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EEVblog => EEVblog Specific => Suggestions => Topic started by: ferrix on July 05, 2011, 08:59:39 am

Title: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: ferrix on July 05, 2011, 08:59:39 am
When I saw this site today (warning, LOUD annoying) http://fuelsharkusa.com (http://fuelsharkusa.com),

I thought "What crap; I wonder if there's even anything in there apart from the LED driver".  It's possible they have some sort of capacitive circuit to try and take/give back power to smooth things out.. But I can't even come up with a plausible way that it would make any difference, apart from sapping some of your power to light up the LED :)

The world is full of devices like this, that don't actually do what they claim.  Wouldn't it be great to see an expert like Dave open one up and show how it "works" (or doesn't)?
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Armin_Balija on July 05, 2011, 09:01:47 am
This is quite possibly one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life. What kind of a dunce would actually think this works?
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: ferrix on July 05, 2011, 09:04:04 am
You would be SO surprised.  Try googling for it.  I couldn't find anyone talking about it except people claiming it works or "wondering" if it works.  No credible debunking.

I just think it would be worth a few bucks for a Dave smackdown.  I would contribute toward the purchase price just to see it, if Dave agrees to crack it open.  Anyone else?
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Frangible on July 05, 2011, 01:41:42 pm
(warning, LOUD annoying)

One of the reasons why I run Firefox with the Flashblock plugin. 
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: ferrix on July 05, 2011, 01:43:39 pm
(warning, LOUD annoying)
One of the reasons why I run Firefox with the Flashblock plugin.
Good practice.  I didn't want to assume though, and make enemies with my first post :P
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: oPossum on July 05, 2011, 01:48:10 pm
I think the Fuel Shark is just a cap and LED.

I did a teardown of the Fuel Doctor FD-47 (http://fd47.compendiumarcana.com) and found nothing that would do any substantial noise filtering.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: ferrix on July 05, 2011, 01:51:28 pm
oPossum you nailed the heck out of that.  Totally awesome! 

It sure scratched my itch, now I guess I don't need to see the fuel shark internals.  It's amazing to me that these companies can get away with false claims.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: abbtech on July 05, 2011, 06:41:10 pm
What's worse is so many regular people get caught up in their lies and spends their hard earned money on this crap.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: ejeffrey on July 05, 2011, 06:45:49 pm
You would be SO surprised.  Try googling for it.  I couldn't find anyone talking about it except people claiming it works or "wondering" if it works.  No credible debunking.

These things are like a hydra.  Debunk one and two more spring up to take their place.  That nobody has debunked this particular piece of crap doesn't mean much.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: ferrix on July 05, 2011, 11:21:04 pm
These things are like a hydra.  Debunk one and two more spring up to take their place.  That nobody has debunked this particular piece of crap doesn't mean much.
Good point.  I didn't realize they were so common.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: saturation on July 06, 2011, 12:18:32 am
A major problem is someone has to buy one to tear it down, unless you are paid to do it who has the money to buy and analyze fraudulent items?  In the USA, you can report such folks to the Attorney General who investigate fraud, but they won't do much unless someone is physically hurt by it, such as fraudulent safety gear or drugs.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: FreeThinker on July 06, 2011, 01:14:19 am
When I saw this site today (warning, LOUD annoying) http://fuelsharkusa.com (http://fuelsharkusa.com),

I thought "What crap; I wonder if there's even anything in there apart from the LED driver".  It's possible they have some sort of capacitive circuit to try and take/give back power to smooth things out.. But I can't even come up with a plausible way that it would make any difference, apart from sapping some of your power to light up the LED :)

The world is full of devices like this, that don't actually do what they claim.  Wouldn't it be great to see an expert like Dave open one up and show how it "works" (or doesn't)?
Seems to be only one shark as far as I can tell.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: oPossum on July 06, 2011, 01:23:35 am
Quote from: saturation
A major problem is someone has to buy one to tear it down, unless you are paid to do it who has the money to buy and analyze fraudulent items?
I purchased the first one at a local retailer and returned it after the teardown. Told them it didn't work. Got a full refund. The second one - the "new and improved" Platinum edition - I got on eBay for less than half the retail price.

When the TV ads started about a year ago, I searched for tech info on the internet. All I found was a forum post with a picture of the inside - top of PCB only. So I went out and got one to do a proper teardown. I posted a picture of the bottom of the PCB and a schematic in the same forum. A few weeks later the forum thread disappears. So I posted pics and schematic in another forum where there was some discussion of the device. A few days later I get a PM from the admin asking where I got the info. They where contacted by a lawyer and had to decide what to do with the forum thread. They removed some negative comments about the product, but let my post stay. So it was clear that posting in forums would cause problems for the forum admins, so I put it on my own web page. A few weeks later I get a letter from a laywer (http://www.compendiumarcana.com/fuel_doctor_fd47/syverson.pdf). I do nothing, of course. A while later I get a rant from the CEO (http://www.compendiumarcana.com/fuel_doctor_fd47/hershko.txt). I just added the Platinum edition info a few weeks ago, and saw a visit from the law firm in the web logs about a week ago. I am expecting another nasty letter from them.

Quote
In the USA, you can report such folks to the Attorney General who investigate fraud, but they won't do much unless someone is physically hurt by it, such as fraudulent safety gear or drugs.
Yes, the government (FTC/AG/etc..) is useless, and people are stupid. They seem to be making millions off this thing. They sponsor a NASCAR team.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Armin_Balija on July 06, 2011, 01:58:55 am
Sounds to me like you need Leonard J. Crabs on the case. Head on over to something awful and post your story there :P.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: oPossum on July 06, 2011, 01:59:11 am
Seems to be only one shark as far as I can tell.

The Fuel Shark looks very similar to the Neo Socket (http://www.dealextreme.com/p/neo-socket-fuel-economizer-for-car-save-fuel-gas-10-30-12v-52013)

There is also the Super Eco Plug (http://www.alibaba.com/product-free/11727270/Super_Eco_Plug_Auto_Fuel_Saving.html)

The Fuel Doctor is sold as the ProReducer in some parts of asia.

There are also *many* hard wired boxes that are supposed to improve fuel economy.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: sacherjj on July 06, 2011, 02:25:31 am
When I saw this site today (warning, LOUD annoying) http://fuelsharkusa.com (http://fuelsharkusa.com),

I thought "What crap; I wonder if there's even anything in there apart from the LED driver".  It's possible they have some sort of capacitive circuit to try and take/give back power to smooth things out.. But I can't even come up with a plausible way that it would make any difference, apart from sapping some of your power to light up the LED :)

The world is full of devices like this, that don't actually do what they claim.  Wouldn't it be great to see an expert like Dave open one up and show how it "works" (or doesn't)?

Giving back power to a car's electrical system doesn't work, as the electrical system generates excess waste power anyway.  You won't reduce the load on the motor.

The only gas saving system I've experimented with that worked was Brown's Gas for older cars.  This is when you use the waste electricity to generate H202 gas and shoot it into the intake.  Cars without modern controls are inefficient at combustion.  This give the extra oxygen to burn the fuel that otherwise is burned at the catalytic convertor.  However, the excess oxygen in the exhaust fools the car into thinking you are too lean.  So you have to make a circuit to adjust the correct oxygen level. 

We saw up to 20% mileage improvement with 1980s to early 1990s cars with this, but the returns gradually drop as the computer controls in cars have become good enough that combustion is getting hard to improve in an efficiency standpoint with any modern cars.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: ferrix on July 06, 2011, 02:29:43 am
That's the first believable explanation for a brown's gas mod that I've ever heard.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: saturation on July 06, 2011, 08:20:40 pm
Thanks for taking the time out to do the tear down; its a paradox that the people who need to read your analysis are also the one's who are not likely to understand it.  Any technical, or educated person will initially greet its claim with skepticism, even without the tear down. 

One person you could try is James Randi, he likes exposing charlatans, but even he will weigh the time and energy over the benefit of exposing such folks.

http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/jref-news/102-blake-withdrawls-from-pear-cable-challenge.html (http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/jref-news/102-blake-withdrawls-from-pear-cable-challenge.html)

The bottom line is as bolded, as Lincoln said, ' You can fool some of the people all of the time ...' or PT Barnum, ' there's a sucker born every minute ...' as you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

Yes, the government (FTC/AG/etc..) is useless, and people are stupid. They seem to be making millions off this thing. They sponsor a NASCAR team.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: oPossum on July 22, 2011, 07:38:51 pm
The Fuel Shark / NeoSocket...

(http://www.compendiumarcana.com/fuel_doctor_fd47/NeoSocket_small.jpg) (http://www.compendiumarcana.com/fuel_doctor_fd47/NeoSocket.jpg)

A 2200 uF cap, two 51 k resistors and a white LED.

The LED current is ~ 0.1 mA, so it is a dim glow. It glows for several minutes after power is removed. I suspect that is supposed to give the impression that it stores substantial energy.


Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: saturation on July 22, 2011, 09:20:35 pm
At least there is a fuse  ::)
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Bloch on July 23, 2011, 01:40:06 am
The Fuel Shark / NeoSocket...
It glows for several minutes after power is removed. I suspect that is supposed to give the impression that it stores substantial energy.

Well that device do some thing I mean it do filter the 12Volt
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Bloch on July 23, 2011, 01:47:27 am
I think the Fuel Shark is just a cap and LED.

I did a teardown of the Fuel Doctor FD-47 (http://fd47.compendiumarcana.com) and found nothing that would do any substantial noise filtering.

Did you hear from Tzvika Hershko lawyer ?
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: ivan747 on July 23, 2011, 02:08:42 am
Ahh... Nothing like an overpriced, enclosed, fused, and brain-washing marketed capacitor. They even added an LED that you probably won't see. It is so dim that gives the impression it is actually some sort of space-age Star Wars kind of technology.

At least there is a fuse  ::)

I bet the resistance of the fuse, the connections and the wiring of the cable beats the purpose of the tiny cap. If this really does power conditioning I will get some 1F (farad, without the u) ultra caps rated at 16V and tape them together, wired in parallel and have them in the glovebox, a place where I have never stored a glove.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Zero999 on July 23, 2011, 04:08:31 am
I doubt even adding a 10F would do much to improve the fuel economy.

You can buy 1F audiophool capacitors that supposedly boost the bass response of the audio system which I also think is bollocks.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: firewalker on July 23, 2011, 04:53:05 am
You can buy 1F audiophool capacitors that supposedly boost the bass response of the audio system which I also think is bollocks.

Those are useful (in high power systems) when there is only one battery present or when only one alternator charges the system. I have noticed that removing the cap head light (among other things) tends to flicker with the rhythm.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: scrat on July 23, 2011, 05:29:17 am
I have noticed that removing the cap head light (among other things) tends to flicker with the rhythm.

Nice feature, isn't it? I guess the volume is quite loud, so you can have a disco done at every crossroad! :D

With those dozen Farad caps, instead, the car could have some headache when starting, but when charged you could save them just in case the battery goes down, or (changing their series/parallel connection) as a boost when you want to overtake and the air conditioning makes your motor suffer (at least with our poor European cars, sometimes it happens)!

Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: alm on July 23, 2011, 09:58:36 am
With those dozen Farad caps, instead, the car could have some headache when starting, but when charged you could save them just in case the battery goes down, or (changing their series/parallel connection) as a boost when you want to overtake and the air conditioning makes your motor suffer (at least with our poor European cars, sometimes it happens)!
What's the peak current capacity of those caps like? Is it anywhere near enough for a starter motor or AC?
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: scrat on July 23, 2011, 06:26:18 pm
With those dozen Farad caps, instead, the car could have some headache when starting, but when charged you could save them just in case the battery goes down, or (changing their series/parallel connection) as a boost when you want to overtake and the air conditioning makes your motor suffer (at least with our poor European cars, sometimes it happens)!
What's the peak current capacity of those caps like? Is it anywhere near enough for a starter motor or AC?

Besides the fact that my previous post was completely a joke, the peak currents of supercaps are very high (ESR in the <1mOhm range), just take a look at the first spec lines of Maxwell K2 series (http://www.maxwell.com/products/ultracapacitors/docs/DATASHEET_K2_SERIES_1015370.PDF)). The typical problems are lifetime and the fact that the maximum voltage spec (usually around 2.7V per cell) has to be strictly respected.

I think a relatively small supercap module could be a better solution than a huge traditional cap, for those excessive power audio systems. Otherwise, a converter could do the job with just small caps... But maybe these won't be "audiofool approved" solutions...
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Fraser on July 23, 2011, 08:03:07 pm
I've just read this thread.

When I saw the so called legal letter that was sent to oPossum, I laughed so much I almost fell off my chair  ;D

I don't know where that Lawyer studied law but his use of the English language is anything but formal legal speak .....what a joker. The silly comments about "Bad acts" and "Google time bomb" had me in tears of laughter  ;D

With higher fuel prices there are likely to be more of these devices popping up all over the place. Sadly the general public are often not technical enough to know that the claims of many such items are total hogwash and they aren't likely to realise unitil they have bought one  :(

It's good that these items are exposed as the total rubbish that they truly are, but it's a great pity that there are lawyers willing to write childish threats to anyone who reveals the 'secret' of the con.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: alm on July 23, 2011, 08:30:50 pm
I think a relatively small supercap module could be a better solution than a huge traditional cap, for those excessive power audio systems. Otherwise, a converter could do the job with just small caps... But maybe these won't be "audiofool approved" solutions...
Surely those caps can be manufactured with gold-plated legs? And you can always run a $1k power cord to the battery to provide clean 12v power.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Bloch on July 23, 2011, 09:05:21 pm
Now we get a bit OT

But if a high watt car lovers or if they like to have a lot off power then it is cold to easy start the car.

Is the most important is a new battery. One like the Optima Yellow top

Internal Resistance  0.0025 ohms
Cold Cranking Amps @ -18°C (A) 975

If they have a lot of money then the ideal is - 1 red top as a starter and  Yellow top for the amplifiers.

Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Zero999 on July 24, 2011, 04:10:34 am
You can buy 1F audiophool capacitors that supposedly boost the bass response of the audio system which I also think is bollocks.

Those are useful (in high power systems) when there is only one battery present or when only one alternator charges the system. I have noticed that removing the cap head light (among other things) tends to flicker with the rhythm.
A cheaper solution would be to just use cable with a lowest enough resistance in the first place.

The maximum theoretical RMS power with 12V into a single 4 Ohm speaker is 18W so with six channels (one in the front, two in the back and a couple of sub-woofers in the boot) that's only 108W. A higher powered audio system would need a transformer, lower impedance speakers or a DC-DC converter. An audio transformer with good bass response would have to be three times the size as a mains transformer so is not practical and I've not seen many speakers with a lower impedance than 4 Ohms so a DC-DC converter would probably be the best solution. A good DC-DC converter should work considerably lower voltages than 12V and compensate for cable voltage drop as well as being low noise.

Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: ciccio on July 25, 2011, 09:42:28 pm
It's true: high power car amplifier use dc-dc converters, to give output power of up to 4X250 W rms
See this link and forgive the low-tech writing: http://caraudiomag.com/articles/anatomy-power-amplifier (http://caraudiomag.com/articles/anatomy-power-amplifier)
Big capacitors are often added to compensate for the battery impedance and large (up to 10 mm2) power wires are used.
I do some sporadic repair work for an "esoteric car audio" installer, and sometimes see some amazing things.


Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: firewalker on July 26, 2011, 12:25:05 am
The Fuel Shark / NeoSocket...

(http://www.compendiumarcana.com/fuel_doctor_fd47/NeoSocket_small.jpg) (http://www.compendiumarcana.com/fuel_doctor_fd47/NeoSocket.jpg)

A 2200 uF cap, two 51 k resistors and a white LED.

The LED current is ~ 0.1 mA, so it is a dim glow. It glows for several minutes after power is removed. I suspect that is supposed to give the impression that it stores substantial energy.

Nasty stuff to play with. It's technology seems to be from the future.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: scrat on July 26, 2011, 02:03:27 am
Nasty stuff to play with. It's technology seems to be from the future.

Yeah, that's why we can't understand, and just keep making fun of those pioneers!
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: EEVblog on July 26, 2011, 11:02:47 am
Quote from: saturation
A major problem is someone has to buy one to tear it down, unless you are paid to do it who has the money to buy and analyze fraudulent items?
I purchased the first one at a local retailer and returned it after the teardown. Told them it didn't work. Got a full refund. The second one - the "new and improved" Platinum edition - I got on eBay for less than half the retail price.

When the TV ads started about a year ago, I searched for tech info on the internet. All I found was a forum post with a picture of the inside - top of PCB only. So I went out and got one to do a proper teardown. I posted a picture of the bottom of the PCB and a schematic in the same forum. A few weeks later the forum thread disappears. So I posted pics and schematic in another forum where there was some discussion of the device. A few days later I get a PM from the admin asking where I got the info. They where contacted by a lawyer and had to decide what to do with the forum thread. They removed some negative comments about the product, but let my post stay. So it was clear that posting in forums would cause problems for the forum admins, so I put it on my own web page. A few weeks later I get a letter from a laywer (http://www.compendiumarcana.com/fuel_doctor_fd47/syverson.pdf). I do nothing, of course. A while later I get a rant from the CEO (http://www.compendiumarcana.com/fuel_doctor_fd47/hershko.txt). I just added the Platinum edition info a few weeks ago, and saw a visit from the law firm in the web logs about a week ago. I am expecting another nasty letter from them.

Quote
In the USA, you can report such folks to the Attorney General who investigate fraud, but they won't do much unless someone is physically hurt by it, such as fraudulent safety gear or drugs.
Yes, the government (FTC/AG/etc..) is useless, and people are stupid. They seem to be making millions off this thing. They sponsor a NASCAR team.

And THAT'S why they are trying to shut you up.
Nice work on the teardown and bebunking it.
We might make this the first Wank Product of the Week segment on TheAmpHour! (yet to get a better segment name :->)

I see they gave you a date of July 2010 to pay their legals fees of $5K or face a $100K law suit.
Presumably they backed down and did nothing after you just ignored them?

Dave.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Bored@Work on July 26, 2011, 04:18:38 pm
Just for the record, according to their website http://www.fueldoctorracing.com/fuel-doctor-drivers (http://www.fueldoctorracing.com/fuel-doctor-drivers) these conman sponsor

Cole Whitt - NASCAR #60 Fuel Doctor Chevy (actually the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series)
Jason Bowles - NASCAR #75 Fuel Doctor Camry
David Fumanelli - Formula 3
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Bloch on July 26, 2011, 05:24:19 pm
Just for the record, according to their website  (http://www.fueldoctorracing.com/fuel-doctor-drivers)

Thanks !

Nice Demonstration Equipment for the FD-47
Power Supply (23mA 13,65Volt)
Rigol DS1052E ( Cant see ? )
Pragmatic 3305A function generator (Frequency noise ) , (Amplify = 1, Offset ? 0,5Volt)

(http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6050/5905684473_cccfa1ba61_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: saturation on July 26, 2011, 08:54:38 pm
That tells you about the audience of NASCAR.  Speaking of that, there are enough wanky products out there to keep a show in business.  You could also include counterfeit electronic components and assembled gadgets.

If you run out of ideas, I think eevblog members can give you ideas and tear downs; I'm sure we've seen them somewhere.  I recall this:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Salvaging-a- (http://www.instructables.com/id/Salvaging-a-)$1-Fake-Shake-Light/

I've seen these in many places, often dumped for $1 at the dollar day store, it does have enough parts to be worth $1 for projects, the casing and lens for one, the copper wire another.



...They sponsor a NASCAR team.

And THAT'S why they are trying to shut you up.
Nice work on the teardown and bebunking it.
We might make this the first Wank Product of the Week segment on TheAmpHour! (yet to get a better segment name :->)

I see they gave you a date of July 2010 to pay their legals fees of $5K or face a $100K law suit.
Presumably they backed down and did nothing after you just ignored them?

Dave.
[/quote]
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Kiriakos-GR on July 26, 2011, 10:53:58 pm
We have a similar fairy tale in Greece, about improving the MAINS bill on 220V.

Just few capacitors in a box with LED  :P too.

It called economizer ..bla bla bla .

The only logical interpretation is that it supposed to help the power factor of motors.
The point is that the households does not have large motors, and every device that it does need such capacitors,
the manufacturer have add them in it all ready.
Like air condition units , or small fan.

The electricians of Greece with their union had report this company to the Greek court of justice, but those cases takes years to clear up, and until them the scammer's  will have make a small fortune.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: firewalker on July 27, 2011, 12:05:23 am
We have a similar fairy tale in Greece, about improving the MAINS bill on 220V.

Just few capacitors in a box with LED  :P too.

It called economizer ..bla bla bla .

The only logical interpretation is that it supposed to help the power factor of motors.
The point is that the households does not have large motors, and every device that it does need such capacitors,
the manufacturer have add them in it all ready.
Like air condition units , or small fan.

The electricians of Greece with their union had report this company to the Greek court of justice, but those cases takes years to clear up, and until them the scammer's  will have make a small fortune.

I took apart couple of those high end products and the large capacitor wasn't connected to anything. Just a polyester capacitor a MOhm resistor, another KOhm range resistor and an LED.

Alexander.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Alex on July 27, 2011, 01:27:09 am
We have a similar fairy tale in Greece, about improving the MAINS bill on 220V.

Just few capacitors in a box with LED  :P too.

It called economizer ..bla bla bla .

The only logical interpretation is that it supposed to help the power factor of motors.
The point is that the households does not have large motors, and every device that it does need such capacitors,
the manufacturer have add them in it all ready.
Like air condition units , or small fan.

It can actually make it worse for inductive loads if the required capacitance is not properly calculated for zero power factor.

Anyway, domestic households and small businesses are not charged for reactive power, only active. Please let us know if this is not the case in yoru country. This means that even at a large power factor (lead or lag, doesnt matter) such devices will have no effect on the reading of a household electrical energy usage meter.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: oPossum on July 27, 2011, 01:48:37 am
And THAT'S why they are trying to shut you up.

Because it is a profitable scam?

Quote
Nice work on the teardown and bebunking it.
We might make this the first Wank Product of the Week segment on TheAmpHour! (yet to get a better segment name :->)

I see they gave you a date of July 2010 to pay their legals fees of $5K or face a $100K law suit.
Presumably they backed down and did nothing after you just ignored them?

Thanks. It is unfortunate that most people can not understand the info I have presented.

I have not received any contact from them or their lawyer. The last view of my website by the lawyer was July 6. So they are either going to do nothing (again) or are thinking about what to sue me for. I don't mind the legal threats at all. I have a lawyer that can tell me if there is anything of substance, and what I should do about it.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Alex on July 27, 2011, 01:58:22 am
It is unfortunate that most people can not understand the info I have presented.

So they are either going to do nothing (again) or are thinking about what to sue me for. I don't mind the legal threats at all.

I would suggest you use the same language used by the original sellers of these gizmos if you want to approach the same audience. Layman's terms, emotional, linked to headlines, scary, magic, and money. You can be as scientific as you like when it comes to explaining why it doesn't work as advertised, in fact that would be desirable! ::) However there should be a conclusion along the lines of the above suggestions. These people are not necessarily idiots, they just want to reduce their fuel costs.

As long as IP goes, as long as you have not used their original schematics or other CAD files (to which you dont have access anyway), they can't touch you. You have not infrindged any patents or violated any copyrights. This is all info available to the public domain.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: oPossum on July 27, 2011, 01:59:49 am
Nice Demonstration Equipment for the FD-47
Power Supply (23mA 13,65Volt)
Rigol DS1052E ( Cant see ? )
Pragmatic 3305A function generator (Frequency noise ) , (Amplify = 1, Offset ? 0,5Volt)

They are trying to show noise reduction with that setup. The problem is the source impedance of the signal generator - probably 50 ohms. That is very different than the sub 1 ohm impedance of a car's electrical system. The effect of a 47 uF cap in the test setup is not an accurate representation of what it will do in a car.

Their test equipment is week compared to equivalent gear that I have:
Agilent 54645D "MegaZoom" MSO
Agilent 6632A, 6033A, and 6038A (x3) power supplies.
Agilent 8165A Function Generator, Agilent 8175A Arbitrary Waveform Generator
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Alex on July 27, 2011, 02:10:32 am
I forgot to add, getting such a letter from the self proclaimed CEO probably shows they can't handle it legally, imho.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Alex on July 27, 2011, 02:20:18 am
...but be careful as the claims in How it Works are carefully worded to be valid and stand on their own. You can see this section here:

http://fuelsharkusa.com/howitworks.htm (http://fuelsharkusa.com/howitworks.htm)
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: Kiriakos-GR on July 27, 2011, 02:35:38 am
People do not call as technology one simple capacitor , you are scaring the electricians .. LOL  ;D

This case haves one in the trillion chances, to even get in a court house.

And another one in the trillion chances, to win .

I will bet my money on oPossum  ;) 
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: ivan747 on July 27, 2011, 05:25:36 am
Just for the record, according to their website  (http://www.fueldoctorracing.com/fuel-doctor-drivers)

Thanks !

Nice Demonstration Equipment for the FD-47
Power Supply (23mA 13,65Volt)
Rigol DS1052E ( Cant see ? )
Pragmatic 3305A function generator (Frequency noise ) , (Amplify = 1, Offset ? 0,5Volt)

(http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6050/5905684473_cccfa1ba61_b.jpg)

I would fall of my chair if I heard that an EE walked near the "demonstration" and cranked up the voltage supply to 17 volts without anyone noticing. 5 minutes later, we have Fuel Doctor smoke.

By the way, reverese engineering is legal in most countie as long as you are not making a knock-off.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: ivan747 on July 28, 2011, 03:27:04 am
I recently acquired a new panel meter. I faced it towards the FuelShark's web page and:
(http://i160.photobucket.com/albums/t167/vengethis/bullshit_detector4.gif)
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: ferrix on August 11, 2011, 05:28:52 am
WAHOO! My thread became the first ever shonky product of the week! 

Of course it was mainly opossum's awesome research and the hilarious threats that made it noteworthy :)
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: AntiProtonBoy on August 11, 2011, 11:02:51 pm
Great thread!

Another dodgy product I can think of are those electronic bug repellents. You know the ones are plugged into the mains and supposed to emit ultrasonic sound and repel bugs and rodents, etc? I always found them suss.
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: ciccio on August 18, 2011, 05:42:16 pm
Another dodgy product I can think of are those electronic bug repellents. You know the ones are plugged into the mains and supposed to emit ultrasonic sound and repel bugs and rodents, etc? I always found them suss.

Speaking of mosquito repellents, years ago I was contacted by a friend, who was selling components to a Company that manufactured such gizmos.
The had a problem: no one of the last production run was working, and they were crying for help. 
I traced the problem to a transistor mounted upside down (collector and emitter reversed) because my friend sold them a cheaper replacement, that had a reversed pin-out.
I visited the (now defunct) Company's premised with my friend (hoping to be paid for may consultancy  :)) and I discovered that:
1) they were selling those (cheap) things in tens of thousands (they told me 200.000 pieces a year)
2) they had no real idea of the operation of the device
3) the design, and the PCB, was copied from a magazine's kit, by an external consultant.
4) they had no test instruments (they were testing only a part  of the production  with an AC voltmeter with some passive input filter). They had no real technicians.
5) the device was sold so cheaply that they actually had no returns (the boss explained me that no customer will lose some time for returning such a cheap thing) even if they were boasting a lifetime warranty.
I had no idea if the device was working or not (it emitted a frequency and amplitude modulated ultrasonic signal, but I don't know if the mosquitoes will run away from it ), but they were making a lot of money.
That company is now defunct: after some time they outsourced the production to somewhere in the Far East, after some other time they went into another business.
 


Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: saturation on August 19, 2011, 12:02:43 am
I was enroute to an island in the Pacific that was infested with mosquitos, and passed by a Sharper Image or some nature store that was selling them.  I asked if I could return it if it didn't work, and for $10 I gave it a whirl.  I still have my cans of bug spray.  The mosquitos were so thick at night, they would try to enter and block your nostrils; if you opened your mouth then flew in.  Suffice to say, the mosquitos covered this device and luckily, 'forest grade' OFF 100% DEET is the only thing that works, regular OFF is 10-30% and they would still swarm on you.  To keep the mosquiotes away from your head we wore head screens.  On return from my trip I passed by the store and returned it.  It couldn't have had a better test and it failed.


(http://image.made-in-china.com/2f0j00wCkTYsbRHWqQ/Mosquito-Net-Cap-FW002-.jpg)
Title: Re: Teardown of a "fuel saver" gimmick gizmo
Post by: SgtRock on September 18, 2011, 10:22:06 am
Greetings EEVBees:

I too would like to see more bogus product smack downs. They would make an excellent feature for the Amp Hour.


"Three weeks in the lab will save you a day in the library every time" Stanley Williams, HP Labs

Best Regards
Clear Ether