Wound Field DC Motor

April 11, 2006

In eighth grade metal shop class one of our projects was to make a zinc-carbon battery and a wound field DC electric motor. The battery kit contained a tube and the end caps, as well as the paste that filled the battery. My best friend's battery kit was damaged so we used his paste and mine to fill one tube. Our battery clocked in at an impressive 2 volts or so, whereas the regular kit only yielded 1.5 volts.

The motor kit contained the armature, with an axle and stand, and some copper wire to produce the windings. Having succeeded with our combined battery we took the time to carefully wind as much copper wire around each arm of the motor as carefully as possible, tucking the coils in tightly and uniformly. Naturally this resulted in a better electromagnetic field, and our motor really hummed when coupled to the battery made earlier.

I seem to remember something about electric motors needing a load or they would burn up; without a load they just spin faster and faster. In the past few weeks I have started to feel a little bit less like an unloaded electric motor. Either I am managing to get the right amount of load to keep my emotions and mental processes in check, or I am getting used to the free spinning, unloaded condition of grief.

Certainly some of the physical symptoms of grief are fading. The incredibly tense, painful tightness in my neck and shoulders has dissipated. My sleeping pattern is gradually returning to normal, although I still have nights where I can't get to sleep as easily as I'd like. Finally my appetite seems to be returning, although my general ennui makes it difficult to prepare meals at times. Even though I am taking pains to prepare for my mother's death I am not looking forward to the return of these symptoms. As Michele always used to say, it isn't being at rock bottom that hardest; hardest is when you managed to claw your way back up off the bottom only to get knocked down again.

The impending loss of my mother will certainly knock me back down the slope. The trick will be how far and for how long.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.