Thursday, 28 December 2006


Solar Water Project - My First Attempt

When I came across the idea of heating water with the sun I set out to purchase some Solar Water Heating Panels. As everything I do here on Homebrewpower is funded from the items I sell (Look at the For Sale Link to the right) then of course I could not afford to purchase new, nor would I have wanted to. I have a desire to see how things work for myself and never rest until I have my head around a project.

I purchased a couple of old solar collectors from for I seem to remember £100.00 for the pair. They were in a poor state and needed stripping and a little bit of homebrew style reconditioning to get them to work

The picture you see here is nothing more than a mock up at the bottom of my back garden to prove the technology would actually work!

They did but nothing like the solar evacuated tubes you can get now. I will post some info on them in the near future as I want to cover them for every ones benefit.

Andy M

Wednesday, 27 December 2006


Home Made Battery Cubicle!

This is my homebrew battery cubicle and inverter setup. The red batteries are Hawker SBS60's and above them is a set of Yuasa deep cycle UPS cells.
Between them they provide me with the power for my conservatory and also the downstairs lighting.
They are charged from a combination of solar, wind and Lister CS sources. The bank is 12VDC with around 1600AH (10 hour rating)
On the top of the battery cubicle I can monitor the charging coming from the wind generator (Amps and Volts) and the condition of the bank (Volts)
Over the December months (2006) We have had some very strong winds and they have given me the opportunity to see what my wind machine can do. It stood up to the battering without fault and I am confident I can create a larger set of rotors to harness more power. The PMDC motor I am using has much more power to give up!
Still not got around to De Coking the Lister yet as the weather is sat just above freezing here in West Yorkshire..... I am also awaiting a head gasket and no not want to split the head without taking the opportunity to replace the existing one as a matter of course!
Andy Mahoney

Thursday, 21 December 2006


The birth of Mahoney Electrical

My very own Electrical Contracting company aimed at Off Grid Eco Friendly electrical installtions and alterations.

As you may know I am a JIB approved Electrician by trade but am branching out full time into my hobby and passion.

If you are looking for any sized project undertaken then give me a try!

Mob: +44 (0) 7504 50 50 89

Andy Mahoney

Monday, 18 December 2006


Above is the UK's very own Combined Heat & Power Association website
The site has some really interesting links and reports contained within it. Well worth a couple of hours browsing to familiarise yourself with the pending crisis of fossil consumption.
Enjoy, a site well worth remembering.

Sunday, 17 December 2006


This is a simple schematic of what I am going to try and acheive but where you have 100% Gas coming into the setup I would like to have 80% WVO and 20% Wood Burning with some option to run on gas of no other choice is available.

I think over the next 3 or 4 years Micro CHP units are going to become the norm for domestic houses.

Watch this space....

Saturday, 16 December 2006


The time of year (Well I have been putting it off for over 6 months now) to De-Coke the Lister CS 6/1 engine.

I am finally going to take the head off and clean all the crud from the valves and ports then pop down to my local auto parts store for a valve seating kit and grind them back up to perfection.

I have already drained the coolant circuit down and isolated the WVO lines ready for the operation but since it is almost hitting Zero (Freezing) through the day here in sunny Yorshire I thought no time like the present to get the chore done.

I believe that running it in 'Stealth Mode' for 6 months has done the engine no favours at all! i.e. under 300 RPM for long periods at a time.

Andy Mahoney


A Turk Burner running on WVO

This is a picture taken from a working setup over in Ireland - Tang.

Tim Stanley has designed and developed this wonderful modified Turk Burner, unlike other burners this one runs on a tiny PC fan and is extremely quiet in operation.

This is what I want to combine into my homebrew Micro CHP unit along with the stilring generator from a damaged / surplus Whispergen unit.

Tim Stanley is one of the leading peers in WVO (Waste Veg Oil) as a fuel including but not limited to Diesel car engines, Lister CS and Indian Listeroid type stationary engines, Turk burners and complete Micro CHP.I hope to be meeting

Tim in the not too distant future to discuss our interests in the alternative energy fields.

Andy Mahoney

Friday, 15 December 2006


Season’s Greetings!

My eyes lit up this evening when I found out that Whispertec have made a DC version of the micro CHP Stirling engine Micro CHP unit! It runs on Diesel!!!!!!!!

Veg oil at the ready!

Andy Mahoney

Give me one of them please ;-)

Thursday, 10 August 2006


Just a quick note to show you all my completed exhaust heat exchanger for my Lister CS I have a ton more pictures on the homepage Click on the photo album link.

Andy Mahoney

Saturday, 8 July 2006


Got the engine up and running after some minor problems which could have been major! Turns out it was the mountings that where not tightened down and not the big end shells!

All up and running and just in time for the cold northern wind that has just started up today! House is cosy and warm and the inverter battery bank is charging for this evenings usage.

Tuesday, 30 May 2006


I am almost finished with the fabrication of my direct exhaust heat exchanger for the heating of my DCH loop, at the moment I am running a loop of microbore around the exhaust baffle but wanted to run the microbore inside the baffle so I have completely refabricated my exchaust and heat exchanger and it should be live tomorrow evening after work!

The Lister CS 6/1 is running 24/7 right now and has been for 4 days and nights! No problems at all with the setup, just need a 230VAC generating head and the setup will be complete!!

Kind regards

Andy Mahoney
Home made heating & power from sustainable fuels!
Mobile: +44 (0)7504 50 50 89


I am almost finished with the fabrication of my direct exhaust heat exchanger for the heating of my DCH loop, at the moment I am running a loop of microbore around the exhaust baffle but wanted to run the microbore inside the baffle so I have completely refabricated my exchaust and heat exchanger and it should be live tomorrow evening after work!
The Lister CS 6/1 is running 24/7 right now and has been for 4 days and nights! No problems at all with the setup, just need a 230VAC generating head and the setup will be complete!!

Andy Mahoney
Home made heating & power from sustainable fuels!
Mobile: +44 (0)7707 365 588

Sunday, 19 February 2006


Lister CS Restoration Services

I offer a Lister CS restoration service for anyone who can send their engine to me. I charge for my time per hour and for anyone who would love to get their engine back to it's former glory but does not have the time orknowledge then I may be able to help you.

My services are suited to anyone who can transport their engine to my property and then collect once the work has been carried out.

I will also fit parts that have been purchased by the owner to the engine they require.
I will also travel to your location and work on site if this suits your needs,I require a bed to sleep in and somewhere to work whilst I carry out the works.
I can be contacted via email
or mobile telephone on 07504 50 50 89Payment will be upfront for travel and then on a daily basis from there on in.

Will travel abroad if you require me to do so, I am only limited to the commitment and money you want to put into your project.
I will also travel anywhere in the world to help / create an Off-Grid type setup, i.e. Lister CS running on WVO (Waste Vegoil) or someone who requires my assistance getting a project completed.

Friday, 17 February 2006


How to set the injector of a Lister CS 3/1

Well guys and gals, I have finally put my thinking cap on and solved my Lister CS 3/1 engine problem out. It is now running like a dream, I have uploaded 2 video's to google video, the links will be posted once google have okay'd them for me..........

Here is how I logically re tuned my injector nozzle on my engine to get it to fire correctly :-)

1. Take out injector from head and clean with clean dino 'Diesel'
2. Inspect nozzle and injector hole, clean with copper strand of wire to make sure it is unclogged.
3. Make sure the nozzle glides freely within the injector housing.
4. Re-assemble injector and make sure you refit the copper abspestos washer on the nozzle tip.
5. Unscrew tension screw and locknut on top of injector fully and then blead fuel system of air (See manual for details) 6. Replace injector and tighten back onto head.
7. Turn over engine and make sure the injector is air tight i.e. No hissing from injector body when under compression.
8. Set compression changeover to high, fully wound in.
9. Set fuel govner to full.
10. Try turning engine to speed and start, you will most probably get nothing but fear not..........
11. Now turn tension screw 1/4 turn clockwise (Tighten) and repeat step 10...........
12. If the engine does not fire, go to step 10 and keep going until you get the engine to fire.
13. Once you get ignition advance tension by 1/8 (Clockwise) until it begins to die, you can then retard by 1/8 steps until optimum injector setting is found!

NOTE: I would strongly advise anyone who has a running engine NOT to touch the injector settings as this has taken me over 2 months to rectify, use this as a last resort.

14. Take a digital picture of your injector tension screw from above and from the side once you are running so you can count the threads when or if you need to clean / strip your injector.

15. Stand back and smile from ear to ear!!!

Saturday, 11 February 2006


Wll I have been slaving away with my off grid setup and here are a couple of questions I have been asked and the answers to go with them.

1) How large is the power inverter - it looks very large - what is it rated at full output?

ANSWER: The inverter is a 5,000W (5KW) Constant 10,000W (10KW) Peak modified sine wave inverter rated @ 230VAC 43.5A Peak it an handle all loads in my house providing the shower is run at 4KW.

2) How large is your generator head - what is rating at full output?

ANSWER: The Generator Head(s) are a 80A 13.8VDC automotive van alternator & a Lister 110VDC 1500W generator not In use yet but that is for Phase 2 of the project!

3) How many HP and RPM is the Lister Running at? What is the generator head rated output?

ANSWER: This particular Lister is a four stroke single cylinder 3HP engine running at 600-650 RPM (low Engine)

4) Any issues with Battery Bank, Engine, Fuel - Fumes in basement - Any special ventilation Required?

ANSWER: My battery bank has no issues at all, I am running at 2,000AH 12VDC mostly made up of Hawker SBS60 gel cel's (60 AH Each)

5) What is your wind generator rated at - what voltage and amperage have you been getting?

ANSWER: Let me explain a little about the wind machine, I constructed it from a Brooke Crompton British made permenant magnet motor rated at 90VDC 1750RPM 3KW, it is connected to the battery bank via a large Lucas blocking diode. If I run the generator open circuit then it soars to 60-70 VDC with relative ease. Since the generator is connected via the batteries they regulate the voltage to around 13.5 - 13.8VDC, when the wind tries to accelerate the wind machine the result is converted into chargin current which sits around 4-15A in light to moderate winds, I have yet to see it working under a good wind speed but I would be confident in saying it will be capable of 30-50A output @ 13.8VDC which equates to around the 690 Watts mark. I will report on the max outputs I see as I see them, I intend to build a data logger to constantly log all the outputs of the entire site wide installation so I can see exactly what is being produced and when...

6) How long will your house run without power with this system?

ANSWER: That is the million dollar question! How long is a piece of string?
Honestly that all depends on the variables i.e. Wind, Time of year, intermittent load demands, children leaving lights on, amount of fuel for the generator etc etc.... In essence it will run indeffinately once complete....

7) What do you drive in your house in terms of power load?

ANSWER: Everything a normal domestic Yorkshire Working class family would have.

8) Is there any power/voltage loss in the system - from wind generator to battery bank, etc.

ANSWER: Well I have done my best to minimise ALL foreseeable losses throughout my setup, the wind machine has a 16 Meter run to get power back to the house but is fed in 16MM2 Copper Cabling which to some may sound like overkill but I want the losses to be minimal throughout my system and running at such low voltages BIG really is better!

The Lister engine has losses of course, mainly 2/3 of power produced is lost in the form of heat, 1/3 through the cooling system and 1/3 through the exhaust system, I have built 2 heat exchangers, one for the pre heat of fuel (More on the subject later) and one that heats the DCH of my house (With the option to heat 150 Litres of water for the new shower) both the flow and return pipes are lagged underground from the Generating shed to the house.

9) Do you create biodiesel/veggie fuel mix? Or just using diesel fuel?

ANSWER: Fuel, my system starts from cold on Dino Diesel until the exhaust and head are running at an ambient temptrature then I switch over the WVO (Waste Vegetable Oil) which is the primary fuel for the engine, just used veg oil from various free sources, filtered of course to a degree. Phase 2 of my project will see my setup running on 100% WVO with no Diesel to prime the system at all.

10) What are your expectations of what this system can provide in terms of driving your home energy needs?

ANSWER: My expectations are that the system will eventually provide 100% of both my heating and power needs for my home with redundancy built in along the way, I am keeping my Grid connection for backup purposes but fully intend to run off grid where possible, that is the whole purpose of my experiment, to prove that one can produce all the power you need from renewable, alternative energy sources.

11) Are you heating water with the heat exchanger on the lister exhaust?
ANSWER: Yes, DCH and a storage tank in the very near future.

Really clean and neat design? You did an excellent job building it.

How long did it take to build
so far? $$ Invested?
ANSWER: Hard to put a time scale on it, most of my spare time for 3 months and $$ TBC when I reverse engineer the project once complete.

HomebrewPower - Life After Fossil Fuels!

Monday, 6 February 2006


Well today I got my House control panel up and running.

I had some trouble getting both the digital ammeter and digital voltmeter working at the same time! I have asked a couple of people for advise and came to the conclusion that the problem was the 5VDC battery pack, when both meters where connected at the same time, the voltage from the wind machine was back feeding via the common neutral!

Problem solved with 2 x isolated battery packs...

More pictures of the setup on my homepage

Andy Mahoney

Friday, 3 February 2006


It is more about making use of what we have than taxing what is easy! Do you see our leaders living in council estates wondering where the next cheque is coming from? Do you see them working until late in the cold garden shed covered in dirty oil? No, the reason we do these things is because we are chasing a dream, when you have money all the illusions and wants in life come tumbling down around you, then all you have is money.

Most of us live a synthetic life, basing our morals on what we are drip fed by the governments. Do you think they really give a hoot about sustainability? Only sustaining there wage packages, Fossil fuels is a licence to print money to them all, look at all the governing powers, they all rule and lead by Oil & Gas. The technology to live off grid is there and has been there for decades, Burning wood for heat in the UK has almost been bread out of us, Solar PV has been around for decades but still is a humble waste of time / gimmick. They talk of the time it takes to recoup the energy put into a PV as been almost a waste of time, well why not look to the future and do something about it? Spend some money on the technologies, look at the first home based computers made to the masses 18-20 years ago, a C64 was like a huge house brick, it yielded 64K of RAM used a tape drive to load, had 16 colours and an 8bit chip, 'Fat Agnus' was a word known to all C64 users as one of the internal chips, They retailed at £350.00 at the same time 18-20 years ago, solar was around.....................

Now my 9 Y/O daughter has a furry furby with much more processing capabilities, it can speak to her and learn, it holds a full conversation with her and sings, it gets tired and go's to sleep......... When I was a kid, Furby's where nothing but a pipe dream, I would never imagined as a child that I would see the advances in computing I have done in m short time on this planet. When I was 10, I got a MB Bigtrack, it could be programmed to drive across the room, turn around, tip an apple onto the floor from it's trailer and then come back to me! It was fantastic back then, today I have seen my next door but ones twins walking past, they have a pair of Sony PSP's, they have more processing power in them than the whole of my local town had back when I was a kid, with high definition TFT technology, Wi-Fi, Internet, broadband, instant chatting, full stereo and all for £169.00...............

Well where am I going here???????????????? Solar PV, still is huge, expensive, heavy, only available to the likes of NASA in any real usable form, it seems to be 'Constantly in short supply' Plus it looks like the same stuff that I was on 'Tomorrows World' all them years ago..............How do they licence the Wind and the Rain because if it was something they could do then my bet is that Solar PV would be covering huge areas of the globe, producing most of our energy needs, every news paper would have moving images on them and solar technology to keep them charged and I bet once you had done with them they would be that cheap you would toss it in the garbage once you had read it....

This is not a grumble nor a whinge but sometimes I honestly think the government have you right where they want you, you see what they want you to see and as long as you do then they are happy.

When I was again a kid, I wrote a song called 'Synthetic Mankind', the more I see in life the more I realise what I wrote about back then where words of wisdom......

Think outside the goldfish bowl.....................

Kind regards

Andy Mahoney

Thursday, 2 February 2006


It is so cold at the moment here in the United Kingdom! I am finding it hard to get anything done as the cold is freezing to the bone!

I came across an interesting post this evening regarding heat resistant Cladding. I want to clad the exhaust of my Lister so that the cladding encapsulates the heat exchanger to maximize heat transfer to the circulating water circuit. I have been pondering on how to do this for a couple of days when along came this post below....

While building my woodchip burner, I needed some kind of "locally
> available" refractory insulation. I came across a simple recipe on the
> net that so far Ive tested at 2000+ deg F directly exposed to flame /
> coals without problem or signs of degradation.
> What I used was 1 part refractory cement (high temp
> mortar) and 4
> parts pearlite. To this enough water was added till it was a "thick
> and pasty" consistancy. So that you know, Home Depot didnt carry the
> refractory cement but the "more profesionally geared" builders supply
> company did. As for pearlite, any garden center has it.
> Hope this is of use to someone.
> Cheers,
> Todd

It sounds like an ideal mix to me, I am going to obtain some mix and do some text batches to see how well it holds out to vibration etc.

Will post the results as I find out more..............


Monday, 30 January 2006


Through the night!

Tonight and into the early hours of the morning I have been setting out the basic template for Nothing too flashy, just simple to navigate and read.

Must get the wind generator painted tomorrow as long is it is not raining I am going to do it first thing.

Had a pretty lazy Sunday today, done more thinking than doing but it all counts.

Anyone out there is interested in a 36VDC Soneil battery charger, very professional and expensive! Give me a mail and I will consider selling it. I purchased it when I was looking into other voltage systems prior to deciding on 12VDC as my prime storage voltage.

I'll post some pictures of the wind generator once I have done tomorrow.....

Sunday, 29 January 2006


Things I have done this evening:-

1. Dug second trench in back garden from my Generator house to the house and knocked out holes under house and in shed.
2. Laid 2 x 10mm Microbore pipes from house to Gen, both fully lagged!
3. Laid 2 x 16mm2 Twin & Earth cables from House to Gen shed, 1 for Mains power to house from inverter the other for 12VDC under the house.
4. Sanded, treated and sprayed Exhaust in High Temp Mat Black paint.
5. Sprayed all pipework for dual fuel in High temp matt black paint.
6. Installed & fabricated 8mm Microbore heat exchanger (15 Coils) around exhaust.
7. Stripped down injector on the Lister and tuned spray nozzle to get a very satisfying 40deg mist and the famoud 'Creeking' noise!!
8. Primed fuel and started Lister first time!

The Lister jumped into action without any hesitation at all, let it run for 5 seconds and went for the fuel governer, once I touched it it died. I tried opening the governer up again but nothing! I took the injecter out again and there was no spray pattern!!

The problem is the injecter nozzle and nothing more! I need a new or working one!

Tomorrow I have 2 jobs to do for people, new BT point and an outside light of all things! Once that is done I am going to couple all my pipework up and internally lag the pipes, may even couple up the system to my central heating....

Also I am painting my wind generator in 'Straight to metal' paint tomorrow, matt black to make it look even more neat and tiidy.

I am so close to first stage completion now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Oh, I am hooking my coolent system up tomorrow as I now have all the pipework and fittings to do so, plus since I am on with that I'll be finishing the Veg oil storage tank brackets and pipework as well.

More later......