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Portable Generator mod question


 
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LJD
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:45 pm    Post subject: Portable Generator mod question Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I've got a couple of brand new generators made in 1999. They were special ordered by a telecom company that went out of business. The problem is - they are set up to make 36 volts DC which is of no use to me. I'd like to convert to AC or to 12 volts DC output.

The generator head is rated for 3000 watts surge and 2500 watts continuous. 67 amps at 36 volts DC. I suspect the same head was also use in 120/240 volt versions, but I'm not sure.

The engine is a Subauru EH25 and is setup to run on gasoline or propane and has electric start.

I was told this generator was custom made from an existing AC generator. True or not, I'm not sure. It's supposed to be a reworked Powe'r Guard R45 genset. Powe'r Guard no longer exists. It was taken over by Baldor and they have no info.

I pulled the cover off the generator head and there are three large wires coming out of it. They hook to a large terminal block. On the same block are two output terminals - marked AC - one is "plus" and other "minus" so the "AC" does not make sense to me since the output is DC. Then there's a small, sealed in epoxy regulator with four leads and four small wires - some go to small brushes in the gen-head. The regulator is made by Basler Electric - and is marked: Input 180-270 VAC 50-60HZ, and Output - 63 VDC at 2 amps. Maybe this makes the field current? The four terminals on it are marked F+, 3, F-, and 4. The two F wires go to brushes.

If this was an AC genset -would there be some sort of regulator? I've worked on big sets (15KW and 20KW) but have no experience with little ones like this.
 
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JMOR
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Portable Generator mod question Reply to specific post Reply with quote

LJD wrote:
(quoted from post at 18:45:00 09/14/12) I've got a couple of brand new generators made in 1999. They were special ordered by a telecom company that went out of business. The problem is - they are set up to make 36 volts DC which is of no use to me. I'd like to convert to AC or to 12 volts DC output.

The generator head is rated for 3000 watts surge and 2500 watts continuous. 67 amps at 36 volts DC. I suspect the same head was also use in 120/240 volt versions, but I'm not sure.

The engine is a Subauru EH25 and is setup to run on gasoline or propane and has electric start.

I was told this generator was custom made from an existing AC generator. True or not, I'm not sure. It's supposed to be a reworked Powe'r Guard R45 genset. Powe'r Guard no longer exists. It was taken over by Baldor and they have no info.

I pulled the cover off the generator head and there are three large wires coming out of it. They hook to a large terminal block. On the same block are two output terminals - marked AC - one is "plus" and other "minus" so the "AC" does not make sense to me since the output is DC. Then there's a small, sealed in epoxy regulator with four leads and four small wires - some go to small brushes in the gen-head. The regulator is made by Basler Electric - and is marked: Input 180-270 VAC 50-60HZ, and Output - 63 VDC at 2 amps. Maybe this makes the field current? The four terminals on it are marked F+, 3, F-, and 4. The two F wires go to brushes.

If this was an AC genset -would there be some sort of regulator? I've worked on big sets (15KW and 20KW) but have no experience with little ones like this.
It needs either a commutator or rectifiers if it output is DC. Got either? I mean other than the field excite.
 
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guido
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Portable Generator mod question Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Hello LDJ,
Is the regulator input receiving AC voltage?
It sounds that it is. Then you maybe right that it was made from an AC generator.They most be stepping down the voltage and rectifying it as well. If you are getting AC into the regulator, and 63VDC out, then the regulator is also where the voltage is stepped down? Make some measurements and see if that is the case.
Guido.
 
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David G
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Portable Generator mod question Reply to specific post Reply with quote

It is probably an alternator with rectifiers and possibly a transformer.
 
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George Marsh
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Portable Generator mod question Reply to specific post Reply with quote

LJD
Perhaps you could get an old 36 v golf cart with bad batteries. Use generator to power golf cart.

Don't have an answer to your question.

For around $350 you can get a chinese 3500 watt RV generator. So how much will it cost you to convert your 2500 watt? I would be worried how many things I would damage by trying to convert what you have.

I have a 6.5 hp Subauru on a go-cart. Great motor so far. A 10 year old can start it. I think I would find a use for the motor and send the genny to the recyclers.

George
 
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Loosehandle
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Portable Generator mod question Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Should be able to find a inverter that would work,add some batterys and you wont have to run it all the time
 
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MarkB_MI
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:47 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Generator mod question Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I'd say whether or not you can use the raw AC output depends a lot on how much of the original AC controls were retained. You need to regulate both AC voltage and frequency, and I suspect neither are directly regulated.

Also, the situation is further complicated by the fact that the stator windings are probably three-phase delta.

It sounds to me like you have essentially a very big car alternator: A three phase stator output that's rectified. The DC output voltage is regulated by varying the field (rotor) current. Frequency is, of course, determined by the speed of the motor times the number of poles and may or may not be close to 60 Hz.

You might be able to get the output voltage down to around 14 volts by reducing the field current. Maybe put a resistor in series or parallel with the field. My guess is it won't regulate very well if you do that, since it will still be trying to to make 36 volts.
 
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timcasbolt
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:33 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Generator mod question Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I remember somebody selling a bunch of those on ebay a few years ago. Looked like he was having trouble giving them away.
 
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TopCat in NC
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:17 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Generator mod question Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Sounds like it would be a good fit with some deep cycle batteries and an inverter or as a compliment to some solar panels for emergency power or to power a hunting/fishing cabin.
Dan
 
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LJD
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:51 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Generator mod question Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I've got Chinese generators all over the place. I've got two new KingCraft 3500 watt units I got new for $199 each at ALDIs. Also got a Jetman, and a few ETQ and Honeywell inverter generators.
Many make poor quality AC power. Good for most uses but very poor for some things (like running battery chargers).

My point being - I'm not in lack of generators. Main issue is I'd like to install one at a remote cabin I have that has a 12 volt battery bank and solar electric. I like to mount it permanently. I need a way to run a big 12 volt battery charger once in awhile and I'd like to use propane. Main reason being I've already got a 500 gallon propane tank there and there are no long-term storage issues with propane as there is with gasoline.

I've already got these new generators with the Subaru engines that run on propane plus they have electric start. I paid nothing for them and would like to get some use from them. I know the Subaru-Robin are one of the best small engines make.

If there was an easy way to get it to put out 13-15 volts DC it would be of use to me as a direct 12 bulk battery charger. If I can cheaply convert it to AC, I can still use it hooked up to a separate electronic charger (maybe).

Most portable AC generators do a poor job powering conventional battery chargers. A charger rated for 50 amps output will often barely make 20 amps when run off a portable gen. The exceptions are . . . inverter generators OR using a high tech electronic battery charger like Trace or Iota sells (very pricey). Also there are portable generator "enhancers" around that improve their AC output (again, pricey).

I have a battery bank that if run down, I can get by with a 50 amp charger. But, a 150 amp charger is much better. At present, one of my inverters has a built in 150 amp charger. But it requires clean AC power and it must be 55 amps at 120 volts AC. That is hard to do. One way to power it is to use a portable gen with 220 volts/30 amps and hook it to a step-down transformer to make 60 amps at 120 VAC (again, pricey).

Some people build engine driven DC chargers made from auto alternators and they work very well. A 5-6 horse engine easily powers a 150 amp DC alternator.

Back to my original point. I've already got these brand new units and they cost me absolutely nothing. If I can get some use from them without much investment, I'd be very happy about it. With small AC generators - I've looked at parts breakdowns and see no voltage regulators listed. So I'm wondering if some are only controlled by amount of windings and fixed RPMs?

By the way, I've got a 17 KW Fairbanks Morse genset already at the cabin. It puts out 70 amps on the 120 VAC circuit. But, it's got a four cylinder watercooled 140 c.i. Continental flathead engine that eats a lot of gasoline quickly. It's way too big for the job. A small 6-8 horse engine could accomplish the same task if set up right.
 
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JMOR
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:32 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Generator mod question Reply to specific post Reply with quote

LJD wrote:
(quoted from post at 12:51:21 09/15/12) I've got Chinese generators all over the place. I've got two new KingCraft 3500 watt units I got new for $199 each at ALDIs. Also got a Jetman, and a few ETQ and Honeywell inverter generators.
Many make poor quality AC power. Good for most uses but very poor for some things (like running battery chargers).

My point being - I'm not in lack of generators. Main issue is I'd like to install one at a remote cabin I have that has a 12 volt battery bank and solar electric. I like to mount it permanently. I need a way to run a big 12 volt battery charger once in awhile and I'd like to use propane. Main reason being I've already got a 500 gallon propane tank there and there are no long-term storage issues with propane as there is with gasoline.

I've already got these new generators with the Subaru engines that run on propane plus they have electric start. I paid nothing for them and would like to get some use from them. I know the Subaru-Robin are one of the best small engines make.

If there was an easy way to get it to put out 13-15 volts DC it would be of use to me as a direct 12 bulk battery charger. If I can cheaply convert it to AC, I can still use it hooked up to a separate electronic charger (maybe).

Most portable AC generators do a poor job powering conventional battery chargers. A charger rated for 50 amps output will often barely make 20 amps when run off a portable gen. The exceptions are . . . inverter generators OR using a high tech electronic battery charger like Trace or Iota sells (very pricey). Also there are portable generator "enhancers" around that improve their AC output (again, pricey).

I have a battery bank that if run down, I can get by with a 50 amp charger. But, a 150 amp charger is much better. At present, one of my inverters has a built in 150 amp charger. But it requires clean AC power and it must be 55 amps at 120 volts AC. That is hard to do. One way to power it is to use a portable gen with 220 volts/30 amps and hook it to a step-down transformer to make 60 amps at 120 VAC (again, pricey).

Some people build engine driven DC chargers made from auto alternators and they work very well. A 5-6 horse engine easily powers a 150 amp DC alternator.

Back to my original point. I've already got these brand new units and they cost me absolutely nothing. If I can get some use from them without much investment, I'd be very happy about it. With small AC generators - I've looked at parts breakdowns and see no voltage regulators listed. So I'm wondering if some are only controlled by amount of windings and fixed RPMs?

By the way, I've got a 17 KW Fairbanks Morse genset already at the cabin. It puts out 70 amps on the 120 VAC circuit. But, it's got a four cylinder watercooled 140 c.i. Continental flathead engine that eats a lot of gasoline quickly. It's way too big for the job. A small 6-8 horse engine could accomplish the same task if set up right.


" With small AC generators - I've looked at parts breakdowns and see no voltage regulators listed. " Often there are capacitors that work in conjunction with the generator (usually located in compartment with sockets/breakers/etc.) that do the regulation function. I would fire up one of your generators & look at whatever is on those terminals, myself.
 
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wilson ind
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Portable Generator mod question Reply to specific post Reply with quote

charge 3 12volt batterys in series using 36 volts pull 12 off one at time or hook 12volts in parrell to use
 
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George Marsh
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Portable Generator mod question Reply to specific post Reply with quote

LDJ,
If you have a 36 v generator, will it safely charge 3 12v batteries in series or six 6v batteries in series?
George
 
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Paul Janke
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:07 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Generator mod question Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Is there a chance that you could use a regulator from an automotive alternator to change what you have to a twelve volt alternator?
I have made automotive alternators into 120 volt DC generators by opening the alternators, bringing out three phase before the diodes, running that through three transformers, rectifying that output, and feeding it into the 12 volt regulator.
 
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JMOR
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:42 am    Post subject: Re: Portable Generator mod question Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Paul Janke wrote:
(quoted from post at 10:07:25 09/16/12) Is there a chance that you could use a regulator from an automotive alternator to change what you have to a twelve volt alternator?
I have made automotive alternators into 120 volt DC generators by opening the alternators, bringing out three phase before the diodes, running that through three transformers, rectifying that output, and feeding it into the 12 volt regulator.
You surely went to a lot of trouble!! You can simply full field an old 10DN and get 120vdc out of it directly without any modifications whatsoever.
 
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