How to make your
Cell a Dry Cell
is copying information from my web site, word for word.
What is a Dry Cell?
"Dry Cell" is a term being used for Hydrogen Generators that have sealed
water compartments between each set of electrodes (plates); similar to a wet
cell battery. Each water compartment is sealed so that water can not leak
from compartment to compartment (cell to cell). The bottom edges of the
plates are sealed off in a manner that keeps the water from touching them; so are the side edges, and in most cases the top edges. Construction design
varies but the objective is the same. If the chamber does not keep the edges
of the plates dry, it is not a dry cell.
What does a Dry Cell actually accomplish?
We have one goal - get as much electrical current (electron flow)
efficiently through the cell with as little heat as possible. Let's talk
about electrical current. Current is the movement of electrons through the
cell. It is measured in amperes (amps for short). The electrons take the
path of least resistance. They flow from the battery negative - along and
around the surface of the wire - to the cells negative plate. They are being
drawn and pushed towards the positive plate - by the electrical pressure of
the battery voltage. Water is in between the plates. The water is actually
blocking the electron flow because it is very high in resistance. It is not
a good conductor of electricity; in fact, pure water is an insulator. We
need the electrons to cross the water. To accomplish this, we must do one of
two things. Increase the electrical pressure or lower the amount of
resistance of the water. We are using an automotive battery as our voltage
source, so we must lower the water resistance. We do this by adding
conductive Ions to the water (electrolytes). The electrolytes make it easier
for the electrons to travel across the water to the positive plate. The
amount of electrolyte we use controls the amount of electron flow.
let's introduce another plate between the positive and negative plates. We
will call it a neutral plate because it does not have any power wires
attached. One would think it would block the electrons, but it does not.
Instead, it helps the electron flow because the metal plate is a much better
conductor than the water. A neutral plate, even though it does not have an
electrical wire connected to it, has a more positive side and a more
negative side. Remember, electrons are attracted towards positive. That
means the neutral plate has to be more positive than the negative plate in
order for electrons to cross the water. I hope this is making sense to you.
Now that the electrons are getting to the neutral plates' surface, they do
not travel through the metal, they travel around the surface, from one side
to the other (across the flat surface, around the side edges, and onto the
flat surface on the opposite side). It is very important for you to
understand - they are being attracted. They get concentrated along the side
edge surfaces as they travel the path of least resistance; which should be
the metal surface; at least, that is our goal - to keep the electrons
distributed equally on the surface of the plates until the surface is
saturated with them. As the surface gets saturated, they begin to pile up,
looking for a place to cross the water (they are being attracted). They will
cross at the narrowest point; so our goal is to make sure there are no
narrowest points. That is the main concept for achieving efficiency;
distributing electron flow equally across the entire plate surface because
it is on that surface that the electrons disassociate Hydrogen and Oxygen
from the water.
Why seal the edges?
By sealing the water chambers, we cover up the surface of the side edges of
the plates. We are keeping the water off of them. Why do we do this? We do
it because there are sharp edges, 90 degree turns, and in many cases there
are surface imperfections caused from cutting and shaping the metal. If any
edges stick out farther than the flat surface, electrons will crowd that
area, causing a jam, and some will get pushed off the plate and cross
the water; bypassing the other side of the plate. They will take the path of least resistance, and those sharp
edges are a major source of the problem. Wherever the electrons mass
together, there will be heat; excessive heat. Let me give you an example.
Have you ever had a problem with starting your car, when the battery cable
was a little loose. The starter turns but turns slow. You check your battery
cables and find that the loose one is Hot. "Bingo". Electron flow was taking
place across a small surface area; the small area that was making contact
with the battery
Crosshatching the plates
Some famous HHO experts tell you to sand the surface area of your plates in
a crosshatch pattern. They say it creates more surface area, and I will have
to agree, it does. But it also creates peaks and valleys. It is these peaks
that concern me. I realize the electrons take the path of least resistance,
so, they will follow the surface, no matter how rugged the terrain. But this
is going to create heat on those peaks. Electrons will accumulate on the
peaks before they cross the water (at the paths of least resistance). I
believe that the increase of gas production, that they claim, is associated
with the surface area being harder for the gases to stick to, because of the
rough surface. Remember, the gases are chemically formed on the plate
surface. They form as bubbles on the surface. The bubbles lift off from the
surface as they form. As they lift off, water fills their void. They rise to
the surface. On the way they bump into other bubbles, forming larger
bubbles, picking up speed as they travel. The chain reaction helps clear the
plate surface of new bubbles that have formed - which in turn lets more
water touch the plates.
is a lot information to grasp, but it is the experts opinions that the
crosshatching of the plates plays a roll in creating more gases, by keeping
more water on the plate surface. I disagree. You see, a bubble is made up of
gas that is surrounded by a membrane of water - and what ever is in the
water. Water is always touching the plates surface, even as the gases are
forming; the membrane around the bubble is proof. The plates are wet; they
are always wet. The electrolyte we use is very slick and adheres to anything
that touches the water. If you have ever touched your fingers together after
sticking them into water containing small amounts of KOH, you would notice
they are very slick. KOH is hard to wash off. Those electrical plates in the
water are covered with that stuff and it is highly conductive. The bubbles
we are making are tiny at the surface. They form in size like a balloon
being blown up. As they grow, their skin (which is touching the pate
surface) stretches to the point where it pulls away from the surface. I
believe that part of the separation is due to other bubbles forming
underneath them. Now that ---- is something to think about. But do not loose
sight of those peaks the crosshatching created. Those peaks are jumping
points for current; small as they are. At least, that is my theory.
Personally, I do not crosshatch because it removes the protective oxide
coating on the stainless steel. Sanding also reduces the metal surface; we
are not in a rush to do that. We want the surface to last as long as
possible; sanding is not going to help with that; at most, it will help
clean the pores of the metal.
Cleaning the plates
Electrolysis takes place on the surface of the metal plates. The surface
must be clean; if it is not, gas production will be restricted. Dirt blocks
the surface area; so does oil; even oil from your fingers that got there
while you handled the plates. I use vinegar and a good stiff brush; not a
metal brush. Vinegar usually gets the job done. But I usually follow up with
wiping the plates with a clean alcohol rag or paper towel. Isopropyl seems
to work the best. I do not use Denatured alcohol because it contains a
contaminant. If you have some Acetone, fingernail polish remover, it works
too; evaporates extremely fast.
I hope now, that you can see the importance of making absolutely sure your
electrode plates are perfectly aligned left, right, up, and down. They need
to be as close to "level "with each other as you can get them. If your Dry
Cell uses gaskets between plates to create a self container, it is very
important to make sure each gasket is aligned the same and each bolt torque
is the same pressure. If not, the plate surfaces may not be level because
the gasket compression may not be equal all the way around; that means the
spacing is different; that will cause an imbalance and an imbalance will
cause problems. For one, as you should now know, it will cause areas between
the plates to be closer than other areas. That creates heat, and lowers gas
production in some areas. Next, and maybe most important, it changes the
voltage drop between the plates. In fact, one of the best ways to check your
assembly work is to measure the voltage drop from plate to plate. It should
be the same. If it is different between two plates, measure at different
points around the plate. That may help you determine which side is
compressed more than the others. It could also be that the gaskets are not
aligned or centered exactly the same as other plate gaskets. That may be
splitting hairs, so to speak, but efficiency comes with a price. The price
is ...... paying attention to minor details.
HHO gas outlet port
If your Dry Cell uses gaskets to create and separate cell chambers, the
plates will need a hole for the gases to get out of the chamber. The holes
have edges; you should know what that means by now. That is correct,
electrical current can jump at those edges. It is a good idea to round off
those edges, Some experts say to stagger the holes. You can stagger them all
you want, but current will still jump across to the next plate; it just will
not jump from hole to hole; it will still jump from hole to plate. Something
else to think about is the position of the hole in relation to the top of
the gasket (inside diameter). As gases are made, they rise to the top of the
chamber, looking for a way out. If the hole is one half of an inch below the
top, the gases will go right on by it and accumulate at the top of the
gasket. Nothing gets out the hole until enough gas collects at the top and
lowers the water level to that of the hole. Place the holes closer to the
top of the gasket. You will not only let the gases out sooner, you will also
increase the plate surface area that the water touches. Gaskets take up
valuable plate surface area. Use them wisely, and like wise, place the
outlet holes closer to the top.
Water inlet port
The water inlet port has a couple of purposes; the most obvious one being to
keep the water chambers full of water. For most dry cell designs, that means
putting another hole in the plates; taking away from surface area and
creating places for electrical current to jump; you know what to do about
that. But before you make that hole, it is important to realize that it will
affect water circulation. If you place the hole too high, water will not
circulate below the hole. That means you could be creating hot spots. As the
bubbles rise to the top of the chamber, they create an upward current in the
water. The current is the force that pulls cooler water into the chamber,
from the Bubbler , or Water Reservoir. The suction is very slight; not much
strength. Because of that, I am of the opinion that the holes should be
across from each other (that is, if you are using holes). I may be wrong;
but I think that the longer distance the water has to travel, inside the
chamber, the harder it is to circulate. It is like sucking on a straw; the
longer it is the more force it takes.
called experts use only one hole for their plate design. One hole for gases
to escape through and for water refill. It hinders circulation. It hinders
the ability for the gases to escape. It causes pulsing of the gas flow;
especially so if the position of the holes is staggered. What more can I
say? Well, ok - it limits the possibility of electrical current jumping - to
just one hole. You got me there.
experts have found ways to build Dry Cell containers in such a way that they
do not need holes in the plates.
What else have I
At this point, I am not certain if I left anything out. If I did, I am sure
to hear about it.
So how do we make a Tube Cell into a Dry Cell?
Actually, it is very easy. Tubes do not have open sides. They have open
ends; bottoms and tops. I converted my tube cell by sealing off the bottom of the
tubes with Permatex High Heat Silicon Gasket Maker (comes in a tube -- red package).
I more or less made my own gasket by squeezing a small amount into the
spacing at the bottom. I did this all the way around each water area. Just
seal it off so water could not touch the edges. If you want, you can keep it
from getting in from the bottom. The water area is now
sealed as long as you do not let the water level get over the top of the
tubes. Ok, so now we have a problem. How do we get water inside the tubes.
We do it the same way it is done with flat plates. Drill a small 1/4 inch
hole in the side of each tube (only one hole in each tube). Do it down
closer to the bottom of the tube instead of the top. Water will be drawn in
through the holes. If you offset the holes for each tube so that one hole is
not directly in front of the hole in tube adjacent to it, current will not
be able to get through the holes. Your center tube does not use the water
that is in it, so, you can seal that tube completely. The water level inside
the tubes will equal out to the same level as that in the container. The
tubes will refill as the hydrogen and oxygen bubbles rise to the surface.
The rising gases create a movement in the water as they rise to the surface.
This movement pulls water into the tubes - through the holes we drilled. As
the water comes in, it causes the water level in the tube to actually rise.
It will not rise any higher than the water level in the container. It happens because of the suction the bubbles cause as they rise to
the surface. Just so you understand, I am not talking about a few bubbles --
I am talking about massive amounts of bubbles, headed in one direction -
pulling the water along as they travel upwards.