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Gadget Freak Case #204: Self-Starting, Solar-Powered Stirling Engine

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William K.
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Self starting Stirling Thing, Self shifting bike.
William K.   2/16/2012 8:21:48 PM
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Rob, I did look at the instructions and the pictures there and they were a lot easier to read and understand. But I was disappointed that it was an Ardunio thing that did the self starting. So it really is not a self starting engine, it is an engine with a computerized starter. I had been anticipating something like a 3-phase engine where one section is always at the start of a power stroke. An engine with a micro controller to kick start it is quite something, but that function is not really a self starting engine.

I have ridden a bike with a centrifical gear shifter and it was an interesting experience. But that shifter was all mechanical and was part of the rear wheel assembly. The shifter with the servo motors was an interesting project but it is the very opposite of what riding a bike is all about.  My guess is that the system in the article is intended for a much gentler type of riding, and only for nice weather.

William K.
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Platinum
Self starting Stirling Thing, Self shifting bike.
William K.   2/16/2012 8:21:30 PM
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Rob, I did look at the instructions and the pictures there and they were a lot easier to read and understand. But I was disappointed that it was an Ardunio thing that did the self starting. So it really is not a self starting engine, it is an engine with a computerized starter. I had been anticipating something like a 3-phase engine where one section is always at the start of a power stroke. An engine with a micro controller to kick start it is quite something, but that function is not really a self starting engine.

I have ridden a bike with a centrifical gear shifter and it was an interesting experience. But that shifter was all mechanical and was part of the rear wheel assembly. The shifter with the servo motors was an interesting project but it is the very opposite of what riding a bike is all about.  My guess is that the system in the article is intended for a much gentler type of riding, and only for nice weather.

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: Self starting stirling engine
Rob Spiegel   2/16/2012 3:40:40 PM
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Glad to hear you're going to give this Gadget Freak a try, William. Please check back and let us know how it went. We have a number of very good gadgets coming up. Let us know what you think as they arrive. There a nice automatic bike-shifting gadget on the site now.

William K.
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Platinum
Self starting stirling engine
William K.   2/13/2012 8:07:33 PM
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dconner, I can't imagine being bored, at least not with something as interesting as a functioning engine, one that is self starting. Of course, it helps that I have a long attention span and posess an ability to concentrate that is probably far beyond a large portion of society, or at least, far beyond that of the MTV generation.

I am more than a bit puzzeled as to what part an Ardunio system has in a Stirling cycle engine. That is what I was hoping to see.

I come across all manner of projects that include an Ardunio board and program when the required functionality could be created with 3 or 4 CMOS or analog chips, much more reliably and much less expense, and quite a bit less work involved. 

So the reale question is what does the ardunio controller package do for the stirling cycle engine?

I will try to visit the project posting and see the pictures there. I have not had a whole lot of success with "Gadget Freak" in the past, so I seldom go vary far in looking at the projects. But I will give this one a try.

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: Self starting solar stirling engine.
Rob Spiegel   2/13/2012 2:34:51 PM
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Thanks for the links, Doug. That helps a great deal.

dconner
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Iron
Re: Self starting solar stirling engine.
dconner   2/12/2012 10:30:24 PM
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William,

I'm sorry to hear you found the video confusing. I try to keep my videos moving along so as not to bore viewers, especially those that have seen hundreds of Stirling engines before. I suppose the video might cover things too fast for the unfamiliar. If you download the build instructions (available on the Design News website) you will find still photos of the engine and starter operation, a discussion of the electronics, and the schematic. That would perhaps help you understand the engine and starter a little better.

I accidentally left out the program listing for the arduino microcontroller. You can see that on my website:

http://www.solarheatengines.com/solar-powered-stirling-engine-prototype-part-4/engine-controller/solar-engine-controller-code-listing/

A detailed description of the engine with photos of all parts starts at:

http://www.solarheatengines.com/solar-powered-stirling-engine-prototype-part-1/

If you examine this material and still have questions, feel free to ask.

Thank you for your interest.

 

jackiecox
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Very Good Engineering
jackiecox   2/12/2012 9:22:23 PM
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to discover the part materaial is necessary, then you can google material suppliers, same goes for contract milling machines, 

jackiecox
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Engine a piece of art
jackiecox   2/12/2012 9:19:17 PM
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discovery is its own reward

 

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Self starting solar stirling engine.
William K.   2/10/2012 9:01:45 PM
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I tried to watch the video and it was so very jerky that it was not possible to understand what was actually happening, which way it was turning. Was the cameraman bouncing on a pogo stick?

On the other hand, a self starting stirling engine that will run on that small a temperature difference is quite an acomplishment. It would have been very nice to have watched it with the camera held still for perhaps ten seconds. A few more details would have added a lot to the explanation, since I don't see where a lot of electronics enters into the stirling cycle.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Engine a piece of art
Charles Murray   2/8/2012 7:57:30 PM
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Well said, Tool_Maker. I wholeheartedly agree.

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