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.

April 2001   Newsletter

Hi Astro Members,
I am currently in my final year of industrial design, I am writing to you all in regard to my major project. I visited your meeting last month and found it to be very interesting, it helped me decide on this idea for my project. I intend to design an urban oriented vehicle that can be used simply as a big boys toy or more meaningfully, as a useful means of short distance commuting. I have considered the use of on-board fans that could help charge a battery of an electric motor and also the mounting of a mini jet engine that has 30 pounds of thrust. But these ideas appear to have some flaws.
I will continue to explore the many possibilities of propulsion for my scooter type vehicle, and my focus will be on a system that is preferably sustainable to our planet.
If any one is interested in offering any ideas, recommendation or comments in regard to an alternative means of propulsion, it would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Sam Deslandes.
or Ph: 08 82233723

PS This might be of interest to some of you. Attached is a picture of a vehicle that myself and a fellow student designed last year. The sheet aluminium vehicle travelled 70 meters using a I kilo weight.

Electric Morris 1100:

At the last ASTRO meeting, two new people, Vic and Warwick, came along at the invitation of Andrew. I think everyone was pleasantly surprised by the involvement of these two new people in the meeting with both giving short talks on their respective projects. Vic told us that he has been an inventor for a long time and how at the age of 88 he began the construction of an electric vehicle. The vehicle is now built and running and has been handed over to Warwick to have a play with it and to look at any improvements which may be made.

The vehicle chosen for the conversion was a Morris 1100. The head, pistons and con-rods were removed and a metal plate installed on top of the block to cover the bores,etc. The radiator has also been removed. The 24 volt electric motor is an 8.5HP gun turret drive motor from a battle tank. This was mounted on top of the 1100 motor, or what was left of it, and has a belt drive installed directly on a pulley mounted on the front of the crankshaft.

Power for the motor is provided by four 6 volt Apex deep cycle batteries connected in series to give a total of 24 volts. Originally these were mounted in the boot but Warwick has since moved them to behind the front seats to try and reduce the voltage drop in the cables to the motor. The motor is turned on by a contactor connected to the accelerator pedal. There is also an isolating switch in the cable from the batteries. A separate 12 volt battery is mounted in its original position in the engine bay and supplies all the ancillary equipment like lights, wipers, etc.

Because of the way Vic has done this conversion, the electric motor drives through the original clutch and gearbox so the car can basically be driven like a conventional car. Warwick took me for a short couple of laps around the yard out the front of his workshop. Although no V8, the performance was quite impressive with the vehicle being able to pull away from a slow speed in fourth gear easily. Probably the most disconcerting thing for me was the silence when the vehicle was stationary, something to get used to I guess!

The car has not been tested enough to record how far it will travel between charges etc. but not withstanding this I think this car is an extremely good effort from Vic and is an inspiration for anyone thinking electric vehicles. Also to begin building it when he was 88 (Vic is now 90) shows that it is never too late to do anything! ………………..Bruce

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The critical temperature for water

The temperature at which water boils depends on pressure. On high mountains boiling water is too cool to make good tea, while in a pressure cooker set for 15 pounds pressure (double normal air pressure) the boiling point is 250 degrees F (121 degrees C). A liquid expands as it gets hotter and has very little volume change with pressure, while a gas tries at the same time to expand with heat and contract under pressure. The boiling temperature doesn't rise as fast as the pressure, so the density of steam at the boiling point becomes larger as the pressure increases. Eventually the compression of the steam under the increasing pressure is so great that there is no longer any difference between steam and water. This occurs at a temperature of about 374 degrees C or 705 degrees F (called the critical temperature for water) and a pressure of over 200 atmospheres.

Subject: Amazon forest

The Brazilian congress is now voting on a project that will reduce the Amazon forest to 50% of its size.


The area to be deforested is 4 times the size of Portugal and would be mainly used for agriculture and pastures for livestock.
All the wood is to be sold to international markets in the form of wood chips, by multinational companies.
The truth is that the soil in the Amazon forest is useless without the forest itself. Its quality is very acidic and the region is prone to constant floods.
At this time more than160.000 square kilometres deforested with the same purpose, are abandoned and in the process of becoming deserts.

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

In Diag # 5 the circuit conditions are as follows;

Lamp voltage 9.16 volts (very low) Poor brilliance, low lamp efficiency.
Total lamp current 2.84 amps  
Wire loss I2R 8 Watts High copper loss (only 26 watts to lamps)
Supply voltage 12 volts  

Due to the fact the current in a lamp varies with filament temperature, the above voltages and currents were measured on a actual test set up.

In Diag # 6 the circuit conditions are as follows;

Lamp voltage 12 volts per lamp Full brilliance
Lamp current 1.66 amps Full brilliance
Wire loss I2R 1.66Watts Low copper loss ( full 40 watts to lamps )
Voltage out of constant current supply 25.66 volts 12 volts per lamp and 1.66 volts for wire loss.
( voltage will vary to maintain 1.66 amps )
Voltage into constant current supply. 12 volts  

The above set up (Diag # 5 & 6) was demonstrated at ASTRO South Australia Nov 2000 meeting.

Now for a look at supply impedance.

Impedance is used for a.c. ( Z ).       Resistance is used for d.c. ( R ).

Every form of power supply has some internal resistance (impedance for a.c.) in diagram # 7 this resistance is represented by R1
The load is represented by R2
If R1= .1 ohm the following table applies.
R1 V across R1 Power into R1
(Heat into battery)
R2 V across R2
Volts into load
Power into R2
(Power into load)
  V= IR1 P=I2R1   V=IR2 P=I2R2 I=12/(R1+R2)
.1 ohm .099 volt .098 watt 12 ohms 11.88 11.76 watts .99 amp
.1 ohm .196 volt .384 watt 6 ohms 11.76 23 watts 1.96 amps
.1 ohm .387 volt 1.49 watts 3 ohms 11.61 44.9 watts 3.87 amps
.1 ohm 6 volts 360 watts .1 ohms 6 volts 360 watts 60 amps

It can be seen when the supply resistance equals the load resistance equal power is dissipated in the supply and load! Maximum power transfer occurs when the source impedance equals the load impedance.
In real life, for the sake of efficiency the load Z is normally higher than the source Z.

With the 12 volt battery above a 45 watt load (3.87 amps) seems to be a reasonable maximum load as the voltage only drops from 12v to 11.61v. The supply only suffers a 1.49 watt heat load.

It can be seen a low output source resistance/impedance is an advantage for constant voltage power supplies. Imagine if the load impedance equalled the impedance of a power station, (maximum power into load) the power station would waste a lot of power!

How not to make a constant current supply! (For use up to 100 volts out)

If we wanted a constant current supply we could simply start with a high voltage supply and simply insert a series resistor to set the supply impedance ( large zeners could be placed across the output to limit the voltage).
The circuit to the left will deliver 1 amp into a short circuit and .91 amp into 100 ohms (load resistor) at 91 volts.
When driving 10 ohms at .99 amp the 1000 ohm resistor dissipates 980 watts and the 10 ohm load we are trying to drive dissipates 9.8 watts ( less then 1% efficient). The current regulation is down to about 10% at 100 volts output. It can be seen we are wasting our time with this method of producing a constant current supply. A higher voltage supply and higher value series resistor will improve the current regulation and reduce the efficiency.

How to achieve efficiency over 90%.

Using modern circuit techniques it it is possible to produce a highly efficient constant current supply, the block diagram above (Diagram #9) is one possible solution. Due to the electronic control the output resistance is very high, a 1 ohm load will produce fundamentally the same current as a 100 ohm load. It should be noted at zero output even with automatic standby the efficiency will be < 90%. Standby current however could be very low, (microamps) having no affect on the battery life. High efficiency can be expected for normal loads.

If is Pin a fixed small amount (say 1mW) as Pout appoaches zero, the efficiency will approach Zero!

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

The meeting started at 8.00 pm and was opened with a welcome to all by Roger. Athol read out the previous month's minutes. They were moved by Robert N and seconded by Cedric.
Davershoen…(Video Librarian) asked that members take only a maximum of three videos. He said that the UFO club had about 350 videos and that their members had to pay a deposit to withdraw a video, suggesting that we should consider something along the same line. He also said that Ashley had replaced five of the six missing videos and asked if anyone had a copy of the one still missing…" Secrets Of Perpetual Power" to donate to the library. There was a video supplied by BrianW.
Michael…(Treasurer) gave his report…$1308.30 currently in funds with an expenditure of $30.00 over the last month on videos.
Andrew S…made a tentative suggestion that we might consider giving Michael and his family a break by having our ASTRO meetings at the Clarence Park Community Centre. It cost $7.00/hour and Friday nights were available. The general consensus seemed to indicate that we were happy with the status quo.
Owen…(A Visitor) said that he was running a weekly youth group at Nth. Adelaide Community Centre and would like to establish an ASTRO youth component there. He asked if anyone from our group was interested in helping him. There were (I think) three volunteers. He also suggested the possibility of starting an Edward De Bono Fan Club. Meeting closed at 8.15pm.

Roger…said that as there was no formal guest speaker it would be a general discussion night. Kieth started it off by producing an old fashioned fly trap, which was basically a long narrow trough that you put a bit of honey and water in and fitted it under your window…then bye, bye Louie. He also said that his son had got some information off the Webb regarding the advantages of rotary against conventional engines. A rotary is half of the weight with 100 components versus the 1100 or so in a conventional engine.
Andrew…introduced Vic, a sprightly 91 year old guest, who told us his amazing story of having just fitted an 8hp 24v USA battle-tank turret drive-motor into an old Morris 1100, converting it into a successful electric car. He removed the back seat and fitted the battery bank into its place. Vic had originally tried to get Warwick, a mechanical engineer ,to convert the Morris, but when he declined, Vic did it himself (in two years at 89 years of age). It runs for 2 hours at speeds up to 45/50 mph and then he charges it up over night. It cost him about $5000.00 to convert. Vic is also a bit of an inventor, stating that he has made money out of quite a few inventions and that he had three more inventions coming up.
Roger…mentioned that Peter Bennett was running one more final lecture on organic gardening. This will be a ten lecture series. Phone 8379 7999.
There were short discussions on asteroids hitting the earth, impending ice ages, motorised scooters, G M foods, MIR bugs, power station versus motor vehicle efficiencies, and an article about Tom Bearden from Peter P. Tom's over-unity device is claimed to have a "Coefficient of Performance" of 5. Later models are expected to achieve COP's of up to 30.
Roger…wants people to put advertising onto their cars and earn $200 to $4 00 / month He also suggested that "Shirley" from SOS…Save our State…would possibly be an interesting Guest Speaker. She comes from a company called "Solaris Technology Pty Ltd.", 7/543 Churchill Rd, Kilburn SA 5084. Ph. 08 8359 1900 . They deal in commercial and industrial solar and wind powered systems.
Warwick….( a guest and a mechanical engineer) described an "Indirect Evaporative Cooling System" that he has been professionally involved with. The concept was originally developed by the CSIRO in 1976 as a "Plastic Plate Heat Exchanger". He had spent seven years in developing a thermo-moulder to commercially produce these units, commenting that plastic has a mind of its own. These units do not add moisture to the air and achieve a 20 degree drop in temperature, which is approximately double the drop of a conventional evaporative unit. The CSIRO had the University of South Australia test the figures, with a stated efficiency of 80 - 90%, not adding air.
These units are about 40% larger than conventional evaporative units, but have appeal to hospitals and nursing homes as they use 100% fresh air, use approximately 1/4 the power of reverse cycle units and do not have a Legionella problem as the water chamber temperature is too cold. The company that Warwick works for is called "FICOM Pty Ltd", 5 Mack St Glenelg, South Aust, Ph 08 8350 9898 .
Owen…told about a new cheaper form of patenting, unique to Australia, called Innovative Patenting. It is quick and cheap to obtain, lasts for 8 years, available over the Internet and is accepted without examination until challenged. There was quite a bit of discussion on the pros and cons of such a system. Robert N mentioned Robert Shelldrakes morphogenic field, in which more than one person can come up with the same idea at the same time. Examples were quoted.
Uli…said that one needs a patent to get financial backers, while Andrew S suggested that it was better to start production rather than messing around with patenting.
Percy…gave us a run down on his Bio Diesel production saying that it took 2 hours to produce 10 gallons in his unit, at a cost of 17 cents per litre.
Rodger…suggested the possibility of getting Phill Callahan to talk at the Clarence Park Community Centre on "Para Magnetism" Devashoen explained that Phill was the "Tower of Power" proponent, stating that everything has antennae and works electrically.
Rodger…(from M Bridge) spoke on an American company, Hydro Environmental Resources, that has a 3 gallon container with a lamp, that acts as a fuel cell to produce electric / steam power. They are on the Internet at http:// A film on this is due to be released in April in 80 cities around USA. Rodger also told us about two Australian inventors at Cairns QLD, who had invented a magnetic generator capable of producing 24 Kilo Watts of electric power continuously. This was reported on the front page of the Cairns Post on the 7th of March 2001. ( editor's note…there is a picture and an article on Http:// If this as it is portrayed, it is the most important invention in the history of mankind.
Andrew S…remarked on a Dennis Lee invention, where his reverse cycle unit could power a household. This was three years ago.
Vic…spoke on his concepts of the Joe Cell. He also reflected on the universe as a hologram and said that in tornados, odd things such as straw imbedded in glass suggested that displacements in time had occurred.
The meeting was then closed with Rodger inviting everyone to supper. The next meeting will be on the 6th of April, due to the 13th being Good Friday.

Until Then

Wanted: One VGA computer monitor to replace the faulty ASTRO monitor.


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