Posts Tagged‘testing’

Quantum Generation Responds to The Refined Geek.

I try my best to maintain some of the principles of journalistic integrity as even a writer with a small audience has sway over the opinions of others. Thus, even though this is my personal blog and I can adhere to almost any rules I choose, I try to lay my biases out on the table, reference original research when possible and, when I’m delving into the realm of opinion and hearsay, I endeavour to make you aware of it. Whilst I’ve rarely had to revisit a post based on new information there have been a precious few that have warranted further investigation in light of new evidence and one such article was my criticism of the claims Quantum Generation had made in an email to me.

For the uninitiated the whole saga began early last year when the CEO of Quantum Generation, Arthur Fahy, sent me an email making some rather extraordinary claims about a motor that he had created. I initially responded with heavy handed scepticism, figuring that it was just another elaborate free energy scam, and thought that would be as far as it would go. What followed was an email exchange whereby Arthur revealed more and more information to me, pulling me deeper into the story and made me wonder just what exactly had happened. In the end I wrote the post and figured that would be the end of it, the final nail in a conversation that had entertained me for so long.

I was utterly wrong and the truth is far more interesting than the story that Arthur first told me.

Below is a 14 point response from Arthur Fahy in regards to my blog post:

In reply to your comments on your blog
1. I acknowledge and accept that neither of the university reports makes any reference to free energy or over unity. This was not discussed with either university or the Tech voucher Program. As previously stated the motor unofficially recorded an efficiency of 148%, as it only ran at that efficiency for approximately five minutes before it collapsed, the reading could not be made official. An efficiency of 148% is extremely high so the test would need to be repeated to reaffirm the reading. Since the collapsed motor could not be re started, the reading could not be included in the official report.

All associated UNSW testing equipment was checked for faults and none could be found. So I believe it is very feasible that the 148% was correct though under the circumstance still unofficial.

Graphs and data from both universities along with results from years of R&D show positive unique characteristics and I strongly believe it is possible to replicate the 148% or similar, hence the need to raise further funds to build and test a new motor based on all our data at hand.

The present motor under test is already achieving results that make it stand out.

2. Full detailed reports are not publicly available as the technology is still in development and confidential at this stage. It’s quite normal for a company researching new technology to protect its intellectual property.

Furthermore, the terms and conditions of the report clearly state, in part “Any use of this report, in part or in its entirety or use of names of entities or consultants, in direct or indirect advertising or publicity, is forbidden”. So again, the reports are confidential as per the terms and conditions of the report itself.

3. I have attached a photo of a Quantum Generation motor under test in a laboratory at the UNSW.

4. I have attached an edited copy of the Wollongong University report cover and first page, validating both that the testing was in fact carried out and that the work was conducted through the NSW Government Trade and Investment Tech Voucher program as I have previously stated.

5. I have also included photographs of a letter from Professor Vic Ramsden (UTS,CSIRO) showing when it all started. Unfortunately Vic passed away. I wish he was still around for he was brave, not many academics will get involved in this sort of research because they are fearful that their reputation will be blemished. I can understand that.

6. The illustration of patent drawings of a generator shown in the patent office document that you have shown on your blog bears no resemblance whatsoever to the motor that we are working on today.

7. We have no web presence because we are just concentrating on R&D, not really marketing anything.

8. The company Quantum Generation Pty. Ltd. has an ACN number (Australian Company Number). This nomenclature was later changed by ASIC to ABN (Australian Business Number) for all subsequently registered companies.

9. The de registration notice for the company was posted because a late lodgement fee was not paid on time. Since the company fundamentally does not trade this was a small oversight. The fee was paid and it is registered again.

10. Puthoff mentioned $billions when the motor ran at over unity and not before.

11. I appreciate that NASA are using photons to pull a vehicle through the vacuum and that they put power into the device. They are extracting energy (photons) from the vacuum which says that there is energy in the vacuum that can be extracted. The efficiency of extraction is the key. There are also magnetic waves in the vacuum. The reference merely makes the link that energy can be drawn from the air around us that we live in.

12. Cole and Puthoff (1993) verified that (generic) energy extraction schemes are not contradictory to the laws of thermodynamics. Perlmutter and Schmidt received a Nobel prize in 2011 for discovering that ubiquitous Dark Energy (vacuum) is causing the accelerating expansion of the universe. One of the members of the Nobel prize winning team Prof. Tamara Davis stated “one day we may be able to harness this energy on earth for the benefit of mankind”.

13. CP813,Space Technology and Applications International Forum STAIF 2006, American Institute of Physics 0-7354-0305-035

14. We are carrying out legitimate research and have purposely chosen to use the facilities of a number of Universities for testing the motor so as to optimize the accuracy of test results.

I’ll leave most of these points up to consideration for the reader however in response to a couple:

  • Point 1 affirms my position that the over 100% efficiency results were likely spurious and not repeatable although Arthur seems intent on staying firm to the idea that it’s achievable. However, as I’ll discuss in more detail later, the line “the present motor under test is already achieving results that make it stand out” may in fact have an element of truth to it.
  • Point 11 makes the mistake of confusing the reaction mass with energy as QVPTs still require a power source in order to generate thrust, they just don’t need to bring any reaction mass with them. Additionally this phenomenon only works in a vacuum and would not work in our atmosphere.

IMAGUNSWM

Above is the picture referenced in point 3 and I can confirm that from the EXIF data it was taken somewhat recently. It definitely looks like a motor although I’ll admit I’m not terribly familiar with the testing apparatus that it’s connected to. Suffice to say based on this I was convinced that Arthur had indeed created something (the image didn’t appear in any reverse image searches) but whether or not it was what he was claiming it to be was still up in the air at this point.

I sat on this information for a while, mostly because I wanted to dedicate a decent amount of time to this write up. A couple weeks after receiving this response from Arthur I received another email from someone identifying themselves as Darell wanting to speak to me regarding Quantum Generation. I was intrigued, figuring it might be an interested party or an investor Arthur had approached, so I called him on the number provided. As it turns out Darell was in fact an investor in Quantum Generation and had been for quite some time.

As it turns out Quantum Generation, whilst being the brain child of Arthur Fahy, does in fact have quite the number of investors. Darell mentioned that they were mostly friends and family of Arthur who were funding his idea due to the potential applications it might have. Now that my curiosity was piqued I went to ASIC and bought the company’s share register and verified that there are dozens of investors, Darell being among them. Arthur, as the CEO, holds the majority of the stock however.

The story I was able to get from Darell was in a similar vein to that of Arthur however he was a little bit more level headed about the motor and what its potential capabilities were. He was able to confirm that it had been tested at a couple different universities using the Tech Voucher program and that work had been under way on it for several years. I pressed him several times for contacts at the universities in question and, during that phone conversation, he echoed Arthur’s points about no one wanting to publicly put their name against it. A few weeks later though I received a contact name from him for a research fellow at the University of Wollongong and I approached them with a few questions regarding Quantum Generation.

Below are my questions and his responses:

1. Did Quantum Generation provide you with a motor for testing? If so what kind of testing did they contract you to do?

Quantum Generation provided only their motor to UOW for testing. The nature of the testing involved UOW implementing a computer controlled current source to energise the motor and to test the efficiency of the motor under various operating conditions.

2. What was the outcome of the testing you conducted?

The outcome of the testing resulted in an efficiency curve over a wide speed and load range, where the maximum efficiency reached 78%. The efficiency curve remained close to this value over a wide speed range, which is different to regular types of motors where their efficiency tends to significantly drop as the speed changes. It should be noted that the motor was not tested in the most optimal configuration due to a limitation of the drive system. It was concluded to re-test the motor with a suitable system.

3. Arthur Fahy had made some claims about the performance of the motor (specifically its efficiency), would your observations support the notion that it’s capable of efficiencies exceeding 100%?

The measurements and observations of the efficiency (of the motor in its current state whilst being tested at the University of Wollongong) did not exceed 78%. Therefore, the conclusions from our testing can only support a maximum efficiency of 78%.

4. Does the motor operate through a method of action that’s novel or unlike other motors?

The motor requires only DC current to operate, so quite standard from a “blackbox” point of view. However, I do believe there are aspects of novelty in the design unlike standard commercially available motors.

5. Was the device unusable after testing was completed?

The motor was not damaged during the testing at UOW and maintained full functionality at the conclusion of the tests.

Of note here is the notion that the motor maintains a similar efficiency across a wide range of speeds, something that is indeed a novel characteristic that you won’t find in typical DC motors. Arthur had alluded to this previously and Darell re-iterated it over the phone, something which got lost in the over-zealous excitement of achieving over-unity efficiency. Indeed had Arthur approached me with this I would have  been genuinely interested in the technology as a motor with those kinds of specifications would have applications in many areas. Whilst I highly doubt that there will ever be a verified over-unity reading (even though in Darell’s last email to me he mentioned that the University had agreed to build a proper controller to test a new motor thoroughly) there’s definitely something novel about this particular motor and Arthur should focus on those characteristics rather than attempting to create a free energy machine.

Have I changed my mind on investing with Quantum Generation? Well for what it’s worth there’s likely something marketable in there in the form of another DC engine that has a specific use case but it is most certainly not going to be a free energy machine. Whilst Arthur’s response to my initial post still shows his interest in pursuing that idea he’d be much better focused on improving the underlying mechanism of action and marketing the technology’s strengths rather than its spurious readings. I’m sure there’s even more information that I’m not privy to that would speak volumes to investors and so I’d recommend pressing hard for said information so you can make the right choice.

Fusion-IO’s ioDrive Comparison: Sizing up Enterprise Level SSDs.

Of all the PC upgrades that I’ve ever done in the past the one that’s most notably improved performance of my rig is, by a wide margin, installing a SSD. Whilst good old fashioned spinning rust disks have come a long way in recent years in terms of performance they’re still far and away the slowest component in any modern system. This is what chokes most PC’s performance as the disk is a huge bottleneck, slowing everything down to its pace. The problem can be mitigated somewhat by using several disks in a RAID 0 or RAID 10 set but all of those pale in comparison when compared to even a single SSD.

The problem doesn’t go away for the server environment either, in fact most of the server performance problems I’ve diagnosed have had their roots in poor disk performance. Over the years I’ve discovered quite a few tricks to get around the problems presented by traditional disk drives but there are just some limitations you can’t overcome. Recently at work the issue of disk performance came to a head again as we investigated the possibility of using blade servers in our environment. I casually made mention of a company that I had heard of a while back, Fusion-IO, who specialised in making enterprise class SSDs. The possibility of using one of the Fusion-IO cards as a massive cache for the slower SAN disk was a tantalizing prospect and to my surprise I was able to snag an evaluation unit in order to put it through its paces.

The card we were sent was one of the 640GB ioDrives. It’s surprising heavily for its size, sporting gobs of NAND flash and a massive heat sink that hides the propeitary c ontroller. What intrigued me about the card initially was the NAND didn’t sport any branding I recognised before (usually its recognisable like Samsung) but as it turns out each chip is a 128GB Micron NAND Flash chip. If all that storage was presented raw it would total some 3.1 TB and this is telling of the underlying infrastructure of the Fusion-IO devices.

The total storage available to the operating system once this card is installed is around 640GB (600GB usable). Now to get that kind of storage out of the Micron NAND chips you’d only need 5 of them but the ioDrive comes with a grand total of 25 dotting the board. No traditional RAID scheme can account for the amount of storage presented. So based on the fact that there’s 25 chips and only 5 chips worth of capacity available it follows that the Fusion-IO card uses quintuplet sets of chips to provide the high level of performance that they claim. That’s an incredible amount of parallelism and if I’m honest I expected these chips to all be 256MB chips that were all RAID 1 to make one big drive.

Funnily enough I did actually find some Samsung chips on this card, two 1GB DDR2 chips. These are most likely used for the CPU on the ioDrive which has a front side bus of either 333 or 400MHz based on the RAM speed.

But enough of the techno geekery, what’s really important is how well this thing performs in comparison to traditional disks and whether or not it’s worth the $16,000 price tag that comes along with it. Now I had done some extensive testing of various systems in the past in order to ascertain whether the new Dell servers we were looking at where going to perform as well as their HP counterparts. All of this testing was purely disk based using IOMeter, a disk load simulator that tests and reports on nearly every statistic you want to know about your disk subsystem. If you’re interested in replicating the results I’ve got then I’ve uploaded a copy of my configuration file here. The servers included in the test are Dell M610x, Dell M710HD, Dell M910, Dell R710 and a HP DL380G7. For all the tests (bar the two labelled local install) all of them are a base install of ESXi 5 with a Windows 2008R2 virtual machine installed on top of it. The specs of the virtual machine are 4 vCPUs, 4GB RAM and a 40GB disk.

As you can see the ioDrive really is in a class all of its own. The only server that comes close in terms of IOPS is the M910 and that’s because it’s sporting 2 Samsung SSDs in RAID 0. What impresses me most about the ioDrive though is its random performance which manages to stay quite high even as the block size starts to get bigger. Although its not shown in these tests the one area where the traditional disks actually equal the Fusion-IO is in terms of throughput when you get up to really large write sizes, on the order of 1MB or so. I put this down to the fact that the servers in question, the R710s and DL380G7s, have 8 disks in them that can pump out some serious bandwidth when they need to. If I had 2 Fusion-IO cards though I’m sure I could easily double that performance figure.

What interested me next was to see how close I could get to the spec sheet performance. The numbers I just showed you are particularly incredible but Fusion-IO claims that this particular drive was capable of something on the order of 140,000 IOPS if I played my cards correctly. Using the local install of Windows 2008 I had on there I fired up IOMeter again and set up some 512B tests to see if I could get close to those numbers. The results, as shown in the Dell IO contoller software, are shown below:

Ignoring the small blip in the centre where I had to restart the test you can see that whilst the ioDrive is capable of some pretty incredible IO the advertised maximums are more than likely theoretical than practical. I tried several different tests and while a few averaged higher than this (approximately 80K IOPS was my best) it was still a far cry from the figures they have quoted. Had they gotten within 10~20% I would’ve given it to them but whilst the ioDrive’s performance is incredible it’s not quite as incredible as the marketing department would have you believe.

As a piece of hardware the Fusion-IO ioDrive is really the next step up in terms of performance. The virtual machines I had running directly on the card were considerably faster than their spinning rust counterparts and if you were in need of some really crazy performance you really couldn’t go past one of these cards. For the purpose we had in mind for it however (putting it inside a M610x blade) I can’t really recommend it as it’s a full height blade that only has the power of a half height. The M910 represents much better value with its crazy CPU and RAM count and the SSDs, whilst being far from Fusion-IO level, do a pretty good job of bridging the disk performance gap. I didn’t have enough time to see how it would improve some real world applications (it takes me longer than 10 days to get something like this into our production environment) but based on these figures I have no doubt it improve the performance of whatever I put it into considerably. 

Lobaco 1.0: iPhone Testers Required!

It’s been a long 7 months since I first laid eyes on Xcode and the iOS SDK all that time ago and I’ve had quite the love/hate relationship with it. There were times when I could spend only a couple hours coding and blast through features barely breaking a sweat, and others when I’d spend multiple torturous hours figuring out why something just wasn’t working the way I thought it should. The last couple months have been quite successful as my code base has grown large enough to cover most of the rudimentary functions I use constantly and my muscle memory with certain functions is approaching a usable level. Last weekend it all came to head after I polished off the last of my TODO list and sank back into my chair.

Then it hit me, this was a feature complete 1.0 release.

Apart from the achievements (which are barely implemented in the web client) you can do everything on the iPhone client that you could do with the full web client. I’ve taken design cues from many iPhone applications that I’ve been using and I feel its quite usable, especially if you’re familiar with the myriad of Twitter clients out there. I’ve been fiddling with it over the past few days and it seems to be stable enough for me to unleash on others to see how it goes and that’s where you, my faithful readers, come into play.

I’m looking for people to beta test this application pending a full release of it to the app store. If you’re interested in testing out the application and have any 3G and up iPhone (2G might work, but it would be dreadfully slow) hit me up on my gmail [email protected] and we’ll take it from there. I haven’t really experimented with Apple’s beta testing yet so the first lot of you are more than likely to be in for a fun ride as I stumble my way through deploying the application to you, but this is all part of the fun of being a very, very early adopter 🙂

Despite all the trials and tribulations that developing this client has brought me the experience is proving to be invaluable as it’s helped me refine the idea down to the core ideal I started with almost 2 years ago: getting people communicating around a location. It’s also been the first new language I’ve learned in almost 5 years and it has reminded me just how much fun it was learning and creating in a completely new environment, so much so that I’m almost completely sold on the idea of recoding the web client in Ruby on Rails. Still that’s all pie in the sky stuff for now as the next big improvement to Lobaco is moving the entire service off my poor VPS and into the wonderful world of the cloud, most likely Windows Azure. I hope you’ll jump on board with me for testing Lobaco and hopefully in the future this will grow into something much more than my pet project.