What you should know before you buy
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The Bushed Pulley (sheave) Page
New Utterpower line of Bushed Cast Steel Alloy Pulleys, buy the best and buy it once.
Many DIYers will know that utterpower was the first to offer DIYers the 8.x inch Pulleys specifically designed to drive 4 pole generator heads off Lister and other big flywheels. Many of these have been put into service over the years, and we have noted that others have developed their own versions of these pulleys. Our pulleys are designed for Marine service, no expense has been spared period. When we learn how to make it better, we do it. Oh, you noticed our pulleys use a bushing that covers a wider range of shaft sizes? that comes in handy more often than you’d think.
Belts are typically $28 and up at any automotive store in lots of lengths, belts and pulleys will carry twice the load we use them for and never slip or chirp properly tensioned, and it doesn’t take much! Part of KISS is using simple, proven, readily available and cheap wear components. We have customers who claim 6000 hours plus on the same belt.
This 3rd Generation utterpower pulley uses CNC and American QC and supervision. We believe that we have made a huge step forward in quality and performance of the pulley. It was important that we address the requirements of those who find themselves in marine and tropical settings, the pulley is plated as a final step. Yes it was a pain to go thru all the steps necessary to apply the plating, and it certainly did add to the expense. This effort incorporates special features, some not so obvious, but you’ll likely appreciate the effort to include them. One thing for certain, it was our goal to build the best pulley possible, and cost was a last consideration. This is not one of those products with a high mark up….it was designed by DIYers for DIYers, and we have used the same philosophy as we use in the direct drive, when it is obvious that we can make it better, we do. We leave behind two earlier versions of pulleys that DIYers here and in the third world can copy and make for themselves if they have the machine tools.
Now that we are confident of the design and new features, we are adding different sizes to the line up to provide certain drive combinations. Drive kits for 6/1_ST5, and even a drive system for the Yanmar 10hp clones and PMGs are in stock. More will be stocked in the near future.
Pulleys are made for both 50HZ and 60HZ, and there are many combinations that one can come up with for various requirements. Our line of pulleys will continue to grow, and we expect to develop drives that will handle considerably more torque and horsepower. some of the features in these pulleys support future offerings, they are fully backwards compatible, but they will also offer some advantages we will not discuss at this time. MORE sizes are in the works.
11.25 inch 8 groove Cad Plated 40 pounds! $250.00 40 pounds of steel
10.0 inch 8 groove Cad Plated sized for 50hz machines (Lister 6/1>4 pole heads) $180.00(NEW)
8.4 inch, 8 groove 20 pounds, Cad plated $xxx.xx (SOLD OUT)
7.0 Inch, 8 groove, Cad Plated, $99.00
5.0 inch, 8 groove, 5 pounds, Cad plated, sized for SK bushing, $69.95 plus shipping
4.2 inch, 8 groove, 3 pounds, Cad plated, sized for SK bushing $39.95 plus shipping
4.1 inch, 8 groove, 2 pounds 10 oz, Cad plated, sized for SK bushing $39.95 plus shipping
I stock 32mm, 38mm, 42mm, SK bushings for customer convenience, grainger and many others sell the QD-SK bushings in many sizes, Imperial and Metric..
Prices subject to change at any time, smallest pulleys can be shipped in a flat rate mailer for $10, I use up to four dollars worth of tape to assure these packages arrive on one piece. I’ve leanred..
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Serpentine Drive History
Pulley fitted to Changfa
Redstone Drive System
>Check out the PMG Generators<
following is information left in place for reference only, a lot of things have changed with the EPA decision to crush our hobby by eliminating the stationary engine exemptions.
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Above is a picture of a Lister clone, ‘Listeroid’ equipped with the trouble free and highly efficient Allmand drive. This picture shows one of our first high mass Pulleys, but we felt we needed to get QC up, and the price down.
If you are looking at buying an engine or a generator head… (or both), take the time to look into the drive system and determine the size of pulleys you’ll need. It’s important to learn how much power you can send through a single VEE belt before it starts slipping. If you improperly size your belts and pulleys you’ll set yourself up for an unpleasant experience where you buy the drive system twice. It’s far better to call someone who knows their stuff and ask them to help you size the complete drive system.
Some folks have to learn the hard way, they quickly learn that those cheap little alloy pulleys are for fractional horsepower applications. I must admit I’ve learned some of these things the hard way too. I built a battery charger with an alloy pulley and VEE belt, although I was only asking about 80 amps out of the set to charge a 12 volt battery string, the belt heated and literally turned over in the pulleys. The belt was a heavy duty piece that cost twice what a regular belt did and still couldn’t handle it. I also learned that a VEE belt actually transfers less energy if you tighten it too much. If you have an infra red thermometer, you can learn a bunch about belts, and you can readily see your losses in excessive heat, and can best adjust the tension by watching the temp change.
If you must use VEE belts, learn about ‘common back’ VEE belts and use high grade cast iron pulleys. Folks will tell you different, but you need to learn what a bushed pulley is versus a lawn mower style pulley, and you need to use them. If you’re going to build a generator, you want it to work when you need it.
Another thing you need to ask right now… where did all those VEE belts go on autos? did the entire auto industry drop them just for the heck of it? The answer is they have been forced to make their stuff more efficient, and they have strong incentives to provide that efficiency. This was an area with huge payoffs for them, otherwise there would have been no change.
If you think using VEE belts is going to be cheap, wait till you order two quality pulleys of the correct size, and the bushings you need. Add a good common back belt and you may be looking for a loan from the wife. Also note, using small Vee pulleys in a system where you’re well above fractional horsepower is a big problem. The smell of burning belts, seeing the frequency and voltage of your generator drop like a rock, it’s all a pain, and then you may need to go out and buy the right stuff all over again. Buy as big of VEE pulley Set (within reason) as you can afford, note that small pulleys often need special belts so proper engagement can be maintained around that pulley.
If you have an engine like the Lister, or a heavy flywheel engine like the Petter, you should give some thought to reducing the parts you must buy and reducing the losses in your drive system. Look at the Allmand Drive System for the Lister style engines, you’ll be buying one pulley instead of two, and you will be making those Kilowatt hours for less fuel.
I got a call from John E. yesterday, He has a Listeroid 6/1 running at 650 RPMs as the prime mover on his off grid country estate. They’re building the new House at this time and running big chop saws and an air compressor for nail guns etc. John says the Listeroid puffs a few smoke rings when the compressor starts at the same time the chop saw is loaded, but the power plant is doing the complete job. John has a good number of hours on his machine and is having a hard time believing how efficient the power plant is. He is now fully aware of the stored energy in those big flywheels and just how much work a six horsepower engine can do when equipped with them. There’s added efficiency with the reduced losses of the Allmand drive system, but what is not obvious to some is the serpentine belt does NOT slip like a VEE belt When those hammerhead like loads hit the generator. This system transfers huge amounts of torque from the flywheel to the head to cover the load. It may take several VEE belts to transfer this peak torque load as effectively, and of course running that many VEE belts would create a large parasitic loss, … .
To summarize what I have learned to date.
Engines with big flywheels are like magic and can level peak loads with astounding results. In order to experience this, you must have a drive system that can handle the HUGE amounts of torque available and effectively transfer it to the generator head. This is not easily done with VEE belts, and if you deploy a VEE set up that is sufficient to handle this peak torque load, the parasitic load will be great. This parasitic load will be felt when you try and manually start the generator set, and may prevent your wife or slightly built members of the household from starting the Gen set. Mating a 4 pole generator head to a Lister or large flywheel engine takes a pulley exactly twice as large as a 2 pole head, this means that the pulley on the 4 pole head has a massive contact area for the belt, and will transfer far more torque from the prime mover into the generator head. Two pole generator heads have their place, they turn twice as fast but need to transfer only half the torque.
Here’s one of the nicest Lister powered generator sets in North America (IMHO). Steve Gray is a Master Fabricator, and has one of the most impressive old engine websites ever. Note the quality of the picture below, I stole it off his website, please don’t tell him! I’m still learning how to take a decent picture… click on Steve’s website, but remember your way back, you could be there for a while.
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