The Electromagnetic Fountain

Posts Tagged ‘NLI Engineering Industry AS

Electromagnetic Fountain @ Porsgrunn

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Research Days
Telemark University College, Porsgrunn, Norway
18 – 27  September 2009

The Electromagnetic Fountain will stand in Porsgrunn, Norway, for a period of nine days during the annual national research days.


Day 4 at Frank’s place

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Fantastic sunny day again. I arrived at the workshop to find the fountain on a fork lift truck, with Marius working on electric cables:

Fork lift truck Checking it out

The water jet nozzles and lights are now in place and almost wired up. Some deatials:

Detail 2 Detail 3

L: The top hole is for water control (it rains a lot in Stavanger where the EMF will be standing in November) so any water over this level runs out of the bowl. Simple, but effective.
R: The rgb light fixtures allow them to be adjusted by height, angle and rotation. Lovely!

Bottom view Detail

L: The bottom view of the fountain showing the water tubes running from the pumps/solenoid valve chamber, through the mid hexagon chamber and up through holes to the jet fixtures.
R: I haven’t noticed the parabola logo before.

Fork lifting Nozzles and lights

The fountain is moved back inside Frank’s workshop so that Marius can continue wiring.

Working outside Working outside

I set up a table in the sun to test the sniffers. Though I don’t manage to get through all combinations of detectors and antenna, I do manage the following:

VLF box with large coil antenna: no response!
VLF box with small sensitive coil antenna: lovely, rich sounds, from very deep tones, to textural rushes and wooshes and clear tones when close up to wireless devices.

8318 box – 2-11 GHZ with small board antenna:
clear pulsing signals, high tones
8318 box – 2-11 GHZ with large board antenna: clear signals, beats and pulses, lower tones

8318 box – 900 – 300mhz with small board antenna: very loud signals, melodious at times, lots of variation in sounds when the antenna is moved around
8318 box – 900 – 300mhz with medium board antenna: as above, but very raw and tough, heavy rockish and black metalish sounds. Fab sounds when a guy used a mobile phone about 6m away.

Question: How to protect the antennas from the elements and how to make them robust enough to stand outside, in public space for 2 weeks?

So, the wiring is not quite finished, and we’re still waiting for the relay box. Frank still needs to put the doors on the base chambers – and all this really has to be done before we can do a test.

From the sniffer tests I did today, I really have to insist on spending time to decide how to fix the antennas on the fountain. I really need to be able to adjust them, rather than them being fixed in a static position. I am going to push forward to try and get them installed in steel goose neck tubes (or an alternative), so that the public can move them too.

Had hoped to set the LAN box channels today, but it was just not possible. Tommorrow’s another day!

Written by ajsteggell

October 9, 2008 at 11:39 pm

Day 2 at Frank’s place

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This post is more of a memory aid for me to remember what goes where in the fountain base as the bottom plates will shortly be put on. It is also the last chance to take a look at the open base and its design on the inside, and from above. We are still waiting for the sniffers to arrive from Berlin, and the dmx switch box to arrive from England.

Here’s 2 photos of the fountain base at the start of day 2:

Inspection 2 pumps
The 2 pumps have been bolted in place in their chamber on the top of the base (which is still upside down).

Wiring Bars in place
L: Marius threads the electric cables through holes from chamber to chamber.
R: Frank has soldered the metal bars on the bottom of the base in place.

Top view Water Power

L: The last view of the base construction before the bottom panels are put in place.
R: In the break Frank demonstrates how to get power out of electromagnetically charged water.

Central water tube hole Water tube holes

L: Hole for the central pump/jet water tube.
R: 5 holes for the 5 solenoid valve/jet water tubes

Power in Light holes

L: The hole for the electric power supply to the central jet pump.
R: 8 holes for the electric cables that lead from the rgb control boxes to the 8 underwater led lights.

Pump cables 01 Valve cable holes

L: Pump cables.
R: Solenoid valve cable holes.

Tubes in Tube fixture Tube fitting detail

L: Frank installs the water tubes that will carry water from the pumps to the 5 solenoid valves and central nozzle.
C: Water tube/pump fixture.
R: Water tube fitting.

Panel Atle, Frank and solenoid valves

L & R: The first base bottom panel is in place on the bottom of the fountain base, covering the computer/dimmer/rgb controller/ sound interface chamber. Atle Barcley (on the left) writing down the things he has to buy for tomorrow.

Chamber Pump and valves

L. The chamber for the electrical components with base and lid. The parts are being screwed in place, and electric cabling drawn threw holes from chamber to chamber.
R: The water tubes run from the solenoid valves the central hexagon chamber. They will be drawn out of corresponding holes on the bottom of the fountain bowl and feed the 5 pentagon nozzles.

Dismantled LAN box Father and Son

L: I am a bit distraught when I see Marius has dismantled my LAN box, but I’m sure he has a good reason.
R: At the end of the day Frank’s son, David, arrives to check out his dad’s work.

I think that we will be running a bit behind our schedule. The aim was to get the fountain construction finished by Thursday and transport it to an old warehouse at Klosterøya to test it with water in it. However, the fact that the dmx switch box is still sitting in the care of the customs officers in Oslo has put a damper on things ……. I’m a bit concerned about time running down the drain, but have decided not to panic and to keep relaed and confident about it all ….. hmmmm.

EMF the news!

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Here’s a link to an article in “Varden” about the Electromagnetic Fountain, and the partnership with NLI Engineering Industry AS. (Norwegian only)

Written by ajsteggell

July 9, 2008 at 12:01 pm

The EM fountian bowl!

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satelite dish

I’ve just got this photo from Øystein Lia, the project leader for the Electromagnetic Fountain at NLI Engineering. A retired parabol antenna dish stemming from Tryvann, Oslo, that will form the fountain bowl. It looks quite small, but is in fact 2.5m in diameter.

Electromagnetic Fountain design taking form

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Today I had a meeting with the EMF project team (led by Øystein Lia, with Svein Kjetil Haheim, Espen Jorgensen and Geir Erbo Rougthvedt) at NLI Engineering Industry as located at Klosterøya in Skien, Norway, where I proposed, and we discussed the following water jet design and scheme for controlling the fountain:


water jet design

Each dot is a valve.
The valves of each pentagon are mounted on a manifold.

Each pentagon has a dedicated pump.
Each valve is controlled by on/off signals.

As each valve can be controlled individually, it’s possible to program a multitude of dynamic jet patterns. (Triangles, spirals, random patterns, star forms, curvy lines, etc, etc …..)

The height of the water jet is in relation to the pump speed, and according to how many valves on each one of the pentagon manifolds are open – the more valves that are open, the lesser the height of the jet.

The red dot in the middle uses a 4th pump and does not need a valve. The height of the water jet is controlled by pump speed.



Lanbox LCX:


CLS 4002 Digital DMX dimmer:

Alesis iO|14 sound interface:

Mac Mini Intel Core Duo:


Max/msp/jitter 4.6:

Apple remote desktop:

The main task for the project team is currently to find out of the options I have suggested are compatible with the products that they find most appropriate for the job, and that the total design is achievable both practically and economically. What is most challenging for me is to get around the idea that the hardware will be produced before I have had a chance to test various components, but never-the-less achieve a result that I can manage to test in prototype form (mock-up situations), and to keep the programming in the realms of something I can work on myself – and hopefully with some help from friends!

More research is needed for both these aspects of the fountain.

Regarding lights the best solution seems to be to light up each of the water jets with a ring diode underwater light. Colour changing diodes would be good, but possibly too complex/expensive for this phase of the project. A simpler option could be to have white diodes on the pentagon jets, with a red ring lighting up the central, big jet. Another option could be to give each pentagon its own set of coloured diode rings, but my fear is that the fountain will become too “disco” with this option.