Quantum Harvest, LLC is a family-owned company located in Athens; a small town in central Maine about 50 miles North of Augusta. In August, 2013, we decided to form the LLC, and I started on this website at about the same time. Prior to this, I had worked alone as a self-employed builder of computer systems, and computer-based security and facilities access control systems. Prior to that, I had been employed by New Balance Athletic Shoe, designing hybrid computer/analog control systems for industrial machinery, including RF welders, where I learned about Faraday apparatuses (apparati?), and other RF shielding and control technology.
For my own use, I built our first solar generator, a 2-battery 400 watt model in the summer of 2012. Some people saw it, and the rest is history. After selling 28 of the original 400 watt models, and many more of the 800, and 2500 watt models, I felt it would be a good time to incorporate and get out to a larger market.
About our products and philosophy
Like many people, I have become increasingly frustrated with today's shoddy, plastic products designed to be thrown away when some little part breaks or wears out. Very few items manufactured now are designed to be able to be repaired, especially by the owner. The owner's manual, (if there is one) may contain a very short list of “problems” that a cucumber could figure out how to fix on it's own, and anything even remotely complicated just says to take it to the dealer, which of course means that it will cost more to repair (even assuming parts are available!) than it would cost to buy a new one.
Quantum Harvest's machines, on the other hand, are sturdy units made out of real aluminum, copper and stainless steel, carefully crafted to last many decades of use; and are designed with a modular construction for easy disassembly. All machines eventually wear out or need repair, that is unavoidable; but problems with our machines are very easily diagnosed to a module level, and the affected module may be removed and returned to us for repair. The included owner's manual has carefully detailed instructions with color pictures that detail procedures for the removal and reinstallation of the various components. (As an added bonus, it is written in English, for Americans, by an American!)
The parts that we have chosen, such as the inverters, chargers, and batteries are the very best that we can find, and very carefully installed with over-sized pure copper cables and connectors. I refuse to pinch pennies when it comes to designing a product that absolutely has to work. Anyone can go to Wal-Mart or Harbor Freight and buy a bunch of plastic stuff made in China, shove it in a plastic box and sell it as a “solar generator”. It may sort of work, technically, but I wouldn't place a large bet on it's longevity or robustness.
By contrast, we are so confident in our products that we make this pledge:
The owner of a Quantum Harvest power station will NEVER pay for labor on any repairs, even after the warranty has expired, nor do we seek to profit from any malfunction. You will only pay what we pay for replacement parts, plus any actual shipping costs. How many other companies can or will make the same claim?
The reason our products are EMP-protected…
One of the things that worry me greatly is the increasing instability and conflicts around the world. In our (America's) desire to enforce the UN's policies on many foreign countries, some of whom possess, or are in the process of developing, nuclear weapons,as well as the medium-range missiles to deliver them. It is not hard to agree, regardless of one's political views, that the chance that an EMP* attack on the US is uncomfortably high.
It would only take a single nuclear warhead, detonated in the right place, at the right altitude, to completely destroy America's power grid. While such an attack would initially hurt no one directly, the loss of the grid for months, possibly years, would have catastrophic consequences on the American people.
While there is nothing I can do personally to stop such an act, I can strive to create products that would survive such an event, and be able to provide power and/or protection post-event. Even if a deliberate EMP never occurs, our modern electronic world is still threatened by an object infinitely more powerful than any nation or organization; the sun**.
To achieve this goal of protection, all Quantum Harvest power units are built into a specially designed enclosure, more properly called a Faraday Cage, named after Michael Faraday, an early pioneer in electromagnetic research. The purpose of a Faraday cage is to intercept and divert electromagnetic energy away from the box's interior, thus protecting the contents.
The principles involved are fairly simple, but the proper execution is critical. In order for the enclosure to be useful, it must have a door, but any opening larger than a square centimeter or so allows too much energy to penetrate the interior, thus defeating the purpose of the Faraday cage.
The solution to this conundrum is to gasket the door with a special type of conductive gasket, mated to a copper or silver strip that is electrically bonded to the main box. The key is to have very low electrical resistance between the door and the enclosure, with no gaps. This is not as easy as it sounds, and requires special materials designed specifically for this application. Simple aluminum foil would most likely not suffice to attenuate the field strength of a full-blown EMP or solar storm of the 1859 variety.
My experience with Faraday apparatus comes from 8 years experience with very powerful industrial machines called RF welders. These machines use extremely powerful and focused bursts of electromagnetic energy to weld and form plastic parts. These machines basically create a local EMP every time they fire, and it is critical that stray energy be confined and dissipated safely to avoid damage to other sensitive electrical machinery.
*An EMP, or Electro-Magnetic Pulse is a devastating phenomenon that, while harmless to living things, absolutely destroys anything electronic. It consists of extremely powerful electromagnetic fields building and collapsing hundreds of thousands of times per second. This induces potentially huge electric currents in anything that conducts electricity, causing components connected to said conductor to burn out. An EMP can be caused by either a deliberate, high-altitude nuclear warhead detonation, or can be caused naturally by a solar event called a Coronal Mass Ejection, or CME.
**In 1859, the Earth was impacted by a blast of plasma and charged particles generated by a phenomenon known as a Coronal Mass Ejection, or CME. This occurrence, called the Carrington Event, induced currents in wires powerful enough to damage the simple telegraph system in use at the time. Imagine what damage such an event would wreak on our infinitely more complicated and delicate micro-processor dominated society!