Note: The following information was retrieved from UtterPower’s archived pages. All information is republished for educational purposes. Any mention of items for sale or prices are outdated and no longer applicable.
Utterpower is a collective of like minded people from around the world, we cut across race, religion, and other bounds. Most of us believe in self reliance, and we believe that if things are to to happen in our favor, it is our individual responsibility to make it happen.
We live in India, China, England, New Zealand, Australia, Africa, Canada, the USA, France, Spain, Mexico, South America, Iceland, Germany, and other places too numerous to list. The English language unites us, and some of use speak as many as seven languages, English is often a second or third language. and the WWW is our conduit. “I” seldom use the word “I”, because eye know where good ideas and knowledge comes from. It is relationships around the world and input from many engineers and users of slow speed and off grid power that help refine ideas and products. Utterpower has a relationship with a small company who is using serpentine drives for some very specialized applications. We are privileged to have access to their test data. As mentioned before, there is more than one helicopter using serpentine belts in the final drive to the overhead rotor! and there are other critical applications where serpentines were selected over other drive methods.
If we consider the Lister Types, it is probable that the first use of a serpentine belt on a CS Lister Type happened when some Canadian, Englishman, Australian, New Zealander, Icelander, etc. laid eyes on the Automotive type serpentine driven alternator. There’s a chance he pulled it from his vehicle along with the drive belt and temporarily set it up to charge the batteries at his off grid location using the more efficient, and less annoying slow speed engine.
I have received a good many emails from people off grid running multiple automotive type alternators to charge batteries, and sometimes the belt is slipped off the alternator and moved over to drive a modified automotive water pump (serpentine pulley equipped) to fill a cistern, or irrigate a small garden plot. It’s all about using common parts often found in the junkyard, or even bought new for a reasonable price.
Of course when I visited the Columbia University website, I smiled when we saw the simple, obvious, time tested method of driving a small alternator. These young people today, they know a good idea when they see it 🙂
As for calculating the power these belts can transfer, it is quite impressive, some claim they were the first, some mention power figures per groove with less than the full calculation. There are others who attempt to discuss the flywheel effect and the advantages of high mass in pulleys, and it is obvious that they have not come to realize the full impact as it relates to the serpentine drive versus other types of belts. We do not attempt to dispute their claims, or correct them.
As for the use of the ST heads, and the Lister Types, we give credit to the Utterpower Community and Randy Allmand for making the idea popular. He was willing to make the pulleys as those in our community suggested, and people in remote off grid locations fitted them and ran them for many hours a day providing feed back (sometimes via satellite connection) on their performance.
Certainly, there were folks who bought Utterpower Allmand drives, fitted them, and were amazed at the efficiency, low price and availability of belts. A few individuals have decided to make and market their own, and we are flattered that they are doing so.
But let’s give credit where credit is due.. there are few things new under the sun, and most of the stuff we DIYers come up with were done long ago by the old engine folks. Go to some of these old farm shows and you will see technology you never realized was in use so long ago! I have examples of CVT drives so complex , they make my head hurt, and they are from 1920!
Last week at the gas pump, I was filling a 5 gallon can; across the pumps was an old duffer filling four Jerry cans with gas. I took a chance, and exclaimed “looks like you’re out to have some fun!” Sure enough, he was taking some of his rare and collectable American made tractors to a show. I told him about my 1937 design Allis Chalmers engine, and the advancements found. He replied, “Yelp, a darned sight more advanced that that Ford. Then he told me of his 1919 tractor fitted stock with 4 valves per cylinder!
Next time you think you came up with something new, you better do some research, I thought the 4 valve heads were pretty much a WWII aircraft development… wrong again!
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to our current design, it may be a while before users discover some of the reasons why ours are built the way they are, and we’ll leave it to those who deploy them to discover what and why our community did it this way.
All the best,
PS: Stay tuned, for more posts from the archives.