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Fairbanks Morse Light Plant

forney00c

Registered
I recently bought a project Fairbanks Morse 3 HP ZC engine and a light plant that clamps to the hopper. I've already ordered a manual on the engine, but I can't seem to find any info on the light plant. This is the first light plant I've ever dealt with and I'm not sure where to begin with checking it over and making sure everything is in decent shape before trying to generate power with it. It appears to be complete and it spins easily.

I would really like to see if there is literature around on this light plant such as an operator's or maintenance manual or wiring diagrams. I'm not 100% sure where to start on this, so any information on the unit or tips on things to check before operation is very appreciated. Thanks!
 

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GeneratorGus

Registered
Age
72
Forney, It is a mod. A, 3hp, 1500 watt. Based on the reliable FM ZC engine, I'm not sure about when exactly your plant was made, this model was around for quite awhile, probably early 30s on into the 50s. The later models had a few improvements but were basically the same unit.
The A was also offered on the Mod. D, 2hp, 800 watt, and a 5000 watt, with a 9hp Z engine. You could start an entire collection base only on Fairbanks Morse light plants, don't ask me how I know.
I'll attach a few pics.: A 1942 ad, yours, a 50s ad for the Mod B an all important wiring diagram for yours, and of course a picture of mine.

GUS
 

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SparkyMil

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
02/06/2020
I have a Fairbanks Morse Light Plant original sign which is not in very good shape and is faded and some areas are completely rusted away but I still like it very much. If you look closely at the center you can make out a very faint outline of a light bulb and can see the base threads of the bulb. I can only imagine what it would look like if in good condition. Just thought you might enjoy seeing this.
Jim
 

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forney00c

Registered
Thanks for your reply, Gus! As I'm looking at the wiring diagrams, I see the top 4 are for 125 volt units, and the bottom one is for a 3000 watt 36 volt generator, but not a 1500 watt unit. Do you know if this would be the same diagram for a 1500 watt unit?

Jim, Nice sign! That would be neat to display with a FBM genset.
 

GeneratorGus

Registered
Age
72
Forney, it has to be one of the two diagrams in the manual. Try this one for the 750. Going back 20 years or so I'm thinking your panel should look more like it.

Just for fun I checked my notebook, I bought the 750 in '95 and the 1500 in 2000. My buddy had the 1500 engine mounted on a lawn tractor, but kept the gen. in his shed.
 

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Andrew Mackey

Moderator
Last Subscription Date
05/14/2017
If you post the engine serial number (stamped into the top of the hopper), we can date the engine. if the generator was sold with the engine, then you will have a build date.
 

forney00c

Registered
Thanks for the other diagrams, Gus. I'll have to spend some time studying the wiring on my generator after it warms up a little to see what diagram to use as a reference.

Edit: Actually, after looking closer at the second set of prints you shared just this morning and comparing them to the internal picture of my generator, it appears to have the same wiring as the 750 Watt setup for battery charging. My unit seems to be missing the fuse in the lower left hand corner of the box. Any idea what size of fuse was used?

Andrew: I looked at the boss on the back top edge of the hopper, but the serial number doesn't look like it was stamped that deep in the boss. Maybe it will be easier to read if I clean or sand the boss.
 
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