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Running sunlight over wires (trying to replicate experiment) — The Grow Network Community
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Running sunlight over wires (trying to replicate experiment)

sicsmprsicsmpr Posts: 4 ✭✭✭

Our property is such that only our roof gets a lot of sun. Virtually everywhere else on the property is partial or full shade. So it was with great enthusiasm that I read about an experiment where someone apparently "channeled" outdoor sunlight into a pitch-black basement and got green plants to grow in the basement! Here is an online version of what I read:

Has anyone heard of this experiment and/or successfully replicated it? To paraphrase Edison, I now know 3 ways that don't work.

To get into the details of my failed attempts, I'm using sheet metal for the "sun plates" and screws to connect the sheet metal to the insulated copper wires. I'm wondering if I need to upgrade to actual plate steel and soldering/welding to the wire. I'm also just tightly wrapping the aluminum foil around the copper wires down at the plant. I'm wondering if I need to upgrade to soldering copper to aluminum foil (even possible?). The author doesn't describe either the "sun plates" or the "connections" in detail. Although I found a separate interview with the author where he hints at soldering.

I have found some old posts on other (now defunct) forums where folks mentioned replicating this, but their how-to links are broken.

I'm trying to "start small" by replicating this experiment. Does anyone have any suggestions or feedback for me?


  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,646 admin

    @sicsmpr This is a fascinating experiment! What a wonderful opportunity for further learning, rediscovering & replicating old wisdom! And now you have invited us to take part. Thank you!

    I found it interesting how the links are broken. Isn't that usually the way?

    I wish that I had advice. I know that I will watch any ongoing discussion with interest. There are a lot of knowledgeable members here. This idea could really be beneficial to many of us who are looking for additional ways to grow in otherwise dead space.

    I want to extend a welcome to you. I look forward to gleaning from your knowledge & curiosity.

  • silvertipgrizzsilvertipgrizz Posts: 1,691 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @sicsmpr Quite some time ago I read an article about a man who's office was in his basement. He ran fiber optic cord through a very small opening he placed somewhere on his roof and his basement was then well lit. Could this be the same story?

  • silvertipgrizzsilvertipgrizz Posts: 1,691 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @sicsmpr I just went on an 'online hunting trip' for this info. As I mentioned I read an article by a gentleman who's office was in his basement with poor lighting. The difference in his situation and what I am posting here is that he only used a fiber optic cable, somehow stabilized it to the roof from some vantage point and ran it straight into his basement providing the lighting he needed. It is poss that he had more than one cable angling from enough diff angles to provide good lighting for the time frame he needed based on the direction of travel of the sun from early in the day to later in the day...so long ago I cannot remember much more but he only used fiber optic cable and that provided all the light he needed....free, minus the cost of the cable and tools to secure it.. here is a general idea of what this company is doing and it looks like their sensors are angled for max sun as well... hope this helps:

  • KelleyKelley Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    I am going to see if my son can replicate this. If so, I will share.

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 699 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2020

    I first saw something like this in a "High Times" magazine in the late 70s. Never tried it, but I remember they used copper plates as their gathering plates. And notice I REMEMBER reading this over 40 years ago. There is an old saying that if you remember the 60s, you weren't really there. :-)

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,201 admin
  • sicsmprsicsmpr Posts: 4 ✭✭✭

    Thanks @tomandcara! That actually clears other things up as well: the author mentioned soldering the copper wire to the "sun plate". So soldering a copper wire to a copper plate would be a lot easier than a steel plate. The author also mentioned using a copper screen which did not perform well - so that would make sense that the plates were copper. I'll give copper a try and post my updates here. Thanks again!

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 699 ✭✭✭✭

    @sicsmpr We will watch for your update. If memory serves me correctly the plate in the inside needed to also be copper. The largest possible plate on the outside

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,646 admin

    @sicsmpr The diagram reminds me of Mother Earth News. Have you searched there?

  • screaminvernscreaminvern Posts: 6 ✭✭✭

    Found your post. We chatted for a bit about Dr Hieronymouns' "growing plants in the dark" experiment.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,646 admin

    Welcome back, @screaminvern!

    I am curious to know more about what you know about the experiment.

  • screaminvernscreaminvern Posts: 6 ✭✭✭

    When I stumbled across Dr Hieronymouns' experiment, I saw that it was a fairly simple setup. He stated in his paper that it seemed that bigger plates caused plants to wilt as if they were getting too much energy. I have pictures of mine in Photobucket and I'll see if I can post them here. He states that the experiment has to be subterranean, so the room I set up in was in the basement with no windows. I built inclosed wooden cages, put a simple ventalation system in using a "boot dryer". My plates were 6" x 9" metal plates. It really does work, but instead of answering my question of "does this work?", It created many questions about what sun light truly is because it obviously can be transferred through metal plates and copper wire.

  • sicsmprsicsmpr Posts: 4 ✭✭✭

    Thanks @screaminvern for your post and with chatting with me the other day. If you can find those pics I would love to see them. Unfortunately for me, I don't have a basement or underground space to try and replicate this. Instead I'll try and replicate one of Philip Callahan's "flower pot" experiments from his "Paramagnetism" book. All those seem to be above ground! And I'll keep folks posted and maybe open a new thread to report progress.

  • sicsmprsicsmpr Posts: 4 ✭✭✭

    To @screaminvern's point, it would be interesting to connect the sun wire and the ground wire from the experiment to a multi-meter or an oscilloscope and see if there is a there there! Well, there is a there there, but my guess is that we can't see whatever it is!

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