Monday, February 22, 2010

Main engine run-up

796 Engine runup

It's a little overdue, I know, but I've had the main engine up and running over the weekend.

As it happens, I ended up running all the various engines on board Lady Jane, as I also had to run the donkey to make compressed air to start the main engine. To start the donkey, I've found pre-heating it with a 2KW fan heater makes my life so much easier. For that I also had to run the deck generator. Because there was absolutely no wind over the weekend, I also needed to use the small generator to keep the 24V battery topped up.

The picture shows the telemetry from the main engine run, which was a good three hours or so in the end. The temperatures are shown in the top chart, with the pressures shown in the bottom chart. The RPM is shown in both charts.

The green dots show the sensors are working ok (they go blue if a sensor dies). Ultimately, the plan is to have the dot go red if an out of range condition occurs, along with an alarm in both the engine room and wheelhouse.

The zigzags in the RPM you see there is me nudging the old girl into gear, both forward and reverse, a few times just to check all is ok.

The red pressure line you see right at the bottom there is the saltwater cooling water pressure, a bit low on the scale shown, I know, but its all working ok.

I also have sensors for both the freshwater cooling and turbo pressures all plumbed in, but have not extended the program for these yet. I suspect both of these will be bumping along the bottom, along with the saltwater pressure, so I may have to re-think how I show these.

Obviously, when we take Lady Jane out the telemetry readings become far more relevant and useful.


  1. Tim,

    Do you have a fuel polishing system on board?

    Also how much fuel can you carry ?

    Bill Kelleher

  2. Very cool Tim! So how long will it be until you take the old girl out? I'm sure you can't hardly wait until then.

  3. Hi Bill

    No fuel polishing system. The day tank has a large well in it, which traps water and debris. I drain this off periodically.

    Fully loaded I can carry up to 32,000 litres (about 8500 US gallons of diesel).



  4. Hi Marc

    Hopefully we will at least take her upriver very soon.

    Maybe a slightly longer trip after that...



  5. Anonymous4:39 PM

    Tim, I can't remember -- is your donkey a diesel or petrol?

    Does it have an electric start?

    Would it be feasible to charge your compressed air from an electric compressor running from the main generator?

    Just random questions. I, if I were you, would be nervous about a cantankerous donkey, if it were the only possible way of starting the main.

  6. Hi Anonymous

    It's not really an issue.

    The donkey is a venerable old two cylinder, air cooled, Lister. Noted for their reliability.

    The donkey produces 110V DC, which the compressor then uses.

    Usually, once the main engine is running, I top off the compressed air reservoir using 110V directly from the main engine driven generator.

    The saved compressed air is usually more than enough to start the main engine.

    I only have to crank up the ol donkey if the main engine takes more than a few kicks to start - extremely unusual.

    At a push, I could get 110 VDC from the deck generator (needs a rectifier as it makes 110V AC).

    At a real push, I can fill the compressed air bottles from a separate compressor I have - though it's mangy and only makes just over 10 bar, which is just enough to kick the main engine over once.



  7. Anonymous11:49 AM

    If your oilpressure is only 1,2 bar at idle i would tjek the filters etc. if i were you.


  8. Hi Tim I love your engine management system. the donkey engine starting would you consider (I guess its 4 cylinder diesel?) installing 4 Ford heat plugs ( if suitable) in the inlet manifold positioned in front of the inlet valve positions just threadded into the inlet manifold . A simple 15/20 second relay operated from the helm would allow an almost instant start should you ever need it. I used this sytem on my volvo
    6s 235hp TAMB-60Bs and the result was an instantaneous start even in snow!
    I think the over all cost was 4 heat plugs at £17 say £70 a relay £10 some wire and a switch £10 so under a hundred quid if you are happy to drill and tap your manifold and install it yourself.

  9. Hi Henry

    The main engine has a dry sump, with a separate oil reservoir.

    I also regularly check the oil is flowing into the reservoir as it should, so the oil pressure at 1.2 bar is normal - so far as I know.



  10. Hi Rob

    The donkey is a 2 cylinder air cooled Lister.

    Any fancy pre-heat would just confuse the poor thing :)

    Besides - what's wrong with a bit of exercise cranking the donkey every now and then?



  11. Absolutely no problem but if you do get stuck on a cold morning
    a bit of diesely rag lit in front of the intake helps (to soot the roof mainly) I guess its a Lister AVA-2? if it is they used to be used on hoists on building sites from 50/70+ the sort that you pulled the rope to get the platform to come up and loosened it to get it to go down or let go of it altogeather to stop it any traditional plant engineer will know the engine and probably have one lying around out back :o))

  12. 8500 US gallons definitely a fill up in san salvadore? or somwhere it is still 17p a gallon :o((