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Is it a 20AB3 Delco-Light Plant

Dennis Craft

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Last Subscription Date
07/11/2018
I can't find any identification on this. Where should I look? By photo, it looks like a 20AB3. I've had this since 2004 but finally decided that I'll never get time and money for it's restoration. So it's time to find a new owner.







 
Re: Is it a 20AB3

By any chance is that 110 volt D.C.? There's one sitting in an auto repair place near here that the owner bought years ago for standby..........until he discovered it made the "wrong kind of juice".

Edit: Whoops! Should have looked up the model number first.....a 32 volt, 2000 watt plant. Looks like the only things missing are the oil fill cap and the control box. Nice find actually.....you NEED that in your stable!
 

Dennis Craft

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07/11/2018
Thanks George, but I've reached a point in my life where I have more projects than I have time. My passion is antique radios. I have a strong interest in antique cars, engines and stuff like that. I also have a Delco 850 that I need to decide whether to keep or not. Plus some other 32 volt items like a fan or two, some NOS 32 volt GE light bulbs and some 32 volt radios. If I were to list this generator set, what would be a reasonable value? It does turn over (not frozen) but would need some significant care.
 
Tough question to answer.....it is missing the control box, right? Without that it won't run properly (or at all) so the only solution for a prospective buyer is to find another box. Or make one, a major effort.

By the way, many Delcos had the voltage stamped on the armature so it could be identified that way.....assuming it's stamped. But of course you have to disassemble the thing to find out!

I read the brief description of the unit and it said that many of the engines were "re-purposed' and because of that you'll find many without the generator. There may be someone out there who needs it for parts of course.

Although Delcos are getting some interest, there's just not a big demand for them among collectors. They're common, heavy to ship and don't have all the "whizz bangs" of a stationary engine. Frankly, I don't think I'd ask more than $200 or so....and then be willing to negotiate a bit. After all, collecting Delcos is a somewhat "specialized" hobby practiced by genuine mental cases!

That's my advice, and it's worth every penny you paid for it! :D
 

abowman89

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Last Subscription Date
02/24/2020
Man, I'd love to fiddle with that but like you said where on earth would a guy come up with a control box...... :-/
 

Dennis Craft

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Last Subscription Date
07/11/2018
Does anyone out there have a wiring diagram for the controller? I may be able to design one from available information.
 

Dennis Craft

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07/11/2018
Okay, my curiosity is getting the best of me. Someone mentioned that my genset is missing the controller, so I was curious about the wiring to the controller. Upon opening the cover on the electrical connections, I see only 2 wires. I expected to at least see 2 wires for the field and at least 2 wires for the armature. But there are only 2 total. I pulled the cover off the end and it appears that the field is parallel to the armature connections (brushes). So now I'm thinking this may not be a 32 volt set. It has to be a DC generator due to the it having a commutator and not slip rings. So maybe it's a 110 volt DC genset. Who can tell me? I need a Delco expert.

Here are some pix of connections and commutator/brushes.
 

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Dennis Craft

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07/11/2018
Also, I'd like to find a crank for this engine and any other missing parts. Maybe someone out there has a stash of parts.
 
Dennis, I know this sounds a little screwy but perhaps you can spin the unit over fast enough to get a reading on a volt meter. It would be a bit of trouble but at least you'd know what you have.....

Remove the radiator and see if there's a way to fit a v belt pulley to the end of the crank. Pull the spark plugs and shoot some oil down the cylinders. With the engine belted to something like a Briggs and Stratton (or an electric motor) get it turning and see what the meter does. It might be necessary to hit the field coils with a battery for a split second if the residual magnetism has gone bye bye.

Like I said, a bit of trouble.....but if you discover that it is indeed a 110 volt D.C. unit, you could restore it and use it for running lights and brush type tool motors in your shop. Heck, every guy needs a standby generator in case of a power outage! As long as you're not trying to run a refrigerator, t.v. or computer it could be useful.

Of course, you have to explain to the wife why you're out in the shop having a good time while she's sitting in a cold, dark house..............:O
 

Mike Schweikert

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Age
54
Last Subscription Date
07/09/2019
If this is a 20AB3, that is a 2000 watt 32v plant built in 1934. It used a AB sentry box on it for control, which was mounted separately on the wall. It sensed battery voltage and started when it was low and stopped at the proper voltage. Its pretty complicated for its time. I don't have a visual of that actual plant.

Hope it helps.

Mike
 

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Dennis Craft

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07/11/2018
Thanks Mike, for the info (wiring diagrams). I've come to believe that this is not a 32 volt system. The field is hard wired in parallel to the armature. There are only 2 wires coming from the generator and they connect directly to the armature brushes. If this is a 110 volt DC system, my question is then how is the voltage regulated? There seems to be no automatic controls to the governor or carburetor. I'm assuming it is all manual controlled.
 
Dennis, I looked at the schematics provided by Mike and they seem to show only two wires to the brushes. So, assuming it's a straightforward generator, wouldn't the battery voltage control the engine speed ala' other Delco Light plants? Therefore, no need for a complicated governor control system.
 

Dennis Craft

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07/11/2018
Thanks George, yesterday I found a thread here in SMOKSTAK from 2008 that discusses the engine.

https://www.smokstak.com/forum/showthread.php?t=46508&highlight=delco+cylinder

In it, Don Wiley, alias Doctor Delco, discusses what he believes it to be. He believes it is a 50AA1, which is a 5000 watt 110 volt AC unit. Don also believes the engine to be an Opel. However, in the thread, the owner only has the engine and not the complete unit. The generator is missing. Because I have the generator, which has a commutator, I know mine has to be a DC set. I sent the owner an email yesterday and he responded saying that he sold the engine a couple of years ago. Too bad, we could have worked together on it. He couldn't remember who he sold it to. If you get a chance, read the thread, it was quite informative for me.

---------- Post added at 07:37:04 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:42:57 AM ----------

In it, Don Wiley, alias Doctor Delco, discusses

Oops, I made a big mistake. Don Wiley is Delco Don, not Doctor Delco. Please accept my apologies Don and Wayne, wherever you are. And thank you for the legacy you left us. :uhoh:
 

Dennis Craft

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07/11/2018
Hi Dale, this engine has a magneto. I now believe that it is designed for 110 volts DC. Sorry that the earlier pictures hosted on Photobucket are no longer available. Guess I won't use Photobucket again. :p
 

Dennis Craft

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Last Subscription Date
07/11/2018
Re: Is it a 20AB3 Delco-Light Plant; no, probably a 20AB1

Hey guys, I'm back. I'm still looking for an engine crank for my Delco generator set. I just posted it again on engineads. We now believe that it is a model 20AB1 (2000 watt, automatic, battery, 110 volt DC).

Here is a detail of the engine end of the crank. I fabricated this from a piece of 3/4" black pipe, but it's not the real McCoy, if you know what I mean.

Also, I need a source for the correct color of red paint. Got any ideas?
 

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