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richard5933

Replacement generator controller / voltage regulator

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I'm going to be picking up a new project tomorrow - a 50-year-old Kohler generator powered by a Continental flathead 4-cyl. It was pulled from a coach 15 years ago. I'm told that it was fully functional at that time, and from outward appearance I have no reasons to doubt that yet.

Here's the problem...

When the genset was pulled the remotely mounted controller was discarded. No engine controls, no voltage regulator, no nothing.

And here's the question...

Any one know of a 'generic' genset controller or system that can be retrofitted to the Kohler generator head to make the thing functional again? The engine controls I can replace easily. The voltage regulator and other generator specific works I haven't found yet.

Hoping someone out there has some experience resurrecting old machines like this.

 

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Richard,

Salvage yard?

Call Kohler, and ask for the name of some of their old-time dealers-- those who have been around and servicing their units since your was built.  

Someone may have what you need in their scrap heap.

Could also search for "service dealer" from Kohler's website: http://www.kohlerpower.com/home/sales-service/find-a-dealer

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Richard,

Check with Lincoln Electric, they are the makers of the SA 2000 welding machine. The SA2000 was the backbone of the pipeline industry for years. It had a Continental 4 cylinder flathead engine. They continue to carry part for the old engines. They are based in Cleveland , Ohio but have dealers world wide. Give them a call.

855-987-7274

Herman

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When the genset was pulled the remotely mounted controller was discarded. No engine controls, no voltage regulator, no nothing.

Richard, Because of the age of the engine, It has a mechanical governor system.  Thinking the missing items are more for remote start, stop and possibility temperature and oil pressure.

Rich.

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5 minutes ago, manholt said:

Rich, I'm thinking he want's to have a back up for coach! :P

Maybe thinking of one for the sticks and bricks then for the road. The other advantage is the old style turbines can be rewired and setup different then the newer ones.

Up North where ice storms are more common - we tend to loose grid connections, have an old 4 KW handy to keep the house warm and the lights on. also can make ice for 4 months of the year, keeping food cold for half the year not as challenging. Much like your home stomping ground.

Rich.

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6 hours ago, manholt said:

Rich, I'm thinking he want's to have a back up for coach! :P

Nope - going to replace that one with a modern diesel genset in a year or two, budget permitting.

 

5 hours ago, DickandLois said:

Maybe thinking of one for the sticks and bricks then for the road. The other advantage is the old style turbines can be rewired and setup different then the newer ones.

Up North where ice storms are more common - we tend to loose grid connections, have an old 4 KW handy to keep the house warm and the lights on. also can make ice for 4 months of the year, keeping food cold for half the year not as challenging. Much like your home stomping ground.

Rich.

Bingo!

Right now we have a small 5kw portable that can run our well pump OR a few circuits in the house - enough to get us by in a pinch. It will run the core circuits to allow us to heat the house and pump water.

The 12kw generator head in this old genset would allow us to power everything we've got. Our house only has 100-amp service, and I am pretty sure that we could even run the a/c system with this thing if needed.The Continental flathead is a great engine and can run at 1800 rpm all day long with the proper radiator and enough gasoline. Eventually I'll convert it to run from natural gas and permanently mount the genset in the barn with the exhaust going outside.

It was set from the factory to use the generator head to start the engine. I believe that worked through the field winding. It was not very efficient, I'm told, and it actually will be started for now with the hand crank. Eventually I'll source out a starter for it. Not a priority. The engine controls are not at all my concern. The engine fail-safe controls will be done with a Murphy switch setup using an oil pressure and water temp switch gauge. Either goes past the set point and the power to the coil is disconnected. I did this with the genset in our first coach and it worked great.

The generator head itself looks like it has seen only minimal use. The brushes, bearings, and other important components all look great. The report is that it was working perfectly when pulled out and producing clean electricity. The reason it was pulled was to install a more modern diesel genset that could share the coach's fuel tank and eliminate the danger of having to carry gasoline. Unfortunately a 'helper' didn't know what the remote controller box was and discarded it. It was gone before anyone realized it and could try and retrieve it.

The generator controller parts that I need are the bits and pieces that take the raw power from the brushes and convert that to usable and stable 120/240v power. I see a few options online for aftermarket controllers, but they are aimed at the larger commercial generators producing 50kw and up.

I enjoy restoring old machinery and don't mind a challenge. Problem here is that I've never done something like this before and was hoping to find someone that had been down this path before. I've heard rumor that there are aftermarket voltage regulators and things available to retrofit old Onan and Kohler RV gensets, but no luck finding them yet. Only thing even close that I've found is some Chinese made junk that looked like it wouldn't be able to handle much in the way of KW at all.

I appreciate the suggestions so far. I'm going to start calling around some of the servicing dealers to see what I can find. Luckily the generator head on this old thing is the same as the one on our current bus, so I can use the controller number on our current bus's genset as a starting point.

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Well, I'm glad Rich got it right.  Knew you would set us straight eventually...wish you luck!  Let us know how it works out.

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Richard, Do you have any idea who built the head / turbine section? 

Just maybe I might have an old diagram hanging around. Iffy, but maybe. Old books and information is allowed to set around and collect dust. 

Rich.

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8 hours ago, DickandLois said:

Richard, Do you have any idea who built the head / turbine section? 

Just maybe I might have an old diagram hanging around. Iffy, but maybe. Old books and information is allowed to set around and collect dust. 

Rich.

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