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Old 07-06-2013, 05:22   #1
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Hand start my BETA Marine

I'm a big fan of Betamarine because they freed me from what a sailing author called "the tyranny of the diesel". I know for some of you diesel experts any engine will do the job. As an untrained mechanic BETA's product support enables me.

So hand-cranking: I contacted the manfacturer about hand starting.

"There is no provision for hand cranking on any of the new small diesel engines.
The old diesel engines were often somewhat tempremental and the charging systems were not as efficient as todays.*Thus many*had a decompressor lever to remove the compression and then you had a hand crank to back up the electric starting. No such provision is available for any of the new generation diesels."

I respect their brand and view. I'd still like at least a conceptual hand start option on a 25 hp diesel. How would you set this up? Can I add a pulley like a rope pull outboard? Do I add the pulley to the starter motor or the engine? What cranking power is needed? Two strong people pulling- is that enough? Can I hurt the engine doing this? If I rig blocks and a 5 gallon jug of water dropping/pulling a halyard is that enough force?
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Old 07-06-2013, 05:27   #2
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Re: Hand start my BETA Marine

Modern diesels do not have the big heavy flywheels that the old ones had. In starting an older engine, you decompressed it and spun it over until the flywheel was revolving quickly. You then operated the decompressors to let the engine have compression. It was the inertia of the flywheel that pulled the engine over compression and started it.
Even if you had a crank and decompressors on a modern engine, I doubt that you could generate enough flywheel inertia to start it.

Regards,
Richard.
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Old 07-06-2013, 06:12   #3
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Re: Hand start my BETA Marine

My suggestion would be that you believe the people who built the engine, and know it better than anyone else possibly could, over the random musings of a bunch of strangers on the internet.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:50   #4
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Re: Hand start my BETA Marine

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Originally Posted by SecondBase View Post
I'm a big fan of Betamarine because they freed me from what a sailing author called "the tyranny of the diesel". I know for some of you diesel experts any engine will do the job. As an untrained mechanic BETA's product support enables me.

So hand-cranking: I contacted the manfacturer about hand starting.

"There is no provision for hand cranking on any of the new small diesel engines.
The old diesel engines were often somewhat tempremental and the charging systems were not as efficient as todays.*Thus many*had a decompressor lever to remove the compression and then you had a hand crank to back up the electric starting. No such provision is available for any of the new generation diesels."

I respect their brand and view. I'd still like at least a conceptual hand start option on a 25 hp diesel. How would you set this up? Can I add a pulley like a rope pull outboard? Do I add the pulley to the starter motor or the engine? What cranking power is needed? Two strong people pulling- is that enough? Can I hurt the engine doing this? If I rig blocks and a 5 gallon jug of water dropping/pulling a halyard is that enough force?
Use your dinghy.. Some 1/8' Spectra around the lower pully, through a block on the boom and take off.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:53   #5
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Re: Hand start my BETA Marine

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Originally Posted by boden36 View Post
Modern diesels do not have the big heavy flywheels that the old ones had. In starting an older engine, you decompressed it and spun it over until the flywheel was revolving quickly. You then operated the decompressors to let the engine have compression. It was the inertia of the flywheel that pulled the engine over compression and started it.
Even if you had a crank and decompressors on a modern engine, I doubt that you could generate enough flywheel inertia to start it.

Regards,
Richard.
+1 plan a battery backup instead
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:28   #6
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Re: Hand start my BETA Marine

If you don't like the pull rope idea and your boat has more than two 6v or at least two 12v batteries, you can hook them in series. Your starter will love it. The rest of the boat will fry so make sure it is disconnected. Before everybody burns this idea, it 's done all the time with automatic relays etc.
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:47   #7
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Re: Hand start my BETA Marine

Secondbase, I'm affraid that hand cranking a modern 3 cylinder diesel really cannot be done unless the engine is equipped with a decompression lever(s). I respect your desire to be as self-dependant as possible, and prepared for any eventuality however.
I am a mechanic at a boatyard here in Port Townsend, WA. We are the PNW Beta disributor, so I know these engines well.
I would shift my focus on other DC charging sources, such as solar or wind if your concern is battery discharge. Of course most boats are set-up with a dedicated start battery that isn't being discharged at anchor, insuring that the engine will start.
Take care.
Bob
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:32   #8
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Re: Hand start my BETA Marine

Well if you read the thread on this topic, a company makes starters that are springs, you wind it up and release and it starts the engine, for mining where sparks are not allowed. Probably don't sell one for your engine, you'd have to make one yourself, this is the best method I would think for not using electricity.
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Old 01-07-2013, 21:11   #9
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Thanks for the advice & perspectives. I have two battery banks & 500 watts solar getting reliable charging ...shouldn't have dead batteries.

The scenario I'm trying to prep for may not be all that likely:

I'm in Florida and get a lightning strike. There is a lee shore. The electrical system is dead.

Lets say I had the big spring device, or a winch-rite electric winch handle with a socket.

Is it possible by providing "enough" rotational force on the large pulley on the forward side of the Betamarine to fire her up?

I have no plans to actually do this but I do like to understand alternatives before, not during, a situation.
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:48   #10
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Re: Hand start my BETA Marine

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Originally Posted by nimblemotors View Post
Well if you read the thread on this topic, a company makes starters that are springs, you wind it up and release and it starts the engine, for mining where sparks are not allowed. Probably don't sell one for your engine, you'd have to make one yourself, this is the best method I would think for not using electricity.
No, there are in fact spring starters that will fit marine diesels:

Engine Page

There's ones for Volvo and Yanmar as well. Now, is there a specific "bolt on" version should your electric starter or start battery circuit go south? I dunno, because I refuse to do the Googling of strangers.

But I suspect the guts of the thing can be adapted for a wide range of small marine diesels.

Offshore people have found value in carrying one as a spare, even though the last time I priced one for my Beta it was about $1,500.

In the context of motorsailing off a lee reef in the Pacific, however, that's looking feasible.
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