LAB ACTIVITIES

Magnetism: Generator Activator

The Basics: In this activity, students will investigate electromagnetic induction, the principle behind electric generators.


Magnetism: Motor Madness

The Basics: In this activity, students will investigate the principes that make electric motors possible


Electric Currents and Fields

The Basics: In this activity, students will investigate electromagnetic induction, the principle behind electric generators.


Electric Circuits: Be the Battery

The Basics: In this activity, students will provide energy to an electric circuit using their own muscle power.


Conductors and Insulators

The Basics:  In this exercise, students will study a number of materials to see whether or not they are conductors.

Magnetism: Generator Activation

The Basics: In this activity, students will investigate electromagnetic induction, the principle behind electric generators.


Magnetism: Motor Madness

The Basics: In this activity, students will investigate the principes that make electric motors possible


Electric Currents and Fields

The Basics: In this activity, students will investigate electromagnetic induction, the principle behind electric generators.


Conductors and Insulators

The Basics:  In this exercise, students will study a number of materials to see whether or not they are conductors.


Electric Circuits: Be the Battery

The Basics: In this activity, students will provide energy to an electric circuit using their own muscle power.


MORE LAB IDEAS

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Ohm's Law

The Basics: Students will gain a better understanding of the relationship between voltage, current, and resistrance as they alter positions of clip leads along a nichrome wire and observe changes in the brightness of the attached bulb. This qualitative approach can be made more quantitative by adding an ammeter and voltmeter to the circuit.

      • Attach the
        leads from the energy source to the nichrome wire
        near the mounting points, then fasten each lead from the light socket near the center of the wire.
      • With a lab partner cranking the generator at a consistent pace, slowly slide one of the alligator clips
        closer to the point where the light bulb apparatus is attached to the wire. Watch the light bulb as the
        clips get closer together, effectively shortening the circuit.
      • Reset the wire locations and perform the measure the distance
        between the power source clips and the light bulb clips. Then proceed to crank the Genecon.
      • Repeat this process 5 times and observe the difficulty of lighting the bulb as the clips move in.
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Ohm's Law

The Basics: Students will gain a better understanding of the relationship between voltage, current, and resistrance as they alter positions of clip leads along a nichrome wire and observe changes in the brightness of the attached bulb. This qualitative approach can be made more quantitative by adding an ammeter and voltmeter to the circuit.

  • Attach the
    leads from the energy source to the nichrome wire
    near the mounting points, then fasten each lead from the light socket near the center of the wire.
  • With a lab partner cranking the generator at a consistent pace, slowly slide one of the alligator clips
    closer to the point where the light bulb apparatus is attached to the wire. Watch the light bulb as the
    clips get closer together, effectively shortening the circuit.
  • Reset the wire locations and perform the measure the distance
    between the power source clips and the light bulb clips. Then proceed to crank the Genecon.
  • Repeat this process 5 times and observe the difficulty of lighting the bulb as the clips move in.

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Right-Hand-Rule with Electromagnetic Force Demonstrator

The Basics: Watch the aluminum pipe travel along the track in the direction the current is applied, reinforcing the interrelated concepts of Current, Magnetic fields and the Lorentz Force. This allows students to use the Right-Hand-Rules to determine the direction the aluminium pipe will move.

      • Set up the device so the north side of the magnet is facing up.


      • Connect the genecon, so he positive erminal is on the left and the negative terminal is on the right
      • Have students use the right hand rule to determine which direction the aluminum pipe will move

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Right-Hand-Rule with Electromagnetic Force Demonstrator

The Basics: Watch the aluminum pipe travel along the track in the direction the current is applied, reinforcing the interrelated concepts of Current, Magnetic fields and the Lorentz Force. This allows students to use the Right-Hand-Rules to determine the direction the aluminium pipe will move.

  • Set up the device so the north side of the magnet is facing up.


  • Connect the genecon, so he positive erminal is on the left and the negative terminal is on the right
  • Have students use the right hand rule to determine which direction the aluminum pipe will move
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Series Circuits

Introduction: This exercise uses the Genecon and bulb bases to set up a series circuit and characterize certain properties of current flow in such a circuit.

The Basics: Students will learn that lamps in series reduce current flow, increase the total resistance of the circuit, and the voltage across each bulb in a series circuit decreases as the number increases

      • Connect the genecon to 4 bulbs and turn the handle at a specific rate and note the brightness of the bulbs and the difficulty to turn the handle
      • Remove a bulb and turn the handle at the same rate. Students will notice it is easier to turn and the brightness increases
      • Repeat the process
      • The force required to turn the handle is proportional to the energy required to light the bulbs.

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Series Circuits

Introduction: This exercise uses the Genecon and bulb bases to set up a series circuit and characterize certain properties of current flow in such a circuit.

The Basics: Students will learn that lamps in series reduce current flow, increase the total resistance of the circuit, and the voltage across each bulb in a series circuit decreases as the number increases

  • Connect the genecon to 4 bulbs and turn the handle at a specific rate and note the brightness of the bulbs and the difficulty to turn the handle
  • Remove a bulb and turn the handle at the same rate. Students will notice it is easier to turn and the brightness increases
  • Repeat the process
  • The force required to turn the handle is proportional to the energy required to light the bulbs.
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Parallel Circuits

The Basics: In a parallel circuit, the resistance of the entire circuit decreases as resistors (bulbs in this case) are added. At the same time, the power used by the circuit increases. The voltage, however, remains constant across the components of the circuit.

      • Connect the genecon to bulb board as illustrated
      • Unscrew the bulbs slightly in their sockets to disconnect them (you do not need to remove the bulb). While you turn the handle of your Genecon at a constant, moderate rate, have your lab partner screw in the bulbs one at a time
      • What do you notice about the amount of energy required to turn the handle as the number of bulbs increases?
      • Did you notice that in a parallel circuit disconnecting one bulb does not affect the operation of the circuit as a whole? What would happen if you unscrewed one bulb in a series circuit of several bulbs?

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Parallel Circuits

The Basics: In a parallel circuit, the resistance of the entire circuit decreases as resistors (bulbs in this case) are added. At the same time, the power used by the circuit increases. The voltage, however, remains constant across the components of the circuit.

  • Connect the genecon to bulb board as illustrated

  • Unscrew the bulbs slightly in their sockets to disconnect them (you do not need to remove the bulb). While you turn the handle of your Genecon at a constant, moderate rate, have your lab partner screw in the bulbs one at a time
  • What do you notice about the amount of energy required to turn the handle as the number of bulbs increases?
  • Did you notice that in a parallel circuit disconnecting one bulb does not affect the operation of the circuit as a whole? What would happen if you unscrewed one bulb in a series circuit of several bulbs?
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Fuses - Overload Protection

The Basics: There are two types of circuit overload protection: fuses and circuit breakers. Fuses protect circuits by adding a piece of metal conductor (called a “link”) in series with the circuit to be protected. This special metal conducts normal electrical loads well, but in the event of an overload it will heat up and melt, breaking the circuit.

      • Remove one small strand of steel wool for this experiment – it will serve as the link in your fuse.
      • Connect the parallel bulb base to the Genecon with a strand of steel wool in series, as illustrated. (Caution: do not touch the steel wire or allow it to touch combustible materials during this experiment!)
      • Starting with all bulbs loose in their sockets, screw in one bulb and crank your Genecon until the bulb glows moderately. Have your lab partner screw in extra bulbs one at a time while you try to keep them glowing at the same brightness.
      • How many bulbs cause the fuse to blow? Can you relate this to things that happen in your house?

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Fuses - Overload Protection

The Basics: There are two types of circuit overload protection: fuses and circuit breakers. Fuses protect circuits by adding a piece of metal conductor (called a “link”) in series with the circuit to be protected. This special metal conducts normal electrical loads well, but in the event of an overload it will heat up and melt, breaking the circuit.

  • Remove one small strand of steel wool for this experiment – it will serve as the link in your fuse.
  • Connect the parallel bulb base to the Genecon with a strand of steel wool in series, as illustrated. (Caution: do not touch the steel wire or allow it to touch combustible materials during this experiment!)
  • Starting with all bulbs loose in their sockets, screw in one bulb and crank your Genecon until the bulb glows moderately. Have your lab partner screw in extra bulbs one at a time while you try to keep them glowing at the same brightness.
  • How many bulbs cause the fuse to blow? Can you relate this to things that happen in your house?
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Fuses - Short Circuit Protection

The Basics: A short circuit occurs when an operational circuit is accidentally bypassed (shorted out). The resistance of the circuit is usually reduced to near zero in these very dangerous situations. Fuses are used to prevent damage if a short circuit should occur.

  • Again connect the Genecon through a steel wool strand to the parallel bulb base. Connect just one bulb and, once again, keep combustible materials away from your link.

  • Now create a short circuit with a jumper wire as illustrated and start cranking the Genecon.

  • Does the bulb light? What happens as you increase the rate of cranking?
  • What would happen in your home if a short circuit occurred inside a wall in a circuit that was unprotected by a fuse or circuit breaker? (Hint: Dial 911! Dial 911!)
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Fuses - Short Circuit Protection

The Basics: A short circuit occurs when an operational circuit is accidentally bypassed (shorted out). The resistance of the circuit is usually reduced to near zero in these very dangerous situations. Fuses are used to prevent damage if a short circuit should occur.

      • Again connect the Genecon through a steel wool strand to the parallel bulb base. Connect just one bulb and, once again, keep combustible materials away from your link.
      • Now create a short circuit with a jumper wire as illustrated and start cranking the Genecon.
      • Does the bulb light? What happens as you increase the rate of cranking?
      • What would happen in your home if a short circuit occurred inside a wall in a circuit that was unprotected by a fuse or circuit breaker? (Hint: Dial 911! Dial 911!)

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Fuses - Short Circuit Protection

The Basics: A short circuit occurs when an operational circuit is accidentally bypassed (shorted out). The resistance of the circuit is usually reduced to near zero in these very dangerous situations. Fuses are used to prevent damage if a short circuit should occur.

  • Again connect the Genecon through a steel wool strand to the parallel bulb base. Connect just one bulb and, once again, keep combustible materials away from your link.

  • Now create a short circuit with a jumper wire as illustrated and start cranking the Genecon.

  • Does the bulb light? What happens as you increase the rate of cranking?
  • What would happen in your home if a short circuit occurred inside a wall in a circuit that was unprotected by a fuse or circuit breaker? (Hint: Dial 911! Dial 911!)
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Capacitance

The Basics: A capacitor is a device which has the ability to store an electrical charge. Traditional capacitors are made of two pieces of metal, called plates, separated by an insulator called the dielectric. The capacitance of a capacitor depends primarily on the size of the plates, the distance between the plates, and the permeability of the dielectric to electric fields. Moving the plates closer together and enlarging the plates are two ways of increasing capacitance.

      • Connect the Genecon to the capacitor (observe polarity carefully!). Turn the handle while making the following observations:
      • The handle turns hard at first, then easier as you continue turning.
      • As the capacitor is charged, the current which the Genecon produces becomes smaller and less energy is required to turn the handle.
      • This helps demonstrate Len'z Law: because the Genecon uses a magnet to produce a current in a rotating oil of wire, this coil becomes an electromagnet. The magnetic field associated with the rotating coil opposes that of the permanent magnet in the Genecon. Thus, when the capacitor becomes charged, the current through the coil decreases, its subsequent magnetic field decreases, and the Genecon handle becomes easier to turn.]
      • Discharge the capacitor by shorting out the two leads with a jumper wire for a few seconds.
      • Connect the Genecon and charge the capacitor again while counting the number of turns. Let go of the handle. What happens?
      • Remember that the Genecon is also a motor – count the number of times the handle turns by itself. Compare the two turning counts to approximate the efficiency of the Genecon.

 


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Capacitance

The Basics: A capacitor is a device which has the ability to store an electrical charge. Traditional capacitors are made of two pieces of metal, called plates, separated by an insulator called the dielectric. The capacitance of a capacitor depends primarily on the size of the plates, the distance between the plates, and the permeability of the dielectric to electric fields. Moving the plates closer together and enlarging the plates are two ways of increasing capacitance.

  • Connect the Genecon to the capacitor (observe polarity carefully!). Turn the handle while making the following observations:

  • The handle turns hard at first, then easier as you continue turning.

  • As the capacitor is charged, the current which the Genecon produces becomes smaller and less energy is required to turn the handle.

  • This helps demonstrate Len'z Law: because the Genecon uses a magnet to produce a current in a rotating oil of wire, this coil becomes an electromagnet. The magnetic field associated with the rotating coil opposes that of the permanent magnet in the Genecon. Thus, when the capacitor becomes charged, the current through the coil decreases, its subsequent magnetic field decreases, and the Genecon handle becomes easier to turn.]

  • Discharge the capacitor by shorting out the two leads with a jumper wire for a few seconds.

  • Connect the Genecon and charge the capacitor again while counting the number of turns. Let go of the handle. What happens?

  • Remember that the Genecon is also a motor – count the number of times the handle turns by itself. Compare the two turning counts to approximate the efficiency of the Genecon.

 

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Motors with the Swing Apparatus

The Basics: Study how the orientation of magnetic force lines around a current-carrying coil, plus the important fact that these lines are reversed when electricity flows through the coil in the opposite direction in a way that will shed light on the way an electric motor works.

      • Use a wire ring stand and clamp to set up the U-shaped magnet, wire swing, and swing support as illustrated.
      • Connect the Genecon leads to the two metal hooks of the swing support. Turning the Genecon handle in one direction will produce a magnetic field around the wire
      • Because the wire is situated within the magnetic field of the U-magnet, the wire swing will move when the two fields interact.
      • Repeat the above while cranking in the opposite direction. What happens? By quickly alternating the direction of handle rotation, you can get the wire to swing back and forth like a motor.

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Motors with the Swing Apparatus

The Basics: Study how the orientation of magnetic force lines around a current-carrying coil, plus the important fact that these lines are reversed when electricity flows through the coil in the opposite direction in a way that will shed light on the way an electric motor works.

  • Use a wire ring stand and clamp to set up the U-shaped magnet, wire swing, and swing support as illustrated.
  • Connect the Genecon leads to the two metal hooks of the swing support. Turning the Genecon handle in one direction will produce a magnetic field around the wire
  • Because the wire is situated within the magnetic field of the U-magnet, the wire swing will move when the two fields interact.
  • Repeat the above while cranking in the opposite direction. What happens? By quickly alternating the direction of handle rotation, you can get the wire to swing back and forth like a motor.

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Genecon as a Motor

The Basics: Demonstrate how a Genecon can be both a motor and a generator by connecting two of them together. This can also be an easier way to visualize the electrical efficiency of a Genecon.

      • Connect two Genecons together.
      • Slowly turn the handle of one while allowing the handle of the other to turn freely. The first Genecon is acting as a generator, the second as a motor.
      • Reverse the direction of rotation on your “generator” Genecon. What happens to the “motor” Genecon?
      • Are there equal rotations between the "generator Genecon and the "motor" Genecon? Why?
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Genecon as a Motor

The Basics: Demonstrate how a Genecon can be both a motor and a generator by connecting two of them together. This can also be an easier way to visualize the electrical efficiency of a Genecon.

  • Connect two Genecons together.
  • Slowly turn the handle of one while allowing the handle of the other to turn freely. The first Genecon is acting as a generator, the second as a motor.
  • Reverse the direction of rotation on your “generator” Genecon. What happens to the “motor” Genecon?
  • Are there equal rotations between the "generator Genecon and the "motor" Genecon? Why?
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Ohm's Law

The Basics: Students will gain a better understanding of the relationship between voltage, current, and resistrance as they alter positions of clip leads along a nichrome wire and observe changes in the brightness of the attached bulb. This qualitative approach can be made more quantitative by adding an ammeter and voltmeter to the circuit.

      • Attach the
        leads from the energy source to the nichrome wire
        near the mounting points, then fasten each lead from the light socket near the center of the wire.
      • With a lab partner cranking the generator at a consistent pace, slowly slide one of the alligator clips
        closer to the point where the light bulb apparatus is attached to the wire. Watch the light bulb as the
        clips get closer together, effectively shortening the circuit.
      • Reset the wire locations and perform the measure the distance
        between the power source clips and the light bulb clips. Then proceed to crank the Genecon.
      • Repeat this process 5 times and observe the difficulty of lighting the bulb as the clips move in.
PocketLab Voyager 2 frint face

Ohm's Law

The Basics: Students will gain a better understanding of the relationship between voltage, current, and resistrance as they alter positions of clip leads along a nichrome wire and observe changes in the brightness of the attached bulb. This qualitative approach can be made more quantitative by adding an ammeter and voltmeter to the circuit.

  • Attach the
    leads from the energy source to the nichrome wire
    near the mounting points, then fasten each lead from the light socket near the center of the wire.
  • With a lab partner cranking the generator at a consistent pace, slowly slide one of the alligator clips
    closer to the point where the light bulb apparatus is attached to the wire. Watch the light bulb as the
    clips get closer together, effectively shortening the circuit.
  • Reset the wire locations and perform the measure the distance
    between the power source clips and the light bulb clips. Then proceed to crank the Genecon.
  • Repeat this process 5 times and observe the difficulty of lighting the bulb as the clips move in.

PocketLab Voyager 2 frint face

Right-Hand-Rule with Electromagnetic Force Demonstrator

The Basics: Watch the aluminum pipe travel along the track in the direction the current is applied, reinforcing the interrelated concepts of Current, Magnetic fields and the Lorentz Force. This allows students to use the Right-Hand-Rules to determine the direction the aluminium pipe will move.

      • Set up the device so the north side of the magnet is facing up.


      • Connect the genecon, so he positive erminal is on the left and the negative terminal is on the right
      • Have students use the right hand rule to determine which direction the aluminum pipe will move

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Right-Hand-Rule with Electromagnetic Force Demonstrator

The Basics: Watch the aluminum pipe travel along the track in the direction the current is applied, reinforcing the interrelated concepts of Current, Magnetic fields and the Lorentz Force. This allows students to use the Right-Hand-Rules to determine the direction the aluminium pipe will move.

  • Set up the device so the north side of the magnet is facing up.


  • Connect the genecon, so he positive erminal is on the left and the negative terminal is on the right
  • Have students use the right hand rule to determine which direction the aluminum pipe will move
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Series Circuits

Introduction: This exercise uses the Genecon and bulb bases to set up a series circuit and characterize certain properties of current flow in such a circuit.

The Basics: Students will learn that lamps in series reduce current flow, increase the total resistance of the circuit, and the voltage across each bulb in a series circuit decreases as the number increases

      • Connect the genecon to 4 bulbs and turn the handle at a specific rate and note the brightness of the bulbs and the difficulty to turn the handle
      • Remove a bulb and turn the handle at the same rate. Students will notice it is easier to turn and the brightness increases
      • Repeat the process
      • The force required to turn the handle is proportional to the energy required to light the bulbs.

PocketLab Voyager 2 frint face

Series Circuits

Introduction: This exercise uses the Genecon and bulb bases to set up a series circuit and characterize certain properties of current flow in such a circuit.

The Basics: Students will learn that lamps in series reduce current flow, increase the total resistance of the circuit, and the voltage across each bulb in a series circuit decreases as the number increases

  • Connect the genecon to 4 bulbs and turn the handle at a specific rate and note the brightness of the bulbs and the difficulty to turn the handle
  • Remove a bulb and turn the handle at the same rate. Students will notice it is easier to turn and the brightness increases
  • Repeat the process
  • The force required to turn the handle is proportional to the energy required to light the bulbs.
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Parallel Circuits

The Basics: In a parallel circuit, the resistance of the entire circuit decreases as resistors (bulbs in this case) are added. At the same time, the power used by the circuit increases. The voltage, however, remains constant across the components of the circuit.

      • Connect the genecon to bulb board as illustrated
      • Unscrew the bulbs slightly in their sockets to disconnect them (you do not need to remove the bulb). While you turn the handle of your Genecon at a constant, moderate rate, have your lab partner screw in the bulbs one at a time
      • What do you notice about the amount of energy required to turn the handle as the number of bulbs increases?
      • Did you notice that in a parallel circuit disconnecting one bulb does not affect the operation of the circuit as a whole? What would happen if you unscrewed one bulb in a series circuit of several bulbs?

PocketLab Voyager 2 frint face

Parallel Circuits

The Basics: In a parallel circuit, the resistance of the entire circuit decreases as resistors (bulbs in this case) are added. At the same time, the power used by the circuit increases. The voltage, however, remains constant across the components of the circuit.

  • Connect the genecon to bulb board as illustrated

  • Unscrew the bulbs slightly in their sockets to disconnect them (you do not need to remove the bulb). While you turn the handle of your Genecon at a constant, moderate rate, have your lab partner screw in the bulbs one at a time
  • What do you notice about the amount of energy required to turn the handle as the number of bulbs increases?
  • Did you notice that in a parallel circuit disconnecting one bulb does not affect the operation of the circuit as a whole? What would happen if you unscrewed one bulb in a series circuit of several bulbs?
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Fuses - Overload Protection

The Basics: There are two types of circuit overload protection: fuses and circuit breakers. Fuses protect circuits by adding a piece of metal conductor (called a “link”) in series with the circuit to be protected. This special metal conducts normal electrical loads well, but in the event of an overload it will heat up and melt, breaking the circuit.

      • Remove one small strand of steel wool for this experiment – it will serve as the link in your fuse.
      • Connect the parallel bulb base to the Genecon with a strand of steel wool in series, as illustrated. (Caution: do not touch the steel wire or allow it to touch combustible materials during this experiment!)
      • Starting with all bulbs loose in their sockets, screw in one bulb and crank your Genecon until the bulb glows moderately. Have your lab partner screw in extra bulbs one at a time while you try to keep them glowing at the same brightness.
      • How many bulbs cause the fuse to blow? Can you relate this to things that happen in your house?

PocketLab Voyager 2 frint face

Fuses - Overload Protection

The Basics: There are two types of circuit overload protection: fuses and circuit breakers. Fuses protect circuits by adding a piece of metal conductor (called a “link”) in series with the circuit to be protected. This special metal conducts normal electrical loads well, but in the event of an overload it will heat up and melt, breaking the circuit.

  • Remove one small strand of steel wool for this experiment – it will serve as the link in your fuse.
  • Connect the parallel bulb base to the Genecon with a strand of steel wool in series, as illustrated. (Caution: do not touch the steel wire or allow it to touch combustible materials during this experiment!)
  • Starting with all bulbs loose in their sockets, screw in one bulb and crank your Genecon until the bulb glows moderately. Have your lab partner screw in extra bulbs one at a time while you try to keep them glowing at the same brightness.
  • How many bulbs cause the fuse to blow? Can you relate this to things that happen in your house?
PocketLab Voyager 2 frint face

Fuses - Short Circuit Protection

The Basics: A short circuit occurs when an operational circuit is accidentally bypassed (shorted out). The resistance of the circuit is usually reduced to near zero in these very dangerous situations. Fuses are used to prevent damage if a short circuit should occur.

  • Again connect the Genecon through a steel wool strand to the parallel bulb base. Connect just one bulb and, once again, keep combustible materials away from your link.

  • Now create a short circuit with a jumper wire as illustrated and start cranking the Genecon.

  • Does the bulb light? What happens as you increase the rate of cranking?
  • What would happen in your home if a short circuit occurred inside a wall in a circuit that was unprotected by a fuse or circuit breaker? (Hint: Dial 911! Dial 911!)
PocketLab Voyager 2 frint face

Fuses - Short Circuit Protection

The Basics: A short circuit occurs when an operational circuit is accidentally bypassed (shorted out). The resistance of the circuit is usually reduced to near zero in these very dangerous situations. Fuses are used to prevent damage if a short circuit should occur.

      • Again connect the Genecon through a steel wool strand to the parallel bulb base. Connect just one bulb and, once again, keep combustible materials away from your link.
      • Now create a short circuit with a jumper wire as illustrated and start cranking the Genecon.
      • Does the bulb light? What happens as you increase the rate of cranking?
      • What would happen in your home if a short circuit occurred inside a wall in a circuit that was unprotected by a fuse or circuit breaker? (Hint: Dial 911! Dial 911!)

PocketLab Voyager 2 frint face

Fuses - Short Circuit Protection

The Basics: A short circuit occurs when an operational circuit is accidentally bypassed (shorted out). The resistance of the circuit is usually reduced to near zero in these very dangerous situations. Fuses are used to prevent damage if a short circuit should occur.

  • Again connect the Genecon through a steel wool strand to the parallel bulb base. Connect just one bulb and, once again, keep combustible materials away from your link.

  • Now create a short circuit with a jumper wire as illustrated and start cranking the Genecon.

  • Does the bulb light? What happens as you increase the rate of cranking?
  • What would happen in your home if a short circuit occurred inside a wall in a circuit that was unprotected by a fuse or circuit breaker? (Hint: Dial 911! Dial 911!)
PocketLab Voyager 2 frint face

Capacitance

The Basics: A capacitor is a device which has the ability to store an electrical charge. Traditional capacitors are made of two pieces of metal, called plates, separated by an insulator called the dielectric. The capacitance of a capacitor depends primarily on the size of the plates, the distance between the plates, and the permeability of the dielectric to electric fields. Moving the plates closer together and enlarging the plates are two ways of increasing capacitance.

      • Connect the Genecon to the capacitor (observe polarity carefully!). Turn the handle while making the following observations:
      • The handle turns hard at first, then easier as you continue turning.
      • As the capacitor is charged, the current which the Genecon produces becomes smaller and less energy is required to turn the handle.
      • This helps demonstrate Len'z Law: because the Genecon uses a magnet to produce a current in a rotating oil of wire, this coil becomes an electromagnet. The magnetic field associated with the rotating coil opposes that of the permanent magnet in the Genecon. Thus, when the capacitor becomes charged, the current through the coil decreases, its subsequent magnetic field decreases, and the Genecon handle becomes easier to turn.]
      • Discharge the capacitor by shorting out the two leads with a jumper wire for a few seconds.
      • Connect the Genecon and charge the capacitor again while counting the number of turns. Let go of the handle. What happens?
      • Remember that the Genecon is also a motor – count the number of times the handle turns by itself. Compare the two turning counts to approximate the efficiency of the Genecon.

 


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Capacitance

The Basics: A capacitor is a device which has the ability to store an electrical charge. Traditional capacitors are made of two pieces of metal, called plates, separated by an insulator called the dielectric. The capacitance of a capacitor depends primarily on the size of the plates, the distance between the plates, and the permeability of the dielectric to electric fields. Moving the plates closer together and enlarging the plates are two ways of increasing capacitance.

  • Connect the Genecon to the capacitor (observe polarity carefully!). Turn the handle while making the following observations:

  • The handle turns hard at first, then easier as you continue turning.

  • As the capacitor is charged, the current which the Genecon produces becomes smaller and less energy is required to turn the handle.

  • This helps demonstrate Len'z Law: because the Genecon uses a magnet to produce a current in a rotating oil of wire, this coil becomes an electromagnet. The magnetic field associated with the rotating coil opposes that of the permanent magnet in the Genecon. Thus, when the capacitor becomes charged, the current through the coil decreases, its subsequent magnetic field decreases, and the Genecon handle becomes easier to turn.]

  • Discharge the capacitor by shorting out the two leads with a jumper wire for a few seconds.

  • Connect the Genecon and charge the capacitor again while counting the number of turns. Let go of the handle. What happens?

  • Remember that the Genecon is also a motor – count the number of times the handle turns by itself. Compare the two turning counts to approximate the efficiency of the Genecon.

 

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Motors with the Swing Apparatus

The Basics: Study how the orientation of magnetic force lines around a current-carrying coil, plus the important fact that these lines are reversed when electricity flows through the coil in the opposite direction in a way that will shed light on the way an electric motor works.

      • Use a wire ring stand and clamp to set up the U-shaped magnet, wire swing, and swing support as illustrated.
      • Connect the Genecon leads to the two metal hooks of the swing support. Turning the Genecon handle in one direction will produce a magnetic field around the wire
      • Because the wire is situated within the magnetic field of the U-magnet, the wire swing will move when the two fields interact.
      • Repeat the above while cranking in the opposite direction. What happens? By quickly alternating the direction of handle rotation, you can get the wire to swing back and forth like a motor.

PocketLab Voyager 2 frint face

Motors with the Swing Apparatus

The Basics: Study how the orientation of magnetic force lines around a current-carrying coil, plus the important fact that these lines are reversed when electricity flows through the coil in the opposite direction in a way that will shed light on the way an electric motor works.

  • Use a wire ring stand and clamp to set up the U-shaped magnet, wire swing, and swing support as illustrated.
  • Connect the Genecon leads to the two metal hooks of the swing support. Turning the Genecon handle in one direction will produce a magnetic field around the wire
  • Because the wire is situated within the magnetic field of the U-magnet, the wire swing will move when the two fields interact.
  • Repeat the above while cranking in the opposite direction. What happens? By quickly alternating the direction of handle rotation, you can get the wire to swing back and forth like a motor.

PocketLab Voyager 2 frint face

Genecon as a Motor

The Basics: Demonstrate how a Genecon can be both a motor and a generator by connecting two of them together. This can also be an easier way to visualize the electrical efficiency of a Genecon.

      • Connect two Genecons together.
      • Slowly turn the handle of one while allowing the handle of the other to turn freely. The first Genecon is acting as a generator, the second as a motor.
      • Reverse the direction of rotation on your “generator” Genecon. What happens to the “motor” Genecon?
      • Are there equal rotations between the "generator Genecon and the "motor" Genecon? Why?
PocketLab Voyager 2 frint face

Genecon as a Motor

The Basics: Demonstrate how a Genecon can be both a motor and a generator by connecting two of them together. This can also be an easier way to visualize the electrical efficiency of a Genecon.

  • Connect two Genecons together.
  • Slowly turn the handle of one while allowing the handle of the other to turn freely. The first Genecon is acting as a generator, the second as a motor.
  • Reverse the direction of rotation on your “generator” Genecon. What happens to the “motor” Genecon?
  • Are there equal rotations between the "generator Genecon and the "motor" Genecon? Why?