Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

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Maast
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Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by Maast » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:53 pm

For the new house we'll be building in the spring I've decided to buy a 650 RPM Lister Diesel (clone) w/ an oversized 6KW generator head as my backup power. I'd like to tap the collective wisdom for potential sources of the Lister clone powerplant and if anybody has experience with them. They're made in India and are an exact copy of a British diesel that ceased production in ~1987.

Background:

From my researches the Lister clones are the most efficient, simple, cost effective, and sheer bulletproof reliable engine powerplant available. They burn just about any kind of oil, to include veggie oil, old motor oil, etc and can run 24/7 for months on end with minimal maintenance. However they do take a DIYer to clean up, install, and run. 3 months ago I put a 85 gallon aux diesel tank w/ 12v pump on my diesel pickup (which has a 38 gallon tank of its own) giving me a nominal 2000 mile range and/or emergency generator fuel. I'm planning on buying a mil surplus additional diesel tank and putting it near the "barn".

They're not exactly mobile @ ~1800 lbs installed - just big hunks of cast iron. They're also the quietest around because of their slow RPM and sheer mass. I'm also planning on tapping the waste heat for emergency domestic hot water/space heating.

The powerplant will be feeding a 900AH deep cycle battery bank via an inverter/charger. My wife has a power-hungry home peritoneal dialysis machine that MUST have power no matter what. The PD machine will be plugged into the inverter full-time and the battery bank will be maintained by a charger plugged into commercial power.

BTW I learned a LOT at utterpower.com if you're interested in more info, its where I'll probably by buying if the collective can't point to a better vendor.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by AwPhuch » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:04 pm

http://www.lister-petter.com/products_b ... ctByType=4" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by raptor » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:35 pm

I have seen these on YouTube and over the years run into only one in person. Please keep us posted with your progress on this matter. I would be very interested to see how it works for you.

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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by BHP » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:54 pm

I wish I could add to this thread but I'm certainly interested in following it. If and when you get this project completed I do hope you share your experiences.

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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by Maast » Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:40 pm

These Lister-type (slow speed diesels) are remarkable machines: ultra reliable and will also run on any kind of suitably filtered oil; waste motor oil, straight veggie oil, biodiesel, or even home heating oil.

Home heating oil, which can be stored in as big of a tank as you could want. And its cheap. Something to think about.

It looks like my best source is going to be from http://diesel-electric.us" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; out of Kansas (or Fairbanks AK) the powerplant will run me about $1300

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu_dyYmAaMo" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by seanx » Wed Nov 30, 2011 5:00 am

http://www.indiamart.com/shree-satya-in ... ngine.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I think that it will solve your problem...

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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by LowKey » Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:19 am

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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by buenijo » Thu May 09, 2013 6:20 pm

http://wiki.gekgasifier.com/w/page/3044 ... %20engines" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Lister converts well to 100% wood gas with spark plug conversion. The stock 17:1 compression ratio does not have to be modified. Dual fuel is also possible with 80% wood gas and 20% Diesel (without modifications).

See Ken Boak's power plant: http://www.powercubes.com/listers.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (note again that the stock compression ratio does not have to be modified... Mr. Boak did this first, but learned later that it is unnecessary, and that it works even better with the stock compression ratio).

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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by Maast » Sat May 11, 2013 12:19 am

Wow, old thread...

I looked into this very carefully and when I ran the numbers it turned out for what I'd need to spend in a slow speed diesel and waste oil fuel filtering it was actually cheaper (and more reliable) to buy solar - and with a grid interactive inverter the solar has a daily use by reducing my electric bill. Solar has gotten a heck of a lot cheaper in the last year, below a dollar a watt.

For me it was better to go with a contractor grade 6500W portable diesel 3600RPM generator for 0-60 days emergencies and store the required diesel fuel (@4 gallons a day). I'm not all the way there on fuel yet, I've only got 200 gallons of diesel on-hand, another 55 gallon drum of stabilized fuel and that prep will be complete.
The cool thing about diesel generators and vehicles is that in a pinch I can use heating oil - as long as I add a lubricity and cetane booster. Long term I want to do a oil fired heater for the shop and a 300 gallon heating oil tank for it. And the insurance company won't care about that much fuel because its "heating oil" In fact my two full diesel drums are labled "heating oil" .... which is absolutely true.

For 60 day+ long term SHTF I've started assembling the solar array components but I'm nowhere near operational on that - too many other things demanding money.
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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by Paladin1 » Sat May 11, 2013 12:05 pm

A Lister is on my list. I've done the numbers too, but came to slightly different conclusion.

My thoughts were about a layered approach, combining multi-fuel Lister, with solar and wind turbine.

Where I'm at the sun does not always shine, the wind does not always blow, and it can get freaking cold.
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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by raptor » Sat May 11, 2013 12:24 pm

One thing to consider is that a generator that produces only DC power is a sensible alternative if the main function is tokeep batteries charged. It is simpler and hence can be more reliable and cheaper. Obviously YMMV.

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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by MacAttack » Sat May 11, 2013 2:05 pm

Every year in our area we have a huge county fair.

Well they have a large steam antique engine display area. All running.
Maybe a hundred different engines. Everything from small hobby steam engines and hit and miss engines up to huge steam tractors and saw mills.

I think I will talk to a few of those old guys and ask about the small 4 hp steam engines. You can buy them for less than 600 bucks with out the boiler.

I wonder how low of a pressure they will run on with enough power to spin an automotive alternator, or small generator?

I could effectively power that off of anything that burns.

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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by buenijo » Sat May 11, 2013 6:47 pm

MacAttack wrote:Every year in our area we have a huge county fair.

Well they have a large steam antique engine display area. All running.
Maybe a hundred different engines. Everything from small hobby steam engines and hit and miss engines up to huge steam tractors and saw mills.

I think I will talk to a few of those old guys and ask about the small 4 hp steam engines. You can buy them for less than 600 bucks with out the boiler.

I wonder how low of a pressure they will run on with enough power to spin an automotive alternator, or small generator?

I could effectively power that off of anything that burns.
I can answer most questions you have on steam power. These older engines can run on 50-100 psig with useful power, and they can generally go up to about 200 psig. If you have a very large demand for heat, then a good steam engine can be sensible. If not, then the low thermal efficiency of most steam engines will result in excessive fuel consumption. These really are among the least efficient ways to generate electricity. A typical small piston steam engine such as those operated 100+ years ago saw a net thermal efficiency on the order of only 4%. Compound engines did much better, but these are kinda pricey... and still, getting more than 8% efficiency on the engine would be difficult. A good wood gas engine system like a Lister fueled by a good gasifier can see a net thermal efficiency of 20% near its rated output.

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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by buenijo » Sat May 11, 2013 6:56 pm

raptor wrote:One thing to consider is that a generator that produces only DC power is a sensible alternative if the main function is tokeep batteries charged. It is simpler and hence can be more reliable and cheaper. Obviously YMMV.
Good note. I add that the efficiency of battery charging is extremely low when the battery is at a high state of charge. Generally, you get only about 50-60% of the energy back out of a battery that you put in when the state of charge is over about 85%. Therefore, a generator set up for battery charging can see much lower fuel consumption by adopting a few practices that include the following:
1. Use genset for bulk charging only. This is done when the battery is at a lower state of charge (perhaps 50-60% state of charge on up to about 85-90% state of charge. Efficiency will be on the order of 85-90% here).
2. Power large loads while the generator is charging the battery. Under this condition much of the electricity from the charging source effectively bypasses the battery to avoid battery losses all together. Battery losses are effectively lessened.
3. Let a solar array or some other charging source that does not consume fuel take the battery to full charge.

ADDENDUM: Also, please catch whatever heat you can from the generator during operation as consuming additional fuel for heating application if it's not necessary would be just asinine in a genuine off grid setting. See Ken Boak's set up for a good example of this (google "Ken Boak Lister Energy Shed").

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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by fidalgoman » Sat May 11, 2013 9:53 pm

I don’t know about the new production but the older units were legendary as far as longevity and fuel efficiency. Absolute gold standard. I heard however that they were phased out due to EPA emissions standards not being met. Something to do with the low RPM.

I would still run one if I could find it.

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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by MacAttack » Sun May 12, 2013 5:10 pm

buenijo wrote:
MacAttack wrote:Every year in our area we have a huge county fair.

Well they have a large steam antique engine display area. All running.
Maybe a hundred different engines. Everything from small hobby steam engines and hit and miss engines up to huge steam tractors and saw mills.

I think I will talk to a few of those old guys and ask about the small 4 hp steam engines. You can buy them for less than 600 bucks with out the boiler.

I wonder how low of a pressure they will run on with enough power to spin an automotive alternator, or small generator?

I could effectively power that off of anything that burns.
I can answer most questions you have on steam power. These older engines can run on 50-100 psig with useful power, and they can generally go up to about 200 psig. If you have a very large demand for heat, then a good steam engine can be sensible. If not, then the low thermal efficiency of most steam engines will result in excessive fuel consumption. These really are among the least efficient ways to generate electricity. A typical small piston steam engine such as those operated 100+ years ago saw a net thermal efficiency on the order of only 4%. Compound engines did much better, but these are kinda pricey... and still, getting more than 8% efficiency on the engine would be difficult. A good wood gas engine system like a Lister fueled by a good gasifier can see a net thermal efficiency of 20% near its rated output.

How many pounds of wood do I need to burn a day to gasify and thus run a Lister engine?

It takes just as much to make the gas as it would to just boil the water from what I have read.

During the winter months I could conceivably run the steam engine off of the wood stove for the house.

Plus I could possibly pre heat the water with a solar array. If I want to get flashy.

In the end I am not looking for fuel efficiency as much as universal fuel usage. I could burn anything from straw and grass to waste oil, liquid fuels, coal and just plain old wood. No conversions needed.
And considering I would only be running it long enough to charge up the battery bank for some radio time or for running a few tools. Its more important it runs for a hundred years with little real maintenance than it runs fuel efficiently.

A gallon of heavy grease and a 55 gallon drum of motor oil could keep the engine lubed for a hundred years with care.

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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by Maast » Mon May 13, 2013 5:38 am

Using a slow speed diesel is a very viable option for power production, with the caveat that you'll need fuel to run it with; something that will be in very short supply in a post-SHTF environment.
Wood gas production is also viable, but it takes monitoring (time will also be in short supply), and it adds another potential point of failure in your power production.

BTW IMO it'd be better to run the wood gas through a nickel catalyzing chamber to product methanol that you can store and use on-demand. I think the only fuels readily available post-SHTF will be methanol or ethanol with biodiesel a distant third - finding/growing veggie oil post-PAW will be extremely difficult when food production is an absolute priority just to keep from starving.

Using waste motor oil as a fuel is possible, but filtering out the crap in it is a non-trivial exercise which requires consumables.

The requirement for fuel is my main objection to anything requiring an engine to produce power during a long term SHTF, with a close second objection of the maintenance requirements. It'll eventually wear out no matter what you do, solar panels pretty much dont wear out.

My specific objection to the current Lister clones which are only available out of India is they're pieces of CRAP out-of-the-box and require an EXTENSIVE down-to-the-individual-components rework to get acceptable reliability out of it.
I even joined two forums dedicated to the listers as part of my research; http://www.microcogen.info/index.php?PH ... &board=2.0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; and http://listerengine.com/smf/index.php?P ... &board=2.0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

If you can find an original made-in-england lister that'd be a GREAT find, listeroids suck. If you're going to use an engine, use a petter or yanmar engine, they're orders of magnitude more reliable and findable.

P.S. During winter when there isnt much solar available, use direct thermal-to-electric generation on your wood stove. Google "Thermal Electric" and just start reading.
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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by buenijo » Mon May 13, 2013 4:50 pm

MacAttack wrote:How many pounds of wood do I need to burn a day to gasify and thus run a Lister engine?
It takes just as much to make the gas as it would to just boil the water from what I have read.
Let's assume a conventional single cylinder double acting piston steam engine system with saturated or slightly superheated steam at 200 psig or less (typical conditions). This steam system will consume 3-5 times as much wood fuel as compared to a good wood gas engine system for the same shaft work. If you want precise figures, then I'll need a specific parameters.
MacAttack wrote:During the winter months I could conceivably run the steam engine off of the wood stove for the house.
Plus I could possibly pre heat the water with a solar array. If I want to get flashy.
A good way to get killed on the first point, and a good way to lose all your money on the second. The only practical DIY steam generation system for off grid steam power is a relatively small monotube steam generator that does not require operator attention. A competent individual could devise this safely. Preheating water fed to a boiler will not improve efficiency unless very high temperatures are achieved which also makes for high thermal losses from the collector. This combined with the low thermal efficiency of a conventional steam engine system means the collector would have to be massive and very well insulated to see good results thereby breaking your bank account.
MacAttack wrote:In the end I am not looking for fuel efficiency as much as universal fuel usage. I could burn anything from straw and grass to waste oil, liquid fuels, coal and just plain old wood. No conversions needed.
The Lister and other Diesel engines can be operated in dual fuel mode without modification where a small amount of fuel oil is retained for ignition (what is normally admitted during idle - about 20% of full load delivery) and any combustible vapor with sufficient octane rating is admitted with the intake air to include wood gas, charcoal gas, coal gas, or ethanol vapors. Straw and grass can be used to supplement a wood gasifier.
MacAttack wrote:And considering I would only be running it long enough to charge up the battery bank for some radio time or for running a few tools. Its more important it runs for a hundred years with little real maintenance than it runs fuel efficiently.
A gallon of heavy grease and a 55 gallon drum of motor oil could keep the engine lubed for a hundred years with care.
If electricity usage is extremely low and heating need are very high, then a simple steam engine makes sense. However, a more practical configuration might be to use photovoltaics for electricity generation, then use a biomass furnace for the heating applications.

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Re: Best source for a 6hp 650rpm Lister Diesel Generator?

Post by Maast » Sun May 19, 2013 7:59 am

If your planning on making power for a long term post-SHTF environment than basically you're planning for an off-grid home.

All the off grid homes are almost without exception solar powered, there's a reason for that.

Take a look at homepower magazine and their web site for ideas.
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