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  1. #1
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    Default Bringing an old generator back to life

    Made up this video of a surplus generator I recently bought at auction, made some minor repairs, did a little maintenance, and started up. Figured there are probably a few wrench-turners in here like me that like to see that kind of stuff...

    Military surplus generator repair, and first start after years of sitting - YouTube

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Bob Rooks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bringing an old generator back to life

    Nicely done.
    Sounds like a 1,200 r/m engine, what make?
    Only thing I would have done differently (if it were mine to use) is to megger the generator windings before loading it, and install a new air filter.
    I believe that oil filter is only a partial flow, not a full flow - priming not necessary.

    I have a 12kW Onan DJC that I'm going to light off next week that's been sitting outside for a few years. Hope it will be as easy. I'm going to "bake" the windings first though.
    Last edited by Bob Rooks; 11-01-2011 at 03:37 AM.
    Yuchai YCT dozer, Mustang 2040 skid steer, Mitsubishi MS035 Mini-Ex, Trimble equipped 7' Dual Dozer, and a LiTW BH7600 back hoe for sale.

  3. #3
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    East Texas, USA
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    Kubota Grand L4740, B2400 and F2680

    Default Re: Bringing an old generator back to life

    Interesting post.

    I looked at those ex-military generators a while back but since I'm no genny expert, I decided it was too much like buying a "pig in a poke". Very seldom do any come up for auction within reasonable driving distance of me and I didn't know where to track down spares and replacement parts. There's a lot of information on the web but not enough to make me feel comfortable about purchasing one.

    I still would like to pick up a a 10kW, 1/3 phase switchable diesel set with a sound enclosure one of these days but darn, they're starting to get expensive and if you track one down that's already been refurbished, the price doubles.

    If I was a more competent wrench turner, this would make a good winter project. If I ever do dive in, your video will be good reference material. Thank you.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bringing an old generator back to life

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Rooks View Post
    Nicely done.
    Sounds like a 1,200 r/m engine, what make?
    Only thing I would have done differently (if it were mine to use) is to megger the generator windings before loading it, and install a new air filter.
    I believe that oil filter is only a partial flow, not a full flow - priming not necessary.

    I have a 12kW Onan DJC that I'm going to light off next week that's been sitting outside for a few years. Hope it will be as easy. I'm going to "bake" the windings first though.
    Wow! Good ear...it's actually 1800 RPM @ 60Hz (4 pole generator head), but it was running a little under 50Hz in the video (so a little under 1500 RPM). It is manufactured by white engines; uses a Stanadyne injection pump. 41HP at 1600 RPM.
    Your comment about meggering the windings brings back memories of an electrician that I knew who enjoyed hitting a small capacitor with a megger and tossing it at the unsuspecting newbie with a casual, "here, catch!"
    I don't own a megger, so that step gets skipped. However, I have yet to run into a generator head on one of these MEP's that has any kind of internal damage, and I do look at all 3 phases waveforms with my oscilloscope when I do the load test.
    I do change all of the fluids and filters after the load test (including the air filter); offers me the chance to inspect the elements for debris, metal particles, rust, etc.
    Thanks for the tip on the oil filter...hadn't thought about that possibility. I'll check to see if it is full flow or not. I do know that the cannister is under a very high pressure (I believe full pressure from the oil pump)...I had a broken fitting on one once that pumped several quarts of oil out in just a second or two.

    Good luck with your Onan set!

    Quote Originally Posted by EastTexFrank View Post
    Interesting post.

    I looked at those ex-military generators a while back but since I'm no genny expert, I decided it was too much like buying a "pig in a poke". Very seldom do any come up for auction within reasonable driving distance of me and I didn't know where to track down spares and replacement parts. There's a lot of information on the web but not enough to make me feel comfortable about purchasing one.

    I still would like to pick up a a 10kW, 1/3 phase switchable diesel set with a sound enclosure one of these days but darn, they're starting to get expensive and if you track one down that's already been refurbished, the price doubles.

    If I was a more competent wrench turner, this would make a good winter project. If I ever do dive in, your video will be good reference material. Thank you.
    The 10kW set you are describing is the MEP-003a; I have repaired several of those. I currently have one installed in my tool trailer, set up with auto start using a PLC. They're great little machines; very reliable and extremely fuel efficient! Parts aren't as hard to come by as you might think...glow plugs/manifold heaters are available over the counter at my local Napa, same goes for fuel, oil, and air filters. I have replaced and/or repaired a few injection pumps (available directly from Bosch). The electrical system is quite robust and easy for a competent electrician to work on...I've never run into an electrical issue on one that I couldn't repair. The biggest weakness on the MEP-003a (in my opinion) is its voltage regulator...it will work fine forever even under overload, until you idle the set. A few minutes running at idle will cause a transistor to burn out on the board. Cheap and easily repairable/replaceable, but it can waste some time if you don't know what you're looking for.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bringing an old generator back to life

    Quote Originally Posted by sewerzuk View Post
    I currently have one installed in my tool trailer, set up with auto start using a PLC.
    Thanks again for the program. I hope to be using it come spring.

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bringing an old generator back to life

    Quote Originally Posted by aczlan View Post
    Thanks again for the program. I hope to be using it come spring.

    Aaron Z
    No problem; hope you're able to use it!
    I plan to post some more detailed schematics, connection points, etc. when I get the chance...
    I have some plans to auto-start a few more of these sets; I'll post details on those as I complete them.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Bob Rooks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bringing an old generator back to life

    Got mine going yesterday. Fired right up.

    Onan DJC.3gp - YouTube
    Yuchai YCT dozer, Mustang 2040 skid steer, Mitsubishi MS035 Mini-Ex, Trimble equipped 7' Dual Dozer, and a LiTW BH7600 back hoe for sale.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bringing an old generator back to life

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Rooks View Post
    Got mine going yesterday. Fired right up.

    Onan DJC.3gp - YouTube
    Nice work!
    Amazed at how similar those DJC's are to the MEP-003a sets.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bringing an old generator back to life

    Quote Originally Posted by sewerzuk View Post
    Nice work!
    Amazed at how similar those DJC's are to the MEP-003a sets.
    Looks like Uncle Sam sprung for better instrumentation though...
    Still on the fence, but I keep coming back to getting a MEP-002 or MEP-003 when I look at what a comparable civilian genset costs.

    Nothing happening this year though. Too busy with the new house (got to test the dump wagon this afternoon. It is the cats meow for moving manure from a horse stall that hadn't been cleaned out in 2+ years).

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Bob Rooks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bringing an old generator back to life

    Quote Originally Posted by sewerzuk View Post
    Nice work!
    Amazed at how similar those DJC's are to the MEP-003a sets.
    Actually, aren't they the same except for the camo and the enclosure? Not sure tho...
    Yuchai YCT dozer, Mustang 2040 skid steer, Mitsubishi MS035 Mini-Ex, Trimble equipped 7' Dual Dozer, and a LiTW BH7600 back hoe for sale.

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