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Delco Light

hwade

Registered
Hello I have just bought this Delco light plant, was a barn find stuck away for ten years. Well after draining out the old fuel and checking the oil ect. I filled it with new fuel and after a bit of messing about i got it to run the serial No is 274433 I dont no nothing about it. its on a trooly with a bank of old batteries can anyone tell me what it was used for i put a volt gauge on it and it kicks out about 30 volts.I would also like to know how old it would be.

Thanks Howard UK.

heres a few pics.
 

Attachments

K D Redd

In Memory Of
Howard,

You need to post this in the Generator section. Delco Don will be more likely to see your post than here in the Mobile Power section.

Kent
 

Grape

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
12/16/2019
Nice looking unit. I thought I'd post before this gets moved. I think it takes a moderator to move it.
I believe this is a 32 volt system. I used to have one that would auto start when the batteries took on a load. Sold it years ago because I wasn't interested in these back then.
Now I kick myself every time I see another one.
If it is 32V a bank of 8V tractor batteries would work great.
Have fun.
 

Mike Schweikert

Subscriber
Age
53
Last Subscription Date
07/09/2019
Looks like a model 850 to me. It was made between July 1926 and Jan 1927. Should kick out about 38 volts at 22.3 amps at 1150-1250 RPM.

Also looks like you have a bank of Edison batteries as well. I had two wooden banks of them myself on my Delco too. Sold them as they were ungodly heavy, and didn't hold a charge across all of them. Those are most likely 2 volts a piece for each battery.

Nice set up:D

Mike
 

Don C. Wiley

In Memory Of
Age
86
Last Subscription Date
03/08/2010
Mike;

You're right, it's a Model-850 Delco-Light generator and appears to be in great shape. The cover over the brushes isn't pictured, but it might be there some place. This one will have to be manually started with the lever under the half round tin cover over the start relay. Lift up on it and choke the engine untill it starts to run and then adjust the "start-stop" lever untill it runs nice and smooth.

I had a set of those Edison batteries and I did away with them because the electro lite is very hard to neutralize. They are almost indistructable. The book I had with mine said to put a "dead" shorting bar on them if you were going to leave them for an extended period. They aren't 2 volts per cell, but about 1.2 volts per cell. Your set up should show around 36 volts. The generator will need to produce at least 38 to 40 volts to charge them back up. If you get it running right it should show around 40 volts and you may need to charge those cells for about 4 hours. They are very hard to over charge or discharge.

Here's a link to explain the batteries: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel-iron_battery

I do have a manual for that model and if you will e-mail me off line I can tell you all about it.

"DELCO DON" :p:wave:Southern Illinois:O:)
 

hwade

Registered
Hello Don and others

Thanks very much for all the info so the generator is electric start if hooked up to the batteries thats helpfull, but its very easy to start with the handle. One interesting thing is the make of my Batteries is (NIFE) made in England.So as to what voltage per cell I dont know.I would like to know more Don so i will give you an email.

Thanks


Howard
 

Elden DuRand

In Memory Of
Age
78
Last Subscription Date
12/22/2017
Howard:

The nickle/iron batteries are commonly known as Edison batteries, invented by himself.

Voltage per cell can be considered to be 1.2 volts per cell, making the bank on the genset (30 cells) be about 36 volts, more or less typical for a 32 volt system, believe it or not.

One thing about Edison cells is that, unless they have been run over by a truck, they don't go bad all that often. Back in the mid 1960's, a friend gave me ten Edison cells that had been sitting in his unheated garage (in Louisville, KY) for over 30 years uncharged. Just for laughs, I connected them to a charger and danged if they didn't take a charge!

The electrolyte is diluted sodium hydroxide! When topping up the cells, use only plain water and NEVER but NEVER add acid. Adding acid will result in a violent reaction and will make you the loser.

Look in "Otherstuff" on my web page where I've posted a complete Edison battery pamphlet.

Take care - Elden:wave:
http://www.oldengine.org/members/durand
 

hwade

Registered
Hi well after cleaning all of the batteries terminals and topping up cells with water, i connected it all up and started her up, its putting in some charge but the needle on the amp gauge is moving alot one min its charging then theres a discharge. I have took the generator housing off to give it a clean and to check for broken wires but all ok. So I am not to sure whats wrong could it be the batterie bank. If so I will have to look at using some other batteries not unless you can still buy 1.2 volt cells in which case i would rather get them. Any ideas.

Howard:wave:
 

hwade

Registered
Heres a couple more pics i had the generator housing off today and it revealed a number on a small plate.There is also a bit of an oil leak i think this is comming from the oil seal on the crank shaft that the armiture is connected to.:wave:

Howard
 

Attachments

Elden DuRand

In Memory Of
Age
78
Last Subscription Date
12/22/2017
Howard:

As I recall, the Edisons I had took a while to charge the first time. If the charging current ammeter goes from charge to discharge, you could have a misadjusted cutout relay. Don Wiley can probably advise you how to make the adjustment/fix.

There's no one I know of who rebuilds Edison batteries. As I said in my earlier post, they are virtually bulletproof and, you can flush the cells and replace the electrolyte. That is a recommendation in the Edison book on my site for when the batteries get lazy.

Take care - Elden:wave:
http://www.oldengine.org/members/durand
 

Mike Schweikert

Subscriber
Age
53
Last Subscription Date
07/09/2019
Check and make sure the leak isn't coming around the threads on the bottom stud for the end bell.

I put silicone in the hole before putting the stud in, as it will follow the threads and leak through. The bottom hole goes clear into the crankcase.

At least that is what happened to the two I have;)
 

KidDynamo

Registered
Last Subscription Date
11/10/2018
If a vintage arrangement is what is desired, I wouldn't give those batteries up unless they are PROVEN worthless. Otherwise, another collector might "give his eye teeth" for them. Or maybe a little less. Anybody can just go buy lead acid batteries, but truly old cells like you have are hard to find.

There are a lot of connections within the battery bank and within the generator and it's wiring. Corroded or even merely dirty connections can cause weird things to happen on low voltage systems.

Your's is one of the better looking Delco generator set-ups to be pictured here in a while. You could temporarily substitute some car batteries to try your generator that way. You might also find a 32 volt battery charger and see how your batteries respond, but I'd go with what you got. It is a "Dusey".

Very nice set-up !! Barn fresh, or it might be called "generator shed fresh" !! Interesting equipment!:wave:
 

hwade

Registered
Hello Guys thanks for all your help and advice, do you know where i can buy the electrolite from, not to sure if i can get it here in the uk.I think I shall go right through the bank of cells take apart and clean all of the connections, i am sure they are connected up ok.I will also check out the bottom stud as suggested. another thing that i read up on was that these engines will get through a 1 to 2.5 pints of engine oil per 24 hours these seems like alot of oil but i have not had to much to do with an old engine like this. The other thing is can i run it on kerosine or is this just a gasonine engine. We dont have karosine but i do run a vintage tractor i have on a 80 parts heating oil 20 parts gasoline and it runs well. Would be cheaper to run on the heating oil.Well thats about it for now i will take a small vidio of it running and post.

Thanks

Howard UK:wave:
 

Elden DuRand

In Memory Of
Age
78
Last Subscription Date
12/22/2017
Howard:

I like the idea posted to check/clean all the battery and generator connections before going to the trouble of flushing and refilling the cells with new electrolyte.

If you do have to re-do the batteries, go to a chemical supply house and get sodium hydroxide. If you find a good house, they will mix it to the recommended strength. DO NOT use it full strength.

If you get granular sodium hydroxide, remember that it reacts with the water used to dilute it and the reaction is very exothermic. In other words, it gets HOT when first mixed with water. Use a suitable container, keep a water hose near and definitely don't get it on your skin or in your eyes. The stuff is mean and you can be badly burned or blinded by it. If you get any of the granules or diluted chemical on you, immediately and thoroughly flush the area with tap water.

As I recall, Delco 32 volt plants use gasoline only.

Take care - Elden:wave:
http://www.oldengine.org/members/durand
 

KidDynamo

Registered
Last Subscription Date
11/10/2018
I'd want to do some more investigating of the electrolyte before I got too frisky with battery work. Oddly, the link to wikepedia that Don posted suggests that the electrolyte is potassium hydroxide.

We all know that wikepedia is not always right. The reaction that is written out on there doesn't show either potassium or sodium ions in the equation. They are related on the periodic table, but inadvertant mixing of the two within a battery would probably not be desireable.

It might be expensive to have your electrolyte analyzed but a chemist friend might be able to do it "in the kitchen".:shrug:

If adding water gets the batteries going good enough, that might suffice for display until further knowledge is obtained.

Fun project for me to watch you do!
 

hwade

Registered
Hello Elden

I am a bit confused some peaple are saying use Sodium Hydroxide and other peaple are saying that is potasium hydroxide. I think i am right in saying that Sodium Hydroxide is Caustic Soda so not hard to get hold of, but i need to know the dilution rates i know that in one thread on the web said that the Electrolyte was made up of 85% water so whats the rest and what weight of chemical to the water. Well thanks again for all your help and interest.

Howard.

UK
 

Elden DuRand

In Memory Of
Age
78
Last Subscription Date
12/22/2017
Howard:

I don't know how I figured out what the electrolyte for my Edison cells was. Even on my webpage where I provide the original Edison Battery "General Information And Instructions", I find that all the booklet says is to use "Edison Electrolyte".

When I replaced the electrolyte in the batteries I had, I found somewhere exactly what alkaline to use and at what concentration. It could well have been potassium hydroxide (KOH). I do remember that they said to add "a little" lithium hydroxide (LIOH) to make the batteries work better.

I wish I could dredge up the information but it's been too long and CRS Syndrome has kicked-in.

Someone here's GOTTA have the info on electrolyte.

Here's the Edison Booklet. Just go to "Edison Battery Booklet".

Sorry I can't be more help.

Take care - Elden:wave:
http://www.oldengine.org/members/durand
 

KidDynamo

Registered
Last Subscription Date
11/10/2018
Aren't I just the frog in the punch bowl !!:crazy: Certainly not the first time.

It doesn't hurt to be careful about the batteries. I don't know any more about them than I've read on here and the wikepedia link.

I thought it worthwhile to point out the differences so we can all learn more about these batteries. Another reason why this is an interesting project: a chance to learn.
 
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