Happy New Year 2020 DIYers!

Tesla Fans!

“Ava says “Dad Needs this flashy red Tesla”




Zach continues to like math, he’s passed me up in doing multiplication in his head, he’s behind the wheel of the Tesla above, his Sister Ava is Zach’s understudy, it’s given me a lot of insight into the advantages of being the second kid.

After a long sabbatical, I think I’m back. I wanted to update you on a few things I get asked about, and then share my direction. I will appreciate your input.

First, it might be hard to believe, but it’s fairly easy to make money that costs you more to file federal income tax on than it’s worth.  I’ll give you the example of Bill Rogers, the way he got paid for his ebook included forms that force you into filing a far more complicated and expensive Federal Tax Filing. In Bill’s case, he took the ebook off the market, because his CPA was charing him more for all the extra paperwork than his share of the proceeds. Basically, Amazon,  the CPA, the IRS were all happy with the arrangement, but not Bill.

I have some very minor oil and gas interests, last year I got $63 worth of checks from these royalties, but spent just shy of $200 to account for the money I received. I have a friend that keeps very close track of his petty royalty money and then claims the money came to him in a miscellaneous way, he makes sure to claim it all, and figures it will be less hurt if he gets audited, but says he’s tired of losing money in the making of it.

I may have found a way to accept small contributions to keep this site on the air and to improve it, I keep slowspeedengines.com and utterpower.com active, and I pay a hosting company to keep these things up. Kirk Vandenberg has also been doing me a large favor of keeping blogging software up, I have sent him money for a meal out at times, but I have not rewarded him in a long time.

So here’s my idea, I’ll accept a gift to help keep this site on the air, in exchange for internet-delivered digital CDs and possibly copies of Bill’s book. According to the last person, he was able to download all of the CD info onto his hard drive. I think a $20 fee would be the recommended donation, but accept less if people are strapped.  I’ll consider stepping up to that big fee of making more paper books if there was enough interest expressed here.

About a week ago, a professor teaching at a University in the US was alarmed by all the websites saying you could download Bill’s book for free, but nowhere could he do so. in addition Amazon had listed it, but he couldn’t download it!  I think the free offers are just trying to harvest a ‘click-through’ from you that produces revenue for them. I told the Professor, I’d check in with Bill, and get him a copy one way or another, and that was done.

I found running a small business no fun at all, in order to meet all the requirements of City, Country, State, and Fed, you need a pretty good set of books, and the last copy of QuickBooks I bought was expensive. I did have a CPA for a while, but it was another business that made that feasible.

I doubt my donations will ever exceed my expenses, but if they ever do, I’ll claim the income as miscellaneous.  I do have a number of garage sale items around here, and I should make people aware of what I have before I get rid of it. If it doesn’t fit in a flat rate box, I’d like to sell it out of the shop door.

One of the things I need to do is hire a person to go through old pages and remove offers and prices, all the pages are well marked that they are for reference only, but no one sees that. Occasionally I get a big thank you from someone who found an answer to their problem on my pages, this has caused me to leave them up all these years.

Still, there’s reason to have more discussion here. I think DIYers will eventually inherit the earth, no one else will be able to pay the man to keep all their stuff running.

All the best, and Happy New Year!

George B.

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19 Responses to Happy New Year 2020 DIYers!

  1. aaron nachbar says:

    Happy New Year George !
    I have always enjoyed your sites and insight. FYI, I would be happy to contribute a gift if that helps keep you going and allow the exchange of ideas.
    All the best,
    Aaron Nachbar

  2. John Gillen says:

    I would gladly pay $20 for a CD with the kind of DIY information you do. I would suggest being able to pay with PayPal. I have read and re-read “The Home Power Producer’s Guide to Electrical Reality” several times. It is good reading sitting next to a camp fire.

    I have a Listeroid and I used your info to correct all the issues mentioned. The engines from India should probably be considered a semi rough 90% complete kit. I have converted it to natural gas and right now am in the middle of eliminating the timing gears. It is a fun project. When I am done I’ll send some pictures and a brief description.

    On a different note, I have designed and built a “Control Cabinet” with circuits prioritized so that I can run the house on a 2kw generator. Along with the cabinet all motor loads have been downsized to what is needed rather then using brute force. (eg) sump with 1/2 hp motor replaced with a 1/6 hp high efficiency motor.

    I have also made a “Tower of Power” setup using two 2,5kw Heart Interface modified sine wave Inverters coupled to 8 deep cycle 100 AH batteries. Obviously those batteries wouldn’t last very long running two inverters. By constantly charging the batteries with a 1 kw generator the batteries act like an accumulator. They handle the momentary high loads and the generator then recharges them as the loads decrease. The Listeroid will be used for the charger. I converted it to natural gas because it is cheaper to run and I don’t have to keep hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel on hand. As a backup to natural gas I have a 500 gallon propane tank – just in case.

    I figure eventually some piss ant like Kim Jong Un will decide to knock out the grid, and I want to be ready.

    Thank you for your time and effort to keep the information coming
    John Gillen

    When we are camping my wife keeps telling me I should read something lite, like a novel instead of technical books. She doesn’t understand that I actually enjoy reading tech books 🙂

    • BP says:

      Hey John,

      My very slim understanding of diesel engines some part of the fuel combustion lubricates the rings and valve guides, is that true of the Lister? I’ve never heard of diesel engine run on natural gas, biodiesel most often Is the topic. Sounds like your ready for the next storm for sure. My latest home power system was partly kinetic, where fuel only recharges Li-ION spinning DC motor via gas engine. I was waiting for solar panels to reach 98% efficient but even the newer Crystalline type are only 28% but retain 98% of total electrical output over 20 years, so they boast..


    • George B. says:

      John, I really enjoyed your comments, and I know this group would love to see an article from you on your Lister 6-1 mods, of interest to me will be the load you can carry on Natural gas only. Many have used the diesel fuel as the pilot fuel, and meter in Natural gas as the secondary fuel.

    • George B. says:

      I’ll write a page about how to donate a few dollars, and how to get a CD, and perhaps Bill’s Book. BTW, I’m not sure there’s that many of us who remember or ever knew ‘Heart’. I dropped in on that group 20 to 25 years ago, there was so much enthusiasm over building new and better inverters and related equipment, they were a very impressive group of people back then.

  3. BP says:

    I can’t believe I wrote that speech in cross overs, Tesla S. Talk about the grid NTE group recently built $500,000,000.00 Natgas 525 megawatt power plant 5285 feet from my newer home. Well the ST12 upgraded electronic brushless soft start regulator then sold last June. Loaded it into the T&C van, taxied 1200 miles to nice fellow central FL gator country. He was going to teach his son about Synch gens and had 20HP Lister diesel from the sounds of it. Had to pull rotor out to get it up the basement stairs, >50 pounds as much as the center stator half, then reassemble.

    The trick being heat gun used to expand the cast area around bearing housings. This fellow had engine jack on trailer pulled behind his truck, unloaded ST12 in few minutes. Sad to see it go but it was very inefficient wasting nearly 2KW to spin it up 1800 RPM. I spun Harbor Freight 10KW induction gen to 3600 RPM, made 220AC in few heart beats. That gave me great idea how to reduce cogging and improve AC sine wave at very same time via switched commutator rotation angles. Tesla would be rolling in his grave had he missed a LENZ law loop hole long ago. But what did they care century ago about machine efficiency and Co2 of all things.

  4. John Gillen says:

    Response to BP
    The piston and valve train on a diesel is no different then a gasoline engine. I suppose you could say diesel fuel does lubricate the intake valve stem a little on the LIsteroid. The Listeroid doesn’t have oil fed to the rockers or valves stems so the only lubrication it gets consistently is from the diesel fuel. New diesel fuels don’t have much lubricity anymore though.

    Lubrication is a relative word. If something is running dry even water could be considered a lubricant. Think about trying to push a rubber hose into a dry rubber grommet. It is hard to do but if you put water on it then it becomes manageable. So I guess modern diesel fuel could be called a lubricant. It doesn’t kelp the exhaust valve though.

    I think the Listeroid should be lubricated on the top end. I plan on using a pulse diaphragm gasoline fuel pump to pump oil up to the rockers and valves. I’ll either connect the diaphragm to the crankcase or the intake manifold. Excess oil will be drained back into the crankcase using a check valve. You don’t want the valve stems running in an oil pool. If the valve stems and guides start getting loose oil could be sucked into the cylinder and that could be disastrous. The engine could go into “run away mode”. The engine could start running on the oil sucked in. If that happens it is uncontrolled and could over rev. and possibly the flywheel will let loose – explode.

    I will also install a large ball valve on the intake so I can shut off air. Without air the engine will stop. Whether that valve will be connected to a centrifugal shut off is yet to be determined.

    Response to George
    Ignition is with a spark plug. I installed a plug where the injector was. After searching for an inexpensive electronic ignition and not finding one I designed and made one using a Hall Sensor. That taxed my little brain power to the max. YouTube electronic tutorials and a LOT of reading helped. The first design was a simple on/off deal. It worked and the engine ran fine BUT it needed improvement.

    The second design has a multispark feature and retard/advance. It works on the bench. Now I need to see what it does in real life. On the humorous side. I made this in our family room. My wife sits in a lazy boy about 5 feet away from my work table. I always tests things to failure to see how robust the design and components are. The first time a blew up a Mosfet it scared the beegeezuz out of her, After a few more times she would just ask “you ok over there?”

    The design could be used on Hit and Miss engines too. If it tests out well I may post the design for others to use and possibly make up some units to sell. Because the Listeroid and Hit and Miss engines are slow speed I was able to design the circuit so that the coil is NOT on if the engine stops. This saves battery life, and saves coils and components from overheating. It is a pretty robust design. It is protected from hooking the battery up backwards, will not overheat if the coil is left on and can use HEI coils, which take 2 to 3x the amperage then a “can” coil.

    Don’t expect anything real soon. I am a one man band and things take time. You know how it is. Everybody thinks because you are retired you have all kinds of “free” time and of course you would like to do projects for them. LOL

    It is kind of interesting. I am a retired automotive supplier mechanical engineer and I am doing more engineering in my retirement than I did working. Without meetings to attend, endless and needless paper justifications, month end reports, status reports, project timing updates and the other non valve add BS I actually have time to have fun designing and building useful items.

    Have fun and take care

    • George B. says:

      For the engines that have the plug where the change over valve went, it’s a great place to put a spark plug or glow plug, I have some spares if anyone needs one. John, I’ve been trying for years to find someone interested in comparing continuous maximum power on diesel with continuous maximum power on natural gas or propane, if you decide to do that, and you can adjust the timing to optimize production, I think we’d all enjoy hearing about your results.
      As for top-end lube, I keep everything wet, especially the valve springs, I add the antiwear agents, and keep all the governor linkage wet because the speed regulation is just better that way. I keep an old fashioned oiler’s can handy, and shoot new oil into the rocker assembly at every visit, my runs never exceed 12 hours, and I usually go by the powerhouse midday to check on things. The biggest reason for long runs are running sprinklers on real hot days, when they are placed just right, it makes the shaded area of our cabin at Easton heavenly, hanging out on the porch in the high 90s feels soooooo good.

      The first thing to modify on the oiling system is adding a reed over the cam bushing opposite of the governor, this assures a steady drip into that bearing?

      When I was younger, I worked in the family room a lot, the excitement I created usually involved tantalum capacitors, and some of my best shows included fire along with the explosion. I have pretty good desolder skills, so normally it was just a re-do to make it right.

  5. John Gillen says:

    Response to George

    The Heart Interface 2.5kw inverter seems pretty robust. I can start a 1.5hp air compressor with one, even under pressure. The idle current is also MUCH less then other brand new inverters. I measured mine less then .1 amps. My new AIMS 2.5kw full sine wave unit is around 4 amps.

    The transfer relays in the 2.5kw unit are much much much more robust then the 1kw, 1.5 kw and 2kw units. These units use circuit board mounted relays rated for 30 amps but look like they should be rated at about 5 or 10amps. The 2.5kw unit uses open faced frame mounted LARGE contact relays. How do I know this? I learned the hard costly way.

    Have fun, keep learning and take care

    • George B. says:

      I make a mistake every time I don’t measure. I have a 12volt 2000 watt continuous rated MSW inverter I thought would be a dog as per it’s standby current. In reality, it’s quite good, and with light loads, the heat sinks are large enough where the fan is not called in, so with typical loads in a small cabin, it may outperform other choices as per the KWHs drawn from the battery?

      I have bought a new toy to take to the cabin, it’s a tabletop icemaker from home depot, I never gave it a thought as to whether it wants a true sine wave or not? I guess I better find out if there’s a mechanical compressor in there?

  6. John Gillen says:

    Zach and doing math in his head. He actually does need a trophy.

    The following is a true story. I went to Autozone for 9 ft of fuel line. I told the young guy behind the counter that I wanted one piece 9 ft long, if possible. If he didn’t have a bulk reel I would take three blister packs each with 3 ft of hose.

    He went in the back and came back with three 3 foot long pieces but they weren’t in blister packs. I thought that was strange so I asked him if they had a bulk reel. He said yes but he only had a 3 foot long measuring stick. ( side note he didn’t know it was called a yard stick ) I looked at him trying to figure out if he was joking – he wasn’t. An older guy behind the counter overheard our conversation, looked at me apologetically and said he would go back and cut 9 ft for me. LOL

    Have fun, keep the old iron running and take care

    • George B. says:

      I think we have all experienced people who can’t make change or follow simple instructions, sad isn’t it? Zach is a little excessive, when he sees my calendar is not on the right month yet, he wonders how I could ever let that happen?

  7. Eliot says:

    I have to say you blink and a year or two goes by. Blink again and it’s 6. I can’t beleive how long it’s been since visiting the site or hearing the name utter power and it’s good to have you back. The past 4years have been a whirlwind for me. I started a building Envelope Testing lab (because I had no job) as a one man show in a 3 year old Nissan NV2500. Now we are a 10 person company. Right now right now I’m addition to the normal quality control and investigation work we do for buildings I’m working on a way to measure energy efficiency of wall components by measuring heatflux. We don’t get any money from the government or any other source for this research it’s all boot satrap as they say. I never thought I would do it or be able to do it but the idea that there are some people who still live real American lives even though it seems to be out of fashion keeps me motivated. Keep up the good work and keep the DIY spirit alive

    • George B. says:

      Conservation is always a good place to start, but it’s always wise to know how long it will take to get your investment back. I think you could sell some people on the idea of R-100 insulation. I loaned out my FLIR camera, I need to ask for it back.

  8. John Gillen says:

    Yes I will do a continuous power run. I’m very curious how the output will compare with a diesel. Natural gas has an octane equivalent of about 130 so I was able to keep the compression ratio the same. That will help.I have a natural gas meter that I can use, just on the Listeroid, so I can get data on fuel consumption also. I hope the cycle pulses don’t ruin the meter. Gut feeling is that I will lose some output but I haven’t calculated it – yet. Comparing BTU input per cycle should give a pretty good predictor of output comparison.

    I didn’t know about adding a reed valve to the bearing opposite to the governor. Thanks for that tip.

    • George B. says:

      John, we know diesel has a lot of BTUs, how many BTUs of NG can we get into the cylinder? For most of us the comparative data between the stock diesel fuel and our fuel under study will be all we need, more data is always good, but this is key. The gen head is also all the dynamo we need, with a purely resistive load, we can express the difference in a percentage, that should be close enough for us DIYers.

      With the interest, I saw in wood gas a few years back, I thought someone would follow through with checking power out of a lister 6/1 on that fuel, but it just never seems to happen.

      A note on that reed I was talking about, this is an old old idea, the plug you find directly over the top of bearing is center drilled partway, and a pin (reed) is fitted. Oil gets splashed on it, oil mist condenses on it and forms droplets that drip directly into that bearing which is said to be the dryest bushing or bearing on the engine. I figure it can’t hurt, and for engines like mine in Easton that sit all winter and experience that first dry start, maybe it’s worth it? If I were to start a 6/1 that hadn’t ran for a long time, I’d take off the door, and use a spoon or cup to toss some oil around inside.

  9. John Gillen says:

    I agree with your statement. What I don’t know and need to find out or figure out is the air fuel ratio for both types of fuel. I know gasoline is 14:1 but I don’t know what it is for a “loaded” diesel or for natural gas. Once that is known then all we need to do is calculate the BTU comparison of a given volume. It doesn’t have to be the same volume as is drawn into the cylinder.

    For example: ( I’ll make up numbers for this example just to show a point ) If 1 cubic ft of diesel fuel/air at the correct ratio had 100,000 btus and 1 cubic ft of natural gas fuel/air at the correct ratio had 90,000 btus THEN the natural gas engine would put out 90% of the power as the diesel.( ( 90,000/100,000 ) x 100) =90%

    I need to spend the time and google some of this stuff and do the calculations.

    I’m glad you clarified the “reed” idea. I was a little confused there.

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