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Author Topic: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?  (Read 43548 times)

Offline Pirate88179

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Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« on: November 26, 2014, 02:10:19 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6SSY7ABJkw


Check this thing out.  I know it has been out for a while, and a guy had one at work last year on his desk.  It is amazing and, I would like to make one as it costs about $100 US to buy.  The video above says it all.  It even works sideways!

To me, this is the opposite of the kind of devices that TK, Lidmotor and others have built where something hangs in space using light sensors.
I am guessing that there is only about $10-$20 worth of parts in this thing.  I just think it would be really cool to make one.

TK suggested searching for their patent to see what that says.  This is a good idea and I will look for it.

Bill

PS  It also rotates the levitating disk as well as adjusts for any added weight differential.  Amazing!

PPS:  I found this while searching: US patent number 2007/0170798A1.  I will pull it up to see what it says.

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Offline Pirate88179

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Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2014, 02:28:20 AM »
I found this:

http://www.google.com/patents/US20070170798

Very interesting to read.  I am just getting started with it.

Bill


Offline TinselKoala

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Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2014, 05:12:15 AM »
I haven't read the patent yet but here's what I think.

The black disc contains a big ring magnet polarized on the faces, and a couple smaller magnets around the edge of the ring, but facing sideways.  The base contains a big coil facing up/down, and a few smaller coils around the edges. The big coil is switched in polarity, rather then being just turned off and on as in my levitation system. The opposite switching polarities of the big coil act on both poles of the ring magnet to "lock" it into position, whereas in the usual system like mine, the levitated object is not locked but rather balanced between gravity pulling it down, and magnetism pulling it up. It's always falling slightly when the coil is off and rising slightly when the coil is on. But in the Levitron, gravity doesn't play a role, the thing is first attracted-repelled by one polarity of the coil acting against the faces of the ring magnet and then attracted-repelled oppositely by the other polarity of the coil. So it's "locked" in position. The rotation and perhaps lateral stabilization come from the side-facing magnets in the black disc, the rotation coming from being slowly attracted or repelled by the smaller coils around the outside of the big coil in the base, in ordinary "pulse motor" fashion. This locking in position, regardless of direction of gravity, can be seen in my demonstration of what I call the "Nikolayev trailer hitch", where a ring magnet and a cylinder magnet are kept in that relationship, and the cylinder is prevented from flipping over by being inside a central tube. In the Levitron the black levitating disc doesn't flip over because the polarity of the coil is flipping over instead.  The spacing is probably maintained by photodetectors and UV or IR LEDs, and the visible LEDs are there to tell the operator when the disk is in the correct position for the sensing system to take over. 
That's my guess.

Now I suppose I should read the patent.

(There is another really cool levitation system that works by having most of the weight of the levitated object taken up by a strong Permanent Magnet in the top of the assembly, and the electromagnet coil is wrapped around the PM. The strength of the overall field of the PM/coil is regulated in the usual way by sensing shadow  edge or by Hall sensor, and it takes very little current in the coil to maintain the levitation. If the power goes off, the levitated object doesn't drop like it does in the usual system like mine, but rather is pulled UP to the permanent magnet in the top part of the device. It also will "self start" from this position when the power is turned on, it doesn't need any intervention from the operator to get things in the right position. This system is much more efficient than the usual one since it takes so little current to regulate the field of the PM that is supporting the weight of the object.)


ETA: now I've read the patent. I almost guessed it! It looks like sort of a combination of what I guessed and the other system mentioned above, partially permanent magnets and partially coils modulating the field of the PMs.But I had the base and disc PM configurations reversed, apparently, from what's in the patent.

Good find Bill, thanks!

Offline pavqw

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Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2014, 08:05:04 PM »
Yes, there are few strong permanent magnets and with sensor usage it just balances the object all the time with weak electromagnets.


Offline FatBird

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Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2014, 09:23:42 PM »
Click on this Link to see the Patent in a PDF format that's easier to read.

http://www.pat2pdf.org/patents/pat20070170798.pdf
                                                                               .

Free Energy | searching for free energy and discussing free energy

Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2014, 09:23:42 PM »
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Offline Pirate88179

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Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2014, 02:52:15 AM »
I haven't read the patent yet but here's what I think.

The black disc contains a big ring magnet polarized on the faces, and a couple smaller magnets around the edge of the ring, but facing sideways.  The base contains a big coil facing up/down, and a few smaller coils around the edges. The big coil is switched in polarity, rather then being just turned off and on as in my levitation system. The opposite switching polarities of the big coil act on both poles of the ring magnet to "lock" it into position, whereas in the usual system like mine, the levitated object is not locked but rather balanced between gravity pulling it down, and magnetism pulling it up. It's always falling slightly when the coil is off and rising slightly when the coil is on. But in the Levitron, gravity doesn't play a role, the thing is first attracted-repelled by one polarity of the coil acting against the faces of the ring magnet and then attracted-repelled oppositely by the other polarity of the coil. So it's "locked" in position. The rotation and perhaps lateral stabilization come from the side-facing magnets in the black disc, the rotation coming from being slowly attracted or repelled by the smaller coils around the outside of the big coil in the base, in ordinary "pulse motor" fashion. This locking in position, regardless of direction of gravity, can be seen in my demonstration of what I call the "Nikolayev trailer hitch", where a ring magnet and a cylinder magnet are kept in that relationship, and the cylinder is prevented from flipping over by being inside a central tube. In the Levitron the black levitating disc doesn't flip over because the polarity of the coil is flipping over instead.  The spacing is probably maintained by photodetectors and UV or IR LEDs, and the visible LEDs are there to tell the operator when the disk is in the correct position for the sensing system to take over. 
That's my guess.

Now I suppose I should read the patent.

(There is another really cool levitation system that works by having most of the weight of the levitated object taken up by a strong Permanent Magnet in the top of the assembly, and the electromagnet coil is wrapped around the PM. The strength of the overall field of the PM/coil is regulated in the usual way by sensing shadow  edge or by Hall sensor, and it takes very little current in the coil to maintain the levitation. If the power goes off, the levitated object doesn't drop like it does in the usual system like mine, but rather is pulled UP to the permanent magnet in the top part of the device. It also will "self start" from this position when the power is turned on, it doesn't need any intervention from the operator to get things in the right position. This system is much more efficient than the usual one since it takes so little current to regulate the field of the PM that is supporting the weight of the object.)


ETA: now I've read the patent. I almost guessed it! It looks like sort of a combination of what I guessed and the other system mentioned above, partially permanent magnets and partially coils modulating the field of the PMs.But I had the base and disc PM configurations reversed, apparently, from what's in the patent.

Good find Bill, thanks!

TK:

That was a very well educated guess on your part.  The patent did not seem to me to be very clear but, the info is there and, I suppose they don't want to make it easy for folks to make on their own.  What is doing the polarity switching?  Is it a mosfet or something?  It seems that it would have to handle a lot of power.  As a matter of fact, one of the things I found was a review from a guy that said his device worked great for 3 days after he bought it...then...it died.  Maybe the switching circuit can not handle the power very well?

Also, I did not know that swapping the polarity of the input to an electromag changed the poles of the magnet.  It makes perfect sense, I just never knew that.  So, it ignores gravity and repels/attracts in a very fast cycle and the permanent mags are there to keep the disk centered.  I wonder if someone made one of these using very powerful neos and, boosted the electromag output if it would hover a lot higher?  I would not even mind a larger base with a very good heat sink and possibly even a cooling fan if needed.

No matter what, I have to say that this is a very clever application of known effects and they deserve a lot of kudos for inventing it.  I love this type of thing.

Bill

PS  Fatbird:  Thanks for the PDF.

Offline TinselKoala

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Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2014, 03:50:25 AM »
Yes, there are few strong permanent magnets and with sensor usage it just balances the object all the time with weak electromagnets.
It does more than "just balance" because it supports the levitated disc even when the base is turned on its side. It actually locks the disc in position, up down and sideways.
It's a really neat use of magnetic fields. I hope Bill buys one and tears it apart! 

Free Energy | searching for free energy and discussing free energy

Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2014, 03:50:25 AM »
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Offline Pirate88179

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Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2014, 03:55:33 AM »

It's a really neat use of magnetic fields. I hope Bill buys one and tears it apart!



TK:

Well, I was hoping that you would buy one and tear it apart, ha ha.  Hey, maybe we can start a crowd funding campaign in order to raise the $100 needed to purchase one?  If we accidentally get $200,000, we can move to Morocco.

Bill

Offline TinselKoala

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Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2014, 04:00:17 AM »
TK:

That was a very well educated guess on your part.  The patent did not seem to me to be very clear but, the info is there and, I suppose they don't want to make it easy for folks to make on their own.  What is doing the polarity switching?  Is it a mosfet or something?  It seems that it would have to handle a lot of power.  As a matter of fact, one of the things I found was a review from a guy that said his device worked great for 3 days after he bought it...then...it died.  Maybe the switching circuit can not handle the power very well?
Yes probably it died from heat buildup. The circuits given in the patent aren't complete of course, they just show the critical parts. The triangle symbols are op-amp comparators that will flip output polarity based on what happens at their two inputs. They could be high-power opamps that drive the electromagnets directly, or they could drive  a current amplifier stage, like an H-bridge of bipolars or mosfets, that then drive the coils. It would be fun to examine an actual conventional schematic instead of the patent-type sketches of the circuitry.
Quote

Also, I did not know that swapping the polarity of the input to an electromag changed the poles of the magnet.  It makes perfect sense, I just never knew that.  So, it ignores gravity and repels/attracts in a very fast cycle and the permanent mags are there to keep the disk centered.  I wonder if someone made one of these using very powerful neos and, boosted the electromag output if it would hover a lot higher?  I would not even mind a larger base with a very good heat sink and possibly even a cooling fan if needed.
Yes, it's got me thinking too. I imagine that it wouldn't really be too hard to build something similar, now that we have the "hints" in the patent. I might even have some magnets that would be appropriate, like a big ring magnet,  and another thin flat-plate thing that is amazingly strong, originally meant for attaching a tracking device underneath a car body. I dunno if I have the patience to make a functional version but I might do some "proof of concept" experimenting later on.
Quote

No matter what, I have to say that this is a very clever application of known effects and they deserve a lot of kudos for inventing it.  I love this type of thing.

Bill

PS  Fatbird:  Thanks for the PDF.
Dittoes. I'd like to see how fast the spinning could be made to go; it's regulated to be slow in the device as we see it, I think, since it's designed to display stuff rather than do crazy fast spinning.

Offline TinselKoala

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Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2014, 04:02:20 AM »

TK:

Well, I was hoping that you would buy one and tear it apart, ha ha.  Hey, maybe we can start a crowd funding campaign in order to raise the $100 needed to purchase one?  If we accidentally get $200,000, we can move to Morocco.

Bill

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

Free Energy | searching for free energy and discussing free energy

Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2014, 04:02:20 AM »
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Offline Pirate88179

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Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2014, 08:59:26 PM »
In my continued searching on the Levitron, I am reading more and more reviews where it breaks down after only a few days.  There are quite a few complaints of this nature.  They also make a levitating globe which is a little smaller device using the same approach, and I also read at least 3 reviews where that one quit working after just a few days.  If I paid $100 or so for this and it broke after a few days, I would be sending it back.

I have not yet found where anyone has taken the base apart and video taped it or took photos.

I will continue to search.

Bill

Offline pavqw

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Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2014, 09:27:38 PM »
It is not that hard to built one.
You will need hall sensor(s), coils A, B and some neodymium magnets.
There must be exact proportion between all these stuff to get the best results.
With microprocessor you can do it even more sophisticated.

It would be nice if permanent magnet can be replaced with electromagnet to change levitation height. With this you can make even cooler levitated platforms.

But if you want to really levitate things, I can see much higher potential in ion thrusters.


Offline Pirate88179

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Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2014, 05:20:30 AM »
I am now thinking that maybe...possibly, I can convert one of my one magnet, no bearing Bedini motors (Ala Johnnydavro) into one of these levitrons?  It has the electromagnetic coil placed vertically, and the circuit to pulse it....I think we need to find out a way to swap polarities on the electro mag and also add some stabilization perma mags around the base.

It might be easier to start from scratch but this idea hit me today and I am still thinking about it.

Bill

One of my videos of the Johhnydavro replication: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RsFMyZbj1I&list=UU0bTBCRogMzrYTQT3pbhxwg

Offline TinselKoala

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Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2014, 05:42:38 AM »
Bill,  the way to do it is to use an H-bridge, or equivalently an op-amp circuit, that will switch output polarity in response to a sensor input. Two example "sketches" are below. Just substitute the coil for the motor M in the circuits. These are bare-bones sketches of course, the real circuit will have some more complexity depending on your sensors, power supplies, etc.
You'd need relatively highpower op-amps that can source and sink sufficient current on the outputs to the coil. Like maybe OPA549 from TI.


Offline TinselKoala

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Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2014, 05:48:25 AM »
Here's a more complete and simpler solution but requires a bipolar power supply, +/- voltage wrt a "zero" ground level. The 741 op amp is as common as sand and about as cheap.

If Vin to pin3 of the 741 is above the ground level the motor or coil runs one way, if the Vin is below the ground level the motor or coil runs the other way. The Vin comes from a potentiometer voltage divider (ends to Vcc+ and Vcc-, wiper to Pin3) or other sensor system.

Free Energy | searching for free energy and discussing free energy

Re: Electronic Levitron...How the heck does this thing work?
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2014, 05:48:25 AM »

 

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