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  #1  
Old 22nd November 2013, 17:34
double acting double acting is offline  
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Indicator Cards

Went to see the Tom Hanks movie "Captain Philips". In one of the shots they are in the engine room where they can apparently tell the power output from one of the cylinders. Are indicator cards - along with slide rules - a thing of the past? How is power measured on a modern diesel?
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Old 24th November 2013, 12:53
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Manual indicator cards are still taken, however there are now electronic versions that use flywheel position sensors and fuel pipe transducers to give a computerised version - the draw cards are almost invariably better looking and certainly not covered with drops of sweat.

As an aside anyone remember taking needle lift diagrams or crosshead diagrams on the Doxford?
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  #3  
Old 24th November 2013, 14:22
surfaceblow surfaceblow is offline  
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I have used both the electronic systems and the manual indicator cards. The software for the electronic system varies greatly with the vendor. Some of the software allows you to move the cursor around so you can pick the point of firing, others would pick the first point of pressure increase. Gone are the smooth curves of the manual indicator cards. Another disadvantage with the new system is with the manual version if you got a bad card you could just do it over again while you were right there. The portable electronic version you would not know you got a bad reading until you downloaded the information into the computer than you had to take the entire engine over again.

http://www.iconresearch.co.uk/diesel-engine-analysis/

Joe
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Old 24th November 2013, 14:25
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Forgive my ignorance, but isn't the 'Dr Diesel' programme the modern version of an indicator card?
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  #5  
Old 24th November 2013, 16:41
surfaceblow surfaceblow is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James_C View Post
Forgive my ignorance, but isn't the 'Dr Diesel' programme the modern version of an indicator card?
Yes, Dr. Diesel is one of the programs that I have used with the new sensors. One advantage is you can take indicator readings on the generators.

Joe
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  #6  
Old 25th November 2013, 00:39
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"use flywheel position sensors and fuel pipe transducers"

What in the name of God are you talking about! I'm a Doxford man with a Bahco shifter in my pocket, not a scientist.

Derek
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  #7  
Old 25th November 2013, 03:25
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I have only ever taken indicator cards on reciprocating steam engines on the likes of NZ's Bird class mine sweepers and Loch class frigates, a long time ago now but it was a pretty frequent task for dockyard engineering apprentices as each ship head for a 'tune up' after any refit or major engine work.
The apprentice took or drew the card trying hard not to get dirty paws or sweat on it before delivering it to the drawing office engineer who determined the changes to the lag or lead settings of the steam shuttle valves and sent instructions via the apprentice/runner to the fitter as the what degree of alteration was to be made.
It seemed a long process but eventually all parties were satisfied and we returned from the Hauraki Gulf to base.
In between taking cards we were able to spend time on the plates taking in the thundering engines or to hang

over the rail into the breeze.
We were always attached to the ERA's mess for ship's trials and this usual earned us a rum tot .
I must see that film and watch what they do nth else days




Bob
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  #8  
Old 25th November 2013, 05:49
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Modern ships have a power meter fitted on the prop shaft, so there is a continuous read out, we take electronic cards every month as part of the performance test but still have the old type Mahak indicator just incase, though I have not seen many planometers in recent years.

Tony
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  #9  
Old 25th November 2013, 07:43
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Electronics the way forward.........................


ok ok -I tried take a draw card a wee while ago for the first time in years -I still see the disappointment in those expectant faces in my nightmares and the burning shame of it.
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Old 25th November 2013, 13:08
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You were not in tune with the engine You have to get in sync with the beat of the engine or took up the string to the cam shaft follower.

Joe
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  #11  
Old 25th November 2013, 13:55
chadburn chadburn is offline  
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Always a great sense of pride taking the Cards, for most anyway.
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Old 25th November 2013, 14:16
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The beat of the engine - Also required to manually rack-out/in the cylinder lubricator position. Unfortunately, I see so much reliance on electronic systems, the reliance is in an inverse relation to common sense and good practice. I am glad to see in some instances cards are taken regularly.

Some diesel generator plants send engine data back to HQ. One such plant in Central America is equipped with 14 MAN-B&W 18V 48/60 engines (3xA and 11xB) with a cogeneration steam turbine. The wealth of data harvested has been used to improve engines and the time between major overhaul. In the event of failure, there is also a lot of info to determine what went wrong and when.

Incidentally, my end of course project for my HND involved building and installing a very crude electronic system to measure engine performance and thus predict required maintenance. Measurements were cylinder pressure and fuel line. Installed on one cylinder of an old National diesel-generator set. At that time (83), the only form of visual read-out was with an oscilloscope, although we could plot it.

Rgds.
Dave
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Old 25th November 2013, 16:01
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Defo lost the touch with the draw cards. Just lack of practice I suppose but you are perfectly correct about the reliance on electronics and control systems. While I was still at sea full time I was a great believer in doing things manually on a regular basis and as far as cadets went they had to learn the manual way before they got allowed to use automation, I firmly believe that you have to understand the process and what the automation does.

All that aside the sheer quality of electronic cards over even the best manual ones is stunning and there can be no question as to their benefit overall.

Another area that has come on is vibration analysis - nowadays almost like an X-ray of machinery, hated it for years now a complete convert.
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  #14  
Old 25th November 2013, 16:07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfaceblow View Post
You were not in tune with the engine You have to get in sync with the beat of the engine or took up the string to the cam shaft follower.

Joe
I used to be a dab hand at it, just as you say it was almost a musical thing. In fairness the last couple were acceptable bit unfortunate the first two looked like a particularly free form abstract painting. Lesson learnt though - keep yer hand in
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  #15  
Old 26th November 2013, 14:30
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Ah! The old days - Indicator cards and calcs in the big engine book along with leads from main and auxy engines! We are defo in sync SM, I was remembering the other day designing an instrumentation circuit: pneumatic/electric, linear/exponential, calibration etc. Now just a "plug & play" PLC or similar. My thoughts, I am only a 51 year old fuddy duddy, is that all "electronic means" should be viewed only as new tools.

Having said that, I was tasked with preparing a spec for updating a travelling bridge mechanism for a poo plant just outside Milton Keynes a few years back. The control system was completely relay/microswitch based and would have required bringing the designer out of retirement. The bottom lowerable skimmer used a microswitch with a counting mechanism (can't remember the name) - each switch was worth about 25,000 pounds! Another problem was crabbing - The drives on each end of the bridge were not always in sink or would slip leading to a jerky, side to side motion of the bridge.

The solutions were: Replace control system with PLC, cost 750, Replace drive motors with master/slave, cost about 900, leave special microswitches as-is, cost 0. That only left cranage, load bearing scaffold and sandblast/paint to leave them as new.

Remarkable, really.

Rgds.
Dave
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  #16  
Old 26th November 2013, 18:05
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This thread brings back many memories. Getting indicator readings was my college project, but replacing the Dobbie thing with an oscilloscope. The problem was finding a way to sync the pressure curve with a crank angle marker (with a holed disc and a photodiode). 1968 era.

46 years later I have a dongle that connect the pc to the car ECU but am still trying to get to the info inside. The theory is the same; the new possibilities are far superior.
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Old 26th November 2013, 20:47
Ron Dean Ron Dean is offline  
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Quote:
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This thread brings back many memories. Getting indicator readings was my college project, but replacing the Dobbie thing with an oscilloscope. The problem was finding a way to sync the pressure curve with a crank angle marker (with a holed disc and a photodiode). 1968 era.

46 years later I have a dongle that connect the pc to the car ECU but am still trying to get to the info inside. The theory is the same; the new possibilities are far superior.
I too remember taking indicator diagrams at technical college in the 1950's.
We then had to calculate the diagram area using Simpson's Rule which we then checked using a planimeter, if I remember correctly.

Ron.
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  #18  
Old 26th November 2013, 21:41
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Spot on, lads.

Berbex, we made Piezo electric sensors which were synced to the crankshaft angle which was determined via a serrated disc and proximity sensor. The graphics were very good. A shame that it was at the cusp of the PC revolution! I used to pass the Xerox shop in Derby Sq. a lot and drool on the hideously expensive "PC"'s on sale!

Rgds.
Dave
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  #19  
Old 27th November 2013, 18:40
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Technology changed a lot, only it seemed then to trail a year or two behind our needs. In my case PC's were then unheard of; the photodiode was an early novelty. Mechanical instrumentation on the other hand had clearly reached its limit,especially were speed of response was important. Exhaust analysis meant a chemistry set.

Now those variables are monitored continuously and even tinkered with, for optimum performance or optimum economy,,,,or I read somewhere to reduce Nox in some instances.

Still all start from an indicator diagram, whether its the old card or the new printed version.
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Old 27th November 2013, 20:34
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Agree, Berbex! There is nothing like checking out fully and firing up an old engine which has been out of service and then evaluating - the old way - its performance. Maybe, as done once, calculate the size of the new intercooler required even (it was missing and was a Thorneycroft straight 6).

Long live indicator cards! And all the skill which goes with it.

Rgds.
Dave
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Old 27th November 2013, 20:54
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Finally remembered - this is the gear we had fitted http://www.dieseltune.com/default.htm some of the site appears to suffer from 404 errors but the engine faults section is well worth a look
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Old 28th November 2013, 13:02
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Agree, Berbex! There is nothing like checking out fully and firing up an old engine which has been out of service and then evaluating - the old way - its performance. Maybe, as done once, calculate the size of the new intercooler required even (it was missing and was a Thorneycroft straight 6).

Long live indicator cards! And all the skill which goes with it.

Rgds.
Dave
Thornycroft straight six around a120BHP? Blimey Dave, aka the old Ford straight 6 truck engine? one of the most converted for marine use engines there has ever been. The Thornycroft version was usually painted a nice shade of Battleship Grey and the Sabre, Red or Black with a Chromed Rocker cover, around 150BHP upwards. Great engines, very reliable.
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Old 28th November 2013, 20:05
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Hi Chief,
The launch was a 50ft Thornycroft, ex water ambulance (I think) and ex Mersey Docks and Harbour Board "Surveyor 5". She was acquired by Liverpool Poly for the Navigation Department in order to conduct Hydrographic Surveys.

My Old Fella was asked to survey the ER and mech equipment prior to purchase and then to do all the mech maintenance. She was twin engine, twin screw. The generator was gash and had to be replaced with a little Honda unit. We certainly learned a lot helping Dad out and he worked us hard!

One of the worst jobs was refurbing the steering gear which required the mounting of a 1/4" plate in the stern compartment. Me and my brother had to cut it down to size with just a hacksaw blade and a bit of rag for a handle in March in Princes Half Tide Dock - Character building!

We did quite a few "foreigners" with the Old Fella, always interesting! One of his proudest achievements was the fabrication of a spherical support post for the rudder of a lifeboat to yacht conversion. Good times.

Rgds.
Dave
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Old 29th November 2013, 13:36
chadburn chadburn is offline  
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I did a lot of "Foreigners" myself Dave, mainly on Powerboats and for a Company that built steel Motor Yachts. The former ships lifeboats were a very popular buy after the War, built up, families lived on them for years till houses became available or used them for pleasure with Pig Iron ballast. I know of the Thornycroft type of craft you mention, there is/was one running as a ferry at Malta. Was the Gennie a twin cylinder Thornycroft by any chance? The Jabsco pump was a problem with breaking the neoprene vanes on the boss due to the engine settling back on the cranks. A bit of a change from deep sea trips. Met a lot of interesting people including Roger Clark (Rally Ace ) who raced Powerboats along with a chap who's story will soon be on television, Lord Lucan, I will be interested to see how they think he disappeared as I hold my own views on how it was achieved via an Island off the West Coast of Scotland. My Regards to You.
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  #25  
Old 11th March 2014, 06:08
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"use flywheel position sensors and fuel pipe transducers"

What in the name of God are you talking about! I'm a Doxford man with a Bahco shifter in my pocket, not a scientist.

Derek
Sad isn't it, all electronic now, indicator cards by hand!! You must be joking, as C/Eng taught many a young engineer how to do them, light spring, draw etc.
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