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Photonfanatic 01-02-2012 10:58 PM

HHO: Good, bad, or ugly?
 
I've spent about an hour rifling through the search reading up on you guys' opinions on the HHO method. Most seem to think the topic is dead and that those little "HHO generators" have no usefulness to ecomodding. But there seems to be those lingering doubts where certain aspects have never been disproved, and some members here have actually had some measure of success. So as much as some people are tired of hearing about it, I think its time to revisit the topic. What is the current state of the HHO craze? What of all those "engineers" on youtube that were hell bent on developing some type of working generator that actually yielded good MPG gains on a particular vehicle? Many of them posting hundreds of videos on all their testing.

So to answer my own question, I'm going to have to go with "ugly". Its not really good, but the lack of evidence completely refuting it tends to steer me away from "bad". From what I can gather, the real problems with it lie in the fact that you have to somehow reprogram the vehicle's computer (on a gasoline vehicle) to work with the HHO instead of against it or effectively ignoring it altogether.

I guess the real question is this: Once you factor in the added fuel needed to get the alternator to crank out the extra electricity to run the HHO generator, does the HHO itself actually offset the loss? If not, then of course there is no point. But if the generator can even result in a mere 20% gain, then I'm going to have to say that all its detractors are wrong. Cause I'll take 20% (which seems to be the average gain) on any vehicle I own.

Frank Lee 01-02-2012 11:11 PM

Go for it; prove the detractors wrong.

Photonfanatic 01-02-2012 11:14 PM

I guess I wasn't really planning on "going for it". Just wanted to see what the state of affairs was, I guess.

user removed 01-02-2012 11:22 PM

One liter of HHO provides the same amount of energy as 1 and 1/2 wooden matches. The energy cost in higher fuel consumption to produce the electricity, to produce the electrolysis, to generate the HHO is all a sequence of losses.

There is no laboratory proof that it works and you can not produce anywhere near enough to make a significant difference in economy. In fact extensive testing has proven that it does not work.

You would need something like 300 liters just to keep an engine idling for one minute.

That's why we have a section where impractical solutions are moved to be less of a clutter of space where discussions are useful and tested to be productive solutions.

regards
Mech

Photonfanatic 01-02-2012 11:44 PM

Ok thanks for the explanation. What about just using it as a sort of makeshift accelerant? It may be better used there, instead of what many people wanted to use it as, which is a partial fuel substitute.

It also brings to mind a question, about those hydrogen powered cars. If hydrogen is a powerful enough fuel to power a car, (which we all know it is) then it just seems like there would be something to the HHO generator after all. If using pure water, then 1/3 of the gas produced by the HHO generator would indeed have to be hydrogen.

HydroJim 01-02-2012 11:46 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I know a lot of people on this forum aren't a fan of HHO, but I have had some personal success with HHO. I had limited time to test it last year on my 1998 Jeep Cherokee before I sold it, but I just installed an HHO system on my 2000 Ford Focus and I am going to start tuning the PCM. I'm not exactly sure why it works, but it seems that the HHO allows your engine to go leaner than with just gasoline and there is no noticeable power loss when tuned right. Once I get everything dialed in, I'm going to get a dyno test to remove any human variables.

My only explanation is that the extra energy comes from the water, but I'm really not sure why it works. It would be nice to know. :D

I attached a picture of my electrolyzer and bubbler in the car from a few months back. I just finished the installation over the holidays, and I haven't taken pictures. The car is currently at my dad's house(I'm only 15 so that's why I don't have a house. :D ) I'll be over there when the weather clears up around here and I'll take some picture with all the wiring and stuff. I install everything much more professionally than a lot of the videos you see one youtube.

Do me a favor though, never buy an HHO kit online. Most of them are junk. Everything in my system is made by me for my particular car. I do think some people on here should try it, because I know we could get some good data with the meticulous data done by people on these forums. It takes a lot of time and is another thing people would have to take care of which is why I expect car makers don't utilize the technology. Most people can't perform regular maintenance on their car, I couldn't see them draining the bubblers once a week and refilling the electrolyzer. Plus, the system needs to be disassembled and cleaned about every 5,000 miles, or you'll have severe corrosion build up inside the system. It's a lot of work, but it's sure fun to play with. HHO makes big explosions too! :thumbup:

UFO 01-03-2012 11:12 AM

File under Unicorn please.

Ryland 01-03-2012 12:21 PM

It's a really easy test to do to prove that hydrogen helps with mileage.
Turn on the hydrogen device, drive down the highway with cruse control on, check in your MPG gauge what your gas mileage is, turn off the hydrogen device and see how your mileage changes... that is all the proof that anyone should need, that is, if it really worked, question is, does it really work? I haven't been able to find anyone who has performed that very simple test because they are so obsessed with the idea of their device working that they aren't willing to risk being proven wrong.

ConnClark 01-03-2012 12:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Photonfanatic (Post 277517)
What of all those "engineers" on youtube that were hell bent on developing some type of working generator that actually yielded good MPG gains on a particular vehicle? Many of them posting hundreds of videos on all their testing.

They aren't real engineers. They are either scam artists, people looking for something to believe in, or fools.

gone-ot 01-03-2012 03:02 PM

...as the loud circus music plays in the background, the 3-Ring Uni·Corn Circus announcer confidently blares:

"P.T. Barnum said there's one born every minute...time's up...are you next?"

spacer 01-03-2012 07:36 PM

It may or may not have been a great success for some, not based on scientific results, but on how many books and videos were sold before folks realized that nobody could actually *show* the promised results.

The best I've seen anyone do could easily be attributed to the lighter right foot of a new acolyte, subconsciously hypermiling to some extent and crediting the (insert snake oil system here) with the improvement.

deathtrain 01-03-2012 08:44 PM

you want some easy hydrogen go add water to some military grade MRE heaters.

Photonfanatic 01-04-2012 02:33 AM

Well then in the end, I guess the question would have to be this: If you add a certain amount of hydrogen, and oxygen, into a combustion cylinder with gasoline, do you get more bang? If you do, it works. If you don't it doesn't work. No one here has explained why this wouldn't work. Or perhaps I missed something. The only thing that could offset this effect would be the alternator, which seems perfectly reasonable to me. Its just that no one seems to be saying that.

Ryland 01-04-2012 02:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Photonfanatic (Post 277779)
If you add a certain amount of hydrogen, and oxygen, into a combustion cylinder with gasoline, do you get more bang? If you do, it works. If you don't it doesn't work. No one here has explained why this wouldn't work. Or perhaps I missed something.

I think the biggest point that most people miss is how little hydrogen is really being produced, as Old Mechanic said:
Quote:

One liter of HHO provides the same amount of energy as 1 and 1/2 wooden matches.
if you would like to see how much it takes to make a liter of hydrogen is then make an electrolizer and split some water, pick a design that keeps the hydrogen and the oxygen separate just so you are clear on what is being produced, while you are doing this you might put a amp meter on there so you can keep track of how much energy it's taking to split the water, once you get a liter of hydrogen take a look at how much energy it took to split that water and then ask your self if that was worth the one and a half match sticks worth of energy.
After you see how much hydrogen you are getting you might ask why not just buy a tank of hydrogen from your local welding shop and inject a small amount in to your intake, it's not going to take much, that is if it really works as well as the scam artists really say it does, so a tank should last you months.

mechman600 01-04-2012 04:09 AM

How about a tank of helium? Maybe helium injection would raise the exhaust note to a higher pitch. It works when I talk after sucking on a helium balloon. The higher pitched exhaust sounds would be like getting free extra RPMs.

euromodder 01-04-2012 06:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ConnClark (Post 277614)
They aren't real engineers.

Real engineers look at the required power draw off the alternator, the alternator's efficiency, the electrolysis device and its own efficiency.

jakobnev 01-04-2012 07:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mechman600 (Post 277792)
How about a tank of helium? Maybe helium injection would raise the exhaust note to a higher pitch. It works when I talk after sucking on a helium balloon. The higher pitched exhaust sounds would be like getting free extra RPMs.

It would actually work as an alternative to variable geometry intake and exhaust systems. You could start with Xenon-Oxygen mix for low rpms and gradually go to Helium-Oxygen mix for hight rpms. Pity making the mixes isn't practical.

Maybe using carbon rich fuels for low rpm and hydrogen rich fuels for high rpm would have some effect.

ConnClark 01-04-2012 02:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mechman600 (Post 277792)
How about a tank of helium? Maybe helium injection would raise the exhaust note to a higher pitch. It works when I talk after sucking on a helium balloon. The higher pitched exhaust sounds would be like getting free extra RPMs.

Actually helium would work best as a substitute for egr. It would raise the specific heat ratio of the combustion gasses allowing more work energy to be extracted.

The following is a video of a stirling engine that has been initially charged with helium. As the helium leaks out and is replaced by ordinary air the power output drops. Of course the cost of using helium makes it totally impractical.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiSvYiJwPiI

mechman600 01-04-2012 03:49 PM

What have I done???? I was just trying to be silly and THIS happens!!

markweatherill 01-04-2012 04:24 PM

I don't know about Helium but what about Halogen?
I hear that Halogen bulbs are more efficient and burn brighter than old fashioned bulbs, so if you could get some Halogen into the engine, I'm sure it would be a good thing.

And I read about these inventors who somehow create 'plasma' in their engines which is supposed to be excellent in some way or other. Why not just get a broken plasma TV and take the plasma out of it and put it straight in the car?

niky 01-04-2012 10:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HydroJim (Post 277533)
My only explanation is that the extra energy comes from the water, but I'm really not sure why it works. It would be nice to know. :D

The most likely explanation is simply that you're running leaner with your PCM re-programming but within the safety limits of the system, or that the added volume of air alters the MAP/MAF readings. Without testing for EGTs and O2 at the tailpipe, you can't say for sure that it's the kit producing the results.

An even better (and cheaper, from an energy point of view) increase to knock resistance by simply injecting water into the engine. This will allow you to run very lean with less heat and less emissions.

oil pan 4 01-05-2012 10:31 AM

Aeromods are proven and most are cheap, it would be best to stick with those.

Photonfanatic 01-06-2012 12:00 AM

Well once you get those on you're going to move on to other things. Plenty of people here seem to be past that point.

Quote:

Originally Posted by niky (Post 277938)
The most likely explanation is simply that you're running leaner with your PCM re-programming but within the safety limits of the system..

Seems like this might be a viable ecomodding method as well. Maybe you could safely lean out something like... 10% of the total fuel used without harming anything. That's a 10% boost in gas mileage if so. A big jump for a lot of people here.

spacer 01-06-2012 12:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Photonfanatic (Post 277779)
Well then in the end, I guess the question would have to be this: If you add a certain amount of hydrogen, and oxygen, into a combustion cylinder with gasoline, do you get more bang? If you do, it works. If you don't it doesn't work. No one here has explained why this wouldn't work. Or perhaps I missed something. The only thing that could offset this effect would be the alternator, which seems perfectly reasonable to me. Its just that no one seems to be saying that.

The burden of proof rest on the party making the claims. All I have to do to "prove" them wrong is sit back and wait for them to show me their honest scientific results. I'm not asserting that they're absolutely wrong, but saying that I'll believe it when I see it.


Hint: if they're driving, and the car/hardware is not available for objective review... I don't consider it valid, and will continue to wait until someone can deliver.

gone-ot 01-06-2012 06:11 PM

...quoting Cuba Gooding, Jr: "...show me the money DATA..."

niky 01-09-2012 01:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Photonfanatic (Post 278155)
Seems like this might be a viable ecomodding method as well. Maybe you could safely lean out something like... 10% of the total fuel used without harming anything. That's a 10% boost in gas mileage if so. A big jump for a lot of people here.

A vendor for methanol/water injection kits cited a source elsewhere that showed a measurable increase in economy (test case was a VW TDI) but I don't know where it's available online.

But such increases are hard to quantify. Suffice to say, water injection does have a (proven via dyno) positive effect on power production due to reduced temperatures and a denser air charge, so that's what he sells it as, a power adder. Any (possible) economy increase from retuning is just a bonus.... but you'd have to add a failsafe mode that switches back to the "normal" engine maps if the injection system shows a fault or the water/methanol runs out, or it could cause engine damage.

Photonfanatic 01-09-2012 04:07 AM

It seems like running water into your motor would eventually cause damage as well. How long can the valves handle all that corrosive steam? My guess would be not long. You'd need to change them out for stainless steel versions. Which would be costly.

niky 01-09-2012 06:13 AM

The water is not going to be in liquid form long enough to cause corrosive damage to valves... heck... methanol will do more damage to the engine, but unleaded gasoline and ethanol already do a number on your engine and valves, so if it stands up to that, it should be fine with alcohol injection.

This is considering a properly working water injection system, in which the water nozzles are not damaged (and damage is often done by the methanol, not the water) and the spray comes out the way it's meant to, as a pressurized mist, not as big fat water droplets. This mist flashes into vapor very, very quickly when it meets the hot intake charge, and anything that survives in mist form by the time it comes to the (hot) intake manifold and combustion chamber should evaporate when it gets there.

euromodder 01-09-2012 07:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by markweatherill (Post 277884)
I hear that Halogen bulbs are more efficient and burn brighter than old fashioned bulbs, so if you could get some Halogen into the engine, I'm sure it would be a good thing.

Halogens are used to douse fires, Bromium used to be embedded in lots of plastics as a fire retardant.
Halogens generally cause serious corrosion through oxidation.
Combined with water they form strong acids.

It's not because halogen lights burn brighter, that it becomes a bright idea to put halogen in an engine.

some_other_dave 01-09-2012 02:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by euromodder (Post 278684)
It's not because halogen lights burn brighter, that it becomes a bright idea to put halogen in an engine.

I'm pretty sure that was a joke, like taking the plasma out of a plasma TV...

-soD

Photonfanatic 01-10-2012 02:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by niky (Post 278682)
The water is not going to be in liquid form long enough to cause corrosive damage to valves... heck... methanol will do more damage to the engine, but unleaded gasoline and ethanol already do a number on your engine and valves, so if it stands up to that, it should be fine with alcohol injection.

This is considering a properly working water injection system, in which the water nozzles are not damaged (and damage is often done by the methanol, not the water) and the spray comes out the way it's meant to, as a pressurized mist, not as big fat water droplets. This mist flashes into vapor very, very quickly when it meets the hot intake charge, and anything that survives in mist form by the time it comes to the (hot) intake manifold and combustion chamber should evaporate when it gets there.

Some of that "mist" sounds a lot like "steam" which is extremely damaging to metal over time. Sounds more like something you'd use on a very temporary basis just to knock the carbon deposits out of your combustion chambers, rather than something safe for long term use.

euromodder 01-10-2012 05:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by some_other_dave (Post 278757)
I'm pretty sure that was a joke, like taking the plasma out of a plasma TV...
-soD

(Air)Damn. I guess it shows the joke was lost on me :o

ConnClark 01-10-2012 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Photonfanatic (Post 278858)
Some of that "mist" sounds a lot like "steam" which is extremely damaging to metal over time. Sounds more like something you'd use on a very temporary basis just to knock the carbon deposits out of your combustion chambers, rather than something safe for long term use.

Well a lot of the fuel you burn ends up as steam too. (Not that I'm advocating water injection for engine longevity)

rmay635703 01-10-2012 09:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by some_other_dave (Post 278757)
I'm pretty sure that was a joke, like taking the plasma out of a plasma TV...

-soD

The sad part is every TV was plasma until the mid 80's.

Also i would love to see the pcm/ecu modding get a little easier, that is where the gold is not the HHO.

niky 01-11-2012 03:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Photonfanatic (Post 278858)
Some of that "mist" sounds a lot like "steam" which is extremely damaging to metal over time. Sounds more like something you'd use on a very temporary basis just to knock the carbon deposits out of your combustion chambers, rather than something safe for long term use.

Steam is water vapor. This mist is simply... mist. Water droplets in suspension in the air.

Yes, using too much or using a system with a bad nozzle which puts out fat droplets that don't evaporate readily is bad for the engine or turbocharger. But we're talking very small amounts here. It's important to size nozzles properly for the application and to ensure that you're only injecting as much water as you need and only when you need it. The system isn't on all the time.

For use as a power booster, the system is only on at high loads, heavy throttle. For use as a fuel saving device, it can be on at high load/part throttle situations or on very minimally for light load / light throttle merely as a detonation suppressant.

Deputy Diesel 01-11-2012 10:17 PM

I have had experience with both HHO and water injection.

First the HHO. I built the hho system stainless plates bla bla bla via what id seen on the wonderful world of the internet. Yes the system produced a good amount hydrogen. however it made absolutely 0% increase of MPG. about the best thing that it did was when I put "out" hose into a pale of water you could light the bubbles on fire and it sounded like a little machine gun.

Definitely messing with the PCM to cut back the fuel when cruising to compensate for the new found wonder fuel was the only change in MPG. And the change in driving style showed the greatest improvements.

I would say the HHO system was on the car for about 6000km. changing the water, wires running everwhere. constant messing with it for no actual gains. it got filed in the trash. And it was a major waste of time.

However the water injection system was a different story. I used it on an old carbed turbo Buick 3.8L I had. for 2 reasons. when commuting with the car about 100km a day it got expensive running premium in it to keep the detonation quiet. so i would adjust the waste gate to run 9psi of boost and on 87 octane. The nozzle was just before the carb. If i drove it easy it was fine but if it was play time id turn on my pump and inject the water. (very fine mist) 9psi boost 87 octane fuel with water injection on it would have no detonation. with out the water there was no way this would happen. At the track I would run premium (94) with water and get 15psi again no pinging. this proved reliable and safe for over 30,000km. it was on a pressure switch so it only came on after 5psi. and i installed a light so i could tell when it was working. for fear of it staying on when it wasnt needed. as for mpg increase I couldnt tell you. but $$$$ per km it was amazing.

I am currently building another water injection system for my 429ci ford 10.5:1 compression so it will run on 87 with no detonation. especially with premium at $1.40L

bestclimb 01-12-2012 01:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Photonfanatic (Post 278675)
It seems like running water into your motor would eventually cause damage as well. How long can the valves handle all that corrosive steam? My guess would be not long. You'd need to change them out for stainless steel versions. Which would be costly.

Steam is less corrosive than other things in exhaust. One of the products of combustion is H2O so it is not like you would even be adding anything "new" to the mix.

gone-ot 01-15-2012 08:00 PM

...what NASA found out: http://hho4free.com/documents/nasa_hho_proof.pdf

mort 01-16-2012 06:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Old Tele man (Post 279915)

Hi Old Tele man,
That was interesting. I wonder what anybody else made out of it.
It reads like the author didn't really know how an engine works, but sure could figure out flame speed.
On page 27, table III shows the engine energy balance (various A/F ratios with and without added hydrogen). (Ignoring that they could run the engine at 21:1 A/F on just gasoline.)

For the non hydrogen, almost normal A/F, the table claims that at a fuel consumption rate of 164 hp the cooling system takes 62 hp and 46 hp goes out the exhaust. I think 38% of the fuel power - that's 170% of the shaft hp - going out the radiator is preposterous.
The indicated hp is 49 and the measured bhp is 36. So the thermodynamic efficiency is claimed to be 30%, which I find unlikely since this is at part throttle. I can't see what they did wrong, but I can't believe those numbers.

But, it does seem like the experiment shows that for a wide range of hydrogen flow rates, (up to much higher than is possible with on-board electrolysis) the A/F cannot be leaner than 21:1 and the engine still be considered drivable. And at 21:1 there isn't enough improvement in efficiency to bother.

-mort

IamIan 01-16-2012 06:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mort (Post 279964)
That was interesting. I wonder what anybody else made out of it.

That Lean Burn benefits that some engine's like the Gen-1 Insight get these lean burn FE benefits without the HHO's additional energy wasting steps ... thus HHO system is significantly inferior to energy efficiency and thus MPG.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mort (Post 279964)
I think 38% of the fuel power ... going out the radiator is preposterous.

Preposterous , how so?

ICE's are fairly low efficiency devices ... it is not uncommon at all for ~70% or more of the fuel's energy content to be wasted going out the radiator and the exhaust.


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