Well, I had finally decided to build a Back To The Future - Flux Capacitor prop replica. I put it off for some time because of so many other projects. My last project was my Lost in Space B9 Robot and that took over 4 years to build. During that project, I learned how to mold, cast and work with many different types of materials. Those skills will be put to use on this project. While my wife won't let me display my robot in the living room, I'm hoping I can install the Flux Capacitor in the family vehicle. My goal with this site is to document the process I went through to make my flux capacitor and hopefully help others along the way. Check out the build progress I went through on the menu at the left. Please let me know what you think of my site and how I can make it better. Send me you questions and comments. Pictures, I want pictures of your Flux Capacitor replicas, even before you are done. Let me know if you've found a better way of building any of the parts. Tot he right is my nephew Ben when he opened my prototype Flux Capacitor replica which I had given to him as a gift. That story is below.
The two months before Christmas were very busy. I'd been wanting to finish my first Flux Capacitor to give as a Xmas present for my nephew Ben. I can happily say that it was finished in time and was a big hit on Christmas. He was very surprised when he opened the packaged and could not believe what was inside.
I took many pictures over the last several weeks of construction and I will be updating all of the sections with the final details. There are a few tweaks I will be making on my next one (for me) but I could not be more pleased with how it turned out. Keep checking back. If you have any specific questions, please let me know.
Flux Capacitor - Part II
Gigawatts or Jigawatts?
BTTF with GE
Lights - How many are there?
I've decided to start my second Flux Capacitor replica. I learned plenty building my first (which went to my nephew Ben). I plan on updating my web site with newer, more detailed pictures of construction details I may have glossed over the first time. I've have also had requests to supply some parts and while I don't really want to spend all my spare time making parts for others, I may offer a few, starting first with the solenoid bases, since I made a mold of my replicas. Let me know if you are interested.
We all know what Doc Brown said in the first movie. "I need a nuclear reaction to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity I need". But he pronounced gigawatts as if it were spelled with a "j", as in jigawatts. Being an electrical engineer, I had heard the prefix "Giga" pronounced a few times before but always with the "g" sound. I always figured that the word "Jigawatt" was made up just for the movie and meant to sound like a really large amount.
It wasn't unit I started researching this flux capacitor replica project that I stumbled across a few references to the actual term. It turns out that the original pronunciation of "Giga" was with the "j" sound. Looking at the entry on Merriam-Webster.com they give two valid pronunciations ji-g-wät and gi-g-wät. They even have a neat audio clip of each being spoken.
UPDATE (4/20/13). Merriam-Webster has pulled their alternate pronunciation for gigawatt. Now they only have the "J" sounding version, as used in BTTF. I don't know if they have changed their minds on the alternate or Doc Brown went back in time to correct it. The two pronunciation links above still work though.
I am certainly happy that they used the original, older sounding pronunciation of the word since the story involved time travel and Doc Brown conceived of the flux capacitor on November 5th in 1955 after slipping and hitting his head on the toilet. Ironically, most references point to the early 1960's as the first time the term was used. That's okay at the start of the film as it's set in 1985, but in 1955, the younger Doc Brown should have said "1.21 gigawatts? What's a gigawatt Marty?
The saying over the years has taken on a life of its own. I've heard people say it without even knowing where it came from. What's even more fun is the debate that follows on weather a gigawatt is an actual term. People would rather debate the pronunciation of the word then ponder the possibilities of time travel. Here's hoping for a Back to the Future 4. Let's make it a reality while we still can.
Please visit the rest of my site where I show you how to
Check out the build progress I went through on the menu at the left. Please let me know what you think of my site and how I can make it better. Send me you questions and comments. Pictures, I want pictures of your Flux Capacitor replicas, even before you are done. Let me know if you've found a better way of building any of the parts. My first Flux Capacitor replica went to my nephew Ben as a Christmas present. Check out the story on the front page.
I've also added a new Flux Capacitor Store full of cool Back to the Future related paraphernalia, including shirts and DVDs and collectibles. I also have available some Flux Capacitor Parts - Check it out here.
General Electric (who helped put me through college via my father who worked there for more than 30 years), has a new commercial featuring the BTTF Delorean. It uses close-ups and quick cuts, but is cool none-the-less. It's even narrated by Mr. Michael J. Fox himself. He states that the 1.21 Gigawatts needed to power the BTTF Delorean could be easily provided by efficient GE Electric Turbines. There's also a great shot of the Flux Capacitor pulsing away.
It would be great if GE made more commercials featuring other vehicles/machines/gadgets from past movies or TV shows. I can think of several I'd love to see featured. Last year K.I.T.T. from Night Rider was featured in a commercial for GE locomotives. There had William Daniels, the original voice of KITT, narrate the commercial. Let's hope this trend continues.
Just how many lights are there under each of the fluxing tubes? I just don't know. There are at least 4, but there may be as many as 6 from what I've read on other BTTF web sites. While I'm sure having 3 would probably be fine, if I'm making the circuit from scratch, adding more lights is not a big deal.
I decided a little investigative work was in order. I popped in my BTTF DVD and imported the Flux Capacitor clip into my video editing software. It didn't take to long to find the right scene. There is a key moment when Doc Brown points at the Flux Capacitor for a few seconds and explains to Marty, holding the camera how time travel works..
I captured the clip and looked at several consecutive frames showing the fluxing lights. Now, I know all about film speeds and frame rates from 20+ years working for Kodak and there's just so much you can gather from looking at a DVD, frame by frame.
I figured I'd count the lights I can see in each frame and plot their positions.
Click on the picture above for a closer look. I stepped through every frame I could and marked each light location that I saw. Except for occasionally seeing two lights at once (one turning on and one turning off) I never saw more than the 4 positions I have circled. Even considering frame rates and the possibility of missing a light, I'm not sure there are more than 4.
If you look at the spacing between the 3rd & 4th light (counting down from the top right) there may be enough room for another one. Also the first three overlap a little but #4 is all by itself.
So, the jury may still be out for some, but I've settled on 4 lights.