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Thread: More wiring questions on old tools

  1. #1

    More wiring questions on old tools

    I asked this question over on Wood Online a long time ago and never got an answer,and after reading the long debated wiring question on 115 volt versus 220 volt, that made me think of this question...

    Is it possible to run your shop tools on DC powered electrical motors? Are there any other advantages to them other then being able to reverse direction so easily? I mean do they have more torque? Do they run cooler? Do they give you more power per given horsepower rating?

    The reason I ask is, I am an old railroader with lots of connections with the railroad still. As everyone knows all a locomotive is, is a huge generator on steel wheels.I don't want to count all the 1 hp, 3 hp and 5 hp electrical motors I changed out over the 10 years I worked on locomotives. I can still get those motors for my own shop tools, but they are all DC powered at 75 volts. An odd voltage I know, but hence railroad is an industry unto its own.

    I could either run those electrical motors as is by getting a transformer to convert to 75 volts DC, or convert DC motors to AC...if that is possible?
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie
    In my limited experience DC has two advantages. Variable Speed and Reverse ability. I have run a lathe on DC and it worked well. My understanding is that motor torque is the same (or close) at all but the very lowest speeds.

    Thats all I know but why not try it? I see no reason they wouldn't work.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.

    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Southeast Pa

    You can run a shop on DC power but how practical it is depends on a lot of things. Access to motors being one of them, and you seem way ahead on tha issue.

    I don't know about here but out in the midwest in the early years there were some delco windcharger systems. These were built around a wind driven generator charging some glass housed batteries. These batteries would literally last for ever from what I have been told. There was usually a small gas motor to help out on long windless periods. There were many complete shops that ran off of these systems.

    There was an article in a school paper about an older gentleman that still ran a pretty well equipped shop off of one these systems that was written in the 70's or 80's. It was from a town just Out side of Des Moines, Iowa maybe Adel or Grainger but somewhere in that neck of the woods. And also most of the hand tools that run the so called universal motors will run off of DC even down to 75 volts with some loss of power.

    On a similar note around here the Amish replace most of the electric motors with pnumatic motors. They run all kinds of equipment off of these and the size is amazingly small.

    Last edited by Garry Foster; 02-01-2008 at 02:51 PM.

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