Molasses derusting of steel

This article describes a setup for derusting small steel components, mainly machine tool accessories, using a Molasses solution.

A 10% Molasses solution can be an effective way to derust steel. Feed grade Molasses costs about $2/kg at the local rural store.

The process is bacterial and activity depends on temperature. Experimentation suggests that optimal temperature is 30-35°, and derusting can be achieved in a few days at that temperature (subject to the degree of rust). At lower temperatures, the process may take many weeks. The nice thing compared to electrolytic derusting is that work is unlikely to be damaged by the process.

Above, the rust treatment system comprises:

  • Bain marie stainless 1/3 module 200mm deep with lid;
  • 1000W electric cooker;
  • 230VAC thermostat with thermistor probe immersed in the process liquid;
  • 230VAC dimmer to reduce the power of the cooker element.

Above is an internal view of the thermostat made from a Chinese 230VAC thermostat, a 3m extension cord and ABS plastic box. Continue reading Molasses derusting of steel

Review of inexpensive Chinese thermostat – MH1230A

This is a review of an inexpensive MH1230A Chinese bang-bang  thermostat that was purchased on eBay for around A$15 complete with thermistor sensor and postage.

Above is the front view of the thermostat. There are many thermostats on the market with similar front panels, but they differ in internals and most importantly, performance and quality.

Above, the rating label is clear and informational, and it does give the sensor parameters.  Continue reading Review of inexpensive Chinese thermostat – MH1230A

On winding configuration of EFHW matching transformers

The net abounds with articles on broadband transformers (ie untuned) for matching End Fed Half Wave (EFHW) antennas to 50Ω. One of the aspects that is common to most designs is that the turns of the primary winding are wound ‘bifilar’ with the start of the secondary winding, indeed the twist pitch is often very short and articles often go into detail on how to make this magic thing.

The magic is that it is supposed to give closer to ideal behaviour of the transformers by way of minimising flux leakage.

The transformer above is styled on the common design, and it consists of a 2t primary and 16t secondary where the primary is wound bifilar, and a third 2t winding wound over the primary end of the transformer between the other turns. Continue reading On winding configuration of EFHW matching transformers

The sign of reactance – challenge reality check

The sign of reactance – a challenge posed a problem, a set of R,|X| data taken with an analyser of a quite simple network and asked readers to solve the sign of X over the range, ie to transform R,|X| to  R,X.

The sign of reactance – challenge solution gave a solution to the challenge, and The sign of reactance – challenge discussion provided some discussion about the problem and solution.

Some correspondents have asserted that the challenge (see above Smith chart) contains a response that is contrived for the purpose and not representative of real world antenna systems. Continue reading The sign of reactance – challenge reality check

The sign of reactance – challenge discussion

The sign of reactance – a challenge posed a problem, a set of R,|X| data taken with an analyser of a quite simple network and asked readers to solve the sign of X over the range, ie to transform R,|X| to  R,X.

It is widely held that this is a trivial matter, and lots of software / firmware implement algorithms that fail on some scenarios. Though the scenario posed was designed to be a small set that provides a challenging problem, it is not purely theoretical, the characteristics of the data occur commonly in real world problems and the challenge data is derived from measurement of a real network.

Above is a Smith chart plot of the measured data that was transformed to the R,|X| for the challenge. Continue reading The sign of reactance – challenge discussion

The sign of reactance – challenge solution

The sign of reactance – a challenge posed a problem, a set of R,|X| data taken with an analyser of a quite simple network and asked readers to solve the sign of X over the range, ie to transform R,|X| to  R,X.

It is widely held that this is a trivial matter, and lots of software / firmware implement algorithms that fail on some scenarios. Though the scenario posed was designed to be a small set that provides a challenging problem, it is not purely theoretical, the characteristics of the data occur commonly in real world problems and the challenge data is derived from measurement of a real network.

Imported and rendered graphically in ZPlots we have:

The network measured is comprised from analyser, a 2.8m length of RG58/CU, a tee piece feeding a 50 resistor on one branch and on the other branch, another 2.8m length of RG58/CU with a 4.7Ω resistor termination.

The challenge is: what is the sign of X across the frequency range? Continue reading The sign of reactance – challenge solution

The sign of reactance – a challenge

Over time, readers of The sign of reactance have suggested that determining the sign of reactance with an antenna analyser that does not directly measure the sign is not all that difficult, even for beginners. The article shoots down some of the most common algorithms as failures on simple cases.

This article gives measurements made from a simple network of two identical lengths of 50Ω coax, a 50Ω resistor and a 4.7Ω resistor. It is a network designed to offer a challenge to the simple algorithms, and it IS solvable analytically… but not with most algorithms and software,

Here is the data from measurement made with an AA-600 and then all – signs removed, so in fact the Xs column is |Xs|.

"Zplots file generated by AntScope"
"Freq(MHz)","Rs","Xs"
9.000000,78.13,53.66
9.250000,82.12,51.10
9.500000,86.10,47.83
9.750000,89.46,44.00
10.000000,92.30,39.90
10.250000,94.53,35.39
10.500000,96.21,30.71
10.750000,97.17,26.14
11.000000,97.49,21.54
11.250000,97.30,17.12
11.500000,96.54,13.04
11.750000,95.47,9.14
12.000000,93.92,5.68
12.250000,92.16,2.70
12.500000,90.25,0.17
12.750000,88.13,2.50
13.000000,85.94,4.50
13.250000,83.67,6.15
13.500000,81.45,7.36
13.750000,79.29,8.38
14.000000,77.22,9.21
14.250000,75.21,9.78
14.500000,73.23,10.16
14.750000,71.44,10.37
15.000000,69.70,10.25
15.250000,67.99,10.23
15.500000,66.50,9.99
15.750000,65.10,9.68
16.000000,63.81,9.27
16.250000,62.65,8.72
16.500000,61.59,8.15
16.750000,60.55,7.54
17.000000,59.69,6.86
17.250000,58.97,6.20
17.500000,58.20,5.43
17.750000,57.66,4.68
18.000000,57.14,3.81
18.250000,56.77,2.98
18.500000,56.47,2.16
18.750000,56.22,1.22
19.000000,56.04,0.38
19.250000,56.07,0.50
19.500000,56.02,1.38
19.750000,56.12,2.29
20.000000,56.41,3.15
20.250000,56.68,4.03
20.500000,57.11,4.86
20.750000,57.51,5.72
21.000000,58.06,6.61
21.250000,58.77,7.45
21.500000,59.54,8.22
21.750000,60.47,8.95
22.000000,61.44,9.75
22.250000,62.52,10.34
22.500000,63.77,10.97
22.750000,65.11,11.55
23.000000,66.56,12.02
23.250000,68.11,12.38
23.500000,69.82,12.64
23.750000,71.75,12.82
24.000000,73.67,12.84
24.250000,75.96,12.67
24.500000,78.12,12.27
24.750000,80.40,11.72
25.000000,83.05,10.69
25.250000,85.56,9.68
25.500000,88.29,8.09
25.750000,90.92,6.21
26.000000,93.63,3.91
26.250000,96.17,1.13
26.500000,98.61,2.16
26.750000,100.68,5.92
27.000000,102.51,10.11
27.250000,103.87,14.90
27.500000,104.65,19.98
27.750000,104.71,25.32
28.000000,103.98,30.95
28.250000,102.58,36.48
28.500000,100.14,41.97
28.750000,97.08,47.32
29.000000,93.07,51.86

Imported and rendered graphically in ZPlots we have:

The challenge is what is the sign of X across the frequency range? Continue reading The sign of reactance – a challenge

Ellington 3 x FT240-52 matching transformer for an EFHW

Ellington describes in a Youtube video his high power matching transformer for an EFHW, he rates it suited to 500W CW.

Like almost all such ‘designs’, they are published without supporting measurements or simulations.

The transformer is intended to be used with a load such that the input impedance Zin is approximately 50+j0Ω, Gin=0.02S.

Analysis of a simple model of the transformer with a load such that input impedance is 50+j0Ω gives insight into likely core losses.
Continue reading Ellington 3 x FT240-52 matching transformer for an EFHW

A flexible test panel for microcontroller based power control projects – #2

This article expands on A flexible test panel for microcontroller based power control projects with some enhancements and accessories.

A LED power meter that I had ordered finally arrived (slow boat from China syndrome).

Above, the upper rail contains a RCD, the power meter which displays Volts, Amps, and kW, or pf, hours, and kWh, a DIN mount terminal block for mains, and a 40A SSR on a heatsink. A clip on CT can be used for oscilloscope observation of mains current. Continue reading A flexible test panel for microcontroller based power control projects – #2