Jeff's Listeroid 6/1 Experiments

By day, Jeff is an Electrical Engineer who works for a well known company, by night, he's an Experimenter/ Fabricator seeking Alternative Energy Solutions and efficiency.

Jeff Starts with one of our stock 650 RPM Listeroid 6/1s, the efficient Allmand Drive, and the ST3 head. This set up presently yields .125 gallons of fuel per Kilowatt Hour, up considerably from Jeff's previous Prime Mover. Jeff has already produced formulas to predict fuel usage for a given load, and some nice graphs for the Lister 6/1 genset.  It'll take a few days to get it all onto the Jeff pages, but it's on the way.

One of Jeff's early experiments will be to determine how detrimental the stock air cleaner is, will a newly designed air intake system produce more efficiency? Will it produce more output?

What about using a tiny bit of propane as a catalyst to more efficiently burn the Diesel fuel?  Are there other generators out there that might boost the efficiency of the generating plant? These are all things we could learn from Jeff's experiments.

Lister 6/1 experiments, hard data, graphs, pictures.

A voltage regulator for the ST head

Why you should consider biodiesel

Running diesels in the Burbs. 

The true and amazing story of Jeff Maier, .... experimenting with diesel power in the burbs.  


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Jeff and Angie's home in the great North West, that little stack on the left of the garage leads down to Jeff's "Experimenter's corner".

Following is snippet from email, a brief summary of Jeff's setup, and his plans.


Hey, George

Here’s a blurb about my setup along with some more pictures:

I’ve been interested in generating my own power and renewable energy for a long time. I believe that widespread, small scale generation is a good thing for a number of reasons. The power is used closer to where it’s generated, reducing transmission losses. It’s less visible; that is, fewer large power plants. It’s less vulnerable to breakdowns, disasters, and terrorism. Plus, for someone like me, it’s a whole lot of fun and very gratifying.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s cloudy a lot and, where I am, it isn’t very windy. On top of that, what sun I do get is shaded for a good portion of the day, even in summer. Thus, solar power and wind are not real good options for me. For years, this relegated me to the sidelines. I could read about things and think that if only I lived in New Mexico and had a 5 acre plot, I could set up a solar farm that would generate more power than I could use.

Late last summer, I read about biodiesel, which I hadn’t heard of until then. That got me to thinking; I don’t live in the land of sunshine, and I have a small, suburban lot (See photo). What could I do with what I had? Biodiesel solved my renewables problem. In case you don’t know what it is, here’s basic biodiesel 101:


It’s made from almost any kind of vegetable oil. Most of what you get in the US is made from virgin soybean oil. In Europe, it’s made from rapeseed oil, which has a higher yield per acre. It can also be made from used fryer oil from restaurants, turning a waste disposal problem into a valuable resource. The oil is treated by a fairly simple process involving alcohol and lye, which removes the glycerin and leaves behind a fuel that can be used in most any unmodified diesel engine. Biodiesel has millions of vehicle miles on it, is EPA approved, and has been very thoroughly tested. It has no sulfur, a higher cetane number than petroleum diesel, a higher flashpoint, and fewer emissions of all kinds. The fuel itself has almost no odor, unlike raw petroleum diesel. On burning, the smell has been described as like popcorn or French fries. Personally, I find it to smell like burnt veggie oil, but it is certainly far less noxious than petrol diesel fumes. It has maybe 10% less BTU’s per gallon then petrol diesel, but that tends to be compensated for by the higher cetane number. To find out more, go to www.biodiesel.org

After reading about biodiesel, I started looking into diesel generators. My idea was (and still is) to use a bank of batteries and an inverter, just like you’d use with a solar array. When the batteries ran low, I would use the generator to charge them up again. I found a 3KW genset powered by a  China diesel 175 engine, rated at 6HP and 2600 RPM. It worked well, but it was VERY noisy and vibrated a lot. I built a somewhat soundproof enclosure for it, which kept the noise down to 54dB as measured outside my garage. The vibration was still a problem, though. Bolts came loose, pipe fittings broke, and I could see it was going to be a high maintenance machine.

An added note from George; this 175 does not have counter balances like the 185s and up.

While looking on the web for fuel efficiency data on the China diesels, I came across George’s web pages. I read about the Listers and was immediately fascinated by them. Well, it turns out that George lives about 45 minutes away from me, so I introduced myself and he invited me to come on down and have a look. Upon arriving, George offered me the starting crank for the Lister. When it fired up, I was immediately smitten. As I drove home I was really on the fence about it. After telling my wife about it, her comment was, “A quiet engine? I’ll give you the money myself!” That tipped me over the edge. I got in touch with George and, a week or so later, with one truck rental and a forklift rental, I had a Listeroid 6/1 in my own garage. This was in mid-March, and I’ve been getting it setup and tweaking it ever since. As you can see in the photos, I’ve got it on a wooden base bolted into the concrete; these things like to walk around unless held down securely. I’ve got a big water barrel for thermosyphon cooling. I took the 3KW alternator from my China diesel genset and mounted it up with George’s method, an automotive serpentine belt and custom pulley. On the wall, you can see my AC regulator circuit. This device senses the AC output voltage, compares it to a reference, and adjusts the field current to maintain a constant output voltage from no load to full load. It works quite nicely, and varies by maybe 3Vac from 0 load to a 3000W load. I’ve also run the exhaust through a car muffler and up a flu pipe through the roof (visible in the upper center of the photo of my house).

It is with this setup that I’ve made the fuel consumption measurements you see on these pages. Thus far, I haven’t bought myself any batteries or an inverter yet. I want to make sure the genset is a really viable system before making that kind of investment. So far, things are looking good. I need to improve the muffling; at heavy loads, there is still some exhaust noise from outside. Also, my neighbor reports that his cabinets rattle a bit when the engine is running. The hard attachment to the concrete must really transmit the low frequency vibration. I’ll have to look into some kind of shock mount or other method of decoupling the vibration without having the engine bounce all over while running.



I’ve wired in a generator panel to my house. This is a breaker panel that has a dual main breaker. The two breakers are mechanically interlocked so only one of them can be on at any moment. Utility power feeds through one, generator power through the other. When the generator is running, just throw the breaker and the whole breaker panel is fed with generator power. This panel supplies all the overhead lighting in my house, plus a handful of outlets. When finished and in use regularly, I estimate that my power plant will supply 20% to 30% of the electricity I use.


So, this is very much a work in progress. I have a long ways to go, but so far, it’s been a great journey.


Following is useful data on real tests done at an elevation below one thousand feet.

Load = 2500W Fuel = .125 Gal / KW-Hr.  10.46 KW-Hr in 4h 6m; 1.313 gal of fuel used.

Load = 1469W Fuel = .146 Gal / KW-Hr.  5.25 KW-Hr in 3h 33m; 0.766 gal of fuel used.

Load = 1100W Fuel = .169 Gal / KW-Hr.  4.96 KW-Hr in 4h 26m; 0.836 gal of fuel used.

Load = 291W Fuel = .436 Gal / KW-Hr.  1.72 KW-Hr in 5h 54m; 0.750 gal of fuel used.

Load = 0W (Field on; about 60W)  0.101 gal / hr.  Run time =  5h 1m; 0.508 gal of fuel used.

And here's a formula Jeff came up with, keep in mind, this is for his specific setup, if you are using a different head or a less efficient drive system, you should expect a different result. Also keep in mind that there is a penalty for elevation, the higher you get, the less you should expect in output of any normally aspirated engine. Fuel Rate

(Gallons / Hour)=Load in KW) * (.0918) + .101

Thanks Jeff!

Another note: Jeff is well aware that the massive concrete slab in his garage is an excellent transducer and will assure that low frequencies are well communicated to surrounding structures. Jeff is in the process of putting motor mounts under his generator frame. If you are going to engineer isolation into your gen set, do not put motor mounts under the engine alone, you must isolate the complete frame. Also note, if you were designing from scratch, you could 'box in' and area where your generator was going to set. This box would be formed of thick rubber strips and would effectively de-couple a few square feet from the rest of the slab. Properly done, this could mitigate the problem to a large degree.

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The above drawing shows a de-coupled area and the generator base on rubber shock mounts. This provides a double de-coupling that should do an excellent job. Easy to do when you have a clean sheet of paper...

George B.



as I have mentioned elsewhere, the Indian oil bath air cleaners look like a joke, they look so restrictive that one would bet that modifying a stock filter could increase efficiency. since we all know that testing is the only way to prove anything, we gave a modified unit to Jeff for testing.

Hi, George!

I ran the test with your foam filter today. Here are the results:

Run Time: 2 Hr 50 min
Energy produced: 7.18 KW-Hr
Average load: 2534 Watts
Fuel used: 118 oz (0.922 gal)

Fuel rate: 0.325 gal / hr
Specific Fuel Consumption: 0.128 gal / KW-Hr

With the original air filter I got:
Fuel rate: 0.320 gal / hr
Specific Fuel Consumption: 0.125 gal / hr

The difference between the 2 is 2.4%; this is close enough that I'd call it within experimental error and that there is no substantial fuel economy difference between the two filters.

How shall I get your filter back to you? Maybe this would be a way to entice you up here to see my setup sometime.......


So... there you have it! this is a lesson for some of us, and a reminder to others, just because an air cleaner looks to have been designed by Rube Goldberg, it doesn't mean you're going to pick up efficiency by trying to improve it. But... here we are with another question, it's one that you may have formulated while reading this.....

Will Jeff's unit carry more load with the less restrictive looking filter? 


12/2003 more from Jeff

Jeff's Muffler Experiments

Here's Jeff's latest graph after adding a more convenient and timely way to measure fuel used in his testing.


More Jeff Pages

biodiesel materials compatibility