Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dana Hall's "Bill"

Got this e-mail from Dana on Nov 12, 2012:


Hi Allen...
Dana Hall here from Florida...
I hope this letter finds you well...
I just finished working on the "Bill" engine and thought you might like to
see how it came out... A lot of small parts to this engine...
Enclosed are 2 pictures...


Take care and looking forward to hearing from you...



As usual, a beautiful job.  I really like the compact arrangement and woodwork.  Thanks for the photos, and looking forward to seeing your Plunket Jr. (or whatever's next!) when it's finished.



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Peter Visick's Farmboy (and ignition problem)

I got the following e-mail from Peter on Oct 30, 2012:


Hi Allen

Finally, except for the inlet v/v spring, for which I forgot to order some wire, the Farm Boy is complete; photos attached.

However I have a problem. The ignition light stays on permanently and I am not getting a spark. Possible reasons; the Hall sensor gives me a  circuit between 2 and one of the other leads. Is that correct or have I damaged the Hall sensor?

They say we are two countries divided by a common language. Having dropped the magnet and having to sort out which side was north and which south, I wonder if we speak the same way about magnets. Does your south attract or repel the north on a compass?

Finaly could it be my coil wiring. The coil I had was produced by Mini Mag in the UK. It has one lead (yellow0 which they say should go to the pos on the battery; I put it to coil + on your pcb; the black lead, the neg to the coil - on the pcb, with the HT to the plug. Is that correct?
If the Hall is damaged could you give me its ref no or technical details as it probably makes more sense to  get one over here.

All in all good fun to build. You dimension things differently to us, even from when we worked in imperial, so everything had to be converted to metric and rounded up or down with threads to the nearest metric or BA. In any future models I would stick with BA, much smaller changes in dimension.

Look forward to hearing from you and I am sorry about the J class yachts in the photos.




Hello Peter,

Thanks for the e-mail and the pics!  I will get these posted on our User Forum in the Farmboy section sometime today or tomorrow.  Looks great!

Regarding all technical questions, please see the following link:

With that being said, I will try to answer some of your questions.  If the red LED stays on, then there is a problem with the hall sensor or one of the other transistors on the board.  Start by replacing the hall sensor.  The one you have should have the identifying numbers on it if you want to try to get it locally, otherwise, we sell them for $2.50 each.  Many builders purchase add'l sensors, as they will burn out easily if you do not have everything solidly grounded while testing and operating.

Regarding the polarity of the magnet provided, I use a small bar magnet that is labeled N and S on each respective end.  I have checked it's polarity with some of Dad's original kits to make sure it is polarized properly. It is, HOWEVER, I do sometimes make mistakes and still tape them on the instructions in the wrong direction (seldom, but it happens).  Buy a good quality bar magnet at a local toy or hobby store to check the ignition magnet polarity, or simply reverse it when you test if it doesn't trigger the LED on the ignition module.

If the ignition LED has been staying on, then I doubt the problem is with your coil, however, the coil could have been damaged if it ever got too hot, as it seems the ignition module may have kept it energized if the LED never went out.

Sorry about the unit of measure differences, but us Yankees simply adapted what the homeland has been using for hundreds of years (English Units).  You guys changed - not us!    ;)



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kevin Moss's Superfans

Got this e-mail from Kevin on Oct 11, 2012:


BTW I'm having a blast building your dads engines. I've built two of the super sterling fans and about half way thru the 4-in-1 vacuum engine.  Looking forward to some others as well.

Kevin Moss

Sunday, August 5, 2012

John Laudano's Twin Cylinder "Bill"

I got this e-mail from John on Aug 5, 2012:


This is the engine I built after being inspired by "Bill". Video:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Andrew Larson's "Vickie"

Got this e-mail from Andrew on July 19, 2012:


Hi Allen,
       Sometime ago I wrote to tell you that my “Vickie” would not run. Well, it now runs. I tried making a new power piston but that did not help. Tried improving a number of other things but nothing worked. I thought that all the flat surfaces were good, but there had to be a leak somewhere. I finally put thin paper gaskets between all the flat surfaces and it ran. It really runs good!  You ask me to send you a picture when I got it running. I will now try to send you a picture.   Andy Larson



The engine looks good, and thanks for the tip!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dana Hall's Powerhouse

Got this e-mail from Dana Hall on May 23, 2012:

Hi Allan...
Dana Hall here from Florida...

I have finished working on your father's "Powerhouse" engine and thought you
would like to see how it came out...
Took 2 months to make... I got side tracked onto another project from
another plans maker... They looked really good, but were filled with inaccurate
measurements and some of the plan drawings made no sense at all... A real
pleasure to get back to working with your fathers plans again...

Enclosed are 2 images of the "Powerhouse"... Thought you might like to see

Talk with you later,


Absolutely beautiful.  Love the color combinations he used on the engine, and the woodwork is just splendid.  

No doubt Dad would have been very impressed.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

John Tober's running V4 video

Here's an e-mail I received from John on April 28, 2012:



I just thought you might like to see a video of my V4 built from your fathers plans this is the YouTube link


John Tober  (Australia)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dennis Bastian's "Miser"

Here is a pic of my Miser Engine.  This is the first engine that I have built.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Farm Boy rust in cylinder.

I have just finished my Farm Boy and run it for a short time on Coleman's fuel.
I used Jan Ridders vapour carburettor which is fabulous, easy to make, easy to adjust, and the little engine starts first flick evertime.
Now I am stripping it ready for painting and have found rust on the top of the piston and in the cylinder bore.
Also beads of moisture on the cylinder head (inside of course !)
I am wondering if this is a common problem and if there is something that I should be doing to stop it happening in future.
All ideas gratefully received.
Tony Adams (Scotland)


Mine dose the same thing, I think it's mostly combustion residue. It will probably just wipe out. I run mine on alcohol which will pull moisture out of the air so when I'm finished running it and going to put it up for a few days, I remove the spark plug and with the piston at Bottom dead center I give the cylinder a little spray with WD40.


Yes, that seems the way to go.
I don't understand where the moisture comes from though.
Thanks for the advice, I'll do what you suggest.