Is the Panda genset nightmare concluding?

Yesterday we completed a successful 3 hour 70% to 90% load test of the rebuilt Panda genset. We’ve invested well over 100 hours of our own labor to the project, plus what will probably add up to nearly NZ$10,000 in vendor invoices.

Possibly the Panda nightmare will be over soon. The Kubota 3-cylinder 18HP diesel engine continues to wobble speedwise at light loads, but smoothes out once the load increases above 50%. We have new rings and valve seats to wear in, but it isn’t clear why that would have anything to do with varying engine speed (this RPM warbling happens with Panda voltage control system (VCS) disconnected).

Yesterday I stripped all the sagging, disintegrating sound foam from the Panda sound shells. 90% of the foam just fell away as the contact cement had no hold on the foam. 100% of the lead sheet lining the capsule fell off — there was zero effective adhesion of the contact cement. Now we need to decide whether we will attempt to bond the lead sheet correctly. We paid a large premium for the “4D” sound capsule so we are reluctant to just throw all of it overboard. It was very quiet, even while it was falling apart. We have the Panda sound capsule mounted inside of a dedicated machinery room that is also heavily sound insulated, so it is hard to know whether the increase in radiated sound would make any real difference to us. But if we bond the new sound foam directly to the FRP capsule shells (and don’t like the higher noise levels) then it will be a very big job to start over restoring the lead sheet.

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