What to do with these gas engines – smokstak gas vs electric water heater savings


I currently split wood with one of my hit and miss engines. I have been buying various pieces of equipment In the future I am planning to vary my demonstrations to include various displays such as 1. Ottawa demonstrating tree felling and belt powered friction drive Appleton drag Saw, 2. broomcorn threshing and broom making, 3. Sorghum press, 4. corn shelling and corn meal grinding, 5. Rock crushing and limestone pulverizing, 6. electrical power generation, 7. a Lane shingle mill, 8. Hawkeye power hammer where I am trying to figure a safe way to flatten pennys. I still haven’t quite figured out a great way to demonstrate my Ireland winches except I may use them in the logsaw demonstration. Otherwise I my just winch something back and forth since I do have pair of Ireland belt driven winches. One of the displays will somehow incorporate a Almond right turn coupling. The neat thing about gas engines is there is so many things to demonstrate state with the only limiting factor is finding the equipment and being creative at how to display it and the size of your engines. There are other display possibilities out there that I chose not to mention because I am still actively looking for the equipment to make these displays possible.

No, it still requires synchronization. The difference here is that the electric motor motor will sync itself, consuming power and dragging your engine along for the ride if the RPM goes below its nameplate RPM, while in order to produce power the motor has to be driven just slightly faster than 1800 RPM such that the old engine applies a torque to accelerate the motor that causes the motor to produce more electricity than it receives. But the effect is quite delicate and only works in a narrow sweet spot of speeds.

I could see setting the belt ratios to where an engine fires enough to lift the RPM up to the power producing RPM, but then it would latch out the governor and want to coast. And as it coasts the RPM would drop enough below 1800 that the motor would start to power the engine, preventing it from slowing down enough to unlatch and fire again. Then someone connects a really big motor hooked to a really big engine, and the inrush makes every engine on the ground draw a charge and fire at once, which spikes the system voltage and RPM out of spec, and the whole thing falls apart here.

Actually that idea of putting water in storage and used over and over, has been done in Southern Missouri for quite some time at Tom Sauk Mountain, and probably other places, they generate power and pump some back up to be released again by electricity, mostly at night when the power is not needed during the day they generate. The lake dam busted a few years ago and really wiped out the Johnson Shut In State Park and they rebuilt it……..

Oh yes, pumped storage power is very much a thing. And all things considered, it might actually be more practical for an engine show to do than a DC bus power system, since vintage water pumps are a great deal easier to get than generators are. Plus you would also have an ideal scenario to show off vintage windmills, which aren’t seen that often anymore and usually were linked to pumps.

In that situation you’d have 2 ponds or large tanks separated by a height difference, and a millrace turning the generator that powers the show. People can hook up their engines to supply and discharge piping between the ponds, raising water from the low pond to the high pond. Like so if more power was being added than removed, the upper pond could simply cascade down a spillway into the lower pond and produce a refreshing cool mist for the enjoyment of exhibitors and spectators.

But its much more practical given the limited resources of most showgrounds to just bring your own appliances to power. My engine is rated 1-3/4 horsepower, and I have for it a grindstone, corn sheller, and the alternator to show off with the alternator being the most seen because it is lighter and easier to transport.

It is also possible to put an engine on the chassis of an old riding lawnmower or utility vehicle to create a butt buggy to ride. Not all shows allow these, but many do if the operator has mobility restrictions or if the engine powering it is of suitable vintage and it has the essential safety functions such as reliable steering and brakes. I had my engine on a riding lawnmower chassis for a while, but I found it to be under-powered and had to use such a low pulley ratio to make it not stall that it was faster to walk than it was to ride it. Better pillow blocks and mechanical fixes given to the engine since then probably would make it work better, but I just made a nice new set of skids…

Rich: I have heard of places where they do that. I think above Lake of the Ozarks is Truman Dam – they pump water back from Lake of the Ozarks into Truman Reservoir every night for the same reason. Grand Coullee Dam on the Columbia River in Washington State; The Russell Dam on the Savanah River in South Carolina.

I was just trying to think of a way to demonstrate that to spectators at a tractor show or county fair, because it seems people don’t understand the difference between Storing and releasing electricity and creating energy (by burning fossil fuels), as evidenced by electric cars emblazoned with signs proclaiming them to be "Emissions free" vehicles.

I’m also still interested in the water-demonstration project – it would be capital intensive, but if others think it MIGHT work, as a long-term project, I might bring it up with some others at the Thresheree – Maybe I’ll be seeing some folks there this Sunday.

I have noticed a LOT of shows listed here, but the Edgarton WI Thresheree does not seem to be mentioned on Smokstak. Maybe I just didn’t see it. As I understand it, they have 14,000 visitors on Labor day weekend – I LOVE the Thresheree and look forward to it all year. I joined the organization in the winter but haven’t been there for a work day yet. I’m thinking of going this Sunday.