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Messages - BruceM

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Changfa Engines / Re: New Watercooled Diesel Toys
« on: July 20, 2019, 05:02:50 PM »
Glort's right about batteries, and for now, avoiding them.  Sad that wet lead should still (100 years!)  be the most cost effective battery for stationary power, but it is, and by a large margin.

A look at ongoing battery replacement cost should be a huge driver for super insulated off grid homes, but in my very rural area, it's not.  People just can't grok it, and don't want to deal with the 3rd rate builders in the very rural SW. Instead they get a manufactured home and then find their AC eats batteries in no time, their PV and battery system is inadequate, and their propane bills in winter are huge.  They go through the first set of batteries in 1 year, and that provides motivation.  Then they switch to a evaporative cooler and other power conservation measures.  Typically their battery bill is pretty painful, replacing 8 or 16 Trojan L16's (400ah) every 4 years, at $380 each plus tax and freight.  Battery replacement cost of $100 to 150 month is common.  They are energy independent but now battery dependent.

Building codes need to change, big time, and manufactured housing needs even bigger changes.  My work with thermal modeling showed that a very well insulated slab, thicker than usual, was hugely helpful thermal mass for my SW high desert climate, when coupled with Canadian style double framed walls (R40) and raised heel trusses (R80).  My next step is water cooling of the house though the in-floor pex system, which I keep stalling on.

My battery replacement cost is $15 a month, plus $15 a month for refrigerator propane for my larger sized propane refrigerator.  By not having an electric refrigerator, and no 24/7 inverter losses, my DOD is only 10%, and cheap marine batteries do the job nicely. Heating is solar hot water and cooling I open windows at night.  Works well except for periods of wildfires, when I can't open up, though I haven't gotten over 78F yet this year despite a lot of wildfires.

Everything else / Re: Solar Inverter - Load sensing
« on: July 20, 2019, 02:20:08 AM »
Yep, little cheap switching power converters can be quite a radio transmitter.  One lady I was helping by phone had become newly electrically sensitive...she was getting headaches from her computer and other equipment.  I had her snoop the house wiring at the circuit panel with an AM radio...and in 20 minutes with some phone coaching she found the offending circuit at the panel, then traced it to the wall behind her desk (she was a writer) there was a POS battery charger plugged into an outlet inside that opposite room's closet.  She'd bought it and used it and then forgot that it was plugged in i that closet. Her problem got much better after that and fixing/unplugging some other things to dramatically reduce her daily exposure. 

In most homes now, there are so many sources it's downright discouraging.  The smart meters are a significant offender- cheapo switching power supply on the board, designed by an EMC illiterate moron, with not even a common mode choke between it and the line. Besides the switcher, the conducted radio frequency emissions exceed the insanely high FCC part 15 rules, but the power co is exempt.  The inverter type split systems are an EMI horror show, even when the room units are "off".  Crazy world, we have no idea what we're doing. 

If you are only charging batteries, I wouldn't be so quick to change it from a 3/1.  A 3/1 might be a better match for a battery charger.  Think about what your expected battery bank is going to be, and how many watts you are going to push into them. More charging time is spent on the tapering charge and you might be better off diesel engine life-wise going a bit slower. The alternative is AGMs, which will take massive current but no so much wet lead.  I never switched to AGM for my main 120V bank as the cost was just too high for somewhat increased life.  The better performance I don't need.  I don't do winter dark day generator charging anymore since increasing my PV from 800 to 2300W. 

On second thought those valves do look the same as 6/1 types.  We had one member (Starfire?) who had reported on modifying a 3/1 to a 6/1 and I vaguely recall the head is the same.

Everything else / Re: Solar Inverter - Load sensing
« on: July 19, 2019, 09:02:20 PM »
The Techluck is only a DC PWM unit, with no voltage shifting ala boost converter, so wattage to element depends entirely on the panel array and element voltage.  Open circuit max PV voltage is 250V, and max operating PV voltage is 200V.   Frankly MPPT is a waste of circuitry and complexity for this application, and a simple DC solid state relay driven from a non-load carry thermostat would perform similarly and without any EMI, at a small fraction of the price.

Your scheme will have the same limitation, Glort, in that 90V applied to a 230V, 4500 watt element (11.5 ohm) will only consume 704 watts.  You must either increase panel voltage or use a DC-DC boost converter (or other DC-DC transformer based design) to raise the panel voltage to match heating element, or find a lower voltage, high wattage element.  Ohms law lets you calculate it.

Most cheap hard switching and badly designed devices make me cringe; EMC is typically ignored, the cables to the panels will likely obliterate radio reception in the home.  Sadly it is now normal to have hobbyist design level switching power supplies in appliances of all sorts and this does not bode well for public health since conducted EMI goes back on all the home wiring.  Our home's wiring is typically totally unshielded, thus acts as a radio transmitter for high frequencies and is literally wrapped around us as we sleep.  Switching supplies were unheard of in appliances and HVAC just 50 years ago, so now we are in the midst of a huge public health experiment; both wireless and EMI levels  in homes are now typically 100,000 times higher than 50 years ago.  Neurodegenerative diseases, autism and other chronic illnesses are on the rise.  Hmmm.

The valves look smaller to me (???), though I could be mistaken.  That might be a show stopper for using that head as a 6/1 or 8/1.  Weird sleeve with those notches in the bottom. What are your intentions'/desires for this one?

Listeroid Engines / Re: oil sump intake screen blockage
« on: July 18, 2019, 11:22:49 PM »
Hugh's surprising magnet warning is the first time anyone has reported finding a magnet behind the oil screen on this forum or microcogen.  "Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." - Thoreau  An interesting philosophy for engine manufacturing.

Everything else / Re: ESD 5500E engine speed controller unit
« on: July 18, 2019, 12:12:18 AM »
Most of the old famous ICs and microprocessors are still being made.  Not so with power transistors of various sorts; they pass into oblivion rather quickly. 

The newer micropower components by Microchip are damned impressive.  Quiescent currents of a few microamps for quad comparators, and around 20 uA for a 5V op amp with 100K bandwidth.  Others have them too, some are rail to rail inputs and outputs as well. Analog has never been better.

The range of applications for MOSFETs keeps getting bigger too, several manufacturers now provide full SOA data (safe operating area) for linear operation.  I converted my linear PV charge regulator over to MOSFETs instead of Darlington Bipolars last year...by luck of design, no circuit changes were needed but the power requirements dropped substantially, and the capacity increased nicely as well.

Alas, wildfire smoke has me laid low, health wise, so projects are on hold.

Everything else / Re: ESD 5500E engine speed controller unit
« on: July 17, 2019, 04:10:58 PM »
The inductive type pickups are also quite common - an oscillator circuit is applied to a small coil in the sensor, the presence of ferrous material close to the coil changes the inductance of the coil, which is sensed.  They use more power and generate a fair bit of EMI.

For my neighbor's spark modified CS clone, I decided to save a bit of power by quashing the wasted spark. I didn't think of the nicer far side camshaft -magnet-hall effect method Stef showed, but instead sensed a magnet on the IP cam follower.  That hall switch powered the second one sensing a magnet on the flywheel.  That was the trigger for a 555 cmos timer which generated a pulse for a GM spark module.  Pulse width determined coil charging time, spark at falling edge of pulse, so flywheel magnet location had to lead spark timing by the fixed coil charging time.  Took some experimenting to get the timing just right, facilitated by fast setting cyanoacrylate.

Everything else / Re: ESD 5500E engine speed controller unit
« on: July 17, 2019, 02:46:38 AM »
A two piece steel sheet "rim" bolted to the hub with holes or slots would also suffice to keep a inductive coil pickup system happy.  I did experiment with one before going another way.

I instead used a Cherry brand gear tooth sensor on my CS for speed sensing; it uses a tiny magnet within the unit and hall sensor to detect teeth or slots in ferrous materials. The spokes on the flywheel sufficed, I didn't have to use magnets.  I use the PICaxe 40X2 chip to compute RPM in this manner for starting and engine monitoring.  The generator isn't always operated as it's a dual air/genny setup. 

For my neighbor's setup we used 4 tiny magnets on the CS flywheel hub just as Glort suggested, with a hall effect sensor (about a buck each) and a little frequency to voltage IC to turn it into a DC voltage that could be easily remotely monitored via analog panel meter.

Petteroids / Re: PETTER - PAZ1 - New project
« on: July 16, 2019, 11:33:00 PM »
Beautiful restoration work; even copper plating on the injection lines.  Wow!
Well done, VP!

General Discussion / Re: Welding on clean DC
« on: July 14, 2019, 02:48:39 PM »
Yes, portability has suffered now that it's over 200 lbs.  I can still haul it in my trailer, but I'd have to use a come along or block and tackle to winch it up the ramp. Powered wheels would do it but then I'd be out of power before I could start welding.   ;)

General Discussion / Re: Welding on clean DC
« on: July 14, 2019, 01:52:32 AM »
Here's some pictures of the new 3 battery welder; two 12V marine group 29 and a 6V cart battery, with my custom gapped toroidal choke as arc stabilizer.  The case needed a complete redo to house the third battery.  It's a bit wider, longer, taller and heavier.

I used it this afternoon for some welding; the push bar for the case was made of some scrap 1" square tubing with 1/16" wall thickness. Since the oxy-acetylene rig is down waiting for a replacement valve body, I tried my hand at stick welding that 1/16 wall tube with 1/16" 6013.  Tricky business but I got it done and a decent job of it.  I switched to 3/32 rod for welding to the 3/16 thick mounting plates, which was much easier since it's really welding 3/16 with brief excursions to the 1/16.

In the first photo you can see the 26 gauge galvanized strip resistor which is used to limit current from the 30V battery series string. In the top (lowest current, most resistance) setting it is lower current than on straight 24V, which is only useful for 1/16" 6013. This strip has worked out very well, and was dirt cheap to build. The lowest positions marked are for 1/8" 7018 or 7014.  The sheet strips have good airflow on the back and front, and stay below 210F so could be directly screwed to the maple stand offs.  I'd planned for silicone washers under screw head and strip, but they aren't needed.

In the third photo you can see the custom clamping attachment I made from some scrap 1/4" steel that allows me to easily move to any power setting.  I marked the positions with the specific rod size and type determined experimentally.  The increments are usefully moderate.  It has a soldered on brass welding connector, and solder tinned faces for the clamping electrical surfaces. It needs some spray paint.  Polarity reversal only requires switching the cable connectors.

As before, the front, rear and side panels come off for battery removal or service.

I do bulk charging with three "smart" 15A max chargers, Schumacher SC1280 6/12V Rapid Battery Charger and 15A Maintainer ($44 ea), one for each battery.  The case is wired with a 6 pin sermos type connector, and now so are the chargers.

Next I'll redo my low power, low EMF maintenance charger, to make it 3 separate chargers as well.  The 6V battery requires 2.2 amps at full charge, so I need to order a 3A linear regulator for that.  It would be really nice to do it with three secondaries on one core but I've got some old small toroidal transformers that I'll use up instead.

I'm very happy with the new version, my welds have improved greatly with the extra power for "whipping" the electrode and the ability to tune the power for rod and material thickness.

Boring for you who can just use a $100 welder, but a big boon for me.

General Discussion / Batteries- Lead Calcium vs true deep cycle
« on: July 13, 2019, 04:56:21 PM »
My custom 120VDC battery charge management system was designed for 10- 12V AGM batteries in series, and has individual battery shunt regulators so that variations in batteries don't matter, and less equalization is needed.  I used cheap lead-calcium batteries (marine "deep cycle") initially for testing, and found that due to my very low average DOD, I was getting 4.5 years of service life. AGM batteries never came down in price so I've left well enough alone.  These Everstart (Johnson Controls) Marine batteries are stocked at the local Walmart.  They use so little water that I top them off annually, needing about a gallon of distilled water.  Low water use is one of the characteristics of lead-calcium.  They also have very low bulk taper charge characteristics similar to AGMs; as they become full, the charge current goes to well below 0.1 amps, typically below 0.050 amps.  This helps explain the lack of water use. 

I just added a T105 type (floor polisher battery - again "Everstart" by Johnson Controls though Walmart) 6V battery to my welder and am shocked at the difference in charge current.  The bulk charge current NEVER goes below about 2.2 amps, even if left on the charger, full, overnight.  I thought something must be wrong until I checked the Trojan data; they expect 2-3% of the C/20 to be the lower limit of charge current! 

I never fully technically appreciated the lead-calcium "Marine" batteries as I should have, since I was comparing them to AGMs and not wet lead true deep cycle batteries.  ( I use a 110AH AGM for my small 12V supply; I found 12 and 120V to be a very useful combination of home power). As long as you can keep your DOD below 20%, the lead-calcium seem to have good lifespan, good charge efficiency, very low water use.  They can also put out relatively high current, as I've found for the welder.   For my 120VDC system, currents are below 15A, usually well below that, which greatly improves effective capacity and efficiency.

It has been very educational to see how the T105 type 6V battery compares in a series application with the Marine (lead calcium) batteries.  While I have no doubt the T105 types will outlast them for the DC welder application, it gives me new appreciation for the Marine type batteries where DOD can be kept to modest levels for an expected service of 4-5 years.

General Discussion / Re: Welding on clean DC
« on: July 12, 2019, 04:18:53 AM »
Almost done with the new battery welder.  The zig zag strip galvanized steel power resistor was enlarged to the whole side of the new larger, 3 battery case, with strips going horizontal so I could use 2.25"x0.75" vertical maple stand offs to attach it. Maple has long history of good heat tolerance.  In testing today, I found that thanks to the much longer strip, at the very top of the strip, it does 1/16 - 6013 rods for very thin stock nicely.

What's left is moving the big wheels axle forward a bit and making some sort of push bar for moving it around.  I'm very happy with the performance; today I tested several different types and sizes of rods, and marked the best power setting for each right on the strips. In all cases, the sheet steel stays well below 210F.

So, no electronics required, beyond the custom gapped toroidal choke used as an arc stabilizer.

I'll post some pictures soon.

Engines / Re: dk with the shakes
« on: July 11, 2019, 02:55:08 AM »
+1  since it became a "hopper" with the new piston, it is heavier than the original, and additional counterbalance on the flywheels is needed.  Easy fix, and well worth the effort as it reduces stress on engine.  On the CS, increments of 4oz via Sculpy plastic clay inside each rim are a nice way to experiment, or stick on wheel weights.  If once you start to get just a little fore/aft movement with no hopping you're done, and can permanently epoxy in some lead.

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