Alternative Science & Technology Research Organisation

DISCLAIMER:  All information given in this newsletter is for educational purposes only.  No claims are made on or for the validity or correctness of the material provided.  ASTRO S.A. Incorporated accepts no responsibility for any mishaps or accidents incurred by any persons utilising this information.

March 2001   Newsletter

Members Report: Keith

About six years ago, Roger W saw an advertisement in the local Murray Bridge newspaper announcing a meeting for anybody interested in alternative or free energy and associated topics. Roger and I attended this meeting and in doing so met the organiser, Keith. We then introduced Keith to ASTRO and he has been coming ever since.
Keith has obviously done a lot of things in his life so far and one visit to his property shows his talent as an inventor and also as a builder of his projects. For example, Keith built a two third scale Mustang aircraft, beginning in 1976 and taking 6 years to complete. This aircraft was powered by a 115HP Lycoming engine and was flown at the Murray Bridge airfield for many years. Keith also built some of the machinery to construct the aircraft as well, including a sheet metal bender and rollers for making curved panels. Keith is also known in the Murray Bridge area as the constructor of the “Big Clock” tourist attraction. This clock featured in a video that was shown at one of the ASTRO meetings and tells the time using basket balls! Unfortunately due to health reasons, the tourist attraction had to close and the clock now sits at the back of Keith’s house. The clock is for sale, so if any of you want to get into the tourist industry, call Keith.

Below is a list of some of Keith’s inventions he has constructed.

Keith's Jack

Lunch Heater

Electric Gate

Electric Lawnmower

Electric BBQ

Fuel Preheater

As you can see from the above, Keith has produced some interesting devices over the years and that would only be a small fraction of the information in his head. Keith is a regular presenter at the ASTRO meetings and we look forward to his talks as he always has something interesting and humorous to say.


2 3 5 7 11 13 17 19 23 29 31 37 41 43 47 53 59 61 67 71 73 79 83 89 97 101 103 107 109 113 127 131 137 139 149 151 157 163 167 173 179 181 191 193 197 199 211 223 227 229 233 239 241 251 257 263 269 271 277 281 283

Paramagnetic and Diamagnetic Substances.

I found the following information on Paramagnetic and Diamagnetic substances in a book, loaned to me by Roger W, called “Magnetism and Electricity” by S. S. Richardson, B.Sc., A.R.C.Sc., written in 1914. I thought the following information from this book gave a good description of what these terms mean and so may be useful to those people working in this area, e.g. towers of power, etc.

“Under the influence of powerful magnetic fields all substances exhibit magnetic properties, but except in the case of compounds of the magnetizable substances - iron, nickel, and cobalt - the effects observed are excessively weak.

Further, many substances exhibit a magnetic property which is the reverse of that obseved in iron. A bar of bismuth suspended between the poles of a powerful magnet sets at right angles to the line joining the poles (see fig), whereas a bar of iron sets along this line. Substances which, like bismuth, are repelled from the poles of a magnet are termed diamagnetic, other substances which are attracted to the poles are termed paramagnetic, or simply magnetic substances.

The phenomenon of diamagnetism shows that the permeability of some substances is less than that of a vacuum, i.e. less than unity. The value for bismuth - the most strongly diamagnetic substance - as measured by specially devised methods is u = .999824. Other diamagnetic substances are antimony, phosphorus, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, tin, tellurium, sulphur, mercury, glass, water, and most liquids except solutions of salts of magnetizable metals.

The few strongly magnetic substances which are capable of permanent magnetization are sometimes termed, for distinction, ferromagnetic”


Below is an extract from the web site at.

A new solar (photovoltaic, or PV) cell kit has been developed, using natural dyes extracted from berries, that provides an interdisciplinary context for students learning the basic principles of biological extraction, chemistry, physics, as well as environmental science and electron transfer. Far from exotic, electron transfer occurs in the mitochondrial membranes found in our cells, and in the thylakoid membranes found in the photosynthetic cells of green plants. Understanding exactly how fossil fuels like coal and oil were created by plants millions of years ago is the key to understanding concepts like oxidation and reduction, ecosystem function, renewable energy, carbon dioxide pollution, and the Greenhouse effect. The new kit draws on these concepts, and is based on the work on nanocrystalline dye sensitized solar cells that use an organic dye to absorb incoming light to produce excited electrons (see

To fabricate the new cell, a titanium dioxide film that is coated on a conductive glass plate is dipped into a solution of a dye (for example blackberry, raspberry, or pomegranate juice). A single layer of dye molecules self assembles on each titanium dioxide particle and absorbs sunlight. To complete the device, a drop of liquid electrolyte containing iodide (similar to medicinal iodide) is placed on the film to enter the pores of the film. A counter electrode, made of conductive glass that has been coated with a catalytic layer, is then placed on top, and the two glass plates are clipped together using binder clips.

As the glass sandwich is illuminated, light excites electrons within the dye, and they are transferred into the film. These electrons are quickly replaced by the iodide in the electrolyte solution. The titanium dioxide serves the same role as the silver halide grain in color photography except that the electrons from the dye produce electricity rather than forming an image. The oxidized iodide becomes iodine or triiodide, and travels to the counter electrode to obtain an electron after it has flowed through the electrical load. The cycle is completed and electricity is generated. This operation mimics natural photosynthesis in which the electron acceptor is ultimately carbon dioxide, water is the electron donor, and the organic molecule chlorophyll absorbs the light. Students can easily fabricate the device, and determine the current-voltage and power output characteristics of the solar cell using a resistor. They can then relate this output to the chemical processes occurring in photosynthesis and in the biosphere. The sunlight-to-electrical energy conversion efficiency is between 1 and 0.5 %.

Details of how to make these solar cell are provided at the web sit

The output is approximately 0.43 V and 1 mA/cm2 when the cell is illuminated in full sun through the TiO2 side.

A look at Constant Current verses Constant Voltage power supplies for incandescent lamps.
By Ken Kranz.
An extract from the web site at

This text was written to explain my reasoning in producing an electronic constant current drive circuit for 12 volt quartz halogen lamps (used in low voltage down lights, motor vehicles, solar systems and many other applications).
To maintain good lamp efficiency the filament temperature must be correct ! (The halogen/tungsten cycle will only work correctly at the correct temperature).

Diagram #1 is a parallel lamp circuit fed from a constant voltage supply.
Diagram #2 is a series fed lamp circuit with a constant current supply.
A 12 volt 12 watt lamp is the same as a 12 watt 1 amp lamp.
Wire loss is given by I2R in both cases. These formulas apply throughout I=P/V , P=V2/R, P=IV, P=I2R, I=V/R, R=V/I, V=IR.
( I = current in amps, P = power in watts, V = voltage in volts, R = resistance in ohms, Z = impedance )

 Constant Voltage parallel circuit.  Constant Current series circuit.
 Lamp Voltage must be specified.  Lamp Current must be specified.
 Lamp Wattage must be specified.  Lamp Wattage must be specified.
 Current varies with load.  Voltage varies with load.
 Current surge occurs at turn on.  No current surge occurs.
 Current limit required.  Voltage limit required.
I2R loss varies with wattage. I2R loss unchanged with wattage.
Low Z supply. Hi Z supply.
More detail More detail
 If lamps are added the supply voltage remains the same and the current increases.   If lamps are added the supply current remains the same and the voltage increases.
 Wire (copper) loss ( I2R) goes up as more lamps added.  Wire (copper) loss ( I2R) remains the same as more lamps added.
 As extra feed wire is added, the lamp at the end of the wire suffers a voltage and current reduction (lamps loose efficiency). Energy wasted in the wire is not compensated for.   As extra feed wire is added the lamps voltage and current remain the same (full lamp efficiency). Energy wasted in the wire is compensated for with extra energy from the supply.
 A constant voltage supply must be current limited.
eg. Fuse
Without a preset current limit, and with a short circuit on the supply very high currents would flow (undesirable).
 A constant current supply must be voltage limited to a maximum potential output Electronic limited. Without a preset voltage limit and with no load on the supply the voltage would ionise the air between the power supply output terminals, current would flow at the rating of the supply. eg 1 amp (undesirable).

Diagrams 3 & 4 show how the lamps have to be specified for both circuit types.

In Diag # 3 the lamp currents are given by
12V 5W = .42A
12V 10W =.83A
12V 20W =1.66A
12V 40W = 3.33A
Total current =6.24A
For an output of 115 watts the supply would need to supply 9.58 amps.
Current out of the supply will vary with load.
Copper loss = I2R
In Diag # 4 the lamp voltages are given by
1A 5W = 5V
1A 10W =10V
1A 20W =20V
1A 40W = 40V
Total voltage =75V
(ELV in Australia is limited to 115 volt d.c. so this could be the voltage limit giving an output maximum of 115 watts)
Voltage out of the supply will vary with load.
Copper loss = I2R   (I fixed at 1 amp)

continued next month

Peter's Page
ASTRO MEETING Friday Feb the 9
th 2001

The meeting started at 8.05 pm and was opened with a welcome to all by Rodger. Apologies were accepted from Nina and Brian.

Ken…mentioned some correspondence received. One from Ian Hacon saying that the Hilton motor was back on line again. Another relating to water powered rockets coming back into vouge again. This informatiuon can be found at 2http//

Davershoen… as the Video Librarian, reminded paid up members that the loan time of one month was to be observed. He also said that a $32.00 video from America cost AUS $100.00 in reality. The previous minutes were read out, moved by Davershoen, seconded by Robert N and accepted.

Rodger…opened up by discussing a talk on GM food at the Adelaide University, where, apparently, the choice to introduce GM foods was a USA Govt. (REGANOMICS) choice against the overriding advice from the scientists. Apparently, ANSEA, the Australian GM testing authority, does not do their own testing in Aust. Rodger asked that each of us inform at least another three people, and ask that they do the same, to reject GM products, and voice disapproval to the whole fiasco.

Andrew S…related faxes attesting to the effectiveness of his EKOVORTEC water conditioner. There were stories of the unit solving fungus, yeast and mould problems in a health company packaging process (in New Zealand). A company in Victoria solved the problem of its liquid fertiliser blowing up because the units reduced the bacteria enough to solve the problem. After testing, the Anaerobic bacteria count went from >800K to less than 10, and Sulphur to less than 5. The Botanical Gardens of Adelaide were using a chemical biocide to safely mist their gigantic observatory. The chemicals were also killing everything else, where as his unit, when trialled, solved the problem without the chemicals.

Percy…heard a radio article by Kieth Martin on a hydrogen pill used for running cars on pure hydrogen. He said that Kieth Martin commented that he would give air-time to anyone with similar inventions or stories.

Robert N…spoke briefly on a discovery that human ears emit sound. The discoverer had also built a device to create a sonic hologram by which he could create music that took up total full space. The sound sensation of a match being struck could almost be felt.

Rodger "from Murray Bridge" gave another demonstration of his "Dick Smith Spin FX Kit". The lights were turned off and his Ultra Bright Liquid Crystal Display spinning disk, with words and patterns, kept everyone mesmerised for five minutes or so.

GUEST SPEAKER Telescopes and lenses … Chas Franks Rodger introduced Chas Franks as the Guest speaker for the night.
Chas had spent 37 years working for IBM and EMI Electronics before retiring. Aside from his lens grinding and telescope building, he found that he needed a little extra in his life so he started a computing business called A1 Computing ( on Unley Rd.).

Chas was an eloquent speaker, who, with the aid of a range of different lenses (that he had painstakingly ground), and a white board, clearly described the art of lens grinding and telescope making. Chas told us that some of his lenses had taken years to grind and perfect. He described the different types of lenses and telescopes. He kept us enthralled and in awe of his persistence, skill and dedication to his hobby.

Rodger heartily thanked Chas for his talk, closed the meeting and invited everyone to supper.

Until next time,

ASTRO Home Page
Peter Patterson
Ken Kranz (Newsletter and Web Page)
Phone 08 83872845
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