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ANNIVERSARY: August 20. BIRTHDAYS: May 18/ November 14/ December 5/ July 15.

March 13, 2008

Tag ...

This is in response to getting "tagged." One rule: use google images to answer the following questions--

Favorit Animal:
Bad Habit:
I'm getting better, though . . .
Favorite Holiday:
Favorite Places to Visit:

One Particluar Favorite Place:
The Mountains

Where I Live:
How Old I'll Be On My Next Birthday:
My Favorite Color:
For now
School Major:
Engineering. That's right, I design this stuff.
Favorite Food:
praise ... the cow

I tag ... my other sister, Tessa.

March 11, 2008

Polls ...

Thank you to all those who voted Dave was too smart to go to school.

The correct meaning of Stochastic, if you haven't looked it up already is: of or containing a random variable or chance. Good job to those that chose correctly.

March 06, 2008

MRG Generations

MRG - Merry-Go-Round - is the subject of today.

Once upon a time, the Markhams served a mission for 18 months in Ghana, Africa. There they saw the extremely poor education conditions. Ghana has three hours less of sun light during the working hours of the day than the rest of the world. Studies have shown that even the economy will improve if light could be taken and put into the homes of the Ghanaians during those three hours, since the woman will make more cloths/quilts to sell, the children will study longer and the family as a whole can accomplish more. Further more, there are increasing cases were the people suffer eye problems due to the low light. These conditions only fueled Mr Markhams desire to change the world, and with his engineering degree he was able to put together and find the contacts he needed to do so.
Here are some pictures of what school life is like in Ghana. They gather in very poorly lit conditions and buildings. (If that's what you consider a building), they learn with what they can use, and they play with what they can find.

So Mr. Markham got BYU to make his first prototype, Generation 1. This one is built with a belt system principle. The rotating shaft of the MRG is connected to a gear at the bottom. This gear is attached by a big rubber expensive belt to another smaller gear. (click on the pic to enlarge.) The idea is that the smaller gear will rotate faster than the big gear. Then, attached to the small gear is a gear reducer which is back-driven. For those that only speak English, this means that the blue box will make the slow spining on the bottom really fast spining on the top! How fast? well, every time the big gear rotates (AKA the MRG) 10 times, the small gear will rotate 20 times, and for ever 20 times the small gear rotates, the blue thing will make the white thing spin 300 times! The white thing is the generator. This generator is what creates electricity.

So, once the plan got to Ghana, the lead engineer took it and modified it so that he could actually build it. This is what it looks like inside the MRG. As you can see, they use materials that could be considered "scrap material." They simply use what they can find. He also flipped the design so that the flooding doesn't ruin the electrical work and eliminated the ring concept.

Here's the scoop. This video clip was taken in Ghana, right after the MRG was installed. The kids have never even SEEN a MRG let alone watch it in action or ride one. They weren't too sure what it was supposed to do until told that they needed to push it. This particular location is at one of the schools that has more funding than others. The students have a nice building, they have uniforms, and the teachers are paid more to care about the order of things.

This MRG is one that Kwakue (Quake-oo), the lead engineer in Ghana who helps our sponsor, Ben, built. It is an idea that spawned off of BYU's First Generation Model.

As the project completed, he looked back at his 18,000 dollar investment BYU requires and thought, "well, I think it could be better." So he decided to take only 2,000 dollars this time that BYU-I requires and ask BYU-Idaho to see what they could do, Generation 2. (BYU-I's first gen.) They came up with this idea: one that wasn't belt driven but direct driven. This means that all of the friction and power to rotate those gears, and pulleys, and belts are completely avoided. (For those that only speak English, it means it is easier to push the MRG. More fun for the kids, less work.) The blue thing (gear-reducer) will attach to the end of the silver shaft, then the white thing (generator) will attach to the gear-reducer. The particular gear reducer they used for this design was 1,000 smackers, 500 less than the other one BYU used. It will take and convert 1 rotation from the MRG to 38.17 rotations to the generator. This means that the MRG only has to rotate 8 times, instead of 10 for the generator to rotate 300 times. This will cause the generator to create 150 watts of power. For those that don't understand 150 watts of power, this is what is needed to charge your car battery.

This design was great, except for a couple of things to note. This is what we as a team came up with: 1) Bending pipe is nearly impossible for Ghanaians. 2.) The bearing housing is custom built and again, impossible for Ghanaians. 3) Although it's weight to spin ratio is impeccable, it's a bit dangerous. Someone might get decapitated.

"You guys did great. I really think you have yourselves a project to do next year. Yep, I really do." - Ben Markham.

Well, BYU decided to make a hybrid of these two ideas, Kwakue and BYU'I, seeing the improvement, and want to build it in Ghana. They are getting shots and preparing to depart from the US to Ghana, Africa April 7th to personally watch and experience what it will take to build a MRG. Good luck, guys. I hope it all works out for ya. The only problem with their idea, is that it relies on what we figure out! In other words, it's only "almost" done until we tell them our idea. Why? Because they caught wind that our idea will use bearing parts found in Ghana, and that it will be the cheapest design by far, but they don't know how to attach it. They want us to figure out our part, so that they can take our idea and incorporate it into their idea! (Wait a second. Who requires more money to figure these things out? Who has more time in the semester to do so? Who's working for who, here?) Sorry guys, our idea isn't meant for your idea, it's been specifically tailored for our idea. Good luck anyway trying to make it work at the last minute. Do you just want our CAD (computer aided drafting) files instead?

In the mean time of this intellectual property squandering, we are building our own model, Generation 3. (But BYU-Idaho's second gen MRG) We decided to take what last year did and make it better (And secretly to show BYU up. Don't let anyone know though.) Our mission statement is: "to make an MRG which cuts cost by 40% while maintaining or improving function and significantly improving Ghanaian manufacturing and assembly procedure." The latest update is that the drawings have been printed and submitted to a manufacturing plant in Idaho Falls to be made. They will be done by the 20th of March, and all of our supplies and materials will be ready by the 25th. While waiting, we will do some other testing and documentation of our work. This third gen will reduce cost by nearly 55%, and manufacturing processes which Ghanaians can do will have been greatly improved.

This model will increase the generator performance which will then be used to charge 12 volt batteries for L.E.D. and florescent portable lights. These lights can be mounted in schools and/or taken home for study and production purposes. Once the battery runs out (30 hour life span) the light along with the battery will be taken to a charging station operated by the MRG to be charged. In this manner, we will use kid power to bring electricity and light to Ghanaian communities, thus improving the quality of life and changing the world a bit more.

Feast your eyes upon the glory and witness firsthand ingenious inspiration.

March 02, 2008

A New Car

Lesley agrees with some of the comments about the last suggestion for a new car I had. Saying things like, "it's not within our means" and "how would the kids fit" -- psh. She suggests something more like this ...

Man, don't wifes know that men need nothing less than a 10 second quarter mile car/truck and enough sound coming from the engine that it drowns out the rest of the traffic and outside noise? Or big enough to run over other annoying vehicles?