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You are here: > News > January 19, 2014

MidTech still awaiting circuit components

Should be in tomorrow, then they'll test to see if it addresses the problem of heat on the circuit board. If so, we can come in to validate. UL certification will be required before it can be hooked up to power a home, but it can operate as an off-grid genset during beta phase.

by Sterling D. Allan
Pure Energy Systems News

As already mentioned, I had an awesome conversation with Doug Myers of MidTech on Wednesday. And today I talked to his electrical technician, Dustin Law, to get an update on where things are at presently.

Last week we posted a feature page about their generator which allegedly produces up to 2.5 kilowatts, without any solar, wind, or fuel required, producing no pollution. And they said the systems are available for $6500 USD. 

Then, the next day, they announced that their electrical technician, Dustin, had found a component on their circuit board that was getting too hot and could effect the longevity of the system; so they were going to order parts to get that addressed before opening their product for sale.

On Wednesday, Doug told me that he was expecting those replacement parts to arrive on Friday. But today, Dustin said that the shipment had not arrived yet. He said he had anxiously awaited for it to arrive yesterday, but it never showed up.

Dustin said he expects it to arrive tomorrow (regular services by FedEx and UPS on MLK holiday), after which he will need about two hours to get everything hooked up. Then he will be running tests to make sure everything is operating properly, not overheating, responding to load changes properly, shutting off properly if the load goes beyond the limit of the generator, restarting properly.

When I talked to Doug on Wednesday, he said he had looked at our QMoGen page, and that their "Black Box" system definitely fits into that ballpark of devices. He said there is no hydroxy system, no water that can freeze. He expects that annual service of the device should be adequate, as the rotating components are engineered to operate continuously without any problem.

The "black box" portion is bolted shut primarily for safety, as that is where the rotating components are located, not to protect intellectual property. The cabinet includes a motor, generator, battery, circuitry, and wiring.

He said that they do modify both the motor and the generator, which are off-the shelf components.

So when we do our validation of this technology, we'll be able to look inside the black box. We'll be able to see that there is nothing hidden in the entire black cabinet. Everything is off-the-shelf stuff. So, really, once the system is up and running, producing 2.5 kW while in self-looped mode, and disconnected from the battery that got is started, even one minute of such operation will signify that their system works as claimed. But we'll want to run it for several hours anyway. We'll want to assess what happens when the load suddenly increases or decreases -- will there be any brown-out or spike on the other things plugged into the system? 

Dustin will be checking for these things as well when he assesses the system on Monday after installing the replacement circuit components. He wants to be sure it's 100% ready to go before opening it up.

We (NEST) have several people lined up to be involved in the testing, including Steven E. Jones, Mike Waters, Chip Paul, myself. Steve has oscilloscopes, two 1000 W heaters, several IR-temperature reading devices (non-contact). We'll also have a private group coming in as well, with interest in bringing this to their customer base, so they will be there to make sure we ask all the rubber-hits-the-road kind of questions.

Running so Far

I asked Doug how long they have had their prototype running continuously, and he said that the "6-months" statement from their East-of-Mississippi guy, Chris, was a misunderstanding. They've been working on it for 6 months. Doug said the longest they've had it running continuous has been 24 hours, twice.

UL Approval Matters

I've done some inquiring into UL requirements for systems of this ilk and have learned that if something is powering a house, in the U.S., it has to be UL-approved. This is especially true if it is going to be run through a grid-tie with battery back-up, which sends energy out onto the grid.

Even though the grid-tie with battery back-up only sees the battery, not what is powering the battery, regulations require that the battery charging system be UL approved. My friend Randy Tolbert, who was my landlord before we moved to our present location, has installed solar systems for about three decades. He's been running his home on a grid-tie with battery back-up for 15 years. He says you can't even tell when the grid goes down. The electricity automatically switches from the grid to the battery, without a hiccup. Then when the grid comes back up, it waits five minutes before syncing back up to the grid.

Unfortunately, there are not presently grid-interface connects for AC-producing systems, to do net metering. Net metering systems that use batteries shut the entire system down in the case of a grid outage.  

A UL listing is not required if a system is being used as an off-grid genset. But in that case, the customer needs to sign a waiver understanding that the system is not UL-approved yet, and that the system is experimental/beta testing; accepting responsibility for any problems that might occur. The UL listing is primarily a liability waiver, saying that the system has been tested to comply with the UL safety regulations, so any problems are going to be a result of intentional misuse by the user.

Dustin explained that the "transfer switch" that they were planning to use with their "Black Box" does not send their power to the grid. It only serves as a relay so that if their black box doesn't provide enough power for the home, then the transfer switch will pull from the grid to augment what is needed. But that scenario will not be able to be implemented until their "black box" is UL approved, otherwise people could be jeopardizing their home warranties or home insurance.

That said, what I was planning to do with my MidTech Black Box system, once I get it from them, once it tests out, and I raise enough funds to get one, is to use it as a genset to power things in the home separate from the home wiring. 

If the world fell apart, and the grid went down for an extended period, prior to getting a system is UL approved, I could turn off the breaker to the grid so the house is not connected to the gird, then backfeed the black box into the home wiring through a male-male connection from the genset to a 20-amp portion of the home (a regular outlet that is hooked to a 20-amp fuse); and this would enable me to back feed up to 2.4 kW before the fuse would trip. But that would only effect those portions of the home that are on that leg of the service panel. If I wanted the whole home to be powered, I'd have to run an extension cord from the genset to an outlet that is on the other leg of the service panel. But I wouldn't be able to power anything that pulled more than 2.5 kW, such as the electric dryer, air conditioner, electric water heater (ours is gas).


Here is an excerpt from an email I received from Doug on January 20, 2014 8:53 AM [Mountain] (slightly edited)

Also anyone wanting to view the project ONCE IT IS COMPLETED will be required to sign a notice of disclosure [NDA] as well as a non compete clause. I have also consulted an attorney about drawing up a non compete purchase agreement contract so that our technology cannot be used [for reverse engineering] once it is purchased. You will be updated as that progresses. 

We are also mulling around the idea of a formal release of the product upon its completion and to invite everyone at that time to inspect the completed project, because of the overwhelming response of individuals flying in from around the world wanting to inspect the black box. 

We were informed that the electronics would be delivered today so Dustin and myself will be late at again tonight to install the components. We will wait until tomorrow to do our testing so no mistakes will be made due to lack of sleep. As usual once we begin installing we will not answer our phones until it is complete. Thank you for your understanding in all of this and we will be the future of energy. 

Doug Myers

Fundraiser for Trip...

I really appreciate the infusion you provided to enable my recent trip to Oakland to visit Brillouin, etc. I hope you agree that was a worth-while trip. I'm not even done reporting on all the great things we learned while we were there. We've also pulled in some funds toward purchasing a MidTech unit and transport. 

After we get the green light from Doug (when they are comfortable with their system to begin selling it, and therefore will want our validation to help in the process), I would like to fly out there as well, to be part of that, documenting it and witnessing it.

We'd appreciate it if you can chip in toward that trip, as well as our regular up-keep needs. Getting a round-trip ticket from SLC - Wichita just a day away costs around $900.

# # #


Jan. 19; Manuel M; US: $20
Jan. 20; Chris Loder (son of Ted) offered his frequent flyer miles to cover my flight
Jan. 10; Igor K; US; $10
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Subtotal: $30
(This subtotal commenced January 19, 2014; 10:25 pm) Dates are per Mountain time [GMT-6].

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Page composed by Sterling D. Allan
Last updated February 05, 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

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