Mundane technology

I happened to get a lawnmower as a gift and it does not start so I wanted some way to identify why it did not start easily so I don't have to get my hands dirty digging about and swearing at the poor mechanical design of a 2-cycle engine. I know that high voltage or "spark" testers can be had cheaply in the $10 range, but I am an electronics guy and so it seems absurd to buy something that may be already here in some other form. I could just wrap a wire around the spark wire and trigger my oscilloscope on the EM pulse, but that seems extremely cumbersome.

For spark test I think I will make an audio circuit that just uses the radio static to measure the voltage and current indirectly in the air. In some ways a transformer or magneto is like a hydraulic ram. A large number of electrons move at a lower pressure and move a smaller number of electrons at a higher pressure. It is of course far more involved than that and even involves anti-time and entanglement. For my purposes I only want to measure the field induction of a circuit in some near proximity in such a way that I can look at one part of the problem and listen to the other part. I have sensors that respond to pressure using piezoelectric sensors and I also have a complete automotive computer which can control ignition and injection of fuel. I also have di-ethyl ether or common starting fluid which has an autoignition temperature of 320°F. There are very few things to consider when dealing with the operation of a 2 cycle engine. If the gas is mixed with air (Oxygen) and it is compressed at the top of the stroke, while a spark is created in the chamber, the resultant rise in kinetic activity will push the piston by differential pressure. If the gas is ignited the resultant excess differential pressure is audible as it exhausts waste gas. I suppose I could put some ether in a plastic bag with the spark plug grounded to the mower frame and pull the cord, but though that might be entertaining in some ways, it is far too much effort.

I am surprised that ether is used as an intoxicant. I was aware of its former use as an anesthetic and the risks that the accidental ignition can have.

I suppose I could mount a hall sensor in place of the magneto and use the automotive control computer to deliver a pre-heated gas fuel mixture that would result in better power advantage and calculate the surface integral of EMF to design the audio circuit, but being as lazy as I am I will just take an amp that I have and wrap a wire on the ignition wire and investigate by experimentation. I does have much to do with Einstein, aviation ( funny I never noticed that the word seems to imply becoming bird-like ) , Maxwell, Faraday, Feynman, Volta, Tesla, ....

So the field induced in the wire is amplified and becomes a click in the audio receiver. I will experiment and deduce the EM energy per surface.

On to the lab.

I am getting the desire to put an injector/ igniter in the spark plug hole, but I will resist. Mainly I wanted to design an audible test that verifies that the magneto is working as it cannot be easily determined by inspection while the cord is being pulled.

I think I will do a LM386 with a 9V battery and speaker all in an old plastic case with a sensing wire and volume control. Here is a link from somebody at MIT, and a gateway to other stuff about it. It is true that it can be used for many things that happen in human time frames. Here is a better link that deals with op amps and I think a sample and hold with peak detection might be more fun with an oscillator to indicate intensity as well as a reset circuit, perhaps I will do a multimode detector.

Wow, Google Docs is really changing and it is so easy that it is scary. I can f2k something up with such ease that it could be done by an ant's brain.

I am also doing some design with LANCAM to simulate the brain of a politician. It is the simplest life form on the planet and it has very little complexity. It has a graft input and a crime against humanity output, so the Markov model need not be too convolved.

Hmmmm RFID.

Okay it worked well ( clicky clicky noise in the speakers when rotated ) and obviously there was current so I changed plugs and it started fine. It is self-propelled with a variable clutch, rear wheel drive and seems to really decapitate the grass. I don't feel guilty about beheading the grass as it thinks that by taking over by millimeters I won't notice, but I have laid them low and they won't do that again until next week.

I also tested compression by putting a rag in the spark plug hole and rotating the engine. It flew about a foot out with a nice pop!! and what follows is a lie : I determined the center of gravity and density of the rag and did Navier-Stokes calculations on that result modeled on travel through air at 305°Kelvin at 70% humidity and decided compression was okay and ratio was about 10.30245:1

Wow that lie must have caused some brain damage as I had to think a bit about what HTML ampersand & code was used for %. Perhaps it is ether intoxication.


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