TH charcoal project

Well, several posts here and I understood all the words. That’s what I’m talking about. I do have a Miller engine driven welder and by some miracle it was not in the shop when I burned everything else. Hasn’t been run for years and I can’t even remember why but it wasn’t serious. Something shorted out and I needed to take it somewhere to find out why. It’s just a Bluestar, so only a 10,000 watt gen but it is four pole and puts out power at 1800 rpm. Only kicks up for welding. I’ve been using this inverter welder lately.
It is dual voltage, much cheaper than the HF titanium unit. It has a decent electrode holder and ground clamp. It’s not great but I got my State of Michigan License that allowed me to weld railroad bridges when I was 19 so I can get around some of the issues. It runs 1/8 7018 on 120v just fine. I haven’t tried it with my 2000 watt inverter/generator but it should work. That means I could pretty easily tote the gen and welder in two hands.

I do have a Kill-a-watt meter. If the grid goes down I don’t plan on trying to run the electrical equipment I have now. We are mostly all electric right now. I had a plan that has been altered since I have been on this site because I now have access to people who actually know what they are talking about and build stuff. Very happy about that. I do know people that are completely off-grid like you are Bruce, but they have professionally installed PV systems with auto generator back-up and big battery banks. Not what I’m looking for and wouldn’t work for me. I live in the woods, hiding from the summer sun.

No offense taken Carl. I poke fun at myself and people like me all the time. Hell, I even think it’s funny when black comedians make fun of white people. I do crazy because I enjoy it. I look at twenty something people and marvel. When you live your life with your face in a phone and prefer to communicate by text rather that just pressing a different set of buttons and actually talk, then you have no actual life skills. I never long for the good old days. A lot of mine weren’t that great, but I did grow up in a time when you were expected to have a few basic skills. I guess it was the blessing of growing up with depression era parents and grandparents who were forced to provide for themselves. When I was old enough to walk good I was out pulling weeds from the garden with my grandmother. I got a visible V-8 plastic see through engine when I was 10 and must have taken it apart and put it back together a couple hundred times. We got erector sets and lincoln logs and I would have loved Lego’s. Before we were old enough to drive we were trying to fix up old beaters and usually ended up with a few parts still laying on the garage floor. Within a few years we were actually building running cars and taking them to the drag strip.

Maybe the real shit will never hit the fan. It would be a true miracle if somehow society could reverse the course it is going down right now but miracles happen. Maybe there won’t be an unusual amount of geological or volcanic activity and the air won’t be filled with sulfur dioxide and the acid rain won’t pollute the water supplies and kill off the crops. I’ll still be probably futilely trying to grow all my own food, build my own vehicles, cut fire wood and mill my own lumber and stay as far away from sheeple as I can.

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I have 12 volt solar panels I have never taken out of box .
had some connected to battery connected to inverter for back up power . When I finally needed it the battery had dried out .

Have diesel generator for backup power

Yesterday I figured out how to unlock the programming for outback inverter but could not find setting I wanted to make change to .


Talk more about this please. I too use telecom AGM sealed Batts.
Are you building packs of 18650s? What is working for you?
Super cap…is it integrated along with your bank feeding your inverter?
How do you charge the lithium? I mean when it’s cold

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Bruce the latest set of batteries i use are these lifepo4 used 100ah batteries tested to 95ah capacity still in them so still more power in them that 120ah agm .
The Supercap pack sits in parallel between the batteries and the inverter , that will take the mad inrush needed by high demand motors ect , they are amazing items with a life span of over a million cycles , if you have some spare time come onto a facebook page all about them and the batteries .
a full 48 volt pack he sells for $300 au thats a lot cheaper for u in the states ,he strips down those packs and makes up 16 volt packs for the 12 and 24 volt users .


Bruce sorry i forgot to mention the cold , where i live it never goes below 1deg c outside and we rarely ever have a frost
so not a problem , the charge controllers are solar vicron 100/50 they are designed for lifepo4 batteries as well as standard lead acid and are wireless as well so can monitor from the house also the cells have a BMS so i can use a standard agm charger to bulk charge them plugged into the generator running off charcoal .



8 posts were split to a new topic: Satellite internet choices

Thankfully, because this fall has been so mild and no snow to speak of yet I am finally all caught up with winter preps. Been drying processed charcoal in my dryer and I have about thirty gallons back in the gasifier ready to run. A while back the recoil spring on my pull starter broke. Got a replacement for that but couldn’t get the generator to fire even on gasoline. Finally got to messing with it today. Wouldn’t start even with a shot of ether so I pulled the wood gas plumbing and the propane carb adapter off and found the choke plate stuck open and not moving. Sprayed that down and wiggled it til it worked. Started the generator and it was surging and backfiring and would only run at have choke. Opening the choke all the way over reved the engine badly. It was only run on charcoal gas for about 8 hours total so far and there was no soot or any discoloration in the propane adapter or mouth of the carb and I can’t imagine it was making some kind of tar. This generator always took about a dozen pulls to start if it sat for a few days. I’m going to pull the carb apart and clean it but I’m wondering if anyone thinks the char gas could have messed something up or just a coincidence. When the gasifer was running there was nothing but about a couple ounces of clear water in the catch jar at the bottom of the cyclone. No soot at all or in the hose connection to the filter.


I believe there is something in chargas that is hard on carbs. My B&S lawn tractor carb throttle plate set up solid and will not turn. I believe it has a brass shaft through a pot metal casting. I will either have to put another carb on it or make my own throttle out of something like a ball valve maybe.


Before I pull that carb apart I’m going to put the woodgas plumbing back on and try and start it on wood gas and see what happens. The over reving is a little confusing. Trying to think of what could cause that. Kind of thinking that the float bowl valve is not sealing and letting too much gas in but if it was running too rich the spark plug would show it and it looks good. We have crappy weather coming in today and tomorrow. I think you do as well. I may not get back to it for a couple days.

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Tom i have had a few carb butterflys seize up after running , and so now i spray the internals with some wd40 just to blow away anything that may be lurking or i run a float bowl of fuel before shutting down seems to help a lot no sticking for ages now when i go to start it up the next time .
I think the acids in the gas stream attack the alloy of the carb and the very fine dust that gets past filters may wear the jet , i have opened up a carb that had been sat idle for a few months after running on charcoal to find it fully stuck open or closed and took some cleaning to get free enough to run again


Since this seems to be a fairly common occurrence I’m thinking of trying to fabricate a wood gas feed before the carb. That doesn’t seem like much of a project. I looked on line and can buy a replacement carb for that machine for between 20 and 40 bucks. Having a back-up seems prudent. I’d probably lean toward the 40 buck option. All I really need that generator for is the 30 amp 240 outlet to run the well pump if power was out. I’m thinking of hooking the gasifier to the 420 cc Preditor engine I have that isn’t doing anything right now just to experiment with the gasifier. I doubt I’ll get that car I posted about in my UTV thread torn down before spring but I’d like to get the engine out of it to see if this gasifer would run it. Being able to hook these engines up to a dyno so you could see what kind of HP and Torque you could get from different fuel sources would be a treat. Reading about the idea of burning corn cobs soaked in oil piqued my interest. I mentioned injecting methanol into the reduction zone. KristijanL didn’t think it would do much but that can be a 40 to 50 HP boost in a truck engine. I’m also thinking about Nitrous. That’s a huge boost for a short duration. Might be a way to meter something like that into the gasifier when having to produce enough power to climb a hill or whatever. Of course I don’t know much about wood gas like those who have been using it for years but I do like to play around.


Reading more I’m seeing that at least in vehicles adding insulation around the outside of the reactor area is recommended for better overall performance and not just heat shielding.

The black portion in this unit just below the hopper reads between 5 and 600F when it’s running full tilt. Doesn’t effect anything in it’s current use but would it improve anything to wrap it in a ceramic fiber blanket with a sheet metal cladding?


Hi Tom, 600 *f radiating of of every square inch of the black metal is a lot of heat loss. Wraping it up and see if you notice improvements. You should get longer run times on the same amount of fuel. And you will not have to paint it with high temperature paint. Nice looking gasifer unit.


Hi TomH.
Think about it . . . . Thermal-Chemical. That what we want.
Thermal driving chemical reactions.
The ONLY internally made useable Thermal energy actually in a woodgasfier is in the air nozzle oxidization section.
Then every other: wood → vapors → to woodgas fuels has to be driven by the made oxidization zone heat energy
You never, never have enough heat energy in a wood gasifier.
Save every bit in the air nozzles-oxidization section. And the above grate Reduction section.
IF you have a wood moisture reducing monorating hopper then you must sacrifice a wee bit of heat to make it work.
The actual graph filled gasification books emphasize quick cooling of the produced gas immediately. Trace back and one book requotes another book in heads nodding.
Insulate that too.
Start your serious gas cooling after your dropping chamber. Or your miracle-magic spinner.

In the two different Victory Works build shops any type of hearth configuration zoom-zoomed up once insulated to conserve the hearth core heat. Period. No B.S.
Steve unruh

Oh. Charcoal gasifers are the opposite. Make too much heat. Why that excessive heat energy can be rationally used for added H2O cracking.
Or . . . . really, really smart feller like KristijanL., or Koen V.L., or WayneK., combines these!!! To become Friends with Benefits.


Thanks for the input guys. I guess I’ll be ordering more ceramic blanket. One thing I’ve been wondering about. Has anybody tried routing their cooling tubes through a water jacket with the water pumped through a radiator? Seems like a fairly easy thing to do and would eliminate a lot of other piping.


There is a thread for water heaters. Might be some ideas you could use.

I’m not sure we are talking about the same thing Steve. I’m talking about surrounding the piping out of the heat exchanger by building a water tight box around the pipes. The gas would never come into contact with any water and the water would never have gas in it. The water in the container would be piped through a car radiator to cool and then back into the tank. My thinking was that if the entire serpentine cooling system in a stationary gasifier like the Ben Peterson design, was encased you would get much cooler gas. May be moot in a vehicle system since there is air movement constantly bleeding heat off the piping but would also benefit a vehicle like my proposed UTV project where there would be no room for much piping and very little air movement puttering around the place a few MPH tops.

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I’ve got a few water heating miles under my belt as well Rindert. Twenty years of heating water in my wood stove to pump through my radiant floors. Actually I’ve just finished building a new heater with which I hope to heat the 600 gallon tank in my greenhouse. Haven’t run it yet because I need to get styrofoam to line the tank before I fill it and because I have failed in two attempts to bend half inch copper tubing into an 11 inch coil to go inside the heater tank. I’ve tried to do it without filling the tubing but even at that diameter I got kinks. Our temps are finally going to drop and I’ll get new tubing and freeze water in it. That will solve the kinking problem. This is kind of an interesting heater. It will heat water two ways and produce charcoal continuously. I’ll post about it when it is functional.
I had intended to make a coil to go around the outside of the heat riser on my Rocket Mass Heater but I was enjoying playing with wood gas builds so much I never got to it. It will have to wait til spring now. When the new heater gets running it will mean that I spend the day feeding it, the Rocket heater and the woodstove in the house. Good thing that ash borer came and killed so many of my trees or I may have trouble feeding them all.

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TomH this was the “Hotwatt” Victory Shop model.
The smallest of three different named models in that year. Each with a different use range purpose.
See . . . no external cooler pipes at all.
The whole base was the cooler/soot-ash dropper.
The models with the optional vertical 9 tube gas heat exchanger this was corner mounted onto this hollow gas flowing base. Water cooling liquid was pumped around these vertical gas tubes in a square cross section vertical upright tower chamber. Looked just like the vertical filtering box in this picture.

My actual owned gasifier war the original many times changed proto type unit of the Mid-range Model named a Victory hearth.

The links I listed in this DOW exchange with that years sales manual have all been non-supported deactivated.

A shame really that BenP’s long term impact in his book systems are really just his Ford ModelA/Falcon/Escort/Focus level of capability. Very, very useable and owners practical.
Gone lost in time will be his his big Lincoln car levels of units. Lost in the memory dust; his Formula One level of units. One 10 bars pressurizing capable for a University. Yes 1500 psi.
Ha! And the N.Z. guy CNC Machining is Fun with his bought out of BenP’s museum CONEX box an early BenP. made carbon steel Woody named unit. An Edsel car type.
The other two owners YouTubing their units, were all earliest ss Offgridder Models.


Some of my own Victory Model hearth pictures buried back here.
Protoptype 5 jet unit. Production unit had a larger internal diameter then needing to use 6 jets.
So that “jets must not be across from each other” . . . utter bullshit. So says Mike LaRosa, and many others now.
Also the production Victory Model hearth had the above jets joint flange move UP ~4 inches/100mm. When hard pulled like with the 240CID (5.0L I-6) Ford Onan generator this too close to jets joint would burn out it’s gasket seal.

Look carefully for the pencil eraser sitting on top of the center-up injection jet. Still a side jetted unit. This center-add was it’s last experimental rendition. BenP and John-John (in the last link picture) flowed in all kinds of gasses. Some of the first gasifed waste plastics were injected here. Not me. I’m 100% tree woods.
The crusty appearance is the inner KaWool exposed once the sacrificial inner combustion shaper tube is pulled out. This described, and new pictured in a post farther down.
This unit also had a second SS enclosed outer KaWool wrap. Still loosing heat said Shop pain-in-the-ass, me.
A third whole outer system insulation wrap then applied. The Optional “performance upgrade” in the book plans unit.

You can scroll up and down in this exchange for other been used hard pictures. Since all of the off-site link are dead now you’d have to read all of my comments for facts and figures and system names in my wording.

So see new DOW guys.
I ain’t no shy woodgas vergin. Or jabber mouthed wanna’be. Sheesh. I cannot even get that word to spell check. Long lost near 50+ years ago.
Steve Unruh

Ha! Ha! And if you want easy entertainment read the whole topic to see SteveU being roasted. But only by the Best. With the best intentions - to draw out more information. Get clarifications.