Lister Engine Forum

Lister Engines => Original Lister Cs Engines => Topic started by: dieselspanner on April 21, 2020, 04:10:21 PM

Title: Electric starter
Post by: dieselspanner on April 21, 2020, 04:10:21 PM
Hi All

At long last and thanks to the lockdown I've finally assembled the parts for the electric starter.

It's quite a simple affair, I got a friend in the UK to get me a 12mm steel blank knocked up - water jet, to fit the centre of a Land Rover 2 1/4 flywheel (left over from when I changed the engine in my Series III for a 200 tdi from a Discovery) onto a weldable taper lock bush sized to fit the shaft on the Stamford alternator, alongside the serpentine belt pulley (there's just enough free length), that took a couple of years or so.

So, in the middle of last week I dragged the Lister from under the covers in the corner of the shed and set too.

First problem was rotation, it's not possible to fit the starter between the engine and the alternator, the body of the starter motor fouls the body of the 220v alternator, so it had to hang off the rear, on the other side. A shame really, it would have been a neater installation. This meant turning the alternator round and running off the other flywheel. The other option was start again with a larger diameter flywheel, but that could take another couple of years....

Obviously the alternator, apart from the direction of the air cooling) is indifferent to direction of rotation.  As the alternator mountings are not symmetrical it was out with the disc grinder and start again.

Once it was re aligned I shaped a short length of 3" of angle iron to take the starter and aligned it to the flywheel with a square and tacked it to the chassis. I set it up to be adjustable in the manner of a vehicle alternator, to allow for the Stamford alternator moving slightly as the drive belt is tensioned.

First results, with a set of jump leads were a bit disappointing, it wouldn't get over compression, even winding the engine as far back as possible to give it a run up, but with 8 /10 rotations there was enough momentum fire up a cold engine when the decompressor was released - at 15 degrees ambient, I doubted if it would at zero!

Anyway I carried on and made a decent job of bracing the fitting up, well, as decent as my welding allows! and once I'd connected the battery with a couple of short leads and decent terminals the results were much improved.

There was so much more torque that the serpentine pulley was spinning inside the belt until the engine speed picked up and then it was far faster, I turned the rev counter on (it's supplied by a PP3 battery) and it was clocking 190 rpm after a few seconds. the best I could manage with the handle was 165!

With the slipping belt problem out of the way it might well get over the compression stroke from a standing start, on 'low' anyway.

I've sent off via eBay for some belt dressing as I feel the belt is tight enough already - it doesn't slip under a 3 kva load - should that not provide a cure I'll get a longer belt and knock up an adjustable idler pulley to get more 'wrap' around the driven pulley.

I suppose the next task is to set up a control panel for 'stop and start' with solenoids to get just a little bit closer to a Startomatic.

There's probably enough time left in the lockdown........


Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: veggie on April 21, 2020, 07:50:33 PM
Excellent work spanner !
That should work great.
Maybe the weight of the Landy flywheel will help reduce flicker also.
That's where Lister used to put a flywheel on the start-o-matic models.

Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: mikenash on April 21, 2020, 10:15:23 PM
Hey Steph just yesterday I was butchering/adapting a Nissan flex plate to do the same job

It’s a common flex plate/tooth pattern - for example it fits Nissan cars but also the same ring-gear on some Chinese diesel singles. I just made a round flat 10mm plate bolted to that & once the machinist is back at work can put a boss in to suit the CS shaft & keyway

A bit like yours - it has been sitting on the “random bits” shelf in the workshop for a couple years. Covid has allowed me to blow the dust off it

But I wondered - what was the advantage of mounting yours to the gen head not the motor?  I guess I’m missing something here

I have the starter here for what was a Chinese diesel single nominally 12HP. I wonder if it’ll spin it?  I guess maybe your setup gives you a “gearing” advantage too?

Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: dieselspanner on April 22, 2020, 12:59:35 PM
Hi Mike

I'm not sure what the advantage of driving the motor via the gen head is either.

When I started collecting bits my plan was to mount the starter between the alternator and the Lister, but as I said above, it won't work without a larger diameter flywheel.

Quick, adopt plan B.........

That was the entire rethink process!

I looked up the compression ratio for a 2 1/4 Landy engine and it seems to be 23 /1, much the same as a Lister on high compression, so I'd guess (happy to be corrected here) that the force to pass TDC is the same, more or less, regardless of the volume. (unless the bore / stroke ratio comes into it, somehow) however there must be a far greater amount of inertia to overcome, given the weight of the Lister crank, flywheels, conrod and piston, not to mention the Stamford alternator, pulley and Landy flywheel.

It does take a few seconds to get up to full chat, 190 rpm, but at that speed it will keep cranking over compression with the fuel rack closed.

The gearing is approx 2 1/3 to one, I can only guess that driving the Lister direct would result in a lower cranking speed, but more torque to pass tdc on the compression stroke.

I suppose a neat arrangement could be had by having the vehicle flywheel on a jack shaft, with the driven pulley in between the Lister flywheel and the crankshaft, keeping the cranking speed inline with the starters original application. The starter motor could then be tucked away on the centre line of the bed plate. 

I've only got a narrow serpentine belt, it's about 2/3 the width of the Landy 200 tdi belt, maybe that's the next plan?

Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: mikenash on April 22, 2020, 08:50:10 PM
Hi Steph

I will watch with interest

I don’t know much about belt-drives except to know there’s more to them than meets the eye. I was a sawmill engineer for many years & have seen all sorts of odd losses of power due simply to loose/worn/wrong belts

I bet those old SOM Listers had two or three B or C series belts PLUS big driving pulleys on the generator/starter

Good project
Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: dieselspanner on April 28, 2020, 10:20:59 PM
Hi All

A couple or three nights back Glort posted something to the effect that the stupid mistakes that one makes are the hardest to detect but, once found are the easiest to rectify..........

Whilst gazing at the alternator drive shaft yesterday it occurred to me that it looked shinier  than I remembered, yep, it wasn't the belt slipping, it was the pulley spinning on the shaft.

Guess who, having put it all together to see how it looked, forgot to tighten the pulley taper lock? The schoolboy error was compounded by me not fitting a key - both flywheel, pulley and shaft have key ways.

As the pulley is a smaller diameter than the flywheel and on the 'inside', it wasn't easy to see what was going on, well that's my excuse!

The flywheel pulley key way is a little smaller than the 3/8" one common to the shaft and pulley so I knocked up a hermaphrodite key from a scrap of 10mm steel AND added witness marks to the flywheel and pulley. If it moves again I'll know.

The upshot of all this is that the starter will now turn the Lister over with no trouble, even from a standing start, with the crank at BDC, just before the compression stroke, and with the compression on high.

It starts easier on high (as was the original intention) but 7/8 'firing strokes' and it fired up the lower compression.

Again it was around 15 degrees in the barn, but I feel colder weather will be far less of a problem.
I believe from what I've read (on here!) that the Startomatics had a blanking plug in place of the change over valve and thicker gaskets (or maybe a spacer) under the cylinder to achieve a compression ratio somewhere between high and low, If anyone can point me in the right direction I'd be grateful.

In conclusion I'd say that the experiment is a roaring success. with the exception of the water jetted boss (I didn't have a lathe at that point) everything was done with hand tools and MMA - stick - welding, £50 / £75 down the scrap yard, maybe even less, depending on what you go for, and there you go.

If you can find something with a larger diameter flywheel and get the starter between the Lister and the alternator it's going to look neater and more compact.

Bleeding is going to be a lot easier too.

Add a 12v car alternator or a 220v ac / 12 dc charger to top the battery up and reliable push button start is yours.

It's definitely spurred me on in the direction of solenoid operated shut down system and a remote watch keeping panel, I suppose that's well on the way to re inventing the 'Startomatic', all suggestions gratefully received...




Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: listeroil on April 30, 2020, 06:23:35 PM
I believe from what I've read (on here!) that the Startomatics had a blanking plug in place of the change over valve and thicker gaskets (or maybe a spacer) under the cylinder to achieve a compression ratio somewhere between high and low, If anyone can point me in the right direction I'd be grateful.=

The 6/1 has the changeover and changes the compression ratio from 19 to 1 high comp to 16 to 1 low comp.
The 8/1 has no changeover valve and compression ratio is 17.5 to 1.
With the changeover valve fully screwed in it is the same as the plug in the 8/1.  Therefore if you change the piston to head clearance from the 6/1 setting of 0.045 to 0.050 to the 8/1 setting of 0.075 to 0.080  you will be fine.  The 8/1 comes with a 0.020 steel spacer but you can make up the difference with a corn flakes packet gasket.



Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: dieselspanner on April 30, 2020, 10:10:40 PM
Thanks for that, Listeroil.

Exactly the answer I was hoping for!

Looks like I'd over estimated the CS compression by around 20%, I guess that makes it a bit easier on the Landy starter, dropping the ratio to 17.5 to 1 would help a little more, again as Glort has said, if it cranks over for a few turns before it runs up it's not going to hurt and slinging the oil about before ignition can only help.

Next step then, is to pull the top end and and add a spacer under the cylinder, hand crafted from the traditional breakfast cereal packet.

Here, in France, Lidl's cheapest beer comes in a 24 bottle 'slab' and serves just as well, it feels a little bit more 'compression resistant' than cereal packets. We seem to have more of it available, for some reason......   

As a further aside, the over spray between the teeth on the flywheel
Gives a good indication of how well the starter motor teeth are meshing when it comes to setting the alignment up.


Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: dieselspanner on May 15, 2020, 09:39:06 PM
Hi All

So, after successfully mounting a starter motor to the CS I began thinking about a starter system. Wanting to use the fuel shut off cam to close the rack I went down the car door locking solenoid track.

The cheapest way to buy them was as an aftermarket kit, £28 from China via eBay, delivered to France.

The kit contained 4 solenoids, bracketry, two remotes and the control unit.

Having opened the box I swiftly came to the conclusion that I may well be able to use the whole kit, remotes and all. It has connections for locking the door (s) from the inside of the vehicle that would serve well for ‘local’ control.

I fitted a solenoid to the fuel shut off lever but as it was less than positive I added an extra spring behind and inline with the lever to render it ‘bi-stable’ - ie, it flips through the central position and rests at either end of it’s travel under tension. With a bit of adjustment that worked really well.

To change the direction of pull, the unit reverses the polarity of the short ‘pulse’ to the solenoid, when changing from ‘lock’ to ‘unlock’ (now start and stop) Using a diode on a second solenoid feed meant that there was only a pulse on the unlock (start) pulse.

I tried to use this pulse to engage the starter motor

I played about with a 12v H3y - 2, 0 to 10 seconds delay timer and a standard auto relay, but as I understand it, this, and every other timer I can find, delays the power rather than supply it for the specified time.

So, please can anyone point me towards a timer that, on receiving a short 12v pulse, latches on and supplies 12v for between 0 and 10 seconds, (adjustable, to allow for summer and winter starting) and then unlatches / resets until the next pulse.

I realise this is an ideal Arduino or Raspberry Pie situation, but as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I do to electronics what grit does to clockwork, (Terry Prachett) So I’m looking for something off the shelf, with two wires (+ & - !) for supply, and a switched contact capable of operating  the starter solenoid. If this means feeding via a relay that's fine.

As usual, all comments, help and criticism, positive or not, are welcome!!

Title: Re: Electric starter - Why?
Post by: sirpedrosa on May 15, 2020, 11:18:30 PM
Hi Stef

I was here wondering, why you want your Lister with that modern electric and electronic junk?

The fun of a Lister - for me, I'm talking just in my case - is to be runned attended by owner.

Its a huge pleasure to be ask: Why um run a museum relique, instead of a modern generator enclosed and insulated and quiet?

And you answer: Because I can, I like, and I rebuilded it. Look at this fine piece of mechanical engeniring?

Stef, think in your health, and tell us if in a cold morning (whatever) a few turns at start handle are, or not, a good exercise?

After that, a slice of cheese on a baguette, with a bordeaux, or a beaujolais. (I'm already salivating)

Stay safe, please.
Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: dieselspanner on May 16, 2020, 08:48:30 AM

That's quite few questions!

To start at the top....

Yes, a lot of the fun is in rebuilding and then running an engine, however, last year I bought an off grid barn. A lot of CS Listers, as Startomatics, ran isolated farms etc, for years,

That's what I want mine to do.

Sure, I could have a silenced, modern genny, but it won't be as easy to maintain as a CS. With a few hundred pounds worth of spares, head, barrel, piston, rings .com rod, crank and bearings, along with a modest box of tools I can have an engine rebuilt by supper time.

The CS will run happily on the WVO I have a good supply of, and lots of other waste oils that may come my way in the future,

It will still be a museum peice, the brackets that hold the modern stuff to the engine are all mounted on existing bolts / studs and it will hand crank the same as ever.

I'm guessing as a policeman you live an active life, me too, I'm 6 feet tall, 14 years in the Royal Marines, and married to a small lady who worked on a bank. She knows case more about pressing buttons than I ever will, but anything bigger than a lawn mower, with a hand start is going to be a bit beyond her.

Years back, whilst working with the Parachute Regiment, I was asked why I was wearing a pullover a week before the Regiment had changed from summer (shirt sleeve order) to winter rig (pullovers) I replied that the Corps had issued me the pullover and left it to me to decide if I was cold.

That's how it is with the CS, at 65 Years old, with the start of arthritis, and the winters just as cold as ever, 1100 meters up in the Pyrenees, I'm fitting, now, the electric starting kit before I get to the stage where I can't get out of bed and have to get the Wife to go and press the button on the wall because I can't remember where I left the remote fob!

We've got plenty of wine, Carolyn makes her own bread and I can see the local cheese makers house from the barn, in a couple of years time,when you've polished all the museum exhibits, and I've got the roof on the barn, pop round for lunch, we can take turns starting the CS, just to work up an appetite!

Title: Re: Electric starter - nothing like a plan, preferably a good one
Post by: sirpedrosa on May 16, 2020, 10:10:16 AM
Hi Stef

Nothing like a few words to trigger a good speach explaining a good plan.

Clear as water. And yes, if life grant us enough time and, by chance, I take the road up, I'll make a detour!

Meantime, take care.

Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: dieselspanner on May 16, 2020, 10:34:13 AM

Start searching the local barns for a Casal or Famel moped

Do a full restoration, fill the tank and set off for my place, you should get here in time for my 70th birthday!

Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: sirpedrosa on May 16, 2020, 10:52:25 AM
You are terrible Stef.

Thous machines are gold price now, even in scrap shape.

A decent restauration goes up to 3000€.

Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: listeroil on May 18, 2020, 12:39:07 AM
eBay item number:163833444864 Might be what you need
Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: dieselspanner on May 20, 2020, 03:24:44 PM
Thanks for that, I've ordered one, Looks like an easy way out, with a nice display, once I've worked my way through the Chinese instructions!

I found and ordered this too

Much simpler, just twiddle the pot.

Maybe later I'll go for a double delay and have a pre heater kick in first. I'd rather keep it simple to start with tho....

Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: queenofjacks on May 21, 2020, 08:19:08 PM
Hi, Guys-
  I've seen several articles about electric starters for Lister CS engines and I just had to put in my two cents worth!
  My starter system is sooo simple and inexpensive!  A golf cart type starter/generator ($125) a belt ($10-15) a (small belt pulley $10) a little bit of simple shop work! A picture is worth a thousand words - so check the attached photo.  push the starter button, pull the tensioning lever and, Voila! - She spins over perfectly and easily.  Cranking is straight forward.  When you activate compression release and she cranks, release tension on the belt.  If the run time is going to be more than just a minute or two, Kick the starter belt off with a stick or tool so the starter/generator isn't driven unnecessarily. Easy to do.
  Now I wired my starter/generator for start only -- didn't need the generate function.  But if you want some serious 12 volt charging for say, a battery bank - this will do it!
Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: Hugh Conway on May 22, 2020, 11:23:03 PM

The golf cart starter works great. I have been using one on my 6/1 for several years. Veggie provided photos and a schematic for his hook-up a few years back. Can't recall if it was on LEF or Microcogen. With my set-up, I just leave the starter/generator belted on to charge the starting battery.  Veggie used a solenoid for switching, I just used a manual switch with heavy contacts.  Had to replace the brushes once, but otherwise trouble-free.
You are correct, inexpensive and easy to rig.
Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: queenofjacks on May 23, 2020, 02:54:26 AM
Thanks for the reply, Hugh.  I've used this set up on three CS engines, so far.  No problems whatsoever.  -- Cheers,
Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: veggie on May 24, 2020, 03:14:52 PM

My golf car starter/charger system. (

and here is the link to the MicroCogen forum discussion... (
Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: Hugh Conway on May 24, 2020, 05:41:08 PM
@ Veggie
Thanks for re-posting with the links.
IMHO, this is the best add-on starter system for a Listeroid. After 6 years of use (we're off-grid) it still works without problems. I estimate around 1500-1700 operating hours and around 1000 start/charge cycles. Keeps the starter battery charged so there is a independent lighting system in the engine area too. Does not use a noticeably high current draw for starting.......I originally installed a well used (scrapped) car battery and it is still in service after all these years. Also the starter/generator does not use an appreciable amount of HP when in charge mode. In fact, though there is additional power used, we can't see/hear any difference without measuring.
We had previously installed a friction starter, but had problems when there was an ice film on the flywheel from the freezing fog that we get here sometimes. The friction starter is still in place, but hasn't been used for years. That's also a simple system, though required a bit of machining to adapt the starter motor.
Golf cart starter/generator is the machining, no welding. Hacksaw, file, drill motor was all that was required. We just fabricated a bracket from Aluminium channel and bolted it up.
Thanks again Veggie, for getting us started.
Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: veggie on May 28, 2020, 03:55:10 PM
 Hi Hugh,

I don't know how you found a genuine 6/1 in Canada but you did it.
I think I saw one for sale about 6 years ago and it sold in 1 day.
Cherish it.
Did you give it a clean and polish lately? Are you taking good care of it?   ;D
Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: Hugh Conway on May 28, 2020, 05:10:59 PM
@ Veggie
Re the Dursley 6/1....It is a start-o-matic. I didn't find it in Canada though......bought it from another LEF member (Oiler)in Denmark. The shipping was not very expensive, the importation was also not very expensive.......BUT....... Customs guys in Montreal said it was dirty, so sent it out to be cleaned before allowing it to enter. That was costly. Oiler put a couple of nice Danish beers in one of the control boxes. Customs guys , or likely the "cleaners" kept the beer though it should have been allowed. Never the less, it's now sitting on a big concrete pad in my shop which it will eventually power. I removed all the start-o-matic components and belted it up to another Utterpower PMG.........same as with my Listeroid daily driver that's used for bat charging in winter. The Dursley got a strip down, re-sleeve on the cylinder, new bearings and rings. Re-did the fuel filter as per 38AC, and a repaint. It is far easier to hand start than my Listeroid.......a few turns of the crank and off it goes, no need for a starter.........Big flywheels and inertia, I guess.
Title: Re: Electric starter
Post by: dieselspanner on November 17, 2020, 03:25:00 AM
Hi All

I thought I'd 'bump' this thread in support of Veggies 'Simple starter' thread.

As you can see its pretty simple, but a bit of fabrication is needed.

I still haven't got around to getting it more 'startomatic' yet, the refurb of the barn has taken off and five weeks back I got called out to  Azerbaijan on the hoverbarge project I've mentioned a time or too before.