4 comments for “A Small Boiler And Steam Engine …

  1. microdave
    August 26, 2019 at 18:02

    As soon as I saw the wiring I had my first criticism ready, and not one of the YT commenters seemed to notice. An automotive alternator won’t start to charge unless it has some current passing through the rotor (field) circuit. This is normally provided by the “ignition” warning light, which was nowhere to be seen. It is sometimes possible to get them going by spinning at 5-6000 rpm, but that clearly wasn’t happening here. So I call bullshit on his claim that it’s charging the battery! Furthermore, an alternator of that size will soak up several horsepower if it’s providing anything like full output. They are very poor in terms of converting mechanical energy into electrical energy, which isn’t much of a concern with all the other losses in a car (or rather, it wasn’t until Globull Warming came into being).

    Many years ago I built a small charging set with a 34amp Lucas alternator and an old 3 hp Briggs & Stratton engine, and it took all of that 3hp at full load. Also, I had to arrange a switchable dropper in the field circuit, otherwise as soon as the engine began to speed up the alternator cut in, and practically stalled it. Only once it was warm and running fast would it cope. A later version incorporated an adjustable regulator with battery sensing which dealt with this problem and dramatically reduced the charging time.

    Another point – why didn’t he use square (or rectangular) section for the upper sliding guide bar, instead of flat strip. This will easily distort, and won’t provide any useful support to the piston rod and seal which is is main purpose.

    • microdave
      August 26, 2019 at 18:42

      On reflection I have been a bit harsh, and full marks to him for ingenuity, but I do wonder why so many people use automotive alternators for “Off Grid” charging. This, to me, infers living as economically as possible, and unless you have a convenient stream for hydro generation they are simply not the best idea, however cheap and abundant. Certainly not for wind turbines due to the huge speed difference involved. I have seen several modifications of “Direct Drive” washing machine motors which are far more suited, both in terms of speed and efficiency. They do require a bit more electronics, but lots of advice is available.

  2. ivan
    August 26, 2019 at 22:02

    My first thought about this is that he went to all the trouble to build a steam boiler and steam engine all to drive a car alternator, without control circuitry, for ‘off grid’ usage why not be all professional and use a real 240v AC alternator? All it would need is a bit more reliable drive to the governor and you end up with much more useful mains electricity.

    I also agree with microdave on the actual construction of parts of the stean engine

  3. August 26, 2019 at 23:08

    Cheers, both, I understand much but not all after those explanations but then again, they weren’t for me.

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