CB FI 418

Circuit Break Podcast #418

Entangled Steam

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Tour MacroFab's ITAR-Compliant Facility

February 20, 2024, Episode #418

Parker and Stephen dive into the world of batteries, sparked by the BetaVolt BV100's claim of a 50-year lifespan. With discussions on its construction, potential applications, and recycling challenges, they unpack the implications of this revolutionary energy source.

Contest Announcement

Introducing a new Circuit Break contest! This contest is themed around building food-related electronic projects. We’re offering over $5,000 in cash prizes, themed trophies, and free prototyping from MacroFab. The deadline to submit is March 31st, 2024. Thanks to Mouser Electronics for sponsoring the contest prizes!

Discussion Highlights

  • Introduction to the BetaVolt BV100 Battery: Overview of the Chinese-developed atomic battery boasting a 50-year lifespan, built with a Nickel-63 isotope and diamond semiconductor material.🔋
  • Low Power Output and Future Plans: Discussion on the BV100's low power output and plans for a higher-powered version in 2025, anticipated to be larger in size.
  • Bad Movie Tangent: Parker's love for terrible movies, including Leprechaun 2 with its leprechaun go-kart scene and the Tremors movie series. Sequels that violate their own universe rules.
  • Battery Terminology: Explanation of nuclear vs. atomic vs. beta voltaic batteries, with a mention of photovoltaic technology.
  • Recycling Challenges: Consideration of the challenges associated with recycling radioactive materials, including uranium ore. ♻️
  • Decay Curve and Output Analysis: Deliberation on the decay curve and power output over time of the BV100 battery.
  • Phone Application: Speculation on the potential use of the BV100 battery in smartphones, with the possibility of lasting 50 years without needing to be recharged.📱
  • Quiescent Draw Calculation: Calculation of the quiescent draw that a smartphone would pull from the BV100 battery over a 24-hour period.
  • Limitations and Usage Scenarios: Discussion on the limitations of low power and various usage scenarios for a nuclear-powered phone, including limited functionality and screen usage.
  • Satellite Thrusters Application: The potential application of atomic batteries in satellite thrusters, particularly with the release of the higher-powered version.🛰️
  • Radioactive Safety Concerns: Concerns raised about the proximity of radioactive elements to users' heads in a phone and its potential safety implications.☢️
  • Quantum Entangled Energy Transmission: Extremely speculative discussion on quantum entangled energy transmission and its potential applications in the future.
  • Questions to our listeners:
    • Invitation to Quantum Physicists: How badly did we mess up quantum mechanics? We’d love to have an expert join us to discuss quantum mechanics for a future episode!
    • Also, if this becomes a real thing, how would you use 100 microwatts at 3 volts?

Relevant Links

About the Hosts

Parker Dillmann
  Parker Dillmann

Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.

In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.

In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.

Parker also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.

Stephen Kraig
  Stephen Kraig

Stephen Kraig is a component engineer working in the aerospace industry. He has applied his electrical engineering knowledge in a variety of contexts previously, including oil and gas, contract manufacturing, audio electronic repair, and synthesizer design. A graduate of Texas A&M, Stephen has lived his adult life in the Houston, TX, and Denver, CO, areas.

Stephen has never said no to a project. From building guitar amps (starting when he was 17) to designing and building his own CNC table to fine-tuning the mineral composition of the water he uses to brew beer, he thrives on testing, experimentation, and problem-solving. Tune into the podcast to learn more about the wacky stuff Stephen gets up to.

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