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Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/18/2012 1:54 AM

In reading about EMP bombs and the effects of extreme solar flares, I came across and engineer that said quite understandably that the only cars running after these would be diesels that you could push start. Starters and batteries and alternators would no longer work.

That gave me an idea. I was thinking that a compressor could be attached to the engine that would send pressurized air to a tank. When sufficient air pressure had been stored in the tank, then a sensor could trigger a valve to open so that any further pressure generated would escape back into the atmosphere or maybe a clutch on the compressor could dissengage. This pressurized air stored in the tank could be used to run a pneumatic starter that rested on the ring gear like an electric starter.

Anytime the engine was started , it would regenerate new pressurized air to refill what had been used to start it.

Do any of you know if there is such a thing as a pneumatic starter?

Thank you.

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#1

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/18/2012 2:32 AM

Yes. Once upon a time large diesel engines were started by pneumatic power.

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#39
In reply to #1

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/19/2012 11:42 AM

All of the diesel buses in the local public transportation have pneumatic starter motors.

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#2

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/18/2012 2:52 AM

Any solar flare big enough to wipe out automotive and industrial batteries and electrical systems at ground level is going to be big enough to wipe out most of everything else alive as well.

Same with nuclear based EPM blasts. If you are that close to the blast you have far more damage than just electrical systems to worry about.

To me this all sounds like the usual poorly thought out doomsday silliness.

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#46
In reply to #2

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/19/2012 6:09 PM

GA, I think to many people have been watching "Revolution", where the only people that have any power have a magic nuclear powered amulet.

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#3

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/18/2012 2:56 AM

Yup lots of Heavy duty trucks run "air start" pnuematic starters. They're also used in I.S. applications for off road mining equipment.

The trick is in a "Bugout Buggy" situation is to be able to create the requisite compressed air. might need to use a bicycle driven compressor to get you going.

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#4

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/18/2012 3:03 AM

The military is probably working on those.

Is a battery really affected by this and a normal starter? I believe its rather the electronics in new cars that is affected.

Used to have a car which I could start with a crank but there was no electronics. A car today has much more problems without electronics so it will not run even when you can crank it up.

Go back to old designs if you need a car that survives EMP.

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#12
In reply to #4

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/18/2012 11:15 AM

Yes, that is my take on the situation too. I have been thinking that depending on how pervasive the damage of an emp is that antique diesel hit and miss engines would be excellent workhorses. That is if solar panels didnt work or any other electronics in home appliances including generators.

One engineer on here had said that after an emp blast the only vehicles still working would be older diesels w/o computers that could be pushstarted. That led me to think of how you could start one of those diesels without having to push it. That led me to think of using pneumatics. Less physical labor for those who werent able to physically push the car themselves.

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#5

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/18/2012 3:32 AM

Any thoughts about how fuel production and supply is going to continue to operate after such an event?

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/18/2012 6:18 AM

True. I think alternative accessories are useful however. Just don't mount the starter, of whatever type, under the clutch pedal like on the mid-30s Reo, or pushing-in the clutch too far could shear-off the teeth engaging the ring-gear. Maybe no worries with an automatic tranny. If the Electric-grid is down, gas stations will have to have portable gen-sets to run their pumps until more gas is delivered from refineries that are running Their gen-sets through their fuel, to keep refining. Boy, I'm sure glad there's a GLUT of natural gas & oil. The USA may be sitting on 6 trillion barrels, not including that off-shore, --greater reserves than in the middle east, plus oil being a distillate of methane, it's always being made. We're in the "cat-bird seat," for the next, oh, 200 years or so.

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/18/2012 7:44 AM

How are the people that operate these facilities going to be motivated to continue with the rest of the infrastructure rendered useless in the way that the original poster describes?

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#13
In reply to #5

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/18/2012 11:23 AM

I am anticipating growing a lot of oil crops and using the leftover biomass for feeding people and livestock. The workhorses to create power would be old diesel hit and miss engines. Possibly thinking of buying rights to one of these engines and reproducing them. A bit of a ways off , mfg that is.

The hit and miss engines could power hydraulic presses to extract the oil.

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#17
In reply to #13

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/18/2012 2:06 PM

Why not copy the Lister engines? People run them on bio-diesel all the time. The Indians have been making them for years from the British design, so I doubt you'd have to buy the rights. But getting past the EPA might be a challenge - even an EMP wouldn't shut them down. Then you wouldn't need a pneumatic starter, use a hand crank.

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#26
In reply to #17

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/19/2012 5:23 AM

Thank you. I will have to look at their designs. I have noticed that they are popular in India. So I guess early Lister's were started by hand cranks? I will google it.

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#22
In reply to #13

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/19/2012 2:59 AM

"The workhorses to create power would be old diesel hit and miss engines."

I go to several antique farm equipment shows per year. I see old Diesel engines, and I see old hit-&-miss gas[oline four-stroke] engines, but no Diesel hit-&-miss . . . Is there some specific engine that you are speaking about?

Who would you buy rights from? Most of the companies that built hit-&-miss engines went out of business decades ago; even if their designs had been copyrighted or made under design patents, such copyright would have lapsed by now. I very much doubt that the companies which ARE still in business have bothered to keep up copyright on what they produced 70 or more years ago. With better castings and forgings available today, why wouldn't you redesign to use better materials and components, rather than just imitate bygone technology?

There are plenty of modern Diesel engines made in small enough sizes to be hand-cranked; if you needed to use a really big Diesel, the little one could act as a pony engine to start it.

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#24
In reply to #22

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/19/2012 4:47 AM

Your last idea makes the most sense.

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#27
In reply to #22

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/19/2012 5:26 AM

Try googling antique hit and miss diesel engines. I came up with a number of engines.

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#62
In reply to #27

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/22/2012 11:58 AM

OK; my computer has some "issues", so I have done only limited surfing, but still haven't found a Diesel hit-&-miss. I have found Diesels with similar construction (horizontal cylinders, water-bath cooling, open crank), but they were continuous operating types. I have found engines started on gasoline, and then run on diesel or kerosine, but they still use spark ignition. I saw one hot-tube ignition engine mis-identified as being Diesel because it didn't have a spark plug. But I have found nothing with means to inject fuel into air which has been heated by compression to serve as the ignition source running as a hit-&-miss. This leads to wondering how a Diesel H-&-M would function: you'd have to operate the valves first, and then enable the injection system, wouldn't you, since there would be no compression through the series of "miss" strokes. Wikipedia doesn't seem to know of Diesel H-&-M's, either (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hit-and-miss_engine). See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot-tube_ignitor.

I also checked with a friend who has a Fairbanks-Morse hit-&-miss, and he hasn't ever seen a Diesel H-&-M. Can you provide a specific link to one?

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#28
In reply to #22

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/19/2012 5:38 AM

I guess what seems attractive about the old hit and miss engines is that they fire only once in awhile keeping down fuel consumption, the flywheels are massive so there is no problem with momentum once up and running and then that with those large flywheels and spokes, you dont need a motor to start one. Just reach up and grab a spoke, put your foot on a lower one and give it a whirl and it starts up.

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#63
In reply to #22

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/23/2012 2:46 AM

I was on youtube again and found this one clip that you might be interested in seeing. It is titled "DeLaVergne 160HP hit and miss engine".

It says that the engine is a hit and miss engine but that it runs on several types of fuel. One of them happens to be diesel. So does that make it a "hit and miss diesel"?

Guess it gets semantic.

Btw, look at the hp that this creates at such a low speed. Pretty amazing.

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#64
In reply to #63

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/23/2012 1:07 PM

Ahhh - there's the key. Yes to some degree, semantic issues are involved. It may be running on diesel fuel, but is not likely to be running a Diesel cycle (that is, an internal combustion engine in which air is compressed, and then fuel is injected, with only the heat of compression needed to ignite it). I have seen some DeLaVergne engines; all that I saw were hit-&-miss with low compression ratios. A true Diesel engine ordinarily needs at least an 18- or 20-to-1 compression ratio; some of the hit-&-miss were down in the 5-to-1 range. They'd probably run on kerosine or jet fuel, once started on gasoline, but they'd still be hit-&-miss Otto-cycle engines, not lanterns or jet engines.

From Wikipedia: The Diesel cycle is a combustion process of a reciprocating internal combustion engine. In it, fuel is ignited by heat generated by compressing air in the combustion chamber, into which fuel is injected. This is in contrast to igniting it with a spark plug as in the Otto cycle (four-stroke/petrol) engine. Diesel engines (heat engines using the Diesel cycle) are used in automobiles, power generation, Diesel-electric locomotives, and submarines. [bold italics are mine, for reference. Ron]

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#60
In reply to #5

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/22/2012 8:16 AM

Biodiesel- made with ethanol!

(We won't get into how anyone is going to be able to make sulphuric acid or caustic soda anymore. Or how you'll have rations every 3 months before the new crop is processed.)

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#7

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/18/2012 7:43 AM

I wonder if that's really true for cars, though, about them being immobilized due to solar flares and EMPs.

I've read a number of articles that say the metal body of a car is an effective faraday cage for protection against a direct lightning strike. If that's true, then it should also serve as a faraday cage for protection against an EMP or an extreme solar flare.

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#9

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/18/2012 7:47 AM

Most of the UPS delivery trucks have pneumatic starters. They put them on to reduce wear and tear on the electrical starter. Due to the frequent stops they make and are now reguired to shut down the engine to save fuel.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/18/2012 7:57 AM

That's great. So at least when most of the globe's electrical infrastructure is immobilised, people will still be able to get their parcels.

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#14
In reply to #9

Re: pneumatic starter for diesel engine

10/18/2012 11:30 AM

Fantastic. I will have to look into that. If they are doing it already then all of the nuts an bolts of this set up would already of been worked out.

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#11

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/18/2012 10:34 AM

Pneumatic starters are commonplace on marine diesel engines, for instance, but not for this ridiculous purpose.

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#15
In reply to #11

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/18/2012 11:33 AM

Thank you.Good to know this.

So you mean that the purpose of starting a vehicle engine is ....."ridiculous"?

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#23
In reply to #15

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 4:43 AM

The concept of a complete knock-out of electrical infrastructure and a desire to drive around without limit immediately afterwards - that is what is ridiculous.

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#16

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/18/2012 11:47 AM

The U.S. military used air start fuel trucks for years (some may still be in service). I also drove an air start Volvo White semi truck. Problem was if they didn't start on the second try you might not have enough air for a third try.

The military in Europe has coil spring starters for some diesels. You hand crank a spring and when a lever is moved the spring turns the engine to start.

Many older gas vehicles can run without electronics. Even some early fuel injected engines had a mechanical distribution system that I am pretty sure did not rely on electricity.

Drew K

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#59
In reply to #16

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/21/2012 9:48 PM

My apologies for getting back to you.

Yes, there are some dynamic duos that are perfectly suited for humpin and a pumpin that tank but I don't get into all that high spirited rectalatious hogbobbery.

You kow, I was thinking, If the walls of the tank were thick enough, then you could reduce the size of the tank and increase the pressure thereby leaving more room for the orphans in the cargo hold. More money per head count you know. Should be quite a party.

You goin or just watch on the net?

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#18

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/18/2012 3:58 PM

Just park on a hill.

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#19

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/18/2012 5:21 PM

The problem with and EMP taking out a battery or a robustly built electrical system is that they are by design already capable of handling increadibly high energy levels on purpose when compared to what digital electronics and control systems work at.

Just walking across the floor can build up enough electrical charge to fry a computer main board where as the starter for a truck burns through millions of times that energy level in a few seconds and shrugs off the fact that it will do that tens of thousands of time in its life time.

I have seen one truck and three farm tractors in my life now that have taken direct lightning strikes bad enough to blow out tires yet none of their starting systems ever had any major issues from it. In all five cases wiring was burned up, lights and gauges were blown out and the charging systems were toasted but once the batteries where recharged they and the high current handling parts of the starting systems still worked just fine.

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/18/2012 5:36 PM

Back in the 70's and 80's we designed our spy satellite's electronics packaging with no less than 1/8" thick Al. housings. That protected the tiny junctions of the time from overload. Then our stuff would then go inside the metal satellite as well.

A battery? I don't think so. Same with power distribution, except for controls, maybe.

I see no damage to magneto or even breaker point ignitions. It won't be melting the wires.

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#29
In reply to #19

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 5:51 AM

Really interesting about the lightning strikes. Not sure how many people out there could say that they witnessed that. That's I guess part of what I wanted to know is just to what extent is the EMP going to effect electronics.

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#21

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/18/2012 11:07 PM

Yup, it is more widely employed, than you imagine. Russian rotary engines widely used, including acrobatic (and very fine at that) airplanes use air starts. Good, robust, cold resistant, etc. They have my vote.

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#25
In reply to #21

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 5:22 AM

Hand cranking is ok for smaller diesels. Some years ago I was involved with engines started by a clockwork mechanism where a spring was wound up by hand, the engine was primed, then the spring released to rotate the crankshaft. I think they were Dorman diesels originally intended for marine applications.

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#32
In reply to #25

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 6:21 AM

When I read the comment about hand cranking a spring I thought that that would eliminate another contraption to break down , its simpler but at the same time it would probably be more appropriate for smaller engines which has to do with the application.

When you get to really big industrial situations i would imagine that air would be the better way to go unless you have lots of elves to rotate the huge turnstiles for the spring starter. And then all the food to keep them going. And grog.

In an industrial setting it would seem possible that you could build a really large storage tank for pressurized air and not have to worry about running out.

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#31
In reply to #21

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 6:11 AM

Interesting. No I didnt know it was so widely used leveles. Glad to hear your input.

When you say rotary engines, I am thinking you mean along the lines of the Wankel?

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#30

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 6:11 AM

There was a big solar flare in 1859, but the only thing affected back then were telegraphs. I understand that there was so much gound current that they ran the telegraphs without batteries.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859

Regarding the pneumatic starter, it would be interesting to see how a compressor, air motor, and air tank would compare in price, volume, and weight with a car battery and electric starter. My guess is that if it were better, it would be done that way.

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#33
In reply to #30

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 6:25 AM

I can see your logic that if it were better than they would be doing it that way but all the first land speed records , back in the early days, were all set by steam powered cars. But along came Henry Ford and introduced the assembly line. But he had it set up for making internal combustion engines and not steam so when his assembly line approach became popularized, at least as far as I understand it, so did internal combustion engines and steam fell to the way side.

So I dont allways think that whats in place is the best simply because it is in place.

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#49
In reply to #33

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 9:51 PM

I agree if we had kept developing steam engines and making them better, I bet we would have much more efficient cars to drive today.

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/20/2012 3:47 AM

I so much agree

I've been on the case since a while now.

Not the inertia of the machinery but the inertia of the machinist is at fault.

Not long now...

Kind Regards, Ky.

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#51
In reply to #50

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/20/2012 6:41 AM

Gvang anybody?

He was a plumber who designed a closed circuit Steam powered (race) car. He had dreams of running it at lemons, wouldn't have to stop for fuel. Stop for tyres and driver breaks....

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#34
In reply to #30

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 6:28 AM

Rixter, you realize also that in these applications that people have mentioned above where air starters are used, that they would all have to have a compressor, a tank and a starter. So apparently depending on the situation it must be either cost effective or more reliable I would imagine.

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#35

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 7:51 AM

Ingersol Rand make air starters for the big rigs as well as some others. Our fleet has about 10% air starters when I was involved and they worked well with some cold weather issues due to freezing. This was solved by adding a lube line of some diesel fuel for lubricant and to prevent the ice from forming. Great for mechanics as they weighed 75% less than electric starters. Easier to boos the truck as all you needed was another rig and hook up to the air line. They did make a bit of noise depending on the muffler system on exhaust.

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#36

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 8:38 AM

A separate compressor would not be necessary in all cases. In a multi cylinder engine, one or two cylinders would be used, at first, for starting, then by shifting the timing of the cam/valves would be used as a compressor to recharge the air tank, then again a valve timing shift to have them return to work as normal cylinders producing power equally with the rest of the engine. Beautiful system, IMHO. My boat had a 6cyl. Damag Modag engine. To start: rotate flywheel to marker where piston of cyl.1 is just after top dead center. Disengage fuel injectors for cyl.1&2, prime rest of the injectors, open master valve on big air tank, pump the lubricating oil primer pump up to pressure, set valve timing lever to start position, then hit the big red knob and swoosh... The engine would start rotating sufficiently fast enough for the other cylinders to fire and then continue to run. Now trow the valve timing lever to charge position to re charge the air tank(s). When charge, put the valve timing to run position, then activate their injectors and that's it. :) Ready to go.

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#37
In reply to #36

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 9:32 AM

On the big rigs all they do is charge the holding tank with the air brake system compressor. No new compressors. the existing system will support the air starter needs.

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#38

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 10:51 AM

You appear to have a number of misconceptions about engines in general.

One is that Henry Ford went with the IC engine over steam because of ease of design and operator use plus a considerably lower power to weight ratio and far greater range between fueling. There are no instant start and go steam engines.

Relating to hit and miss engines they are not any more efficient than a modern engine. They just stagger their power strokes out more opposed to firing each cylinder every second turn plus they have terrible power to weight ratios as well.

Regarding air tanks over batteries modern equipment has a large number of electrically operated sub systems that require auxiliary power to come from some place. An air tank that can hold the same energy as a large truck battery would be nearly the same size as the truck!

Just because you are convinced air starters and hit and miss engines are more efficient does not mean that the tens of thousands of scientists inventors and engineers that have developed the modern systems we see today agree. (Well okay most modern emissions compliant engines are less efficient than a good hit and miss but I am not going there now.)

As stated earlier after a nuclear attack of a large enough scale to wipe out all modern equipment and power systems you will have far greater concerns to be dealing with than how you are going to get out and go for your Sunday drive.

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#41
In reply to #38

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 2:10 PM

I dont have any misconceptions about history and that was what I was talking about. If you lack basic familiarity with the relevance of steam powered vehicles in history of the auto you should go to Jay Leno's site and look at the clip about the Stanley Steamer. He has been reading the same history books that I have.

About the fuel efficiency of these early engines, you might want to look at a clip on youtube of a Petter maded around , I am thinking like 1915-1920. It has a 3 ton flywheel and yes for the amount of weight in all the castings it is of course a very low power to weight ratio, however in an hour of that engine running it spends only 1 gal of diesel. Btw, I am not calling it a hit an miss engine just to clarify.

I wasnt thinking of vehicles as the only application. I didnt know the degree of damage an emp could do: just computer microcircuitry or that and heavy duty cables in a starter motor setup. So no Guru Swami Whateverananda, i dont have basic misconceptions about engines in general but it would do you some good to read a little about history of the auto.

Steam engines were THEE most powerful in the early days of the auto and they DID set most of the land speed records. That was eclipsed by the internal combustion because of business! Henry Ford showed that his assembly line oriented around the internal combustion engine made manufacturing cheaper and simpler. Things went that way and steam power fell to the wayside. And yes you cant turn a key and just start up a steam engine. I'll bet you thought I didnt know that, didn't you?

Now , this thing about a tank capable of holding enough compressed air to equal the power of a large truck battery being the "size of a truck", that's cute. I have to give credit where credit is due :). Can you show some math for that interesting assertion???

And btw , I was not "convinced air starters and hit and miss engines are more efficient. " I merely didnt know to what degree a EMP explosion would destroy electronics. If i knew that it would NOT destroy a battery, starter and cables then i would have not investigated an alternate route to getting a diesel started. If the only things running after an emp were diesels , as one of the engineers on this site had asserted, then any one who was not the epitome of muscular fitness would have a hard time starting the car every time it required a push start. So something like a compressor, tank and pneumatic starter would not be that illogical of an approach. That is all I was trying to investigate.

Please go back to your Ashram and meditate or something. :)

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#43
In reply to #41

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 2:39 PM

The pressure vessel for a heavy truck with air starter is about 1/3 the size of one of the saddle fuel tanks. Not heavy but does require some space. Overall the air starter with air tank would come in about 250 lbs lighter than a battery system as the units I worked on had only one battery v/s 4 large units for electric start.

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#52
In reply to #41

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/20/2012 9:06 AM

"Now , this thing about a tank capable of holding enough compressed air to equal the power of a large truck battery being the "size of a truck", that's cute. I have to give credit where credit is due :). Can you show some math for that interesting assertion???"

Thats easy just ask anyone who has participated in any of the air powered AE vehicle threads. Even while running crazy high tank pressures up to around 10,000 PSI air cars cant match the mileage numbers that the same car with a battery set the same size as their air tank system.

For anyone who want to check my math consider that a stock truck air system runs at around 120 PSI so figure how big of tank it will take to hold the power of an average size truck battery set which in new condition holds around 3.6 KWH.

From what I understand 1 gallon of air at 120 PSI holds roughly 5 WH of energy so given that to hold 3.6 KWH would require a tank with a rough capacity around 750 gallons. Factor in to convert that air energy into electrical power would be at best 50% efficient that tank would need to be double that size or around 1500 gallons.

For reference a large tanker truck has a trailer tank capacity of around 10,000 gallons.

Now if that tank volume was compressed down to fit in the same approximate size of a set of truck batteries it would then need to operate at around 18,000 PSI which is not an easy pressure to create or deal with.

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#54
In reply to #52

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/20/2012 1:50 PM

Thank you for explaining yourself adequately. Your claim that the tank would have to be the size of a truck seemed a little out there but based on what you have delineated I can see why you have said that.

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#55
In reply to #54

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/20/2012 1:56 PM

Try running a 1/2 inch impact wrench with a 25 gallon air tank.

That'll give you a good idea of what is required to start an engine.

Compressed air can't do much work without constant re-supply.

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#56
In reply to #52

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/20/2012 1:56 PM

tcm , I was looking at the comment from Olympia,WA and if what he is saying is true, that the Cargo planes used by the military have a tank that can be compressed by hand , for it to be as big as what you are saying I would think that would be using up alot of precious cargo room. Either the demands for pressure to start one of these engines is less than what you were basing your math on or they are able to create a very large amount of pressure in a tank that does not use up an absurd amount of room on board that plane.

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#57
In reply to #56

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/21/2012 3:46 PM

Well as others have said given the size of tanks that are on trucks and the typical system pressures they work at you get at most about two fair attempts to start the engine before you are out of air.

With the battery comparison I was going toward was the overall energy equivalent to equal roughly the same energy stored in a set of truck batteries.

A good set of truck batteries can start a well tuned truck many tens of times before they get too weak. A set of a dozen high current capacity ultra capacitors about the size of D batteries could also start a typical truck but then again they would only don't once or twice before they became too weak to do it again.

The main issue around here is that in the winter cranking energy requirements are much higher plus most trucks have glow plugs or intake preheaters that draw just as much energy while they are doing their job as the starters do and heaters do not work on compressed air.

My old Case 1150 track loader dozer has a intake preheater on it and to get it to start and I have to run the intake preheater for about 15 seconds at a 100 amp draw. The starter after that maybe draws 750 amps at most but only runs for a second or two to get the engine going.

The point is getting a diesel started at anything less than optimum ambient temps requires a starting add that cant be replicated easily by human power or air power.

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#58
In reply to #57

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/21/2012 5:56 PM

ok. Point well made.

Guess the good news is that and EMP or even a solar flare wont destroy battery,cables and starter. That was the crux of the whole thing.

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#40

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 11:56 AM

While the engineering in this discussion is fascinating, most of the base concept is a bit over the top. EMP is not God smiting the earth. Fragile components such as low voltage electronics will fail, rendering entire systems inoperable. Once those fragile components are replaced or worked around with more durable lower tech options, the systems can be returned to service.

At the height of the cold war extensive testing and analysis was done on various types of equipment to determine the effects of EMP. An engine (gasoline, CNG or diesel) with a distributor, carburetor and DC generator instead of a modern alternator can operate even after truly massive EM discharge. At higher levels contacts such as distributor points, voltage regulator contacts and commutators needed to be dressed up, but that's about it. Electronic components not connected to a circuit are also tolerant of relatively high EMP. The overvoltage which damages such devices requires a length of conductive material to act as an antenna and trap the EM wave.

At a more basic level, wind and water power will still be available. We'll have to go back to labor-intensive manual control, but we know how to do that. Here's an easy example: use a windmill to turn an air compressor and fill a portable tank. Use a pneumatic drill powered by the compressed air as a crank starter.

Generators built before 1950 will likely also work. The obstacle will be regulators, instrumentation, control and protection systems. Diodes and other semiconductors will become rare and valuable very quickly, so we'd have to engineer down to commutators and similar electro-mechanical devices which have been replaced by electronics in our modern age.

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#42
In reply to #40

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 2:29 PM

pwr2thepeople, that was great!

I suppose my mistake was to not ask about just how pervasive the damage of an EMP would be. I really had no feel for that. So my tack was in the direction of non electric, totally mechanical solutions like pneumatics. I was fascinated to hear just how often this is used and in what type of applications.

But you seem to at least be thinking similary in that some of the lower tech and simpler tech may actually the way to survive if such an event happened.

I dont like paranoia gone rampant in regards to thinking about what could happen but there seem to be alot of countries out there that dont particularly like us and there is more proliferation of nuclear weapons. So why shouldnt EMP related problems and solutions be a realistic concern?

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#44

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 3:11 PM

Greetings.

The US Air Force C-141 Transports have a system where an air tank can be pumped up by hand and when the tank is up to the right pressure (according to the crew chief it takes a bit and 2 strong personnel) then they can start one of the 4 engines and that can start the other three.

If you look into that system it might give you food for thought.

Have a Great Day.

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#47
In reply to #44

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 6:22 PM

Thanks.

Yes that will be interesting to look into. There are several systems mentioned in this discussion that will be interesting to look into.

The hand pump option is a good thing to have incase you have not had the engine running to develop any pressure in the tank.Then you can at least generate enough pressure to get the system up and running and then use the engine power to generate pressure from there on out. Would think that if the hand pump arrangement is using a lever similar to a floor or bottle jack that even a fraile or elderly person could use a cheater pipe or something.

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#45

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 4:05 PM

Anyone who has designed, engineered, or worked in a nuclear power plant should know that the emergency diesel generators are all air started, from the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) NUREG 0800, 9.5.6-4:

http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML0523/ML052350041.pdf

"...f. Each diesel engine should be provided with a dedicated air starting system consisting of an air compressor, an air dryer, one or more air receiver(s), piping, injection lines and valves, and devices to crank the engine as recommended by the engine manufacturer..."

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#48

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/19/2012 7:37 PM

Maybe you should just have the most bullets.

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#53

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/20/2012 1:25 PM

I hope you have your tin-foil hat on at the time.

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Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

10/22/2012 10:03 AM
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#65

Re: Pneumatic Starter for Diesel Engine

02/08/2013 3:58 AM

No one mentioned the old hand pumped accumulator engine start system that's been around for 40 years or better.Almost as long as I've been doing this.The Coast Guard had them as redundancy on a lot of their vessels.Go to: www.ipustarting.co.uk/en/downloads/static/downloads/hydraulic_starting_systems_for_diesel_engines.pdf Also Ingersold Rand has had an incredible and efficient turbo starter on the market now about 20 years or better,yes it uses a turbo principle to power a gear reduction unit.And the beauty of it is it is unbelievably quiet!Downside is it's expensive.Well the last one I boughtwhich was for a V16-149 Series Detroit diesel (a pretty large engine)was $1100,that was in 1991.So now,you can maybe get them cheaper,especially on a smaller application.that's it my friend.Happy Motoring!

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