Utterpower’s Annual Lister Gen spring Start.

It’s mid April, and the weather in the mountains is more like March. I got up late this morning, and as I made my way into the family room and poured my first cup of coffee around 8:00 AM, the sun came out. I instantly thought about our cabin in the Central Cascade Mountains, how did our place winter?  Are the batteries in float? Is that MX60 watching over my battery investment?  Will the Lister Generator start on the first compression stroke this year?

My wife crossed the room and topped off my coffee mug and says.. “This weather is all too rare, we should do something together today. I looked up, thanked her for the coffee refill, and said “How bout we go to Easton?”   She replied, “I can be ready to walk out the door in an hour.”

I thought about what all was in the power shed and what I might need, there was a gallon of distilled water there, that was the main concern in case the batteries needed some water.

The trip over the pass was beautiful, plenty of sunshine, and fresh snow on top, in fact there was some snow falling as we reached the very top.  We passed Hyak and I wondered if the lake was still covered in ice?  The western end was, but the rest of the lake was open water.

When we reached Easton, I was a little suprised to find the ground bare. We passed our neighbors log house and  pulled into our long drive, we noted there hadn’t been a track made this year. The first thing we come to is the pump house with the Lister under cover in one end. No doubt, it’s a far better home for the Lister than the years it spent out in the pasture with no cover.  Today,the Lister has it’s own spot under one end of the pump house.

We went to the cabin first, It’s memorable how cold it is in there when we open the door for the first time after a long hard winter. I was pleased to see the top of the stove, and ceiling around the stove pipe dry as a bone, I had made a repair here in the late fall, and it looks like I did an acceptable job. We started a fire in the small stove, and put some water on for coffee later on.

I was anxious to open the power house door and check batteries, inverter, panels and more.  I fished for the key while checking out the board and batten exterior, I had re linseed oiled it down in the fall, and all looked really good. The door opened, and a beam of light from the gable end in the loft lit the inside. I walked over to the inverter and saw a single green light. I looked at the MX60 and saw that reassuring word in the lower right corner of the display “FLOAT”.

I went over to the display on the wall and pushed the button for the inverter status, it displayed ‘off’ just as I had parked it for the winter. I selected ‘on’ and I heard a click, and the Outback lit a second green light.  I  went to the shed breaker box and selected inverter, I also turned on the breaker that feeds the cabin and shed about 180 feet away. This is a four gauge run, as I wanted to be able to run some power tools, a microwave, the coffee pot and more at the cabin without a lot of voltage drop.

I turned on four interior lights in the shed, the floor looked freshly swept, the workbench clean and organized (rare indeed). The powershed lister_gen set looked freshly polished. No mice, no signs of trouble of any kind. I removed the cover to the battery box, all connections were clean and bright, batteries had plenty of water. I thought what it would be like to find a dead inverter, ….. I reminded myself how many times I’ve thought that and why I chose to buy the outback gear. There may be something as good, but not better, that’s why I went with Outback, and of course I consulted with the Solar Guy before I bought anything, and I’m glad I did.

With the power shed in order, it was time to walk up to the pumphouse and check out the lister. The Lister CS clone enjoys a far better home under the gable end of the pump house. There’s a link above that will take you to a utube video clip of his generator running one beautiful late spring day.  The unit is mounted on two full length rail road ties, and of course the drive system is an 8.4 inch serpentine drive made by Randy Allmand during our early days of experimenting.

There’s a door in the gable end above the generator, here I keep the crank handle, and a bottle of oil with addatives, basically, it’s assembly lube, and I like to use it for the valve train. After oiling up the gear, I started cranking and immediatly heard that wonderful ‘crink’ sound of the injector firing. Would it start first compressison stroke?  The temperature was well above freezing, so I didn’t put all that much effort into the crank speed. I dropped the compressor, and we were off and running first compression stroke as usual. I do remember than one year when the exhaust valve had a piece of carbon or something in it.. I hammered on the rocker end with a clean rock several times, and off it went!  Now, I always leave the engine with both valves closed, this seems to help..

I’m looking  forward to hot summer days here, I can already hear the distant music of the lister, as it runs three sprinkler heads in irrigation mode. The cool mist falling across the porch as the thermometer bounches off 100F.  I’ll lift my frosted glass of ale, and stare though it at Goat Peak off in the distance and think about days in the high mountain meadows. This year it’s Dome peak. My Grandson and I will hike the Divide Ridge, we’ll spend the night on the trail. He’s still the right size for a cougar meal, so I’ll tell him to stay close..

Another year, and another first compression start for The old lister CS design. I hope your sunday was as enjoyable as mine. Any day outdoors is a good day, less you are attacked by a bear.









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One Response to Utterpower’s Annual Lister Gen spring Start.

  1. Homealone777 says:

    I sure would like to have a chance, someday; To go trough those check lists and get to know what it’s like to know you don’t have to worry about a power outage, or blackout like we had yesterday. Lord Willing, I’ll get to see what it feels like to start one of those power plants.

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