Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gasifier Update

I've been absent from the blog for a while. A few new things have come my way, and I haven't done very much lately that was blog-worthy. Among my jobs are learning Drupal (a website platform) and updating a database. Plus all the usual boring stuff... So I did get some time to spend on the truck, yesterday and today. Last I mentioned it was running, barely. One time it ran good enough to drive a mile down the road..... and it quit. I drug it a mile back home. The problem then was that a PVC joint had separated and air was sucked in instead of woodgas. Air is not a suitable fuel, so the engine died. By the time I figured out what had happened, I was out of battery power, and too far from home to just leave it. We hooked a chain to the bumper, and pulled it home very slowly. It bent up the bumper a little, but we made it.

Now the truck has a new battery, the leaks have been fixed and now...it still won't run. Confirmed good gas is present at the engine, battery is fully charged. It will start, and then die. Like it's getting too much air. I am continually tracking down the remaining leaks, but it hasn't gotten much better. Maybe there is one "big leak" that if I fix it then everything will be hunky-dory. It's possible, but I can't find it.

I took some photos of the current configuration. The Arduino is running the mixer servo manually right now:

The blower gets a switch:

Control wire to the servo goes into the dash:

 The final filter has been painted, and turned 90 degrees:

I built a decent check valve, as usual with leftover scrap. Consists of 2 bolts, 2" pipe, cutout from a hole saw, and an old brass bathtub drain. Cost: $0.00. It works great. Air can go in, not out. It's not sealed perfectly, but it's good enough.

Installed. The old port is now just for lighting the gasifier.

Random shot. Can you tell? The lip is full of condensate. The truck is parked the wrong way for it to drain out. At least one of my welds is watertight.

Truck in the daytime. Note the blower pipe is missing. It's removable.

Here's the blower exhaust pipe, with a rain cover made from PVC pipe.

And finally, a video. You can hear the truck run and die. It does this consistently, given good gas. It's gonna be sweet to hear it run right. A lesson in patience.