But how do ammeters work??? Do I turn on my hydrogen generator and while it's on connect it to the plus and the minus?
Be sure to connect the ammeter in series with what you are testing. Voltmeters are connected in parallel. Like diamondlarry said, if the needle swings the wrong way [or if the value is negative on the digital readout], simply change lead orientation.
Also I know platinum is a good electrode too, but come on, it is so freaking expensive and hard to come by.
You might want to check pawn shops for people's wedding rings. Melt it down and make little poles out of it.
Or just mug someone and take their wedding ring.
I've had a few ideas myself with making a generator.
Why not make your generator using spark plugs? You can buy platinum Bosch +1 spark plugs for like $2 a piece. The model/brand of spark plug you use wouldn't matter. I think you could also use used platinum spark plugs if you could find a good source of them (a junk yard?). If the gap is too small to separate the H2 and O2 gasses you can always use a gap tool to widen the spark plug.
Another idea is to make a series generator by separating them into cells. I've read somewhere that 1.2V splits the water with very little heat dissipation. Ten 1.2V cells in series would make 12V and a dc-dc converter wouldn't be required.
It would be best to use PWM for increasing the amount of H2 generated in proportion with RPM speed. You could do this with a 555 timer and a decent transistor switch.
I'm an EE student so please shoot me some q's if you have them.
Oh, BTW, spark plugs are manufactured so that the side and center electrodes wear evenly. The problem with the electrolysis is that the oxygen is attracted to the - terminal and so the - terminal rusts quicker. This also happens in ICE's except at much higher voltages. In this regard, I believe the side electrode is normally used as the - terminal.
I saw a kid on campus [Georgia Tech] running a 555 timer circuit for the spark plug start circuit the pulse jet engine used along with the leaf blower. He built and strapped the pulse jet engine onto the back of his gokart...it was nuts.
Personally I think the idea of doing the chemistry in a bouncing car is not practical because the gas pressures will change, and so to will the engine performance. Also the engine won't sense the H2. If this H2 cooker gets to cooking a little to much, at say idle, then you risk melting your cyliners, heads etc. If I were planning this I'd get a cylinder head temp gauge from an old airplane block or something, so you don't risk doing some real damage here. On a more positive note, about the electrodes...
I'm remembering here from the days of the "Cold Fusion" projects. Each electrode should be a different metal, since the valence of each electrode is differnent and the metal acts as a catalyst in the reaction. I believe they stated that Platinum and Paladium were the two best, don't ask me which for which electrode. Mostly they were simply doing electolysis, which is cracking water into it's component gasses.
Guys, check the prices of commercial gasses, it's like $20 bucks for a HUGE 4 foot high tank of O2, that would fill up a house. This would allow you to monitor the amount of gas going into the engine and the rise in cylinder head temps, which I believe are the limiting factor in engine efficiencies, since higher temp burns are more efficient.
There are Nitrous setups out there, and some of them must be home brew, that would have guidelines for it's use and monitoring.
What happens to this thing, when the car is shut off, and its sitting in the garage? Does it keep generating? How is it shut off? What happens when your hood is full of hydrogen and you start your car? If the intake plenum is full of H2, doesn't the explosive nature of H2 pose a backfire through the air intake hazard, when it's started? If this H2 gizmo kept generating all night and leaked, it could fill up the whole garage. Don't light that Marlboro!