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Messages - vtmetro

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Other Fuels / Re: Lister on Steam?
« on: August 31, 2015, 03:44:58 PM »
Thob, nope, wasn't planning to bugger anything up. I've enjoyed thinking about a conversion, which is different.

And I did start with somethng else, as I wrote. A Tecumseh conversion. I cast a new head (I cast iron) and built a rotary valve that worked quite well. There aren't any oil field engines in Vermont, as far as I know.

Condensate in the oil can be a problem, but this and solutions to it have been discussed elsewhere many times before, and it's not necessarily a non-starter for conversions. Sometimes water with a small amount of oil is used as the actual engine lubricant. If interested in learning about that approach you can probably find online Bart Smaalders very well known long term accounts of his compressor conversion steam boat.

Or, If the engine runs engine oil at higher than the boiling point of water it can also rid itself of condensate -- in fact condensate  issues occur not just on a steam engine, but on a diesel or gas engine run infrequently and/or in cold conditions. There are threads here discussing oil flow heating for that condensate removal purpose.

Thob, your description of a traditional slow speed double-acting D-valve steam engine is accurate, but there are many other historic and practical types including single acting engines, with enclosed crankcases splash lubrication, and no stuffing boxes, like the Westinghouse high speed engines used for power generation.

Listeroid Engines / Re: HF Inverter TIG welder on an ST5?
« on: August 30, 2015, 05:15:59 PM »
Thob, thanks kindly. And I think you hit the nail on the head. It almost certainly an output choke, and I think it probably did continue to smoke the coating from residual heat after I turned it off.

Mike, thanks. It's more like 4 years old, just used very little, so I'm going to have to solve the problems myself.

Remember, it was the loud Briggs and Stratton driven Generac, too. I'm not saying the ST5 would cause the problem -- just asking if others have run a similar or the same welder off an ST5.

I did reconfigure the ST5 for 240, and did give the TIG welder a short try on it yesterday -- welded some half inch rebar into a Tee, and didn't notice any problem. But I also didn't leave it on for more than a minute that it took to put on the helmet and position things and lay down a couple of welds. It sounds like it should work okay from other's experience so far if the welder itself is okay.

I'll do a search online for choke problems for the HF welder. That welder did get very good reviews when I bought it ........from a whole lot of people on different forums, but of course this one could be an exception.

I think I'll hook it up to mains again and leave it on for a good amount of time to see if it does the same thing. If so, I know it's a welder problem. If not, it was a Generac problem. And I'll need to test to find out if it will be a ST5 problem.

I still wonder if my 240 hookup to the Generac might have had something to do with it -- somehow messing up its voltage regulation. like I said, it was a 4 prong outlet at the generator, fed into a 3 prong outlet for the welder.

I brought out the two 240 hot lines (red and black) and the equipment ground (bare copper) to the welder's factory 3 prong plug. The neutral (white) was left unconnected.

Maybe that messed up the voltage regulator (if there is one) in the Generac. It's a 4000XL model generator


I just tested the welder on 240V mains AC and it works perfectly there. I spent a half hour welding with it. No smoke. Case fan exhaust was cool. I know that if I put it back on the Generac, even without welding, there would be smoke in about 5 minutes. My conclusion is the welder itself is not defective. Something about the combination is the problem. I wish I knew what that was.

Listeroid Engines / Re: HF Inverter TIG welder on an ST5?
« on: August 28, 2015, 09:02:00 PM »
Hi Tom, no, not going off grid.

I'd really like it if I could do occasional welding with the listeroid -- that's the only time I need 240V.

Otherwise I'd like it to provide heat and electricity (110V) in winter for a very tiny shop that it is adjacent to. Maybe 4 hrs/day, 3-4 days a week, winter only.

And a third use would be to power some of the house circuits in a power outtage (also only 110V). Maybe 4 times a year.

I might weld a few times a month, max. Repairs or building a project.

I also have an old clunker tombstone Lincoln buzz-box stick welder, and I could probably bring that one up here from my other shop. And trade the TIG back down there.

I Imagine the heavy tombstone is less sensitive than the inverter TIG welder -- being pre-digital everything. But the TIG is nice and small and I can move it around easily. I don't think the buzz box is as efficient, so I do wonder if the Metro can power it.

I think the TIG is only putting out 10 to 15V max through the stinger, so 100 amps is less than 1.5 kW. And efficiency high.

I think the buzzbox is probably quite a bit higher voltage at the stinger, so 100 amps is a lot more watts, and probably not too efficient to get there, either.

I'm not in a position to buy any more gear at present, so I'm hoping to work out something with the Metro, with what I have. If the TIG will run without smoking on the Metro, that would be ideal.

Wish I knew for sure what the reason was the other day that it didn't like the Generac. The overheating happened while it was not welding, just on. And the generator was loading down, so it was drawing for some reason.

Listeroid Engines / HF Inverter TIG welder on an ST5?
« on: August 28, 2015, 04:35:10 PM »
I'm just wondering if anyone here has had experience running a inverter TIG welder off of the 240V output of a 6/1 with an ST5 gen head (mine has an AVR)?

I ask because I have somewhat successfully run a Harbor Freight Inverter TIG welder from a 4KW Generac w/3600 rpm Briggs engine.

When I say somewhat, I mean it welded fine at a reasonably low setting (110 amps) doing just a stick job, but I was a bit nervous and turned th e welder off between short welds. Everything went well, and then I got more confident and didn't switch off. After about 5 minutes of very intermittent and short welds -- mostly positioning things, I saw and smelled some smoke coming out of the welder, and shut it down, thinking the worst.

I opened up the case and saw no blackened traces or wires, nothing obvious at all. Finally noticed what looked like maybe a huge air cooled wound power resistor or coil (not sure what it is) had a little of the varnish looking slightly different than another one, and it seemed in the position where the smoke came from, and I felt a little residual heat in the chassis there, so I guessed this might have been the cause.

I reconnected the welder to mains 240, and it started up fine and welded.

So, I'm a little hesitant to run it off of the Metro now -- although that's supposed to be one of the reasons I got it. I hate to experiment, where you find out the answer to a question by burning out a $500 welder, so I really wonder if anyone else has had experience with a welder on a Listeroid/ST5.

In trying to figure out what happened, I did try it again very briefly on the Generac. It also works there still, but I switched it off before heat could build up in that reisistor/whatever. Everything seemed cool afterward.

In reading more about 240v operation here on the Listeroid, I've started to wonder if what happened on the Generac had anything to do with voltage regulation -- maybe on one leg only?

The Generac has a 4 prong receptacle for output of 240 and split 120. The welder has a 3 prong plug and was hooked to a receptacle fed from the generator outlet and was wired with equipment ground to the ground prong, and black and red to the two hot lugs. White neutral was not connected.

I don't know how the Generac is regulated -- whether the 240 is regulated, or whether only one leg of 120 is regulated. Is it possible that I had the floating neutral problem, or that I miswired the plug and outlet, and the welder got too high or too low a voltage?

Or, is this possibly a 240V generator waveform or noise problem that the inverter welder can't cope with? And should I expect the same or worse with the Metro/6-1/ST5 head?

Thanks for your help.

Generators / Re: Help needed: no output on ST5
« on: August 28, 2015, 03:00:51 PM »
For all the problems that shaking will cause and the irritation of ground thumping whats another yard of concrete in the long run? But that's just me 

Well, sounds reasonable to me!

That sounds like a great project, too. Look forward to seeing it going together if you take any pics.

Other Fuels / Lister on Steam?
« on: August 28, 2015, 01:55:05 AM »
I do wonder where this should fit on the forum, since this Other Fuels section seems to be for other liquid fuels, and steam is not a fuel at all. Rather an energy rich transmission fluid.

It can be generated by wood, coal, solar heat, or any other source of heat from any fuel (or non-fuel) heat source. Conversion of a single cylinder engine like my Metro 6/1 is a fairly simple and straightforward process if you do machining yourself.

I'm not planning to do it yet, but have always been intrigued by the possibility. I have done a conversion for a 5 hp horizontal gas utility engine and run that on compressed air, but not ready to mess with my prized diesel yet.

The big hangup in steam, as always is, not the engine, but the boiler. If I had a boiler I believed in, I wouldn't hesitate to mod the Listeroid. I'd almost certainly run it on wood then, since I have a lot of it and heat with it.

Anyway, Listers HAVE been used to run on steam commercially for electrical generation (not the single cylinder variety, though) in the Australian White Cliffs project. The engines were modified by adding GM cylinder liners and used a bash valve arrangement and were monoflow exhaust. The steam supply was solar generated.

Here, have a look, it's interesting reading at the least:

Generators / Re: Help needed: no output on ST5
« on: August 27, 2015, 02:22:25 PM »
38ac re-reading your posts, when you say "on their own plinths", do you mean that the gen heads will be isolated from the engines to reduce vibration? This is something I've wondered about doing, myself.

The only difficulty I wondered about is whether the poly-vee belt would then vibrate too much not to skip a groove or have other problems. I guess it would depend on how much the engine vibrates, and from the sound of it you've really worked that down to a minimum.

With really solid concrete mounts, also that would also help. So I think I see the direction you're headed.

In my case, I could probably do the same by cutting the steel frame between the gen head and engine, and possibly removing the horse mat and gravel, and pouring the pan with concrete, embedding the railroad ties.

Generators / Re: Help needed: no output on ST5
« on: August 27, 2015, 02:06:24 PM »
Thanks 38AC, I think I would like to mount the AVR on the wall about 2 feet from the generator, then.

I do have a good mount setup for the listeroid and gen head, but am always open to improvements to any part of the setup, so comments are welcome.

The mounting I've used is first to pour in an excavation a pan shaped reinforced concrete slab with a 1 foot square section rim. At the bottom of the pan on the concrete slab I have a rubber horse stall mat. Set on that are two railroad ties. Bolted to the ties are the steel frame that the listeroid and generator are bolted to. The concrete pan was then filled with graded stone and sand up to the top of the railroad ties to provide damping.

I think I should really try to improve balance to the very best I can do now that the base seems reasonable. I have looked at a couple of the balance threads, including yours which is very helpful.

Generators / Re: Help needed: no output on ST5
« on: August 27, 2015, 01:14:02 AM »
Hi, Tom, I have a new quality metal enclosure that I bought for the purpose awhile back, also a transfer switch.

By same location, are you suggesting mounting it on top of the generator, like the present doghouse, or do you mean on the wall where the AC connection/meter transfer switch will be?

Would the reason for continuilg to mount the AVR on top of the generator be to keep the control leads as short as possible?

Listeroid Engines / Re: Jkson 6/1 rebuild
« on: August 26, 2015, 09:40:33 PM »
Funny, I was just asking about that switch and light in the generator section of the forum.

If the last few posts apply to my ST5, too, mine also has a meter so I REALLY don't get what the switch and light are for.

Generators / Re: Help needed: no output on ST5
« on: August 26, 2015, 09:29:06 PM »
After finding a tip elsewhere on the forum I labeled the leads to the bridge rectifier with masking tape and pulled that out. Checking with an ohmeter showed that it was shorted in one leg.

The label on the old one said 10 amps, It so happened that I had a 25 amp 600 PIV bridge rectifier on hand (GBPC2506) so decided to replace it with that one.

I was able to salvage the aluminum heat sink from the original rectifier by knocking out the plastic part. One good hit and it slid right out of the extrusion. It was only held in by a couple of thin lines of cement. There was NO obvious contact between the actual rectifier portion and the heat sink, I discovered, and no heat sink compound. There was an air gap between the metal and plastic. What a piece of junk!

But one cool bit of luck: the new rectifier slid into the extrusion perfectly. Since it had a hole in it already, I just drilled through the mounting hole in the heat sink and mounted it with a 10-24 x 1-1/2" bolt a nut and some Locktite. Oh, I used heat sink compound between the bridge and the sink this time.

The wire terminals seem just a little loose since they weren't exactly the same size, so I slightly crimped the tops, and then they made a firm connection with the spades.

Started the engine up and the meter swung up to indicate I had line voltage. Woohoo!

Here's the new rectifier:

Engines / Re: Adding a thermostat and housing using pipe fittings
« on: August 26, 2015, 07:52:31 PM »
And a further follow-up after 5 years, no leaks.

I will say that I've had good luck doing small cast iron welding since I first wrote this thread, using 7018 rod, short welds, and peening while it was cooling. But perfectly happy with the original JB Weld constructed thermostat housing, which I've never replaced.

Generators / Help needed: no output on ST5
« on: August 26, 2015, 07:24:01 PM »
re. ST5 with brushes and AVR

Hello all, it's been a long time since I've been on the forum or used my Listeroid Metro 6/1. I want to get it ready for winter and add the improvements I always wanted to do, so I checked it out in the shed where it is mounted.

A mouse had recently started a nest on top of the generator's brush terminals. I cleaned that out before trying to start and checked the brushes and terminals. They looked okay. I pulled the brushes and wiped them and the rings with a denatured alcohol moistened paper towel. The rings looked shiny and the ends of the brushes weren't cracked or broken. This is a low hours engine and genset. It doesn't look new only because there hs been some rust on the flimsy doghouse sheetmetal on top of the gen head where the thin paint cracked off. One of the things I want to do now is remove it and build a proper junction box off the generator.

Anyway, the Metro started easily, and the genset spun up and I had 120V showin on the meter with the panel switch still in the "off" position. I left the engine to warm up for aa minute to check the water lines and radiator to make sure the cooling system was working. When I got back I noticed there was no indication on the meter, and moving the switch to "on" no difference. There was no sign of electrical overheating anywhere, and there had been no electrical load on the generator since it was started.

I own a VOM, but am not quite sure where to start checking for the problem. The switch and the light are very cheesy quality, (one of the light socket contacts feels loose) and I'm wondering if that circuit is the source of the problem. The switch and light (incandescent) are in series together, and the leads that feed them go back throught the pass-through into the generator case. Thery're bundeld together with some other wires in an insulator sleeve, so I can't tell exactly where they go. Is that to the field?

So first question is, can I jumper the two leads together that go to the switch and light to bypass them?

And if that doesn't work, Is there a troubleshooting procedure of steps to test with the meter to find out where the problem is? A link is fine if there is somewhere in the forum. Or if not, can someone make suggestions?

I greatly appreciate it.!

Listeroid Engines / Re: DC Charging with 16/1
« on: November 24, 2012, 04:38:29 AM »
The part I thought was especially interesting was the 50% discharge provided a greater number of total stored amp/hours over the life of the battery bank than shallower discharge levels.

Since batteries are a high capital expense, that is an economic efficiency, by comparison with shallower discharges which yield more cycles, but fewer total stored amp hours. (or killowatt hours, if you multiply by the battery voltage. In other words, from the battery cost perspective, a lower cost per killowatt hour.

Incidentally, my local electricity costs about 10 cents / kwh off peak, and 20 cents peak. Diesel fuel through my Lister would cost more than 50 cents (using the figures of consumption provided here) for fuel alone, not including oil, maintenance, repairs.

It looks like fuel would need to cost about $1.20 a gallon to break even on fuel costs.

Listeroid Engines / Re: DC Charging with 16/1
« on: November 24, 2012, 02:47:52 AM »
This is the document I read which changed my mind a few years ago about deep cycling batteries from an economic efficiency point of view.
Note that isn't quite the same as extending the lifetime of a battery bank in terms of years.

The document was produced as an advisory by a boat refrigeration company for cruising boats for sizing battery banks. But I think it may be of interest to us as well. Or, at least, it was interesting to me.

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