School for the World is a Great Idea

Why a World School is a Great Idea

Education is a fundamental right in many developed nations, but many world citizens miss out entirely.

A report from the ‘Global Campaign for Education’ (https://www.campaignforeducation.org/en/)  in 2010, claimed that there are 70 Million Children that miss out on an Education.

The lack of an education does not just effect these children economically.

Lack of knowledge, could also potentially make them vulnerable to exploitation, and disease.

What is a World School

My suggestion is that we leverage the Internet to eliminate ‘education poverty’.

My concept of a world school would have regional teachers, connected to remote villages via the Internet, and delivering lessons. A bit like the way they used to deliver education to remote communities in Australia, over two-way radio.

Local Resistance

Of course humans being humans means that there could be some local resistance to educating ever child.

Resistance could potentially come from local leaders, who may themselves not be educated.

Other forms of resistance might come from vested interests, such as those who wish to continue to exploit child workers.

The third issue could be resistance to the education of girls.

In many cultures girls are discriminated against, when it comes to being educated.

To be fair, it was like that the in the UK not that long ago in history. However that certainly doesn’t make it right.

A solution might be the involvement of local government partners (National Governments), to ‘sell the benefits’ of upskilling the countries population.

Benefits such as the potential for higher living standards, would temp resisters to change.

 

Why Knowledge Can save Lives

Some years ago I read a report on an health campaign in Africa.

The campaign had the aim to reduce unwanted pregnancies among young women, and to help reduce the spread of HIV / Aids (among both Women & Men).

It was realised that the Condoms were being received in damaged condition by those who would benefit from using them.

What was happening was that the Condoms were being ‘stapled’ to a piece of paper, before being handed out.

The staff responsible for distribution had not realised this was a problem, through lack of appropriate education & training.

Technology Challenges & Solutions

The Internet is currently only available to 56.8% of the world population (Source:https://internetworldstats.com/stats.htm).

Whilst this is rapidly increasing, we still have much work to do, to enable a ‘World School’ service.

Companies such as Google have announced that they are planning to provide worldwide Internet coverage in the near future https://www.theverge.com/2014/6/2/5771322/google-reportedly-launching-180-satellites-for-worldwide-internet

To be continued……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you studying hard for your lifelong degree?

Why need to keep learning

Whether you studied for a university degree, or vocational qualifications, it took hard work.

Many hours of ‘hitting the books’, (or Internet browser) were involved.

However what happened after you passed all your exams, and graduated.

Some people of course go on, to study for higher qualifications, such as a PGCE, or Masters Degree.

However many people get a good job, and slowly study less and less.

In the early years of peoples work life, they are keen to learn their new job.

But what about when you are 40 or 50?

A New Chapter

For many people, this age can be the beginning of a new chapter.

I once taught a class of Marine engineers, which included two career changers.

One was a man who had a degree in Chemical engineering, and had worked in a related sales role for most of his working life.

The second was a grandmother in her mid 50s, that was formerly a college lecturer.

The above two people had the confidence to reinvent themselves.

Reinvention of ourselves will become more necessary in the coming years, and everyone will have to make a choice.

Technological Change

Technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), and Machine Learning (Industry 4.0 etc), will replace many of the existing jobs.

For example, why do we need many of the admin roles that currently exist.

If you work in such a role, you surely need to ask yourself, could I be replaced by a machine.

Of course its human nature to say, ‘of course not’,….but are you really sure about that.

Lets take a moment to think about a vending machine company.

The company owns and operates vending machines in places like Swimming Pools and Motorway service stations.

Currently when the cans of  ‘Cherry Cola’ run low (or totally out) in an individual vending machine, the companies admin team needs to be involved.

The admin team will recieve notification from the admin staff at the Swimming Pool, that the vending machine needs more Cherry Cola.

Alternatively, service operatives from the vending machine operators, will have to periodically visit each retail site, to manually check product levels.

As is already happening in the vending machine industry, automated notification, can be employed.

Automated notification of low product levels at individual retail locations, means that you need less admin staff.

The next question is, do we need any admin staff?

Technologies such as 5G will further connect machines to the Internet.

Another example of the decline in the ‘administrator’ role in business, is the car dealership.

One of our own cars is going to be serviced in a couple days time.

We thought it was about due, but had to check the mileage reading (a personal admin task), and then perform a second personal admin task by phoning the Toyota main dealer.

When the admin staff at the car dealer answered the phone, they manually checked for free appointments, and booked the car in for service.

So to book a car in for its service, we have involved in effect, two administrators. One is the customer (us), and the second is the vehicle service centre.

Both of the admin ‘staff’ in the above booking, have created what they refer to in Economics as ‘Opportunity Cost’.

Both have ‘paid’ , the customer (us) with their time, and the Toyota car dealer, with paying for an administrators time (employing them).

Its human nature to want to improve systems, otherwise we would still be living in caves, or even not on land at all (still in the seas)!

With 5G connected cars, the need to manually interact in order to get your car serviced, can be eliminated.

The car will do the communicating for you, via wireless technologies, such as 5G.

You can then be automatically notified of a range of available service appointment times.

In fact the process can be taken a step further, with integration into your online diary, and other commitments.

Whilst the idea of having machines planning your day, might well horrify some people, it could work for businesses (if not members of the public).

Business car fleets for example, can be run more efficiently, by automatically booking the vehicles in for service and maintenance. This can be done in free timeslots, within the set working day.

Ok, so by now you may be thinking that I have gone rather ‘off topic’, as this post is entitled ‘Are you studying hard for your lifelong degree’, but its relevant.

Its relevant because learning now needs to be from Cradle to Grave.

My personal view on a good education in 2019, is one which equips a person with broad transferable skills.

We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and can only speculate.

In my own personal experience, my degree was useful, and my PGCE (Economics) got me the job I wanted.

But it was the practical engineering skills (Soldering, Repair, Welding, Milling etc) that I learnt aged 17, on an EITB work apprenticeship scheme, which gave me the edge in life and work.

I have a Technology Business Marketing degree, and many of the rules I learnt, are still applicable and relevant.

However, as someone who has been involved with Internet & Marketing since the 1990s (teaching it mainly), it changes rapidly.

If I was still relying on my 1997 final University dissertation about the opportunities & threats of the Internet, I would be severely left behind.

You have to keep learning, you never really leave education. Well not if you want to remain relevant.

@acraigmiles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electric Alfa GTV – Electric Motor Conversion Choices

So far in my previous blog post, I talked about the history of the Alfa Romeo (916) GTV.

I also talked about my intention to convert into an electric vehicle.

In this blog post we will look at the various types of electric motors commonly used in electric vehicle conversions.

DC or AC Electric Motors?

Lets first understand what the heck I am talking about.

DC stands for Direct Current, whereas AC stands for Alternating Current.

In Direct Current, the positive (+) terminal is always positive, and the negative (-) terminal is always negative.

With AC Current, in a two wire system (known as a ‘Single Phase’ supply system), the electricity alternates, so that sometimes one wire has a positive voltage, and sometimes the ‘other’ wire instead.

The rate at which the voltage changes fully between the two wires, is known as the Frequency, and is measured in Hertz (Hz).

Notice I used the word ‘fully’, as the voltage does not instantly change from one wire to the other, but changes over a very short time period.

If you were to measure an AC voltage using a multimeter set to measure AC voltage, you would measure the RMS.

RMS is short for Root Mean Square, and is 0.707 of the peak voltage that occurs during a alternating cycle.

So if ‘wire A’ had a peak voltage of 100 volts AC, then the volt meter would read 0.707 of 100 volts, and therefore 70.7 volts AC.

It is necessary to measure the RMS figure because unlike DC, AC voltage is constantly changing (Alternating, hence the name Alternating Current).Single and Three Phase AC Motors

So now you hopefully understand what AC electricity is, lets look at the two main types of AC motor supplies you will come across.

Firstly ‘Single Phase’ is the two wire AC supply system that I described previously.

It is called Single Phase because it has a ‘phase wire’ which is often called the ‘live’ by the public.

Of course it has a second wire, known as the Neutral also.

Three Phase Supply systems have three Phase wires.

To understand better, first consider the Single phase AC system. The electricity is represented as a single sine wave, which goes up and down, above and below to zero volts point, over a period of time (picture to follow soon).

By contrast, a Three Phase AC system has three Sine waves, representing the three individual phases.

These three phases are 120 degrees apart (3 x 120 = 360 degrees), and therefore ‘peak voltage’ of each one occurs in sequence, at different time periods.

Three phase systems are the type that you will most likely be using in an electric vehicle build, as bigger more powerful motors, use three phase supplies.

DC Motors… to be continued, check back soon.





Electric Morris Minor

This blog post is about my design suggestions for an electric Morris Minor.

There have already been some prototype electric Morris Minor conversions already, which I will discuss.

In addition I have designed alternative ways to successfully convert classic cars such as the Morris Minor.

History & background

The Morris Minor is a British car designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, that was launched in 1948.

The Morris Minor originally was produced with an 918cc Side valve Petrol engine, but this was replaced in the early 1950s by an Overhead Valve (OHV) engine.

The OHV engine was improved and its size increased during the remainder of its production. and the later models were 1098cc in cubic capacity size.

The standard Morris Minor had the engine connected to a four speed longitudinal mounted gearbox, attached at the back of the engine.

The gearbox output is connected to a long single drive shaft, which runs underneath the car.

The drive shaft connects the gearbox to the rear axle.

The rear axle incorporates a ‘differential’ which fixes the speed ratio, between the rotational speed of the drive shaft, and the rotational speed of the road wheels.

Therefore as the engine power is transferred via the gearbox and drive shaft, to the rear axle, it is a rear wheel drive car.

Any design for an electric Morris Minor, will probably stick with the rear wheel drive configuration.

The reason for keeping the electric Morris Minor as Rear Wheel Drive, or RHD for short, is engineering design simplicity.

The front suspension on a Morris Minor was advanced for a British car of its time (1948).

The front suspension used torsion bars, as the springs, and featured ‘rack and pinion’ suspension, that is still used in modern cars.

The shock absorbers are different to the type used in modern cars, and are known as ‘lever arm shock absorbers’.

To convert an electric Morris Minor into powering the front wheels, known as front wheel drive, would require major suspension modifications (unless hub motors were used).

This is because the original Morris Minor steering and front suspension system, would need a lot of component changes.

Of course its possible to make a front wheel drive Morris Minor, but more expensive, and also changes the cars handling characteristics.

If however you are hell bent on a front wheel drive electric Morris Minor then its possible.

My solution would be to use hub integrated motors.

Hub integrated motors consist of an individual electric motor powering each driving wheel.

For instance to create a front wheel drive Morris Minor, you would have two motors driving each of the two front wheels.

If you wanted to use hub motors, but to keep the traditional Morris Minor rear wheel drive configuration, you would fit the motors to the two rear wheels.

So let’s decide to stick to the original rear wheel drive layout for our electric Morris Minor.

There are four ways that you could configure the electric motor layout. This also applies to many other classic cars, which share the same basic layout.

Firstly, the original internal combustion engine can be removed, whilst leaving the Morris Minor gearbox, driveshaft and rear axle (Inc differential) in place.

An electric motor is then attached to the original Morris Minor gearbox.

Some electric motor conversions that use this layout configuration, are clutch less in design. The torque & high rev range of many electric motors mean that the car can be driven in the same gear for most of the time.

Other electric car conversion designs still incorporate a conventional clutch.

The advantages of retaining a clutch are better motor speed control, and more importantly more retention of the original Classic Car experience.

A second option for mounting the electric motor in your Morris Minor, would be by removing the gearbox and either mounting the electric motor at the front end of the drive shaft, and directly attached to its front end.

Or alternatively the drive shaft could be removed, and the motor mounted directly to the rear axle differential input shaft.

This second method of attaching the electric motor directly to the rear axle differential connection, has advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage is a saving of weight, by removing the drive shaft which runs underneath the car, from front to back.

Less weight is a good thing for performance of your electric car.

The disadvantage is that it makes it a bit harder to mount, than if you mounted the electric motor at the front end, and retained the driveshaft.

It is harder to mount, because you need to create a mounting cradle which attaches to the rear axle, and supports the weight of the electric motor.

Morris Minor Hybrid


You may well of heard of Hybrid cars.

If not, then let me explain what they are.

A hybrid car is a car that uses a combination of combustible fuel, such as petrol or diesel, and electric power.

A hybrid car might drive the wheels using an electric motor at low town speeds, and petrol at higher speeds.

Alternatively, the petrol (or diesel) motor could be used, if the battery was low on charge.

The use of electric motors at low speeds around towns, has obvious environmental advantages.

However you might also still want a traditional petrol motor for long distance trips.

My design for a Morris Minor Hybrid, keeps the petrol engine, whilst also adding electric front wheel drive.

The rear wheels continue to be driven by the Morris Minors petrol motor.

Whilst the front wheels are driven by ‘in-hub’ electric motors.

A simple solution would be to have a manual switch, to be able to select the drive system.

Alternatively an automatic electrically controlled system could be used.

I am currently considering the design for an automatic system, and will provide further details in the future.

Gearbox Considerations

If you want design simplicity for your electric Morris, then keep the original gearbox.

The electric motor is simply attached to the gearbox, in place of the original petrol motor.

This is done via a special adapter plate, and a coupler.

The potential problem with using the original gearbox is excess motor torque.

Vehicle Electric Motors produce a lot of torque at low RPM (Revolution Per Minute).

The standard Morris Minor gearbox was designed to handle a maximum engine torque of 60 lb/ft (81 N·m) at 2,500 rpm.

The above torque figure is for the most powerful Morris Minor, built from 1962 onwards.

The gearbox was upgraded in 1962, along with the engine size (to 1098cc from 948cc), and gained Baulk-Ring-Synchromesh .

To ensure that you do not suffer premature gearbox failure, it is important that you consult electric motor manufacturers datasheets.

For an ordinary road going car, this should not be an issue, if precautions are taken to select a suitable motor.

For those looking to upgrade their Morris Minors performance, then this is definitely a consideration.

Electric Alfa Romeo GTV Conversion

Alfa Romeo GTV History

The Alfa Romeo (916) GTV was produced between 1995 – 2004, with only around 40,000 GTV models, and a similar amount of the open top Spiders, being manufactured during the whole period. They did not produce an electric Alfa Romeo GTV.


Alfa Romeo GTV

Reasons For Electric Alfa Romeo GTV

Reasons to convert a petrol Alfa Romeo GTV, or any Alfa Romeo to electric are both environmental and performance.

Environment

The smaller engined Alfa Romeo GTV, that was available to the Uk market, still emits 220 grams of CO2.

Performance

The smaller two litre ‘twin spark’ engine produces around 155 BHP.

Its possible to create a higher performing electric powered car.

The decision to re-engineer my own Alfa GTV, to run on an electric motor, rather than the original petrol engine, which emits a high CO2 level of 220.

I will be improving and updating this blog post on a regular basis, so check back regularly.

Why am I doing this? – Well for starters there is the high CO2 level.

The car failed its MOT in December 2012 on emissions and a small hole on the underside inner sill.

The car was put into my garage shortly after, and almost forgotten about, until recently.

Although I have successfully managed to get the engine going, the car would need a new rear exhaust silencer, radiator (as in poor condition), and new cambelt and balancer belts (not a cheap job).

The last items, are the main reason I took the car off the road after it failed its MOT in 2012.

The belts need replacing every three years, or 36,000 miles according to Alfa Specialists, and mine were way over due (time wise).

A second reason for wanting to convert my Alfa Romeo GTV to be powered by an electric motor is performance, yes you did read that correctly.

The Alfa Romeo GTV came in two basic variants, four cylinder, and six cylinder (V6) petrol variants.

The original 2 litre four cylinder version that I have, is a fantastic high revving motor, with a unique Alfa Romeo 8 spark plug design.

However it gets overshadowed (unfairly in my opinion), by the tyre shredding V6 version.

My objective is to create an Electric Alfa Romeo GTV that has faster acceleration, than the V6 versions.

But aren’t electric cars those off looking slow things, that oddball eccentrics drive? Electric cars have come a long way in recent years, due to advances in technology.

Just look at the acceleration figures for a Tesla Car, if you have any doubts.

Deciding on Electric Vehicle Conversion Performance


My other project the Electric Morris Minor



Superyacht Radio New Competitor

The New Radio from Entel, could be the perfect Superyacht Radio.

Expecting the best from all areas of life is something that owners of Superyachts expect, and demand.

This not only encompasses yacht decor and culinary standards, but also the more subtle things too.

There are literally thousands of radio communications suppliers globally, from a ‘one man band’, to large corporate suppliers.

Most of these companies are unfortunately not experienced in the Marine  & yachting Industry.

A few years ago we had an unusual phone call from a man who was calling from a vessel located off the eastern coast of the UK.

Click here to read more, at Yesway.co.uk website.

 

Tips for Replacing Car Brake Pads

Tips for Replacing Car Brake Pads

My car recently failed its annual MOT inspection on worn front brake pads.

Being an experienced engineer, and having even taught GCSE Motor Vehicle studies, I decided to do the work myself.

Brake caliper resting on brake disc to avoid strain on brake hose

The first issue was getting the locking wheel nuts off, as the key was slipping.

A tip for doing this is to use youtube, and search for removal of locking wheel nuts for your particular car.

Once you have removed the wheel nuts, you may come up against the next challenge, wheel stuck on hub.

If you have jacked up the car (and used axle stands to support) removed the wheel nuts, and the wheel wont come off, this is my tip.

Loosely screw the wheel nuts back on about half way. Then (after removing the axle stand) slowly lower the car jack down.

The weight of the car being put onto the wheel, should help loosen the wheel from the hub. You can gently rock the wheel, which may help.

Remember it is vitally important (for safety) that the wheel nuts are screwed on enough to hold the wheel in place, but not so tight that the wheel is tightened against the hub.

So now hopefully you have managed to remove the front wheel, and have the car supported on suitable axle stands.

The next job is to remove the brake caliper, which is held in place with two 13mm (on my car) bolts.

On a previous car I owned, the bolts had been rounded and damaged, and would not come out using a normal spanner or socket.

A tip for removing the bolts, is to use reverse thread ‘bolt grips’. These are special sockets, that ‘bite’ into the rounded bolt, and grip tighter the more torque is applied to them.

Manufacturers of these are Irwin and Ebauer, and they are available from tool supplier, such as Toolstation & Screwfix, among others.

A car manual will be useful if you are not familiar with fitting brake pads, and I accept no liability if you do it incorrectly.

Once you have removed the brake caliper, be careful not to stretch the brake hose, which could cause damage to it.

In the picture below, I rested the brake caliper on top of the brake disc, but you could also tie it up to suspend it, to avoid strain to the brake hose.

Brake pad replacement

The existing brake pads should push out of their slots, but you may need to use a large flat blade screwdriver, or similar to prise them out.

Before you can fit the new brake pads, you will need to move the part of the brake caliper that pushes against the brake pad, back fully inside the caliper.

This is because the new brake pads are thicker than the old worn pads, and the caliper has moved outwards to remain in contact with the brake pad, as it wears.

A tip for pushing the caliper ‘piston’ back inside the caliper casing, is to use a ‘G-Clamp’ as shown in the picture.

By screwing in the clamp, the piston will be compressed back into the caliper body.

Be careful to do it slowly and gently, and ensure that the piston is going back inside evenly. If it start to go at an angle, you can move the G-Clamp to the other side, to compensate.

Once the caliper piston is back level with the caliper casing, you are ready to fit the new brake pads. Use a little brake grease on the contact metal edges, to avoid brake squeal, but never get it onto the brake pad, or brake disc surfaces.

Refer to your car workshop manual, if needed, and fit them in place.

Connect any wear sensor connection wiring, if your car has these.

You should then be able to replace the brake caliper over the new pads, and back into place.

Put a bit of ‘thread lock’ onto the threads of the caliper bolts, and tighten to the manufacturers torque settings (you will need a torque wrench for this).

Spin the brake disc to ensure that it turns freely, and then refit wheel.

Job done!!!

It should be noted that the above instructions are only for replacing the brake pads.

Brake pads should always be replaced in axle pairs, in other words don’t just fit one on the front near side (UK kerb side), but not do the other front wheel side.

Brake discs, which are the round part that the brake pad squeezes against, also wear, and may also need replacing.

You should check the manufacturers brake disc data, and replace if they have worn thinner that acceptable, or are badly weakened or scored.

You can use a tool called a micrometer to measure brake disc thickness.

Car Brake Disc

 

Disclaimer

This article is for information only, and the author accepts not responsibility for injury, damage or loss caused by following its instructions.

The article and photos are also copyright  2018 (C) Craig Miles

craigmiles.co.uk

 

Papplewick Pumping Station Photos of Industrial History

Papplewick Pumping Station

Victorian Pumping Station

Papplewick  is  located near the City of Nottingham, in the east of England, and is a great place for taking photos.

Papplewick Pumping Station was built in the late Victorian era to supply fresh water to the nearby city of Nottingham.

The site includes an underground brick built reservoir, that visitors can go down, with a guide.

The main site is beautiful in a way that the Victorians often made their buildings.

Despite being a public utility, that few people would see, they incorporated beautiful design features into the building and grounds.

On bank holidays, the boilers are fired up, and the pumping station can be seen operating, which is well worth a visit.

The bank holiday weekends when the Victorian beam engines are operating, is recommended for the photographer.

Whilst actual moving machinery makes taking a great photo more challenging, it is worth it.

The first photo on this page shows a moving part of the beam engine, with the spinning ‘governor’ in the foreground.

Other photo opportunities at Papplewick Pumping Station include a large man made lake, gardens and the beautiful victorian building exterior.

But perhaps the best kept secret so far, is the underground reservoir.

The underground reservoir is located up the hill from the main pumping station building, housing the beam engines.

The reservoir is accessed via an access road which takes you to the entrance.

You then go down some steps into the ground.

Inside the underground reservoir (which is of course empty of water now), it is like a kind of cathedral.

The reservoir is quite dimly lit internally, which creates a great atmosphere for your photos.

Whilst you cannot access the underground reservoir without a tour guide, you have plenty of time to take pictures.

I will be adding more photos to this page in the near future.

Flying Transmitters – Part 1

Increasing radio coverage range

Radio communications at frequencies above 30 Mhz normally travel between transmitter and receiver, in what is known as ‘line of sight’.

In other words they don’t bounce off the atmospheric layers, or the ground, as they can do below 30 Mhz.

You may have noticed that if you are listening to an old radio receiver that has Medium  Wave (MW) & Long Wave (LW) wavebands, that you can hear ‘foreign’ radio stations at night.

This is because despite being called medium and long wave, both frequencies are below 30 Mhz. This means that the radio waves between transmitter and receiver can ‘bounce’, which increases range.

So why don’t we use frequencies below 30 Mhz to achieve long range?

Well for a start the antenna length would be too long.

This is because the the lower the frequency, the longer the antenna needs to be, to be ‘resonant’.

It would therefore be impractical for handheld or vehicle communications systems, to use low frequencies.

Why do ‘Line of Sight’ communications only go a short distance?

The simple answer is that the earth is round, and there are objects such as buildings and hill in the way.

If two people were talking on handheld ‘walkie talkies’ and started walking away from each other, gradually the curvature of the earth would come between them, and stop communication.

Buildings and other objects can also either reduce or prevent radio signals from getting between the transmitter and a receiver.

Therefore to overcome the reduction or complete blocking of the radio signal, antennas are often put on high masts, or high buildings.

This increase in height helps overcome the curvature of the earth, and also objects in the line of sight, between the transmitter and the receiver.

This principle is used effectively by space satellites.

Space Satellites receive a radio signal from a Satellite ground station, and rebroadcast the transmission back down to earth over a large coverage area, known as the satellites ‘footprint’.