Author Topic: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)  (Read 13228 times)

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eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« on: February 22, 2017, 01:09:15 am »
A magazine like Popular Science should be held to a higher standard than today's "Fake news" marketing re-hashing websites, which is why it's very disappointing to see them print an article on the thoroughly busted Indiegogo Water Seer without any kind of basic fact checking or questioning of it's practicality.
P.S. The article author was contacted for comment but did not reply.

« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 01:49:28 am by EEVblog »
 
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Offline HAL-42b

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2017, 05:12:33 am »
The Pipe leading to the underground bulb actually behaves like an air recuperator. That would save considerable amount of energy.

Thunderfoot and the other archaeologist character failed to see that. No surprise there. I was not expecting to see Dave Jones making the same mistake.

Recuperator is basically a type heat exchanger where the working fluid on both sides is air. It is used a lot in HVAC because it saves a ton of money.

So the two pipes in that device act as a rudimentary recuperator. The outgoing air is cooling down the incoming air. If the inner pipe was ribbed or corrugated the efficiency would improve even more.



Also let's not forget that no matter how low the efficiency, the system would still have 'some' yield. Keeping that yield and preventing evaporation is an engineering problem I believe can be solved with membranes or capillaries.

Overall, this is something new and untested but it hardly deserves the "Debunk Fever" it has been getting.

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2017, 05:37:52 am »
The Pipe leading to the underground bulb actually behaves like an air recuperator. That would save considerable amount of energy.
Thunderfoot and the other archaeologist character failed to see that. No surprise there. I was not expecting to see Dave Jones making the same mistake.
Recuperator is basically a type heat exchanger where the working fluid on both sides is air. It is used a lot in HVAC because it saves a ton of money.
So the two pipes in that device act as a rudimentary recuperator. The outgoing air is cooling down the incoming air. If the inner pipe was ribbed or corrugated the efficiency would improve even more.

So run the numbers on it for typical types of soil...
 

Offline Don Hills

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2017, 07:26:29 am »
The Pipe leading to the underground bulb actually behaves like an air recuperator. That would save considerable amount of energy.

Thunderfoot and the other archaeologist character failed to see that. No surprise there. I was not expecting to see Dave Jones making the same mistake.

...

If you're sure it's a mistake, please run the numbers for us. Take the extreme cases: 100% efficiency in the heat exchanger, so that the air exiting at the top is the same temperature as the air coming in, and 0% efficiency, where there's no heat exchange.
 

Offline hayatepilot

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2017, 07:30:09 am »
The Pipe leading to the underground bulb actually behaves like an air recuperator. That would save considerable amount of energy.
Thunderfoot and the other archaeologist character failed to see that. No surprise there. I was not expecting to see Dave Jones making the same mistake.
Recuperator is basically a type heat exchanger where the working fluid on both sides is air. It is used a lot in HVAC because it saves a ton of money.
So the two pipes in that device act as a rudimentary recuperator. The outgoing air is cooling down the incoming air. If the inner pipe was ribbed or corrugated the efficiency would improve even more.

That doesn't matter. The energy for condensation is still the same.
Dave and Thunderf00t calculated only the energy required for condensation and neglected the energy required to cool the air to that condensation temperature.
 

Offline Barny

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2017, 08:11:21 am »
The next funny thing is, that even when the heat energy magically disappear, there is a little catch.
This  this pieces of modern art are supposed to be placed in steppe or dessert.
There is next to no water in the air. Because if there would be enough water in the air to get this junk to work, there would be rain.

 

Offline Daniel15

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2017, 08:35:41 am »
Did you contact Popular Science about it? It might be worth sending them a link to your video and seeing what they say (if anything).
 

Offline firewalker

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2017, 08:46:56 am »
Could it be a sponsored article?

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2017, 09:30:20 am »
Did you contact Popular Science about it? It might be worth sending them a link to your video and seeing what they say (if anything).

Yes, I contacted the author before I did the video via email and twitter and got no response.
 

Offline mswhin63

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2017, 09:48:40 am »
>
Quote



Quote from: HAL-42b on Today at 00:12:33
The Pipe leading to the underground bulb actually behaves like an air recuperator. That would save considerable amount of energy.

Thunderfoot and the other archaeologist character failed to see that. No surprise there. I was not expecting to see Dave Jones making the same mistake.

Recuperator is basically a type heat exchanger where the working fluid on both sides is air. It is used a lot in HVAC because it saves a ton of money.

So the two pipes in that device act as a rudimentary recuperator. The outgoing air is cooling down the incoming air. If the inner pipe was ribbed or corrugated the efficiency would improve even more.

>


Also let's not forget that no matter how low the efficiency, the system would still have 'some' yield. Keeping that yield and preventing evaporation is an engineering problem I believe can be solved with membranes or capillaries.

Overall, this is something new and untested but it hardly deserves the "Debunk Fever" it has been getting.

Beware of bandwagons.
Heat exchangers require continuous flow.
The water seer inner pipe is only used to extract water so it does not flow, unless when you extract water. The residual air does not flow either.
The outer section is the ground and again does not flow, this issue was brought up in Thunderfoots video in the first place. It still exchanges heat but is limit by radiating heat from the surface or surrounds.
Finally there are 2 types of simple heat exchangers:
  • Series which eventually as the area increases the exchange efficiency decreases. This is what is potentially happening here but as ther is no continual flow or either water or ground.
  • Parallel - The better of the 2 provide heat differential that improves with increased area. Again fluid flow is required.
This is my limit of understanding based on quick research. Now it is time to calculate with all the facts present. There maybe something I missed but I think it is fairly correct with potential limitation and time available


.
 

Offline jonovid

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2017, 09:57:07 am »
the reason why this is called legitimate science, is because this is the scientific new age POP religion of our time.
like Al Gore meets space aliens. its green & its magical! when you mix feminism, socialism with political mumbo jumbo you have pseudoscience.
look we can save the world and be like God at the same time, with this or that magical green thing.  :bullshit:

maybe Popular Science is now Popular pseudoscience of the left.  :-// FAKE NEWS?

if the goal is free drinking water? their is other much better ways to do this, like the many solar still projects on YouTube.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 07:09:20 pm by jonovid »
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Offline HAL-42b

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2017, 10:22:49 am »
Ok, let me try and run some numbers

Volumetric Heat Capacity for Dry Sandy Soil 0.80 x10^6 J/m3.K

Which means we can condense a liter of water by rising the temperature of a cubic meter of soil by 3 degrees K.

To obtain the target 40 liters we need thermal contact to about 40m3 of soil. I won't bother with thermal diffusivity but let's  crudely assume that drilling to 10 meters deep would give us what we need.

Turns out the animation in the video wasn't to scale. No big deal. I mean that's just a factor of two, not even an order of magnitude...  ;D   Seriously though, a drilling auger on the back of a tractor could drill to that depth in an hour.


In the Kalahari Desert the soil temperature at that depth is 18 degrees year round. Also the moisture during the night time regularly reaches 70% and the temperatures drops considerably.

So, operate the rig during night time and shut it down at sunrise to allow the soil to equalize.

It might work. There are better approaches but this also might work.
 

Offline HAL-42b

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2017, 10:48:15 am »
Heat exchangers require continuous flow.
The water seer inner pipe is only used to extract water so it does not flow, unless when you extract water. The residual air does not flow either.
The outer section is the ground and again does not flow, this issue was brought up in Thunderfoots video in the first place. It still exchanges heat but is limit by radiating heat from the surface or surrounds.
Finally there are 2 types of simple heat exchangers:
>
  • Series which eventually as the area increases the exchange efficiency decreases. This is what is potentially happening here but as ther is no continual flow or either water or ground.
  • Parallel - The better of the 2 provide heat differential that improves with increased area. Again fluid flow is required.
This is my limit of understanding based on quick research. Now it is time to calculate with all the facts present. There maybe something I missed but I think it is fairly correct with potential limitation and time available


Yes Thunderfoot chose to interpret that pipe as water outlet but he does not know much about practical engineering. I chose to interpret it as the exit leg of a cross-flow type heat exchanger.



Obviously we would need a third pipe or a hose or something to take the water out.

The exaust pipes of gas boilers also work this way. There are two pipes one inside the other. The inner pipe is for the exaust and the outer pipe is for the intake. The exhaust heats the intake air. For every 15 degrees C exchanged they gain extra 1% efficiency.
 

Offline mswhin63

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2017, 11:50:21 am »
I just noticed a "possible" flaw in the heat exchanger image. According to a slide post it shows that there requires constant flow of air in each direction. The image only show flow in one direction and the air should not be mixed for a heat exchanger to operate.


One of the first conditions mention in this lecture is the air/fluid cannot be mixed - https://youtu.be/QMg3vr7KgDA



.
 

Offline alxpo

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2017, 12:08:00 pm »
It is definitely possible, but performance is definitely exaggerated. Well done scam (perhaps scam).
According to collected information regarding heat pump based heating systems with ground heat exchangers the ground heat exchanger with 1kW capacity is 30m length and 150mm diameter pipe. https://web.archive.org/web/20081101044605/http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/publications/infosource/pub/home/heating-heat-pump/gsheatpumps.cfm
Maybe it is exaggeration only in 1 order of magnitude, but not 77.
 

Offline R005T3r

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2017, 12:22:20 pm »
I'm starting to think that many graduated people have problems in thermodynamics.
 

Offline HAL-42b

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2017, 01:53:11 pm »
I think you are following the marketing of the Waterseer, the images you show are image with no reference material to go with it. Do you have links to the reference material based on the image. I profess to limited knowledge on heat exchangers but I am sure my understand is relatively OK. As far as the ground heat stabilisation it is not a linear or overall cooling instead it will have a 3rd order rate of cooling. This was mentioned to me in my 1st year of engineering on the basics of thermodynamics. I did study advanced calculus about 4 years ago and was taken aback by the complexity. I passed but not happy with my results.

I took a closer look at the image of the water seer which has nothing on their website to show. Google images search showed the pictures. It does show a separate pipe for water collection, so it a basic thermodynamic heat exchanger.
I also look at the video and the pre-order, for which I think is utterly deceptive and not appropriate. It is a proof of concept only, I cannot see it finished by late this year, we saw how hard it was to get the batteriser off the ground with approvals etc.


I have absolutely nothing to do with them. I live in a different country and I don't have anything to lose or gain by their success or failure.

I'm just interested because I was trying to design something like that as a thought experiment, only mine had heat pipes stuck deep underground and an expensive recuperator on the surface. It was a stupid idea really because there was no way to build the recuperator cheaply.

So when I saw this thing I immediately saw these two pipes one inside another are an excellent way to build a recuperator. Their videos actually never mention it. I just saw a recuperator where there ought to be one.

Will the waterseer actually work in practice? I don't really know. But I'd hate to see people gung-hoing on it just because it is fashionable. The whole thing reminds me of Ignaz Sammelweis who first suggested that doctors should wash their hands before delivering babies and was ridiculed because suggesting doctors were unclean was preposterous and ungentlemanly.
 
This summer I might buy a length of pipe and actually try to build something like this and see if it actually works or not.
 

Offline HAL-42b

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2017, 02:06:06 pm »
I just noticed a "possible" flaw in the heat exchanger image. According to a slide post it shows that there requires constant flow of air in each direction. The image only show flow in one direction and the air should not be mixed for a heat exchanger to operate.


One of the first conditions mention in this lecture is the air/fluid cannot be mixed - https://youtu.be/QMg3vr7KgDA

You are absolutely right of course. There should never be no mixing inside the heat exchanger. Only in rare occasions you can get away with mixing the two streams without any side effects. For example if you were trying to build a giant dehumidifier or something.... ;D

https://www.1-act.com/advanced-technologies/heat-exchanger/

 

Offline Cerebus

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2017, 02:29:14 pm »
The next funny thing is, that even when the heat energy magically disappear, there is a little catch.
This  this pieces of modern art are supposed to be placed in steppe or dessert.
There is next to no water in the air. Because if there would be enough water in the air to get this junk to work, there would be rain.

Desserts don't work like that. There is enough water vapour in most dessert air to get dew, and day/night temperature swings in desserts can be very wide - 20-30 degrees C is quite common and even wider swings aren't uncommon. Dew points are set by absolute humidity, not relative; so a dew point of 15C (100%RH) is only 30%RH at 35C and so on.

There are even animals that specialize in collecting water from dew so's they can live in the dessert. For example, the Namibian Web-footed Gecko stands in the open at dawn and licks dew drops off its face and eyes. It lives, unsurprisingly, in the Namib Dessert - that has an average annual rainfall of just 10mm. That is also home to the Namib Dessert Beetle (aka Fogstand Beetle) that has specialized bumps and furrows on its shell to collect dew and funnel it into the beetle's mouth. Summer daytime temperatures in the Namib are in the 40-50C region.

There's an old dessert survival technique where you pitch out a tarpaulin overnight, with a small rock in the middle to form a low point, and you place a receptacle (jar, tin, whatever) under the low point to collect dew that drips off.

While nature may happily provide a 20 - 30C night/day temperature swing it's another thing to artificially create the same swing in the space of a small wind driven device at an arbitrary time of day.
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline Jacko

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2017, 03:59:08 pm »
A magazine like Popular Science should be held to a higher standard

PopSci also runs full page ads for http://johnellis.com/ which makes a variety of claims about water purification.

 

Offline free_electron

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2017, 05:27:07 pm »
The next funny thing is, that even when the heat energy magically disappear, there is a little catch.
This  this pieces of modern art are supposed to be placed in steppe or dessert.
There is next to no water in the air. Because if there would be enough water in the air to get this junk to work, there would be rain.

Desserts don't work like that. There is enough water vapour in most dessert air to get dew, and day/night temperature swings in desserts can be very wide - 20-30 degrees C is quite common and even wider swings aren't uncommon. Dew points are set by absolute humidity, not relative; so a dew point of 15C (100%RH) is only 30%RH at 35C and so on.

There are even animals that specialize in collecting water from dew so's they can live in the dessert. For example, the Namibian Web-footed Gecko stands in the open at dawn and licks dew drops off its face and eyes. It lives, unsurprisingly, in the Namib Dessert - that has an average annual rainfall of just 10mm. That is also home to the Namib Dessert Beetle (aka Fogstand Beetle) that has specialized bumps and furrows on its shell to collect dew and funnel it into the beetle's mouth. Summer daytime temperatures in the Namib are in the 40-50C region.

There's an old dessert survival technique where you pitch out a tarpaulin overnight, with a small rock in the middle to form a low point, and you place a receptacle (jar, tin, whatever) under the low point to collect dew that drips off.

While nature may happily provide a 20 - 30C night/day temperature swing it's another thing to artificially create the same swing in the space of a small wind driven device at an arbitrary time of day.
especially milk or cream based desserts can be very moist.

eating desserts in the desert is a good way to provide mandatory intake of fluids. just be careful no desert ends up in the dessert. nobody likes sand in their food
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Offline Nystemy

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2017, 06:55:31 pm »
So I were strolling through the internet and stumbled over this video:
And yes, Dave have already talked about it a bit and all, though I haven't seen such a simple and down to earth way of explaining why both the product claims and campaign is putting up a rather large warning sign that something isn't really right.

And just as a second point, the gravity light thing he talks about, wouldn't a super capacitor or two and a simple crank shaft be simpler? (Just my opinion/though though...)
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2017, 08:12:52 pm »
 I don't know if this is really anything new. PopSci and Popular Mechanics have long run stories of near-fantasy devices and technologies that were always "right around the corner" but utterly impractical or simply things no one ever had the need for.
 I dropped my subscription to PopSci because in the past bunch of years it has become far more "Popular" and a lot less "Science". As it was, it was only costing me $5/year - so it wasn't a money thing. I was but a wee player when I first subscribed, and ate it all up alongside my Popular Electronics, but over the years I lapsed and would just pick an issue up here or there at the newsstand, then a few years back they were making $5 offers so I re-upped for a couple of years but lost most interest in the way they present stuff now.

 

Offline jonovid

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2017, 08:38:04 pm »
Quote
I don't know if this is really anything new. PopSci and Popular Mechanics have long run stories of near-fantasy devices and technologies that were always "right around the corner" but utterly impractical or simply things no one ever had the need for.
 I dropped my subscription to PopSci because in the past bunch of years it has become far more "Popular" and a lot less "Science". As it was, it was only costing me $5/year - so it wasn't a money thing. I was but a wee player when I first subscribed, and ate it all up alongside my Popular Electronics, but over the years I lapsed and would just pick an issue up here or there at the newsstand, then a few years back they were making $5 offers so I re-upped for a couple of years but lost most interest in the way they present stuff now.


your right,  popular science magazine is more like popular science fiction. see
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Offline MacMeter

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Re: eevBLAB #31 - Popular Science FAIL! (Water Seer)
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2017, 11:11:57 pm »
Thunderfoot posted a followup video in response to the written universities Facebook response to his first debunk video. Highly entertaining!

https://youtu.be/pen6dBszLgA
 


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