Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Query on Dynamic Fuel Pricing

Just saw an article on the internet that the petrol and diesel prices will be revised daily. In other words, dynamic fuel pricing is to be introduced in India. For the time being on a trial basis of course. Link - http://profit.ndtv.com/news/economy/article-in-5-cities-first-petrol-diesel-prices-will-change-daily-says-report-1680298

After reading the article, a few doubts came to my mind immediately
  1. How will the consumer know that the price being charged by the petrol station is correct?
  2. How can the consumer know what is the daily price? Will we get daily updates in newspapers? All of us cannot access internet daily. Also, if we get information through internet, not all of us have mobile phones or places with stable mobile network to receive SMS
  3. Once the consumer knows what is the price, how can he ensure that the price made available to him is correct?
  4. Imagine people who are travelling to other states via road be it own vehicle or hired, and they have to fill up their car from such other state, they have to go by what the petrol pump people say.
  5. Take into consideration that a change in Re. 0.01 by a pump owner, he can make thousands or lakhs in a day (based on the location and volume of sales) at the cost of common man
  6. How can the consumer know that the increase or decrease (We don’t believe that there will be a decrease) applied is correct?
  7. How can we ascertain that the central and state levies have been applied correctly?
  8. Will the oil marketing companies (both public and private) disclose their cost of procurement of crude, which includes the currency exchange rate applied, cost of conversion into final product and all other attributable cost in public domain so that people can compute the price?
  9. Even if the companies provide the details (I don’t think they will), we cannot sit and compute the prices daily. Don’t we have our regular work to do?
  10. What probable loopholes has the Government identified and what are the proposed control measures identified to plug those loopholes?
One thing is certain, we can expect daily arguments and fights in petrol pumps. Expect total chaos.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Working and Maintenance of a Diesel Engine


Diesel engines and petrol engines share several similarities. They have a number of components in common such as the crankshaft, pistons, valves, camshaft, and coolant and oil pumps. However, a key difference between the two is that the diesel engine lacks an ignition system. Instead of relying on a spark for ignition (as in petrol engines), a diesel engine uses heat produced by compressing air in the combustion chamber to ignite the fuel. This is done by using a Fuel Injector instead of a spark Plug.

With the ever increasing cost of petrol fuels, more and more people are choosing to purchase diesel driven cars. Indeed, manufacturer sales numbers clearly show that most of the car buyers in India prefer to invest more in their car, if it means that they can lock in a lower cost of operating the car.

We have earlier done a thorough analysis on which fuel to choose for your car in which it was shown that diesel engines, even though they come at a higher cost and have higher maintenance costs, save you a significant amount on your fuel costs, since both the mileage and the per litre cost of the fuel is less.

With the increase popularity of diesel cars, today we turn to take a look at the diesel engine in more detail. How does it work? And how should you maintain a diesel car to keep it in tip top shape?

The Working of a Diesel engine

Fuel is supplied to a Fuel injection pump and from there to injectors positioned on each cylinder. Timing and pressure is set to inject a fine spray of diesel at the end of the compression stroke. The heat of compressed air entered into the cylinder then ignites the fuel and thus begins the power stroke.

Fundamentally, using compressed, hot air as well as diesel spray ensures that the air and diesel particles can mix better so that ignition can take place. This is because diesel as a liquid is not easy to ignite.

Glow plugs are used in diesel engines only to warm the combustion chamber when engine is cold. As the above explained, the air in the cylinder needs to be hot to ignite the diesel spray. Hence, cold starting is impossible without these plugs because even the high compression ratios cannot heat cold air enough to cause combustion. Thus when you’re just starting your engine, these glow plugs will warm up the air in the combustion chambers.

Types of Diesel Engines

There are various types of branded diesel engines which are used by different manufacturers. Though they are in essence similar, let's take a look at the various engines that are there.

  1. CRDi Engine - Common Rail Direct Engines: used by Hyundai, Ford, BMW, etc.
  2. TDI Engine - Turbo-charged Direct Injection: initially seen in VW Group cars, turbo diesels are now also used by BMW, among others.
  3. Multi-jet Fuel injection Engine: Suzuki Swift Diesel, Tata Cars, Fiat cars, etc.
  4. Naturally Aspirated

Diesel fuel supply system and maintenance

Maintenance of diesel car is similar to that of petrol car as far as body, interiors, suspension, and steering go. The difference lies in points to be taken care of with respect to engine and fuel supply system, as indeed, that is the only difference between the two.

Knowing more about the Fuel injection system will certainly help to understand why diesel engines are costlier and more complicated as compared to their petrol counterparts, which also explains the more complicated maintenance.

The diesel engine runs on a four stroke fuel cycle. This consists of two major components - air supply and fuel supply

Air is taken during suction stroke and compressed to high pressure and temperature (520 degree to 720 degree centigrade) according to the compression ratio of 12:1 to 20:1. The high temperature of air at end of the stroke is sufficient to ignite fuel.

The fuel is injected into cylinder at end of end of compression stroke. The pressure of fuel injected lies between 100 to 200 bars. During process of injection, fuel is broken into very fine droplets. The droplets vaporize taking heat from hot air and form a combustible mixture and start burning. As burning starts, vaporization of fuel is accelerated as more heat is available. As combustion progresses, amount of oxygen available for burning reduces and therefore heat release is reduced.

Ignition delay is a important term used in diesel engine fuel supply system. It is the period between start of injection and start of ignition. It’s about 0.001 seconds for high speed engines and 0.002 seconds for low speed engines. The whole performance of engine depends upon delay period. The lesser delay period, better is engine performance.

After the ignition, the temperature and pressure rise rapidly and power is created.

Functions of fuel injection system

The main functions of fuel injection systems are as follows:

  • Filter the fuel
  • Meter or measure correct quantity of fuel to be injected
  • Time fuel injection
  • Control rate of fuel injection
  • Automise or break up the fuel to fine particles
  • Properly distribute fuel into combustion chamber

To accomplish these factors, fuel injection systems are manufactured with great accuracy, especially the parts that actually meter and inject fuel. Some of the tolerances between moving parts are very smal, in the order of 1 micron. Such closely fitting parts require special attention during manufacture and hence the injection systems are costly.

Maintenance of fuel injection system is a technical matter and has to be carried out by trained mechanics, so it’s not dealt with in detail. However, some of the focus points for the diesel engine can be mentioned as smoke and its control.

Smoke

In combustion engines, if fuel is burnt at a relative Fuel/Air ratio greater than 1.5, the pressure developed in these engines produce soot. The quantity of soot formed depends upon following factors.
  1. The fuel air ratio
  2. The fuel type
  3. The pressure
The soot thus formed will burn completely provided it has adequate quantity of oxygen to support it. When it doesn’t have sufficient oxygen to support the combustion process, it exits out as exhaust fumes. When more in quantity, the soot that rushes out is visible and forms smoke.

It is to be noted that soot is not carbon. In fact, soot formation during early part of combustion process is common to all diesel engines but it is consumed during later part of combustion.

Many theories have been put forward for formation of smoke but basic reactions leading to formation of smoke are not fully known.

The smoke of diesel engine is generally of two types

Blue white smoke: It is caused by liquid droplets of lubricating oil or fuel oil while starting from cold.

Black smoke: Consist of carbon particles suspended in exhaust gas and depend upon air/ fuel ratio. Black smoke increases rapidly with increase in load and when the available air is reduced.

Apart from major factors such as faults in injection system, load on engine, fuel air ratio, engine type and speed, it also depends upon quality of fuel used.

In effect, monitoring your diesel car's smoke output allows you to understand its health.

Maintenance of your diesel car

Maintenance plays a major role in controlling smoke. Good maintenance is a must to get low smoke levels - or vice-versa, low smoke levels show good maintenance. Improper maintenance affects the injection characteristics and quantity of lubricating oil which pass across piston rings and thus exercise a significant effect on engine tendency to generate smoke.

Following the scheduled maintenance as mentioned in particular car owner manual is needed to ensure good condition.

Diesel odor and its control

The general complaint with diesel vehicles is about their foul smell or odor  It is due to products of oxidation of fuel in exhaust. The partial oxidation may be because of very lean mixtures of fuel and air such as during idling or due to quenching effect. Factors such as Fuel/air ratio, Engine operation mode, engine type, fuel consumption affect odor production.

Though many manufacturers claim that odor additive compounds can reduce intensity of odor  it has been found in practice that these hardly have any effect.

Periodic Maintenance

Some of the general points to be considered under periodic maintenance are as below.

  • Follow maintenance instructions given in owner’s manual supplied with vehicle
  • Always use lubricants of correct grade and quality at correct intervals as specified by manufacturer.
Replace engine oil in procedure given below.
  • Drain out the engine oil while warm.
  • Fill in flushing oil up to min (minimum) mark on dip stick and run engine at about 1000 rpm for 10 mins.
  • Drain out flushing oil
  • Refill with engine oil of specified grade
  • Use purest available water for the radiator top up.
  • In order to avoid crack of cylinder block, do not top up radiator with cold water after switching off engine when water level is very low and engine is rather hot.
  • Radiator cap should be removed slowly. Slight opening will allow pressure to reduce and later can be completely taken out.
  • Use only distilled water for top up of battery.
  • During parking the vehicle for long durations such as 15 days or for few months etc, disconnect the battery terminal.

To check condition of oil

  • Park car on level surface
  • Take out oil dipstick.(it is generally easy to locate, if case can’t you find it then use owner’s manual for the same
  • Wipe the dipstick and re-insert till it is closed completely and take out.
  • If the oil level is up to the second mark on the dipstick then oil level is correct. It should at least be at minimum level. If it’s below minimum then don’t run the engine.
  • Taking few drops of oil rubbing with fingers gives feel of thickness of the oil. It should be very smooth. If thickness is experienced then it indicates contamination. One can also gauge contamination by looking at the oil.
  • Reinsert the dipstick and close it properly.

Other minor maintenance tips for car

  • Replace bulbs periodically with bulbs of same type and capacity
  • Avoid parking vehicle under SUN as much as possible especially in summer.
  • Avoid spilling of Diesel, alcohol, sodium compounds, windshield solvents or brake fluids on body finish
  • Periodically clean water drain holes at bottom of doors to avoid rust formation
  • Get anti-rust coating done for underbody once in a year or two as convenient
  • Never wash or polish car in sun especially during summer
  • Park the vehicle under cover during nights, rainy days and winter months to avoid excessive condensation of water on vehicle body which would affect its finish.
  • Wipe out all drops penetrated inside the body as a result of moisture condensation. Else it will also lead to rust formation
  • Don't scuff painted surfaces with any rough object which may create scratches
  • Dust off body before washing or wiping with moist cloth
  • Polish the vehicle with good quality wax polish after washing. 
Washing and Cleaning and Greasing of vehicle
  • Wash and clean the lower part of vehicle first, including wheels with water jets and sponge.
  • Wash the body avoiding excessive pressure water spray. Use a sponge in washing. Rub gently to avoid scratch
  • Dry the vehicle with chamois or with cloth which can absorb more water and easy to use
  • Remove grease, oil and tar spots from painted parts by wetting with petrol and wiping immediately with a dry cloth
  • Cleaning apply small amount of grease to all metal joints such as Door hinge, notches etc
  • For cleaning chrome plated parts, apply some natural Vaseline and then rub with soft and clean rag as well as chamois
  • Clean window and wind shield with linen cloth or a very soft chamois. Use windshield washer solvent or water containing some alcohol for very dirty glass panes
  • Clean rubber mats with soap and water
  • Clean leather seats or other parts with a wet and soapy sponge or cloth. Rinse carefully with clean water and dry well with chamois

Conclusion

The aim of this article is to create awareness of importance and why maintenance of diesel engines is comparatively costly with respect to petrol engines especially with problems related to fuel supply system. As maintenance schedule for each car varies depending upon specifications and technology used, following owner’s manual and taking care of points mentioned above will certainly help customers to get best of the car performance.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Maintenance for Windows

Run Microsoft Security Essentials: If you're using Windows, you'll probably want some form of antivirus software running in the background. There's no need to pay for antivirus, as  Microsoft Security Essentials is an integral part of the latest Windows iteration, Windows 8. Security Essentials has been integrated with Windows Defender and Windows Firewall. Antivirus or no antivirus, firewall or no firewall, the best defense against malware is safe browsing. So be responsible while browsing.

Update Windows: First thing you want to do is keep the OS updated. Don't neglect Windows Update. Install updates whenever made available and follow the instructions. This will keep your computer safe and stable, and really takes no effort. Updates not only happen for Windows but for other installed Microsoft products as well.

Clean Temporary Files: Windows can leave a lot of clutter and temporary files lying around your hard drive, and it's a good idea to clean these up regularly. Try using CCleaner. Though I've not tried the application, I've heard from my friends that it does clear the clutter. Also heard that you can schedule it when to do the cleaning.

Back Up Your Hard Drive: Whether it's the simple Windows Backup or an automated, offsite backup, manual, let it be anything. Backups are essential tools for any PC user. It isn't just maintenance, but it can get you out of tight corners. Find more about backups here.

That's a short list of Windows maintenance tools. These are pretty much the essentials. They should keep your computer running in pristine condition for a while.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Some Laws Newton Forgot to State

LAW OF QUEUE: If you change queues, the one you have left will start to move faster than the one you are in now.


LAW OF TELEPHONE: When you dial a wrong number, you never get an engaged tone.

LAW OF MECHANICAL REPAIR: After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch.

LAW OF THE WORKSHOP: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

LAW OF THE ALIBI: If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the next morning you will have a flat tire.

BATH THEOREM: When the body is immersed in water, the telephone rings.

LAW OF ENCOUNTERS: D probability of meeting someone u know increases when u r with someone you don't want to be seen with.

LAW OF THE RESULT: When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will!

LAW OF BIOMECHANICS: The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

THEATRE RULE: People with the seats at the furthest from the aisle arrive last.

LAW OF COFFEE: As soon as u sit down for a cup of hot coffee, ur boss will ask u 2 do something which will last until coffee is cold.

Americanised Ramayan

A young second generation Indian in the US was asked by his mother to explain the significance of "Diwali" to his younger brother, this is how he went about it...

" So, like this dude had, like, a big cool kingdom and people liked him. But, like, his step-mom, or something, was kind of a bitch, and she forced her husband to, like, send this cool-dude, he was Ram, to some national forest or something... Since he was going, for like, something like more than 10 years or so... he decided to get his wife and his bro along... you know...so that they could all chill out together. But Dude, the forest was reeeeal scary shit... really man...they had monkeys and devil s and shit like that. But this dude, Ram, kicked with darts and bows and arrows... so it was fine.

But then some bad gangsta boys, some jerk called Ravan, picks up his babe (Sita) and lures her away to his hood. And boy, was our man, and also his bro, Laxman, pissed... all the gods were with him... So anyways, you don't mess with gods. So, Ram, and his bro get an army of monkeys... Dude, don't ask me how they trained the damn monkeys... just go along with me, ok...

So, Ram, Lax and their monkeys whip this gangsta's ass in his own hood... Anyways, by this time, their time's up in the forest... and anyways... it gets kinda boring, you know... no TV or malls or shit like that. So,they decided to hitch a ride back home... and when the people realize that our dude, his bro and the wife are back home... they thought, well, you know, at least they deserve something nice... and they didn't have any bars or clubs in those days... so they couldn't take them out for a drink, so they, like, decided to smoke and shit... and since they also had some lamps, they lit the lamps also...so it was pretty cooool... you know with all those fireworks.... Really, they even had some local band play along with the fireworks... and you know, what, dude, that was the very first, no kidding.., thatwas the very first music-synchronized fireworks... you know, like the 4th of July stuff, but just, more cooler and stuff, you know. And, so dude,
that was how, like, this festival s tarted."

The mother fainted..

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Vishu

Vishu (Malayalam:เดตിเดทു) is a festival held in the state of Kerala in South India (and malayali's and Palakkad tamils in adjoining areas of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu). Vishu follows the sidereal vernal equinox and generally falls on April 14 of the Gregorian year. This occasion signifies the Sun's transit to the zodiac - Mesha Raasi (first zodiac sign) as per Indian astrological calculations. Vishu is also considered as the harvest festival of Kerala and thus the importance of this day to all Malayalees. In Assam this day is called Bihu, in Punjab Baisakhi (originally Vaishakhi) and in Tamil Nadu Tamil Puthandu or Vishu punyakalam.The word "Vishu" in Sanskrit means "equal". Therefore Vishu is more probably denoting one of the equinox days.

Although Vishu (first of Medam) is the astronomical new year day of Kerala, the official Malayalam new year falls on the first month of Chingam (August - September).

Tradition

The Malayalam word kani literally means "that which is seen first," so "Vishukkani" means "that which is seen first on Vishu."
Arranged in the family puja room the night before by the mother in the family, the Vishukkani is a panorama of auspicious items, including flowers, fruits and vegetables, clothes and gold coins.
In jyotish, Indian astrology, Vishnu is seen as the head of Kaala Purusha, the God of Time. As Vishu marks the first day of the Zodiac New Year, it is an appropriate time to offer oblations to Hindu Gods.

Solar New Year

Vishu is traditionally celebrated as the Malayalam New Year, especially in the central and northern areas of the state, where the calendar begins with Medam (Apr-May). However, since past few years Chingam (August - September) is also being projected as the first month of the Malayalam calendar. First day of Chingam is of no particular significance astronomically.

Vishukkani or Kanikanal

The Vishukkani, also called Kanikanal, is inseparable from Vishu. According to the age-old belief of Malayalees, an auspicious kani (first sight) at the crack of dawn on the Vishu day would prove lucky for the entire year. As a result, the Vishukkani is prepared with a lot of care to make it the most positive sight so as to bring alive a wonderful, propitious and prosperous new year!
Normally, the responsibility to put the Kani in order falls on the experienced shoulders of the eldest lady of the house. A traditional Kani is prepared as described below. There could be minor deviations from place to place.
There are also beliefs that if you do not see a proper Vishukkani, then you will lose a year from your life or have bad luck, depending on how much you see.

Vishu Kaineetam

Children wait eagerly for this ritual. The elders of the family starting with the grand father or father give away Kaineetam to the younger ones. The Kaineetam consists of coins (now mostly notes) with Konna flowers, rice and the gold from the Uruli. The gold and the rice are returned to the Uruli and touch the eyes with flower. Earlier days, it was a custom to give Kaineetam to all the people associated with the house such as servants, field workers and land-tenants. The principle is the symbolic sharing of the prosperity and wishing happiness for all.

Vishu Kanji

Saddhya is a major part of all Kerala festivals. But for Vishu, Vishu Kanji and Thoran are more important. The Kanji is made of rice, coconut milk and spices. For the side dish, that is Thoran also there are mandatory ingredients.

Vishu Padakkam

Fireworks is an important part of Vishu celebration in many parts of North Kerala. In the morning and the previous evening, children enjoy bursting crackers.

Malayalam Calendar and Vishu

As per Malayalam Calendar, Malayalam new year starts on the first month of Chingam (which comes in August). However people of Malabar and Cochin (i.e., Trichur and north-western Ernakulam) considers Vishu as astrological new year and Vishu Kani will bring luck and prosperity for full year starting from Vishu Day Medam 1st. People from Tamilnadu and lot of other states across India also celebrate this same day as their new year.

I thankfully acknowledge the receipt of all the mails and sms. I reciprocate the same with all my sincerity and best wishes for the new year to bring you the laurel and glory in your endeavor.