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Delco and other Low Voltage DC Light Plants Antique Generators, Light Plants, Typically 24, 32 or 48 volt although some are 110 volt. DC Lamps, Motors and appliances.

Delco and other Low Voltage DC Light Plants

Fairbanks Morse 32 Volt D.C. Generator Set


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  #1  
Old 09-16-2006, 06:54:26 PM
JoeE. JoeE. is offline
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Default Fairbanks Morse 32 Volt D.C. Generator Set

I bought this unit about 20 years ago at an auction. It originated at the MK&T railroad here in Parsons Kansas.
On the plate on the generator end it says it's 32 to 50 volts rated at 87˝ amps at 2000~2400 rpm.
It is an onan generator with, I think, a Fairbanks Morse two cylinder direct drive engine. It has a hand crank, but from the way the control panel looks, it is possibly electric start, also.
In its' as purchased state, it had no magneto. I went to a lot of trouble and found a fellow in Carthage Missouri who, at the time, sold and serviced mags. This contraption took a counterclockwise turning mag, and luckily this guy had one. Had to have a machinist make a special spur gear to drive it with, too. All kinds of trouble. But, it runs........
I put what I'd call a pancake muffler on it, but have since removed it leaving it with a straight pipe exhaust. Has a honeycomb radiator, gas tank carb, breather, crancase vent, hand crank, and wheelbarrow style handles.
The electrical receptacle is a two pole affair- shown in a picture. The guy who had it at the auction was a shop superintendent here in the shops and he actually knew nothing about the thing as far as what it was ever used for.
I think it was for standby power for railway passenger cars if they were set out at the depot here with no access to electricity. Just a guess. I really don't think they were for jump starting locomotives because what little I know about them is they are 72 volt systems (these days- this is an old machine so the voltage in earlier railroad loco systems may have been less so I don't know for sure).
Anybody have any questions or comments on this item. I would like to hear some input on it. I have no real attachment to it and would consider letting it go if someone is interested in it. I just got it because of its' railroad connection, and I wanted the challenge of making it run. I gave a bit more for the mag than I gave for the generator itself--- - but that's all water under the bridge. Joe

EDIT: Photobucket Ad Farm Removed. -- Harry

Well, I was up here at my shop working on my JB and got bored so I went out and took new pictures of that old Fairbanks Morse power plant, the one I had pictures of on this thread ....but, Photobucket pulled a fast one and now those are all gone. So here's some new ones
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  #2  
Old 09-17-2006, 08:50:39 AM
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Billy J Shafer Billy J Shafer is offline
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Default Re: 32 volt D.C. generator set

Nice looking old unit.Was built in April of 1948 if I saw the tag right.
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Old 09-17-2006, 08:58:48 AM
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Default Re: 32 volt D.C. generator set

Thanks for the reply. I've had the thing just setting for a long time. Still turns over easily with the hand crank.
Like I say, I think it was a standby power unit for passenger equipment- lights and etc.
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Old 11-06-2017, 08:23:36 PM
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Default Re: 32 volt D.C. generator set

Joe, that is a neat light plant!
I remember Dad talking about a light plant that used to sit in a shop we had. I remember the jars for the batteries but no clue what happened to them.

Are you going to get it up and running?
Thanks
Cliff
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Old 11-07-2017, 12:57:29 PM
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Default Re: 32 Volt D.C. Generator Set

That is an Onan built W2C series unit. I was aware through the manual that they made a 32VDC unit, but had never seen one before. In a doghouse, too!
Good luck with it. Should be able to get it going again. These are tough little units.
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Old 11-07-2017, 05:43:28 PM
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Default Re: 32 Volt D.C. Generator Set

Yea some day I hope to come across a beauty like that!
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Old 11-07-2017, 05:58:55 PM
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Default Re: 32 Volt D.C. Generator Set

I'm not sure what it would take to get it running again.

It's sat for probably 25 years now.. you can still rotate it over with the crank...

When I first got it, it needed a magneto.. and it had to be a 2 cylinder, CCW rotation mag... I found scads of magnetos.. SCADS!!!!, but every one of them was CW rotation.

This was all pre-internet. I ran across and ad in Hemmings Motor News for a guy who did magneto repair in Carthage, Mo., so I called him and asked him if he'd ever heard of such a thing...

Well, as luck would have it, he actually had one and I bought it... the bevel spur gear was missing that drove the mag.. had to have one made.... luckily, an elderly machinist here in town had the knowledge and equipment to cut one.

Didn't really know what I was doing back then, but got the mag timed good enough to get the machine to start by hand cranking it. The original hand crank is still in place.
It is also set up to allow you use 32vdc "shore power" to start it if it happens to be connected to that power supply.

I had nothing to connect the 32vdc up to for a load, and no plug to go into the receptacle... so, as it was running, I touched the tip of a screwdriver into the receptacle and got it to arc across.. so, it was making juice at the time.

I ran it out of gas and that was the last time it ran. I was more interested in seeing it run than doing anything with it. Couldn't make a welder out of it, so it just sat from then on. Just a novelty.

I think it only had water in the cooling system, and that all disappeared... I think the radiator split, but am not sure. There are no visible splits in the crankcase anywhere...there is no moisture in the crankcase, either.

It would be fun to get it running again and use it to power SOMETHING, but I can't think of anything you could do with it but charge batteries. I think that's what it's original use was... charging batteries and powering the electric system on older railroad passenger cars as they sat at railroad passenger stations between trips... their electric systems were 32vdc.

I paid $125 for the machine about 1989 at an auction, and it took $185 to buy the magneto.
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Old 11-08-2017, 01:49:46 PM
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Default Re: 32 Volt D.C. Generator Set

Well, you can look for old Delco farm appliances that run on 32VDC to give it something to do......
Maritime supply dealers should have 32V light bulbs on the shelf as they are still in use on some ships (or so I've heard...)
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Old 11-08-2017, 02:25:25 PM
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Default Re: 32 Volt D.C. Generator Set

Well, one use that would be fun, if a person had an "off grid" electrical system based on a 24 volt battery, it would be easy to dial back the speed to make it ideal for charging at the required 26 ~ 28 volts.
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Old 11-08-2017, 02:54:34 PM
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Default Re: 32 Volt D.C. Generator Set

Problem becomes finding something practical for it to do.

Suppose you could turn down the rpm to output ~ 25-26 VDC and get one or two 24 VDC inverter(s). APC computer UPS ~ 700-1400 watt inverters run on 24 V ( two 12 V bats)

Or up the rpm to ~ 48 VDC and use the 2+ kw APC computer UPS that run on 48 VDC ( four 12V bats)


PS..... I read flat heads are fuel thirsty compared to newer engines.

Last edited by len k; 11-08-2017 at 03:55:30 PM.
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