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How a flyball governor works

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  • How a flyball governor works



    Brian Rupnow
    Brian Rupnow

  • #2
    Hence the term running "balls out".

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    • #3
      Nice demo. What is not talked about is how these governors were linked with other, manual speed controls to allow setting and then controlling a desired speed. It would seem that some sort of linkage that would allow the two to be added together would be needed. That may be the real genius here.
      Paul A.

      Make it fit.
      You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Highpower View Post
        Hence the term running "balls out".
        Hmm. I was told that it came from racing on oval tracks. Hence the similar term driving "balls to the wall" which didn't refer to the governor's balls - unless he was actually driving.
        .
        "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

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        • #5
          That is a nice demo, Brian, thank you for taking the time to make this video.

          I also liked the next video that shows the star gear. That is an intense way to obtain a speed reduction.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by TGTool View Post
            Hmm. I was told that it came from racing on oval tracks. Hence the similar term driving "balls to the wall" which didn't refer to the governor's balls - unless he was actually driving.
            From what I have picked up over the years, "balls out" came from the governors
            as stated particularly from steam locomotives; "ball to the wall" came from aviation
            as early engine controls had balls on the levers and when pushed to the "wall" all
            the way forward was full throttle. Dunno if any of it is true but it makes sense.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Shade View Post
              From what I have picked up over the years, "balls out" came from the governors
              as stated particularly from steam locomotives; "ball to the wall" came from aviation
              as early engine controls had balls on the levers and when pushed to the "wall" all
              the way forward was full throttle. Dunno if any of it is true but it makes sense.
              Well, that does make more sense than some of the origin explanations that get passed around that sound REAL bogus to me. The ones about "freeze the balls off a brass monkey" and "pluck yew" from the battle of Agincourt come to mind. Pure fiction fobbed off as etymology IMHO.
              .
              "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

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              • #8
                When i clicked, expecting a flyball governor demo, I instead got a demo of a tri-lobed gearing arrangement.

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                • #9
                  Here is a link to the original 3 ball governor being installed on my Webster, but no drawings.

                  http://www.homemodelenginemachinist....hit-miss-9461/
                  Brian Rupnow

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lynnl View Post
                    When i clicked, expecting a flyball governor demo, I instead got a demo of a tri-lobed gearing arrangement.
                    Lynnl---I have no idea what you are talking about!!!---Brian
                    Brian Rupnow

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by brian Rupnow View Post
                      Lynnl---I have no idea what you are talking about!!!---Brian
                      Well, it was a pretty clever gadget anyway. ...I assumed it was one of your creations.

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                      • #12
                        Brian .. that was really neat to see that working .. thanks

                        And see'in how there seem's to be some "ball" verbiage/history mixed in .. here's a little quickie ..

                        In passenger train operation .. when the conductor was telling the engr to leave a station ..
                        he would say .. Hi-Ball !!! Anyone want to gather a guess ?
                        John Titor, when are you.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In general, what I found was that the engine controlled by this governor would be set so that the throttle (be it gasoline or steam) was set to "wide open" by default. As soon as the engine was started, it would attempt to rev up to its peak rpm range immediately. The faster the engine rotated, the faster the stempost of the flyball governor rotated, until the balls flew out from centrifugal force and caused the spring on the stempost to compress and the lever to begin to move. This lever immediately closed the throttle or steam valve and slowed the engine down to whatever constant rpm range was desired. The trick of course, was to find a spring which had the required compression characteristics to compress to a length compatible with the rpm range which you wanted the engine to constantly run at. This required some trial and error I am sure. Once the engine rpm and spring compression reached a stable point, the engine would remain at that rpm, neither rising above it nor falling below it. If a load was applied to the engine, the engine would begin to slow down, and consequently, so would the revolving balls. The spring would sense this movement in the collar and begin to decompress (lengthen) and cause the lever to pivot---Thus opening the throttle until the engine was back up to the desired rpm range. As soon as the load on the engine was removed, the engine would begin to over rev, and the flyballs would fly out under centrifugal force, thus moving the collar and tipping the lever to close the throttle or steam valve, and slow the engine back down to the desired "nominal" rpm. This all happened very smoothly. I would have thought that the action would be very "choppy", but it wasn't--- it was a very smooth and constant operation. I know that if the spring on the stempost was too sensitive, then the engine would "dither", continually trying to rev up and down trying to reach a point of equilibrium where everything remained stable.
                          Brian Rupnow

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                          • #14
                            You start by saying the spring will govern the speed, and you end up by saying a soft spring may be too sensitive and the engine would dither. I agree with your second analysis. The speed the engine will settle at is set by whatever adjustment there is in the lever from the governor to the throttle. The negative feedback involved accomplishes the whole task with no need for any further detail other than the adjustment, and some kind of spring to produce hysteresis - or delay - in the feedback.

                            On the OT side of this thread, I liked this analysis of the origins of the monkey's fate.

                            http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/c...%20monkey.html
                            Richard - SW London, UK, EU.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mikeamick View Post
                              Brian .. that was really neat to see that working .. thanks

                              And see'in how there seem's to be some "ball" verbiage/history mixed in .. here's a little quickie ..

                              In passenger train operation .. when the conductor was telling the engr to leave a station ..
                              he would say .. Hi-Ball !!! Anyone want to gather a guess ?
                              Balls were used in signalling in the railroading world. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_A...ilroad_signals

                              Comment

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