Spend enough time on YouTube, and you’ll eventually find yourself in one of the many dark corners hiding within it. No, I’m not talking about the comments. In this case, I mean the many videos dedicated to free energy, overunity devices, perpetual motion machines, or anything else that violates the laws of thermodynamics by trying to get out more energy than is put in. The human race has been reaching for impossible dreams of perpetual motion and free energy for just about all of recorded history. Now it’s convenient to find them all in one place.
Browsing the tubes, it’s easy to break free energy videos down into two major groups: enthusiasts and scammers. Catching a scammer is easy – they’re looking for money. Somewhere in the video or description will be a link to a website with more information. Eventually that will lead you to a place where the scammer attempts to part you and your hard-earned money.
Names like John Searl, Muammer Yildiz, and M. T. Keshe go here. Searl especially deserves note because he’s been at it for decades. Supposedly, his “Searl Effect Generator” SEG has been built several times, but the prototypes generate so much power they create their own anti-gravity field and fly off into space. Obviously this man and his staff need your money to continue their work. Scammers deserve disdain and public shaming. These are the folks who know their “discoveries” are nothing more than snake oil.
On the other side of the coin lie the enthusiasts. These are the backyard tinkerers, the ones who put down their computers, pick up their tools, and try to build something. Sounds a lot like the average Hackaday reader, doesn’t it? I have to admit I went into this article with the same disdain for the enthusiasts that I have for the scammers, possibly even more. In some cases, these are the folks who truly believe they can have a chance to violate the laws of thermodynamics. Inevitably these folks fail to build free energy generators, overunity devices, or whatever their pursuit is, but they all do seem to learn something in the process. A lot can be said about the builds themselves. Some of these are awesome devices. Even if they don’t work for their intended purpose, they are great demonstrations of magnetism or chemistry. This is where I had a change of heart. If someone wants to spend their time working on an impossible hack, then more power to them. I may not think they have any chance of success, but at the very least, they’ll learn how to build.
A good example is this 2008 video by [theDaftman]. [TheDaftman] is building a Newman motor. In 1979, scammer Joseph Newman “designed” a motor which uses coils, magnets, and a simple commutator to operate from DC power. Yes, it’s a DC motor. A basic version can be seen in this video by [a]. [TheDaftman’s] version uses four “pots” (motors) connected on a common shaft. He uses a bank of switches to power up or down each of his four motors. The setup is much like a 4 cylinder internal combustion engine. Real life multi-pole motors include all the coils on a single rotor (or stator depending on the type of motor). However, it’s rather interesting to see the parts broken out like this. As for Newman himself, he’s still pushing his technology on his own YouTube channel.
Many of the devices on YouTube are based on magnets. Enthusiasts wrongly believe the invisible force created by magnets is the key to unlocking free energy. This has led to some intricate builds using coils and permanent magnets. [The Openminded Skeptic] has created his share, including this 3D printed magnet motor. While the motor didn’t work, it is an impressive build, and [The Openminded Skeptic] himself has said that he learned quite a bit from the build. [jzsd14me] also has some great examples of magnet motors built both from plastic and wood. The motors do spin, but of course they aren’t overunity.
Another group of enthusiasts center around splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. Oxyhydrogen, is a real thing of course. The idea here is that Brown’s gas, a common name for the HHO gas produced by the electrolysis of water, will power cars. An unmodified carbureted gasoline engine will run quite happily on hydrogen. The problem is that it takes more energy to perform the electrolysis of the water than you get back from the hydrogen. A car running on a HHO generator will eventually be found on the side of the road with a dead battery.
This doesn’t stop HHO enthusiasts. There are plenty of designs for generators on the internet. [Alexthe2nd] has a video depicting his 60 plate generator. [delvis11] bumped that up to 354 plates.
Even though HHO is not a great solution for the automotive industry, it does have uses in the hacker world. Brown’s gas can be used to make a torch capable of cutting steel. Viral YouTuber [CarsAndWater] started with HHO generators. His Red Hot Nickel Ball (RHNB) series is powered by an HHO torch.
Note: hydrogen gas is fairly flammable, but it only burns as fast as it can get access to oxygen. Brown’s gas pre-combines the two in just the right mixture: one spark and the whole thing can explode. This is something [omahaturbo] found out when he failed to install a spark arrestor.
So the next time you find yourself on the strange side of YouTube don’t run for the hills. You might just find some awesome (pointless) builds hiding between the scammers and the trolls.