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Author Topic: Cast Iron Radiator  (Read 3102 times)

broncodriver99

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Cast Iron Radiator
« on: March 22, 2016, 09:55:20 PM »
Hello all,

I am working out the last details of my build and am looking for a little information.

I noticed in a few past threads that a couple of people are using old cast iron heating radiators to cool their Lister. There isn't much if any detail posted and most of the pictures are gone. The old radiators are getting back to cheap or free with the price of scrap at next to nothing and with summer coming that is when they are easiest to find. Can anyone offer any input as far as size, fin count, and the load they are running with their setup? I did a few calculations and it looks like I need about 90-100 Square Foot EDR of cast iron, which ends up at 20-25 fins in the most common sized radiators in order to run flat out full load with no over heating issues. I figure I can safely reduce the size of the radiator 10-15% by stripping the 100 years of paint off and painting it black to aid heat rejection, adding a cheap box fan would do wonders as well. I am looking to build the simplest setup with the least failure points. Cast iron and thermosyphon with natural convection seems to fit that bill. I don't want to undersize nor oversize the radiator. Thanks for any info.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 10:01:35 PM by broncodriver99 »

Hugh Conway

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Re: Cast Iron Radiator
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2016, 12:13:24 AM »
@BD99
I am using a cast iron rad, and interestingly enough, mentioned it earlier today on a different thread:                                          http://listerengine.com/smf/index.php?topic=7641.msg86532#msg86532
Don't have a photo to include, but pretty straight forward. The actual radiator is 26" high with 10 fins.  1" hose and insert adapters make the hook-up.
Cast iron radiators may be had as either hot water rads or steam rads. The steam rads can be recognized by having no outlet at the top. They all seem to have 1 1/2" bosses, so you will have to bush down to 1". If you need to remove a plug (esp from top fitting on a steam rad) you may need to cut it out very carefully. Mine was about as stuck as could be, a long wrench with a pipe extension did not budge it. Beating on the wrench with a 4lb hammer seemed a bit dodgy, I sure did not want to crack the casting. Careful work with a drill, then hacksaw and chisel got it out cleanly.
I did not use any calculations in figuring the size of rad........was given this one, and thought I would give it a try. Seems to work fine in my set-up.

I got the idea to use an old cast radiator from a photo on the original Utterpower site and I believe the same photo is on the cover of Bill Rogers book. In that photo, there is a 5 fin radiator used. That may have been a bit small for extended runs, seemed to work though.

Hope this helps, perhaps someone else out there is using a similar set-up and can add to the information.

BTW, I operate in a cool climate........Pacific Northwest. Never gets all that hot in summer or extremely cold in winter. Wet though!

Cheers,
Hugh
JKson 6/1  (Utterpower PMG ) Off-grid
Lister 6/1 Start-O-Matic engine......running with PMG
1978 Royal Enfield (glutton for punishment by Indian iron)
1963 BMW R-27 project

George A

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Re: Cast Iron Radiator
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2016, 11:27:29 AM »
I considered using an old steam radiator on my Listeroid and was even offered one for free........but it was around ten feet long! I knew at first glance that separating those sections could only lead to disaster, so I passed.

I have a hint though..........if you're going to paint it black, use a real radiator paint, for cars. Yes they actually make a radiator specific paint! It's more of a thin wash than paint but it's designed to allow the escape of heat, where regular paint would act like an insulator and prevent efficient transfer. Since many cars have gone to.......ugh........plastic radiators, I'll bet that most radiator shops have a can of that paint laying around doing nothing......
I've joined "the dark side"....if it has a spark plug, it's obsolete technology.

rosebud

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Re: Cast Iron Radiator
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2016, 02:48:35 PM »
I went the old cast iron radiator route...works great.

The idea was to use the heat from the 6/1 located in the garage and transfer the heat to the house. I used a small pump (Swiftech) and a thermostat switch at the engine. The little pump is more than enough to handle the engine cooling needs. The cylinder temps cycles ~20F at 2000 watts load.... some fine tuning still to be done.

My location is eastern Canada...cold country in winter. Transferring heat ~40 feet in sub freezing temps is a little challenge, but it can be done... without breaking the piggy bank.

regards,
rosebud
Listeroid 6/1
SL1...4.25hp
ST 3kw
1.6kw PV

broncodriver99

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Re: Cast Iron Radiator
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2016, 03:12:30 PM »
@Hugh Conway. Thank You for the info. I saw George's video with that particular setup and thought the radiator was a little small as well, but that looks like a low load situation. I saw in your other post that you are using a 1 gallon expansion tank. Are you running an open or closed system? We run a little warmer here on the Mid-Atlantic coast. Lows tend to be in the upper teens during winter and spend some time at 100+ during summer.

@George A. Thanks for the info. I have seen the heat transfer paint but figured it was a marketing gimmick. I will see what I can track down.

@rosebud. Thank You. Transferring heat to the house is in my long term project list. We don't get many power outages around here and they are usually short term, but it would be a nice backup system to have.

Hugh Conway

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Re: Cast Iron Radiator
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2016, 08:09:56 PM »
@Broncodriver.....

It is an open system, the gallon can is an old galvanized fuel can, my grandpa had one way back when. I JB Welded a fitting (1/4 hose) into the bottom, painted it green, and hung it about a foot above the radiator. The screw-on lid is loose, just on enough to keep out bugs and birds.
The rad was powder coated white when it was given to me, just used it as is.
Cheers,
Hugh
JKson 6/1  (Utterpower PMG ) Off-grid
Lister 6/1 Start-O-Matic engine......running with PMG
1978 Royal Enfield (glutton for punishment by Indian iron)
1963 BMW R-27 project