General Question

antimatter's avatar

Does any one knows something about the "Willis Generator?"?

Asked by antimatter (4229 points ) June 10th, 2013

A few months ago one of our reps told me about a strange device that generates power using the earth’s magnetism, I can’t recall what it was called but I can recall he told me it’s was called the “Willis generator”. I tried to find information on this device but did not find much info on this thing. He told me it was a secret device used in world war two submarines. It sounds too good to be true.

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21 Answers

antimatter's avatar

It’s safe to say that was my response as well when I was told about it. The Bull s..t bell still rings but curiosity rules supreme.

Katniss's avatar

It sounds like something Sheldon Cooper would talk about on The Big Bang Theory.

It also sounds like bs. Interesting bs perhaps, but bs none the less.

antimatter's avatar

@Katniss I agree it does have a Big Bang Theory feel to it.

Katniss's avatar

Bazinga! lol

ucme's avatar

My immediate response simply has to be…wachoo talkin bout Willis?

Katniss's avatar

I loved Gary Coleman. It’s so sad that he was such a troubled soul.

antimatter's avatar

Trust me @ucme I heard “ding ding ding” in my head it’s simply too far fetched. But still love the idea of free power.

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

I wasn’t able to find anything about it on Google nor peswiki.com so I can only comment on the information contained in the question.

It’s true that the Earth has a big old planet-sized magnetic field. The problem is that the field doesn’t fluctuate a whole lot from the perspective of someone on the planet’s surface. In order to generate energy from a magnetic field, the field has to be moving. That makes the concept unsuitable (at best) for terrestrial power generation. If you happen to be in space, it might work- except that you’d need to be in orbit around the Earth, far enough away to move perceptibly relative to the field but close enough that the field is still strong. The inverse-square law tells us that the field strength falls off really rapidly with distance. Another problem is that, well, the energy has to come from somewhere. If your hypothetical satellite was extracting energy from its motion relative to the Earth’s magnetic field, then it would slow down. This would change its orbit and probably make it stop working (and if it slowed down enough, it would deorbit.)
Also, if you happen to be in space, it’s a lot easier to just put up a solar panel :^)

WestRiverrat's avatar

Sounds a lot like the generator Tesla was working on, he believed he had discovered how to make free electricity. Only problem is he died before he told anyone how it was done.

Rarebear's avatar

You can’t make free electricity. Violates the Law of Thremodynamics.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Rarebear Not to mention the laws of capitalism.

WestRiverrat's avatar

The Tesla generator supposedly harnesses radiant energy.

@Rarebear he meant free as in not costing anything. Look up U.S. Patent No. 685,957

Rarebear's avatar

Oh. Sure. Solar power uses radiant energy.

Judi's avatar

my solar panels are pumping it out pretty good right now!

gorillapaws's avatar

You can already harness the massive power of the Earth’s gravitational field to generate power, it’s called tidal power. The earth’s massive gravitational field keeps the moon in orbit which itself has enough gravity to affect the oceans’ tides.

Rarebear's avatar

@gorillapaws And the Earth slows down as a result. Not by much, but it does.

RocketGuy's avatar

Gravity also powers hydroelectric dams.

You can get electricity by either moving the magnetic field or moving a conducting coil. Trying got tap into Earth’s magnetic field (which doesn’t move very much) for power sounds hokey to me.

antimatter's avatar

@Judi that sounds good, does it power your whole home?

antimatter's avatar

@WestRiverrat since I posted this question I did a bit of reading and a lot of things points to Tesla. Perhaps he was working on something before he died in the thirties.

Judi's avatar

@antimater; right now it does. In the winter we have a 14kw propane generator backup.

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