Instructables

Perpetual energy machine idea. Would it work?

Hello, i had an idea today. A light powered by a solar panel that powers itself! You would need a small amount of energy to initiate the circuit's current, but i can only see one way why this could not work: Lightbulbs lose some energy as heat and a tiny percentage as sound. How could you counter this? Heat collectors? Any ideas? I think that I may be on to something here!

You might want to read up on Conservation of energy.

Put simply, energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed from one form to another.

Imagine you make your system, and find a way to make it 100% efficient (with the heat collectors etc).

Then how are you going to use the energy?
As soon as you tap into the cycle, to take energy for a motor for example, the energy will drain out of the system, into the motor, and your cycle would stop.

The Jamalam (author)  NathanWilliams5 years ago
i suppose. the lightbulb would be pointless with all of the things around it.
Higgs Boson3 years ago
Conservation of energy will be at play here, and will not allow you to spontaneously create energy. This goes for all perpetual motion machines, so this concept will never work, but it is still kind of fun to try.
I know what you mean. But you also have to look at it from a different perspective. We all know that the law of conservation of energy basically means that all energy within an enclosed system never really escapes it just changes from one form into another. And the second law of thermodynamics being entropy basically means that chaos reigns when objects are in motion. Motion creates friction friction creates heat, heat creates degradation to the point of eventual destruction. Therefore when it comes to a system like the one proposed it would only work under the given parameters: The exchange of energy would have to be perfect. Hence you would need a 100% efficient solar cell, a 100% efficient Light, connected by superconductive wiring(that operates at room temp) and to top it off all this would have to be placed in an enclosed system such as a 100% reflective box. Even this would only give an equal exchange at best. The moment you tap into this system, blamo...shutdown. Only in theory could this be perpetual...or could it be in reality? Let's just say what if. What if we looked to the actual output of a solar cell as the bar by which we judged instead of the input? What If a solar cell under 7,000 lumen put out 400 VOLTS AND 250 MILLIAMPERES. Then in knowing the output of the cell all that has to be done is to find a light source that creates 7000 lumen for less energy than the cell puts out under that given source of light(400 volts and 250 miiliamperes) What if you used a 4 watt LED LED made by Everlight LED that runs from 200 volts and 20 milliamps which creates 350 lumen. What if you placed two of these in series so that you have to run 400 volts and 20 milliamperes(8w) to get a total of 700 lumen. What if you placed ten sets of these; one beneath the other. What if you placed these ten sets of 2 LED's in parallel creating a grid of LED's that requires 400 VOLTS AND 200 MILLIAMPERS to create 7,000 lumen. You would have 50 Milliamperes left over. Perpetual energy is not practical when trying to acheive through ouput but when you alter the input it seems to be mathematically feasible.

Hi,

Its me Surendra from India. I am not from natural science. I am a masters in Japanese Language and Literature studies. But, these days, I am building an incubator, so reading about energy and motion stuff :-) Well, to hatch egg, they need to change their position, at least four times a day, best if 24times a day. So, I came across this site, and read your explanation on motion and " movement-chaos-heat-degradation " , it was really informative for a guy from social science.

that is very col. But wouldn't it be true that energy would escape through heat that escapes from the LEDs?
Oh absolutely. You will have loss in so many areas that it just isn't funny. However, If properly accounted for all loss to include degradation of the solar cell, Lumen loss from heat as well as life span, Heat loss through absorption of the mirror, Ohm's law/ resistance in wiring, etc. can all be accounted for. The loss will be continual but gradual. Like sand sifting through an hourglass or a boat with a pinhole in it. You don't throw away the boat with a pinhole even if you can't find the hole to plug it; you accept it and gladly keep fishing. What I'm saying is; there is no perfect system; all systems have loss but if the the loss can be accounted for then it can be controlled to a degree. So Imagine an hour glass that leaks so slowly that it would take several lifetimes for it to finish. The example above is one that would not last that long but it is self-sustaining for a while, maybe 6 months to a year before degradation causes that extra 50 milliamperes to drop below the 100% mark. This of course would spiral into shutdown in a nanosecond. However as long as you can keep the extra energy a great deal above 100% then the lifespan would be prolonged. So imagine doubling the amount of LED's then the total above 100% goes from 50milliamperes to 100milliamperes. It will still leak but it will take two years for it to sink not one year. And to be 100% honest the only reason that entropy is controllable at this level is because there are no moving parts. Therefore heat can be accounted for and compensated for. If you placed a match under ten thousand gallons of water, and let us say the match burned eternally, would you ever get the water to boil? No. The amount of heat generated will never rise above the water's ability to disperse it / release it.
Wow I never expected that this kind of system could last for so long. Even though it is not perpetual, I think it is still rather remarkable.
No, it's not really perpetual in the sense that it will run forever but it will power itself. I have even figured out how to create so much extra that you can run another object. I'm in the process of building it with similar parts to the one I showed above. I have shown the concept to a few physicist which are still arguing about it. The only way to truely show them is to build it. Wished I had help yet when one person says the word perpetual its like breaking wind in church. Physicist immediately start to cry, "Stone him." Yet the math is undeniable and the suggested LED and actual numbers are real; not made up. But the really cool thing is that when the LED's burn out you can simply replace them so it's renewable.
That's awesome! You should make an instructable for it if you get it to work.
It took Edison over a thousand tries to perfect the light bulb. I have been working on this concept for 4 years now. I have failed countless times but yet in each failure I have gotten a step closer to making it work. Edison was once asked by a journalist, "how did it feel to fail 1000 times before getting it right?" He replied, "I did not fail a thousand times. The incandescent light bulb was just an invention with a thousand steps." I feel as if I have taken a thousand and one steps and I'm weary. But I have never had the actual math proven until now. So I am not just hopeful in the outcome but I am sure of the outcome. However, I am too tired to celebrate even if it is successful. I have a physicist coming from Utah in late December or early January to help me complete it and test it. If it does work he is going to display it at a symposium and I'm sure the details will be given then.
shawnnweed4 years ago
third and last tip. Overcoming one law...the law of diminishing returns. you will have to add the LED's together to increase light output. At some point the solar cells will not produce any futher energy by adding another LED. Plus the more LED's = more energy/amperage to run. Simply put at some point, your bundle of led's will require more energy than your solar cell can put out. This is the applicable law of diminishing returns. Laws must be dealt with not ignored. How can I fix this? You can't fix it but you can put this law in check. Two ways(hand in glove); use high voltage LED's that only require minimal amperage. Remeber, it's easy to produce voltage in a solar cell but hard to produce a current/amperage. The second way don't use many Led's, use one. But what about light output? When a company says my solar cells are 14% effeicent they really mean my solar cells reflects 86% of the light that strikes it. Give your solar cells more than one chance to make current by absorbing more light. How? Place your solar cells and warm white LED in a mirror box. Each time the light is relected back down it absorbs another 14% until 7 reflections and all your light is absorbed.(7 relections times 14% effiecncy = 98% absorbancy) Of course their will be some heat generated but that's ok...it shouldn't raise much above 130 degrees with cooling vents. Plus all those relections equals more energy; 7 reflections is the equivalent of having 7 lights without all that unnecesarry heat and added amperage to run many lights. Law of Dimishing Returns is now in Stalemate(never Checkmate...you can't beat the law).
shawnnweed4 years ago
Your second tip. Mono, poly or Amorphous. Choices, choices. I am going with mono for two reason; efficiency and light emssion absorbancy. Long story short they work better and absorb warm white light really well.(compare the warm white LED spectrum to the light emssion absorbancy of monocrstalline solar cells and you will see they are a near perfect match like hand in glove. Also solar cells are made of silicon which is highly reflective like chrome. This is why they cover them with blue or black film to increases the absorbancy which inturn increases the efficiency. Best Mono on the market is Sunpower 19(19-25% efficient) with anti-reflective glass to increase absorbancy. Can't afford a $650 panel, me neither. I shop at Plastecs, WB30 15% efficient, and they sell by the piece. It's a little expensive but more affordable than buying an entire panel. Your second tip is go Mono.
shawnnweed4 years ago
To show you that I am serious I will give you a few tips. Number one. Visible light is the best way to produce voltage in the solar cell. However, voltage is easy. The hard part is making the solar cells produce a current. 80% of the current comes from Infrared light and the other 20 % comes from UV radiation/light. We do not have a UV light source sufficient enough to power this so you have to go with IR. IR is also know as 'heat'. A really good light source to give an example. A par 20 halogen lamp, from ten inches away, will equivocate the output of the sun at zenith. However, it puts out too much iR due to the extreme heat and will begin a degradation of the enregy output after about ten seconds. Solar cells above 130 degrees start shutting down. Not to mention the sheer amount of energy needed to power halogen...wouldn't work. Other light sources are also too hot except one...LED's. The probelm with led's is that they are a blue light source(455 nanometers) covered by light emmitting phosphor. In other words they do not have UV or IR light. Hence the solar cell will produce voltage but no current. However, they are making what are called "warm white Led's". These have red phosphors added in with the yellow phosphor. The red phosphor goes deep into the IR region enough to produce a current when you have a high lumen output. So your first tip is to use High Lumen "Warm White LED's".
shawnnweed4 years ago
I have been working on the same project since may 2007. I have come a long way. I am in the process of building a protoype. If you would like to discuss it in detail I am open for a forum. If you would like tips or hints on how to speed up the process just e-mail me...shawnnweed@hotmail or shawnnweed@yahoo. And by the way I have already compensated for the laws of physics. I have also found a way around 'zero sum gain.' Or should I say a way to tap into the energy without breaking the cycle.
afridave4 years ago
a perpetual device is not posible but a device that can obtain a constant (no cost) source of outside energy (solar or other ) is absolutly feasible.i would call this device a pseudo perpetual device.
It's just like Superconductors, if you could reuse the energy used to keep them cold then you could keep it running forever
but isn't there a law which says when a charged particle is accelerating, it emits EM waves? and EM waves r source of energy.
owendrake5 years ago
I have always been fascinated by the quest for perpetual motion/energy. ...and I have always heard that it is an impossibility. But on some level I can't help but feel that we will someday achieve it.

I subscribe to several mags so I can't say for certain which it was, but a couple of months ago there was an article titled "Building a Star". I'm pretty sure it was Popular Science or Discover.

I found this in Popsci's archives but it is from several years ago.
http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2005-02/miniature-star-earth

I'm not going to swear to it but I'm almost certain the recent article stated that they have already succeeded in defying that particular law by reflecting/magnifying the laser beam to many times greater than the beam that went in.

If anyone is interested I'll track down the exact article. It is either in my toolbox at work or I have already passed the mag on to a co-worker.

I think that laws are made to be broken.
magnets
Laws of thermodynamics aside, why not use an array of technologies to re-introduce power into a sustainable energy device?

Solar panel to capture light, a series of RTG panels to capture the heat generated by incandescent, UV bulbs and wires, radial motors used to generate mechanical power to drive alternators. All that's needed is a start-up infusion of power to not only start up the device, but to keep it going long enough to produce and capture its own power in a viable form.

Admittedly, entrophy will take hold, but hopefuly not before a device such as this could use itself up.

Ok, I don't like the laws of man or nature telling me I can't do something. But I'll give it a try anyways.
what would be the point in the end like i said above you might as well carry an empty box
ntrider19914 years ago
even with out having any heat produced say you used some kind of special bulb.
you would have to have it in some kind of case where light could not scape and something that could collect all light produced in the end you might as well carry a empty box and say there is a light in it



try using magnets you will get a lot further
Whales4 years ago
 The problem is, the lightbulb and the solar cell would not be effecianent enough to power each other. it would take probably a sqaure yard or more to light a suitable bulb, but the the bulb couldn't light all the panels.
adapt it5 years ago
not saying this is a perpetual energy device/setup but i have personally  setup and used this and i ran 2 lamps w/75w bulbs,clock radio,28in t.v  & a,200w sony home stereo w/ cd,dual cassette player tuner, and turntable all functional at  75% volume  (to find the max power usage b4 voltage overload circut tripped at 75% but  at 50-60% it  all worked until i shut it down 4-5 hours later) but what i used was a 12v car battery has to be a decent one like 550-650 amps and have atleast  75% charged up it has to hold a charge (cant use  a junk batt) ...i then hooked my power invertor up to battery............  invertor is (850watts) it has 2 120v recepticals on it i  then plugged my 12 low,med,hi,(boost 472amps 12v) battery charger into inveror on 12v high setting, with the charger cables also clampped to batt posts i then plugged  a power strip into the 1 remaining 120v receptical on invertor in which i plugged afformentioned things into and wahlaaa a kind of self replenishing powerstation(if battery gets low set charger on boost)     
you can never build a perpetual motion machine as a little energy is always lost as stated in the laws of thermodynamics. lights waste energy in the form of heat and sound as you said but also you need to take into account the fact that electricity can be lost inside of the actual wires and solar cells are not that efficient with the light they take in it is also lost through heat. Your idea unfortunately would not work. an idea I had for a perpetual motion machine was a motor connected to a small generator but alas this would also not work as some energy is always lost
Rotten1945 years ago
The Second Law of Thermodynamics renders all Perpetual Motion machines impossible. Every time the light passed from the light bulb to the solar panel, some small amount of energy would be lost. Over time, this would mean that the bulb would steadily become dimmer, provided less energy, until it dies.
yes this is true....but thermodynamics is newtonian (classical) physics...the idea in this post is fundamentally flawed but the idea of energy production from "thin air" is not entirely impossible...yes the energy has to come from somewhere but there is nothing that says were it has to come from....take this for example...... ....suppose a machine designed to use the motion of a magnetic ball in a perfectly frictionless environment and using that to drive a generator....although the energy is not coming from nowhere it certainly isn't coming from the kinetic energy of the ball....simply put it is harnessing energy and would continue until....well thats the thing in the perfect theoretical world we dont know when it would stop but in reality there is no such thing as a "frictionless environment" or perfect darkness for that matter.... ....but until we totally understand everything we cannot be certain of the possibility of ANY type of free energy, perpetual motion or zp machine!
PKM matchett8085 years ago
although the energy is not coming from nowhere it certainly isn't coming from the kinetic energy of the ball

Erm... yes it is. The induction of an electric field in the generator causes an opposing magnetic field which slows down the ball, trading kinetic energy for electrical.

Magnetic generators have a wildly differing resistance depending on the load on them. This is how regenerative braking on electric cars works- by connecting a generator to the wheels and making it charge the batteries, it slows the car down much like normal brakes do. If the generator isn't under load it won't have any magnetic drag but just the very small amount of friction in the bearings etc.). Some bike dynamos do this as well- you can actually feel the increase in drag when you turn the lights on.

until we totally understand everything we cannot be certain of the possibility of ANY type of free energy, perpetual motion or zp machine!

No, but we can be sure that if such a thing exists it won't operate on purely macroscopic newtonian physical principles, because the known laws of "normal" physics preclude such a thing. There might be some possible perpetual motion machine using exotic quantum stuff like Hawking radiation and so on, but anything involving just magnets, electrolysis of water, overbalancing wheels etc. can be written off- we know it won't work.
You're right on!
Unless I miss my guess, if you drove the generator with the energy from the magnetic ball, the ball would quickly run out of energy to drive the generator, unless the energy moving the ball was coming from somewhere else. The other thing is: how would you harness the energy from the ball in the frictionless environment, without introducing friction? I don't think you could have a frictionless environment with ANY transfer of energy to an output... tell me where I'm off? Nice idea, though. It's similar to something I had daydreams of back in the late 80's. Keep thinking!
What he meant, is that for some reason there is NO friction, for whatever reason. And you're right, the ball would lose energy bouncing off the sides of the container (energy released as sound, heat, and a tiny flash of light). And the device drawing energy from the ball would reduce its kinetic energy.
How would it harness the energy from the ball? A Faraday Generator (or whatever they're called >_>). The idea is some of the energy would be lost over time, its called Entropy. Electrons moving through the wire would lose heat (except in your frictionless world). And how would the magnet stay moving? That requires energy.

However, you can get some close-to-perpetual motion machines. There's a clock that runs on barometric pressure changes, so not TECHNICALLY a perpetual motion machine, but it doesn't need any winding. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cox%27s_timepiece
But what if you had a fan that blew air toward a wind-generator which would then power the fan and so on....?
The generator would have to take more energy from the fan then it generates to power the fan, which is impossible.
Not all the air would hit the fan, not all the electricity would be used to move the fan (think friction, motor warming up etc. etc.), some energy would be lost along the wire through friction, the generator wouldn't be 100% efficient, and a host of other things.
toddjwood5 years ago
What if your light source was not a light bulb but an LED or LEDs but emitting light at a wavelength where the solar cells are most efficient. The solar cells encircle the LED(s) (enclose, as the solar cells are flat) and are wired in parallel to supply the minimum required voltage to light the LED but maximum current obtainable from the interconnected cells. Would it be possible to at least make it self sustaining? Maybe not be able to perform any other work than to power itself? Just asking
if you can see the light from the LED, you're losing energy. You lose energy and the cycle is broken. The minimum input is higher than the maximum output. You would have to fully understand the input value in joules to understand. Look, a little bit of electricity is hotter than the sun. All that heat energy and you only get two volts. And to collect the heat, you would need the energy level to drop. Not going to work.
I see what you mean, and even if the light did not escape then some must be lost as heat in the PN junction of the LED, the electrical conductors and some would be lost by striking the solar cells themselves. While more efficient than an incandescent bulb you could never achieve 100% efficiency. Have fun, be well T
knoxarama5 years ago
no. their will still be energy loss, even if you have collecters. Mainly, it won't collect it all and it will still lose some in transmission. Try inventing something that follows the basis that energy is being transferred along a molecular level, not moved like light and heat. Sound energy, for example, does not move, but instead transferrs from potential energy to kinetic, transferrs the energy forwards to more melocules, then settles back to potential. Using piezo-electricity that would collect the electricity and send it around the circuit. My design is based on this principal, but i'm obviously not going to tell everyone the full design.
Oblivitus5 years ago
The only way to create perpetual energy is to create motion in the absence of air and gravity when no forces would be inhibiting motion, to do this without expending extra energy to create such a simulated environment, the only place it would seem to be possible is in space, but I believe that it is possible for it to exist in space, if we could make perpetual motion satellites and harness the energy in the form of electricity to bring back to earth we could get free energy, however, if we were willing to go that far out our way for it, then the purpose would be defeated because solar energy satellites would be more practical.
There would never be an absence of gravity, because the mass of any part of the system would create its own gravity. It is inevitable :) It simply costs too much (energy-wise) to achieve any sort of work, and no amount of work will ever output more energy than was put into it in the first place.. It's the glue which holds the universe together; eventually the universe will cool down and slow to a crawl because of the laws of thermodynamics.
or in some theories when it slows down enough, everything will be affected by the gravity and be pulled back into a single point, then we get another big bang. this will happen over and over so its sorta like a bouncy ball that bounces up to 100% of the energy given to it. the only reason the universe can do this though is that everything will pulled into it and not even energy will escape. As for why it blows up... idk I'm not a theoretical physicist (but I play one on TV -Jk) but my guess would be with all the energy/heat partials will be bouncing around so much in so small of an area one splits creates a tiny boom with a chain reaction, you get the biggest atom bomb like explosion to ever exist. - that is the only way of perpetual motion i can see to work
And then blow apart from dark matter. :)
dagenius5 years ago
It would not work, because even the tinyest amount of light lost in the air will stop it running. Also, I have seen a few people on youtube who claim that they have gotten that same method to work...they were wrong. The answer to perpetual motion and/or energy would not come as easily as that, if at all. sorry. Oh, and I forgot that the circuit would have to have no resistance, and if you are using a light bulb or led, then forget about that.
TigerNod5 years ago
Yeah, I had that idea once too. Unfortunly it would not work. Even energy that moves through a copper wire generates friction, and you can not gain all the energy from the lightbulb into the solar panel. And like Rotten194 said before: The Second Law of Thermodynamics renders all Perpetual Motion machines impossible. But it's an creative idea however! I am not a science guy, I'm a knexer. Just like you, Jamalam. It could be that I'm wrong in some things.
The Jamalam (author)  TigerNod5 years ago
I am kinda a science guy btw lol
ANDY!5 years ago
Nope. Even if do get a perpetual motion machiene (which is impossable) you couldn't use it. If you let light out, it runs out of power. Mabye you could make a super efficient lightbulb instead.
Won't work, for following reasons: - A lightbulb is very inefficient, it converts most energy to heat. - Resistance in the wires - The best solar panels are only around 30% efficient Plus, centuries of experiments have proven perpetual motion to be impossible.
Kryptonite5 years ago
A light bulb only gives out a third of the energy input as seeable light, one third as IR (infrared) light & the rest as heat. It's not very "green". I'm sorry to say, but this has been tried many a-time, but has never worked.
Keep trying though, one of my hobbies is building (almost?) perpetual machines, so I'm looking forward to your ideas!

P.S:. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_light , click here for a description of IR light.
Texas18455 years ago
Well then one starts to think, Is there any use of a perpetual motion machine? Because as soon as you put a load on the machine or friction, something that would impede the movement the machine would die.
The trouble with collecting energy from the waste heat is that the process would waste some energy. If you collected that energy, the collection process would leave a bit of waste. And so on, and so on.

Eventually, the energy you put in initially will all be gone. (That is, there will be no difference in potetntial between the inside and outside.) But even if it were possible to keep all of the energy contained, this would not be terribly useful. What is the point of having a lamp if every last scrap of light is trapped and none is absorbed by your eyes?

Now, while perpetual energy isn't such a great idea, making more efficient use of the energy you do have is a great idea. For example, you might place photovoltaic panels on top of a solar water heater, which would have a combined efficiency greater than either one individually. For more information on this or similar ideas, look up cogeneration.