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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

Delco light 850 restoration


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  #11  
Old 01-07-2017, 10:52:43 AM
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Tim B Tim B is offline
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Default Re: Delco light 850 restoration

Merv, looks really nice and beautiful stand too. When ever I take my lightplants to a show, I take batteries out of my lawn tractors. They are the cheapest and smallest ones that I have. I get them for $20-25 at Walmart. I use them in my Farmall Cub and Cushman Truckster too and they call for the larger car batteries but work just fine.
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Old 01-07-2017, 01:54:09 PM
George Andreasen George Andreasen is offline
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Default Re: Delco light 850 restoration

Morning Merv!

I'm explaining the meter operation from my 850 manual, so bear with me.

The meter is designed to be set by the operator in order to charge the batteries correctly. I believe the idea was to take some of the guesswork out of charging which was mysterious to most people back then, and understanding a hydrometer was like voo doo.

Starting with a fully charged battery bank (gassing, bubbling) the meter should be on the "full" marking. If the meter reads "full" and the batteries are NOT fully charged, you remove the glass cover and set the hand back to about 1/5 of the entire scale. You then restart the plant and watch the batteries. If they become fully charged and gassing, the hand should be on "full". Note: Some models of the 850 had an external resetting device so you didn't have to remove the glass. The whole purpose of the meter was to tell the average owner the charge condition of their battery bank. At least it was a little easier to understand than a hydrometer.........

If there is an ammeter that is part of the meter assembly, it basically tells you how much current is going into the batteries and how much is going to the load. The side of the meter labeled "in" shows current to the batteries, while the other side "out" shows the current to the load.

All of the above is from my 850 manual, however my 1918 850 only has a simple ammeter on the panel board. I suspect that the complicated meter described above became too expensive to manufacture, especially when a simple ammeter (and watching the batteries for gassing) worked just as well........so at some point Delco Light changed their design.
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:42:27 AM
George Andreasen George Andreasen is offline
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Default Re: Delco light 850 restoration

Merv, I responded to you via a PM. Please let me know if you received it. Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2017, 12:17:33 AM
Merv C Merv C is offline
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Default Re: Delco light 850 restoration

I did Receive your message George, and replied a few days ago. Looking forward to hearing from you again.

Merv.
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Old 12-02-2017, 04:22:21 AM
Merv C Merv C is offline
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Default Re: Delco light 850 restoration

I now have the Delco 850 all finished and in good working order with three 12 volt batteries and three twelve volt 40 watt bulbs in series. I have spent quite a lot of time playing around with it. The bulbs are drawing 5 amps and it will charge 20 amps with the lights on and charge 48 volts. The cut out is working when the batteries are full.

I did have to wind a starting coil which was easy enough, I also made the bobbin from light card and gluing as I wound it around a spindle. I made a simple jig using my wood lathe and turning it by hand to wind the wire on. as each layer was wound on I gave it a coating of shellac. It was hard to keep the wire even. Any way I did find out that it didn't matter if it wasn't and it would still work, all that mattered was that not too much in one place as it could heat up.

The last job was to make a cover for the starting coils.

Merv

[IMG]DSCF5013 by Merv Cloake, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]DSCF5018 by Merv Cloake, on Flickr[/IMG]
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Old 12-02-2017, 06:40:52 AM
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Elden DuRand Elden DuRand is offline
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Default Re: Delco light 850 restoration

Merv:

Nice job on the Delcos.

A couple of things come to mind.

Batteries -
When series connecting batteries, it is important to match the amp hour rating and capacity. In other words, identical with very close date codes. If not, the weakest battery (cells) will overcharge and the strongest will not charge adequately and will sulfate.

When the batteries age and one or more cells short out, the rest of the cells will be overcharged and will soon fail.

Loads -
When series connecting loads, make sure that the wattage rating of the loads (lamps, heaters, etc.) match. Otherwise, the one with the lowest wattage rating will be too bright (hot) and will fail sooner.

That's all my free advice for now and remember, it's worth every cent you paid for it.
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:32:52 AM
Grape Grape is offline
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Default Re: Delco light 850 restoration

I've got a 600W manual start unit that is missing the starter switch and a coil. Does anyone have any photos or info on this size unit?
By the way, this is a great and informative thread. Thank you!
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:09:14 PM
Merv C Merv C is offline
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Default Re: Delco light 850 restoration

Elden,

Thanks for the advice, I am am aware as you are that many would not know the difference. I got my batteries from a car wrecker and matched them as close as possible. One has a very slightly higher amp hour rating than the other two but I think it is close enough to not matter. In all the testing I have done the batteries come up even.

32 volt stuff is hard to find here and I realize the 5 amp draw off is a light load and not enough to run at a show as the unit won't run for long. To give it some exercise I am going to hang the lights on the wall in one of my sheds where there is not good light so I can use the lights and from time to time charge the batteries,

i also have another unit that I will get going from all the the parts left over from this restoration. I will have to use a car coil and wind another starting coil. It won't be set up as a working unit but it will be a runner.

Merv.
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