• If you like antique engines, vintage tractors or old iron machinery, register and join us. When you register on Smokstak, please give complete answers and fill in the blanks. - IF YOU ARE ON WIRELESS OR SATELLITE, ENTER YOUR CITY AND STATE! NO ZIPCODES! All registrations are manually approved.

Help! 2 Antique Generators, Same Problem!

Colin583

Registered
Hey Everyone,
This might be a wordy one I apologize!

So over the summer, someone gave me an antique generator. It is a Little Red Devil Lighting Plant. (Picture of specs attached) Once I got it running, it worked great! The power output was completely normal. I then added a circuit breaker and new receptacles so it is safer and easier to use. Fast forward a couple of months and I went to start it (it had been sitting for about a month) and the power output is way off! At 60Hz it is at about 140 volts with a 14 amp load! I pulled the rear cover off, vacuumed out an a mouse nest( it looked very old and was probably a result of the previous owner storing this thing outside) and cleaned the slip rings. Nothing changed...

I also more recently picked up a little David Bradley generator and got it running! (Picture of the specs attached) This thing has the same problem! The power output is around 130 volts at 60Hz with a 5 amp load! I took it apart, cleaned up the slip rings and commutator and nothing changed... (This thing also has an extra wire that was all taped up when I got it and I can't see anywhere it is supposed to go.)

At this point I am at a loss. I really don't know why these things are acting the way they are, Especially the Little Red Devil, as it went from being fine to where it is now just by sitting for a month! If anyone has any ideas please let me know!

Here are some pictures and videos of the 2 generators and the wiring inside them as well:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/h48ub8ekPHKWeQ947
https://photos.app.goo.gl/6YKTUZn7sJ7LwhPJ7

Thanks So Much!
-Colin
 

Attachments

Oldtech

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
12/14/2019
Is your voltmeter reading correctly? I got caught on that once.
 

Colin583

Registered
I am using a Killawatt meter because it will show the load plugged into it, the voltage of the source, and the frequency of the power source. It is working correctly because I have used it on several other generators and for several appliances around the house recently.
I wish it was that simple...
Thanks,
Colin
 

Ogrebeast64

Registered
Try slowing down the RPM's to get down to the proper running voltage. The governors my be set too fast, or they are slightly "sticky."
 

Colin583

Registered
Try slowing down the RPM's to get down to the proper running voltage. The governors my be set too fast, or they are slightly "sticky."
If you slow down the RMP, the frequency will drop below 60Hz. I was told that the frequency MUST be set as close to 60Hz as possible.
 

Power

Registered
I, and others have had the same thing happen with kill- A- watt meters.
Was working fine, suddenly it is reading 138 volts on 118 volts.
I was wondering about generator, then remembered posts here about Kill-a-watt failures, so checked with my Triplett VOM. 118 volts.

Plugged Kill-a-watt into house power- Triplett reading 120 volts, Kill-a-watt 139 volts.
 

FarmallBob

Registered
Like the others suggest check voltage with an accurate analog VOM, or a professional quality DVM like a Fluke.

The harmonics and electrical "noise" in the output of small generators can cause cheap digital meters - including the Kill-a-Watt - to give wildly erroneous voltage readings.
 

Colin583

Registered
Interesting! My Killawatt meter works fine in the house and on newer generators so I assumed that it would work on this older stuff as well. Maybe something about the output of these older generators causes an incorrect reading? I will have to check the output with my multimeter tomorrow to see if this is the case.
Thanks for the info! I post an update tomorrow!
-Colin
 

Colin583

Registered
So I checked the David Bradley with my multimeter and still got 133 volts at 60Hz under load... Any other Ideas?
Thanks,
Colin
 

Vanman

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
07/10/2019
In the photo of the collector rings in the yellow one, it looks like there might be a wire wound resistor tucked in there? That may have an adjustment band on it for adjusting the exciting current which will in turn adjust the output voltage.

Does the red one also have a resistor?

Keith
 

Colin583

Registered
In the photo of the collector rings in the yellow one, it looks like there might be a wire wound resistor tucked in there? That may have an adjustment band on it for adjusting the exciting current which will in turn adjust the output voltage.

Does the red one also have a resistor?

Keith
I don't see any resistors in those pictures and don't remember seeing in the DB unit. I can double check it tomorrow, but where do you see one in the yellow one?
-Colin
 

Colin583

Registered
UPDATE! ( I know it's been a while!)

I busted out the old David Bradley generator today to just get an exact votlage reading for some research I was doing and today, I plugged in a larger load and the voltage sank right down to normal! Turns out at 6 amps of load this thing is fine!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/aiSB7PSZ9xzZRN528

If anyone has any other ideas about the Little Red Devil Plant LMK!

Thanks,
Colin
 
Top