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muse
09-18-2012, 10:01 PM
I need to find the best way to put a diesel generator out of action. This is a continuous power generator, the primary source of energy for a hotel on a remote island. (The hotel is the only building on the island.)


I read there was an old army trick of pouring sugar into the diesel, but there seems to be conflicting reports as to whether this will work or not? (An old army trick, if anyone has one, would be perfect for my scenario.)


Would something as simple as adding water to the generator be enough to stop it running? I need it off line for roughly 24 hours. And if so, how long, or what would it take to fix it?


PMís are fine if youíre reluctant to put this type of information in a public forum.


Thanks in advance

Muse

Al Stevens
09-18-2012, 10:17 PM
Crimp the fuel line with a pair of pliers. Then have it take 24 hours for someone to diagnose the problem and get a replacement fuel line. Might help to puncture the line too.

Drachen Jager
09-18-2012, 11:43 PM
When I was in the Army a mechanic had a diesel engine run away on him. Because killing the electrics does not kill a diesel like it would with a gas engine (no spark plugs) and the accelerator was stuck, he thought as fast as he could, grabbed a fire-extinguisher and shot it into the air-intake.

That killed the engine near-instantly, and it was quite a big job to fix it afterwards. If you want it down for a short time you could just make it the air-filter that was clogged, but if you wanted 24 hours, just remove the air-filter and then shoot it in. The whole engine would need to be disassembled and cleaned before you could get it running again. That would take 24 hours and you probably wouldn't need spare parts.

In this case it was a dry-chemical extinguisher, I don't know how a wet extinguisher would work, and I'm pretty sure a nitrogen or halon extinguisher would shut the engine down, but not cause any damage.

Any generator should have an extinguisher on-hand, so it shouldn't be a problem to write in.

anguswalker
09-19-2012, 01:13 AM
If you want to disable it seriously put petrol in the fuel tank. That'll knacker the fuel delivery system, the piston rings, the valves and more than likely the pistons themselves though in an old generator the engine probably won't explode. Might though.

Specval
09-19-2012, 01:16 AM
Regular Gas was my suggestion. Or pull a vacuum/hose line. I bet a 12 ga. would work pretty good too ;)

muse
09-19-2012, 10:27 PM
Crimp the fuel line with a pair of pliers. Then have it take 24 hours for someone to diagnose the problem and get a replacement fuel line. Might help to puncture the line too.

Hi Al

Thanks for the suggestion. A crimped or punctured fuel line might be just the thing.



When I was in the Army a mechanic had a diesel engine run away on him. Because killing the electrics does not kill a diesel like it would with a gas engine (no spark plugs) and the accelerator was stuck, he thought as fast as he could, grabbed a fire-extinguisher and shot it into the air-intake.

That killed the engine near-instantly, and it was quite a big job to fix it afterwards. If you want it down for a short time you could just make it the air-filter that was clogged, but if you wanted 24 hours, just remove the air-filter and then shoot it in. The whole engine would need to be disassembled and cleaned before you could get it running again. That would take 24 hours and you probably wouldn't need spare parts.

In this case it was a dry-chemical extinguisher, I don't know how a wet extinguisher would work, and I'm pretty sure a nitrogen or halon extinguisher would shut the engine down, but not cause any damage.

Any generator should have an extinguisher on-hand, so it shouldn't be a problem to write in.

Some great detail there, Drachen, thank you very much.

Is the air filter easily accessible? The person who disables it may be someone not familiar with generators. I havenít quite decided who the culprit will be yet.



If you want to disable it seriously put petrol in the fuel tank. That'll knacker the fuel delivery system, the piston rings, the valves and more than likely the pistons themselves though in an old generator the engine probably won't explode. Might though.

Thanks for the suggestion, anguswalker, but I definitely donít want the generator to explode.:D


Regular Gas was my suggestion. Or pull a vacuum/hose line. I bet a 12 ga. would work pretty good too ;)

Iím not sure I understand, Specval. Do you mean add gas to the generator like anguswalker's suggestion to add petrol? And what is a 12 ga?

Sorry to sound so dumb, but generators (engines in general) are not my forte.

I'm guessing by the answers so far that simply adding water to the generator won't be enough to put it off line for 24 hours or so?

ULTRAGOTHA
09-19-2012, 10:44 PM
I think 12ga means a 12 gague shot gun.

muse
09-19-2012, 10:51 PM
I think 12ga means a 12 gague shot gun.

:roll: Yup, I think that would definitely work.

Thanks for the explanation, ULTRAGOTHA.:Hug2:

Specval
09-19-2012, 11:02 PM
Iím not sure I understand, Specval. Do you mean add gas to the generator like anguswalker's suggestion to add petrol? And what is a 12 ga?

Sorry to sound so dumb, but generators (engines in general) are not my forte.

I'm guessing by the answers so far that simply adding water to the generator won't be enough to put it off line for 24 hours or so?

I'm sorry. I do mean petrol. I'm stateside and we just call it gas :Shrug:

And by 12 ga I do mean a 12 gauge shot gun. If you don't want it to explode I don't suggest this method.

Adding water to the fill tank would stop the generator as soon as the water hits the ignition system. However, I feel that the average reader might not realize how bad that could be for the system. I also feel it's more commonly known that you can't put non diesel fuel into a diesel engine.

As for how long petrol or water would take to fix is up to you. You can make it as quick as the mechanic immediately figuring out the problem and draining the system or as slow as you like.

Drachen Jager
09-19-2012, 11:28 PM
Some great detail there, Drachen, thank you very much.

Is the air filter easily accessible? The person who disables it may be someone not familiar with generators. I haven’t quite decided who the culprit will be yet.

As long as they have a basic mechanical knowledge it would be pretty easy to find the air filter. Essentially if you can find it in a car engine, you can find it on a generator. And yes, it would be easily accessible, normally with two to four screws or catches to release a plastic or metal cover and the air filter is right underneath. Pull it and it pops right out. On an engine that size it would probably be quite large (perhaps the size of an old tower computer case, or carry-on baggage), but very light. Removing it does nothing but make the engine slightly more efficient (air flows in better without the filter), it's only necessary to mitigate long-term wear and tear.

Drachen Jager
09-19-2012, 11:36 PM
http://www.hopshing-hk.com/images/image3222_04.jpg

Just looking up some images. In this case the air filter is actually mounted into the outside wall, so anyone already inside the generator wouldn't even need to remove the filter, they'd just have to find the air intake. Which is large and easy to spot if you know anything about engines.

Here is some more info on the kind of generators you'd be looking at.

http://www.hopshing-hk.com/product.php

muse
09-19-2012, 11:41 PM
I'm sorry. I do mean petrol. I'm stateside and we just call it gas :Shrug:


Ooops, I should have realised.:o


And by 12 ga I do mean a 12 gauge shot gun. If you don't want it to explode I don't suggest this method. Nope, I want to kill one or two people not the entire cast. although...:evil


Adding water to the fill tank would stop the generator as soon as the water hits the ignition system. However, I feel that the average reader might not realize how bad that could be for the system. I also feel it's more commonly known that you can't put non diesel fuel into a diesel engine.

As for how long petrol or water would take to fix is up to you. You can make it as quick as the mechanic immediately figuring out the problem and draining the system or as slow as you likeGreat info, thanks. There's no mechanic on the island, just a handy man so I can spin it out as long as I want.

One quick question. If water, or another non diesel fuel, is added, would the generator make any sound, belch smoke, or would it just quit?

Thanks again for taking the time to answer.

muse
09-19-2012, 11:44 PM
http://www.hopshing-hk.com/images/image3222_04.jpg

Just looking up some images. In this case the air filter is actually mounted into the outside wall, so anyone already inside the generator wouldn't even need to remove the filter, they'd just have to find the air intake. Which is large and easy to spot if you know anything about engines.

Here is some more info on the kind of generators you'd be looking at.

http://www.hopshing-hk.com/product.php


:Hail:

That is a fantastic diagram, Drachen, thank you so much. Every time I googled diesel generator I kept getting car engines.

Will check out the link now.

Everyone has been so helpful. Can't thank you all enough.:Hug2:

Old Hack
09-20-2012, 12:05 AM
I need to find the best way to put a diesel generator out of action. This is a continuous power generator, the primary source of energy for a hotel on a remote island. (The hotel is the only building on the island.)

We live off-grid and for eight years depended on a diesel generator-set to power our home. We've now added a wind turbine to our setup, and the generator hardly ever runs these days.

When it was our only source of power, the generator didn't run continuously: we had a bank of batteries and an inverter-charger, which controlled the setup. So we'd run from the batteries and when they got too low on power the inverter-charger would detect that and switch on the generator, which would top them up again. The generator ran for about 5 hours a day, and was very noisy and smokey.

It's my understanding that few buildings which run on generator-power have similar systems, and don't have a generator which runs all the time to provide them with power. That would give no leeway in allowing for servicing and so on, and would be very intrusive.

With a system like we had, in order to cut the power you don't need to disable the generator: you can cause a problem with the inverter instead, or with the batteries, or with the numerous switches which control the system.

Pretty much all of our breakdowns involved electrical problems. There is a meter which checks if the generator is running too fast or too slow, and that broke a few times (but that would be difficult to do on purpose); the battery for the generator (like a car battery) failed a few times, especially in cold weather; the alternator on the generator ultimately failed (and was going to be so expensive to repair that we ended up with a new generator).

Blockages in the fuel pipes were relatively easy to find and sort out; faults with the inverter are more major, as we have to take the inverter off the wall (and it's heavy: 50kg?) and drive for four or five hours to get to the nearest repair centre.

Recently the brushes on our generator failed and we had to get new ones and replace them: we managed to find some locally, but if we'd had to send away for them it would have taken a few days. They were reasonably easy to get to.

Is that any help?

WeaselFire
09-20-2012, 12:44 AM
First, what size generator? The larger they are, the more redundant and difficult they are to cause damage to. For example, our building's generator is in a locked room. The fuel is not. The fuel is easier to tamper with, but diluting 365 gallons or adding anything to it is going to take some effort. And getting past the lock on the filler.

There are three things to a diesel generator that are vulnerable -- Fuel, Air and Electric Output. Cutting any of the three will put it out of commission. Sugar works, requires a full disassembly to clean and would require about 50 pounds of sugar to have even a slight effect in a major generator. Gas/Petrol doesn't work as well, most diesels aren't that temperamental. You would need a serious amount of it to make a difference. Cutting air flow doesn't work on big generators, the air intake is big enough to walk through.

So, a hatchet through the wiring is a good technique, if crude. Generally bashing a control box would likely work as well. Holes in the fuel line can do it but might be easy to patch and are often buried.

Jeff

muse
09-21-2012, 07:14 PM
We live off-grid and for eight years depended on a diesel generator-set to power our home. We've now added a wind turbine to our setup, and the generator hardly ever runs these days.

When it was our only source of power, the generator didn't run continuously: we had a bank of batteries and an inverter-charger, which controlled the setup. So we'd run from the batteries and when they got too low on power the inverter-charger would detect that and switch on the generator, which would top them up again. The generator ran for about 5 hours a day, and was very noisy and smokey.

It's my understanding that few buildings which run on generator-power have similar systems, and don't have a generator which runs all the time to provide them with power. That would give no leeway in allowing for servicing and so on, and would be very intrusive.

With a system like we had, in order to cut the power you don't need to disable the generator: you can cause a problem with the inverter instead, or with the batteries, or with the numerous switches which control the system.

Pretty much all of our breakdowns involved electrical problems. There is a meter which checks if the generator is running too fast or too slow, and that broke a few times (but that would be difficult to do on purpose); the battery for the generator (like a car battery) failed a few times, especially in cold weather; the alternator on the generator ultimately failed (and was going to be so expensive to repair that we ended up with a new generator).

Blockages in the fuel pipes were relatively easy to find and sort out; faults with the inverter are more major, as we have to take the inverter off the wall (and it's heavy: 50kg?) and drive for four or five hours to get to the nearest repair centre.

Recently the brushes on our generator failed and we had to get new ones and replace them: we managed to find some locally, but if we'd had to send away for them it would have taken a few days. They were reasonably easy to get to.

Is that any help?

Thatís a great help, Old Hack.

Having never even seen a diesel generator it's fantastic to get information from someone who's actually used one.

I hadnít thought of having a battery bank as a back-up, but I suppose it makes sense for when the generator needs serviced.

Some great options with the alternator and the inverter.

Youíve given me a lot to think about.

Thanks.

muse
09-21-2012, 07:17 PM
Hi Jeff



First, what size generator? The larger they are, the more redundant and difficult they are to cause damage to. For example, our building's generator is in a locked room. The fuel is not. The fuel is easier to tamper with, but diluting 365 gallons or adding anything to it is going to take some effort. And getting past the lock on the filler.
Iíve no particular generator size in mind, but Iím guessing it would need to be quite big to run a hotel.



Sugar works, requires a full disassembly to clean and would require about 50 pounds of sugar to have even a slight effect in a major generator.
Thatís good to know. Sugar is sold here in 1KG bags so... If I take 1KG to = 2.20 llbs, that would mean my character would have to carry 25 bags of sugar to the generator room. That seems a lot for one person to carry and would involve more than one trip, which increases the chances of being seen so that may not work.



So, a hatchet through the wiring is a good technique, if crude. Generally bashing a control box would likely work as well. Holes in the fuel line can do it but might be easy to patch and are often buried.
It looks like a more obvious hatchet job is the way to go then.:D


Thanks a million for the help.