The PODMOD of Scott McKie - 06/02/94
FROM SEATTLE TIMES - June 23, 1993
The McKie PODMOD
If he's right,the world will hear of this man
BY TERRY McDERMOTT - Seattle Times staff reporter
Scott McKie, engineer, inventor, entrepreneur and would-be
violator of physical laws, lives in Ballard, the center of sensible
citizenship. He drives a four-year-old Ford, wears polo shirts and deck shoes
and his coffee table is covered with issues of Sunset and Modern Maturity
He is far from the image of the wild-haired, bug-eyed mad scientist but
what he wants to do--is on the very verge of doing, he says--is bug-eyed
Manufacture a power generator that will perpetually produce more
energy than is fed into it; manufacture, in other words, perpetual- motion
machines that will replace the world's electric power grid by the turn of
the century and internal-combustion engines somewhat thereafter.
This raises at least one obvious question. Is McKie nuts?
Asked to evaluate someone who has spent the better part of a dozen
years single-mindedly pursuing an idea most people find ludicrous, Blake
Andersen, a local psychologist, said that generically speaking, lots of people
do lots of weird things. We live on a continuum of odd behavior.
"You can't place a value judgment on whether it's functional or
dysfunctional. It's results-oriented," Andersen said. "The degree of
dysfunctionality depends on the environment and the results." Andersen then
began to explain some symptoms of obsessive behavior but, in midsentence,
interrupted himself to ask: "Does it work?"
Engineers by their nature are not off-the-wall people and, although
McKie admits going through several jobs and bank accounts in service of his
idea, he is in other ways a very practical man.
Witness the collection of financiers, planners, engineers and marketing
people he has collected around himself. If he is a mad scientist, he's one
with a business plan and a $10 million line of credit.
But he is also a devotee of Nikola Tesla, a turn-of-the-century
Serbian- American inventor, who, by all accounts, was a mad scientist with
countless phobias and odd personal habits. His psyche, wrote Margaret Cheney,
a biographer, was a "festival of neuroses." He swore, for example, he could
hear a fly land on a table. He threw kisses to pigeons. He held lightning in
his hands. He had an obsessive fear of germs and required precisely 18 linen
napkins be set on his dining table so he could clean and polish his silverware
every night before eating.
He felt compelled to walk around the entire block where his Manhattan
laboratory was located three times before entering its door.
At the height of his celebrity, he hobnobbed with Mark Twain, J.
Pierpont Morgan and the Vanderbilts and was regarded as one of the greatest
and most important scientists in the world, an archrival of Thomas Edison.
Edison took the competition so seriously he waged a fierce
disinformation campaign against alternating current, which Tesla promoted as
the best means of generating electricity in large amounts. Edison favored
direct current, the status quo. Edison derided alternating current as
dangerous. He hired a man to go around the country electrocuting small animals
with alternating current just to prove its dangers.
He also promoted the first execution of a criminal by electrocution for
the same reason. (The pitch was straightforward: If alternating current can
kill criminals, do you really want it in your kitchen?)
Tesla ultimately won out and virtually all the electric power used in
the world today is generated and transmitted via descendants of Tesla's
In addition to the alternating-current motor, Tesla also invented
wireless communication--that is, radio-- although the Italian Guglielmo
Marconi was falsely credited and most general reference books still reflect
Partly this was caused by Tesla's compulsive secretiveness and his
habit of conceiving an invention in his head, then going on to his next
project without bothering to actually build or even make a written record of
the thing. Without such physical evidence or even clear explanations, it is
hard to know exactly what Tesla was talking about much of the time. Scientists
still puzzle over how he achieved some of the things he did.
This has helped obscure Tesla's place in history. Now, although
references to him litter diverse segments of the scientific literature, his
accomplishments are largely forgotten except among a group of equally diverse
adherents who have a zealous devotion to his ideas.
Resurrecting 'resonance' theory McKie is a promoter of one particular
idea of Tesla's, the notion that the power in an electric circuit can be
amplified by a phenomenon known as resonance. Broadly stated, in a resonant
circuit a small flow of electrons can cause a larger amount of electrons to
move. This phenomenon was first discovered by Tesla and by now is well
In fact, the phenomenon of tapping energy from resonance was first
discovered by John Keely and PUBLICLY documented in the book "Keely and his
Discoveries" by Clara Bloomfield Moore in 1893. The principle was discovered
even earlier by Keely yet this is the most accessible document of it.
The time is probably near when these finer forces will be
employed universally. Everybody knows that a note struck upon an instrument
will produce sound in a correspondingly attuned instrument in its vicinity.
If connected with a tuning fork, it will produce a corresponding
sound in the latter; and IF CONNECTED WITH A THOUSAND SUCH TUNING FORKS, IT
WILL MAKE ALL THE THOUSAND SOUND, AND PRODUCE A NOISE FAR GREATER THAN THE
ORIGINAL SOUND, WITHOUT THE LATTER BECOMING ANY WEAKER FOR IT.
Here, then, is the AUGMENTATION OR MULTIPLICATION OF POWER. If we had
any means to TRANSFORM SOUND again into MECHANICAL MOTION, we would have a
THOUSANDFOLD MULTIPLICATION OF MECHANICAL MOTION.
(Vanguard Note - This is apparently a pumping of the neutral centres
of the mass to cause a release of the now current ZERO POINT ENERGY.)
It would be presumptuous to say that it will not be as easy for the
scientists of the future to transform sound into mechanical motion, as it is
for the scientist of the present to transform heat into electricity.
Perhaps Mr. Keely has already solved the problem. There is a fair
prospect that in the very near future, we shall have, in his ethereal force,
a power far surpassing that of steam or electricity.
Nor does the idea seem to be Utopian if we remember that modern
science heretofore only knew the law of the conservation of energy; while to
the scientist of the future the law of the AUGMENTATION OF ENERGY will be
As the age which has passed away has been the age of steam, the
coming era will be the age of induction. There will be a universal rising up
of LOWER VIBRATIONS INTO HIGHER VIBRATIONS, in the realm of motion.
Mr. Keely will, perhaps, TRANSFORM SOUND INTO MECHANICAL MOTION by
applying the LAW OF AUGMENTATION AND MULTIPLICATION OF FORCE."
(*** The principle follows with all forms of energy, not simply
acoustic. Just wanted to set the record straight, there are STILL many
misconceptions in the F/E field, especially with regard to Tesla. Many
people have never heard of Keely and others who have, simply brush him off
in favor of the more public and easier to understand Tesla. I think the term
is 'afficionados'....>>> Jerry)
"Boilerplate stuff," McKie calls it.
"The knowledge is very old and had gotten lost," he said. "I've just
gone back and brought it up to '93 specs."
The " '93 specs" consist of a device designed with two resonant tank
circuits--so called because they are able to store an electrical charge--
operating alternately. The first circuit can be made to simultaneously charge
the second and send electric current out for other uses. The circuits can then
be switched so the second recharges the first while also sending current out
for other uses.
McKie thinks that if properly devised, the two circuits will produce
more power than the total amount of power it took to set them in motion. Going
"over unity," this is called. He thinks, in fact, the power can be amplified
many thousands of times and the device can be disconnected from the power
source that started it and continue running. McKie thinks such a system could
"In the field of electronics that sends them ballistic," he said.
Next step: POD Mods in Ephrata When you talk to McKie about the
apparent impossibility of what he is trying to do, he invariably thinks you're
talking about marketing the end products, never for a moment questioning
whether any such products will ever exist. McKie has so little doubt his
invention will work he is already making plans to manufacture boxcar-sized
versions of it -- power on demand modules, or POD Mods, he calls them --in
Ephrata, Grant County. He has signed an agreement with a California investor
for $10 million in start-up financing.
He's already planning an electric hydroplane to advertise his company.
His single-mindedness is so complete he hardly even notices that his house is
in foreclosure. He says things like, "If investors don't come forward here in
the Northwest, I'll be forced to take the project overseas and, if it's funded
there, they'll get to use it first."
McKie first achieved the over-unity effect accidentally in 1982 when he
was working on a wind-turbine design for Bonneville Power. Trying to figure
out what happened, and why, has shaped most of his life since. He duplicated
the effect with a different electrical generator in 1984 and has, in some
sense, been trying to do it again ever since.
He received a U.S. patent for the idea last year, constructed a working
model, took that model apart and is now trying to convert the whole thing to
solid-state electronics. The device he is now building, on a workbench the
size of an espresso cart in his garage, is about as unprepossessing as you can
get. It is a cardboard box sparely furnished with circuit boards and voltage
meters. The whole thing is approximately a foot square, about the size of a
It uses no fuel. There are no moving parts.
Inside the box are a pair of tank circuits, electric circuits that
include both a capacitor--basically, an electrical storage unit--and an
inductor -- basically, a coil. It is the interaction of the capacitor and the
inductor that McKie supposes creates resonance.
'He's out on the edge of science'
Ira Myers, a physicist at the National Aeronautics and Space Adminis-
tration's Lewis Research Center in Ohio, has worked with McKie on the design
of the individual components of his apparatus. He is cheering for McKie.
"It's possible but it hasn't worked yet," Myers said. "He's out on the
edge of science rather than on the center line. But it's important to have
people out on the edge. "I personally like a good fanatic every now and then."
Nick Butler, an electrical engineer at BPA in Portland, has supported
McKie's work; his employer has not. "Whenever something new appears, it is
often ignored," Butler said, citing a conventional analysis of change.
"Once it can't be ignored any longer, people attempt to suppress it.
When they can't suppress it, they rush to embrace it."
Butler said he remains skeptical but thinks McKie might have as much as
a 50-50 chance of being right. Others reject the notion that there actually is
some sort of "extra" energy almost as a matter of faith.
"Theoretically it might be possible. Practically it can't be," said one
electrical engineer who has reviewed McKie's data and asked that his name not
be used. "You can't get energy from nothing. The thing as I saw it was nothing
but measurement error that gave the impression of more output than input."
Even supporters like Butler do not necessarily buy McKie's explanation
that the power comes from resonance. Where else might it come from? "I haven't
the faintest idea," Butler said.
What happens if he's right?
Gravity Bar, the local juice emporium, has a pineapple-lemon-ginger
drink named for Nikola Tesla. There is also a Christian heavy metal band from
Guam ("Rock for God") named Tesla, as is an alien character in a recent
science fiction novella who comes to Earth and bedevils patrons at an S&M
The idiosyncratic David Lynch has expressed interest in doing a movie
of Tesla's life. A local painter was inspired by Tesla to do a series of
paintings of lightning in an airplane hangar, and Seattle City Light once
commissioned a ceramic sculpture of Tesla's head that doubled as a planter.
This is pretty strange company to be kept in memory of the man who
invented something as fundamentally practical as an electric motor, but a kind
of shroud of the bizarre has settled around the traces of Tesla's genius.
Among some people that casts doubts on McKies efforts. Among others it
lends credence. The debate about McKie's proposal is not irresolveable. At
heart he is not a theorist but an engineer. He intends to begin selling his
machines next year. What if he does? What if McKie's right?
Each production unit, McKie says, will be completely portable, will run
off a 12-volt battery and will produce 10 megawatts of power a year (100 such
units would power Seattle). In one brochure, McKie matter-of-factly ticks off
some of the advantages. For starters, use of the devices would eliminate
high-voltage transmission lines, eliminate conventional power plants and, oh,
by the way, replace all other sources of power generation.
Then the environmental crisis will recede. Growth and prosperity will
blanket the globe. An age of plenty will wrap humankind in its embrace and
McKie and everybody who was ever nice to him will become rich beyond belief.
Somewhere along the line, McKie might even get his house out of hock.
The patent number for the McKie PodMod circuit is 5,146,395. It is a
total of 23 pages with text and diagrams. Because of it's length, I am only
including the Abstract.
United States Patent - 5,146,395
Inventor - Scott McKie
August 9, 1991
3,387,201 6/1968 - Greenberg et al
3,886,429 5/1975 - Maillard et
4,319,315 3/1982 - Keeney, Jr. et al
4,488,214 12/1984 -
4,513,226 4/1985 - Josephson
4,542,440 9/1985 - Chetty et
4,628,284 12/1986 - Bruning
4,709,323 11/1987 - Lien
5/1988 - Thomas et al
The present invention provides a power supply for supplying electrical
power to a load. The power supply includes first and second tank circuits
having a common resonant frequency, and functions repetitively in two "major
In the first major period, the first tank is disconnected from powering
the load and the second tank supplies power to the load while charging the
In the second major period, the second tank is disconnected from
powering the load, and the first tank supplies power to the load while
charging the second tank. The tank circuits are arranged with constant current
controllers and switches to function so that the major periods each include
first and second minor "intervals." The first minor interval of the first
major period defines a time during which the second tanks' capacitor is
providing power to the load AND IS charging the first tank circuit;
the second minor interval of the first major period defines a time
during which the second tank's inductor is charging the first tank circuit and
providing power to the load.
During the second major period's two minor intervals, the tank circuits
perform functions identical to those performed in the first two minor
This is similar to a circuit called the Tesla switch which alternated
between batteries to provide for a very slow drain. Tom Bearden says he thinks
McKie is onto something but went too far too fast. Tom says the principle is
I asked him because it is similar to his claims in the "Final Secret"
where a collector is charged up, then completely switched into a load. This is
done in such a way as to tap the displacement current through rapid switching
of potential to sustain a load.