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Messages - glort

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I thought pistons were SUPPOSED to be oval??


I have found them to be Reliable and versatile units.
The DIN rail is handy. One thing I find is a difficulty with a lot of the little Circuit boards is actually mounting/ enclosing them especially when they have screens and buttons.  I scan the things and do a printout which gives me a template for buttons and openings but often Relays sit up pretty proud which means they have to come up above the face of the box in order to reach the buttons. Terminal blocks are often the same way which is a bit stupid as you are exposing often high voltage wires.

These things being all enclosed and on a mounting block for the wiring are a far superiour design. I bought a meter of DIN rail the other week for $6.  Can mount a lot of components on that much.

I was using one of these up until a month back to switch a fan heater in the house. Solar came up, heater kicked in.  You can set them any way for high or low voltage. I only recently saw they work on DC as well which is a Bonus as high Voltage  Anything in DC is hard and expensive to find. Most of the Cheap stuff stops at 100V.
You don't have to use these things to switch anything even though they can, I just get them to Drive a Relay as I have a heap of them in the box and they are like $2.50 ea so if I cook one, I'm hardly concerned.

I put another 6.2 Kw of solar on the other week and did over 80 Kwh yesterday and it was slightly hazy.  I don't need these things for controlling solar any more but I'm sure they will come in handy for some other experimentation down the track.

I might look at modifying one for a direct solar water heater controller. This will have to switch a Capacitor bank pretty rapidly  so I'll take out the mechanical relay and Put in a Mosfet which I can mount externally on a heat sink and just need a low current wire to the gate to switch it.

Quite amazing the components you can get now and what you can do with them.


Hi Gary,

This is the devices I have:


50-300V Ac or DC.  You can set Hysteresis as well. You'd have to watch the current you switched with them especially with DC as they are not that high rated, only 6A but I am using mine on a PWM controller to limit the AC power anyway so I get a lower heat input for a longer time which allows the thing to work better with the solar as it doesn't pull the voltage down by dropping the whole load.  For higher loads I use the monitor to just Drive a heavier DPDT relay.

I forget your battery bank voltage but there are also other little boards that do up to 60V.  They monitor the battery voltage and then at the preset Voltages turn a relay on and off. They are designed to control mains battery chargers but again the relays will work with ac or DC the latter which one would be far better off switching with DPDT relays on both poles or a MOSFET to eliminate arcing depending on the current.

if this doesn't suit let me know and I'll dig up a link to the other one and if you need a timer or something to check operation.  Few different ways you could monitor the engine to control the start and run signal.  These little boards now make things so easy. You can link them together and do so much. I was learning arduino but by the time you learn it and figure out the code and all that, easier for me to just wire the boards up and so much simpler. May not be quite as elegant but put them in a jiffy box with some switches and meters and who knows what's in there!  :0)


Producers are a LOT of work to build, difficult and time consuming to get running, Lot of maintence is a gross understatement and unless you have VERY good filtration, will eat up an engine quickly. Not to mention they look like a Frankenstein contraption.

You want free fuel, Swap the engine out for a Diesel and run Veg or used engine oil. Bout 100/th of the work a woodburner is going to be.

Other alternative would be to build a Pyrolysis plant and distil used oil back to something you can use as a motor Fuel.  You can even Shred and Crack old tyres and make useable fuel from them. Man of your talents wouldn't find that too hard.

Lest with making your own fuel you can get in the truck, start it and drive off. You don't have to plan every trip 30 Min before you want to leave and only have it worth while going 50 Mile or more at a time.

Other thing is if you have the space and resources, Build a methane Digester.  You can compress the gas and do the Impco carb and have a turn key Vehicle rather than something you could get a 5 Mile head start on by walking.


 All of these, when switched on, could consume enough DC current to trigger the generator. Try that with a smartphone charger!

Actually the DC wouldn't harm a smart phone charger. may not consume enough power to switch one but then again would you really want to run a Hulking great generator to charge a Phone?  :0)

It is the DC that would upset a lot of things but by the same token, a lot of things with transformers will Run on DC.  To have them basicaly in a brown out situation though would be another thing.  As you point out, in the old days things were on or off. We all know and have heard of the idea of switching things off at the power point because of parasitic drain of these plug pack and electronic appliances that are never really off, just in standby.
That's where a large amount of the problem would be.

IMHO the best way to recreate a "SOM" setup now would be with a battery bank and sufficient inverter(s) to power your load requirements. Then sense the voltage on the batteries, and trigger the generator when that drops below a threshold; and switch off when it rises above a different threshold.

 I have a device that does exactly that. Couple of them actually.
They are a voltage dependant relay.  I have one on my hot water system.  When the solar pushes the the mains voltage up to a programmed level which indicates sufficient power, the relay turns on the hot water. When the power  drops or can be set to work in reverse, it switches off.  They will run on AC or DC and are mains voltage rated.

The DC boards I have are 2-60V and can switch 10 A on their own. More than enough to switch a larger contactor if needed.  If you wanted to switch Higher voltage DC, not a problem, just make a simple voltage divider  and add that in front of the board and calibrate accordingly.

As Lithium batteries get cheaper and more prevalent, this will IMHO become a fairly normal thing to do. Add in solar panels, micro hydro, a wind turbine, etc., and you could save yourself a few pennies on the old electrickery bill... whether it'd ever pay for itself, is another matter altogether. Although frankly, I'd do it just for the fun of it...

If you have grid power, unless in the most unique of circumstances, batteries are a very long way off being able to allow you to save money over their lifetime.  Solar panels, Different story but the second you go to batteries, You are Costing yourself money not saving it.

Off grid is a different matter.  It's nothing for power cos to want $50K here to connect power and we aren't necessarily talking end of the earth scenarios either. There are a lot of people coming to the fore having bought blocks for retirement in fairly well  built up areas but because connecting them would exceed the transformer allowance in the street, the power extorters want that customer to pay for an upgrade possibly the whole street would share.

I was talking to a real power company man a couple of months back at my fathers place in the country. He was saying that if they have to run a new line more than 6 Pole spans, it's cheaper for them to set the property owner up with a solar system and batteries and just charge them a flat monthly fee.

The thought with off grid here now is go big on the cheap panels and small on the batteries.  You only need enough power to get you through the night at a reasonable DOD and then have plenty of panels to charge the batteries up in the morning and carry the heavier loads such as washing machine, dishwashers, clothes dryers etc.

In this scenario, the battery monitoring SOM setup would be perfect.  Incorporate a timer so there is say a 10 min delay before it kicks in or a minimum voltage and you would be set. Perfect for those overcast days or even if you have some heavy load you must run at night.


Can this logic be replicated with a modern starter motor and more modern electronics and/or an arduino ???

Depends on the load.

The SOM works by putting a small sensing current down the line from the batteries.  That's fine for something like a Light or a resistive load but things like a modern TV that have step up transformers and are constantly pulling an amount of Current in stand by operation, in many cases wouldn't stand it.  LED lights that either work at low Current or low voltage through a transformer, often a pretty crappy switch mode type would not work it either. You might also have a problem with something like your Fridge that every time you open the door the light comes on and the Genny fires although newer units have electronic control boards so that would need constant powering at full voltage.

It could certainly be done with a simple load like an incandescent  light just though a voltage comparator circuit and probably a few other ways, even a Moffett would switch at low enough levels quite easily but more modern things I can't really think of a way of doing off my head right now although where there is a will there is always a way.
Might be possible to run an inverter to keep the circuit live and then the voltage drop kicks in the Generator which runs with the inverter ( would need to be transformer Type which would suck some power even in standby) or a switchmode type like a UPS.

The best way I would think is to have everything running off an inverter and batteries and just monitor the battery bank voltage.
When it drops to threshold level the engine starts and recharges it.  I have some little China boards sitting in front of me now that do that. cost $8 a piece.  Voltage drops, Relay engages starter controlled by readily available off the shelf Governors that will look at RPM to engage and disengage the starter and control the fuel rack  for start, run speed and shut down.


SOM is Start O matic.

The engine will start when it senses a load is turned on like a light bulb. Given the Generator has a starter motor in it, I'd say that's what you have.  Often these need some refurbishment when they are that old but worth while doing.

I believe they can be 12 or 24V on the starter. Check the nameplate.


Looks a nice unit. 50 years is a long time to be sitting round. Well done on restoring a piece of history that you have obviously done a fantastic job with.  Hope you can do a video of it running.

Is the SOM working on it?

Engines / Re: Stw3 cooling
« on: July 28, 2020, 01:49:32 AM »
anyone know of any suitable belt drive circulation pumps, to pump fresh water through heat exchanges to suit listers ??

The usual ones on Boats are the brass cased, rubber impeller types made by Jabsco.
Have 3 or 4 of them up the back. They come in different sizes and outputs and are not cheap but good pumps which are easily serviceable.



Everything else / Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
« on: July 14, 2020, 03:18:27 AM »

Looks like I have a new enterprise, Uused panel sales.

I have been wheeling and dealing with them a bit in the last fortnight- 3 weeks and done over $2800 in sales and $2400+ in net profit.
Taken 2 loads up the country to my father place and sold them all and came back with orders for another loads worth plus 2 Inverters.
I had an ad going to sell them at home and got a couple of tyre Kickers.  For whatever reason, Friday and Saturday I had an avalanche of very Keen buyers wanting to buy all I had. Of course a couple were offering a lot below asking price.  When I said  they were all sold at the asking price and just arranging pickup, I got offers to pay above!  That surprised me.  ATM I could sell another 125 Panels if I had them tomorrow.

Hasn't taken long to work out the key to this market.  There is a definite price point where just below you will get a lot of interest and at or above that price point, you will get none.  I have Offered a Number of people panels at that price point where I can source panels and make something out of them but so far Zero interest.  Go just below that price point even with smaller panels and I can sell them no problem.

Sourcing panels is going to be the key to this.  There are plenty out there but I never cease to be utterly amazed at the prices people are asking for them. I recently contacted a few people and asked what they based their price point on. All seemed to take offence ranting and raving they were worth it even though a couple have been advertising them for several months.
I advertise mine for days and they are not only gone but I have people wanting more!

I have sold over 60 panels in the last fortnight.

I have a couple of ideas in mind for sourcing panels which hopefully work out. I know there are a lot of other people looking for them to send OS.  I'm confident I can go the extra mile and use some skills and knowledge they won't have to my benefit.

So far the people I have sold them 2 have been good to deal with... But there is always an exception.....
An old guy in the country ordered 6 and wanted to wheel and deal. That's OK, He read the ad wrong and ended up paying full price.  Geez I earned it.

Came to collect them on an overcast day.  Where I had them in the truck was also in a shaded area behind distant trees.  Gets out a Multimeter and voltage tests them and complains they a . XX of a volt off. I stand there quietly shaking my head.  after going through them all he gets his Daughter to hold them and shorts the leads and puts a clamp meter on them.  after the 3rd one he's Bitching how little output they have.

I point out it's winter, an over cast day, they are shadowed by trees and his Daughter he brought with him, is standing in front of the things completely blocking the light to at least 50% of them. He tells the daughter to stand aside and then complains they still aren't doing rated amps. I explain it to him and he's still going on like I'm trying to rip him off.  I'm getting the shits at having to deal with a moron now.
I told him, OK, You think they are all faulty, don't buy them, I have another guy coming this afternoon that wanted 8 more but I couldn't fit them all on, he's bought from me 2 weeks ago and more than happy with them, No problems, thanks for coming.

Then the idiot starts going about " Coming all this way" ( which I later found out was no more than 15 Min) and not wanting to waste his time.  I said there is only one decision, yes or no but I'd actually prefer you don't take them because this is getting all too hard already.
He said he was a gambling man and would take the risk but if they wern't right I'd be getting them back. I said no I won't. I said firstly there are not returns, No bitching and no sale. 

I happen to look at the clamp meter he's holding and I ask where did you get that from, Ebay? He says yes. I said do you actually know anything about electricity, solar or anything else related? I get toll all about the 48 panels he already has and how he built all the system and how much power it does and yes, He does know what he is doing thank you very much.  I ask If I may see the meter please? Sure enough, it's a Cheap arse Clamp meter that does AC only. I point that out and it couldn't possibly measure the amperage of the panels anyway and clearly he didn't have a clue what he was doing or talking about.

Now I really have the shits  and tell him I'm not going through all this for a few panels I can sell this afternoon to someone that will thank me for them not whinge before they even own them because they have no clue and are making out I'm some sort of con man.
 Good bye.
I walk off into the shed shaking my head.

Daughter comes after me and starts apologising and telling me it's her Dads way etc.  My father comes out the workshop and says I have to deal with people like that all the time and I can't take it anymore thats why I'm closing up, You are lucky you are dealing with him because I would have told the sill old bastard to piss off 20 minutes ago.  He looks at me and says don't bother with him, If the guy this afternoon doesen't want them, I'll buy them off you rather than listen to that silly old bugger carrying on.  He said what is the matter with them, he doesen't know how to measure them properly?  I shake my had and say I don't know what he's thinking. 
Dad Looks at daughter and says sorry he can't help you, best you find someone else that can.

Daughter goes over, Gets money off father who gives it to her as if he's counting out $100K bills  and she comes back and gives me the money. I don't take it and say once they leave here he owns them and I don't care what happens, you own them and the sale is final.  She says that's fine, sorry for the trouble.  I look at my father and say I thought you were a handful at times  and look back at the girl and say you are more patient than I am that's for sure!

Next I watch them Loading in their trailer. I try to point out how I do it  and he doesen't need the pumps of cardboard between which will put pressure them he's loading face to face.  Old guy makes some comment that what I suggested sounds questionable. I point to the 21 panels still in the Ute and tell him this is the 5th lot I have brought up there 400Km from home and never had a damaged one yet but what would I know?  I then get told all about his setup and how he's done it all himself and .....zzzzzzzz.

Daughter asks me some things and tells me he using the panels with a battery to offset his power usage. Old guy proudly tells me he's just spent $10k on a new Lithium battery pack and some more thousands on inverters and management systems etc.  I find out they have grid power and this is just to save them money. I ask pretty much knowing what the answer will be and yes, the average bill he's trying to save on is Chicken Feed.
Quick mental calculation tells me unless the old guy lives about another 50 years and all the equipment lasts that long, he's going to be way behind the 8 ball.  Daughter looks at me and says that's what I have been trying to tell him!

Finally they leave but not before Daughter has to crawl through the car to the back of the wagon where the old Codger has left his keys and locked the tailgate.

I see the guy calling me about 2 hours later and I answer thinking he's going to be bitching about something. No, he just wants to know If I have any connection cables.  I said no, I just get panels. He said well you said you just did another array, what did you use? I said I got the cable and connectors and made the leads up myself as I wanted them.  He said Oh, I have been buying them from ebay. I said geez, I'm not that rich to be able to afford what they want. He said that's why I thought I'd ask if you have them? He said would you make me some up and sell them to me if I gave you the measurement? I said yeah but all my stuff is at home and you'll have to wait a month for me to bring them back.

Surprisingly and thankfully, he didn't want to wait.

I know you can't expect to have it all Champagne and roses but that guy ought to cover the down side of this for at least the next 6 months I hope!

Everything else / Re: Privately Owned Solar Array
« on: July 14, 2020, 02:17:35 AM »

Given the number of panels and the output of the array, I would think this setup isn't all that old.
Would be unlikely to get a whole bunch of panels failing and only in one string. If they were faulty panels, all the strings would have a similar amount of dropouts.

IF it is load unbalance, more likely in my mind to be in the wiring or switching.

From what I'm seeing on that Transformer, At 75 Kva it's pretty Underrated for a 100Kw array unless there are more of them .
If not, a day with a bit of cloud edge effect would have the whole thing shutting down or going up in flames.

Everything else / Re: Privately Owned Solar Array
« on: July 13, 2020, 02:40:27 PM »

So it's the switchgear not the inverters?
That would make more sense although I'm still surprised they would let anything that Slipshod thought with todays standards and that wasn't checked before commissioning.

Then again, Most things like this a re done as cheap and fast as possible.

Our " National" Gubbermint Internet service in the late stages of completion isn't even 1/8th of the speed of the private owned Cable service and costs double but you can't have that any more because it's "Old" technology and everyone has to change to the " New" technology.
 I am not in any way exaggerating.

Wish I was.

Everything else / Re: Privately Owned Solar Array
« on: July 12, 2020, 10:24:33 AM »

How long has this been going on?
Sounds like a major interruption that is way below acceptable these days.

Had a blackout where I am Recently. Neighbour and I reveled in the opportunity to fire up our gennys and run more lights than normal to rub it into the unprepared Neighbors.  We both came unstuck though as preferring to watch the net than TV,  The local node was down so no internet for us. 

A 40 Min delay twice a day wouldn't be tolerated here. Our Internet is shit enough by world standards but I think that would be a bit too much.  Wouldn't be tolerated by business for a start whom rely on  the net for a lot of communication and business services now.

Everything else / Re: Privately Owned Solar Array
« on: July 11, 2020, 01:58:46 PM »

Are the outages just sunrise and sunset and how long they last?

Everything else / Re: Privately Owned Solar Array
« on: July 11, 2020, 11:44:29 AM »

Phases don't influence the output, they just do it that way to stop pushing one phase too high relevant to the others and to avoid pumping too many amps down one line.

Depending on the location of the array, in summer I'd guess 3-500 Kwh a day.

The EMI on inverters here is VERY low by regulations. Many work off US standards so I would be surprised if yours is much different.
I would also assume ripple is pretty low as well.  It would have to be throwing some pretty significant radiation to influence your wireless internet from 1.5  miles away.

How do you know it's this causing the interference problems?

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