Now this isn’t a perpetual motion machine, but it’s darn close. What [lasersaber] has done instead is to make the EZ Spin, an incredibly efficient motor that does nothing. Well, nothing except look cool, and influence tons of people to re-build their own versions of it and post them on YouTube.
The motor itself is ridiculously simple: it’s essentially a brushless DC motor with a unique winding pattern. A number of coils — anywhere from six to twenty-four — are wired together with alternating polarity. If one coil is a magnetized north, its two neighbors are magnetized south, and vice-versa. The rotor is a ring with permanent magnets, all arranged so that they have the same polarity. A capacitor is used for the power source, and a reed switch serves as a simplistic commutator, if that’s even the right term.
As the motor turns, a permanent magnet passes by the reed switch and it makes the circuit. All of the electromagnets, which are wound in series, fire and kick the rotor forwards. Then the reed switch opens and the rotor coasts on to the next position. When it gets there the reed switch closes and it gets a magnetic kick again.
The catch? Building the device so that it’s carefully balanced and running on really good (sapphire) bearings, entirely unloaded, and powered with high impedance coils, leads to a current consumption in the microamps. As with most motors, when you spin it by hand, it acts as a generator, giving you a simple way to charge up the capacitor that drives it. In his video [lasersaber] blows on the rotor through a straw to charge up the capacitor, and then lets it run back down. It should run for quite a while on just one spin-up.
The EZ Spin motor is absolutely, positively not perpetual motion or “over-unity” or any of that mumbo-jumbo. It is a cool, simple-to-build generator/motor project that’ll definitely impress your friends and challenge you to see how long you can get it running. Check out [lasersaber]’s website, this forum post, and a 3D model on Thingiverse if you want to make your own.
Thanks to [J. Peterson] for the tip!
90 thoughts on “EZ-Spin Motor Spins “Forever””
It is cool, but might as well have nothing but a big flywheel and same good set of bearings. The flywheel would spin longer as there are less losses associated with energy conversion and circuit losses.
Exactly what I came here to say.
I don’t know about the specifics of the build, but depending on the design the loss of energy through air drag at higher speeds might outweigh the losses of charging the capacitor.
Well yeah, but the capacitor example is just showing how low-power and well-balanced it is. It’s also an electric motor, which has practical uses beyond being a glorified flywheel. Shows the guy’s skill with building motors.
Would be easy to test your hypothesis: Just disconnect it so the caps are disconnected and see how it runs.
And take the magnet off, otherwise eddies are going to slow it pretty quickly.
His commutation looks really odd to me. The reed switch is pretty far away from the rotor magnets, and although they are quite sensitive, they are also within the field produced by the two nearest stator windings. But, the two stator windings would have opposite field polarity, so (ideally) their fields would cancel each other out.
You can hear the reed switch clicking in one of his videos. I’m guessing that you’re right about the offsetting fields.
I think he’s got the reed switch placed a distance from the rotor in order to reduce the duty cycle, i.e., the swich only closes for a small fraction of the cycle.
There is also a load associated with a reed switch, so putting it further away, where the switch barely closes, reduces the drag induced by the reed switch. It may also be that placing the reed switch between the coils causes the duty cycle to be even shorter. If the reed switch is closer to the magnet whose polarity bucks the field of the rotor magnets, then as soon as the field in that coil reaches a certain point it will turn off the current. This also helps to ensure that the stator never saturates, which again leads to higher efficiency.
I was thinking that a tickler coil and a power MOSFET would make a better commutator, but the problem there is that a MOSFET goes through a resistive regime between its “off” and “on” states, and this would dissipate energy during the transitions. So maybe [lasersaber] is doing it right.
To all the commenters saying that a simple flywheel would be better, try the trick he does in the video, where he stops the motor with his fingers, lets go, and it starts spinning again. I don’t think that will work with a flywheel. The point of this project seems to be to have a motor that can sit on the shelf and run for years on a small battery.
I don’t see any reason for the stator to saturate. It has no ferrous materials in it, and can be treated as an air core inductor in this case.
I could have this wrong, but i think the stator coils are wound on iron (or other ferrous) cores.
They look like plastic rods, but you could email him and ask.
in this case it would attract rotor to some particular positions and it would not rotate that smoothly and easy.
The motor as is does not have any mechanical outputs, so stalling it is silly. If you short out your storage cap, you won’t be able to recover either.
You can make a flywheel version that can recover from a stall too by decoupling the energy storage from the rotational part. You can use an aluminum rotator plate over a magnetic flywheel with a separate bearing. The rotating magnetic field turns it into an induction motor.
Oh, of course. Yeah, that would be so much simpler than … a capacitor.
It would probably spin longer if the magnets and electronics was skipped. There are eddy current losses that are slowing it down faster than if they were absent.
I don’t think eddy currents much play here, there is no big solid core and the polarity is switching.
I should spin longer in a vacuum also.
Or in helium like modern HD do.
Wouldn’t helium impart drag? In the event helium is used in hard drives it evidently has enough mass to the read write heads can fly above the platter surfaces.
Yes it would of course, but it would be less drag than air though.
But I’m not sure a vacuum or low drag atmosphere is so relevant here, since the thing is round and can be made to be smooth how much air resistance can there be really? I guess someone would have to do some experiments to tell us.
A Tesla turbine works with smooth surfaces.
Yes, Tesla turbines have smooth surfaces. And that is why they are horribly inefficient.
My point is that Tesla turbines manage to entrain air with smooth surfaces.
Yes, yes you should.
It probably would as well.
I agree that it is a neat toy, but really serves little purpose.
Yes, yes you should.
It probably would as well.
Cool toy. clever engineering. Complete waste of time.
In a vacuum, I’d think you’d do more than spin.
I think you’d just spin a bit longer.
ever see those toys that suspend objects in mid air with magnets? could you make something that suspends and rotates at the same time?
You can get globes that are suspended in the air and rotate, from electromagnets in the housing. Google “levitating rotating globe”. I think it’s just a matter of magnet arrangement in the globe, and extra coils in the base.
HAD to the rescue: http://hackaday.com/2010/08/31/floating-globe-hacked-to-rotate/
It would also spin longer if it did a better job of harvesting the free energy coursing through the universe.
Glad to see he isn’t claiming overunity, There is a massive amount of people on youtube who believe that crap even their commenter’s fight it out, Claiming big (oil/energy/gov) is keeping it from the population.
That’s because they know almost nothing about basic physics. I’ve seen plenty magic motors, that run on magnets, and read even more about them and about other “free energy” crap. For every person that knows something about physics there are ten-twenty people who are duped into believing in those magic motors, and another 10 trolls that will repeat those claims of overunity because they made their own motors, that didn’t work and now won’t admit being idiots. Oh well, time to make my own design and sell it to stupid mases…
Exactly! Now if you could just get it too market without being killed by the CIA.
The people I have known who use phrases such as “Over Unity” not only do not know the physics behind their machines, they actively do not want to know. Try explaining to them some time, show them the maths, demonstrate it even. Usually, It does not go down well and the real world is simply ignored.
Though to be fair I may be that my experience with that crowd has coloured my perception of the larger group.
Well what do you expect? If they let basic facts stop them, they wouldn’t be bothering with that nonsense in the first place.
I suppose their refusal to learn is a mixture of cognitive dissonance, denial, and sunk-cost fallacy.
You know, I disagree. Modern science reporting floods people with insane magical ideas like quantum tunneling, zero-point energy, dark energy, wormholes, cold fusion, and other nonsense. And it’s written to *sound* amazing, because otherwise it’s boring.
The problem is that all of that is just silly theory: real physics is pretty boring at a macroscopic level. But people see it, and think “we’ll I’ve heard of that, so maybe it’s not garbage.”
Yeah, but fuckin’ magnets! The perpetual motion machines just use simple, ordinary properties of magnets that’ve been known about forever. There’s just always some “sticking point”, ie equilibrium, that if only they could somehow remove… maybe if I add more NIB magnets…
Quantum tunneling is nonsense? Pass the tinfoil!
“You know, I disagree.”
That’s because you have no idea what you’re talking about.
I try to explain to them the basic physics of such devices. In case of one believer in Kapanadze magnetic motor I even made some simulations in Femm to show them, how magnetic fields won’t cooperate with that ludicrous theory. That didn’t work. So nowadays I just mock them with clever use of sarcasm…
I think the billions of people following various religions, full of internal contradictions and bizarre theories from thousands of years ago, proves that you can’t logic someone out of something that they want to believe in.
I’m very unimpressed with humans in general. If there were any gods I’d be wanting a refund from them. Life should not be so annoying for such stupid reasons.
The big irony is that these people are the result of a different conspiracy – one that the big corporations/government want to make people dumb and be the perfect consumers.
It’s just-under unity. Maybe if we can eliminate friction!
Negative friction! That’s the ticket.
Fuck friction thats all it’s good for anyway!
Had negative fiction existed in this universe, a flywheel would spin faster over time, so why bother with all that complexity? :P
Oh, I love that “if we could just eliminate the friction” I constantly see on people who’ve made the Newman motor or the like. I’m always like, “umm, if it really were over unity, you wouldn’t need to worry about new bearings or the like”
I would look inside the wheel…
No reason to suspect cheating, he’s just built a nice motor.
A VERY nice motor. I’ll watch his other videos.
Because you don’t understand how the stuff outside the wheel works.
Seeing this and the talk about the DIY Cubesat, a motor like this would make a nice reaction wheel that draws very little power…now the question is, if the bearings can operate in hard vacuum :D
They’re sapphire, so they would work fine.
The capacitor and reed switch would be problematic.
Flight certified tantalum capacitors are available. The reed switch will fail eventually due to contact wear, but there are really no other good alternative switching devices that have such a low “on” state voltage drop and require no direct electrical input to operate.
You could try four or more 2SK170 JFET’s in parallel. That gets your on state drop down to around 0.025V. The current drawn by this little motor is well within the current rating of four of these in parallel. Then you need to sense the magnetic field somehow. A hall effect sensor may be the way to go.
JFET’s require so little gate current to switch on, you could probably just make a smaller coil to add to the stator field coils. The rotor magnets passing by will induce enough current in it to switch on the JFET’s if the coil is wound properly.
My colleagues have actually worked on a miniature reaction wheel for cubesats (its flying on the Delfi-n3Xt for those interested). During the vibration test (to simulate the launch vibrations) the ceramic ball bearings disintegrated into a 1000 tiny pieces. There is no way this type of design can survive the launch loads. Unless you add some kind of locking/unlocking mechanism to it.
P.S. I accidentally reported your comment. Admins please ignore.
Good thing he didn’t design it for that application. I’m not sure what it’s application is, but flight hardware it is not.
I have a very hard time believing that, alumina is very shock and compression resistant, they use the ball bearings in freaking military jets, they come out all egg shaped and cracked or whatever but most are round and almost 0 are disintegrated.
Not to mention you have boron nitride, or zinc carbide, silicon carbide… There is no way with these materials you cant make a bearing that can survive launch vibrations.
Unless you somehow magically hit the resonant frequency of the size of bearing you were using and it disintegrated, I am calling BS
Presumably his bearings were of an inferior material, or manufacture.
Or of low tolerance, exacerbating the effect of vibration.
Not sure I’m seeing it correctly, but did he measure the current in parallel in the video?
pretty difficult to see all the connection clearly in that portion of the video i went to look and paused it at that point. In the event the meter used required to be used with a shunt it would be wired in parallel with the shunt
I suspect he was connecting and disconnecting the ammeter from the shunt resistor.
I think this motor runs so well for three reasons-
1) Very low friction due to single point sapphire bearings.
2) No ferrous materials in the stator to introduce hysteresis losses into the system.
3) Completely non-electrically conductive stator design (except for field coils) to eliminate losses due to induced eddy currents and counter-fields.
Its a nice flywheel.
But it kind of seems to me that [lasersaber] has gone a bit too much into the “zomg energy” hype with this invention and his later dabblings into supercapacitors and such. Don’t get me wrong, low consumption systems or energy conservation ones are interesting , but does it need all those “EZ” and ZOMG ITS TECHNOLOGY MAGIC mood?
Of course it may sound boring to the mainstream or initiate electronic engineers, but i feel that a “cool” and probably misinformative nomenclature and focus … is ill-needed,
For example sake: NASA has done this. There are “pro” versions of these on nowadays Formula Ones .
Sorry about the ranting. I like the guy and his videos, but no mysticism needed or cool initials :/
He does it because 90% of the commentors or his audience are idiots and love the hype but understand none of the principles behind anything he is doing… To them it is magic.
Wasnt lasersaber the guy that claimed he had some kind of infinatley lasting joule ringer or something like that?
lol science and it’s caveats
I think it’s a hoot that even though [lasersaber] makes no claim about it running forever, and CLEARLY POINTS OUT the capacitors and explains their function in the video, people will still say there must be a hidden battery. If you check out his other YouTube videos, he also shows how to build a “crystal cell”, which is a magnesium-copper dry cell battery. HE doesn’t say that it’s anything more than a chemical battery, but many of his commenters would endow it with magical powers.
Knowing that some oilfield have kept running when the grid feeding them is down, I don’t suspect tricky here other than a lot of fine tuning. By accident , not by design those oil fields kept running. disconnect one well from the secondary, the entire field would stop. One commentator at his blog understanding a dynamo can’t produce more power that what is put into it was expect more power than blowing through s straw can provide. Not they should be faulted for asking the question, because no one knows everything there is to know, about everything.
My physics is pretty rudimentary but isn’t this better than a flywheel in terms of weight? Might a potential commercial application be a series of decorative ornaments for example that slowly rotate for the entire season?
Reminds me of the famous YPS Extra in Germany:
Want to provide a bit more information, for us Auslanders?
It is from the 80’s of last century. IIRC there is the big wheel with the magnets, a rubber band belt to one of the small wheels, a coil (at the very right behind the exclamation mark of “Rückseite!”) and a moveable reed switch in the white bracket to the top left,- and yes: a battery. By adjusting the angle of the reed switch to the coil you could tune the motor.
“Ein Hit für Elektro-Tüftler und alle, die es werden wollen!” – The bee’s knees for Electro-tinkerer and everyone who want to become one
“It is from the 80’s of last century.” Ahh thanks, I’ve been playing too much Fallout 4 lately. :) This magazine could have come out of that game.
Would be amazing if this can be powered by a crystal radio.
Modify a crystal radio to use full wave rectification and you’d have even more energy to play with. The trick would be to tune to a local, strong broadcast. I’d estimate that this is totally feasible as long as you have a switch to take the piezo speaker out of the circuit and dump the current into the tantalums instead.
Also, why not put some mirrors on the top of the rotating disk, have some “jewel thieves” running into some high brightness LEDs pointing at the mirrors. Then you get a super efficient disco ball!
Joule Thieves have poor efficiency. 40 to 60%. Better boost converter designs can have 96% efficiency.
Sure, but can “better boost converters” operate on the millivolts you’ll get from a crystal radio detector?
No. Neither can a joule thief. The current is far too low.
But, it may be possible to store the energy for later use with an appropriate boost converter in capacitors or a battery. The Linear Technology LTC3108 is one example. If sufficient voltage can be obtained, then something like the LTC3588 could be used.
Only if you are practically sitting on a 50kW transmitting antenna. Otherwise, only uW or at best mW are available.
Lots of things are incredibly efficient with no mechanical load… but that’s a mode that has no bearing(ha. ha. ha.) on “real life” for a motor.
Why doesn’t the mechanical force generated be further used to create an additional magnetic force in a series of coils wound above and below the disc, if made to a larger scale? WOuldn’t that give the ability to further store the energy generated and use it to recharge a supercap/batt to make it run longer?
It would only add drag to the system and slow it down faster.
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