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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 PLANT


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  #1  
Old 07-05-2001, 03:52:15 AM
Allen L Fry
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Default DELCO LIGHT PLANT

I purchased a delco light plant recently. I have never messed with anything electrical before and I have a couple of questions. First off I am not sure of the model # , but I am told it is 32 volt,how do I get 32 volts to run it , 2-12volts and a 8 volt?? If that would work where do I get 8 volt batteries at?? also how do I wire it to run ?? I have had it for 2 monthes and would like to hear it run but I dont want to burn something up. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. THANKS
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  #2  
Old 07-05-2001, 02:33:22 PM
Russ Hughes
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Default Re: DELCO LIGHT PLANT

Eight volt lead acid batteries are still available from major battery supply houses and four of these in series would do the job. You want to be sure that the four batteries in series are the same size in ampere hours so they all charge at the same rate. A mixture of sizes of batteries in series may cause one battery to over charge and another to undercharge. Preferably all four batteries should be the same age, make and model to balance them out.

That doesn't mean that other combinations of batteries in series will not more or less work, only that they may develop problems after a while.
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  #3  
Old 07-05-2001, 08:10:13 PM
Gus Simms
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Default Re: DELCO LIGHT PLANT

I specialize in 32 volt generators, three 12 volt lawn and garden type batteries will cost about twenty bucks each and will start and run your Delco very nicely. Most 32 volt gensets charge at about 38 to 40 volts, which means yours will be very happy to work with them. Dr Delco (Wayne Sphar) has repros of almost any Delco manual you could ask for. 724/345-3639
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Old 07-07-2001, 09:13:12 AM
Sherm
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Default Re: DELCO LIGHT PLANT

Hi, Gus Simms suggestion to use 3 12 volt batteries to run your plant is one useful approach. I am using 5-6 volt 15 amp hr gel batteries in series(these are available from the surplus market) and they work fine.The generator spins and starts immediately. I keep a 3 ohm resistor load across the generator when running it to keep a modest load on it, otherwise it will overcharge the battery. The early Delco plants do not have an engine governor and require some loading to run smoothly.
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  #5  
Old 07-07-2001, 04:20:36 PM
Russ Hughes
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Default Re: DELCO LIGHT PLANT

You are correct except that a system designed for 32 volts will charge at a little less current than designed for, when connected to a 36 volt battery bank consisting of three 12 volt batteries. A 12 volt system such as found in most cars today charges at about 14.5 volts which is 2.5 volts above the 12 volt battery voltage. Assuming that the 2.5 volts per 12 volt battery is correct, and that you have three 12 volt batteries in series, you would need 43.5 volts from the generator to charge at the same rate. That is assuming that the generator was capable of producing the same current in amps at that higher voltage. All generators will produce an output voltage higher than the rated voltage when there is no load on the generator. As soon as a load is applied, the output voltage will drop, quickly at first until the generator finally reaches its rated current and voltage ratings.

So, yes, you are correct, you can connect 3 each 12 volt batteries in series and operate the system on 36 volts. For all practical purposes this will work. Of course your difficult to find 32 volt light bulb's will burn out much faster.

Generally speaking, if you reduce the operating voltage of a light bulb 10% from the rated voltage, the operating life will increase from 1,000 hours to 10,000 or more. If you increase the voltage by 10% above the rated voltage, then the operating life of the bulb will decrease to around 100 hours or so. They call these photoflood lamps, brighter than heck, but they only run for a few hours before they burn out.

You can make all sorts of changes to the system, engine, or whatever. How many old engine shows have you gone to and stood there listening to a recognized expert on some engine stand there say "Yes that may work ok, but that is not an accurate restoration of that model "Z" Fairbanks engine. They did not come with an electronic ignition, or fuel injection and a turbo charger back in 1923 when they were first manufactured." Yes, well that is a little bit exaggerated, but it only serves to make my point. So the question becomes, how far from the original design are you willing to deviate for the sake of expediancy?
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  #6  
Old 07-08-2001, 09:31:08 AM
Sherm
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Default Re: DELCO LIGHT PLANT

The responses on a battery substitute for the Delco 32 V gas engine plant all need to tempered with the fact that there is no voltage regulation on the generator and no speed regulation on the motor. The system will run away with no load and generate as much a 100 volts open circuit. This of course will cook the shunt fields in short order.With a battery load of five 6 volt batteries, the RPM vs load of the engine plus the dynamics of the generator voltage vs load will result Iin the system reaching about 36 volts and charging the battery 12-15 amps. I have several different loads I can hook up including a one quarter HP water pump,three ohm dummy load resistor, and five hundred watts of light bulbs. (This is a 36 volt 500w halogen lamp used in laser setups). So any battery made up with 15,16(original battery) or 18 cells should work OK as long as there is some load on the system. The gas engine will reach some equilibrium in speed and the generator some equilibrium in voltage so it will run smoothly.
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  #7  
Old 07-08-2001, 05:00:45 PM
Gus Simms
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Default Re: DELCO LIGHT PLANT

Most 32 Volt light plants charge at 38 to 40 Volts, I've been using my battery setup for ten years or so and in spite of your worries I've never had a problem charging a 36 volt set.
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  #8  
Old 07-09-2001, 03:24:04 PM
Russ Hughes
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Default Re: DELCO LIGHT PLANT

Gus, I don't have any worries about this subject, and I never said that you couldn't use a 36 volt battery bank on a 32 volt system. I pointed out the differences one might experience while doing so. It is just something for anyone to consider should they be thinking of running a 32 volt system at 36 volts instead. Three 12 volt batteries are undoubtedly easier to purchase than three 8 volt batteries, which incidently, are not impossible to find today.

The fact is, that you would have to be able to run the generator at 43.5 volts on a 36 volt battery to achieve the same battery charging current as you would when running the generator at 38.6 volts on a 32 volt battery. These voltages above the battery bank nominal voltage will provide a .208 volt per cell charging voltage over the cells nominal 2 volts. There is nothing sacred about these numbers as they are just nominal voltages found in charging systems.

So, as a result from raising the systems operating voltage, it will take a little longer to achieve the same state of cell charge at 36 volts as it would at the nominal 32 volts the system was originally rated at. Is this something to be worried about? No, I don't think so. Does it make any real difference? Probably not to most people.

It is sort of like discussing what would happen if one replaced the intake valve spring on an engine with a slightly stiffer one. The engine would probably still start and run. It just might not produce the same maximum horsepower, but if it was just going to sit at a show ticking over with no load, it probably wouldn't make any difference. If authenticity was important, then maybe having the correct strength valve spring or battery bank voltage might be important and something one would want to consider when restoring these things authentically. Other than that, no, I wouldn't really worry about it very much.
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