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Silly question, fuel cells available?

Discussion in 'Electronic Components' started by dg, Oct 10, 2003.

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  1. dg

    dg Guest

    I really know very little about fuel cells, but I am sure somebody here
    does. Is there any sort of butane fuel cell or similar that is available
    for a hobbyist to experiment with? The thought of a refillable butane fuel
    cell for my RC car is really neat. All the runtime of a gas engine powered
    vehicle, all the gadgetry to satisfy me electronic interest. Any info is
    greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    --Dan
     
  2. For fuel cells in general, try the NG alt.solar.photovoltaic.

    If you're interested in a car with electric drive, consider a Toyota Prius.


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  3. dg

    dg Guest

    I was thinking more along the lines of a 1:10 scale Radio Controlled (RC)
    car. There have been rumors of Butane fuel cells for laptops for quite some
    time. I was just thinking of how sweet it would be to just recharge my RC
    car with a can of butane from the grocery store. Just a dream.

    --Dan


    Prius.
     
  4. They are available. The problem is the price. Currently about £2000...
    The units require a special fuel (not butane), and the 'refills' are about
    £50, and give a few hours of use. At present the 'market', would be people
    going to sites where power is not available.
    For something 'reasonably priced', consider building a butane powered
    external combustion engine, and running the car off this.
    Best Wishes
     
  5. dg

    dg Guest

    Thanks for the info. Just for kicks, where would I spend my £2000 on a fuel
    cell and what type of fuel are we talking? I can't even consider using an
    IC engine in my models, I choose electric because its more fun for me if I
    can tune the car electrically with high quality wires/connectors, good
    electric motor maintenance, high tech speed controls, yada yada. So when I
    asked about the fuel cells it wasn't really to solve a battery problem or
    anything like that, it was just to take things up another level in high
    tech. Although I can't afford to, £2000 doesn't seem like all that much
    when it comes to somebody custom building a hobby project-especially if
    nobody in the world has ever done it before. It would be too cool.

    --Dan
     
  6. <snip>

    IC? Wait a minute Dan, Roger said EXTERNAL combustion! Rocket engine???
    Not that it would be any quieter than a glo-fuel or other piston
    engine...

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  7. My guess is that if we haven't seen fuel cells in full-sized vehicles,
    then there's a very high probability that we won't see them in models,
    either. For the same reasons that they haven't made it into any of
    the full-sized vehicles. Pick one of the following reasons:
    Efficiency; Safety; Weight; Fuel storage problems; etc.

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  8. I was thinking of something like the Stirling engine, which in it's more
    sophisticated forms, is being used for power systems for enviroments ranging
    from boats, through to units being fitted in space craft.
    I built a Stirling engine, based on the 'Rhombic drive; some years ago, and
    while this involved a lot of machining, it did make a lovely engine.
    The fuel cell systems to power laptops, have just been announced in a couple
    of press releases in the UK. No mention is made of what the fuel actually
    is, just the refill price.

    Best Wishes
     
  9. ^^^^^^^^

    Meaning steam engine? That's an external combustion engine. Cool!
    An R/C steam engine without any RR tracks!

    Reminds me of the time I was going to work and had to stop at the RR
    crossing. Lights flashing and the gate arms come down, and what goes
    by? A pickup truck! :p


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    Don't be ripped off by the big book dealers. Go to the URL
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    http://www.everybookstore.com You'll be glad you did!
    Just when you thought you had all this figured out, the gov't
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  10. Cool, until you run into a lamppost in the parking lot. There goes
    two grand! ^$^


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    Subject: line with other stuff. alondra101 <at> hotmail.com
    Don't be ripped off by the big book dealers. Go to the URL
    that will give you a choice and save you money(up to half).
    http://www.everybookstore.com You'll be glad you did!
    Just when you thought you had all this figured out, the gov't
    changed it: http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/binary.html
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  11. No steam.
    The Stirling, is a pure thermal engine. The simplest form, can be built very
    easily (a couple of tin cans, and a simple crank). The basic form works by
    shifting the 'working' gas, into the hot cylinder, where it expands,
    increasing in volume, and creating pressure on the 'working' cylinder. The
    two motions (thrust, and displacement), have to be 90 degrees out of phase.
    The rhombic drive version, uses a single cylinder, with the work piston at
    the bottom, and the displacer piston moving up and down in the same
    cylinder. The cylinder is hot at one end, and cool at the other. The
    displacer, is filled with a material, which improves efficiency, by cooling
    the transfered gas in one direction, and heating it as it moves the other
    way. With careful design of the displacer (sophisticated ceramics), and
    selection of the working gas, the units offer very good efficiencies, but
    tend not to 'throttle' well. This makes them ideal for generator
    applications, but not as direct motors for applications like cars.
    Best Wishes
     
  12. dg

    dg Guest

    Stirling engines are also really cool, I saw a show on TV with that guy who
    made the Segway scooter, he is big on the stirling engines. When I read
    your post about an "external" combustion engine, I was reading it as "an IC
    engine external to the car, which would turn a generator and charge
    batteries".

    --Dan
     
  13. ddwyer

    ddwyer Guest

    I think the Prius and other hybrids are the way to have big car
    performance and weight as well as super fuel economy. The increased
    complexity becomes more attractive as fuel costs rise.
     
  14. Have you noticed the already increased complexioty of today's engine
    compartments? Last week I opened a Chev SUV fuse box up and found
    several dozen fuses, plus relays plugged in. There are a whole lotta
    wires under the hood.

    One of the guys at work wants me to buy his 2002 Prius, so he can then
    buy the 2004, which is bigger and gets better mileage. A few days ago
    I saw a piece on TV about the cars going to better gas mileage. One
    guy from GM says they will use a system that shuts off half the
    cylinders, so cruising will only use 4 of 8 cylinders. They also
    talked about fuel cells. Seems that one problem is how to store and
    distribute hydrogen fuel.

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    My email address is whitelisted. *All* email sent to it
    goes directly to the trash unless you add NOSPAM in the
    Subject: line with other stuff. alondra101 <at> hotmail.com
    Don't be ripped off by the big book dealers. Go to the URL
    that will give you a choice and save you money(up to half).
    http://www.everybookstore.com You'll be glad you did!
    Just when you thought you had all this figured out, the gov't
    changed it: http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/binary.html
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  15. Fred Abse

    Fred Abse Guest

    They've already had one go at it. Cadillac tried it years ago. It was so
    fault prone that most owners opted to have it disabled.

    Maybe it'll work better with modern technology.
     
  16. I think Corvettes had an ignition key position that did something like
    that. But according to the reporter, she couldn't tell when it had
    taken place, other than a LED changing color at that time.

    Also another gas saver that may be used is stopping the engine when
    the car is standing still. As soon as the light turns green, it
    starts up again. Of course, the hybrids already so something like
    this. Except the engine may quit running while the car's moving.
    Hey, it's running on batteries!

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    ###Got a Question about ELECTRONICS? Check HERE First:###
    http://users.pandora.be/educypedia/electronics/databank.htm
    My email address is whitelisted. *All* email sent to it
    goes directly to the trash unless you add NOSPAM in the
    Subject: line with other stuff. alondra101 <at> hotmail.com
    Don't be ripped off by the big book dealers. Go to the URL
    that will give you a choice and save you money(up to half).
    http://www.everybookstore.com You'll be glad you did!
    Just when you thought you had all this figured out, the gov't
    changed it: http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/binary.html
    @@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@@
     
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