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Understanding HHO Voltage and Amperage

Cell Stacks  |  Current Density  |  MMW  |  Neutral Plates  |  Number of Plates  |  Plate Configurations   


I do not want to confuse those who have very limited knowledge of basic electronics, so I will not go into deep explanations of the Electron Theory. Instead, I will simply state that "Amperage is the flow, or movement, of electrons on a conductor - such as a copper wire or a stainless steel plate". The electrons get pushed or pulled out of their orbit from around their atom - by a force. In our case  it is the Voltage that supplies the force (with HHO or Electrolysis of water).

Voltage is electrical pressure. Your automobile creates it and stores it in a battery - while you drive. Everything in your automobile that operates on voltage, gets its power from the battery. The battery supplies power to the alternator; even though the alternator is what puts voltage in the battery.

What I need you to understand is that the alternator creates the voltage as it is turned by the engine. The voltage causes electrons to move down a wire and into the battery. The electrons run all of your electrical equipment. The more electrons you use, the harder your alternator has to work to keep the battery charged. The harder the alternator works, the harder it is for the engine to turn it. The movement of these electrons is called current. We measure it with an ammeter. The unit of measure is in amperes or Amps for short.

I hope you are with me at this point, because I need you to understand that increasing the amperage of a hydrogen generator, can affect the fuel economy of an automobile. It can raise it or lower it.

A hydrogen generator, better known as an HHO Generator, or HHO Cell, uses voltage and amperage to force water to give up its molecules of hydrogen and oxygen gases. The amount of gas depends mostly on two things; how well the water passes the amperage, and how much amperage travels across the electrodes surface area. The electrons do not pass through the metal plates; they travel around the outer surface. They take the path of least resistance. So it is very important to evenly space the electrode plates - equal distance apart; perfectly parallel to one another. If not, electron current will not be equally distributed across the plate surface. If that were to happen, electrons would pile up at close crossing areas, and heat would build up. We do not want that to happen.

The electrodes in the hydrogen generator are called Plates. The plates are normally made of type 316L stainless steel (because of the durable characteristics of the metal). The hydrogen and oxygen molecules form on the plate surfaces. So, the more surface area a plate has, the more amperage it can distribute; thus the more HHO it can produce.

Faraday determined that 1 square inch of plate surface can efficiently distribute 0.54 amperes. He tells us that 1 ampere, distributed across two adjacent plates, can produce 0.0003689 Cubic Feet/Minute of HHO gas. That translates into 10.44 Milliliters Per Minute (MLPM). You see, the hydrogen side needs one square inch and the oxygen side needs one square inch. Faraday is describing a water cell (two plates separated by water). The plates are generally spaced 1/16 to 1/8 inch apart, sometimes more. So actually we need one square inch of surface area  on each side of the water. Hydrogen is made on one side and oxygen on the opposite side. Our HHO generator is going to need a lot of plates - in pairs. Each needs to have the same amount of surface area. Each pair makes up what we call a Cell; a water compartment. The total number of Cells is going to be a big factor in how much hydrogen and oxygen gas we make, and the size of the plate surface is going to determine how much amperage we can distribute efficiently. That is the theory.

It has also been determined that electrolysis of water is most efficient at 1.24 volts (Faraday says 1.24v, Brown says 1.48v, and Boyce says 2 to 3 volts). I discovered that each electrolyte has a different minimum voltage. NaOH minimum voltage is 1.69 and KOH minimum voltage is 1.67. As it turns out, the electrolyte solution affects the voltage between multiple plates. Faraday's 1.24 volts was based on using battery acid. Keep in mind, the voltage is the electrical pressure. Through trial and error, I have concluded that we need closer to 2.0 volts, more or less; as Bob Boyce says. Around 2 volts will provide long continuous operating times. So, if we keep the voltage, between our plates, at or close to 2 volts, we will not have problems with heat, as long as we distribute the amperage at no more than 0.54 amps per square inch of a plates surface. That is the key for efficiency.

Let's look at our operating voltage; our charging system and battery. The voltage varies, depending on automobiles, but it usually is between 12.5 volts and 14.5 volts. A single water cell needs let's say 2 volts to power it. We do not have a 2 volt power supply, we have a 12 to 14.5 volt power supply. So instead of using expensive electronics to make our voltage, we will simply configure multiple cells together in Series.  That is, we will place additional electrode plates between the positive and negative electrode plates. Each plate we add will make another water area for the electrical current to cross. Each water area will cause a voltage drop (reduction). The voltage drops need to be close to 2 volts each (measured across any two adjacent plates). So divide the operating voltage by 2 volts and you will get the number of cells (water areas) needed for efficient voltage. Round off the number to the nearest whole number. If you count the plates, there will be one more plate than the number of water compartments.

In the following examples, "n" represents electrode plates that have been added between the positive and negative electrode plates. The space between them represents the water areas they form (cells). The "n" is what we call a Neutral plate (that is another subject). We are going to divide the operating voltage of the vehicle by the number of water compartments in our Serial Configuration. That will give us our voltage drop per water cell.


  • 12v divided by 6 water compartments = 2v    7 plates would make 6 water compartments, 2 volts each
    The cell configuration would look like this +_ n_ n_ n_ n_ n_ - (count the 6 spaces)

  • 12.5v  divided by 10 water compartments = 1.25v   11 plates would make 10 water compartments, 1.25 volts each.
    10 cells would look like this + n n n n n n n n n -

  • Don't let this confuse you. I built a configurator that will calculate this for you.

What we know so far is that enough electrode plates are needed to drop the voltage and produce the amount of HHO we need, at no more than 0.54 amps per square inch of plate surface area, at or near 2 volts per water compartment (cell). That is it. that is the balance we need for efficiency.

You can make 1 liter of HHO, using fewer electrodes and less surface area, simply by increasing the amperage. But the result will cause excess heat. Excessive heat will shorten your cells Operating Time, and will cause amperage to eat away at your electrode plates.  Nearly every Hydrogen Generator on the market is designed this way......to produce excess heat. The builders don't know any better. They copy each others products and use higher amperage than their surface area can handle efficiently. They use fewer plates than needed for efficiency. And they sell you on the Liters Per Minute their products can produce - when they should be selling you on how long their products can Operate without overheating.

Now that we have a good plate configuration based on the operating voltage of our automobile, how do we get the amperage we need. It starts with the spacing between the plates. The closer the plates are, the less resistance there is between them in the water. Water has a very high resistance to electrical current wanting to pass though it or across it. We must add electrolytes to it in order to make it pass electrons better. The more electrolyte we add, the lower the resistance gets between the negative and positive plates. When the resistance gets low enough, electrons start moving through the water. The lower the resistance gets, the more amperage we get traveling through the water. If you build a cell with half inch spaces or gaps between each plate, you will need to use twice as much electrolyte as you would if the spacing was a 1/4 inch. Still better, 1/16 inch gaps would provide even less resistance. But do not go less than 1/16 inch. If you do, you will not leave enough space for the HHO bubbles to travel through. The bubbles will keep the plate surface clear of water. We need the water on the plates at all times. Keep in mind, as the electrical pressure increases (that is the voltage or the amperage) so increases the HHO output.

There are a lot of Hydrogen Generators on the market. Some of them proclaim good output; some proclaim good efficiency; some proclaim how cool they operate. They all have one thing in common, they make Hydrogen and Oxygen gas, one way or another. I hope now you have a better understanding of what makes these generators work. You can use the Cell Plate Configurator I built, to check the efficiencies of their cells.

One last thing, remember the alternator I mentioned in the beginning? The harder it works, the harder it is for the engine to turn it. Amperage is the reason. So if you are using that alternator to supply the amperage, your Hydrogen Generator is going to make the engine work harder. If you want better fuel economy, you will need to limit the extra load that your Cell causes. You will have to find that happy medium. For instance, when you run your air conditioner, it affects your fuel mileage some what. But the air conditioner does not put energy back into the engine; in our case, the Hydrogen Cell does. So limit your HHO production to the efficiencies of your alternators resistance to turning the engine. If you are not seeing any fuel efficiency improvements, then you need to look into changing the Air/Fuel ratio that is controlled by your engines Emissions Computer. That is another subject.


Click on the button below to learn more about the Cell Plate Configurator.


  Cell Plate Configurator 



Here is a screen-shot of the Configurator:  


Page Last Edited - 04/03/2022

    Copyright 2003   All rights reserved.   Revised: 04/03/22.                                             Web Author, David Biggs
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