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Generators & Electric Motors General Discussion

Westinghouse Type SK Generator - use as motor to start engine?

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Old 05-01-2019, 12:31:07 AM
Greg H Greg H is offline
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Default Westinghouse Type SK Generator - use as motor to start engine?

Can this 1920's Westinghouse Type SK DC Generator be used as a motor to start the 1920's 12 hp diesel engine it will be connected to? If so, does anyone have suggestions for how to do that? See the attached pictures of the generator and tag. Does anyone know where I could find any documentation for this type of generator?

I'm more concerned about displaying the engine and being able to start it reliably, and not as concerned about actually using the generator set to generate electricity. But ideally it would be nice if it was possible to supply 24V DC from two automotive batteries wired in series to use the generator as a motor to start the engine, then disconnect the batteries and flip a switch to use the generator to generate electricity.

The engine has a hand crank, but I'm concerned about being able to reliably start it that way. I'm expecting a lot of cranking time and troubleshooting, especially when I try to start it for the first time in over 50 years. Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide!
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Old 05-01-2019, 12:54:17 AM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: Westinghouse Type SK Generator - use as motor to start engine?

Most likely, yes! You may have to help it over the first compression stroke if it is a single cylinder engine with no compression release. After that it ought to keep it spinning just fine until it fires. You may need more than 24 volts, but probably not. I would have an ammeter in the circuit. If the current while cranking does not exceed 60 amperes, it is safe to run it like that continuously.

For best results, performance, and lowest current while motoring, you would want to arrange your switching such that it is running as a cumulatively compounded motor.

It is a cumulatively compounded generator. That means that if you were to merely apply power to the generator terminals, it would be a differentially compounded motor. That's no good, don't do that.

The difficulty in achieving this switching will depend specifically on how it is currently physically wired. It may well be super easy!

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