Tuesday, November 25, 2014

With a great roar...

... and a rather volcanic outburst of black smoke and soot and even solid fragments of carbon that had been lodged in the muffler, my massive Lister-Petter TS3 genset came to life Saturday. It took about half a bottle of starter fluid -- note to self, buy more starter fluid -- but after a short while the injectors bled through and were primed and then it ran just fine all on its own, putting out 117 volts at each pole of the three-wire connector.

Well within the tolerances to run this old house the next time we get a four-day power cut.

Here's the home movie I took of the second start-up. This one lacked some of the drama, but I wasn't going to be futzing around with a camera if it exploded during the first attempt.

All said and done, I was fairly pleased with this result. It's been a while since I got this deep into an engine project, and it was fun to dust off mt skills.

There remains a little work to do on the Lister. It clearly needs a new muffler, for which we'll adapt a cheap bit of car muffler from the parts store. There's the small matter of a new oil pressure switch to replace the one I managed to burn out while trying to sort out the electrics the other week. And I ordered a large external fuel tank, one that comes on wheels, so we can take just the tank and not the whole genset to the gas station to fill up. And it needs wiring and connectors to connect it to our power distribution panel the next time we get a big outage. 

I haven't decided where to put it yet, either. It really needs it's own permanent shed, some distance away from the main house in case of fire, but I may also just find a good solid secondhand trailer and fit it to that, after which it will be possible to move it to other places around here that may need power.

As the most recent power emergency showed, there just aren't enough generators in the county when the power goes out. Most of our public buildings were closed, and eleven public schools were completely dark, and even some of those that had standby-generators couldn't get them running, because some key experienced people had recently retired. If I fit this big genset to a trailer, it may one day be of some help at someone else's house or for some other useful purpose.

In other mechanical news, our big "new" Nissan four-door pick-em up truck needs a starter motor. At least, I think it does, and will have to change out the starter motor before I know for sure. It has the dreaded no-crank, no start condition on cold mornings, until I hit it with the 200 amp starter, then it goes just fine. The rest of the day, it takes one or more turns of the key. This beast has the same Nippon Denso starter that the Camry had, the one where the copper contacts wear out after a while, producing these kinds of symptoms. But a bad neutral safety switch will do pretty much the same. I ordered a reconditioned starter, and will soon find out which one of the two possible causes it is.

I'm just hoping the starter arrives before the next snowstorm, but it's not looking good.

As for baby Roo, things are pretty swell there most of the time. Aimee is still very sore from sleeping with her own personal parasite more or less firmly attached all night, but Roo is getting better and better at entertaining herself and us. She has begun to "talk", by which we mean coo repeatedly, having "conversations" with us. She also now likes her baby gym, and can entertain herself there for anything up to a half-hour.

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Welcome to our Farm Blog.
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