Listeroid 8HP stationary diesel engine

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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).

Listeroid 8HP stationary diesel engine

Postby Doug Coulter » Sat May 02, 2015 4:29 pm

Well, BillF moved and since he doesn't have a spot at his new place for this - it's here now. It has hardly any running hours on it - it's mostly been in a shed and shows it. It was horribly mis-adjusted, and I'm working through that after cleaning the mouse nests out of things and so forth. But here it is going, and working well, even before I'm really going on getting it just right. This is a frigging tank for an 8hp motor... I've tested it to a little over 4kw so far and it gets louder, but doesn't seem to be anywhere near what it'll do at that point - I only have so much ability to load such a thing anyway.

When I got it, it was adjusted such that the generator was 72 hz, and the valve lash something over 60 mils. I got that down to around 61 hz no load, and around 30 mils and heated it up some at light load (about half a kw). The lash increases with heat - nice to know - so I can go tighter. For whatever reason, this also makes it shake a lot less than it did at first. I will probably be doing some mods, as in adding a thermostat, and perhaps a little arduino trickery to keep it running at top efficiency.
While I'm not really a fan of diesel (that smell, yuck) perhaps I can add an exhaust stack and larger muffler to both quiet it down and push the fumes out to where I don't smell them. It's actually a lot cleaner burning than your average automotive diesel idling in the general store parking lot already - but you guys know me, it ain't perfect yet...so I'm going for at least "a whole lot better" with this. Valuable hot spare/backup to the rest of the power systems around here. This thing really sips the fuel - I tried it at heavy load earlier while testing the overactive cooling system - and couldn't see any drop in the tiny fuel tank after half an hour. Not bad. I'll get real numbers, but it's obviously in the "hey, that's real nice" range already.
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 » Sun May 03, 2015 1:14 pm

A little more on this. Seems sitting around too long wasn't good for it, and it mainly needed a good shaking.
Now the temperature meter works...
100_2895.JPG
Water temp working now

And it turns out the thing really likes to run on the warm side - 190f or so (I also tested another way). It actually speeds up when it's hot, despite the governor - I had to adjust some things for my charging system to work with the wider frequency range.
As is, the water temp control is purely manual - a fan switch. The fan is way overkill, and draws too much 12v for the generator to keep up with anyway. I will be looking into that thermostat mod for the water flow, and putting some other fan on there that draws less power pretty soon.

Also, with the muffler (if you can call it that) right on the engine, it blew those nasty fumes on you when you were starting - you have to be standing right there.
So I availed myself of a few fittings at Lowes and added a bit of pipe and an angle (as well as more volume) and now it puts the fumes up - and it's a lot quieter. I'll probably go further in that direction, this juist needs a longer pipe (for tuning/scavenging) and more volume in the exhaust system to keep things around 300 fpm instead of sometimes supersonic. But this is still a big improvement on a couple levels.
I can now say (admit?) I've burned a quart of diesel in my Volt, as that's my largest test load. We're tested up to around 5kw now (charging house batteries too).
ListerExhaust.JPG
Help for the exhaust

It stinks less when hot as well. I think I'm on the right track with these mods.
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 Jerry » Sun May 03, 2015 9:32 pm

These things run no where near as efficient as a car diesel idling. In fact they are banning importation of these in some places because they run so dirty. The one thing they do is run forever, at least the original lister ones did. There are people that have had them running for 20 years straight without being shut down.

They will also run on almost anything, I saw one running on rapeseed oil, i believe. The engine was being used to provide it's own fuel by crushing the grain.

You dont need to mess around with arduino crap for something like this. They will run forever just fine without it.
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Re: Listeroid 8HP stationary diesel engine

Postby Doug Coulter » Wed May 06, 2015 1:59 pm

Well, efficiency at idle is kind of...an oxymoron. Whether more efficient or not - one thing's for sure - this doesn't make my eyes water - it just stinks like all diesels (even with ultra low sulfur road fuel). Diesel trucks make my eyes water at idle from 50 ft away, at least the ones favored around here. One wonders which kind of emissions the newer stuff controls - maybe they trade off things like that to meet a spec. I know that the modern stuff makes me ill (acids?) instantly, and this only stinks...
I will be looking into things to make it cleaner, of course. But my standards, not EPAs.

This DOES need some control help. It cools far too well in the cold - has a water pump and radiator, and takes forever to heat up to the point where it stinks less (and incidentally, will make most power under load - tested that). Then overheats immediately. There's a mod out there on the listeroid forums to cut a recessed flange in one of the fittings and put a dodge thermostat in. That's priority one - else you have to stand there and tend the thing, particularly while it's under load. 30 seconds worth of the manually switched too-large car fan takes it from 200f to 150f - too high to too low, and the Farmall (AC Delco) genny for the 12v mostly used for a starter doesn't keep up with that either. I need a fan more like what would be in a server rack. After all, if it needs cooling, abundant AC is right there. It's also got a lot of slop in frequency with the governor it has. Some of that is just lash I can fix mechanically, but the control loop is nowhere as good as a decent PID controller as is. I do care if my lathe is speeding up and slowing down as the frequency goes from 69 to 55 hz under full loading. I doubt the welders care, the inverter/charger can be set wide and is, the car doesn't care. I care.

It clearly needs *some* automation - whether it's a thermal switch to control the fan (or some smaller, more efficient one) or an arduino - well, it's dependent on how much data aq and remote control I want. Remember, I code these like some people breath, and I'm no mouth-breather. I haven't decided what to actually do so far - remember, the first 9 or two of my power is solar anyway, this won't be used all that much. I may have to even add something to remind me to run it enough to keep it "good" like all modern backup gennies do. Things rust, oil all drops off things, etc.

One thing I've found out being off-grid since '79 is that these things never fail in good weather when the parts stores are open - always on a weekend in hailstorms and such. This is a backup of a backup, but worthless unless it's a true "hot spare". False complacency is, well, false. Been bitten by that, can you tell? ;)
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 Jun 04, 2015 12:46 pm

Well, after around 10 hours of just running the thing (luckily my inverter-charger is quite tolerant of voltage and frequency variations - 100-125v/phase and 55-65 hz), I pulled the dipstick - It had started with fresh clear oil, and I'd put a NeFeB magnet on the dipstick end. Here's what that looks like now (and the oil is black now).
ListerMagnet.JPG
Pretty big chips


Could be this thing had nearly zero hours on it as received, and this is break-in stuff. I'll definitely keep an eye on this. In cool (50F) weather, it seems to just hit 170-180F passively cooled. Whether I do a thermostat or just decide to put an electric motor on the water pump and only pump when needed, this thing wants some more-active temperature control. It does seem to be running better and cleaner with a few hours on it. I have also adjusted valve lash to near the factory specs. I hit around .010" - specs are variously .008" depending on who you read, and it was over .030" when I got it. Lash goes up as it warms up, as the pushrods stay cool out in the air, but the block gets warm.
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 johnf » Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:20 am

Doug
The metal bits are a bit of concern
The black oil is not.
I run a toyota surf (forerunner)diesel it requires oil and filter change every 7000km
the oil goes black within 100km ---normal
diesel oil is very high detergent to keep the carbon in suspension ---ie black

and as a note to anyone reading this
If you want to clean out a gasoline engine from sludge a good diesel oil will loosen it all up pretty quick.
do not run it too long as the in suspension sludge will clog the oil filter. I do this to new to me second hand petrol cars and run the diesel engine oil for 1000km max (620 miles)
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Re: Listeroid 8HP stationary diesel engine

Postby solar_dave » Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:05 am

Doug from what I have read those are notorious for being full of trash from the factory. Change the oil and run it for another few hours to see what happens. If the trash persists of course then something is definitely wrong.
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 » Sun Jun 07, 2015 8:36 pm

Yes, the forums on these mention they often come full of trash. What I'm seeing on the magnet is flakes, not powder (mostly) - it looks like "trimmings" from a really coarse cylinder honing job. Bill said he just put plain-jane multi-grade lube oil in it (wrong no matter who you ask). Most of the forums indicate one should use non-detergent straight 30 weight here (which is, BTW and from experience, probably right for any small engine with no filter). Clearances in these probably aren't tight enough to support that thin 10w-30 stuff, and no point keeping stuff in suspension since there's no filter to grab it anyway - best to let it settle out in a splash-oiled engine. The sump is huge - maybe over a gallon, FWIW. I'll see what it looks like after a few more hours runtime under load and decide what to do at that point.
If it's truly nasty (still), I'll take off the crankcase door and look for sand - some report leftover sand in the casting(!). And put a big honking magnet in there, instead of the little one on the end of the dipstick. I'll have to see how re-usable that door gasket turns out to be...

Right now, it has some other issues I'm working on at least in my head. It has an always-running water pump with one of those "add your own links to suit" belts, and even in the warm weather, it's hard to get to warm up decently - then it wants to overheat unless you turn on an electric fan for the radiator, in which case, it becomes too cold in only a few seconds....I'm looking at either a switchable water pump, a thermostat, a fan temp switch, or arduino to fix this. Most of the time it's running much too cold for best operation...unless it's boiling over. No way that's right, and I'm not going to be willing to sit out there and watch it continuously.

It also hunts (with stimulus from a Xantrex inverter/charger doing its little games) from ~55 to ~65 hz (I had to set it high so it wouldn't go too low for big loads). It's a simple flyball governor/spring arrangement - arduino with a PID controller software looking at zero crossing times and/or load current might help with that. It's kind of fun (once) to hear the lathe spin up, down, up, down while it's doing that, but...really, it can and will be better than that when I'm done with it. I'm glad I don't run my clocks off that circuit!

It currently has an AC Delco ancient brush generator (12v) from a tractor, wired so that it can also be the starter. I've not found the right source for pulleys for this kind of flat-grooved belt yet (McMaster has them with right grooves but wrong width only), but I'd like to put in one of my real DC generators from a P-51 mustang - around 200 amps at 30v as a generator (Eg about the same HP as the diesel engine itself), and one hell of a starter motor besides (I have one that's worn out 4 Honda 6.5 hp gasoline engines and took it apart - still like-new inside, no visible wear on brushes or commutator - I guess nothing was too good for our boys in WWII). The old relay-style regulator in there also fails to keep the 12v battery up anyway, especially when the fan has to run - it draws more than that tiny generator can make as is. At any rate, why not go straight to DC for most of the charging duties? Sure, I could charge the Volt off it - but then it'd be a diesel Volt, eh? Mixed bag - some people really wanted GM to make one. I'd rather keep it pure electric/solar myself.

This is all looking like an arduino project once I assemble the right other parts. As is, if tended (that temperature issue, and keeping the battery charged with something else) - it works great. Hopefully I'll get to full automation by winter...we'll see.
Probably wouldn't even need the compression release with that honking 24v generator to start it...that thing eats B type V belts for breakfast without a burp. It might even be dangerous to wide flat belts, I suppose we'll find out.
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 » Tue Jun 23, 2015 5:00 pm

Well, it may not be obvious from the video, since the camera has AGC, but it's now a lot quieter. Obviously, it still has that characteristic "gargling rocks" sound all diesels seem to have. This runs far cleaner when up to temperature, which it isn't, quite, here. But I'm getting there.
http://youtu.be/BogPxOSzoQY



I found a small DC high temperature water pump on Amazon, and plan to incorporate that and a thermocouple-based switch for it and the fan ASAP. Right now, it's a belt driven, leaking water pump that runs all the time, and a too-powerful fan I almost never run at all. Even in 83f ambient temperatures, the heat loss from the piping and radiator (without the fan at all) holds this down to around 160f coming out of the cylinder head - it likes more like 190f. I don't have enough loads to get it that hot most of the time! Winter, of course, will be much more of a problem than summer - this really needs a thermostat, or the equivalent - a switched water pump. Saves a belt and a leak on top.

So, as soon as I can put together the adapters, I'll be adding a switched water pump and fan driven by an arduino (based on a thermocouple placed in the head) that may also do some better speed control stuff, battery charge control (for its starting battery) and so forth. But progress is progress, and now you can barely tell its running from indoors, which is nice.
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 Jun 25, 2015 8:32 pm

And, it's here (the water pump, that is). Draws around 1 amp at 12v and actually pumps more water than the belt driven one did. Right now, it's just clip leads. I have an arduino sketch I'm testing on my bench, but have yet to mount a thermocouple on the engine head (tricky..) or the arduino in the nearby energy shed (along with a pi that's going in there to provide ethernet - I had an old model B that cost less than an ethernet shield for an arduino!).
Pretty soon, we'll have full automation on this puppy - maybe even auto-start if the house batteries get too low. We'll see...
Anyway, here's the pump, mounted, not leaking and working great.
ListerWater.JPG
I didn't cheap-out on the permatax, of course.


The arduino sketch currently decides to turn on the pump at 185 F, off at 180f, turn on the fan at 190F and off at 185. It's tunable, of course - it's all just #defines in C. I plan other things for this arduino, and am getting the pi ready to build and burn arduino sketches so I can do this remotely via tightvnc. The pi needs a bit more sysadmin work on it before it's ready to go headless...thinks like mount a USB stick over /var for database and web content, things you'd rather have it in your hand for doing rather than taking a display out there. I will then have a battery monitor out there serving web and filling its own database for later capture and analysis, much like the system here in the old office trailer, which has been working swimmingly.

Getting old frankly sucks - it's not for sissies. Thus the crunch to automate as much as possible as fast as I can - before doing it by hand overcomes my ability to apply manual effort. And all this code and infrastructure is a great dry run for the fusor remote control stuff...which will now be easy, as I've wrung the bugs out of the basic template on other, less-critical stuff. That's the hope, anyway.

The pump I got is 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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