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Help explaining that perm. mag. motors don't work

  1. Jan 8, 2009 #1
    Alright this is hard for me to write because I feel like a backstabber but I need to stop him before he destroys my family. My father is a very smart small business owner and inventor and he is very near hitting it "big" with one invention. However, he has another project in the works that is his PERMANENT MAGNETIC MOTOR (dun dun dun...) I only have a small background in High school Newtonian physics and some college conceptual physics I try so hard to explain to him that it won't work but he is my dad and very stubborn/intimidating to talk to about something he is so passionate about. He swears by it and will even start yelling that "blah blah blah.. it's all in the timing Christopher!!!"

    My fear is that once the down to earth invention makes it through and makes money, which it will (AKA: he has a meeting tomorrow with the owner of K-Tool international about that deal), he is going to invest his future/my future (...college) into this magnetic machine.This is a concern because he already brags about having put 15thousand into it in machining costs and engineering costs and whatever.

    I need something I can say to my dad to convince him that it won't work..

    I've explained to him that theory's are very strict already not to mention trying to break a law, laws must be respected.


  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2009 #2


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    Hmmm.... most motors involve permanent magnets. If he has a meeting with someone and his motor will make money (which you specified), then it must be workable.
    You come across as being a selfish child whose only concern is that your father's money will go somewhere other than to you. That is very uncool.
  4. Jan 8, 2009 #3


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    As danger said, many motors use permanent magnets. Now, the question is: does he try to invent a kind of perpetual motion machine, running ONLY on permanent magnets (no, that won't work), or does he simply mean a type of motor that will use electricity, but uses a permanent magnet ? The last one works, as they exist already for ages.

    On another point: it is not because his invention will not work, that he will not find an idiot which will spend money on it and make him rich of course. True, that's not "honest", but then it can still make money. There are a lot of bogus things out there which make their inventors pretty rich. The trap not to fall into is to try to make it work :wink: You just need to convince a rich idiot that it can work, and run with the money before he finds out. You can justify it to your conscience by calling it the price of ignorance :biggrin:
    (this is morally not correct, but hey, people make a lot of money with homeopathy too, don't they...)
  5. Jan 8, 2009 #4
    I always point people here: "http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/museum/unwork.htm" [Broken]"

    You may have to dig a little, but I'm sure you'll find something similar to your father's invention.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  6. Jan 8, 2009 #5
    Hey, Danger, sorry but it obviously wasn't correct to say "permanent magnetic motor" I should have said perpetual motion machine, does that sound more familiar?

    Again sorry but I very much dislike being labeled a "selfish child" you do not understand the precise circumstances of our money situation. On top of that you must consider my future is more vital to my father and me than a fantastic dream.

    Please thoroughly re-read my original post and think about what was said... I stated that he has "ANOTHER PROJECT" (that is the magnetic perpetual motion machine) along with a separate invention that is legitimate/down to earth that is the one he has said he hopes makes some money so that he can fund the crazy project...

    i don't wanna see him invest so much for a sure failure
  7. Jan 8, 2009 #6


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    Let me recap. Correct me where I'm wrong.

    1. Your father has developed a motor that is fairly well-developed, does work and will likely make him money.
    2. He also has a side-project for a device that is not yet well-developed. He believes it will work; you believe it can not.
    3. You are concerned, not about the first money-making project, but about the one that you think will follow on its heels, where you think he will, following on his first success, sink all his money into the second, and lose it all.

    Is that about right?
  8. Jan 8, 2009 #7


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    Assuming the above is correct, in my opinion:

    1] He is successfully inventing and making money off his developments. Regardless what what you think he might do in the future, right now he is doing quite well thankyouverymuch, and deserves the right to run his life as he sees fit.

    2] Your father has successfully invented a motor. You have, by your own admission, limited academic knowledge of the subject. Why do you think you know more than he does about the subject, let alone his own invention?

    3] If this device won't work, he'll find that out when he goes to test it. He didn't get to be a succesful inventor by being mindlessly chasing red herrings.

    i.e. You are out-of-line.
  9. Jan 9, 2009 #8
    I don't think that's what he meant, and I think some other people are misreading too. I think what he means is that his father has already got a down-to-earth project that will likely earn him some money. But he is thinking of using that money to develop his magnetic motor invention afterward. I think people are getting it the other way around, saying that the motor is the one that's well-developed and will likely make money. Just read carefully.
  10. Jan 9, 2009 #9
    Yes, that is the way I read it: the father has invented “something” simple and down to earth that likely will make some money. That is still up in the air, but at least he has a meeting set up with someone. So far so good. The problem is, the father is also working on a permanent magnetic motor, which amounts to a pmm, and the son is concerned that the father will invest all the proceeds from the working invention into the non-workable one. I think that is a legitimate concern. The son is looking for some back up to show his father, to try and convince him that the pmm won’t work, so he has come here to ask for support.
    Hopefully, I have that situation described correctly. If you really want us to analyze the permanent magnet motor and give you our opinions, you would have to post some more information about it. Obviously, if this is a device under construction, with no patent, your father will not allow you to post any proprietary information, and we don’t want to see such information in any case. A brief description will do. If the ONLY source of power is from permanent magnets, which rotate as the rotor rotates, that is a very old perpetual motion scheme and it can not possibly work. But if the motor uses another power source of force to supplement the magnetic force, it may very well work.
    You should also know that this forum may not be the very best place to have the device judged! There are people on here, including moderators, who are believers in directly down wind, faster than the wind, ( another pmm) despite the mathematical proof that it is impossible! So don’t be surprised if you get a mixed reaction which settles nothing! Maybe the best thing you can do is convince your father to invest very conservatively in his project, and abandon it at the first sign of failure. Don’t let him put all his life savings into it!
  11. Jan 9, 2009 #10


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    And here we come again to the core issue; it's his money. He can do whatever he wants with it.
  12. Jan 9, 2009 #11
    Well, IF that is the core issue, then it is a moral issue which does not belong here in the physics forum.
  13. Jan 9, 2009 #12


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    The OP has asked for some science to help him argue that the device won't work.

    cholley, how do you know it won't work? Do you know that it's a pmm?
  14. Jan 9, 2009 #13
    Schroder you have it dead on...

    There is a moral issue here, and that issue is my problem with denying the laws and foundations of physics. I know that what I see happening in the basement of my house is another ludicrous "pmm" it is probably his 5th design that he swears will work but like the last four I know it won't because I have done significant amounts of research. I simply don't know what I could tell him... so far he can counter argue everything I say.

    Money issue aside it is extremely wasteful to pump any resources into anything that has no possibility of working except for in the minds/fantasies of the inventor.
  15. Jan 9, 2009 #14


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    Have you considered that this might indicate an error on your part?
  16. Jan 9, 2009 #15
    Geez you guys - the poor OP just needed someone to say, "search this forum for 'perpetual motion machine' - that's the name we use for these things. Then try and see if that's what dad is up to."

    And, of course his dad can spend his money however he wants, but if it were your dad (or son, or wife, or friend, or other guy on this forum) wouldn't you want to at least try and enlighten them with the real facts?
  17. Jan 9, 2009 #16


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    You seem to be forgetting that we don't know what the hell the guy is building. We have only Cholley's opinion that it's some PPM; it could very well be a perfectly workable device of some sort. Unless I see blueprints, or at least an abstract, I'm not going to judge its merits.
  18. Jan 9, 2009 #17


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    Would your moral imperative be mollified if he were playing Guitar Hero instead? Or building https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=205845"?

    A flip question on the surface, but it gets at the question of whether you have business judging what he does with his time. As you said, he hasn't thrown any money at it yet.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  19. Jan 9, 2009 #18


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    Some dads blow it on drugs, booze and gambling. Your dad makes contraptions (some of which work) in your basement. Count your blessings and get a part time job in college like most everybody else =)
  20. Jan 9, 2009 #19


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    Hi Chris,

    It is unlikely that you will be able to persuade him if you do not have the scientific knowledge to do so. However, you may be able to persuade him to post here and let those who do have the appropriate knowledge have a shot at it...if indeed there is a need.

    Is your father an Engineer or Scientist by chance? If so, then he should be aware of PMM's. It would be beneficial if you could post some more details about the device (at this point I'm not sure what it is) so that we may better answer your question. Otherwise you will probably not get any better of an answer than you have already.

    Hope this helps.

  21. Jan 9, 2009 #20
    Um... sorry to burst your bubble, but permanent magnet motors work. They're just not terribly useful b/c they don't work the way that you would think, and they don't end up providing very much useful work compared to the amount of energy it takes to create the stupid device to begin with. Basically it works by slowly demagnetizing the magnets. So basically you've got a permanent magnet A as your stator and another one we'll call B on your rotor. The two are attracted to each other so your rotor starts spinning. Once they spin past each other, the attractive force is now in the opposite direction and slows you back down. This is the point when a credible scientist steps in and tells you that the amount of force that is now slowly you down is equal to the amount of force that sped you up, and therefore you get no net force in the end.

    The trick is that in a permanent magnet motor, the magnets demagnetize by a tiny tiny tiny amount as they pass each other, which means that the amount of force slowing you down is less than the amount of force that sped you up, leaving you with a net gain! Too bad that net gain is also a tiny tiny tiny amount. So you can't really do anything useful with it, and you've got the horrendous problem that your motor is now essentially disposable. Just imagine if every time you stopped to get gas you had to throw away your car's entire engine and install a new one. That's what it would be like trying to use permanent magnet motors in the real world. They will never be anything more than an extremely obscure scientific oddity.
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