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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 1278


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  #1  
Old 05-14-2002, 07:18:18 PM
C. Props
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Default Delco 1278

I have a Delco 1278 light plant that I have apart right now and I can't figure out how the wrist pin is supposed to be held in place to keep it from scraping against the cylinder. There is no screw that tightens down on it. Were they made like this?

After I get it put back together and I have the batteries hooked up how do I start it? I think I am supposed to close the generator switch and pull up on the starting lever?
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  #2  
Old 05-14-2002, 11:40:34 PM
Don C. Wiley
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Default Re: Delco 1278

I don't have a Model-1278, but if it has a hollow wrist pin all the others I have, used an aluminum "button" that fit in the ends of the pin and had a rounded face that rubbed the cylinder to keep the pin from scaring the cylinder wall. We used the same system on the Ford 60 HP V8 engines in a midget race car in the 50's.

According to my information your generator had a governor and was a 32 volt 1250 Watt battery charging unit with a power pulley. It also shows a 76-S AC spark plug with a 3" bore and 5" stroke. It runs at 1250-1350 rpm and the valves were set at .018 hot. It was rated at 2-1/2 HP.

If the commutator is properly cleaned and the brushs fitted right and are free to move and have the proper spring tension and all the wires are hooked up right, all you have to do is lift up on the start switch and it should start right up. However you must have a 32 volt battery attached, with fuel and a coil that will spark. There is a lever between the mixer and the "air tube" that chokes it and it should be placed on the start position. When it starts to fire slowly move the lever back until it runs smooth. Sounds simple enough and it is, if you have all the above right.

If you have any problems let me know and I'll try to help you.

"DELCO DON"
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Old 05-19-2002, 04:21:40 PM
C. Props
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Default Re: Delco 1278

I put it back together and have hooked the batteries up right. When I pull up on the starting switch the switch will spark the engine will turn a little, and then the fuse will blow. I can't find any shorts. Am I supposed to hold the lever up until the engine starts or do I let it go right after I pull it up?

There is also a switch on the left side of the panel near the bottom. Is it supposed to be open or closed? What does it do?
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  #4  
Old 05-20-2002, 05:33:37 PM
Don C. Wiley
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Default Re: Delco 1278

A picture of the back and the front of the control panel would help, but I have a book that has a picture both back and front with the wireing showing. I could e-mail you a picture of mine if you don't have a wireing diagram.

It sounds to me like you have some wires crossed some place, or hooked up wrong.

The switch on the lower left is the line switch. It is only there to disconnect the generator from the house/barn etc. It doesn't need to be on for the engine to start and/or charge the batteries.

To start the unit you lift up on the lever and hold it up until the engine runs properly. The generator is wound to serve as a starter as well as a generator. As long as you hold up on the start lever it should "motor" at or about the speed the engine will turn it, as long as the battery is fully charged.

If you are blowing the fuse you have a dead short some place. I have never blown one of the fuses. The Model-1278 used a 60 amp fuse and it would take nearly a dead short to blow it.

If you have a wiring diagram you need to go back over it carefully and make sure all of the wires are hooked to the correct places.

Good luck.

"DELCO DON" Southern Illinois
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Old 05-20-2002, 09:19:56 PM
C. Props
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Default Re: Delco 1278

I found the problem. The shunt coil inside the starting switch is open. When I would let go of the switch the switch would continue to be held up by the series coil and blow the fuse. The switch in the lower left corner isn't the line switch. What I think it is since this is a pulley plant is a switch to turn off the generator and then the engine can be used like a farm engine.

I was able to crank it by hand and get it running. It ran very well. Now I just need to fix the switch. Do you know where I can get the shunt coil?


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  #6  
Old 05-20-2002, 09:21:45 PM
C. Props
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Default Re: Delco 1278

Here is a picture of it running


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Old 05-20-2002, 09:23:36 PM
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Default Re: Delco 1278

Here is the coil I need.


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  #8  
Old 05-20-2002, 10:10:27 PM
shermwolf
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Default Re: Delco 1278

I have an 850 Delco that also had an open shint coil. Here is how I repaired it. I made up a bobbin out of delrin that would slide into the opening in the series coil. The height and diameter is not critical as long as it fills t he opening. I found a 24 volt DC relay that was wound on a bobbin and the enamel wire was not sealed with paper or varnish. Took the relay apart and wound the enamel insulated wire on my delrin bobbin. The wire length was enough to almost fill the bobbin and the resistance of the coil was adequate for 32 volts. I used a lathe to hold the new bobbin and mounted the old relay bobbin so it could rotate and unwind. I found the relay at a suplus electronic dealer and had my pick of many different type 24volt relays.

The shunt coil and the series coil is a cut out that disconnects the generator from the load when it runs out of gas or the engine stops. It stays locked in as long as the generator is running. Holding it in manually should not cause an overload. Normally the shunt coil holds the starting switch closed when the generator is running and when the generator stops the reverse current thru the series coil bucks the magnetic field generated by the shunt coil and enables the starting swith to drop out.Its a manuually operated cut out instead of an automatic cut out as was used on DC automotive generators before the alternator was developed.

Hope this helps you out.
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  #9  
Old 05-20-2002, 11:25:27 PM
Don C. Wiley
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Default Re: Delco 1278

Did the generator charge after you got it running with the crank? I'm not sure you have found the problem yet. That coil being open wouldn't cause the fuse to blow (I don't think). You should be able to start the generator with the electric start feature without the coil you have there hooked up. The switch just won't stay latched up when you drop the lever.

The start switch has a contact that is disconnected when you lift up on the start lever. This is the series short switch. When the engine is running right and you let the lever down the contacts close and the series winding is shorted. Not being an electrical engineer I'm not sure how this works, but I have been told that the generator does not charge full power until the short switch is closed and it allows the engine to get running before you put the full load on it.

Did you check the field coils with a ohm meter to see if they were shorted to the housing?

I hope I haven't confused you, I think I confused myself.

"DELCO DON" Southern Illinois
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  #10  
Old 05-21-2002, 06:17:53 AM
C. Props
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Default Re: Delco 1278

After I took the coils out I put a jumper across the series coil and pulled up on the switch. The fuse didn't blow this time. The engine turned over really fast. So I guess I found my problem?
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