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You are here: > News > November 30, 2008

Zero Amp Tech demonstration reflections

Peter Sumaruck has captured the imagination of many with his demonstration alleging 0.05 Watts input from a genset powering five motors (4000 Watts) output through his modified modified variable AC motor controller. However, a New Energy Congress assessment gives reason for skepticism.

by Sterling D. Allan
Pure Energy Systems News

Telephone wire comes into the left from the genset, driving the controller, pictured here; and three heavy wires come out to power the five motors.

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Here at PES Network, we're on the lookout for breakthrough energy technologies. Recently we came across one that piqued our interest, but after some examination and discussion, we grew skeptical, though not entirely.

On Sunday, Nov. 23, I was told about Peter (Pete) Sumaruck's "Zero Amps Tech" demonstration taking place in his garage near San Francisco, in which a generator was allegedly powering a modified variable AC motor controller with a small fraction of a Watt input; while the controller was running five AC motors: three rated at 2 horsepower, and two rated at 7.5 HP; and the controller did not get hot but stayed at ambient temperature. I was told that the motors came up to speed in less than a second, and once the motors were up to speed, which they do in synchrony, there was 70,000 times more output than input energy measured. In other words, this set-up seemed to be harnessing energy from the environment somehow, and that is what was powering the motors. The controller unit had two strands of telephone wire of very fine gauge going into it for the single phase, 60 HZ input power; while the three-phase output wires were thick, 6-8-gauge.

What was even more intriguing is that Pete claimed to have built a self-looping generator that kept itself running, with energy left over for use, powering banks of lights, welding torches, and other heavy loads. He said that prototype had been commissioned by the U.S. Army, but was discontinued when two politicians with ties to the Nuclear industry pulled the plug on it. The account of the history and alleged capabilities of this technology is covered elsewhere.

Pete's demonstration in the back of his pick-up truck.  The 6.5-HP genset is in the upper-left.  To the right of it are two 7.5-HP motors.  In front of them are three 2-HP motors and the junction where the motors are hooked up and connected to the controller, which is on the middle of the tailgate.

Bear in mind that I had just returned from Chicago where two of the Global Top 100 Clean Energy Technologies had received awards at the Environmental Hall of Fame, including #1, Stirling Energy Systems. (Story) I commented to the NEC that ironically, the day after celebrating the #1 technology that perhaps we had now discovered a technology that would unseat the #1 position.

All things considered, encouraged to come check it out for myself, I got on the phone with Jim Dunn, our key advisor at the New Energy Congress (NEC), and I sent a quick note to the NEC letting them know about this development.

Went to See Demo

I flew in that night, and Jim arrived the next morning. Ken Rasmussen, a member of the NEC drove in, also arriving Monday morning. Several others flew or drove in as well, to join those that were already there, ogling over this device that seemed to hold promise for helping to solve the world's energy problems.

The telephone wire was indeed very small, and the amperage on the input measured 0.241 milliamps. Multiplied by 240 Volts, that comes to 0.057 Watts in. Meanwhile, the output current was measured at 16.7 amps. Multiplied by 240 Volts, that comes to 4008 Watts -- 70,000 times more than the input. Also, the motors did indeed start together, go up speed together, and then stop at precisely the same time when powered off by the controller.  We were not able to measure the phase angle of the voltage and current therefore the above calculated powers are the maximum possible.

At first blush, it did seem that we had finally found an electromagnetic overunity technology that clearly worked. There was quite an air of euphoria as we mulled over what we had seen. It was in that context that Jim and I issued positive statements for a video recording that Ken Rasmussen was making.

Zero-Amp Technology - tech review by Sterling Allan and James Dunn. (Google Video; Nov. 29, 2008)

Pete would not let us put an oscilloscope on the set-up, saying that we would be able to figure out what he is doing. He said that he had modified the controller so that around 30% of it remained unchanged.

Neither would Pete allow us to load down any of the motors. He said that the start-up and idle current in comparison to the input current should be evidence enough to prove what he was doing. He said that the controller was set for balance between all of them, and that they have to be in resonance, and if any one of them is loaded it would throw the system off and possibly mess up his controller.

Probably Not Overunity

The ensuing discussion in the NEC forum was fascinating, as several people who have had extensive exposure to systems similar to this one raised questions and pointed out factors that need to be weighed in drawing any conclusions about what had been seen. Several people concluded in those discussions that the demonstration we saw is not definitively overunity.

Some of the reasons given are as follows:

  • Pete was not running the amp meter in series on the input, but in parallel; so the 0.241 milliamp reading was not accurate, but was low by a large factor.  An undetermined amount of the input electricity was flowing through the telephone wire, while some (0.241 milliamps) was flowing through the meter.  Jim Dunn tried to get Pete to run the meter in series so that all the electricity would flow through the meter for a more accurate reading of input current, but Pete never did that while we were there.

One of Pete's 2-HP motors.

  • The motors were not running at full speed per their name plate rating.
  • The motors were not starting up rapidly.  I timed them going to full speed between 2-4 seconds -- a "soft start".  Under normal operation, they would start up in less than a second, and could flip on their side if they were not mounted.  None of Pete's motors were mounted.
  • It would take around 2-4 amps to soft start the five motors with no load on them.

Pete's telephone wire junction where the amp meter was placed for parallel amp measurement.  Same as "A" in above photo.  A single strand of this multiple-strand wire would be larger than 60 gauge, which would be barely visible.
  • Telephone wire nowadays is typically 24 gauge (ref.), which is 0.0201 of an inch in diameter (ref.).  Jim said 24-gauge wire can carry 10-20 amps before it melts.  He uses it as a "poor man's fuse" for some applications.  It could easily carry the 2-4 amps that it would take to soft start up the five motors.  When I asked Pete about this later, he said that the telephone wire was of much smaller gauge than that -- like 60 gauge .  Jim said that telephone wire would never be less than 26 gauge.
  • When I had an RPM gauge held tight to one of the motor shafts to time the interval between start-up and max speed, the telephone wire burned up when Pete went to start it up.  Apparently, that much load was enough to overload the input wire.  Pete had to replace it with something a little thicker (~22 gauge).
  • The output to the motors may have been a pulsed width square wave, which will give an artificially high amp reading using a clamp-on meter as we were doing.
  • The 6.5-HP fuel-powered genset that Pete was using to power the input would sound loaded when Pete started up the motors, and it sounded unloaded when he turned the motors off.  The genset governor would not respond like that if there were only milliamps of current being drawn, but is more indicative of several amps being pulled.

Additionally, one of the most interesting things about this set-up is the claimed resonance between the motors. There are a number of discussion groups (e.g. pertaining to EV Gray and Rotoverter) that have been pursuing this type of thing for several years. When the motors run in resonance like this, they run very efficiently in idle mode, but when a load is applied, they exhibit normal efficiency. If I understand correctly, as part of the resonance, the motors are swapping current back and forth so that the back EMF from one is dumped into the other, and vice versa, reducing those losses. It is possible that the 16.7 amps measured during idle in Pete's demo could actually be due to resonance with the voltage and current 90 deg (or very close to 90) out of phase and with thus with almost no available real power. The actual amperage expended to keep the motors idling would be much less than that – just the small component of in phase voltage and current.  The 16.7 amps output current measured may have been largely reactive current flowing in a resonant circuit and not indicative of usable real current.

In conclusion, on the input side, the above points suggest that the actual input current is much higher than the 0.241 milliamps reported. And on the output side, the actual effective current could be much lower than the 16.7 amps reported. In fact, all things considered, it is possible and even probable that the output is actually slightly lower than the input.

The misplacement of the input current measurement, the unknown waveform of the output and the unknown phase relationships of voltage and current completely prohibit any meaningful power calculations. What needs to happen for the present set-up to be measured definitively is to run a test in which the input and the output are more accurately measured, using an oscilloscope, with a measurable load on the output side.  Pete didn't seem willing to do that, saying that it wouldn't work that way.

Jury Not In

The jury is not in on this, for sure. More tests are being done, and could vindicate the inventor's general claim of producing more out than what was put in (implying harvesting environmental energy of some sort); or they may support the above position that the system is not actually over-unity.

Either way, it is interesting science, and the inventor deserves credit for having devised this set-up.

His not-yet-verified assertion about having built a self-running system that two conflicted politicians squashed is certainly an enticing story. The question is if enough evidence can be produced from the temporary crude set-up, to convince someone to put up enough funds to enable him to reproduce what he claims to have built for the Army.

If this piques your interest, be apprised that there are quite a few politics that have entered into this from the over-unity-possibility-believing crowd and organizations. It hasn't been pretty. That might be a story for another day. For now, I just wanted to set the record straight regarding my present stance on the plausibility of this "Zero Amps" technology, since the above video has been released that shows a very glowing statement from me, prior to my having the above factors to consider.

# # #


  • Electromagnetic > Zero Amp Tech >
    Zero Amp Tech demonstration video - Video footage from a demonstration by Peter Sumaruck of his "Zero Amp" technology which allegedly puts out far more energy than it consumes. The video also shows Pete flipping through his photo album of the self-looped 36 kW set-up he allegedly built for the Army. (PESN; Dec. 2, 2008) (See also PES Saga)
  • Jan. 29, 2008 memo. We have spoken with someone who is expert at motor controller operation, and he said that any good motor controller programmer could replicate the effect Pete was showing in about half an hour -- nothing extraordinary.

See also

Page composed by Sterling D. Allan Nov. 30, 2008
Last updated December 24, 2014 





"It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom." // "I'd rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right." -- Albert Einstein

ADVISORY: With any technology, you take a high risk to invest significant time or money unless (1) independent testing has thoroughly corroborated the technology, (2) the group involved has intellectual rights to the technology, and (3) the group has the ability to make a success of the endeavor.
All truth passes through three stages:
   First, it is ridiculed;
   Second, it is violently opposed; and
   Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

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of the crowd you're a genius.
When you're two steps ahead,
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