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CLASSIFYING the DIESEL engine by its speed or RPM.

The Title Of Rudolf Diesel's First Compression-Ignition Motor Related Patent (1892) Was
Diesel motors are classified as high-speed, medium-speed, and low-speed. To fit the low-speed category, a powerplant must operate at under 300 rpm. For a medium-speed designation, the motor's rpm must lie somewhere between 300 and 1000. Plus 1000-rpm engines are considered high-speed diesels - which gives all diesel-powered generators high-speed output. High-speed diesels are notoriously difficult to start in cold weather. The cause of this is related, in part, to what makes the diesel such an attractive option for heavy-use applications - its added strength and internal durability compared with any gaseous equivalent. In cold temperatures (the lower the temperature, the more pronounced the problem), compression heat generated as the starter cranks over the engine, instead of remaining in the combustion chamber where it could assure ignition of fuel being introduced by the injector, is dissipated (effectively absorbed) by the frigid (and ultra-thick) cast-iron block and cylinder head. Perpetual hard-starting problems led, first, to the introduction of the glow plug (as a means of increasing temperatures inside the combustion chamber beyond those achievable by cranking over the engine), and heating the cylinder walls to help reduce counterproductive dissipation of high compression-generated temperatures. Today, engine-block heaters are an integral part of this process. By ensuring that the engine block temperature remains within a given range, the block heater reduces the amount of absorption (of the heat required for combustion) that could transpire inside the cylinder as the starter was cranking the engine.

In The Year, 1897, Rudolf Diesel Constructed His First Operational Prototype Of A Heat-Compression Motor In Augsburg, Germany - In Case You Were Wondering, This Is Not It

A good MANY methods have been TRIED over the YEARS to solve the diesel's hard-STARTING woes.

Classic Belt-Driven Generator
In addition to the block heater, some diesel powerplants employ an intake-manifold heater to make incoming air warmer for enhanced starting efficiency. Older diesel motors utilized other methods to help cure stubborn starting woes - such as (in the case of diesel-engine builder, Detroit Diesel) ether injections through the intake manifold to begin the combustion process at lower temperatures, or, instead, injections of heated methanol to influence combustion. A home remedy that is imperfect but still relatively effective (depending on whom you ask) entails manually administering ether-based starter fluid (for gasoline engines) into the diesel motor's intake tube or air inlet. There is considerable debate as to the consequences of combining a highly-explosive substance like ether (with such a low detonation point) into the combustion chamber of a diesel where compression ratios are so elevated. Some folks believe that this combination (of elevated compression ratios - and the heat they generate - and a substance far more explosive than the diesel fuel intended to be burned in the combustion chamber of that engine) can potentially blow apart the whole motor (the way the engine of a top-fuel dragster or funny car can explode inside out under the right conditions). On the other hand, others see no harm in it - and routinely rely on these ether-based starting fluids to activate diesel-powered machinery in cold climates.

How About This Marine Diesel; Produces DC Rather Than AC Electricity

The GELLING of its fuel in COLD temperatures is another PROBLEM that can AFFLICT a diesel ENGINE.

Diesel fuel can gel when temperatures fall below a certain point - whether the motor is operating or at rest, or regardless of tank position. An integrated tank can be just as susceptible to these troubles as a remote one. If a motor is running, and fuel from the tank has thickened or gelled (a process called crystallizing), a clog will eventually form in the fuel line and cause engine shutdown. The most common location for crystallized fuel to congeal is in the fuel filter, so, if you are seeking to identify a clog in the line (true whether the clog is related to low ambient temperatures or not), the filter is never a bad place to start. In the case of a diesel motor in a portable generator (where tank and motor are in close proximity), after the unit has been started, the heat produced by the engine can often be sufficient to prevent fuel in the tank or lines from crystallizing. Fuel return systems, common in the larger diesel engine, can also prevent gelling after a machine has been started by continuously introducing unused fuel - already heated by the motor - into the tank. These built-in fuel returns can dramatically increase internal-tank temperatures even as they recycle unused fuel for improved efficiency. In some applications relying on diesel power, the installation of low-energy electric heat (within the tank itself, around critical fuel lines, or both) is required to resolve this crystallization issue. Today's better fuel additives have also helped by preventing the routine crystallizing of diesel fuel in all but the coldest locations. As a way to avert the shutdown of commerce, federal and state governments require vendors of diesel in most low-temperature regions - during the harshest winter months - to offer pre-treated cold-weather fuel which resists thickening down to a specific thermometer reading.

In 1910, Norway Launched The First Ocean-Going Vessel With A Diesel Engine - The Craft Was A Sailing Vessel, The Motor Only For Auxiliary Purposes;

Early DIESELS aped the SLOW-speed industrial STEAM engine of the PERIOD.

By 1914, German U-Boats (Also Known As Submarines) Were Relying Exclusively On Diesel Motors For Their Power
Rudolf Diesel's first compression-detonated motors used the 1876 gasoline engine of Nikolaus Otto as the basis for their design - an interesting fact - however, the world's earliest diesels were closer in function and appearance to the industrial steam engine that powered everything at the turn of the 20th century from locomotives to heavy equipment to production machinery. Large diesels, in those days, featured vertical cylinders in an inline configuration, and were easily taller than a single-story building. The mammoth size and scope of some diesel engines persists today. The largest diesel in the world (also the world's largest motor) is a two-stroke marine unit rated at 84000 plus kilowatts at just over 113000 horsepower - and it operates at a supremely slow 102 rpm.

The RTA96-C By Diesel-Engine Builder, Wärtsilä-Sulzer, Qualifies As Today's Largest Motor - It Also Has The World's Largest Appetite For Fuel! Built by Wärtsilä-Sulzer (model #RTA96-C; see image at left), this monster stands four or more stories in height (and is said to be - no surprise to anybody we're sure - the world's most voracious guzzler of fuel). Some early oversized diesels operated at speeds even slower than the 102 rpm of Wärtsilä-Sulzer's RTA96-C - partially for the sake of compatibility with heavy equipment of the time which was designed to draw power from the slow-speed steam engine, also because of severe limitations in their intake and injector systems (which limited operating speeds). These machines would certainly qualify as modern slow-speed diesels (categorized as such because they operate at under 300 rpm). Large-sized early diesel engines were often started with compressed air (smaller diesels, like gasoline engines of the day, could be started by hand - with a crank).

The First Diesel Engine Produced By One Of Today's Top Diesel Manufacturers - Cummins - Appeared In 1919

When the first Rudolf-Diesel built heat-compression motor was completed in 1897, one of the first people to see its potential was Anheuser-Busch co-founder Adolphus Busch. The German-born Busch, 58-years old at the time, traveled from St. Louis to Cologne to see Rudolf - and returned with rights to manufacture and market Rudolf's new engine in the United States and Canada. Perhaps the aspect of Rudolf Diesel's new motor that impressed Busch the most was its significant improvement in efficiency over the predominate industrial powerplant used in those days - the steam engine. His own calculations were that Rudolf's motor operated at a 32% to 35% thermodynamic efficiency - compared to a thermodynamic efficiency of just under 20% for the triple expansion steam-driven powerplant. Apparently, Adolphus never cared much for his own beer - he not only refused to drink it, he frequently referred to it - and not just privately - as "that slop" - but he absolutely adored Rudolf Diesel's motor and predicted great things for it down the road. Adolphus Busch may have been a little hard on the beer he produced (after all, Anheuser-Busch is the world's largest brewer), but he was certainly clairvoyant about the future of the diesel engine!

This Rustic Alaskan Cabin Relies On A Diesel Generator For All Of Its Electric Power

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T-Rex Generators distributes products from many different standby and portable generator manufacturers at substantially discounted prices. These represented companies include: Asco automatic transfer switches, Briggs & Stratton generators, Winco generators, Generac Generators, GenTran transfer switches, Reliance Controls Transfer Switches, and Zenith automatic transfer switches. T-Rex also carries Honda powered generators which have the same time-tested Honda engines as the substantially more expensive Honda generator brand units.