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solar panels and dirty electricity

 
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I recently read a book by Samuel Milham, a doctor who worked in public health for 40 years.  He was concerned about dirty electricity, and the book is in fact called, "Dirty Electricity".  I do believe that solar is going to be a large part of the electricity solution in the future, but we are waiting on this step until we figure out the size of the effect on us.  Many people are concerned about cellular phones in the ear for long periods of time and Electro Magnetic Radiation.  There are filters for the dirty electricity, but in some cases, they don't really solve the problem. I would be interested to see how others on this list have figured out how to avoid the problems of EMR in their lives or in their solar panels.  Smart meters apparently have caused dirty electricity and the problem with the solar panels is not in the panels themselves, but when the DC from the panel is converted back into AC.  
Thanks,
John S
PDX OR




Attachments area
Preview YouTube video Michael Schwaebe presentation on Dirty Electricity

Michael Schwaebe presentation on Dirty Electricity
Preview YouTube video Dr. Mercola and Dr. Milham on Dirty Electricity (Full Interview)

Dr. Mercola and Dr. Milham on Dirty Electricity (Full Interview)
 
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Any wire carrying AC current is going to have that magnetic field around the wire. No getting around it. It decreases quickly with distance so don't have wires running through the walls by your head when you sleep, don't use electric blankets..... that kind of thing.
Panels don't have anything to do with it, that's DC. Only downstream of the AC inverter.
 
John Suavecito
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These guys are electrical engineers, but I'm not.  The problem is the transient electricity that is created when the DC is changed into AC.  It's EMR:  a similar problem to the issues that many teachers have had with fluorescent lights and people puting cell phones up to their ear for hours.  They measure the dirty electricity and have filters for some of it.   He said he has never seen a solar panel on a house that did not have problematic dirty electricity.  We have waited on our panels until we figure out this problem.
John S
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How is what these guys are describing "dirty". Meanwhile, while you re waiting for clarity on this before deciding to get your solar panels, how "dirty" is your current supply? Electromagnetic waves are produced by a change in charge (a change in voltage produces a change in charge), regardless of whether its varying DC, a perfect sinewave AC or a more irregular wave. If you actually worry about this, then be more concerned about how much AC electricity is being drawn than what the wave looks like. So using LEDs vs Halogen will reduce your exposure to EMR by a factor of 5 or so, as it draws less AC.

Additionally, as noted by a previous contributor, the strength of EM waves you are exposed to reduces as you increase the distance from the source. Rather than a comparison between different devices based on how "dirty" the waveform is, I'd be more interested in how efficient the transformers and rectifiers built into the devices are. If you are getting a lot of light with a low consumption of energy then you are seeing efficiency.

Personally I don't like CFL light due to quality of light and the dangerous chemicals that present themselves when the bulb is broken either accidentally or during disposal, but that's nothing to do with DE I use LEDs wherever practical.

If you subscribe to the DE thing, then you could always convert as many of your appliances as possible to DC. This is particularly easy with lighting. You could have a simple setup of panels, batteries and DC devices, with no need for an inverter, and continue to use whatever is your current energy source for non DC appliances

Whoever scripted the presentation, has knowledge of what they are talking about, and in my opinion, is deliberately misleading the audience by presenting genuine charts and data but then inventing a problem and ascribing the word "dirty" to it to generate fear. I'll stop short of using the word "scam" but I would ask "what are they selling?"
 
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If world health had to write a page.... somebody had some health complaints. Not the best source, but there are many.

Other countrys have been better informed for decades on this topic.

Low power is the easiest way, aside from creating distance, to reduce em field radiation. Tightly bound conductors, generally help, especially in dc. Opposed ballasts help bind fields close.

Ac power is problematic.

There are better regulations that keep the dirt down and high quality power electronics area good start

Its a huge research load, but it should be covered in schooling that will lead to radio....

 
John Suavecito
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The author (Samuel Milham) goes into depth about incandescent, LED , and CFL's. One really cool way he showed dirty electricity was to use a battery powered AM transistor radio. Yes, you can do this at home, kids.  You turn it away from an actual music channel, so it is just showing white noise.  Then put it near a source. You can tell how much dirty electricity is being emitted by the sound it makes as you near the device.  CFL's really do make much more than LED's, which make way more than incandescents (which make no sound).  We tried it on many other appliances as well.  Many people charge their phones right by their head. Also your alarm clock shouldn't be right by your head. Not just so you'll get up, but also because of the dirty electricity. Yes, electric blankets are a problem too that I've heard about for years, but have only come to understand after reading the book.  
John S
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When I was learning about EM sensitivity and dirty electricity, I found this website a really good guide.
 
John Suavecito
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R Ranson,
In the Michael Schwaebe video, he explained that in some instances, the G/S filters in your article are effective, but in others, it just moves the EMR.  As Frank Li explained, Schwaebe did mention that there are some higher quality units that seem to put out less dirty electricity.
I am still learning about it, so until I understand it better, I'm not going to install solar.
John S
PDX OR
 
r ranson
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When my Family Doctor first suggested that I may have EM sensitivity, we borrowed a Gauss meter from the university.  It was very interesting results.  We did a semi-blind experiment.  I wrote down the places where I felt the illest, had other people write lists of where they saw me show the most symptoms, then a third person took the gauss meter to different locations I frequent and measured it.  The places where I reported feeling ill and where people reported me having symptoms had higher readings than the meter could read.  Places I felt the best had the lowest reading.

When we moved, I measured the new house and the readings were at 'safe' levels.  Back then we had no cell service and no smart meter.  It would be curious to see what the readings are now that we have both.  

LED lights bother me because they flicker really fast - at least on AC.  I suspect it's more the flicker rate than an EM field (in my case).  On DC they seem to be a steady light.  I'm hoping to install a solar DC system in one of the out buildings to see if there are any symptoms in that.  If not, then we'll look into transforming the house to off grid.

I don't understand Dirty Electricity very well.  I think it's an unfortunate name as it makes me think of oil and coal burning power plants.  I know there's a lot of political and economic pressure about this idea and a lot of confusing information out there.  In parts of Europe, EM sensitivity is a recognized disability and doctors treat this as an ailment.  Most doctors I've talked to in Canada see it as a mental health issue, but a few will treat it.  

What I have isn't strictly EM sensitivity, but we did discover there is a correlation there.  This and other data show me that EM fields contribute to making my symptoms stronger but I don't think they are the cause of my health concerns.  I don't see anything so far that makes me think that solar would be worse than being on grid - especially because I would be keeping most of the building DC.  But I'm not one to rely on expert advice.  I'll test it first in the out building and see how it makes me feel.
 
John Suavecito
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I emailed Samuel Milham and he said that currently  (Pun) the only model that he sees working without putting out dirty electricity is based on batteries, which has its own set of problems.

I'm still looking and investigating. I guess we don't have an urgent timeline.  We got the right kind of metal roof going, so we could install it at any time.  As I understand it better, I may develop enough confidence to commit to solar the right way.  That's the goal.
John S
PDX OR
 
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John Suavecito wrote:I emailed Samuel Milham and he said that currently  (Pun) the only model that he sees working without putting out dirty electricity is based on batteries, which has its own set of problems.

I'm still looking and investigating. I guess we don't have an urgent timeline.  We got the right kind of metal roof going, so we could install it at any time.  As I understand it better, I may develop enough confidence to commit to solar the right way.  That's the goal.
John S
PDX OR



Hi John, I'm wondering if you made any progress with your inquiry into off-grid solar and transients/dirty electricity? I just learned about this company
http://www.cratuscanada.com/ that makes a "sine tamer" product used previously in industrial applications to save money, but it works by reducing transients to near 0. So now people are using it for homes if they have EMF problems, as it corrects the whole entire system whether the problem is internal or external. It looks pretty awesome though pricey. We have a small off-grid solar setup, so now we are considering it. I was wondering if you moved forward or furthered your research. I'm trying to determine how important the protection might be, without also investing in a meter.
 
John Suavecito
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I haven't but I like your ideas.
John S
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Everything electrical produces EMR. And a whole lot of other stuff, like the sun and moon, the glowing steel in a smithy. Our planet receives EMR from "black" space all day every day - that's what radio telescopes feed on. Light is EMR, radiant heat is EMR, radio waves, of course, are EMR. Your eye can see because it receives EMR, whether emitted, reflected, whatever. Your eye is an EMR receiver. Electric motors work because of EMR - no EMR, no motor. The EMR spectrum is very wide, starting way down in the invisible heat spectrum right on up through microwaves and much, much higher. So consider, just for a moment, at least, just what part we want to talk about in this very large and diverse phenomenon.

I don't have any particular confidence in the moral rectitude or even the good sense of the ambitious or the vested. And I would not be surprised if there were biological consequences to extended constant exposure to any level of EMR. But accumulating the data and then developing and some real understanding of it is not trivial. And the conclusions are almost certainly going to be hazy and mixed. Only preachers and politicians are absolutely right and certain in their judgments.

But, "dirty electricity" sounds more like a rhetorical flourish designed to arouse emotions. Generating alarm sans real understanding doesn't help people. I suggest a little further research on ambient EMR and how it occurs and how it's measured. There _is_ some scholarly work on the subject. Starting from a vanilla search will bring up the field as a whole. This may find more actual and balanced info than visiting sites linked to selling a book. No matter what credentials the author may provide.

Basic electrical theory tells us how to easily reduce exposure to EMR  by avoiding close proximity to sources like r-ransom said above. The reduction in field strength over distance is by the cube root for a point source or the square root for a linear source. Doubling the distance using the square root reduces field strength to 1/4; for the cube root it would be 1/8. Here is a link to a fellow that had too much time on his hands and decided to keep himself busy by testing the field.

https://www.instructables.com/id/Evaluate-magnetic-field-variation-with-distance/

He measures magnetic force. EMR comes with magnetism; the two are inseparable and measuring that measures the field. Not in exact absolute units, but what we are looking at here is the change in force, not the absolute strength. The change in magnetic force is accurately proportional to the change in field strength.

A _very_ important point to notice is the distances he is measuring - at maximum distance of 20mm or less than 7/8" the field strength fell below his capability to measure it. This is extremely important concept when deciding how much to worry about ambient EMR. With very few exceptions, out personal distance from radiating electronic equipment is at least 18" (using the monitor screen as an example). Again, as mentioned above, the field strength depends on the power carried by the equipment and since power in most electronics equipment is very small (less than 12v and less than 1amp) and power carried in the home electrical supply, while much larger (120v and maybe 5amp average with a rare maximum of 15 or 20) we normally don't cuddle up to a wall which means that we are usually at least 3' from the house power lines. That reduces the EMR field considerably.


Regards,
Rufus
 
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There's nothing in the accepted medical literature to support these claims of illness being caused by exposure to household emf.
 
John Suavecito
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Graham- On what basis are you making this claim? Have you read any of the books or studies?Samuel Milham is a phd in public health.  Are you saying that he is unqualified?
John S
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I think someone could be eminently qualified in public health and utterly clueless about electromagnetic radiation. I've certainly met plenty of excellent electrical engineers that I would never trust to advise me on how we might have healthier populations.
 
Graham Chiu
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John, yes I have read the studies. Nothing in it.
 
John Suavecito
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I have read the book, performed some of the experiments, and read the data from others on the topic.  I have no investment in it not being true, so I am different than 90% of the others who have written on the topic. Milham's book sells for $3.75, so he is trying to make it available to as many as possible without profit motive. He also mentions that it is free at almost all librairies.   I have read many other professionals on these topics.  I am convinced by the totality of their work.  I am not convinced by your lack of explanations.  He was a public health official for 30 years before retiring. As far as I can tell, there is nothing in your post.
John S
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John, I believe life is full of best choices from imperfect options. Personally I believe with a more affluent life comes electricity and a sedentary lifestyle and richer more processed foods which in turn cause the diseases he talks about. Attributing one cause to all those ills is... problematic at best. You trust his judgement so be it. As far as electricity I believe his main aim is malformed ac waves. Depending on the inverting equipment you choose to use you can produce an ac waveform much cleaner then anything a utility can send you over the wires. You would probably want a low frequency inverter using a higher voltage battery bank to lower the dc amps being converted. You could locate you inverting equipment in a dedicated enclosure a given distance away and use metal shielded wire and metal outlet boxes to deliver it. All that is common in the industrial side of electrical generation and delivery. Those would be easy first steps. Solar is distributed energy under the control of the end user. Well designed and implemented it is a fantastic tool.
Cheers,  David
 
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Searching "Dirty electricity" I found three names appear in almost 25% the first 500 hits:

"Magda Havas", "Milham" and "Mercola".   That is not at all a good sign. An even worse sign is that I found no scientific papers on the topic aside the one from "Nature" below. I'm sure there are a few, but it will take actual work to find them.

None of the sites I viewed (maybe 8-10, randomly) provide any evidence or measurements. They made claims and linked products which then claimed to reduce (or even solve) the problem originally claimed - if you sent them money. There also appear dozens of other promoters, all with commercial links.

As of 2010, this science journal found about seven studies on this topic but did not deem them reliable.

https://www.nature.com/articles/jes20108

Here is a more recent commentary on the physics, and regarding a product claiming to improve life:

https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/439223/physics-of-dirty-electricity

EMR (EMF) exists. We know because we have wifi and motors. The space around us is filled with EMF of various strengths, mostly very, _very_ weak. No argument. But what  one wishes to make of that - that is entirely up to each person and their beliefs. Me, I prefer some scientific understanding (read: backed by years of study, experiment and criticism by competitive peers) grounded on evidence reviewed and criticized by people who have spent years working, effectively with good results, in a particular area. Unfortunately, this is sorely lacking for the "Dirty Electricity", probably because there is no evidence, even statistically significant anecdotal evidence, that a problem exists.

If one wishes to say that EMF MIGHT affect our health, that would a perfectly true statement. Saying that giving a vaccine to your child MIGHT kill them would also be a totally true statement. So would saying that you MIGHT die if you get on that plane. Or in the car. But in the case of the measles (for example) vaccine there is overwhelming evidence that, for a large group of people, if a certain moderate percentage fail to vaccinate their children, then there _WILL_ be many serious health problems in that large group which would not occur if all had been vaccinated. And at the same time there is overwhelming evidence that a very very small percentage of children (.1%?) will even experience any significant irritation, much less serious illness. For vaccines, there is substantial evidence.  So who is promoting the _real_ truth here? The people who scream "your child might die?" (true) or the public health people who have demonstrated over and over again that there are very serious consequences for large numbers of people _and_ children if all children are not vaccinated (true)?

In this case, for now, "Dirty Electricity" appears to merely pad the wallets, one way or another, of a few hundred articulate people with good writing skills who know how to use the internet. Not really a problem. There have always been salesmen using uncertainly, distrust and fear to hawk whatever they could convince people to buy. There always will be.

For now, there does not appear to be any evidence of health problems stemming from EMF  which a scientist can use to discover who might be in danger - because there are no records of health problems which can be associated with the EMF in our world. There is no data that meets the requirements which scientists have developed and used for at least 100 years when trying to establish evidence.

I guess it comes down to a person's beliefs about the world around them and the people in it and how they  decide to understand all that. But I have trouble seeing how one can drive a car but then speak doubtfully about the safety of our electrical system. That looks like a serious disconnect.


Regards,
Rufus
 
John Suavecito
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Hi Rufus,
Vaccines are a great example.  There is a giant profit motive.  Billions have been paid out to damaged people. The money comes from US citizens, because the govt. is protecting the corporations. Vaccines are required by governments.  People who are asking questions about problems are told to shut up.  Reminds me of thalidomide, DDT, BPA, pesticides, asbestos, nuclear power, sodium benzoate in your food, synthetic agriculture, tobacco, radiation, and carcinogens.

Have a good day.
John S
PDX OR
 
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When I read the words "dirty electricity", I think of total harmonic distortion. It generally, will eventually, destroy sensitive electronics, that are run on dirty electricity. There seems to be no real way of knowing how many hours of dirty electricity it takes to ruin a digital device. Grid power is pretty clean, and doesn't usually fry computers and electronic clocks on ovens, for example. Portable inverter generators make much more total harmonic distortion (THD), and some fancy more expensive generators clean it up before it leaves the generator down the wire to power things, and cheaper generators tend to have much high percentages of THD, but it can still be filtered with a capacitor. Those little boxes that plug into an outlet and have a wire to power a device, clean up THD too, and a cell phone charger is a perfect example.
 
Graham Chiu
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> Billions have been paid out to damaged people

billions, if that is the case, are paid out because nothing can be proven so it's prudent for the govt to pay some money so that the vaccination schemes continue for the public good.
Right now our major city is in the grip of a measles epidemic due to anti-vaxx propaganda.

As for EMF, I was interested in studying this in the past as I am a practising medical specialist, and have been for the last 40 years.  But appeal to authority is the lowest level of evidence.  Population based case studies are also not high on the evidence scale but we do have studies like this:

https://www.nature.com/articles/bjc2016142

"In conclusion, our large, statewide, records-based case-control study of childhood leukaemia and CNS cancer in California provides at most weak support for increased leukaemia risk for children living within 50 m of transmission lines of above 200 kV reported in other studies and no evidence of risk for those living beyond this distance or near lower-voltage lines."

So, this is the strength of evidence.  It's hardly compelling.
 
Graham Chiu
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https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/cell-phones-and-cancer/faq-20057798

and the Mayo Clinic says on cellphone use and brain tumors

"The possible connection between cellphones and cancer is controversial. Many years' worth of studies on cellphones and cancer have yielded conflicting results. Currently, there's no consensus about the degree of cancer risk — if any — posed by cellphone use."
 
Graham Chiu
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If we're going to be worried about anything I'd worry about the use of ceramic fibre blankets in rocket stoves, and PM 2.5 emissions from the burning of wood!


But those worries aren't going to stop me building my next wood stove.  Life is full of risks.  I've probably got a greater risk of being injured on the roads.
 
John Suavecito
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We all have to weigh our risks.  I haven't committed to purchasing a solar electricity system until I am confident that I haven't invested in damaging my own health and that of my family.  It makes me sad, because I would really like to.  I would rather wait a couple of years and get better data. In addition, I can study up and try to understand the dynamics of the interaction of electrical mechanisms and human health.   In a few years, someone may have invented a system that more efficiently blocks out the distortion pulses that may be damaging one's health.  I understand that some people want to invest now.  That's just my take on the situation.
John S
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Rufus Laggren
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Jon

> profit motive...

Yes. And Yes to all that you said. But if you avoid ever contributing to somebody's huge profits, even though it would improve the lives around you then it seems like life around you might become somewhat hampered. If you point at past social and technology blunders and other badnesses and evil as a reason to never take your eyes off the failures of human beings and thus to never take a step (in any direction)... Well, that's a pretty big downer for  your general vicinity.

At what point will you move forward? How do you make choices? Can you point to a time/place/condition when you'll decide?

There is one other thing: Proving a negative, that something does/will  NOT ever happen or is NOT true is functionally impossible. It simply cannot be done. Which means that it's impossible to prove that electricity doesn't harm people who get close to it. If that's what you're waiting for and sharing around, Jon, it might be quicker to wait for the sun to cool...

Shameless plug:

If you truly have such trouble finding any trust or contributing to technology which our western "progress" has brought us, there are proven alternatives operating as we speak. The Amish and related religious groups have long eschewed  modern technology; though they will use certain pieces of it if somebody will operate it for them. In 2014, the last time I looked, they were the fastest growing demographic group in this country, so I'd say they're doing well and moving forward. Go visit, see what you think of that life, their ethics, their beliefs. I have great admiration for them. But from what I understand, it's _very_ hard for anybody not born to them to join, and it's not merely because they refuse to accept new comers. It's because people not born Amish can't keep up with them and pull their weight. An average Amish Joe Schmoe  will work  a Mexican into the ground 24/7/365 and believe me, having been constantly left in the dust by most Mexicans on constructions sites, I will say unequivocally that places an Amish right up with Hercules. The only people who ever join Amish are young lads smitten with one of their woman. Not many hack it, but a few do. And I've heard the women are as much a piece of work as the men, though in different ways.

It's a strange world out there. <G>

Cheers,
Rufus
 
Phil Stevens
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John - Short answer: RF choke and distance. An inductor (coil) of the proper size on the output side of the inverter will filter out all the high frequency noise, and locating the inverter electronics away from your living quarters will attenuate the penetration by the inverse square of the distance.

To top it off, put a Faraday cage around the offending device.

I'm serious, BTW.
 
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James Freyr wrote:When I read the words "dirty electricity", I think of total harmonic distortion. It generally, will eventually, destroy sensitive electronics, that are run on dirty electricity. There seems to be no real way of knowing how many hours of dirty electricity it takes to ruin a digital device. Grid power is pretty clean, and doesn't usually fry computers and electronic clocks on ovens, for example. Portable inverter generators make much more total harmonic distortion (THD), and some fancy more expensive generators clean it up before it leaves the generator down the wire to power things, and cheaper generators tend to have much high percentages of THD, but it can still be filtered with a capacitor. Those little boxes that plug into an outlet and have a wire to power a device, clean up THD too, and a cell phone charger is a perfect example.



Yep, here in this remote region of India, our mains electricity supply is often dirty, and I have a drawer full of burnt out chargers as evidence. Ugh! But I have no idea if it causes problems for people in the vicinity of the wires. I don't seem to have any trouble with it; used an electric mattress warmer last winter and was in good mood and health. I tried to remember to always preheat it and turn it off when I went to bed, but in the coldest part of winter I sometimes kept it on.
 
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John, I think the pieces to your answers are all here.

I wonder, though, if it would make sense to install a faraday cage in the plaster of one's ceiling and walls. It would simply be a matter of adding a layer of chicken wire to the walls and ceiling, and making sure the cage was grounded, wouldn't it?

I know it's popular in some temperate areas to have wood-fired furnaces, usually firing hydronics, existing as outbuildings just apart from the main structure. I think they do this for fire reasons (insurance reasons, in reality), but a similar approach could be taken for any "noisy" electronics (dirty doesn't fit, in my opinion; it's an emotional trigger that evokes "dirty bomb" fears, and false equivalences with fossil power sources).

Metal junction and outlet boxes were mentioned. I wonder what the effect on ambient EM fields is when you use armoured cable, as can be found in many industrial settings. Does it shield the radiation to any degree?

What if grounded, structurally integral faraday cages, armoured cable/conduit and metal outlet boxes are the infrastructural solution here (the behavioural solution being "don't cozy up to your electronics/power supply")?

-CK
 
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Biochar in plaster is a good Faraday cage material.

Back when I built my first recording studio we lined the walls and ceiling with tinfoil. Really. I also put a filter on the AC line coming into the control room, and that helped a lot. My father, who was an ace electrical engineer, gave me tips over the years from his experience, which included having a next door neighbour with an overpowered ham radio rig that we could pick up on our record player when I was a little kid.
 
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