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
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 this.
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
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
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
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 operate indefinitely.
"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 bread box.
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
"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
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
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
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
Filed - August 9, 1991
3,387,201 6/1968 - Greenberg et al
3,886,429 5/1975 - Maillard et al
4,319,315 3/1982 - Keeney, Jr. et al
4,488,214 12/1984 - Chambers
4,513,226 4/1985 - Josephson
4,542,440 9/1985 - Chetty et al
4,628,284 12/1986 - Bruning
4,709,323 11/1987 - Lien
4,748,311 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 correct.
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.