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The Listeroid Project

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After researching the project for 18 months,
the Listeroid seemed the perfect light plant for my off grid cabin.
It arrived complete with a 5KW gen set. The thing weighed 1,200 pounds.
With a borrowed fork lift we managed to get it off of the semi trailer and land it behind my shop.
The engine and the set were both exported by Metro in India.
After pulling panels and scraping off excess paint,
I haven’t seen the problems inside that others have had.
The engine appeared to have been cleaned and oiled, perhaps even run.
The intake lifter wasn’t turning but 5 minutes of scraping paint and pulling the lifter it spins just fine.
I think that I will put lock washers on all of the nuts and re-torque everything.

listeroid2

Uncrating the monster was a full day job in 100+ degree heat. If I order another one it will be in the fall or spring. The first thing that comes to mind is "massive." I think that it is built to work, everything is accessible and easily removed and replaced with the simple hand tools that they send with it. Gears are square cut and bearings, rod caps, piston rod and journal are huge. We managed to get it out of the crate with an engine hoist - keep in mind you are not going to move this thing without help, the engine weighs about 800 lbs and it is top heavy. The upper part of the engine needs to be secured to your lift chains or she will "tump" over. 3 diet Dr. Pepper’s later we got it and the gen set on the "sled" where we will square it up and align the pulleys.

listeroid3

We are welding up a 10 gallon propane tank for our water supply which we will mount between the engine and the generator. More on that as it happens. The next task is the generator. I don’t know the manufacturer as it is tac-marked "Metro" it looks like and S&K as it is 4 pole, huge, and cast iron. It squeaks when you slowly turn the shaft. I figure they didn’t grease the bearings or they painted over something that sings when the shaft is turned.

The doghouse has a digital meter read out and isn’t at all "period" looking. It is painted about as well as the Listeroid and will take some scraping to get down to the actual generator. More as the project develops.

Here is the Lister hooked up to the gen/set and complete with a 5 gallon water tank for thermal siphon cooling. It has run about 2 hours now and developed 3.5KW with the cps at 59 to 61 and 121 volts. Not bad. We were only running one leg off of the generator and I think she will pull 4.5 KW without working hard.

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The engine is mounted on an I beam sled then it is bolted through 2 4x4s into about 6 inches of concrete. Believe me you want this thing tied down.  Once the fuel lines were purged, which was a struggle, she has started on the first compression stroke every time.

I learned to make sure the valves are closed when not in use as Arkansas thunderstorms will fill the muffler with water and the water will run into the cylinder and fill the crankcase. This could ruin the engine after just a few minutes of running. I was fortunate to check the crankcase before the first start and found that the oil had turned into a yellow pudding. I won't be leaving the compression release engaged or either of the valves open on shutdown, and I put a cover over the engine to help keep out the moisture.

The brushes on the gen/set need to be run in I think. The first half hour or so of running when I would get the cycles per second to the 60 range, the voltage would drop to about 95-100, but now that I have put a couple of heavy loads on it the voltage and cps seem to be getting better. The first heavy load was a 75 watt bulb, a small compressor, a fan, an electric rotary saw and two 1,750 watt hair dryers.

The only thing that changed from no load to heavy load was the timber of the exhaust as the throttle rack would inject more fuel to keep the engine rpm unchanged. Some more work on the brushes and I think she will keep 60 cps without any variation. My initial impression is the neutral brush isn't contacting continuously as the voltage remains within 1 or two volts regardless of load but the cps can vary as much as 10 cycles regardless of load.

UPDATE: The idler gear failed after about 8 hours of operation. I bought a replacement from India but decided to get one from George at Utterpower.com. The brass gear is installed and the lister is running. We had a wild leg on the generator so pulled it and sent it to the shop, adjusted the brushes (they were not conformed to the rotor and only contacting about 1/4 of an inch. We fixed that and adjusted a resistor (a really Mickey Mouse piece of poor engineering) and now she pulls 120 volts on both legs and 60 cps. We changed out the belt drives for a flat serpentine belt with a Allamand drive. This reduced most of the vibration. I have since added a 12 volt alternator to the other flywheel and I am having a larger water tank built by the Local Pipe and Steamfitters Union which will have co-generation ability.

CALL TO DUTY: My neighbor was cutting a tree down the other day, it fell the wrong direction (of course) and struck the condenser on the utility pole killing the power to my block. The lights had been out for about 15 minutes when the guys from the gen shop showed up with the overhauled generator. We had it hooked up and running in about 10 minutes. Threw the transfer switch. The lister pulled everything in the print shop for about 3 hours and didn't even breathe hard.   It appears she may have used a pint of bio-diesel. I think we have a winner!

I run the Lister about one evening a week and let it pull a load in the shop. It appears to be able to pull about 3.5 kw for about 8 hours on a gallon of bio-diesel. The cost per kwh is about what I pay for grid power.

I want to put a couple hundred hours on it before moving it out to country.
GAS ENGINES: I purchased a 1924 Fairbanks-Morse 1 1/2 horsepower engine which I am in the process of restoring. It should be a nice addition to the project. I will probably run a 12 volt generator with it. I will post some before and after pictures in the near future.  The engine had been in a barn fire and the cap and coils in the magneto were melted. I ordered a new, later model mag which should arrive soon. It appears that all it needs to run is some gasoline and a little more compression.
listeroid4

SOLAR/WIND: I have managed to up my solar capacity to over 900 watts with the acquiring. I also have a 500 watt wind generator that I am reworking the brushes, blades and arbor. My mast for it appears to not be sturdy enough so I will have to try something different.  The mill is made from a dc motor out of a treadmill. It makes 13.5 volts at 55 rpm (8 mph). 

listeroid6

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