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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Fri 26, 2023 6:22 am 
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westcoastjohn wrote:
Free power from the air!

Odd that they spelled it "Frepower", like they left the d out with "Wincharger".
Streamlined spelling- cool! :)

Dale


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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Fri 26, 2023 2:20 pm 
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I noticed they spelled free power as "Frepower" as well. I think the example I have might have been a show room piece because both sides are plastered with promotional material, including the term "Frepower" and "500,000 farmers CAN'T BE WRONG." Its not like anyone would come by and read that stuff when its stuck 20 feet up on a barn.


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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Fri 26, 2023 9:25 pm 
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Apparently "streamlined spelling" wasn't limited to just Zenith. I have a Silvertone power supply for conventional 1.5/90 volt battery sets, with it's model spelled, "POWR SHIFTR".

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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Sun 28, 2023 12:04 am 
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Here's an update. I took it in to the museum, flashed the field, the field windings magnetized, we hooked it up to a drill, it lit a 6 volt bulb. At the museum there was not much wind. So I took it home and attached a 6 volt bulb and let it run. I'm finding it has to be going pretty damned fast to generate enough juice to fully light the bulb. If it's coasting or even moderately fast the bulb doesn't come on. Someone suggested new brushes. So I ordered some. My question is do these things really have to go that fast to generate power? What were these intended for? Were they literally meant for people that live in Kansas or the plains where there's lots and lots of wind?


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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Sun 28, 2023 12:58 am 
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Is the position around the commutator of the third brush adjustable? If it is try turning the brush a few degrees in either direction to see if it effects how much current is developed. Since your interested in demonstration setup at a low level and minimal wind, Opt for a brush position that maximizes the output.

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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Sun 28, 2023 1:30 am 
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bobwilson1977 wrote:
What were these intended for? Were they literally meant for people that live in Kansas or the plains where there's lots and lots of wind?

I believe they were made before rural farm electrification took place, so yes, most likely aimed at the Plains States.

My Zenith farm sets require about 2 amps at six volts, so a Windcharger would seem to have to run pretty fast to develop that kind of current.

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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Sun 28, 2023 3:29 pm 
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Yes, we did adjust the third brush. We found that adjusting it so that it was furthest away from the second brush generated the maximum amount of amperage. One of the other members mentioned that he thought the brushes looked like they were pretty worn out. I found that the brushes used on model A generators are exactly the same as used on this one. So I have a new brushes on order. What they basically did as I stuck on auto generator onto a pole with a blade and it takes about 700 pm to develop a maximum output on these things.

If in the end this thing absolutely has to spin as fast as I was seeing it yesterday to develop electricity then it's not going to be very useful for around here. But at least it might be working.


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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Mon 29, 2023 2:21 pm 
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Worn brushes have less spring pressure behind them, so that will help.
I think they used the battery to run the radio and the charger maintained the battery whenever the wind was blowing. Not the same as trying to run the radio directly.

You can set it all up at the museum and you have the excuse of not enough wind to protect people from that spinning prop. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Mon 29, 2023 2:29 pm 
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New brushes can be seated with sandpaper (on thin paper backing), not garnet or emery paper. Sand side toward the brush, resting on the commutator, pull the paper through to remove high spots.

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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Mon 29, 2023 4:21 pm 
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Yep. We know its meant to maintain a battery versus power a radio. After observing this run in its current condition its generating max juice at maybe 20% of the time. So I guess figure its running 24/7 and charging the battery at small intervals- enough to keep it charged up.


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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Mon 29, 2023 9:05 pm 
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I was just going to ask the same question. I thought they were just to top off the batteries. The radio was probably only used in the evening. So the Windchargers were meant to be just a trickle charger.

Freeman

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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Mon 29, 2023 11:48 pm 
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Do you have it connected to a 6 volt battery? I had a ‘29 Franklin car that had the third brush, it is adjusted to limit voltage level, fun to do when the engine is running, but once set, no further adjustments are needed. The ammeter shows if the battery is charging/discharging. The cutout relay disconnects the battery from the generator when the engine is stopped.

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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Tue 30, 2023 12:11 pm 
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This Wincharger discussion has been very interesting and informative. My searches on newspaper.com found a number of articles about the plant in Sioux City IA.

I've attached an image from the 3 June 1937 which gives some history of the company that some may enjoy. The image will be difficult read so I also attached a pdf version of it so it may be enlarged for reading.


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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Tue 30, 2023 1:25 pm 
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Location: Omak Wa. 98841
Hello Bob,
There is a guy on instrag who knows a lot about these windchargers and I wish I had one when I was living on the ranch here because we get lots of wind here .

Sincerely Richard


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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Tue 30, 2023 4:11 pm 
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Location: Keystone Heights, FL 32656
I found this on an antique car forum:
Attachment:
Third_Brush.jpeg
Third_Brush.jpeg [ 361.21 KiB | Viewed 244 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Tue 30, 2023 7:07 pm 
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Yeah, we figured out the third brush thing by looking at a Model T forum. The generator on this looks exactly like a Model T generator. Something else I need to figure out is what kind of cutoff relay will work. The one I randomly bought is for a tractor and its amperage rating is too high. So it won't trip even with the windmill going full-blast. I get a feeling its got to be 1-2 amps.


I will say that it seems most people who I have shown this too are scared of the thing. We had friends over Saturday and I showed it to them and they were pretty happy when I shut it down. My wife is also not super thrilled.


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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Tue 30, 2023 7:21 pm 
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bobwilson1977 wrote:
I get a feeling its got to be 1-2 amps.


I will say that it seems most people who I have shown this too are scared of the thing. We had friends over Saturday and I showed it to them and they were pretty happy when I shut it down. My wife is also not super thrilled.


Toldja before, 2 amps for a Zenith farm set using a vibrator.

And it can be a dangerous device in the city. Perhaps consider displaying it as simply stationary. You could be asking for a liability lawsuit if someone at your presentation manages to get hurt by it.

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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Wed 31, 2023 9:05 pm 
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Model Ts mostly had the electric power supplied by a flywheel magneto, at least the early ones.

I've seen model A generators that looked like the item in question, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: May Wed 31, 2023 9:27 pm 
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Indian motorcycles after 1930 till the end all had these third brush generators. They take just a simple cutout only. Modern cutouts have just a diode potted in place. I didn't see any mention of the bearings -- where they ever checked/ lubed? New ones are cheap to replace. My experience with running these as the generator on a motorcycle in the past is that they absolutely need to be connected to a load (battery) at all times. One time after a ride I noticed that pungent burnt transformer smell we're all familiar with only to subsequently discover that the battery had become disconnected and the generator burnt itself up. I'm lucky I still had enough juice in the battery to power the battery-coil-points ignition to get home. What I never liked about some of the Delco branded generators is that the brushes are retained by screws bearing directly against the brush side -- they can come loose or crack the brush -- as opposed to brushes held in a rectangular slot and then secured with a spring.

Chris


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 Post subject: Re: Question about Zenith Windchargers
PostPosted: Jun Thu 01, 2023 4:53 am 
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jim rozen wrote:
Model Ts mostly had the electric power supplied by a flywheel magneto, at least the early ones.

I've seen Model A generators that looked like the item in question, though.
Yes, he did say Model A in his earlier posts. He's just a young guy, made a slip-up, but does have a mid-50's Lincoln in his garage. 8)

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