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1938 ONAN 32 V 1000 Watt Light Plant Question


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  #1  
Old 03-07-2006, 04:57:36 AM
Alaska Alaska is offline
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Default 1938 ONAN 32 V 1000 Watt Light Plant Question

I am transcribing a journal, written in 1938 (Alaska) and the author has just installed an Onan 32 V 1000 Watt light plant to power his new home. There was no main electricity in the town in 1938. He talks about charging up a battery bank every couple of days. He has installed this light plant in a small annex to his house. He made a muffler for it out of a small empty oil drum and buried the whole muffler in sand to dampen the noise. He is also using a short wave radio but the light plant creates so much static that he cannot run it and the radio at the same time. Can anyone tell me anything else about this light plant? Does anyone know where I could find a photograph? Thank you.
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:15:09 AM
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Billy J Shafer Billy J Shafer is offline
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Default Re: 1938 ONAN 32 V 1000 Watt Light Plant Question

Hard to know what he had.Onan built many gensets even back then.Was it air cooled or water cooled.Underground exhaust was very common back then.I have manuals that show how to build the system.
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Old 03-07-2006, 02:31:50 PM
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Default Re: 1938 ONAN 32 V 1000 Watt Light Plant Question

I'm fairly sure it was air cooled. Knowing the writing style of the journal author, I'm fairly certan that he would have mentioned it if i were water cooled.
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Old 03-07-2006, 03:45:51 PM
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Talking Re: 1938 ONAN 32 V 1000 Watt Light Plant Question

These were very common, back before WWII onboard North Pacific Fishing
vessels that were 32Vdc powered. Usually gasoline powered, air cooled,
single cyl, B&S Type engines, turning 12Vdc or 32Vdc Genends. Great for
keeping the batteries up, while sitting at anchor with the main engines off.
Onan built a variety of models in this class, as well as building them as an
OEM, for Private Lables. You still see them around as Aux Gensets on smaller
32Vdc fishing vessels.

Bruce in alaska
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Old 03-08-2006, 02:10:31 AM
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Default Re: 1938 ONAN 32 V 1000 Watt Light Plant Question

Here is a picture of an Onan 1000 W plant from the early '40s. This one is 115 V, but it is entirely possible they sold a similar unit with 32 V output.
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Old 03-08-2006, 02:26:31 AM
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Default Re: 1938 ONAN 32 V 1000 Watt Light Plant Question

Thank you ALL for the light plant information and photograph. I'm very lucky to stumble on to such an enlightened group. Thanks so much.
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