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Westinghouse Panel and Gauges - Repair?

Wayne Grenning

Sponsor
Age
55
Last Subscription Date
06/10/2018
I recently bought this Westinghouse panel. It is complete but in fairly sad condition, at least the gauges are. I have one course of action to get them repaired but thought I would ask the group here for thoughts? The glass in the two larger gauges are broken with damaged or missing needles as with the other internal components. I have a beautiful Westinghouse 4 pole 120 VDC Dynamo and matching electric lighting Otto engine that would go very well with this panel and have looked for years for a compete Westinghouse outfit, and finally have one, that at least I hope, can be rebuilt. Im not concerned if the internal components of the gauge remains original just as long as it looks the part.
 

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Radiomike

Registered
Re: Westinghouse panel and gauses - Repair?

This is a case of very careful dismantling to see what is broken and or missing. You do not say if the meters are for AC or DC. There were different types of movements for AC and DC. If the ammeter is 100 Amps, as the scale seems to indicate, you may be missing a shunt.

So on a clean workbench with no iron filings about, start to dismantle the meters. They may be repairable with care. When doing delicate things like this with unknown springs lurking about I have a sheet of clean plain paper on the workbench and take photographs and put all the bits in a plastic box.

Mike
 

Frank DeWitt

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
12/17/2019
Re: Westinghouse panel and gauses - Repair?

what a wonderful find. I agree with Mike. You need to get in there and see what you have and don't have.

The glass will be a easy fix. Determine the size and get some cut. If your local hardware store wont do it, go to a stained glass maker.

You can remove the dial and scan it and then clean it up with free software like http://www.irfanview.com/

The pointer will be a bit harder but wait until you get in there to see how much you need, and keep us posted.
 

Power

Registered
Wayne,
What a jem!
Definitely repair.
Here's hoping the pointer is loose inside the case.
If I were going to show it powered up, the only change I would make would be to disconnect live front knife switch & fuses.

Did PO recently go over lettering, disconnect handle and center button with yellow enamel paint?
 

Frank DeWitt

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
12/17/2019
I hope you find that you can repair the meters but if not, you could install RC servos as the meter movement. The "needle" could be laser cut from thin steel. (I use a shop with a $30 min. for that price you would probably get 20 needles.) RC servos are inexpensive, and a number of controls exist to take a DC voltage in and move the servo to a certain position. All you would need is the correct shunt for the Amp meter, and a two resistor voltage divider for the volt meter.

Example controller https://www.electrokit.com/productFile/download/525

Example Servo https://www.tetrixrobotics.com/Servos/TETRIX-Continuous-Rotation-Servo
 

Wayne Grenning

Sponsor
Age
55
Last Subscription Date
06/10/2018
I appreciate the help here!!

This is totally new to me. I'm an engine guy, but thought this diamond in the rough needed to be saved. Here are some better images of the whole panel (front and back) to help you see what I am getting into. I bring it home from Coolspring at the end of next week and will have a better look at it at that time. Again, not that I have a lot of exposure to these things, but have never seen a complete Westinghouse panel in this size range come up for sale.


 

Power

Registered
Take a little work, but looks like it will be great after clean up. I am an electrical guy, so all that looks simple to me.

Point to ponder- Are you going to display the back? That helps determine if you replace the original fabric covered rubber insulated wire with reproduction wire, or go to supply house and get inexpensive, readily available thermoplastic wire.

I may have the cartridge fuses- depends on amp rating. The knife fuses are a bit harder to find, but what you have will probably clean up fine.

You are a rather ingenious guy. If you want to power up the knife switches and fuses, I am sure you could manufacture an appropriate shield out of Plexiglas or similar.
 

Greg Mosley

Registered
Greetings Mr. Grenning, Food for thought on your panel. Query vintage and/or antique Westinghouse gauges on Ebay. Similar sweep gauges show occasionally. It may be worth some risk. After some research, purchase a decent unit and use its internal parts as a donor. With your expertise, this project could be relatively mundane compared to other tasks you have taken on. Enuf Said.
 

slip knot

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
12/27/2019
that's a pretty sweet panel.

I always think of the Mel Brooks Frankenstein movies when I see these things. "Throw the third switch!!! " I'd have to label one as the third switch.:D
 

Elden DuRand

In Memory Of
Age
78
Last Subscription Date
12/22/2017
It looks like the current shunt for the ammeter is inside the meter because there are heavy cables going to the meter.

I think the caged thingy behind the voltmeter is the resistive divider to scale the meter. It must have been designed to dissipate some current because of the construction.

Someone has added the more modern porcelain screw-in fuse block to the field rheostat and it should be removed.

Unless the meter coils, pivots, etc. are rusted out, new needles could probably be fabricated to preserve the old heart shaped look. Otherwise, I think I would look for replacements.

On the ammeter, if you can't find an identical movement, measure the sensivity of what you have (if possible) and find one that is more sensitive (fewer millivolts full scale). You can fashion a voltage divider to be able to use a more sensitive movement with the present shunt.

It isn't easy to adapt a modern movement to those big cases because the old ones had to swing a heavier needle. The counterbalance would have to be modified to get any semblance of linearity or accuracy when changing the needle on a movement.

Although I am by no means an expert, I have "fixed" a few meters in my time. Contact me if you think I can be some help.
 

Frank DeWitt

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
12/17/2019
It may be hard to find a donor meter. Yours are upside down so the needle moves in the opposit direction.

You go to Coolsprings. There are two brothers there every year who show a large closed trailer full of electrical antiques. They know this stuff cold. If you don't have this done by next June look me up (kohler light plant on a blue trailer with a light fixture desplay). I wil introduce you.
 
First of all, I'm jealous! I found a similar panel in the basement of a local business, but by the time I went back to make an offer it was gone. A clear case of "strike while the iron is hot".

One technique I've found useful when disassembling delicate mechanisms (like meters) is to do it inside a cardboard box with fairly high sides. That will usually keep the little parts......including that one "energetic" spring (there's always one).......inside and easily retrievable.
 

Wayne Grenning

Sponsor
Age
55
Last Subscription Date
06/10/2018
It's home in the garage.

Here are a few close ups of the gauges -- More images to follow later tonight:

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.

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Wayne Grenning

Sponsor
Age
55
Last Subscription Date
06/10/2018
The inside of the volt meter



and the Ammeter.
.

.
Lots of mud wasp and mouse nests

---------- Post added at 06:39:31 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:29:37 PM ----------

A quick search of google books and I determined they are a "simplified" gage and function without springs, TYPE K. They work on a balance between force of the coil, gravity and a steel "piston" in a dashpot filled with oil. Actually, this seems much simper than I thought.
.
All of the main parts are still there, the needle, arm, pivot point, counter weights, "piston" and glass vial for oil that it travels inside. Hopefully the coil is still good.



---------- Post added at 06:40:55 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:39:31 PM ----------

A period description of the gages.
.
 

Elden DuRand

In Memory Of
Age
78
Last Subscription Date
12/22/2017
Although the meters I have worked on looked the same, they all had D'arsonval movements so they must have been from a later time.

It looks like you have enough there to be able to restore the voltmeter but, from looking at the photos, the ammeter may be in worse shape.
 

Wayne Grenning

Sponsor
Age
55
Last Subscription Date
06/10/2018
I have another question, this one regarding my dynamo. How do I tell what size it is? I was trying to locate some sales literature that gave the size vs kw. It is about 15" tall, 16" wide x 19" long ( not including the shaft) . Shaft is 1 1/4" Weight some where around 300 lbs. A couple photos follow.
.

.

.
 

Elden DuRand

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

If the dynamo is with the panel, I would think it would make 100 amps for a short time but it just doesn't look big enough to make that current at 125 volts. That would be 12.5kW.

One way to find out would be to get the outfit running and increase the load in steps, adjusting the field rheostat to keep the voltage constant. Note the temperature of the dynamo.

At some point, either you will not be able to increase the field current enough to keep the voltage at 125 or it will heat to the point where you can't hold your hand on it.

Just make sure to not go to the extreme of letting the magic smoke out of it.:eek:
 

Wayne Grenning

Sponsor
Age
55
Last Subscription Date
06/10/2018
Elden, The dynamo and panel are not matched. My guess is the dynamo is around 2 - 4 KW. Agreed, magic smoke definitely needs to stay inside!
 

Power

Registered
Although the meters I have worked on looked the same, they all had D'arsonval movements so they must have been from a later time.

It looks like you have enough there to be able to restore the voltmeter but, from looking at the photos, the ammeter may be in worse shape.
I think I see the ammeter needle at the bottom. Looks salvageable.

---------- Post added at 12:31:31 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:55:51 AM ----------

Elden, The dynamo and panel are not matched. My guess is the dynamo is around 2 - 4 KW. !
Wayne, lacking any other information, a good start is armature wire size and insulation class. NEMA Class A has a maximum winding temperature rise of 140 Deg. F. 1892 predates class A. I remember seeing 104 Deg F rise on motors made in early 1900's.

I doubt that motor has been rewound. Probably dipped and baked. Dipping and baking consolidates windings and improves insulating qualities, but adding material reduces cooling.

From pictures, I estimate max of 2KW.
I would load it to 1 kw for an hour, stop it, and measure temperatures with infrared thermometer, proceed from there.
 
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