[ExI] puzzler

David C. Harris dharris234 at mindspring.com
Sun May 10 01:05:40 UTC 2009

You know how to challenge us! 

OK, some generators have a 12 volt DC output that could be carried to 
the battery directly.  I have such a generator in my back yard storage, 
thanks to Enron's fraud that made me think that shortages of 110 juice 
would be a frequent occurrence in California.

But assuming this generator was not so equipped, I'd take the 
generator's 110 AC thru the extension cord to the electric drill with a 
big drill and some little ones jammed into the square drive side of a 
socket so the drill's rotation would drive the nut that holds the pulley 
that is bolted to the CAR's generator or alternator.  Loosen the 
generator or alternator drive belt so  you're just turning the pulley 
that makes 12V for the car battery.  Disconnect the battery positive, 
temporarily, from devices that might deplete the stream of entering 12V 

There is some remote chance that the carboxylic acid(s) in the olive oil 
would orient (because carboxylic acids have a positive end and a 
hydrophobic oily chain) in contact with the battery acid and act as some 
sort of diode, allowing more electrons to move in one direction than the 
other direction of the 110 alternating current.  Different numbers of 
electrons makes a DC current in one direction.  I'd do the drill method 
before Googling on the electrical properties of olive oil and acids.

How'd I do?

  - David Harris, Palo Alto

spike wrote:
> ....  I suspect even the monster brains on this forum will not get 
> it.  Here it is:
> "... brought along my generator, radio, etc. I also packed an 
> extension cord, my electric drill and the bits, and my socket and 
> wrench set. ... jumper cables, a roll of duct tape and a quart of 
> Fillipo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil....
> "If only there was a way to get power from the generator which is 
> making 110 volts AC and get that into my dead battery, which is 12 
> volts DC. The question is: how can I do it with only the items at my 
> disposal?"
> I nailed it because of something I discovered during my misspent 
> youth.  The answer will be given on the Car Talk show tomorrow.  I 
> will post the answer later today.  Any guesses?

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