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Topics - starfire

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Generators / rewinding alternators
« on: May 05, 2021, 05:15:31 AM »
Here is a somewhat lengthy but interesting series on rewinding a common alternator unit, these are pretty all much all the same in that they use counteracting  windings and resistance to give some automated voltage regulation in a passive sense. For those intrepid souls that are willing to try this, its interesting to note the minimal need of anything other than the ability to count and a large amount of patience.

Alternatively, only the main windings need be wound, and any voltage regulation can be achieved via an electronic AVR acting directly on the rotor windings.  This one above is a 4 pole, but identical methods are used for 2 pole designs.
Seems to me its a very productive way to spend an evening or two in front of the fire.

Everything else / Lithium batteries, the care and feeding of
« on: October 01, 2019, 07:22:46 AM »
For anyone interested......
Last year my lead acid batteries died, so decided to spend big on Lithium, or LiFePo to be exact, this flavour of chemistry seems the safest and most forgiving of them all. $4500 later, they arrived.
First problem was the placement. Like me, these things dont like low temperatures, we are talking minus something, so I placed them inside the hovel to keep them warm. The generator shed being 30 feet away gave voltage drop issues with the 100 or so amps charging current. This caused havoc with the alternators seeing over 18 volts at their output terminals.
I cured this by running independent sense wires, directly from the battery terminals back to the power shed, allowing the over voltage regulator to work correctly, it now reads the  actual battery voltage and not the alternator output.
The maximum  terminal  charge voltage of the batteries is 14.7 volts, anything higher will damage the chemistry.
Here I simply designed a high voltage cutoff using a LM311 voltage comparator that switches off the alternator field current when the battery voltage reaches 14 volts... plenty, as the Lister is only used as the  backup when the solar fails..
The main charging voltage comes from 800 watts of solar panels. The MPPT controller will switch of at 14.6 volts, this means the bank is full.
Here is the schematic  of the car alternator control when I remember how to do this picture posting thing.....
These old car alternators are modified by removing the internal regulator and connecting one brush to ground, the other to a wire into the controller.
I then wondered about these Battery Management Systems built into these Lithium packs.
After reverse engineering one sample, I could not see how they can "balance" each cell with just a 100 milliamp draw, when each  cell has a capacity of 600 amp hours..... it would have zero effect.
Firstly, I decided to establish if these Lithium cells actually do get out of whack with each other, they cannot be equalised as a lead acid bank can, this would overcook the highest cell. Is this an actual problem, or just an internet theory, steeped in myth and confusion.
I removed the BMS.
After nearly a year, the cells are within 3/10ths of a volt, highest to lowest, so unless I am extremely lucky, very unlikely, the balancing thing appears not to be the issue its made out to be. So, to simplify matters, we leave out the BMS.
It it also important not to  discharge these LiFePos to less than aound 10.7 volts. This apparently causes permanent damage.
This requirement is easily met , almost all inverters will automatically disconnect at around 11 volts.
The difference with Lithium to lead acid is night and day, with a charge absorption efficiency approaching 95 percent, no sulphation or gassing..... no watering, no stress, just set and forget.

Everything else / Glort
« on: November 24, 2017, 12:45:07 AM »
Just checked the obituaries in Sydney Australia for anyone "biologically compromised" from recent electrocution. Some unlucky dude got zapped under his house in 2016 is about it.
So, looks like that can be ruled out.
Theres no mention of anyone being slowly barbecued, or tarred and feathered by boiling oil, falling off a roof and being splattered on sharp edged concrete paving stones and then being crushed by 3 tons of falling solar panels, or being slowly ground up and torn to pieces in a large stationary engine flywheel either.... Australia continues to live up to its boring reputation.
Unless Glort is more inventive  than we gave him credit for, and managed a cause of death that we havent even heard of yet and the Sydney Herald is reluctant to print it for fear of a copy cat  epidemic.
 I suggest an online competition where the closest correct guess for the cause of his untimely demise will win a genuine Lister coffee mug with matching tee shirt and socks courtesy of

Original Lister Cs Engines / Lister pretty much setup now
« on: October 11, 2017, 07:43:16 AM »
and bugs removed. A video of the installation of the engine you saw previously. Added a car radiator via a few welded up brackets using existing mounting holes in engine. The Pro racing stage 6 high impact chrome cooling fan utilising computer designed curved blades helps.... thankfully it has not the intelligence to realise its mounted on an agricultural engine, and not a Ferrari , otherwise it would refuse to work. This will extract extra horespower according to the website......
The two car alternators are parallel wired giving several charging options, the fields being switched seperately.
The Lister sits next to the Petter AV1 and have become very good friends.......
I love the smell of hot alternators, rubber vee belts and that unique sound of a Lister beating against a heavy load.
One day I WILL finish the tidy up in the generator shed......

General Discussion / We can always learn
« on: September 28, 2017, 11:54:52 PM »
new stuff thanks to the internet and the clever people on it. Just today I learned us Lister owners have been doing it so wrong.
It seems a flywheel once rotating  can go over unity and give free energy. I didnt know this, and regret all the needless fuel I  have burned over the last 50 years. This revelation has also escaped Mr R A Lister, and clearly all other engine manufacturers who really should have known better, we have been mislead and lied to.  I strongly suspect Lister, had a corrupt and cosy relationship with the oil industry and I can prove it.
I wanted this to be made known before I am assassinated by powerful oil barons, Shell and BP will be looking  for me now this secret has got out.  The EPA has also been mislead, as clearly, the emission levels of these heavy flywheel engines is zero, and therefore they have quite wrongly limited their use.
So, to all stationary engine owners, this is very good news, we now wont need any cooling system, the fuel tank and pump can be eliminated, and  any exhaust setup, simplifying the installation  significantly.
I also hope to go one step further, an completely  remove the cylinder and piston as these are obviously no longer required and will reduce efficiency.
I see the man in black are following me already, I may not be able to post again.......

Original Lister Cs Engines / Spoked flywheel safety issue
« on: September 20, 2017, 12:41:01 AM »
This morning I was continuing the generator shed tidy up, and noticed a crack where one spoke joins to the center hub. This crack was quite noticeable where it had worked a small ridge in the paint that was applied only a month ago. This spoke  has been moving as the engine rotates by the looks.
This is something I guess we should be aware of.
I know cast iron has little expansive strength, and over the huge amount of time, the metal possibly can become brittle. I dont know if cast iron work hardens, but what is concerning is the danger of a flywheel disintegrating and actually killing someone in the vicinity. Its not hard to imagine the mess..... the engine alone is likely to rip itself off any mounting base and wreck itself as well. The spokes are also subject to huge torsional vibration, especially with large singles, and exaggerated by driving a load from the flywheel rim. This could well be why Lister did not put vee grooves into the rim, instead fitting a choice of pulleys direct to the shaft.... here Im just guessing.
Ill get a photo up when my camera charges.
I suggest periodically that all engine owners check their flywheels on a semi regular basis, maybe even tapping with a small hammer listening for a change in sound.....

Original Lister Cs Engines / guess what
« on: August 24, 2017, 11:46:47 AM »
Yesterday had another CS 3.5 delivered !!!  Im  pretty excited about this one, its complete and after a check over and oil change, it ran very nicely. Today I washed it down with copious quantities of diesel, inside and out, and attacked it viciously with the water blaster.  The big end is perfect, the first thing to look at in my experience when the sump arrives  full of grungy tar. The injector pump has a tight spot, the original snake fuel filter has decomposed, but other than that shes a wee honey. its a late model, one of the last 3 1/2s built in 1948 I believe.
Tomorrow Ill blow over a coat of  green to tidy her up, have a base to weld up, and hump it into position next to the Petter, it will do as a backup. I was told it has a copper home made head gasket, this will need checking to see the clearance, given any absence of knocking, Im assuming its probably ok. These I believe are the rarest of the CS Listers, and the spoked flywheels are certainly the nicest looking in my opinion.

Well, pics never happened. Photobucket has died, and the suggested photo host on here, coppermine??? keeps asking for a global password??? What the hell is that? Tried attaching, that dont work for me either. My life is obviously a mess.
So, no pics sorry.

Lister Based Generators / Petter with 6kva generator
« on: January 09, 2017, 10:35:49 PM »
Got some time to tidy up some of my installation  over the xmas break, built a base and mounted the new generator permanently  to the engine.

The generator I thought was a reasonable price, seems to be well made, lots of iron with copper coils, not aluminium, and good sized sealed ball bearings....
Interestingly it has a digital readout that gives voltage, frequency, run time and winding temperature, a nice touch but a bit of a gimmick really.

The bucket  contains cooling oil for the submerged battery charging transformer. This is a rewound 180 amp welding transformer with a center tapped secondary winding and two hefty diodes. This will do until  I find a better container. Seemed sensible to use this charging  method rather than another alternator and vee belt combo.
The generator is branded Cenfor and made in China, its brushed with a fairly robust looking AVR, large cooling fan at the front, real copper windings and arrived complete with a dual C section front pulley at 3.5 inches.  After a few hundred hours with   a 75 percent load it appears to be reliable and have had no issues, so for the money at $650nz, I can recommend these as being ok and appearing to be good value. The 240 volt output has a 20 amp AC circuit breaker/overload, as does the 12 volt DC output terminals.... this I have used to power the electric radiator fan for the engine.
One interesting feature, the alternator appears to use an integral permag 12 volt alternator to supply the main exciter current, the cogging is evident when spinning it by hand.  This explains the clean and sudden startup when started under load, good for NOT accidentally burning out capacitor start motors as can happen with a "soft" start, or usual slow buildup.

Petteroids / Petter torque curves and fuel consumption figures
« on: October 22, 2016, 10:05:02 PM »
Were there any graphs ever published giving this information?
Can I simply assume a Petter AV2 will be twice the power of an AV1, and if so, would the torque curves match, or does two cylinders make it completely different? Just wondering as I weld up the support frame to accept either engine and ancillaries.
 Im also curious as to where the crankcase breather is on the Petter, the crankcase pressure seems excessive and wondering if its blocked? T Lister used a flapper valve to create negative case pressure, the Petter  doesnt seem to have anything similar?


Original Lister Cs Engines / El cheapo 230 volt alternator
« on: October 18, 2016, 01:34:44 PM »
using a 5hp 3 phase 8.5 amp induction motor.
Today I had a quick play with the concept.
 By spinning up a 3 phase motor with the Petter, it quite happily generates 50 cycle power at 1500 rpm. or 60 hz at 1800 rpm.
These motors are very cheap and and easy to find, can often be found at a scrap dealers at scrap prices.... working out much  cheaper than buying a dedicated generating  head.... important as I spend all my spare cash on drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, or so i have been told..... :o
Each motor is a little different in the capacitors required to get it working properly, but a bit of fiddling will get the best performance.
The output voltage/current is taken from one phase, the other two are capacitance loaded to "bend" the magnetism so the rotor is at maximum magnetic potential as it tranverses the poles, making it self starting and self sustaining.
Many, if notall  of the Chinese generators now use the exact same principal, although with actual rectified windings on the rotor, rather than a squirrel cage.
Mine ended up Delta connected  with a 40 microfarad and an 80 microfarad capacitors  on the two legs.  It manages 2 kilowatts with a 10 percent voltage change from zero to full load. At 2.5 kilowatts, it quits  generating ..... quite a nice safety  feature... cannot be overloaded.
By varying the engine speed, on my example the frequency can be altered from 30 hz to 80 hz, possibly an easy way to run induction motors as variable speed motors in the future., although the voltage varies considerably as well without recalculating the capacitance values for the changed speed.
Theres a little on the internet on how to do  this , google induction motor to generator, so wont repeat it here other than to include a link that decsribes  the capacitance values and another to claculate the caps to balance the current in each winding for maximum efficiency. Im pretty excited about this, the motor cost me just $13 nz
The beauty of using a motor as a generator, is price, availability, and reliability, no brushes or slip rings, and usually these industrial motors are completely sealed as to be moisture proof. Looking on the scope, it puts out a very nice undistorted sine wave, and NO radio interferrence, a result of not having brushes.

capacitance calculator:

and to fine tune for max performance:
I wont know for sure how well this will perform until i get a more permanent installation and have a good fiddle, run a few appliances, and electrocute myself a few times,  but right now its looking very promising.... ill keep you informed.


Original Lister Cs Engines / alternator mods
« on: October 04, 2016, 06:27:28 AM »
For anyone using car alternators to charge battery banks, heres how its done.
Slowly tidying the AV1 install as i catch up on other work. The important thing right now its up and running. It doesnt look as nice as the Lister, I guess ill just need to get used to it.

Looking into the rear of the alternator, all the diode block and regulator have been removed. Three heavy 20 amp cables are  connected directly to the three stator coil terminations, and two lighter 5 amp wires connect direct to the brushes, 1 wire on each brush

The three stator connect to the remote diode block, there are six diodes in all. The ones i used were got from the scrap dealer from some defunct industrial equipment, an absolute overkill, these are rated at several hundred amps each. 30 amp stud mounts are sufficient to extract 80 or so amps from an alternator, as the cooling is more effective when remotely mounted like this.

The two brush wires, one connects to battery negative, the other to battery positive through a switch, this turns off the amp or so current drain when the engine is not running. To reduce the charging current , and there are good reasons to do this, a resistor is wired in series with the on/off switch mentioned above. I use a car coil ballast resistor, reducing the current from 85 amps to 50 amps. Reducing current will make the alternator last longer, will allow a smaller engine to work less, and is great for a periodic equalising charge when the banks reach 15 volts. ... assuming a 12 volt system, my setup has a switch across this resistor to give high and low charging rates.
 With the regulator removed, these alternators will happily charge well above 17 volts, and maintain their full output current.
There seems to be two types of alternator, the usual one is around 55 amps, the bigger version 75 amps nominal, although both once modded will output well in excess of this for a short period.... just watch the heating in the stator windings.
Alternators will work in either rotation, BUT.... the fan is designed to suck through when running clockwise. The fan will need modding if running counter.... look for a fan with straight and not angled blades, these will then work in either direction.
A 24 volt alternator will work identically to the above, just halve the current and double the voltage, the wattage remains the same, as does the horsepower required.
By remoting the diodes, an alternator will last years rather than a few months when using it as it comes.
Its also beneficial to the engine to increase the alternator pulley diameter to spin the alternator at around 1000 to 1500 rpms, this reduces wear on belts, requires less power, and increases bearing life and belt to pulley contact.
I have found this to be the easiest and cheapest way to charge batteries with a decent amount of current and using commonly available parts.

Original Lister Cs Engines / Petter AV2
« on: September 27, 2016, 06:26:31 AM »
Installed the new engine this morning to find the cooling water gushes into the oil sump!! I have yet to learn whats inside these engines.
I am assuming they have wet sleeves, and I am assuming the bloody thing has been sitting dry for so long that the rubber? O rings that would seal the water from the oil have disintegrated?
Or, if not wet sleeve, then it can only be a cracked block, frost damage perhaps.
Can anyone tell me if these are wet or dry sleeved engines please.
Its been a shitty week for me. excuse the profanity,

Original Lister Cs Engines / A very sad day
« on: September 23, 2016, 10:23:51 AM »
Today I said good bye to an old friend. My  loyal companion for so many decades breathed her  last. After the con rod oil dipper unknowingly snapped  from a metal fatigue fracture, she continued to soldier on, not complaining or giving  any outward signs of distress, eventually loosing all compression and quietly  coming to rest. There is over 3mm play in the big end,  the piston has nearly 1/8 inch play in the cylinder. Rather than seize through lack of lubrication, she continued to run and  give me her very best right to the end.
 Rather than scrapping her, she will take pride of place on my back lawn as a monument to reliable dependability and how life used to be.
She was 77 years old.

Original Lister Cs Engines / Injectors and crappy fuel
« on: August 06, 2016, 05:24:25 AM »
Lately I have been" blessed" with receiving really crappy thick and scuzzy waste oil. Its free, so i grab it anyway, we cannot be choosy when it comes to free stuff, we are in mid winter here and its all I can get. Lister has been a tad prima donnaish about burning it, shes getting a bit fussy in her old age and really wants to retire. The problem eventually was tracked to the injector, it needed a small mod to cope with the much  higher viscosity, made worse by the abnormally cold weather.
I dont know how many of you have actually had these things apart.... the experts of all things diesel would have you believe they are highly complex and shouldnt be fiddled with.
Not true.
Inside the actual nozzle is a small needle valve, this is preloaded with a spring and the adjustment screw exiting from the top of the main body. This pingle valve is designed to seal against the seat, and to lift once the fuel pressure exceeds the spring pretension, thereby squirting the pressurized fuel into the combustion chamber.
After careful measuring, i figured this valve was slightly too long to lift enough to allow the higher viscosity oil through in a sufficient quantity, in effect it was hitting the main body way too soon, it should not hit the main body at all.. The larger diameter body of the pingle where it meets with the parallel "pin" needs to be shortened by at least .5mm, easily done by chucking it in the drill press, and carefully grinding it back slightly with a Dremel tool and small grinding disk. The actual amount is really not so important, as when burning diesel it will simply revert  back to its normal opening.... its just not quite enough unmodded to cope with alternative fuel, especially when cold, thereby starving the engine. This has now been running for a few months with no problems.......
These too are very simple to adjust once reassembled.
With the engine running and under a heavy constant load, adjust the injector while watching the fuel pump rack. A point will be found where the rack will be at its minimum position, ie, furtherest back from wide open. This adjustment on mine is not critical, several turns either way from the best setting will not alter performance. This is actually a very accurate way to do this, as obviously the best spray pattern for that particular engine burning that particular fuel will automatically result in the best power output.... we are basically letting the engine tell you when its most happy.

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