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Hudsy Wudsy

Would any of you care to speculate on this item?

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Here's a vintage generator/welder for sale in northern WI. It's built from a flathead six engine (possibly Dodge truck or Chrysler indutrial, because it may have a Stromberg carb on it). Yes, we here in the north do have to occasionally deal with frozen pipes, but how do you folks imagine that this might have been specifically employed?

http://northernwi.craigslist.org/pts/4362677146.html

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Is that a governor under the carb?

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Yes. That is a vacuum governor. Does not look Chrysler industrial to me. I believe it is a 6 Cylinder Ford flathead. Compare it to this...

http://restoreyourford.com/6cylgparts.shtml

Also this... http://classictrucks.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/1948_ford_Pickup_022.jpg

226 CDI. 1941 to 1947. Thinking also that the welder/ generator end may be Westinghouse. Dandy Dave!

Edited by Dandy Dave (see edit history)

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Sorry, Dandy Dave, but I don't have any pictures of it other than what's in the ad -- I'm not the one who is selling it. I see that there's is also a curious heat box-like thing on the front of the exhaust manifold.

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"how do you folks imagine that this might have been specifically employed?"

I imagine it might have been employed as a generator. it does not look like a welder. If I had to make a wild guess I would say it may have come from a ski resort that did not have access to the power grid, or a lumber camp, farm or similar enterprise.

Later...................

The above was posted before I read the ad. Using electricity to thaw out pipes is common. On the farm we would use a stick welder. Connect one wire to each end of a frozen pipe and turn on the juice, water will start to flow in a minute. Of course this only works if the pipes are copper or iron, not plastic.

I can totally see how they would use a machine like that to thaw out frozen water mains.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

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Yeah Rusty, you could be right. No welding leads or rheostat. It does have an exciter on the end. Likely to put out AC. The unit looks like a Westinghouse. I've added some info above. Engine is a 223 Ford flathead. Dandy Dave!

Edited by Dandy Dave (see edit history)

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If I needed a generator I would buy that one. Properly refurbished, it would outperform and outlast anything you can buy today, for a fraction of the money.

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Thank you guys for the education. I freely admit that I don't understand as much as I would like to about electricity. I briefly thought that it could be applied directly to a section of frozen pipe, but then imagined that would draw too much current and burn out the generator. I always learn things on this site.

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Am I correct. Is the gas tank mounted over the generator and near the exhaust? Hope there is no leak.

John

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Hudsy Wudsy, I have a somewhat different take on this unit. I agree that it was probably an AC power unit; one can see a gauge on one of the panels,, and as you guys mentioned, it is probably finely governed to provide constant output based on load. I love to speculate, but I find it very doubtful someone would go to this much trouble for the dedicated purpose of thawing frozen pipes. It is also, judging by its physical size, true overkill for that purpose. I find it likely that it was used on a concrete pad or smooth surface, due to the small cast iron wheels. Gas tank looks about right for a night's usage, so it may have been a Light plant for lighting, but I am thinking they had it on emergency standby for something that might be temperature dependent, e.g., if refrigeration failed. Whatever it waa essential for, my guess is that it was in the vicinity of personnel at work who could start it up, because it does not appear to have automated start circuits. I would make a bad guess that this unit would be 10-20 Kilowatts, which is quite a string of lights! I presume the muffler is simply missing. If not, it may have been of service in an environment that was very noisy. You asked for speculation...maybe it was a power unit for a traveling amusement park. HO!

Perry

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Well, open mouth, insert speculative foot! I did not notice the ad link, where it says it was a pipe-thawing machine. Perry

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Thank you guys for the education. I freely admit that I don't understand as much as I would like to about electricity. I briefly thought that it could be applied directly to a section of frozen pipe, but then imagined that would draw too much current and burn out the generator. I always learn things on this site.

You would think so. But I have seen welders used for the purpose. Can only assume that if the pipe is long enough it has resistance like an electric heater. Also, it would only be used for a few minutes at a time, in sub freezing weather which would keep it from overheating.

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I have never seen a detacheable L-head Ford six out here, but I was aware that they were made. But look at the top tank of the radiator, which to me is typical Ford of that era; even though the core has much greater surface area than for a truck.

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"I find it very doubtful someone would go to this much trouble for the dedicated purpose of thawing frozen pipes"

So what would you do? Suppose you are in charge of maintenance for a city utility in a northern state. You get complaints of frozen pipes when there is a severe frost, like below zero for a week. Your customers have no water and are yelling like hell. Winter won't be over for months. What do you do?

When I saw an arc welder used to thaw out frozen pipes it was like magic, so quick and simple. I can easily see where a public utility could have a portable generator on a truck or trailer for this purpose.

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"I find it very doubtful someone would go to this much trouble for the dedicated purpose of thawing frozen pipes"

So what would you do? Suppose you are in charge of maintenance for a city utility in a northern state. You get complaints of frozen pipes when there is a severe frost, like below zero for a week. Your customers have no water and are yelling like hell. Winter won't be over for months. What do you do?

When I saw an arc welder used to thaw out frozen pipes it was like magic, so quick and simple. I can easily see where a public utility could have a portable generator on a truck or trailer for this purpose.

Yes, Rusty -- I seem to have stuck my foot in my mouth, as it is apparently documented that this unit was precisely for the purpose of thawing pipes. I was slow to see the CL ad! However, my point in saying what I did was based on the observation that most welders have outputs, I believe, of 24 volts. 200 Amps is often the upper range of the output current. It has been along time since we had a 40-50 minus cold snap here, but as I recall when AC-sourced welders were used to thaw pipes,the amp setting needed only to be 100 amps or so. This was for household thawing, as the supply pipes were generally deep enough that they did not freeze (plus the multitude of users on the supply pipe kept the water in motion by the usage of the of water). But my main point here is I find it hard to fathom that someone would go the trouble of creating a gas-hog flat six with dubious portability, when they could simply buy an AC sourced welder and a quality extension cord to more economically accomplish the same purpose.! These are a few of the reasons I was tasting my toes with my tongue! If I were the maintenance supervisor in the scenario proffered, I would simply call my road and bridge department and send a welder to the frozen scene. By necessity, they usually have a maintenance truck(s) with a welder that has long leads. Also, time is, as I recall, of the essence. Usually cannot afford any extended period of frozen pipes or disastrous breakage of pipe occurs. A few hours usually accomplishes that, once the water freezes. Speculatively yours, Perry

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And where would they plug in the welder? Wouldn't they need a gas powered welder or generator?

Yes, they would need a portable welder, in the absence of a 220V plug for a smaller so-called "AC welder" (rather a misnomer). Generally, the

maintenance trucks already have portable welders with lots of lead length. I reckon, anyway.

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Many welders have a, "Continuous Duty Setting." This is the setting you use to thaw out frozen water pipes without burning out the windings in the welder. Look at an old Lincoln buzz box sometime and you will see a setting that is different than all the others. If memory serves me right, it is around 75 Amps and it is Circled. Dandy Dave!

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