Lister Engine Forum

Lister Engines => Listeroid Engines => Topic started by: lowdeck on November 04, 2005, 01:57:00 AM

Title: Lister engine as a backup generator
Post by: lowdeck on November 04, 2005, 01:57:00 AM
These listeroids seem to have peaked my interest.
I am wondering if they would be any good as a backup home generator during power outages.
anybody have experience using them this way?
Title: Re: Lister engine as a backup generator
Post by: quinnf on November 04, 2005, 03:27:37 PM
That's the excuse I used to justify getting one.  I thought it'd be cool to have back up power, and the cost was less than even the smallest boxed gas genny.  But after I tore it down and repainted it, friends and neighbors said it was too pretty and too unusual looking to hide it in a box or shed.  Call it kinetic art and display it in a corner of the living room! ;D
Title: Kinetic Art
Post by: Stevels on November 05, 2005, 03:05:32 AM
"kinetic art".. I like it!! Can I steal that line and use it? 

My wife was telling my father about the new toy today, and she said it looked like an old steam engine from the turn of last centrury.  We are all digging the beauty and simplicity of the beast.  Maybe if I can get it running, I can actually do something useful with it.

I have plans to use this simple and accessible engine design to test various alternitive fuels for electricity, heat, and entertainment.  The last one is for me personaly!
Title: Re: Lister engine as a backup generator
Post by: Joe on November 06, 2005, 02:11:56 AM
My primary purpose will to use 6/1 as backup power source. After I did a whole lot of research on the longevity I started looking at other ways to make use of it. It didn’t seem to be an adequate use of a resource to have a machine dedicated purely for back up purposes that could easily run tens of thousands of hours before a major tear down. Although we have outages on a semi-frequent basis…ranging from a few minutes to a day, we have had outages during snowstorms that lasted 2-3 days.  Living at the tip of Lake Erie we do tend to get a few lake effect snowstorms. :) Snow is one thing… but one of these days a whopper of an ice storm will get us. I plan the 6/1 for that purpose at a minimum.
   I looked at a military surplus units (air cooled diesel) and refurbished refrigerator units (huge) that were in about the same dollar range, although some had low hours and were in decent shape I was a bit concerned about replacement parts down the road.  I was interested in something simple/durable that I could tear apart and deal with myself. I felt that if I built it then I would know it well enough to fix anything on it.  The 6/1 seems to fit the bill perfectly.
   I’d like to (at some point) run it on waste motor oil and/or waste vegetable oil and using as much of the heat it generates for heating hot water. 
   One other area that I will focus on as I build is that my wife will be able to start the generator (when I am not around) and that it will run with minimum effort on her part. Although I jokingly tell people that she is a 6-foot Redhead that just retired from professional wrestling …crank starting a 6/1 when it is well below freezing would be a challenge we rather not deal with. 
   All in all, I think the Listeroids will do very well as a backup power source…I’ll be betting the farm on it…

Title: Re: Lister engine as a backup generator
Post by: quinnf on November 06, 2005, 03:27:09 AM
Ah yes, the lake effect.  Starting one of these beasts when the temp is low and the oil thickens  is sure to be an invigorating experience.   But they didn't call it the Cold Start for nothing.  Check this out:  Might try building something similar.

Electric starters for oilfield engines like this one:  (which usually run on gas vapors) are essentially an auto-type starter motor turning a rubber wheel.  The starter is mounted on a hinge so the wheel can be brought into contact with the flywheel.  They're supposed to work well, however, then you have a battery to maintain and that's one of the nice things about these engines -- no electrical system.  George mentions a similar device somewhere on the CD or on his website.  Others have also simply bolted an auto ring gear to  a flywheel and used an auto starter.  That's an interesting problem.  Wonder if feeding the engine a little propane while starting would help. 

I used to be able to simply spray WD-40 down the gullet of my VW diesel when the glowplugs were all out and it would start, but that was years ago and they probably took the volatiles out of the mix.  I've also done the same using spray carburetor cleaner.  It seems to be essentially gasoline.  Might be worth a try.

On no account, though woud I ever use ether.  I've read tales (which is all they may be) on some old engine sites of what happens when too much ether is used to start an engine.


Title: Re: Lister engine as a backup generator
Post by: T19 on November 07, 2005, 01:04:58 AM
Well I'm looking for a backup generator as well.  I too am a computer geek.  I got involved with diesels in the Military (Tanker) and of course my 92 Diesel Passat with 400,000km.

I've been surfing the web reading everything I can, and luckily there is a guy about 15 minutes away who is offgrid and has a 12/2 Listor and a 25/2 as well.  You guys that have them, how daunting is it to get them mounted and working??
Title: Daunting
Post by: Stevels on November 07, 2005, 02:19:40 AM
Yeah, I have not started my 12/2 yet.  Scared.  Very scared.

I have heard tales of runaway engines, and without an adaquate cooling system rigged yet, I don't know what I will do. 

However, once I do get the 'roid running, I will post my experience!

Title: Re: Lister engine as a backup generator
Post by: quinnf on November 07, 2005, 03:21:26 AM
Well, it helps to have a welder and the ability to cut and weld heavy steel for the frame, but you could just screw the thing down to a timber frame made from 6x6" or even railroad ties sunk into the ground.  The articles on the CD explain it pretty well.  Almost everyone has a friend/neighbor who's always picking grease from under his fingernails.  Motorheads sometimes make good, and even useful friends.   If all else fails, set the engine in the driveway, pretend to tinker with it and see who stops by.  While working on mine, I made a couple of new friends from among my neighbors.  One, hearing it start up for the first time excused himself fromt he dinner table just so he could see the thing run. 

Once the engine's bolted down, you just open the compression release(s), bleed the air out of the system, which George explains well, then crank it over until you hear the injector ping.  Then give it a harder spin and close the compression release and the engine should start to slowly pick up speed.  Pull the crank off the shaft and keep your hand near the shutoff lever in case the governor doesn't, and you should be fine.  I started mine for the first time standing on a small table on casters, and it ran fine without even being secured to the table.  You can't do that with the 12/2, though.  It will have to be sittign on something more substantial.

Even if the engine does start to run away, it doesn't accelerate very fast.  You've probably got 10 seconds from First Smoke until it's up to speed.
Title: Re: Lister engine as a backup generator
Post by: Stevels on November 08, 2005, 04:37:38 AM
Hi Quinf,

Thanks for the advice.  Funny you mention neighbors, since I am fortunatly friendly with all of them, they have all been through my summer of constant ranting about the conversion of the Mercedes to Veg Oil.  Most of them helped me in some way getting it done.  They all knew that my next project would be the Lister, and they were intrigued, if not a bit sucpicious that I am crazy.

Unfortuantly, I am probably the closest thing to the greasy nailed guy on the block, and I am not good at all compared to most DIYers -- and no one on my street welds. 

My next door neighbor is especially interested in the Lister and wants to go in with me on a welder and some lessons!  We will see.

I have the Utterpower CD, but it is damaged, adn all the good parts are inaccessible.  I will send for a replacement. 

The truth is that the manual I got with the engine is awful.  The basic first page of ant manual should have a picture of the front and back of the product, with a legend indicating the name of each important part.  I stil do not even know what is what!  The instructions on starting and stopping it are written such bad, broken English, that they simply don't make sense. 

Oh well, fun fun fun!  I will reread your last post, adn also try to get my CD replaced (George seems to be out of town)

If you read in the paper that a man was attacked by an Engine, it was probably me.
Title: Re: Lister engine as a backup generator
Post by: quinnf on November 08, 2005, 02:55:06 PM

If you're going to disassemble the engine to check for casting sand like everyone recommends, keep a digital camera handy and snap a close-up picture at each step.  As long as you're consistent, if you get lost you can then reverse the order of the pictures to get it put back together.  Use zip-lock sandwich bags to keep nuts/bolts/pins/small parts separate, and label the bags with a marker.  There are so few parts to this engine, you can't really get into trouble.  Just don't get in a hurry and you'll do fine.

The only part that takes some work is getting the gib keys out, but you don't really need to take them off unless you want to remove the crank.  The piston rings are difficult to compress and slide into the cylinders without a BIG ring compressor, but you can use a piece of thin sheet steel, a couple of hose clamps, and some STP oil treatment to lubricate it. 

Once you get your CD from George, it will answer most of your questions.  After the holidays I'll probably spring for another one myself just to see what new stuff George has added.  And hopefully this site will grow and others will hang out here to help.
Title: Re: Lister engine as a backup generator
Post by: Stevels on November 09, 2005, 03:10:51 AM
Yeah, lets see if this site picks up hits.  Is there a moderator involved in this?  I am on the Frybrid Vegatable Oil Conversion forum alot and the owner, Chris Goodwin is the most active contributar, with like 2000 posts. 

Here is my deal... I am torn on what I should do next with the 12/2.  I really would like to tear it down, not only to check the components, but t learn about simple diesel engine operation too  My concern is that I don't know if I have an appropriate set up or skill to do this.  Something inside me has a big problem with taking a perfectly new, fresh from the factory engine, and taking it apart for a rebuild. I got the Ashwameh Listeroid because as far as I could research, it seemed like the best of the Indians.  I have only gone as far as to open the crankcase and the inside looks perfectly clean, though certainly not pretty.  I want to start this bad boy, but I don't want to damage the motor if I do -- and at the same time, I am thinking... wait, Indian or not, this ia new motor that is meant to be run  -- what is the problem here??  So I wait.

My question to you, sir, is can I just put oil in the crankcase, diesel inthe tank, and start it?  Or do I absolutely need to tear it down before I can safely start it at all?  Even if I do tear it down, I don't really have any tools suitable for polishing valves or the like.

Do you have any experience with these Ashwemeh engines?  What would you do if all you had was a few Craftsman tools??

Thanks!  SA
Title: Re: Lister engine as a backup generator
Post by: admin on November 09, 2005, 02:37:11 PM
i guess i would be the moderator, and i am pleased with how fast this site has taken off. and i am not worried about moderating too much, we are adults and seem to have good reasoning skills or we wouldnt love lister cs diesels  ;D

i also have a ashwamegh 12/2. it was well made for being from india. i would suggest that you reach in with your hand and feel around everywhere you can reach. if things look well and you dont feel sand or chunks of anything and it turns over ok  as you spin the flywheel, then check the tappets to see if they rotate as they go up and down. my bet is they wont because there is too much paint on them. take them out, clean them up, oil them a little and reinstall. if they still dont rotate as they go up and down while the flywheel spins, then order some new ones from george at utterpower. go ahead fill the case with oil. not too much. only about 8 or 9 quarts for your twin (single takes less) you will know its right as you turn the engine and the dipper picks up oil. too much oil and it can easily run away when its started by burning the splashed oil. if you are not inclined to tear it down and you didnt find any sand or small chunks then fire it up.

worst case you have to tear it down and replace some parts... its not like the parts cost a fortune or tearing it down is that hard. takes no more than an afternoon to do anyting on the engine. these are beautiful simple diesels.
Title: Re: Lister engine as a backup generator
Post by: Stevels on November 18, 2005, 12:37:28 AM
My tappets turn perfectly, and there is no crud or snad as far s I can feel.  I am thinking that "I feel lucky", and will spark it up soon.  I have no cooling system yet, so I will only run it for a few moments until I decide how I am going to cool this thing.  I really would like to run it in the basment.  Does anyone have any opinions about this?  It is in tha garage now, but it gets very cold up here in the winter.
Title: Re: Lister engine as a backup generator
Post by: admin on November 18, 2005, 04:31:03 AM
my personal preferece would be to not run an engine in my home. here is why.. fuel leakage, possible exhaust failure, noise and vibration

my opinion is these are perfect for working with a greenhouse. you can use the waste heat to heat a greenhouse area with a small room off the greenhouse to house the genset.
Title: Re: Lister engine as a backup generator
Post by: Joe on November 18, 2005, 01:29:17 PM
    I am also leery of an in house installation.  The main concern being the potential for an exhaust leak. I read on another forum that asked the question “how is that different from the exhaust of an oil furnace?” A leak is a leak but then dead is dead.  Quit a few of the deaths after Katrina were attributed to gas generator exhaust...yes a different animal but close enough…

   I’m planning a gen shed that will be near our swimming pool and double as a pool house.  Although the primary intent of the 6/1 is backup generator, having all that waste veggie oil capability/longevity has me working out the details so that the 6/1 can also run the pool pump and waste heat go into the water. This set up will be down the road after all the backup power hookups are complete.

   I mentioned Lake Effect snow in an earlier post…. Wednesday I was raking/burning leaves… typical fall cleanup…yesterday I had 16 inches of snow in the yard and a few miles away had 23… and its still snowing….

Title: Re: Lister engine as a backup generator
Post by: quinnf on November 18, 2005, 04:38:31 PM
Stevels, throw a few magnets in the bottom of your oil sump to catch iron/steel particles that your new engine will shed.

RE: genny in the basement, seems we're in violent agreement. 

One of the reasons running any genset inside is illegal is that if there IS an exhaust leak, the CO2 and CO (carbon monoxide) components are heavier than air and will fill an underground basement just like water.  The comparison between the oil burner and a diesel isn't really a fair one.  An oil burner in a heater or boiler is designed to run in confined spaces, its flame is oxygen-rich (blue flame, doesn't make much CO), and it doesn't vibrate.  A diesel is not so designed, burns fuel in a relatively oxygen-poor environment (high CO), and vibrates so badly it has to be bolted down. 

[Yoda Voice: ENABLE]  "Vibration leads to metal fatigue, fatigue leads to cracks, and cracks in an exhaust system lead to death."  [Yoda voice: DISABLE]

I almost bought the farm that way once.  I came in to work early on Monday morning and went into my employer's walk-in -20C (-4F) freezer to retrieve some samples.  A coworker from another lab thought it would be OK to extend the life of her dry ice stash by keeping it in the freezer over the weekend, and didn't bother to tell anybody.  Yes, she was blonde.  Well, I went in there, shut the door behind me and started rooting through boxes looking for the samples I needed.  Within about 15 seconds the sound of the circulating fan began to sound muffled and my sight grew dim.  Just as my lights were going out I turned and fell against the door which opened, admitting some air.  Good thing for me because the floor was aluminum plate, I was all sweaty from my bike ride to work and I wasn't wearing a jacket.   :o

Point being CO2 and CO both kill by the same mechanism.  They compete for the same hemoglobin binding sites as does oxygen, and hemoglobin actually binds CO and CO2 in preference to oxygen, so a little CO or CO2 can displace the oxygen from hemoglobin.  You've heard this before, and it's true:  There is little or no warning.  There's no feeling of suffocation like you get when you hold your breath.  You just pass out. 

Most people don't realize how easy it is to die like that.   :'(   

If you can smell exhaust, you are breathing CO and CO2, both of which can be deadly in in the still air of confined spaces.

Title: Re: Lister engine as a backup generator
Post by: quinnf on December 05, 2005, 04:58:23 AM
(Why do I feel like we're being spammed?)