Reimagined and Revamped. Fighting the spread of nonsense often feels like a Sisyphean task. However, the joy is in making the information available, not the hope of conversion.

Medis: The Finale

I had truly intended to write a real report on my trials with the Medis 24/7. Sadly I have never really found time to do a good job of it. So I will just unload the data, finally, and discuss it a bit.

It is truly important to understand the concepts of Power and Energy, if you are going to understand this post and why the hype from Medis is so inaccurate. I realize that to the layman, power and energy are synonymous. But the reality is that these are two distinct quantities. Further a good understanding of energy density and power density will be important as will why these quantities will define a successful product.

The 'report' is located here. Its by far not the best job I have ever done, but at least its out of my head now. Feel free to use the comments to ask any questions or for clarification on any of this. I didn't just make it a blog post because its pretty long with a lot of pictures, and the blog format really isnt conducive to all the data and depictions.

I really wish that tech magazines and website that review products like this would actually test these devices before they yammer on about how good the device is only to misinform readers and have to rescind their nonsense later.

Yo, tech journalists, if you have any desire to be accurate, just gimme a ring!

12 comments:

On 1/17/08, 12:28 PM , Anonymous said...

"I do this as a hobby. I fully staffed outfit with a better outfitted lab and more units to test, may get different results"

"all power packs were purchased in June of 2007, these are off the semi-automated line. Power packs off of the automated line could have all of these issues fixed as far as I know"

These statements are obviously of critical importance to anyone trying to assess the significance and reliability of your results. They should be right at the top your report, not buried at the very end of an 18 page document. Curious that you chose to bury them.

 
On 1/17/08, 12:40 PM , Techskeptic said...

Well, nothing strange there. Disclaimers are usually put at the end of documents. If they were buried they would have been written in legalese and in small font.

But thanks for your comment, since you pointed it out, they can not even be considered buried anymore!

:)

 
On 1/17/08, 2:17 PM , Anonymous said...

Your second statement that I quoted is not a disclaimer. It is the only place in your report where you state what it was that you actually tested! You say right near the top that "there are a number of significant design flaws on the 24/7". So I do find it strange that you don't make it clear in that same paragraph that the packs you tested are from the semi-automated line. I do find it strange that you don't make it clear in that same paragraph that packs from the automated line are almost certain to be different than what you tested, and maybe quite a bit different.

Another complaint: You say "Medis has chosen an alkaline fuel cell approach" and that "on the surface this is not a bad choice", but that "there is little new about an alkaline fuel cell". This is very misleading. In the past alkaline fuel cells have always run on hydrogen gas. The Medis alkaline fuel cell runs directly on a liquid fuel containing a number of different components. This is a completely new approach that offers many advantages over a gaseous fuel. Give credit where credit is due.

Another thing: Your timing here with this report is very interesting. Right after Medis missed a deadline, right after the latest Merriman hit piece, and right when the stock has been severely beaten down. Your timing makes me wonder whether you are working with Merriman or other short sellers.

One other thing: I have a relevant technical background and I've been reading Redstone's newsletter for years. He may be over enthusiastic about Medis but your statement that he doesn't know the difference between power and energy is obviously false. Why would you even include something like that? What would it add to your report even if it were true?

I'll pass on commenting on your data. It should be clear to anyone that you could have manipulated it in any way that you want.

 
On 1/17/08, 2:50 PM , Techskeptic said...

So I do find it strange that you don't make it clear in that same paragraph that the packs you tested are from the semi-automated line.

Today is January 16, 2008. Are you saying it is possible that I have tested any other medis 24/7 power pack than those off of the semi-automated line? If so, please give me a link as to where I can get something newer.

his is a completely new approach that offers many advantages over a gaseous fuel. Give credit where credit is due.

I did. You even quoted it.
on the surface, this is not a bad choice

I never mentioned the fuel composition once in the entire report. Why? because it completely irrelevant. The user never needs to know what it is, or why it works better. All the user cares about is performance and cost benefit. If the fuel is H2 or Magic Gumby Juice, all they know is that they are buying a box with energy in it.

Your timing here with this report is very interesting.

LOl, yeah that was a predictable complaint. And if I had released this when the stock was shooting up you would accuse me of trying to halt the rise. If it were at the highest ever you would accuse me of trying to start a sell off. Wonder all you like, I just got sick of thinking about it. I wouldn't mind if someone threw some cash my way, but it didn't happen.

he may be over enthusiastic about Medis but your statement that he doesn't know the difference between power and energy is obviously false.

ahh then you know I was able to read the message boards for about a month. During that time, there was the money quote:

-------------------------------
JBL:
David your above responses are close but not technically correct. You're correct in that efficiency is a ratio but it is a ratio of useful energy out divided by theoretical available energy in. This is not always heat especially in an electrochemical cell such as a fuel cell or a battery.

REDSTONE:
Thanks, jbl.

You have told me before that Carnot cycle limitations don't apply to electrochemical cells. I obviously still don't understand the concept well enough.
----------------------------------
(my bold)
So i guess you are right, i dont have a quote where he screws up power and energy, my mistake, but the editor of a fuel cell rag doesn't know what energy density is? Even after being corrected on it? Are you sure he knows the difference between power and energy? I do have quotes where he gets Li+ battery technology all wrong and thinks that his laptop battery dies because of Li+ chemistry instead of standby power draw. Come on, you are giving that guy too much credit. He is the John Best of Fuel cells.

I'll pass on commenting on your data. It should be clear to anyone that you could have manipulated it in any way that you want.

Yeah, I sat there a plotted 200 thousand unique points by hand. I explained exactly what I did, and how I did it so that no one could figure out if I did something deceitful. That argument really makes no sense. How about showing me some real data from anywhere that conflicts with what I said, instead of the picture of pretend data that is on the spec sheet. I supported my claims, where is Redstone's or Medis' data to support theirs?

Anyway, if you have been following MDTL for years, then you know that I have been following MDTL for as long. If every time I write something its because I am working for some new wall street firm, then I am truly a busy boy. In fact I keep a blog where I debunk all sorts of technologies and reports just to keep my wall street cover. I think someone needs to review Occam's Razor.

 
On 1/17/08, 2:54 PM , Techskeptic said...

LOL, actually today is the 17th. oops. I was up late putting all that together.

 
On 1/17/08, 5:57 PM , Anonymous said...

The Medis product that the market will see once they start shipping it in real volume could be quite a bit different than the units you tested. You are vague at best about which version you tested until the second from last sentence in your 18 page report. To me this is dishonest. You should have been clear about which version you tested from the outset. (You also chose not to mention that Medis has said that it will have a 2 watt version of its power management ready by the time they are ready to ship the fuel cell in high volume.)

Today is January 16, 2008. Are you saying it is possible that I have tested any other medis 24/7 power pack than those off of the semi-automated line?

Who is your audience? You and I have been following Medis for a long time but your audience may not have been. If you were really trying to be fair you would have explained that the packs you tested came from a pilot production line and that packs from a fully automated line that was built much later could be much better. You should have explained this before you presented your data. Especially since the main points you seem to be trying to make with your data are that the packs you tested didn't meet spec and that Medis doesn't fully understand the design of its own product.

I never mentioned the fuel composition once in the entire report. Why? because it completely irrelevant.

Medis's fuel composition is irrelevant but what Redstone knows or doesn't know is relevant? LOL! Why do you even mention Redstone?

So i guess you are right, i dont have a quote where he screws up power and energy, my mistake, but the editor of a fuel cell rag doesn't know what energy density is?

You do seem preoccupied with Redstone. I know that he knows the difference between power and energy and that he knows what energy density is because I have been reading his newsletter and forum for a long time. I went back and found the full quotes you refer to from his forum.

Redstone:
"Efficiency", a ratio, is basically the amount of electricity generated by reacting a given amount of fuel in the fuel cell compared to the amount of heat generated by reacting that same amount of fuel. (A perfectly adequate basic definition of efficiency in a fuel cell, by the way.)

JBL:
David your above responses are close but not technically correct. You're correct in that efficiency is a ratio but it is a ratio of useful energy out divided by theoretical available energy in. This is not always heat especially in an electrochemical cell such as a fuel cell or a battery. As this is not an appropriate place for the details of such technicalities I will not belabor the point. Your conclusions, however, are basically correct.

From this "money quote" you conclude that Redstone doesn't know what energy density is??? The discussion wasn't even about energy density. It was about efficiency. What does the Carnot cycle have to do with energy density here? What are you talking about?

There are a hundred ways you could have manipulated your data without "plotting 200 thousand unique points by hand". You know it and anyone with any understanding of what you say you did knows it. Maybe your data is honest. Maybe it isn't. There is no way for the reader to tell.

if you have been following MDTL for years, then you know that I have been following MDTL for as long. If every time I write something its because I am working for some new wall street firm, then I am truly a busy boy.

As I recall you have been around for just about the same amount of time that Merriman has been bashing Medis with hearsay that sounds like it could have come from you. No need for a new wall street firm every time you write about Medis. Just the one would explain a great deal.

You actually sound more and more dishonest with every comment. One thing that Occam's Razor tells me is that you went to an incredible amount of time and trouble here for someone with nothing to gain by running Medis down.

 
On 1/17/08, 7:06 PM , Techskeptic said...

You are vague at best about which version you tested until the second from last sentence in your 18 page report. To me this is dishonest.

You win, i fixed it. Its in the first part now. I don't know how to be more clear about that.

You also chose not to mention that Medis has said that it will have a 2 watt version of its power management ready by the time they are ready to ship the fuel cell in high volume.

Here you are wrong. Medis has been very clear that they will not be adding a battery to the 24/7 that will provide any significant amount of energy to the system. As I recall "It will add a dollar to the overall cost".

So this 'improvement' will not handle a 2 watt device for any decent amount of time, it only deals with transient spikes. There is no data, not even a sketch of it, so I'm not sure where you are getting the idea that it is real at all. The whole report only focused on the thing Medis is actually saying they are selling. But the poor performance is barely the point, even with performance matching their specs its still worse than what is already available.

Besides, I did mention the 2 watt improvement at the end of the report. You missed it.

The rest of your tirade is about my honesty and motivation. I didnt have to put in any disclaimer. I dont even have to keep your comments here. If I were dishonest we wouldn't be having this conversation, I wouldn't have mentioned potential issues with my limited testing, and I would claim some sort of knowledge about wall street.

How can the reader know the veracity about any data anywhere? What a convenient rant! You are free to ignore my data and collect your own (or trust Medis's drawings of graphs). I explained everything I did, just so you or anyone else could do just that. If you want the raw data files, and the combined files, I'll be happy to send. Other than those two things, there really isnt anything else I can do to assure anyone that it is real (except for the fact that virtually no one is buying these things...)

As I have said, lots of times now, you are welcome to actually link me to data that shows any sort of better performance. Why not do the tests yourself if you don't believe me? You said you had a technical background. Go for it! Post a graph somewhere.

As for Redstone, you call him over enthusiastic, but he has simply been downright dishonest and vitriolic, even to his own readers. Yes I meant efficiency (I'm tired, was up late writing that thing). It doesnt change the point that he is not knowledgeable on fuel cells or any other power source yet represents himself as an expert Which is laughable.

I'm not 100% sure if he is malicious, others think so. I think is a victim of Hanlon's Razor.

He was only mentioned twice in the report, out of 18 pages (or so you tell me, I didn't know it was that long, google documents doesnt really tell you, or I didn't see where it does). So I dont really see why you are making a big deal out of it. Yeah, I was negative on him, he deserves it and its my blog and report. He can write bad things about me in his rag if he likes.

As for motivation, read the rest of the blog and at some of the blogs I link to, I think its pretty clear why I have written about Medis. Its nonsense just like so many other things out there. Its something I like to poke around in. Am I also part of the drug conglomerates because I compiled data to show that acupuncture or other 'ancient medicine' is horseshit? Am I also a Gore lapdog because I posted tons of data about why global warming is real? Medis is only 1 step better than Steorn. Perhaps they even believe their own hype. I dont know. I know the obvious facts have been in front of them for years. In front of you too.

Your conspiracy theories about merriman (an organizatin I have only heard about in the last couple of weeks) or any other wall street house are just silly. If you have been following my writing on the yahoo board then you know I dont know jack shit about wall street and I am constantly amazed how stock price seems to have zero to do with anything related to the technology, market viability or management of a company (as least from where I sit). The closest I come to wall street analysis is in one of the first posts in this blog. Can you really read that and think I have any ties to walls street? Thats ludicrous.

Honestly I don't care anymore what you think. You made some good points about the article. I fixed your biggest concerns. You quote mined it to make it seem overly negative , and you left out my description about how hard it is to get a product manufactured and my commendations for that. You left out the possible solutions to the designs that I proposed. I suppose its natural for a die hard long to have your attitude. But thats fine, its your money after all.

I look forward to the results from your testing. If you have circuit or programming questions feel free to email me.

 
On 1/18/08, 1:22 AM , Anonymous said...

Great report, i think someone is a bit upset? a bit far-fetched that "anonymous no.1" says you're not making it clear what the testing units are. hell, look at the large pictures there and the "date" and UL Listing sign on it!? sorry, but anonymous has obviously a problem with with the facts presented here.
again, thx for a great report. you could even delete all references to this "redstone" and it won't change the facts.

 
On 1/18/08, 2:38 PM , Fuel Cell Observer said...

TechSkeptic - Wow. Lots of stuff to comment on here.

(1) Nice job on your report. I've personally seen other, non published, test results conducted by two different industrial labs that reported results identical within experimental limits to yours. I would have found your report compelling anyway, but I thought you'd want to know that other labs have indeed found the same results.

As Anonymous "1" points out, Medis could release an improvement. Well, so what. That's irrelevant to your conclusions about the currently available product. It did not live up to claims, and it does not out-perform less expensive incumbent technology alternatives. To me, that results in the conclusion that the current 24/7 value proposition is nil. If Medis can improve it, well, then everybody looks again. But not until then.

That being said, I too give high marks to Medis, and particularly their More Energy subsidiary, for actually bringing a FC product to market. As you point out, this is a non-trivial and fairly unique achievement. And, btw, I happen to actually know several current and former More Energy and Medis Personnel, including Gennadi Finkelstein. In my experience the More Energy folks are hard working, determined and smart. I'm sad and disappointed that their product has not lived up to its claims.

While I'm at it, I had seen your earlier analyses of the 24/7 claims and had thought them spot-on as well.

(2) I don't know what to say about Anonymous "1"... Wow. Seems like he may have a preconceived opinion (see "(3)" below) that he's attempting to defend by attacking your report. Too bad (for him) that your report is factual and his attacks present no contrary facts or substantial arguments.

(3) David Redstone... Ah, now there's a piece of work. I've met him as well, and even had the pleasure of one of his "mildly" worded responses to a contrary opinion. As a result I've set up several filters to block his email. In my opinion, he's the victim of a cognitive error I'd have to look up... ah yes, it's called confirmation bias. Read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias.

Keep up the good work TechSkeptic. I'd like to meet you one day and trade observations on any number of foolish "technical" ideas that deserve debunking.

 
On 1/19/08, 8:39 AM , Techskeptic said...

Anonymous #2

Thanks. Yeah, people get very emotionally attached to their pet stock. That response is hardly surprising. Some of the things he said had merit and I added some text to make it a little more clear. conspiracy theories never really fly with me without evidence. The Merriman conspiracy theory is even funnier since, as Lloyd from the yahoo message board, pointed out, I was pointing out MTIs many faults also the week Merriman started endorsing that company.

FCO,
I too have heard results from people who have tested these devices, similarly to the way I did (I get email). However I have not heard yet of anyone who was able to get a watt out of it. The only reason I was able to was due to the orientation and activation method I prescribed in the report. That is a design issue. It would be nice if one of these labs published their work.

You said you met Redstone. I can't say that I have had that pleasure...I have only 'experienced' him with is hyped up and erroneous writing (which BTW was not always wrong, just often enough to be dangerous) and his bizarre sense of people skills.

I fired off an email to him that said the following:

Rumor has it that perhaps you are "seeing the light" and are showing signs of disappointment about Medis' performance.

Are you interested in a slow, technical exchange as to why this is the case? Its all about the lack of a compelling advantage that Medis is proposing. I would be happy to go over this with you , privately.

if you are interested.


He chose to not take me seriously and to continue doing what he does best. I expect he will bail out of medis one of these days....then tell his readers.

 
On 1/19/08, 8:43 AM , Techskeptic said...

oh one more thing

I'd like to meet you one day and trade observations on any number of foolish "technical" ideas that deserve debunking.

Well email works of course, techskeptic(at)gmail(dot)com. And some comments at this blog entry would be great.

 
On 5/18/08, 11:17 AM , Anonymous said...

Your report is very accurate.
The gas forming is not CO2 but H2, so make sure you do not let it accumulate in enclosed space…
The liquid that leaked out will eventually cause you a chemical burn, make sure you wash your hands…
The 24/7 packs you get from the “semi” line are identical to the high volume line.
The power drops are a programmed sequence in the converter.
I wish you to keep up the good work…