Listeroid 8HP stationary diesel engine

Alternative energy sources
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The usual. As I have two large solar PV systems here, and my lab assistant just put one in, and others are interested in things like this, here's where that stuff goes. This is mostly for things that work now, not "gee someday a fusor will do this" -- we know that, but it's not someday yet.
The hope is to save anyone embarking on this sort of thing a lot of wasted time and money, as at least I have been off the grid since 1980 and have had a lot of practice (and made mistakes you won't have to).

Re: Listeroid 8HP stationary diesel engine

Postby solar_dave » Fri Jun 26, 2015 8:35 am

Doug have you figured out a way to pre heat it in the winter months?

I can relate t the getting old, just had my left ankle operated on again, plate removed and ligaments fix and a bunch of scar tissue removed, hurts like hell hope it is better than before. I hate those damn opiate pain killers.
Dave Shiels

My TED 5000 power monitoring
http://phx-solar.no-ip.info:8081/Footprints.html
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Re: Listeroid 8HP stationary diesel engine

Postby Doug Coulter » Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:35 pm

Dave, I've not yet sweated that one. I do have a bunch of hermetic chemistry type SS heaters, one or more of which I could put here or there. These things have such high compression they're not supposed to care much if the fuel will flow. I suppose the old standard of adding some kerosine handles most of that. I have a pal who has around 1300 gallons of "not quite up to par" hydraulic fluid I might test in this - he can't sell it, so it's free for the hauling.

Yes, I'm definitely trying to set things up insofar as I can such that as I age and get weaker etc - I can still do what I want to do, and not have to do some of the physically more demanding tasks (or pay someone else to) that I won't be able to do anymore, that's already hitting me on the head. No more can I go into the woods with tools and whack out a truckload of firewood in a morning...those days are gone. I still use it, because you can still buy it (and I still cut the easy stuff) and it costs around 4x less per btu than propane does...Haven't figured the exact ratio, but it's in that ballpark (and prices of both change on a whim).

Today I got going on mounting a thermocouple (type K) on the part of the cylinder head that gets the hottest, as surveyed with an IR temp sensor. First, I sanded the spot down, then used a very thin layer of blue permatex to glue down some thin mica (cleaved off a thicker piece) - about 3-4 mils thick. Once that got hard, I put the thermocouple junction (made with oxyacetylene and flux) on top, more permatex, and wrapped around the hot water outlet; hint from Babcock and Wilcox "steam, it's generation and use" - keep the rest of the wire as close to temperature as you can to avoid errors. Since there is so much "shake" in this situation, and its outdoors, I then put the thermocouple wire in a silicone rubber tube and sealed off both ends with permatex again (might as well use it - you'll lose it if you don't). I made sure there was significant unsupported length between where it's cable-tied to the hot water pipe and the ground, so any flexing should distribute over a long length and not kill it quickly. In the pic here, the couple is under a magnet with a couple screws sticking up holding some wax paper over it. When that gets hard, I'll glue some R-Max with the the foil stripped off that side onto it so the ambient air won't cool the couple.
That's my thinking on those issues, of course I'll report if I turn out to be wrong or something is unexpected...this is the life we have while we were making other plans, after all.
ThermoMount.JPG
Thermocouple being glued to cylinder head.


I'm still working on the software, though I have the temp control stuff done already, and tested on the bench. I have to build a little board to do the actual power switching on the lister (and boy it'd better be rugged to handle that shake), and do a few other things so I can run the pi-arduino pair headless from my nice comfy chair for the rest. Since it's going into the energy shed, I want to put the a/d for volts and current on the arduino (pi stinks at I2C) before I put it all in place. I already have a dallas 18b20 sealed up for battery temperature, and may add a DHT22 so I can know if it's too humid or hot generally in there - and turn a fan on. Right now, the lister is still running in "tend it" mode where you have to check every few and flip a switch or a clip lead. That situation is going away real soon now. If I can get my generator from a P51 mounted (which has worn out 4 honda engines and still looks like it's never been turned over) on there, then we can auto-start with 10hp, go straight to DC at 200+ amps and other fun stuff....Won't even need the compression release with a 10 hp starter - the only question is will the belt go up in smoke.
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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Re: Listeroid 8HP stationary diesel engine

Postby Doug Coulter » Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:25 pm

Well, all this worked quite well - until the ancient triple relay (well, they're kind of like) volt regulator for the 12v system went south - and it overheated due to low volts for the fan and pump. That has since been replaced by a simple battery charger running off the lister itself (duh) - and the starter function still works - it's hard to mess up just tieing the field and armature of a DC generator to the battery with a key switch.

And then the main voltage regulator failed for the second time. First time it was the pot in the regulator - it simply disintegrated due to age and shaking. I'd replaced that with a nice 10 turn wirewound same value, and it worked again until a resistor in the mostly-potted VR board shook off - it was the one in series with a triac gate that switched the excitation winding into (or not) the field winding via a bridge rectifier. Replaced that, and it's still dead, Jim.

So ensued a scramble to find another - this is way not beyond my capacity to design myself, but it is more complex than it first appears - edge and corner cases abound here (stored energy in the field, what if the frequency goes way off - a problem for more than one thing, what about when it's slow and starting up - and so on) - and there are thousands of dollars worth of high tech gear wired to this - essentially everything I have that uses 220v (Xantrex inverter charger) - lathe, my car, the Spellman main fusor power and so on - not a place I want to make a mistake.

So I found a few places that deal with this kind of thing and ordered from the first guy to reply and a new different style one is on the way (and by all reports, it's a better one). Should be here tomorrow, and we'll see. Rather than make another long distance phone call, I kept a conversation going with the 2nd fellow to reply (from the UK), seems a very nice fellow - and without me having (yet) bought a single thing from him, he told me how to hook the new one up.
He will be getting my business now and in the future, that's above and beyond type service. That would be Stationary Engine Parts. In this game, one gets spares in hand pre-failure as I've come to like and depend on this thing now that it works so well (at least once I've shaken out all the bugs). The Listeroid itself seems very reliable and economical especially now that it runs at a controlled temperature via the arduino sketch (which is the subject of another post, or will be, on the lan of things - it's in the nearby battery box and doing other stuff too, and yes, the source code will be there when I'm more or less done diddling it).
In fact, I can look at that stuff right now without even leaving this post of even this browser page, as I have a tight-VNC window open on it now - I haven't yet put in the web server for the batbox pi which is why I haven't made that set of posts describing it - it's not done by a bit. But it looks like this just running a test program dumping raw data from the arduino and other sources out. I've got a bit of coding to do yet on this one (and one that I've not even started for the machine shop and real weather station and water quality monitor).
batboxpi.png
Remote screen from a pi in my battery box.


Coming along...always slower than I hope, but still coming. I should honorably mention the guy I did get this VR board from, in Georgia. (or will when it gets here if you know what I mean) He DID ship instantly and it will be here tomorrow by USPS (so they say...). And he's a nice guy, too. The UK guy, however, also knows his listers (and variants which is what I actually have), and has tons of parts for them as well - he's not just a generator guy. So if you go to Stationary Engines to buy stuff, tell Steve I sent ya!

Edit: OK, this is what's running on the arduino in the battery box, which I'm using the pi and perl to scrape up. Even though in this case I didn't need the long serial line and converter, and am just running off usb, there is no difference in how the protocol works, or how I talk to between them - same stuff, only the path under /dev changes. And now I can actually edit the arduino code on the pi from my comfy chair here, and burn the arduino from here as well...
This sketch also collects a few other bits of data, like battery temperature, box temperature (where the pi is, the thermocouple cold junction) as well as lister stuff - and I've yet to add the lister AC amp collection hardware/software, though I do have a tested current transformer. Soon!
Lister.zip
Current arduino code for lister control and monitoring.
(4.55 KiB) Downloaded 82 times

The code that turns the water pump and fan on in the arduino is autonomous, using tuning numbers that are #defines so I can fool around and find the "sweet spot" for best efficiency and lowest emissions. There appear to be two but I'm still rigging the gear to be sure of that conjecture.
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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Re: Listeroid 8HP stationary diesel engine

Postby Doug Coulter » Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:32 pm

Here is the raspberry pi code shown running above. Nothing special, it just requests data from the arduino and sends it to the terminal - it's testing stuff. I will incorporate some pieces of it to stuff this same data into a database.
I am doing some filtering on both machines. I forgot to put a low-pass filter in hardware at the battery net-ampere sensor, which I really should do...and some other details like keeping track of amp-seconds correctly for later conversion to watt-hours.

But, before you build the skyscraper, you have to learn to build a shed, this is that.
BatStuff.bz2
Perl testing code shown above running.
(1.35 KiB) Downloaded 81 times


FWIW, this is an older model pi, not the new fast one. Since I got a few of the new ones, I'm spoiled, so what to do with the ones that can barely chew gum? This!
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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Re: Listeroid 8HP stationary diesel engine

Postby Doug Coulter » Sat Aug 15, 2015 10:44 am

Ah, the Central Georgia Generator guy (Tom) got back to me on bridge rectifier specs quite quickly as well - it seems we have found two really nice vendors. Steve gets the lister parts, looks like Tom gets the gennie parts. Very nice customer service from both - above and beyond. I was not expecting such good service and quick response from either one. Like I said - in this world, finds like these guys are rare and worth telling others about.
And...it all works.
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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