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Using old motors as generators

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Using old motors as generators

Post by nutgone on Thu Jul 19 2012, 21:53

Pretty much as it says really, I won an old motor off eBay & had ideas of using it as a genny.

I should know all this, as I'm a qualified sparky (albeit slightly out of date qualifications now) but when I qualified it was a 3 year course, motors were taken care of in year 2, but after completing year 1 I turned up for year 2 & was told I was wasting my time, I obviously knew what I was doing so would I like to take the 2nd year exams, move up to year 3 & keep my gob shut. So I spent a day in the library, cramming on stuff about motors & 3 phase & took the exams, so none of it really sank in. It's also been about 4 or 5 years since I traded, so it's all a bit rusty.

AFAIK it's a single phase motor, but it has 2 big capacitors on it, so could well be 3 phase windings. I would've thought the capacitors come off for genny use, but my brother's been reading up on line & reckons they stay on.

I'll have a good look at it next time I'm out there, maybe see if I can get it running as a motor first (I bought it un-tested). It's very heavy & quite old, would really look the part if I can make it work.

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by pauldg on Thu Jul 19 2012, 22:07

Yes, it's certainly possible in the main - 3 phase would be better but single would work too. Stability may well be an issue, depends what you want to use it for.

Good idea to run it as a motor first, if nothing else it'll show you the direction of rotation - this can affect how you wire it depending on the type of motor it is. You may need the capacitors - or different ones - run rather than start.

A photo of it would be good, especially if it shows windings connections etc. - see what we're dealing with and all that.

(BTW, I'm not exactly an expert on this, but I have a fair idea and I haven't electrocuted myself yet so we should be ok Laughing )

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by nutgone on Thu Jul 19 2012, 22:29

It shouldn't take much for me to get my head around it, I am pretty good with electrics & electronics, it's just not a subject I've covered before.

I'm only thinking about running a few light bulbs for a show exhibit, although I could build a voltage regulator, given the right circuit diagrams & guidance.

I will see if I can take a look at it this weekend, try & work out what kind of motor it is, I'm guessing it's an induction motor, with the capacitors. Would rather it was a universal as I think they're easier. Will have to wait & see though, I guess.

I also need to read up on generator earthing systems, but that's more of a personal thing, although I would like to know my installation is safe.

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by Ianhw77k on Fri Jul 20 2012, 07:06

Its in my garage downstairs. I'll get some pictures up this evening as I'm running late for work right now.

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by mike d on Fri Jul 20 2012, 19:48

this is possible to do...they did an article on it in stationary engine mag some years back...
what you need to do is talk to IAN WEBB on here
his uncle is a wizz kid at doing this...
good luck with it
regards.mike.....

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by Ianhw77k on Sat Jul 21 2012, 09:54

Pictures (if you're lucky!)








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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by DanBoy on Sun Jul 22 2012, 13:53

Well it looks like a single phase AC motor according to the plate. Not the ideal choice but check out this website (many others are available, just put "using a motor as a generator" in your search engine)

http://www.control.com/thread/1026229994

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by Ianhw77k on Sun Jul 22 2012, 22:13

Cheers Dan. Looks like it may be possible (might even be pretty easy) but I got a bit lost about half way down that page Embarassed
I'll let my brother take a look, he's better with this sort of thing.

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by nutgone on Sun Jul 22 2012, 22:25

All in good time. I've now got an actual generator in bits in the workshop. (next project has begun).

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by pauldg on Sun Jul 29 2012, 22:00

Seeing as it's kind-of on topic in this thread, I got this when I got my mk20...



I think I'll be driving this up at some point to see if I can get any volts out of it. The lump stuck out the side is a little centrifugal pump unit - not sure what I'm going to do with that.

Paul

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by stationary stu on Mon Jul 30 2012, 10:53

Looks like it's been a display of both something electrical and water he must of had them belted up together. You could always use the pump to make a small display.

Stu.

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by pauldg on Mon Jul 30 2012, 11:31

I'm not really sure, the pump unit looks like it's supposed to be there as it is on what seems like a dedicated tab and it's sprung like it should tension a belt or something. The pump is a bit stiff at the moment so once I free it off I'm sure I can come up with something to use it for...

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by DanBoy on Mon Jul 30 2012, 13:16

Looks like an old washing machine motor to me........ Rolling Eyes

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by nutgone on Mon Jul 30 2012, 13:27

DanBoy wrote:Looks like an old washing machine motor to me........ Rolling Eyes

I was just going to say that. It's out of a washing machine, quite a big one by the looks, as these days the waste pump is driven from it's own smaller (shaded pole type) motor.

Good luck with it, lets keep this thread updated as we go then, could prove very useful to others out there in the future.

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by pauldg on Mon Jul 30 2012, 13:31

It may well be out of a washing machine, doesn't matter though. The body is aluminium so it'll polish and it should do something at least semi-interesting.

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by nutgone on Mon Jul 30 2012, 13:52

It certainly looks the part, should clean up nice.

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by pauldg on Mon Jul 30 2012, 14:04

It's bound to upset some people, but then everything I do seems to upset someone so I'm used to it Laughing

I'll be testing it before doing any cleaning or anything, just got to find something to clamp it in and I'll spin it up with the drill.

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by Diddy on Wed Sep 05 2012, 20:05

iv got an old motor that came off a lister domestic water pump could it be used to run some lights.ie could it be made to run backwards to run lights or is it not that simple.

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by Biggsy on Wed Sep 05 2012, 20:31

i was toying with the idea of fitting an alternator from a car or van or a lorry, could use it to power lights when rallying and as your generating 12 or 24 volts its safe, you could run an inverter from it ( i got one from maplin) and get 240ac , just need to work out pullys to spin alternator at required revs

thought it might be a way to make display a bit more interesting......

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by Diddy on Wed Sep 05 2012, 20:55

iv got alternaters but im screwed on the wireing sidei have been told i need a bttrie inbetween the the aultanater & lights.

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by nutgone on Wed Sep 05 2012, 21:37

I'm glad this subject has been bought back to life, I'm going to need something to run off my little JAP. I was thinking about a lorry alternator or dynamo, but then thought even if it was something modern I could encase it in an old-looking cover of some kind.

Yes, it's true. you do need a battery with an alternator, & you need some form of power with a dynamo as well (I think scratch ) But small 12v batteries are very easy to come by these days, & can be had very very small, so easy to conceal. I've got an old BMW alternator (Bosch unit) which needs a regulator, I may see if I can direct couple that somehow & make up a cover which looks like the original ALCO dynamo unit (shouldn't be too difficult).

I/we have still got the big motor, which I believe started this thread, to deal with, although I think Ian has decided that's going to be his for the Stuart Turner.

One day we'll get a water pump, I'm getting bored of generating electricity! (we do actually have an old Stuart Turner water pump, but that too needs restoration).

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by DanBoy on Thu Sep 06 2012, 07:50

For small 12/24v batteries look at motorcycles or burglar alarms. Or, I have a couple of small 6v/12v batteries rescued from rechargeable lamps.

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by stationary stu on Thu Sep 06 2012, 09:36

I'm lucky I've 2x24v alternators and a 24v dynamo (no regulator) which are all in full working order they were spares I had when I ran buses years ago and I some how keep getting spare 12v batteries so I'm going to do a small lighting display (I have boxes of 24v bulbs spare shame there just small bulbs tho) but the main reason I picked up a 24v microwave cheap so I can switch the lights off and heat stuff at a rally. I also found these bulb holders which would make a nice display if you can get the correct bulbs to fit or even better some coloured bulbs. With my alternators being from a bus they have a high output so I should be able to run quite few bulbs without any problems.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/250502659527?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

Stu.

PS just a note they are going to stop making normal 240v bulbs very soon so all you can get is energy saving bulbs so if you need any stock up now.

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by nutgone on Thu Sep 06 2012, 10:04

I believe you will still be able to buy a type of energy saving bulb which will still be OK for stationary engine use, they are "dimmable Energy Saving Bulbs", they have a small halogen type capsule bulb inside what looks like a normal GLS type bulb (normal incandescent bulb). They are only class C on the energy efficiency scale, but they still count as energy saving.

Trouble is there are already dimmable CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) type bulbs, Last I heard there were 2 different types, one of which would work with normal dimmers, I'm not sure how "available" they are on the general market though.

It's people's desire to dim their lights which has kept the normal bulb going so long, & although these halogen ones are better they're still not very efficient compared to CFL's.

I say these are suitable for stationary engine use as many engine generators are producing DC, which won't power CFL's, but it will power the halogen type ones, also many stationary engine generators aren't running at full voltage, which will also make CFL's fail to light.
Also, who wants a load of ugly CFL's in front of their lovely engine set-up?

Fortunately mine is a 110v generator, AFAIK there are no plans to make building sites start using low energy lighting, so I will still be able to get my good old fashioned incandescent bulbs. Also, the 110v bulbs are "Rough Service" not "general Service" which means they are made of stronger stuff, both inside & out. Still don't like being stepped on though! Very Happy

So, if it's 230v bulbs you're after you should be fine if you look around for halogen based "Dimmable Low Energy" bulbs,
If it's 110v bulbs you're after, go to any electrical wholesaler & ask for 110v site bulbs, they're all 60w & mostly pearl, although I thing clear are available.
This should keep your exhibit looking something like it should.

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Re: Using old motors as generators

Post by stationary stu on Thu Sep 06 2012, 10:12

I know I should change but I still use a 240v lead lamp when working on the car etc and use rough service bulbs in that so looks as if I'll have to change soon. Problem is I don't like all these LED lamps that's about I just can't get away with the light they give off, it's probaby just me being old or something Laughing Laughing Laughing

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