Lister Engine Forum

Lister Engines => Listeroid Engines => Topic started by: veggie on March 27, 2022, 04:42:45 PM

Title: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: veggie on March 27, 2022, 04:42:45 PM
Earlier this winter we experienced a power outage.
It happened at dinner time and ran for most of the evening during a winter storm with temperatures at -16C.
The house started to cool rapidly.
Wearing my headlamp, I ventured out to the garage, fired up the listeroid, and flipped the transfer switch.
All good, we had power and heat. But one annoying thing was the flickering lights throughout the house.
It also concerned me that damage may occur to sensitive electronics such as the $600 control board in my natural gas furnace.
Here's a short video of the Listeroid running in the dark and powering the house.
Notice the 240 volt AC generator head. (Soon to be changed).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfS4dqnn4_I (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfS4dqnn4_I)

I decided to try a different approach.
Driving a DC alternator -->  battery bank ---> pure sine inverter --> House

I already had a set of batteries left over from a previous solar project, so I though they could act as a load buffer and a voltage clamp for the alternator/inverter system.
I swapped out the AC generator head for a Delco 25Si heavy duty 50A, 24 volt alternator.
Next step was to build a power module consisting of box, batteries, solar charge controller, pure sine inverter, and safety breakers.
This is what I ended up with.
The idea is that during an outage the Listeroid runs constantly.
Sometimes the house pulls from both the batteries and the alternator, and other times the charging is greater than the house draw.
Overall the system can keep up.
The listeroid can achieve 50A alternator output at the reduced speed of 395 rpm which makes the system very quiet.
Here is a video of the first run where the bank is charging at 20 amps.
The yellow cable from the power module plugs into the generator inlet box to the house transfer switch.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxJo6UqwCi0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxJo6UqwCi0)

When not in use, float charging is accomplished with a small 24 volt, 5amp 3 step battery maintainer.
Once the solar charge controller is connected to the 600 watt panel array, the solar charger can take care of keeping the batteries topped.
The Magnum inverter provides split phase, 240 volt AC to the house, just as my AC alternator did.
I realize this is less efficient, but I don't care. I can justify it by not having to replace expensive electronic components.

cheers,
veggie
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: BruceM on March 27, 2022, 06:03:18 PM
Alternately, use LED bulbs with a switch mode power supply (constant DC voltage and current to LEDs in series) in the base.

Edit-  I missed the 395 rpm;  that's probably a no go for direct AC power without some serious flywheel mass additions that would make the SOM flywheels look lightweight.  I like that the inverter can handle bigger peak loads, while the Lister CS just keeps on purring and catches up the batteries later. 
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: cujet on March 28, 2022, 02:41:42 AM
Very nice setup and thanks for the videos. It's one thing to understand what's being described. It's another to see a fantastic installation in all it's glory, and watch it function properly.
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: veggie on March 28, 2022, 09:19:58 PM
Very nice setup and thanks for the videos. It's one thing to understand what's being described. It's another to see a fantastic installation in all it's glory, and watch it function properly.

Yes, when the unit powered an AC generator, the engine ran at 650 rpm.
All the house lights are LED's but lots of flicker. I was also concerned about sensitive electronics.
When accounting for the power demand of the 50 amp alternator, the load could be achieved with the lister running at 395 rpm (alternator running at 2000 rpm).
So I slowed the engine down to match the load. The engine is running near max load for that speed.

One benefit from this system is that while the house is being fed power, the engine heat dissipated from the radiator fan (1 ft away from the engine) keeps the the insulated garage at a nice 70F when it's -16C (3 Deg F) outside. No need for my garage heater.
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: veggie on March 28, 2022, 09:21:44 PM
Very nice setup and thanks for the videos. It's one thing to understand what's being described. It's another to see a fantastic installation in all it's glory, and watch it function properly.

Thanks cujet     :)
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: veggie on March 28, 2022, 09:34:59 PM
I tried to evaluate the effect of the rotational speed variation from the pulse of a large displacement single cylinder four cycle engine (AKA Lister).

From my estimations (that's all they are, just estimations), the power pulse and resulting momentary generator RPM change on a lister(oid) with a 3600 rpm AC generator head are considerable.

Lets assume that the engine pulse (or speed drop/increase) is the equivalent to a
momentary "bump" of 2 rpm at the engine. (That's a guess on my part).
It's not really important because what is being tested here is the relationship
between two generator speeds. The comparison between 1800 and 3600 would
stay the same regardless of the exact speed "bump" value.

3500 RPM Generator Head:
ENGINE RPM      RATIO         GEN. RPM
================================
650                       5.53                 3600
648                       5.53                 3583 <---- a change of 17 RPM !


Now lets look at and 1800 rpm head...

ENGINE RPM      RATIO         GEN. RPM
================================
650                       2.77                 1800
648                       2.77                 1794 <---- a change of 6 RPM

*************************************************************************************************

OK, now what if it were a bit more pronounced.
Say on a power stroke the lurch causes a equivalent 2 rpm bump, and on the coasting cycle the target speed drops by 2 rpm.
(Assuming the generator is under load so there is considerable resistance to rotation). The flywheel inertia is attempting to overcome the drag from the Generator head, but there is still some drop in rpm). A total of 4 rpm from power stroke to the end of the coasting cycle.
Because of the belt ratio, the speed change is amplified 5.53 times !

3500 RPM Generator Head: (4 rpm interruption)
ENGINE RPM      RATIO         GEN. RPM
================================
650                       5.53                 3600
646                       5.53                 3583 <---- a change of 116 RPM !
A concerning 116 rpm momentary effect. (Even if it's just for one rotation until the next firing stroke.)
A definite cause for flickering lights and a distorted sine wave pattern.


Now lets look at and 1800 rpm head with the same rotational interruption (4 rpm)...

ENGINE RPM      RATIO         GEN. RPM
================================
650                       2.77                 1800
646                       2.77                 1789 <---- a change of only 11 RPM

So an 1800 rpm head has considerably less rotational interruption due to the smaller speed change ratio of the belt drive.
Hence less voltage change and less light flicker.

I would argue that a 1200 rpm (or even a 900 rpm) head would have considerably less flicker.
In the old days, there were 900 rpm generator heads.

Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: BruceM on March 28, 2022, 11:04:34 PM
I have a form of epilepsy from MS and so Listerflicker is an issue for me.  I use my Listeroid to power my shop's 2000W of heat lamps.  Before I did some work on the flicker, I could not use my shop heat lamps without health and safety problems. 

The Lister CS frequency and resulting generator head frequency variation is in itself not the big problem for lighting flicker, based on my experimentation with a custom AVR on the ST-3.

Instead it is the poor voltage regulation resulting from rpm variation; slowest speed during compression, fastest during power stroke.  With an AC voltage peak filter on a step down transformer, I was able to see this as a 5Hz hump variation visible on oscilloscope. Another forum member used it on his unit with SOM flywheels and saw a similar amplitude and frequency pattern, though without a digital oscilloscope it was very hard for him to see this 5 Hz signal representing AC peak voltage variation over time.

By messing with the RC time constant used for measuring the AC peak voltage for my custom AVR, and using mains voltage (not harmonic) to have more power during the compression stroke, I was able to match the performance of the SOM flywheels.  For 100W bulbs or bigger, that good enough for me to use.  One of the problems is that the very large inductance of the 4 rotor coils of the ST-3 causes a delay in response to changes in excitation current/voltage.  So even though excitation is cut off by my AVR during the compression stroke as voltage rises too high, it continues to rise with no further excitation added (the inductance stores and gives back the energy).  This could be electronically compensated,  by either partially shorting the excitation coils, or clipping the peaks of the AC waveform.  Both waste power, though the AC waveform peak clipping could be captured into a capacitor bank to be used for subsequent excitation.   This would be pretty complicated, and there is little market for such a sophisticated ($) AVR for very low speed engines, so I didn't try to tackle it once my own flicker reduction efforts were sufficient for my using 250W heat lamp bulbs for a few hours at a time. 

It is true that frequency variation alone might be noticeable by some, but my opinion is that mostly, it is voltage variation caused by rpm variation of the engine.  For my 650 rpm CS 6/1, the AC voltage peak has a 5 Hz hump; drops low during compression, then goes up after power stroke and sags, repeat.

While some of my older posts seem to have vanished, this old thread on the flicker issue might be helpful for newbies:
https://listerengine.com/smf/index.php?topic=2572.msg30553#msg30553

As for LED bulbs- they will be no help for flicker unless the bulb is the type with a switching AC to DC converter/regulator. Many currently made LED bulbs only rectify the AC to a small capacitor, with a linear DC current limiter, and they will flicker as bad or worse than incandescent bulbs since the LED's have no filament thermal persistence as incandescent bulbs do, increasingly for higher wattages.  You can generally confirm the presence of a SMPS type LED bulb by using an AM regenerative tuner type radio tuned between stations near the bulb on and off.  If you hear some new noises when on, yep, it's a switcher type bulb. 

Best Wishes,
Bruce
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: glassblower on April 28, 2022, 06:07:12 PM
Very nice Build, Neat and orderly.

I'm looking to build a similar system to work with my solar panel system as well. It looks like you are using the mppt75 charge controller from you single wire alternator, is that correct? Did you install a two conductor lug on your single terminal of your alternator?  When you integrate the solar system, I assume it will have it's own charge controller tied to the same set of batteries. Which Magnum inverter did you use?

Sorry for all the questions, kept pausing the video and tried to understand how it was all wired together.

Thanks
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: veggie on April 29, 2022, 03:57:21 PM
Very nice Build, Neat and orderly.

I'm looking to build a similar system to work with my solar panel system as well. It looks like you are using the mppt75 charge controller from you single wire alternator, is that correct? Did you install a two conductor lug on your single terminal of your alternator?  When you integrate the solar system, I assume it will have it's own charge controller tied to the same set of batteries. Which Magnum inverter did you use?

Sorry for all the questions, kept pausing the video and tried to understand how it was all wired together.

Thanks

Hi,

The 50A alternator is wired directly to the batteries and the uses the voltage regulator in the alternator to control current/voltage when the engine is running.
The "Intronix Power" 25A, 24 volt solar charge controller (CC) is not connected to the alternator in any way.
Solar panels connect to the input of the CC and the the output of the CC is wired directly to the battery posts.
So, two separate charging systems connected to the same battery.

good luck with your system build,
veggie
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: glassblower on May 02, 2022, 06:53:12 PM
Gotcha, Makes perfect sense. I like the simplicity of that design. Thanks Veggie !
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: mikenash on May 02, 2022, 08:07:51 PM


The 50A alternator is wired directly to the batteries and the uses the voltage regulator in the alternator to control current/voltage when the engine is running.
The "Intronix Power" 25A, 24 volt solar charge controller (CC) is not connected to the alternator in any way.
Solar panels connect to the input of the CC and the the output of the CC is wired directly to the battery posts.
So, two separate charging systems connected to the same battery.

good luck with your system build,
veggie
[/quote]

Interesting.  I have a cheapie 12v solar system with a couple of panels, an MPPT controller, and a bunch of lead-acids.  When I run the genset, I use its 12VDC wiring to charge the batteries as well - cos, why not

I wonder if this is feasible with a modern system - lLiFePo, batteries, Victron inverter/charge controller, panels etc?

Either one of the petrol gensets, or the CS & Chinese ST-clone head will make horrible choppy 230 VAC which some appliances don't like.  I was considering just buying a 230VAC-24VDC decent-sized battery charger suitable for use with LiFePos and attaching it direct to battery bank for those occasions when it's overcast for days at a time

Thoughts?  Cheers
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: veggie on May 03, 2022, 02:37:01 PM

mikenash,

Engine/Generator --> Battery Charger --> Battery Bank --> Inverter --> Clean Power

Should work.
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: mikenash on May 04, 2022, 08:05:05 AM

mikenash,

Engine/Generator --> Battery Charger --> Battery Bank --> Inverter --> Clean Power

Should work.

I would hope so, yes.  I'm just playing with a few hundred watts of solar and a few a/h of lead-acid right now and I've been a bit precious about the LiFePos - but they're getting cheaper & they're coming as a unit with a smart BMS these days . . .  I guess we'll see.  Cheers
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: glassblower on May 05, 2022, 07:27:10 PM
 lLiFePo, batteries with the built in BMS are the way to go. Curious what brand you are using.  I acquired several Enerdel Lithium packs, same used in the "Think" car. Of course no BMS so I'm adding my own and hoping to build my own Power Wall with them.
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: cujet on May 13, 2022, 04:12:36 PM
This setup is really awesome. It takes the incredible capability of the Listeroid and couples it with modern technology. Really, the only thing it gives up is the simplicity of a belt drive generator head that directly powers a home. However I'm 100% convinced the benefits outweigh the downsides. I'd even bet overall system efficiency can be pretty darn good.

A combined heat and power setup like that could be incredible. And you can burn any kind of oil you want!
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: veggie on May 14, 2022, 03:20:33 PM
Thanks Cujet,

The weak point at the moment is the batteries. They are 9 years old.
They hold a charge and perform well (about 85% of their original performance), but their days are numbered.
I considered switching to IiFePo but I'm not sure if an alternator can charge them.
Perhaps the BMS takes care of that problem. I will need to do more research as the time gets closer.

cheers
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: BruceM on May 14, 2022, 04:13:47 PM

Regarding you specific question, Veggie, as long as the alternator is set to charge at a normal wet lead battery voltage, you should be able to use LFP batteries without any change.  The BMS will disconnect charging once the cells are full, and will disconnect the load when the cells get too low.  A BMS failure has resulted in battery destruction. 

DIYsolarforum is a good place to watch for the best deals/reviews on lithium batteries.  I think the waiting game is a winner. There have been plenty of issues with premature failures of lithium cells, and both price and performance keep improving each year.  About $500 for a 12V. 100AH battery, twice that for 24V, 100AH.

Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: veggie on May 15, 2022, 01:10:00 AM

Interesting Bruce,

$1000 for a 100 AMP 24 volt LFP ( or $2000 for 200 amps comparable to my current setup)

To replace my four 225 amp lead acid deep cycles, the total cost would be $800.

A huge price difference for 200 amp batteries.

Granted, a proper analysis would also include expected cycles over the life of both packs.

veggie
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: BruceM on May 15, 2022, 01:27:38 AM
Yes, and you may be able to use the 100AH, since you can use them to near full capacity.
The situation is likely to improve by the time your existing one's are done.
Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: cujet on May 15, 2022, 01:04:09 PM

 
$1000 for a 100 AMP 24 volt LFP ( or $2000 for 200 amps comparable to my current setup)

To replace my four 225 amp lead acid deep cycles, the total cost would be $800.

A huge price difference for 200 amp batteries.
 

I will have to look that price up, that seems too high. Just checked, LiFePO4 prismatic cells are still reasonably priced if you make your own battery bank. I'm seeing $108 ea for 280AH cells.

Even so, 100AH LiFePO4 is roughly equal to 200AH Pb-acid. As the depth of discharge limits on PB batteries is pretty severe.

Title: Re: My fix for Listeroid light flicker
Post by: BruceM on May 15, 2022, 03:52:45 PM
Yes, it's cheaper to buy your own cells, cheaper yet if you get seconds or derated used cells.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4pN4DVPOcY

The price I gave is an estimate  for a good priced, prebuilt 100AH 12V battery. 

Will Prouse keeps reviewing cells, BMS units, prebuilt batteries, rack mount setups.
https://www.youtube.com/c/WillProwse

While a young enthusiast, and thus optimistic on new technology reliability and longevity, his reviews and material are technically competent.