A History of this Project

We have been through a lot of changes. Here’s a good bit of it.

  • From 2018 to mid-2021, built from 1 to 14 air charger units into the filter compartment of my Tahoe. The first one was interesting, done in the heart of a very cold winter, helped the V8 handle it. It worked nicely, and increasingly so, but the behavior over time didn’t match the changes in the setup. There were unexplained engine hesitations that came and went, which appeared to go away at fourteen, but then at fourteen the results didn’t quite match the addition. All of this was done according to a model where the electronics were mounted on the outside of the air filter container, and carbon fiber brushes were glued into holes drilled. The culmination is shown in the first picture above. The second picture shows the inside of the air filter compartment, with the carbon-fiber ends sticking through. At the back is an experiment, a custom-fabricated carbon fiber brush, to which I had attached the last two electronics packages.
  • With just six (6) of the charger units in place in the Tahoe, gasoline mileage was measured at 2.8% improved, over a careful 20-mile run repeated twice, outside temperature the same, and after the engine was well into its steady hot state. On the Dodge truck, just two charger units was the rule, and they helped, and even permitted good behavior using E-85 gasoline. This and the above was the progression of things for almost two years. Once it occurred during this period, that something mysterious happened to spark plug #4, which was replaced. My mechanic friend Matt said that #4 had the least compression, on this particular engine, and there may be a relative temperature issue too. More on this later.
  • But we want to make this practical in general, and we want to push the envelope, to see how much improvement we can really get, with more predictability. And one would prefer one electronics package versus fourteen! So in mid-2021, after a lot of pondering, a thought which had been lying around was implemented. On the Tahoe, the air filter is held together by a metal mesh. So I added a single electronics package, with all four leads combined, clipped to the mesh. The response to this was amazing. Bertha’s (the Tahoe’s) engine literally howled the first time it was started with this. So I unplugged all the fourteen others that were still engaged, and we ran with the one clip. The result was still quite astonishing, it was clear that the one clip was doing more than all fourteen “ambient” combined.
  • Multiple setups were tried over the next months. Sometimes it ran steady and well. Plug #4 fouled a number of times, as did #3 and #6. Matt said that all of these cylinders were relatively low in compression compared to the rest. I was seeing more consistency with just the clip and variations within it, so I removed all of the other electronics packages, just leaving the single clip attached to the mesh on the air filter. For vehicles with no mesh on their filter, I plan to add stainless-steel mesh to their filters, probably two or three inches square, zigzag-bent to fit in the folds of the air filter itself.
  • And then when outside air temperature dipped below 32 degrees F, immediately it occurred that the engine ran a bit rough. I pulled over and switched to a clip with just two leads combined, and then just one lead, and noticed that it got worse, not better, and also, the other electronics packages made more of their typical quiet noise than the original. I disconnected it all, and it was clear that a spark plug had gone bad. So I immediately dosed the gas with lots of Techron, which minimized the situation until I could get Matt to replace it again (it was #4, the usual), but there appeared quite the learning:
    • Not all of the electronics packages I had been using, were consistent in output. A method to measure before mounting, is necessary. We have one now, thanks to a contributor; it is helping quite a lot to set new planning and analysis in good order.
    • There is a clear drop in how much ion delivery is appropriate, at about 32 degrees F. This has to be handled in future setups.
    • One four-wire clip using these packages, is probably at the edge of appropriate setup for this engine, for warm weather only. Very good information to have.
  • Over the time, I was told and read a number of things. Bertha has an aftermarket flow-through exhaust system, which requires 91 octane or higher for good behavior, including preventing plugs from fouling, according to the folks who sold her to me, and corroborated elsewhere. I could think about changing the ignition system a bit, maybe hotter plugs and/or hotter coil, but it seems wisest on this very computerized engine to leave all of that stock.
  • So the goal now, is to semi-standardize a cold stage, with a low-power setup of some sort, up to 40 degrees F or so, and then a warm stage, which will automatically run starting at 40. And we’re very interested in diesel applications (no plugs!), and less-than-new tractors because we theorize they will probably be easy to work on and get results from. I have several different lower-powered electronics packages on order from different sources, it will be interesting to see what happens.
  • And testing the quad-output electronics packages have given some very unexpected results, more on that in a different article. As a result I have some different ones on order, for testing and study; they’ll arrive in a month or two. But I couldn’t leave Bertha entirely without, so I set up just one, with a 3M Velcro work-alike which is stronger and rated for more strenuous situations, entirely inside the air filter compartment; this is working well for the winter, for now!