# Some questions regarding Electromagnetism

• apples
In summary: I'm no expert on that either.In summary, Apples asked about building electromagnets, mini transformers, AC generators, and banner mechanisms; he was given technical advice and was told to check back often. He was told that he should buy off-the-shelf units for the electromagnets, mini transformers, and AC generators, but that he could build the banner mechanism himself if he has enough space and design considerations allow it.
apples
Hello, this is my first post on these forums, and I hope to get a response.

I am doing an experiment about building a type of an amusement park ride on a much smaller scale, and I have some questions and need some advice.
Firstly, when I make an electromagnet by wrapping a piece of metal with a wire, and then run a current through the wire, how strong can the magnetic field be? I know it depends on the current but how man volt would i need to make the field strong enough to pull a very heavy metal. say around 3-5kg.
What if I wrap the wire around a magnet? would that be stronger?

Second I need something like a transformer which can alter the flow of the current regularly, for ex. if the current coming in is around 30 V. I need something which can regulate it regularly. What type of a mini transformer can I use? I want that transformer to be such that it should be a sort of a button, the harder I press the more volt it should let pass, and if I don't press it at all then it should pass almost none. Is it possible that I build this device myself, can I get instructions?

Thirdly I need to know how can I create an AC generator. So let's say it can change the current continuously at a rate of around 1 second, or any other time which would be more sufficient.

Fourthly if I want to build a sort of a banner that would go up and down. Suppose I want to use a solenoid, nothing else. And it should go up and down withing one second. Suppose the tube is 14 inches long. I wrap it with a wire, place a thick steel rod suppose of 1.5 inches. Inside the rod I place a strong magnet, so the rod would go in and out of the tube with a lot of force.I would attach the rod with the tube in such a way that it isn't shot out. then it moves back in by reversing the current. How do I do this, and is using a solenoid a good idea?

I'm sure such problems are common here on this forum. But since I don't know a lot about physics, I need to know this information.

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Welcome to PF, Apples.
I'm going to leave all of the the technical stuff to the experts, but I have a suspicion that buying off-the-shelf units would be a lot simpler and possibly cheaper than building them yourself (and definitely safer).
That having been said, a strong magnet doesn't need a lot of input. As I mentioned in another thread, Edmund Scientific has a unit that runs on 2 'D' cell batteries and lifts 500lbs.
Wrapping your solenoid coil around a magnet won't work for 2 reasons. The first, obvious, one is that you wouldn't be able to turn it off. Secondly, most good permanent magnets already have their domains pretty much saturated (it's as magnetized as it can get). Adding electricity won't help any.
I also suspect that there's a problem with your banner-raising device, but I'm not sure enough about it to say anything now.
Good luck with it.

Thanks a lot for the reply!
What I'm doing is kind of urgent that's why i'll be checking here regularly.
The problem with buying stuff of the shelf is difficult for me since I've shifted from USA, and where I am buying already made stuff is very difficult, because they either aren't available or are difficult to find.
If that 2 'D' electromagnet is really that strong, I have no other reason to use some other type of magnet. But I need to know some details on how to make it. Which metal should I wrap the wire around? How big should it be? What type should the wire be? Do the wires get hot? etc.

I too think the solenoid idea is bad, and for the time being I'll drop it.
And what about that transformer sort of the thing to control voltage mentioned above.

What about the AC generator. How do I make that.
EDIT:what about a commutator? what if I use that instead of an AC generator to switch the current continuously... if yes, how do I make one?

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I really need help on this. I'll appreciate if people reply.

Sorry; I was too busy to log on again yesterday. I'm afraid that I've about expended my knowledge of magnets.
As for the banner, what kind of mechanism will work partially depends upon how big the thing is, how much space you have to work with, etc.. If space and design considerations allow it, I'd go ahead and use a solenoid except attach it to one end of a pivoted swing-arm (like a railway crossing gate). A slightly more complicated version, if it has to rise vertically rather than in an arc, would be to use a normal flag-pole pulley system. Mount the lower pulley on the shaft of a reversible motor. There should be enough friction that the (fish-line?) is pulled up and down consistently, but also enough slippage that the motor won't stall out at the end of travel. That way, your limit switches don't have to be deadly accurate (and you won't need them at all if you manually work the main switch).

Thanks a lot for the reply. However, what your recommended won't work for what is in my mind. The banner project isn't exactly a banner project, but it's something similar.
However, I'l be able to go along with it smoothly if those questions in my 2nd post in this thread would be answered somehow.

:)

You'll have to get that from someone else; I just don't know enough about it. Be really careful when working with alternators, though. They can put out some really deadly jolts. Good luck with it.

So do I wait for someone to see this thread or what?
Or can I somehow call the other smart members of this forum to this thread.

You can post a request for attention in Feedback, but I don't know if it will help. Certainly others have read this; I don't know why they aren't responding.

That's probably because they get no incentives.

I think what you're looking for is a potentiometer, not a transformer. (imagine a dimmer switch on a light). It's basically an adjustable resistor that you could use to smoothly control the current to the load. Most transformers only come with preset "taps" of certain voltages. Sure you can rig switches to move the load from one tap to the next but it wouldn't be a smooth transition. Although I'm not too clear on what you need it for.

I just need it for simply adjusting the voltage very frequently. The voltage would be around 10 or maybe less V.
I'll be connecting an electromagnet powered by whatever is sufficient (danger says 2 D batteries). And I'll be needing something to adjust the voltage to reduce/increase the power of the electromagnet with whatever you want it to.

If a potentiometer is the thing, is it possible for me to build it myself? If yes, how? If not, can I use a dimmer switch, but using a dimmer switch would to have problems.

What about the AC generator thing?

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Hello,

I think the reason why you don't get any response is that your question is a bit "how do I become an electrical engineer through some forum discussion, and quickly please", and you start off by quite some confusions.

Firstly, when I make an electromagnet by wrapping a piece of metal with a wire, and then run a current through the wire, how strong can the magnetic field be? I know it depends on the current but how man volt would i need to make the field strong enough to pull a very heavy metal. say around 3-5kg.
What if I wrap the wire around a magnet? would that be stronger?

First of all, it is not a piece of metal, but a piece of ferromagnetic metal (iron, say). If you wrap a wire around an aluminium bar, that won't work very well. Next, "how strong can the field be" is not very clear. It seems to be that you relate strength of the field to "weight lifting capability", which is a rather complicated relationship. If I tell you that a good classical electromagnet can give you induction strengths of the order of, say, 0.5 Tesla, does that help you ? It won't, because it depends on the geometry of your magnetic circuit.

Second I need something like a transformer which can alter the flow of the current regularly, for ex. if the current coming in is around 30 V. I need something which can regulate it regularly. What type of a mini transformer can I use? I want that transformer to be such that it should be a sort of a button, the harder I press the more volt it should let pass, and if I don't press it at all then it should pass almost none. Is it possible that I build this device myself, can I get instructions?

First of all, a transformer doesn't do what you say, current is not measured in Volts, and the thing you want to construct needs some basic knowledge of electrical engineering: do you mean a dimmer, or do you mean a potentiometer, or do you mean an autotransformer or...
All that 1) depends on the specific application, and 2) needs some knowledge in order to build one, if you don't want to do silly or dangerous things.

Thirdly I need to know how can I create an AC generator. So let's say it can change the current continuously at a rate of around 1 second, or any other time which would be more sufficient.

An AC generator is rather an electromechanical device used to generate electricity from mechanical work (as in power plants). However, it seems that you are more looking for a kind of electronic chopper or oscillator. Again, one needs electrical engineering knowledge to build one - especially if it is a power device.

Fourthly if I want to build a sort of a banner that would go up and down. Suppose I want to use a solenoid, nothing else. And it should go up and down withing one second. Suppose the tube is 14 inches long. I wrap it with a wire, place a thick steel rod suppose of 1.5 inches.

Seems you want to build some kind of linear motor. Again, some basic electrical engineering knowledge is needed in order not to do stupid things.

Don't be offended, I'm just trying to point out why you don't get any response you'd like: the "knowledge gap" seems far too big between what you seem to know right now and what you want to realize quickly as a project. It's bound to fail and it's going to be dangerous too. You could just as well ask how to replace a kidney on your little sister, and what kind of anesthesia to use, and what kind of knife to buy and how to test if the kidney of the donkey you have in your fridge is going to be ok or not

Thanks a lot for posting even though you embarrassed me quite a lot:).
I know I'm using such terms, because I don't know the thing, so I'm just saying things which might be close or give you people an idea of what I want.
I'll provide all the details you ask.
Yes, I do need a potentiometer. If I can't build one, I'll try finding one. But it has to work on small currents. I don't think a dimmer switch will work, because here it operates for fans where the V is ~220.

About the 'current-flow switcher', I don't know what it is supposed to be. I just need something which automatically switches the flow of the current in very less time spans.

About building the electromagnet, I don't know what you want me to tell you :P.

Is there anything else?

And no I don't want to be an Electrical Engineer overnight. Electrical engineering involves more complicated stuff, while I , an illiterate, am just looking for the 'right' electrical appliances.
:)

Looking for more responses and help.
-apples

As vanesch tried to point out.
Tell us what you want to end up with.

I have no idea if your current questions have any relation to the desired result.

OK let me put what I want very simply:
---
I want to build an electromagnet with the North and South in different directions(This means that It should not be like a horseshoe). This should be strong enough to pick around 3 KG(I am not sure about the weight yet, making the measurements is too early for me yet). I want to be able to adjust the voltage manually. And I want the North and South sides to switch (I don't want the iron piece of the electromagnet move, I just want the sides to switch) frequently around once in 0.5 seconds (again this is too early for the exact measurements).
---

That's it. What I did was ask each thing separately. I asked for the potentiometer to adjust the voltage, I asked for the 'current flow switching' thing because once the flow of the current switches the North and South of the electromagnet will automatically switch.

Now that I have explained myself as much as possible, if there is still something I am missing, do specify it and I'll tell you.

Thanks a lot.

Off the top you might look into DC power sources, H-bridge, pulse width controlers, timers and magnets.

Does your magnet just have to hold 3kg or does it have to pick that up from a 10cm distance?
Why do you want polarity reversal? Not normally important for picking things up.
How long does it operate in use? 10 sec or 5 hours.
How long is it off before the next use?
How many people get killed if the device fails?

NoTime said:
Does your magnet just have to hold 3kg or does it have to pick that up from a 10cm distance?
Why do you want polarity reversal? Not normally important for picking things up.
How long does it operate in use? 10 sec or 5 hours.
How long is it off before the next use?
How many people get killed if the device fails?
It needs to pull that ~3kg, not pick.
The purpose of the electromagnet is not picking. Also, I'm hesitant in giving details which are not relevant.
How long does it operate in use, it can be 1 second or around 6 hours.
What does that mean? As in when I switch of the electromagnet and then switch it on again? If that's the question then it might even be 1 second, or 24 hours.
ROFL, well I hope it doesn't fail and no one gets killed. But on a serious not, I don't know.

Thanks

apples said:
ROFL, well I hope it doesn't fail and no one gets killed. But on a serious not, I don't know.
Err yea
Any reasonable design would have to take that into account.

I suggest you hire a design engineer.
They will need the plans for the complete unit.
Not just the electrical part.

All I need are answers to my questions. The rest I'm capable of doing myself. Thanks for the suggestions anyway.

Can anyone at least just tell me how and what I need to change the flow of the current?
Are there any members you recommend, I can PM them or something!

it sounds like you have a requirement to either raise or lower an object, or flag or something by reversing an electromagnet.

get some feromagnetic metal, and wind your megnet wires around it, LOTS of turns, then get 2 6volt batteries. and conect the positive of one of the to the negative of the other, this is your ZERO (0volts) connection connect that junction to one end of your electromagnet, you will then have +6 volts available and -6volts available on the two other terminals of the 2 batteries.

Connect +6 to your electromagnet, and see what polarity is becomes, then connect the -6volt terminal to the electromagnet and the magnets polarity will reverse.
then you need some simple 0.5 second timer to swite between +6volts and -6Volts to your magnet..

you can also do the same thing with a Double Pole Double Throw (DPDT) switch and a bit of wiring.

im trying to think of a simple timer/switch that would do the job you need.

Thanks a lot for the reply.
Yes that's exactly what I need, but what would this time/switch be? How do I use it? And what's a DPDT switch?

im thinking a relay, (2 pols, 2 positions) DPDT, and a motor car blinker unit might be the easiest way, when the blinker light is on, it applies one polarity, and you could even wire a connection to the "OFF" side of the blinker switch to reverse the voltage applied to the electromagnet.

but what are you trying to do, and can you get gravity to do the lowering part, so all you actually have to do is energize the electromagnet ON for half a second, and OFF for half a second, and not have to reverse the direnction.

IF you DO have to reverse the direction it would be bacause you are raising or lowing a permanent magnet ??

a "Double pole double throw" switch is a switch that has 3 positions and 6 terminals on the back.

centre position is OFF,
UP connects the middle 2 terminals to the 2 opposite terminals
DOWN connects the middle 2 terminals to opposite terminal (again).

so a DPDT switch, if you connect 6 Volts DC, to the two middle terminals, and your electromagnet across BOTH the two sets of outer terminals BUT in opposite directions,

In the UP position, it will applay +6 Volts to one end, but in the DOWN position it will apply +6 volts to the OTHER End of the magnet.

as well as Double pole switches, you can get double pole relays, that do the same thing.
you can then turn this relay on or off, with your car blinker unit.

the timer switch, is used to switch either +6 volts or -6 volts, to your electromagnet.

OR: to "REVERSE "the poloarity of the single 6 Volt battery to the electromagnet.
and its is a double contact (Pole) relay, i think the most common type of Timer/Switch i can think of is a blinker unit from a car.
that switches a voltage on and off at the rate of 0.5 seconds.
i hope that helps. try to find a book on basic electricity and magnetism, that will help alot.

This is driving me nuts!
I tried to link to my ImageShack picture of my polarity-reversing circuit, and it won't show up. Not even in 'My Images' on the shack site. I've already linked to it in another thread a few months ago (which is why I even have it on ImageShack), but now it just shows up as a red 'x'.

Darryl said:
im thinking a relay, (2 pols, 2 positions) DPDT, and a motor car blinker unit might be the easiest way, when the blinker light is on, it applies one polarity, and you could even wire a connection to the "OFF" side of the blinker switch to reverse the voltage applied to the electromagnet.

but what are you trying to do, and can you get gravity to do the lowering part, so all you actually have to do is energize the electromagnet ON for half a second, and OFF for half a second, and not have to reverse the direnction.

IF you DO have to reverse the direction it would be bacause you are raising or lowing a permanent magnet ??
No gravity, won't do the job, because for it to lower down, some force would be needed, because would be pushing something down.
I can't really understand what you're trying to explain. I understand the example of a motorcycle blinking light. It goes on, and of on a regular fixed interval. But how will I use it? How will I adjust the time of the rate of change? I'm sorry Darryl, I tried really hard to understand, but I couldn't.

And Danger, which picture are you talking about?

Thank a lot for replies. This already i helping me a lot.

Here's the link, but it isn't working on W's machine any more than it was at work yesterday. I don't know what's wrong; it was fine the last time that I used it. All of my drawings seem to be kaput. I'll fire up the Mac when I get to work and see if they show up on it.
http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/2391/polarityswitchsz5.jpg

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no problems apples.

first, what your trying to do is apply power to an electromagnet of a short time,

THEN you what to reverse the voltage to the electromagnet, so the magnetic field reverses.

this means, you need to reverse the voltage that you apply to the electromagnet, as you can't use gravity, its no good just to turn it on and turn it off.

this means you need a way to reverse the volate you apply to the electromagnet, at maby 0.5 seconds intervals.

a car or motorbike blinker switch, just turns the light on or off but does not reverse the voltage as you require.

what you need is a circuit to reverse the voltage to the magnet each time the blinker unit switches on or off.

for example, when the blinker is ON, you apply +6 Volts to the top of the electromagnet, (thats the easy part).

NOW, when the blinker is OFF you need to apply the +6Volts to the BOTTOM of the electromaget, (to reverse the field).

the way you can do this, is to use the blinker switch to switch ON or OFF, a Double Pole, Double Throw relay.

so when the blinker switch is OFF, it will apply 0Volts to the top of the magnet, and +6 volts to the bottom.

and when the blinker switch is ON, it will apple +6Volts to the top of the magnet and 0Volts to the bottom. (THE REVERSE).

Ive not used a blinker unit for anything like this, so i don't know too much about them.
but i know they use a "bi-metalic" strip, two different metels joined together, when current flow through it (when its ON), it heats up, and bends (different metal expansion rates), when it bends, its breaks the contact and turns the lights OFF, it then cools a bit and bends back onto the contact, the lights go on again, its draws current gets hot again, bends and breaks the contact.

so how long the light stays on for depends on the amount of current you pass through the blinker unit, and the bi-metalic strip.

so, you should be able to extend the time delay, by playing a resistor across the contact, so the bi-metalic strip passes less current and says on for longer, or by just drawing less current through it.

also google "Double pole Double throw switch", it will show you a ciruit of the swich, and you can work out how you can swap + and - volts to your magnet.

yes, that link is broken for me as well Danger.

it tries hard..

ok so you're saying that I should use a DPDT switch. however a DPDT switch needs to be manually changed, and for that you're saying I should use a blinking light.
but I don't think that would work.
One reason, the heating/bending part would wear out very very quickly, so if I use it continuously for 7 hours, they're is no way it can survive.
However, this would solve the problem of how fast it would move up and down, because you're saying the more current I would give to the blinking light the more quickly the current woudl change.
but the problem is the blinking light. I don't think it wold work for long...

What do you say?

as well as DPDT switches you can get DPDT Relays. then you use the Blinker / timer unit to switch the relay ON or OFF.

thats how you get the voltage crossover, from a simple ON/OFF switch, (the Blinker unit).

a bi-matalic strip, will last for years and years and years.

they are used in cars, are very reliable, and will go for years, without a problem.

## 1. What is Electromagnetism?

Electromagnetism is a branch of physics that deals with the study of the relationship between electricity and magnetism. It explains how electrically charged particles interact with each other and with magnetic fields.

## 2. How does Electromagnetism work?

Electromagnetism works through the interaction of electric charges and magnetic fields. When an electric charge is in motion, it creates a magnetic field, and a magnetic field can induce an electric current in a conductor. This relationship is described by Maxwell's equations.

## 3. What are the applications of Electromagnetism?

Electromagnetism has numerous applications in our daily lives, including electricity and magnetism, communication technologies such as radio and television, medical equipment such as MRI machines, and transportation systems like trains and elevators.

## 4. What is the difference between electricity and magnetism?

Electricity and magnetism are two separate but related phenomena. Electricity is the flow of electric charges, while magnetism is the force exerted by moving electric charges. They are interconnected through the laws of electromagnetism.

## 5. How does Electromagnetism relate to light?

Electromagnetism is the fundamental force behind the behavior of light. Light is an electromagnetic wave that is created by the oscillation of electric and magnetic fields. The speed of light is also determined by the properties of electromagnetism.

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