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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

A Question on Delco Light 850 Operation...


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  #1  
Old 11-01-2017, 10:53:07 AM
George Andreasen George Andreasen is offline
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Default A Question on Delco Light 850 Operation...

I've asked about this before, but never really got a concrete answer. My Delco Light 850 is completely overhauled, mechanically and electrically. I wound my own replacement inner coil for the starting switch and it seems to perform normally. It does NOT have the fancy starting switch with the meter and manual settings, so the operator can physically set the run times...you just lift the starting tab, hold it until rpm's are up, release and away she goes.The manual I obtained only gives basic information about starting and running, but nothing about how the plant actually operates and shuts down.

My battery bank consists of four new 8 volt golf cart cells, and the coil is a modern 12 volt replacement with power through the original resistance unit and a toggle switch I installed to make sure the ignition is shut off. The points are in good shape with a modern capacitor across them. The mixer and fuel system is pulling fuel like it should.

Here's what's bugging me. I started it and it ran beautifully, with the meter showing a charge rate of about 10 amps. If I turn on my two 100 watt bulbs the charging rate increases properly. So far, so good. However, after running about 10-15 minutes it quits. Not having any other information, I created my own theory that the starting switch is basically a reverse current relay (a cutout) and senses that the batteries are charged, so it opens, killing the ignition. In order to prove this, I deliberately left my bulbs on for several hours, discharging the batteries. I then started it and it charged normally, but quit again after the same amount of time. I had to recharge the batteries with a 32 volt electric charger.

When it shut down the second time I was standing right next to it and I'm almost positive the engine quit and THEN the starting tab dropped....but I'm not absolutely sure and haven't repeated the test yet. So, it could be that some electrical fault is stopping ignition and dropping the tab, but again I'm not totally sure.

So, my question is, is the plant supposed to shut down by itself once the batteries are charged? Or is it possible that I have a bad (new) coil or other fault? I've tested the coil with a volt/ohm meter and the resistances are normal.

The reason for my quandary is that I can't see a fancy starting switch setup if the plant needs to be shut down manually. In other words, I need to know how Delco INTENDED the plant to stop!
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Old 11-01-2017, 12:52:55 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: A question on Delco Light 850 operation...

Until the Delco experts get here, have you tried immediately restarting when it stops? If so did it start? If not did you check for spark? May be that your new coil is breaking down when it gets warm.
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Old 11-01-2017, 04:38:23 PM
George Andreasen George Andreasen is offline
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Default Re: A question on Delco Light 850 operation...

Thanks Vanman......no, I didn't think of restarting it immediately which would have been the obvious thing to do. Ignition coils are funny critters and have been known to go open when heated. This coil is not near any heat source though, so if it IS bad it might just be a vibration issue....if indeed that is the cause. The resistance coil might be going open also as it heats up. I'll have to check both during another run. Also go over all my ignition wiring, switch, etc. Until then.....

I want to wait to hear from someone who has run (and stopped) an 850 on a regular basis. If the plant requires that you shut it down manually then I do indeed have a fault somewhere.
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Old 11-01-2017, 11:28:17 PM
Will Barnhart Will Barnhart is offline
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Default Re: A question on Delco Light 850 operation...

The 850's had a flat (spring like) strip that went from the spark coil to the spark plug. It has an insulated top that one pulls of of the plug to stop the engine.

I have an original one on my 850.
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Old 11-02-2017, 01:26:30 PM
George Andreasen George Andreasen is offline
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Default Re: A question on Delco Light 850 operation...

Agreed......but my original coil was shot, so I replaced it with a modern coil and standard spark plug wire. Pretty sure that part of it is good........
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Old 11-04-2017, 07:25:13 PM
Dale Burkman Dale Burkman is offline
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Default Re: A question on Delco Light 850 operation...

The 850 is designed to shut down when the battery is fully charged. If you hold the start switch up it should run. The switch will drop when you release it. {If it runs holding the start switch up the ignition system is good.} Does this plant have the watt meter?
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Old 11-05-2017, 04:02:02 AM
collector b collector b is offline
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Default Re: A question on Delco Light 850 operation...

The watt and hours meter is designed to set the charging time
Just set dial the hours you like to charge the battery's
The dial runs back to zero and open a set of small points
Then it break ignition ,no spark
Check points for proper closing
My 850 points were not closing properly,when got hot and stopped the engine
The 850 don't stop by itself when battery's are full
Only stopped after the amount of hours you set the timing dial
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Old 11-05-2017, 10:26:54 PM
George Andreasen George Andreasen is offline
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Default Re: A Question on Delco Light 850 Operation...

Again, my 850 does NOT have the watt meter, where you can set charging times. Just a plain ammeter.

The starting switch stays up once the engine is up to running speed, so no major problem there. The hint about the points getting warm is a possibility, and one I'll look into. How did you finally isolate the problem?
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Old 11-06-2017, 06:06:42 AM
collector b collector b is offline
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Default Re: A Question on Delco Light 850 Operation...

I just started playing with it and noticed no tension on it
Made up new point from old feeler gauge
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Old 11-06-2017, 07:07:33 PM
Dale Burkman Dale Burkman is offline
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Default Re: A Question on Delco Light 850 Operation...

When the engine quits will it run {do you have spark} if you hold the start switch up?
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