Saturday, July 01, 2006

Start it Up!

I have been busy fitting a starter motor to my veg oil fuelled Lister generator. I had managed to acquire a powerful 6kW dc permanent magnet motor some time ago, and it was just a case of making a suitable bracket and belt driving it to the Lister.

The motor is coupled by pulleys and belts to the alternator shaft, and runs at 1200rpm when the alternator is doing the correct 1500rpm speed for 50Hz ac electicity.

The photo opposite is taken from above showing the twobelt drives linking engine to alternator and alternator to starter motor.

Last night I powered the starter for the first time,using 12V to begin with and then working up to 36V supplied from 3 large leisure batteries.

The starter works well, and certainly beats cranking by hand.

This type of motor also works very well as a generator, because it is permanently connected to the engine via the belts, and when the engine is turning the alternator at 1500rpm, the starter makes 134V dc, which can be fed straight back into the battery bank of my rather big, 5kW inverter.

The much appreciated sunshine for the last few weeks has allowed us to get our hot water almost entirely from the Navitron solar water heating panel. On dull days I start the Lister engine up for an hour, and the electricity generated goes straight to the immersion heater in the hot water cylinder, via a direct cable.

We have not used any gas for water heating for the last month. At this time last year our old gas boiler was using 6kWh a day just burning the pilot light. Now we only use gas for cooking, and average 1.5 units per day.

With the hot summer weather, it is difficult to remain focussed on the aims of producing a self-built renewable heat and power system capable of supplying all my winter needs.

The engine is now running reliably on waste vegetable oil, and the new starter makes it so much easier to crank it over.

The hombrew power system is rapidly starting to outgrow my humble 8 x 6 shed, so I am planning a simple extension made from exterior plywood on a timber frame.

So much to do, time to get cracking!

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