Edison Era Elevator Motors Still Running

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Glenn Holland, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. Glenn Holland

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Dec 26, 2014
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    There are quite a few old fashioned elevators that are still equipped with their original DC motors.

    Note the construction of these motors resemble those in Edison's drawings and the illustrations in physics books.

    Antique Elevator 2.jpg Antique Elevator 1.jpg
     
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  2. GopherT

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    Nov 23, 2012
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    If you ever make it to Pittsburgh (the Pittsburgh with an "h"), you'll see this marvel, running about 6x per hour. Built in 1877.



    The motors look similar and the big gear is cast iron with wooden (maple) teeth.

    The round trip ride is $5 but the self-guided tour below for $1 is the best part (bring quarters). You can park low or high to start your round trip.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duquesne_Incline

    If you don't like this one, there is a second one about 2-miles east.
     
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  3. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
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    One of the building I worked in had one of those motors on the freight elevator, it never had problems. The ones that had a newer style motor on the other hand...
     
  4. mtonge

    Member

    Apr 19, 2016
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    Engineered and built to last. That's what 'Made in USA' is supposed to mean. Organizational behavior has changed, and profits are the ultimate goal of modern capitalism. Adam Smith is rolling in his grave. Where has pride of workmanship gone?
     
  5. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Optimization. Whether it is business process optimization, manufacturing optimization, weight optimization, cost, ...

    Those damn engineers always have to diddle with something....
     
  6. tcmtech

    Distinguished Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    The problem now is everything is designed to fail because selling parts and service ing things is where companies make all the money.

    The majority of people wont spend the money to have a high quality well built device now but they are all too happy to spend way more over a longer period of time in operating costs with a cheap inferior design in operational costs over its lifetime than what the one well built unit would have cost.

    I see that all the time with farming equipment now. Everything is junk on the actual build quality and durability aspects. Around here it's common to find tractors and other machinery from the 1960's and older that are still running on all major engine and driveline components with 10,000 - 20,000 hours of long hard used lives.

    The newest stuff rarely hits 2000 - 3000 hours run time now without major breakdowns in those mechanisms.

    One of our old tractors is a 1950's IH 560D diesel and back in its day it was well known for having a 'weak engine design' because it was only good for 6000 - 8000 running hours before needing major rebuild which kits for them today only run about $1500 -1800 for full overhaul.

    Now the modern good tractor is good for 1/3 - 1/2 that and costs over 10x that on a similar rebuild. We have two 1980's tractors that both have just short of 3000 hours on them and both came with new low hour engines in them when we bought them and thats considered normal life expectancy now.
     
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  7. takao21203

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    Apr 28, 2012
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    Bad USB yokes and sockets
     
  8. jpanhalt

    Expert

    Jan 18, 2008
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    I have no experience with the DC motors, but AC motors of the boat-anchor class are the very best for converting single phase to three phase. The do weight a lot.

    John
     
  9. RichardO

    Late Member

    May 4, 2013
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    I remember reading in the "They Are Still Here" column of American Heritage of Invention and Technology magazine about a machine shop that still used motors that ran at something like 25 Hz. The power company was required to supply power to them as long as they stayed in use.
     
  10. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    SEPTA still operating on 25 Hz
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SEPTA's_25_Hz_traction_power_system

    Amtrak still operating on 25 Hz
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amtrak's_25_Hz_traction_power_system

    Safe Harbor Dam - still generating 25 Hz for two railroads...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safe_Harbor_Dam
     
  11. RichardO

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    May 4, 2013
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    Interesting links. :D

    If I remember right the machine shop was in New York City. The power company probably was running a motor generator set just for the machine shop.
     
  12. cmartinez

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    Jan 17, 2007
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    What were the advantages of switching to 60 Hz then?
     
  13. MaxHeadRoom

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    Jul 18, 2013
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    Electrical transmission, induction motor design, voltage conversion (transformer etc).
    Max.
     
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  14. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    A transformer at 30Hz is about 2x bigger than a 60Hz transformer.

    Even incandescent lights have a visible flicker at 30Hz - especially when in your peripheral vision.

    The caps in any DC power supply have to be much bigger for the same load regulation of the same load.
     
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  15. cmartinez

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    Jan 17, 2007
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    Which begs the question, why not a higher frequency than 60 Hz then?

    I'm guessing that the answer lies in the number of windings needed in a generator... which would in turn make it more expensive to fabricate
     
  16. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    The aircraft industry uses 400Hz to save on weight and size, however the down side is it is less efficient than the 60Hz version.
    Max.
     
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  17. cmartinez

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    Jan 17, 2007
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    So the 30Hz version of a motor would be even more efficient? o_O

    My question is directed at: what would be the perfect frequency for today's industry, if standards were to be redefined?
     
  18. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

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    As mentioned, lower freq causes lamp flicker, especially now in the advent of florescent light.
    I think I mentioned this before, when I worked in the electrical industry in the UK, I remember the introduction of fluorescent light in the workplace etc.
    It was found early fixtures exhibited a barely detectable 50Hz flicker, when banks of florescent fixtures were installed in machine shops, the stroboscopic effect on milling machine tool tooling gave the impression of a stationary spindle.
    The result was some lost fingers due to this, the correction for this was the banks were then wired across 3 phases, reducing or eliminating the effect.
    Max.
     
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  19. RichardO

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    May 4, 2013
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  20. Glenn Holland

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Dec 26, 2014
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    Here's a link to the history of Llewellyn Iron Works which was one of the largest elevator manufacturers in Los Angeles between the 1920s and late 40s:

    https://archive.org/details/Elevators_46

    Llewellyn operated an iron and bronze foundry that built the mechanical components of the elevator and Westinghouse provided the motors. However, the company evolved from pure mechanical fabrication into a complete elevator builder including control system engineering and it also designed variable speed DC drives using generator field control.

    I believe Westinghouse bought Llewellyn's elevator division and that's how Westinghouse got in the national elevator business.
     
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