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Lister H Genset

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Lister H Genset

Post by mm5aho on Mon Feb 25 2013, 20:46

On another thread, someone suggested that I post some pix of the Lister D that I'm working on. I forgot to take initial pictures, so instead, here's a thread on an ex-lighthouse generator I worked on for the amateur radio club I belong to.
Barns Ness Lighthouse was decommissioned, and bought by a cement company who are busy mining the limestone round it. The lighthouse is in good condition, but no light (removed). The standby generator was still, there, but unused for perhaps 6-8 years. We sought it as a donation, and were fortunate that the cement company (LaFarge) were generous enough to donate it. It was installed in a building, and we had to extract it. My job was to make it into a towable portable generator. Here's the story...


We met one Saturday at the lighthouse. I figured we'd need a few hands to lift this beast safely. But there were all the connections to undo first. It had a gravity feed fuel tank, exhaust through the wall, skid mounted bolted down, a permanent sump oil feeder (more on that later), and all the electrics. It was wired to start automatically on mains failure, from a battery bank.


This oil tank fed sump oil into the sump to ensure it never ran low. A cunning device to allow oil in on low level. I re-used this tank as the mobile diesel tank.


Exhaust system removal.


Disconnecting the electrics.


Getting the heavy beast off the floor where it had sat since 1965 or so wasn't so simple. That's me jacking up one end of the skid.


There's always plenty of advice in these situations. Sometimes too much!!


We used 2" pipes as rollers to move the skid on the concrete floor. I guess the whole unit weighs about 700-800kg?


A tight squeeze through the doors.


And using an engine hoist (overloaded a bit) we got it into the back of this van.


And took all the bits away too. Some came in useful later.


Our deal with the company was to leave the place clean and tidy. We did.


Next stop my garage. Out of the van and onto the concrete floor where it lived for the next few months.

So far we'd gone from this...



To this...





Some bits were re-useable as they were, some were not.


I had in mind to use some of these parts on the elctrical side.


For brass plate fans, here's the details...


The generator was in good shape. Only a few things to do, such as cleaning up this commutator.


In wanting to make this a trailer mounted unit, the skid was an obvious frame to start, so I merely (!) welded axles and a drawbar on.


Being heavy, I decided to make it a braked trailer.


Stub axles next.


Starting to take shape.


Going to need a new muffler. I went to a muffler place and the coversation was amusing (in hindsight).
Me: I want a muffler, anything will do.
Him: No you need to tell me the model of car.
Me: not a car, a generator.
Him: we don't have them for that.
Me: but anything will do
Him: no we don't do it like that.
Me: just show me your stock.
Him: OK, come with me.
Me: seeing first one I come across. That'll do.
Him: Are you sure?
Me: yes, that one.


There's that oil tank, remounted as a fuel tank. Clear hose for a sight gauge, little electric lift pump (previously it had a high mounted gravity feed tank), remounted relays for engine control.
The engine control was clever (aren't the simplest things the best?). If the engine overheats, runs low on oil pressure or over-revs then it activates a solenoid (though relays) that cuts off the fuel.


Started putting a frame round it to house it in.


Made a new electric board and controls. The motor had epectric start already, so preserved that, added a battery, and a starter switch.
Rev counter (original) volt meter (from old panel), ammeter (old panel), and that cut out in the panel eventually had a bank of circuit breakers for the mains out sockets.


Battery mounting place with cables to starter motor.


There needs to be some way to re-charge the battery, and supply 12V DC for the controls. So we took 240V off the genny and used a 12V power supply putting out 13.8V, about 10A. This charges the battery, and supplies the 12V needs.
240V regulation is in the upper grey box. Its a simple electromechanical device that was original.


Now box it in with exterior plywood.


Back of the control panel before wiring up.


And afterward.


And here it is out for first use in anger. Didn't even get time to put the final paintjob on, this was the primer!
A door to the side allws air flow for the engine cooling.


240V on no-load (yet) and 1500 rpm. Oil pressure normally about 40 psi


And this is how it ran. Ran continuously for about 30 hours over that weekend, delivering about 2-6kVA with a wlidly fluctuating load (as radio transmitters of this type tend to be). It used about 35 or 40 litres of red diesel.


And that's it.
Since then its done a few outings each year, most duties involve running continuously for 30-50 hours at a time.
Original hours on the clock were 550. Thats hardly run in for a Lister like this. I guess it had been run up to check it every month or so, for the 45 years it was at the lighthouse, and not much more.
It starts like a dream on the battery start, but the original crank is still available if required.
I've since modified the door to side hinges. The top hinged arrangement could sometime close, then it overheats and cuts out., Side hinged door tied back solved that. Air cooled engines really do need to breather!

Hope you liked that story.
Geoff

ps
In case you're interested, here's a pic of one of the several antennas in use that day...

Takes about 3 guys about 2-3 hours to put it all together. Its visible in one of the pics above too. It stands about 70ft high when completed. Talk about mixing hobbies!

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Re: Lister H Genset

Post by Ianhw77k on Mon Feb 25 2013, 21:09

Nice write-up Smile

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Re: Lister H Genset

Post by fowlerfan on Mon Feb 25 2013, 21:18

Great story, worthy of an article for the SEM as newer engines aren't featured so often.

Hope your welding of the drawbar to the front of the engine frame is good Laughing

Did you consider making an A-frame chassis / frame and bolting the engine / frame down onto it ?

Last year I did an article in the SEM on Kelvin engines in a lighthouse in the south of Scotland, during my research it appears that many lighthouses around the country still have engines installed. I also know of a site where there is a lovely Lister CS twin set up as a winch engine for a remote lighthouse to pull boats up a slipway.....its amazing whats still lying around.

Thanks for posting.
Cheers Dave

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Re: Lister H Genset

Post by stationary stu on Tue Feb 26 2013, 12:30

Cracking write up Geoff, thanks for taking the time to show us how you managed to find it, up to it being used. Great pics.

Stu.

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Re: Lister H Genset

Post by mm5aho on Tue Feb 26 2013, 18:04

Dave (Fowlerfan).
What's SEM? I'm guessing "Stationary Engine Magazine" ??

I did consider options about how to "trailerise" the genset. But as it came on a skid, and the skid was a convenient size, and engine mounts etc were OK, this was the lazy option, and while I don't mind work (in fact I'm a workaholic perhaps), I don't like doing unnecessary work. It seemed duplication to make a new frame when I had a good one.

As to my welding: I'm not a coded welder, but competent. The welds between drawbar and skid were not just a butt joint, but underneath have an overlapping plate, so this seems a good joint.
It's now done a couple of years and perhaps 400 miles towing. (The venue shown is south of Castle Douglas, towed there from East Lothian) All still looking good.

Geoff

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Re: Lister H Genset

Post by blackvanman on Tue Feb 26 2013, 18:19

Gordon bennet!!! whats the gain on those stacked yagi's?
nice job well done there,
M0IED Wink

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Re: Lister H Genset

Post by Andrew1971 on Tue Feb 26 2013, 19:15

Execellent write up it's good to see it is still been used and not weighed in for scrap. A good rescue good job Very Happy Very Happy
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Lister Gen Set

Post by glowes3 on Fri Mar 01 2013, 01:00

I agree - great project and finished job.
I admire you guys who can work with the electrical side of those projects too.
Regards Graeme

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Re: Lister H Genset

Post by nutgone on Fri Mar 01 2013, 11:11

Great job, someone made a nice neat job of the panel wiring too (so many people think wiring doesn't need to be neat as it's seldom seen).

That genny, considering it's been installed over 45 years, must have just seen monthly test runs, maybe an occasional power cut. I'll have to get my calculator out & see what the rough average is. Like you say, hardly run in. I bet she runs as sweet as a nut.

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Re: Lister H Genset

Post by nutgone on Thu Mar 28 2013, 23:24

blackvanman wrote:Gordon bennet!!! whats the gain on those stacked yagi's?


Bit of a personal question isn't it? lol!

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Re: Lister H Genset

Post by mm5aho on Fri Mar 29 2013, 20:02

The gain of the stack of Yagis?

= insufficient!

Actually this stack has the advantage of not being too directional (ie not too fine a beam width). That's important for contesting.
But that's hardly much to do with old engines, except that it is powered by one.

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Re: Lister H Genset

Post by nutgone on Fri Mar 29 2013, 20:24

mm5aho wrote:The gain of the stack of Yagis?

= insufficient!

Actually this stack has the advantage of not being too directional (ie not too fine a beam width). That's important for contesting.
But that's hardly much to do with old engines, except that it is powered by one.

Actually, we do have a "Other Hobbies" section, & I've yet to see this hobby appear there. I know very little on the subject myself, but I know there's at least 2 of you on here, possibly more. Anyone fancy putting a little post in there & telling us all a little about it?

I would like to know a little more, like what exactly it is that you do? Who do you contact? & how do you know to contact them? How far do the signals go? & (perhaps most of all) what do you say when you do make contact? What do you talk about?

When I helped my dad bring his barge back through the French inland waterways system & back across the channel I had to read the VHF radio operators manual, now normal chit-chat is pretty much banned on this, is there a strict code on this kind of radio as well? (we're talking short wave, aren't we?)

Too many questions, I know, & probably best not answered here. If you like I can re-post them in the Other Hobbies section, or just take note & answer them in a new thread of your making (whoever decides to make one).

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Re: Lister H Genset

Post by nutgone on Fri Mar 29 2013, 20:29

P.S. I'm sure most of us don't mind these topics running off subject a little, it's never bothered me much. I just thought it was an ideal opportunity to get something about Ham Radio in the Other Hobbies section. (There you go, I've said it; "Ham Radio". I bet that's completely the wrong term & I've probably upset a load of people)

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Re: Lister H Genset

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