor for either fusion or fission.

Right now, of the three NPPs that were being built in the Carolinas and Georgia, two were cancelled due to delays and cost overruns (V.C.Summers), and Vogtle wasn’t cancelled, but Westinghouse went bankrupt and it’s doubftul. And that has happened in other countries, too. No utility is going to spend ten billion dollars and wait ten years for a NPP to come online. Everything is going to be solar or other renewable. All we have to do is harvest the free thermonuclear fusion energy that Mother Nature gives us every day. 👍👍

update Sept 20 – Three Mile Island’s remaining NPP was shut down this week, it will be decommissioned in the following years. Slowly but surely the remaining approximately 100 NPPs will also be shut down, as will fossil fuel power plants, starting with coal. The last to go will be natural gas ‘peaker plants’ that are still being built to replace coal and oil fired power plants. Time will tell.


2019-09-16 Spy Satellite History

I have been reading the series about the spy satellites and their developments during the Cold War Era circa the 1960s and after. There was a lot of debate on whether or not to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on developing advanced spy satellites to spy on the Soviet Union and its satellite countries. The author stated that the USSR suppression of the uprising in Czechoslovakia in August, 1968 “…was a great motivator…” for getting real time high resolution satellite photos of the earth.

I was in the army and stationed in Wuerzburg, Germany for 16 months during 1968 and 1969. I was trained as a Radar repairman and I was in the 69th Artillery Group. We were close to the border with Czechoslovakia, and there was a very great concern that the Soviets were sending a lot of military only a hundred miles away. One thing I can remember was that during all of those 16 months, the weather was cloudy and overcast the whole day, from dawn to dusk. I might have seen the sun for a short time at sunrise and sunset. During that time I could count the number of sunny days on one hand with a finger or two left over. Being that I was from Sunny So. California, I found that disappointing.

So I can say with certainty that the spy satellite photos of Prague in Czechoslovakia during the time around August, 1968 would have been pretty much useless, just a lot of white clouds. Perhaps this was why the spy agencies didn’t consider real time imaging as important.

The author was Dwayne Day and his email address was given as zirconic1 (at) but he said that there was a lot of spam, so I’m not sure if my emails are getting through. I’m going to try to contact him. I corresponded with him and told him about the above regarding my experiences at that time period. Here is some of what I said.

(beginning of correspondence)
The Southern Germany country is rolling hills and a major part of transportation was by trains, which ran on electricity. The longer trains needed extra power, and oil (and gasoline, too) was very expensive, so they used coal and old steam ‘choo-choo’ locomotives to help pull them uphill. Back then there were a lot of pollutants in the air from the trains and other vehicles. Today the advances in smog controls have probably cut pollution a lot, so I assume the air quality is much better.

The reason why I’m bringing this up is that the water in the atmosphere has to have particles to condense on in order to make clouds. So this might be the reason for the dreary overcast days back then. I just finished reading The Chilling Stars, which explains this and why the authors theorize that the Sun has more influence on the global temperatures than human generated greenhouse gases.

(end of correspondence)

update Sep 20 – I got Dino Brugioni’s book Eyes in the Sky, it’s hard cover and a lot to read. I will do so as time permits.


2019-09-09 Zenith Royal 475 Information

more text below

Zenith Royal 475 ARF project & service info links:

The Zenith factory schematic and PCB layout is located on page 185 of the Beitmans service literature which is freely available on-line:


also posted to FB group vintage transistor radios
Usually the capacitors are the problem. There are only a few electrolytic capacitors on the Royal 500, and I assume it’s the same with the 475. Two are on the PC board and two are under the battery holder. The two on the PC board are the ones that affect the volume. One is on the volume control and the other is across the 220 or so ohm emitter resistor. The volume control is something like 3 to 5 microfarads. The one across the emitter resistor is 50 uF but 47 uF is the closest. The ones under the battery holder are 50 uF or 100 uF but 100 uF will work okay. There is enough room to put the newer and much smaller capacitors in other places. You can identify the electrolytic capacitors by the polarity signs, newer ones by a “-” minus sign, or some older ones may have a “+” plus sign.

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2019-09-07 2 LED Lights On One Supply

I got some 10W warm white LEDs, and I have some cool white LED strips and they’re both running in parallel off the same 12V supply. But they’re not the same voltage so I had to do some experimenting.

The 10W LED is actually a group of 3 by 3 in series – parallel on one slug. It requires about 10.5 volts to draw 1/2 amp. That’s only 5 watts but I have it mounted on a heatsink that gets quite warm so I’m not going to run it full power.

The LED strip has four cool white LEDs in series mounted on a 15 inch strip of PC board that acts as a heatsink. The current is 1/4 amp at 12VDC and it seems to be okay, that’s about 1 watt per LED.

I connected them in parallel and of course the warm white LED took almost all the current when the voltage was at 10.5V, and the strip barely lit. I dug a 1N5402 3 amp diode out of the cannibalized parts box and connected it in series with just the warm white LED and turned up the voltage past 11 volts, and now the strip is much brighter, but not full brightness. I went and dug out another 3 amp diode like the 1N5402 and added it in series with the original diode. I turned up the voltage to 12VDC and both the warm white and the strip are full brightness, and the total current is about 3/4 amp. The 2 diodes get slightly warm to the touch, no problem. I thought about using 1A diodes, but they drop more voltage, so less voltage would be across the warm white LED and less current would flow through it. It might be possible to use four 1A diodes, in series-parallel to get lower voltage drop. But the two 3 amp diodes work well, they drop just about the right amount of voltage.


2019-09-05 Climate Change:: Both Sides Of The Story

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading both sides of the issue of Climate Change. The biggest thing that I get from this is that it’s much more complicated than the proponents and opponents make it out to be. The proponents say this is the end of the world, but they are basing their beliefs on a science that is much less than exact. And by the time the scientific studies have been filtered by the political people, we have some results that are making claims backed by no substantial facts.

I do know that the results of the higher amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere is causing bad things to happen that can be seen and measured right now, in the present. One quarter of the CO2 in the atmosphere gets absorbed by the oceans. The increase is causing the oceans to be more acidic. This carbonic acid is preventing the tiny crustaceans from building the calcium shells that they require to live. They die as a result. There are many other sea creatures that depend on these tiny crustaceans and the loss of their food supply is reducing these other sea creatures. Other fish and sea mammals such as whales are losing their food supply and sea birds depend on the sea for their food too. One result is less fish for land animals. These losses are affecting the whole world and are directly measurable, not based on some prediction.


2019-09-03 ‘The Cosmic Inventor’ Fessenden Book

I got the book on Reginald Fessenden and I’ve been reading it the last few days. It’s a thin book, the story was first published in a journal. Fessenden was an early pioneer of wireless AKA radio. He deserved more credit than he received, he was before Marconi but Marconi got most of the publicity.


2019-09-01 Book The Chilling Stars by Svensmark And Calder

I’ve been reading The Chilling Stars by Svensmark and – It’s about the research that Svensmark has done on climate history an why the hot or cold climates have not correlated with the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere at that time.

The climate is regulated by many factors, one of these is CO2. But another important factor is the amount of clouds in the atmosphere. clouds are microscopic water droplets, and the moisture in the air has to have a nucleus – a particle of dust to condense on. What the authors use as an example is the contrails left by the jet engines as they fly high in the sky.


2019-08-08 LED Powered By Telephone Line

From FB group Bell Telephone of…


So you want to light up your phone. You don’t need a transformer to power the LED, you can use the current of the phone line to power the LED when the phone is off hook or when it is ringing. Most of the time you want the light to see the dial or to tell that the phone is ringing. You can use red LEDs for this. A red LED can handle up to 30 milliamps, and a phone line can have up to about 55 mA, so two red LEDs in parallel will each share half the current. But in order to work with either polarity and to handle the AC ringer current, the LEDs are connected back to back. So it takes four red LEDs. It doesn’t matter which lead you put them in because they are not polarized – two will light up when it goes off hook, and the other two won’t light. When the phone rings all four will flicker. The voltage drop across any LED will be about two volts, which is less than the voltage drop between the CO and your phone. One issue may be that the LEDs are too bright. If so, you can put some nail polish or paint or even some paper or plastic to dim the light. Or you could put a resistor across the LEDs to shunt some of the current. If you use a resistor you need only two LEDs back to back. The resistor could be between 22 and 100 ohms depending on the loop current and the desired brightness.
Here’s a wiring diagram.

2019-07-09 My Telecom/datacomm Background

from FB group Bell Telephone of…

Jul 09

Jon Guidry (new member)
I was a telecomm/datacomm tech for Santa Ana College and the rest of the college district, so we were a customer of Pac Bell/SBC/at&t. I did all house Telecom and datacomm wiring and plant for 3+ decades. I was a craftsperson like many others here, but all the 1A2 key equipment was abandoned when I was diddling with our digital phones. I have my own viewpoint on the telecom/datacomm world. I hope we hear yours, too. 👍👍🤓


2019-07-08 BigClive Fixes LED Floodlight With Solder

from YouTube video bigclivedotcom about fixing a LED floodlight. Half of the 100 LEDs went dark; he resoldered the LEDs and they all started working.

The non-conducting half was not using its half of the 25 mA, so the conducting half was probably running at nearly twice its normal current, or about 25 mA. Hopefully that didn’t shorten its life. Here in the USA the series strings of LEDs add up to half of the 240VAC LED bulbs, so it’s about 75 VDC or so. If there are no “power surges” (overvoltage faults) then these cheap LED bulbs should last a very long time.

The circuit is similar to this one.

I plugged in a Philips LED bulb almost 10 years ago and it’s been on 24/7 since then, except for several power outages lasting a few days. It has over 80 thousand hours on it and it’s still bright, but I don’t know if it’s dimmer because I had no way to measure the light output back then. It’s probably somewhat dimmer, but it still looks okay. My stamp of approval goes on the Philips LED light bulbs, they’re a reputable brand.

The circuit was similar to this one from ElectroBOOM.

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