Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - jtodd

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 11
Lister Based Generators / Picked up a Lima/Marathon 3KW head...
« on: March 25, 2015, 06:39:44 AM » auction.  Paid $400 for it, which may be too much but I like the American-made stuff.  It currently has a hydraulic motor attached to the shaft, so I'm going to put some quick-connects on it and plug it into my Bobcat takeoffs and give it a whirl and plug some space heaters into it.  Eventually I'll be hooking it to one of my Lister CS 6/1 engines as a smaller "backup" generator to my main 16/2.  Anyway... my questions are:
  - what should I look at to ensure it's still in good shape?
  - what lubrication, if any, do I need to do to it assuming it's been in storage for 10+ years?
  - are there any general hints on this type of head?



Found this 5/1 for sale out on the Oregon coast, and couldn't turn down the chance to have a "real" Lister CS single cylinder - they are getting very, very rare these days.  The person I bought it from has had it for a number of years, and he in turn bought it from the widow of the original owner.  It was used in a shingle factory, where it drove an air compressor which in turn was used to start the "big" Fairbanks-Morse engine for the shop.

It's in good condition overall, with a "Lister/Blackstone Milwaukee Wisconsin" badge.  The flywheels are the kidney-shaped hole variety, which is unusual I think for normal 5/1 engines, but I've seen at least one other video out there that has a 5/1 with the heavy wheels on it instead of the spoked wheels.  Frankly, I like the heavier wheels, myself. 

It's missing some original parts- the fuel tank looks like an add-on, and it's missing the exhaust and intake.  But otherwise in decent condition.  It runs, but I haven't started it yet - I want to clear out the oil, filters, and set up a cooling system before I turn it over.  This will be a two year project (not the duration, but it'll be that long until I can get to it.)  But this is a perfect addition to my 12/2 and SR1.

Directory full of pictures:

I'm looking for rebuild parts, if anyone has them - gaskets, bushings, etc.- I'll do a full tear-down and would like to start squirreling away the parts for that rainy winter project.  Email me at j t o d d at if you have components...


Generators / Re: Retrofitting a direct-drive generator head (Marathon)
« on: January 10, 2012, 07:54:57 PM »

If you haven't already figured it out, messing with the clones is fun and entertaining. This is one of the major reasons folks mess with the antique engines! It is a hobby - pure and simple. It has nothing to do with economics although there is at least one train of thought that also would look at these as practical failsafes for a time of severe disruption in our world. So while it may not 'pay' to do some of these crazy experiments... that judgment would also have to include the satisfaction of doing something yourself and learning all the while. I have seen some fantastic functional machines built out of the junk heap before and have to look on some of those as brilliant and inspiring! Yankee ingenuity (as well as others) is alive and well here!

That said... JT just find a 2-bearing generator head and you will be far ahead!


The short form is that I sold the generator head and the Lister CD, but I still have the 16/2.  :)  I've got an ST-10, and I'll probably end up getting a 3-5kw PMG if I can find someone who makes a quality one in the next few years, but I'm in no rush.  My Lister project has suffered from lack of space, and will probably sit for the next year or so anyway, 95% complete.  I've built a Changfa-195 based generator which works for my purposes in my current home, and when I start building a new house I'll get the pole barn up first, get the genset assembled, then start making power for construction.  I've also got an SR-1 complete generator system, but I need to find brushes for the interesting 110v/12v generator head (early 70's vintage.)


Here's an idea: put a lower current relay in the field winding of the generator - if you kill the field, you should have no output from the generator, right?  It seems that it would be a much cheaper solution.  I'm assuming you'll power the relay from a 12v battery so you don't have a catch-22 on start-up (no power to turn on relay).

That's a pretty good idea, actually.  I could just power the relay via a 12v timed relay that latches upon start and then drops out after 15 or so seconds, giving the engine time to get up to speed and therefore power whatever the "active" portions of the circuit are.  Hmm.... 


Digging deep in the threads on this board (sorry, no references at hand) you can find that the ST type heads will sometimes de-magnetize themselves if left under load while they're spinning down, which means you have to re-magnetize them to get the minimal coil voltage to "bootstrap" the generator.  I don't recall what this is called - again, there are threads about what you need to do, and I"m sorry I don't have any bookmarked.

As far as other equipment: running things like refrigerator compressors on less-than-normal voltage will cause them to have problems.  Some switching power supplies will overcompensate trying to bring back voltage to normal levels, and the magic smoke comes out.   

I've been in several office buildings during "brown outs" in California (unintentional ones) where voltage drops to 60 to 80 volts and we've lost photocopiers, A/C compressors, and alarm systems.  Perversely, I've also had UPS systems go south during voltage drops that aren't "on/off" events.  I can't tell you exactly what goes wrong in each case, but "Bad Things" happen when you lose voltage over a longer window of time.

I'd prefer everything does dark, immediately.  I have an RPM gauge with a relay output, and I have some timer relays as well to allow the system to get up to speed before I switch over to looking at RPM as the failsafe.  Also: the system is also self-regulating - if the RPM (or voltage) indicator(s) goes above or below the threshold, it shuts down the fuel supply and will engage the compression releases so the engine doesn't suddenly go into a "no load" overspin.  I haven't implemented the cue-ball-in-the-intake-pipe system that was discussed here some years ago in the event of a blow-by runaway, but I think the compression releases will be sufficient to overcome that potential problem.


Thanks!  I'll look at those that you sent.  Any idea how I'd go about ordering that kind of kit?  I can  press "inquire" on the form, of course, but have you ordered from them?  China is hit-and-miss for supply of good stuff.

I know that 300 amps is a big load, but I expect there will be 12kw (@220VAC) that will be going through it at one point or another, and I like a nice 100% margin for safety.  Granted, 300 is a lot more than double, but if it's cheaper than alternatives that are lower amperate, then OK, bigger is fine.  The step functions on the ones you reference sound pretty good - thanks for the link.


I'm in the extremely slow process of building an automated system for auto-switchover that will remove load from the generator if the engine stops. (well, really, it's a "failsafe" to keep engine failures from killing my generator and my household appliances as the system spins down.)  To this end, I need a BIG relay or contactor. I'm a 12vdc control plane, so the relay/contactor needs to be powered by that low voltage. But then I need 200-300 amps of throughput on the connections for my A/C load.

So... my options are limited, right? Or is there stuff "off-the-shelf" that will do this?

I found a Westinghouse relay that is for aviation systems, but is operated on 12vdc for the coil. The stats are "16-30 D.C. Coil voltage, main contactor 220 amps - 230/460 volts 400Hz, P/N 9002001-4, 6 power terminals, 7 additional double pole, double-throw sets of contacts". Before I buy it, I'd like to ensure that it's the Right Thing. Or maybe there are cheaper alternatives (this is close to $200 - ouch!)

Is the fact that this is 400hz a problem? Is that a functional requirement specification, or just that it CAN handle 400hz and it can also handle 60hz? A relay is a relay... or am I supremely ignorant of more delicate workings of switches?


General Discussion / Re: Importing an object from India: How?
« on: January 08, 2010, 11:23:38 PM »
Send an email to the company and request a proforma invoice. Once you have the invoice contact an international freight forwarder (just look in the phone book). Contact the freight forwarder and they will handle all of the paperwork for you. Although they charge for the service it is FAR cheaper than trying to do it yourself and getting on the foul side of US Customs, IRS, and your state Dept. of Revenue. When you call they should be able to give you an idea of the actual cost.

 Remember, it ALWAYS costs more than you plan for. Trying to do this yourself is only for experienced importers with deep pockets and huge brass ones. This comes from years of experience importing engines and other items. A good freight forwarder helps make for an easy transaction. They know more about the laws and regulations than any of us do who are not in the import business regularly.


OK, thanks for the hint.  I'll also get a copy of "Import/Export for Dummies" to give me an overview.  :-)


General Discussion / Re: Importing an object from India: How?
« on: January 08, 2010, 06:30:24 AM »
Famous last words ...

but I expect that will only take a month or so.

Hey ya'll - watch this

Sure, it'll only take a month or so once I get started.  It's that "getting started" part that's the trick.  :-)  (Actually, this is kind of true - I have almost all the parts done, all the welding is done, everything is done.... but disassembled.  The only real fabrication work is getting the starter working, if I have to create some mechanism to do the valve releases.  Then, it's on to "tinkering", which is different than "building".)

So nobody knows how to bring something in from India, huh?


General Discussion / Re: Importing an object from India: How?
« on: January 08, 2010, 06:11:25 AM »
Sure, why not. At this point, though, I'm not really interested in trying to go in on a bulk deal or anything - I'm trying to keep this simple, not trying to pool funds, and not having anyone else "relying" on me to get things done.

It's this:

I'm looking at the 8hp version, which is $1600 + $200 for shipment. The boiler is significantly more - another ~$2800 for the boiler, and then probably a lot more for shipping. Plus, it's not certified by ASME or any kind of boiler certification body here in the US, so I expect the boiler would be a "challenge" to import and I'm not going to try that - I have a small (8hp) boiler from 1933 that I need to refit and get tested. I really don't have any spare time right now, but in the next year or so I expect to have a bit more weekend time, so I'm lining up some experiments. I figure it'll take 3 or 4 months to get the steam engine into my hands...  I need to get my 16/2 project finally completed, but I expect that will only take a month or so.


General Discussion / Importing an object from India: How?
« on: January 08, 2010, 05:17:38 AM »

I've found an engine in India that I wish to import.  It's not a diesel or other internal-combustion engine - it's a steam engine.  I want to import one of them, but I'm totally clueless about how to go about it.  They have offered to deliver it to Seattle, but of course what is offered in India is rarely what one receives as far as expectations, and I suspect their "shipping" service is somehow far short of what I'll need to actually take possession of the engine.

Has anyone imported just plain vanilla "stuff" from India, meaning having no EPA or other certification requirements?  Farm implements, wicker baskets, etc?  What's the process?


Engines / Re: Electric starters/listeroids
« on: January 03, 2010, 11:12:37 PM »
Look on ebay. There are 20amp Hitachi starter-generators used on golf carts. Solves the charging problem at the same time.

I tried the starter-generators from golfcarts, and it would barely turn a 16/2 over with no compression, using a belt (not direct drive).  Even after letting it spin up to a slow roll, releasing the compression levers bounced the cylinders.  No start.  Perhaps others might have better luck, but it was a wash for me.


Engines / Re: Electric starters/listeroids
« on: January 03, 2010, 06:10:51 PM »

Would you be able to post a few pictures of your Chevy flexplate/starter setup again. Your picture links are broken. Thanks!


Here's my rig, which may look similar to shipchief's.  I can't say it's successful or not  yet - I got pulled off this job about 15 months ago and haven't been home long enough to test everything.  Looks promising, though.

Look all the way at the bottom.  Anyway, I had to fabricate a really intricate rig so that the starter would be "inboard" on the inside of the engine due to complexity I can't go into here.  It's a starter from a Cummins diesel - we'll see if it's able to get through a compression cycle, but I kind of have my doubts.  I'll update in a few months when I get back to working in the project.


Red Stone Engines / Re: Redstone engines
« on: April 05, 2009, 02:27:25 AM »

A few things:

   - The Redstone looks interesting.  I'll side with the "unproven" crowd, but I'm interested in seeing it proven and I consider myself an optimistic sceptic.

   - I agree that at first blush (at least, at my first looking) there seems to be only basic information available about the engine.  In fact, I have no idea how much they cost - I haven't found any web pages that seem to mention it.  Maybe I missed it in this thread?  Anyway, more information is always better.  Pictures speak louder than words.  Video speaks louder than pictures.  One can avoid rust by immediately drying wet metal; the same technique is true with new products.  Immediate and complete data about new products prevents corrosion of customer base, as we see happening here.  Even if it's not available for sale, more data is better than no data.

   - I'll help with anyone who wants to put their YouTube where their mouth is.  I'm in Portland (close to Joel; I've met him, and I've also driven up to meet George) and I'd be happy to videotape/photograph any unpacking/initial installation/first run tests with one of the engines.  I'm not going to bother to contact either Joel or George directly; hopefully they'll find this post if they're interested.  I'm available on some weekends.

PS: GuyFawkes asked about cheapskates. I'm not one.  Being "cheap" is not the same as being wise with money spent.  I'm happy to spend money up front if I know it makes my life less expensive or brings more "good" in the long run.  This is why I've got the last US-imported Dursley 12/2, and all the other components of my engine system are stainless, galvanized, or coated with plastic truck bed liner.


Listeroid Engines / Re: flex plate mounting question
« on: March 11, 2009, 01:25:21 AM »
Are there specs on the starter for the RPM it's supposed to turn?  I'm wondering if this is a low-RPM, high-torque motor or if there is even such a thing.  It appears from the pictures that there is some gearing in your starter - is that true, or am I just misreading the photos?

It is a starter for a Chevy 350 engine, it is in fact geared providing higher torque. Speed is an issue as I indicated before. Unfortunately I have never seen an RPM spec for a starter. The engine will start but it's not like it starts as soon as it goes past TDC. Once it fires, it juuust barely keeps going and then, if I am lucky, it picks up a bit of speed and then takes off. The starter pinion does have a spraque (sp?) clutch or similar in it that would theoretically allow the engine to pick up speed even with the starter engaged. In reality, the engine doesn't have enough power at this low speed to over-turn the pinion so the engine doesn't pick up speed until you release the starter.


Here's a crazy idea that might work if this is borderline for getting the engine started:  put a second starter on the flexplate.  You probably have room if you built a bracket on the side or top of the flexplate.  That might assist in getting the speed going better, since it would be twice the torque, meaning that it would be able to reach a higher RPM more easily.  Chevy starters are cheap (relatively) and batteries are also not that expensive if you get 'em used.


Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 11