Old Power Plant

Please see the pictures below

This is a real working "home built" Power Plant. Just as God and Pelton intended.

Located in the beautiful Western Sierra Nevada Mountains in Central California

The Pelton Water Wheel Company Pelton Wheel is 18 inches in diameter. The date of manufacture is not known. There is a patent date of 1895 on the oil sight glasses that were on the original babbit bearings (see pic and prints). On the case the number 403 appears, and it also says San Francisco, and New York. If you have any idea on the manufacture date, please contact Rob via Email.

The total head on the power plant is 113 Feet (approximately 49 psi). The dynamic head is less as the guage shows 43 psi during plant operation. Total flow is about 350 GPM. Nozzle diameters are 1.062 inches for the main nozzle, and 1 inch for the second nozzle.

The wheel turns at approximately 548 RPM, and the Generator at 1800 RPM.

To regulate speed and frequency, this power plant utilizes load regulation, rather than prime mover regulation. For correct frequency and voltage, there is a John Deere governor (home modified) connected to the shaft of the water wheel. When the speed increases, (load decreasing) the governor switches some lights on to load the plant, and keep the speed down. When the speed slows (load increasing) the governor switches some lights off to keep the speed up. It usually keeps to within less than 1% of variation from 60 cycle on an average. Load regulation before the governor was accomplished by the users in the home regulating the load. An example might be, if you wanted to use the blender, you would need to turn off the fan, etc.

Plant History
This power plant has been in operation since 1939, but the wheel is known to be older than that. There have been improvements over the years. The original (main) penstock was replaced in 1953 with a 6 inch steel screw joint pipe, and a  4 inch PVC penstock and second nozzle were added in 1996, in addition to the main penstock.
The generator has had 3 generations.  The first generator (1939-1965)  was an electric motor, converted by an electrician, with a DC truck generator as an exciter. The second generator (1965-1979) was an Army surplus model with an exciter integral to the unit. The current (1979-present) generator is a self excited 10KW unit, a little oversized for the continuous duty, since the actual plant output is estimated at 4KW continuous. It powers the entire ranch.
In 1994, the babbit bearings were adapted to ball bearings on the Pelton Wheel.
Since the babbit was repoured in 1942, it had run 52 years, 24 hours a day, on the same bearings!

Click the pictures for a larger view

   The Power House

    Side view of the plant

   2nd side view

The Other Side, The Main Penstock, coming in from the top right
Second Nozzle coming in from top left, and Model A Flywheel

Close Up of the John Deere Governor

   With the cover off, getting new bearings

   Second (Owner added) Nozzle (More Power!)

Close Up of The Water Wheel Case

    Pelton Wheel Side View Owner Drawn Print

    Pelton Wheel End View Owner Drawn Print

     Metering (in the house) (beautiful product)

The original (1939) Generator and Exciter, converted from a motor

     The Second Generation Army Surplus Generator (and original water wheel bearings)

Diversion, and beginning of the flume to the head tank

More of the 900 foot long Flume

The Trash Sweeper at the Head Tank (powered by boat propeller)

Close Up of Drive Mechanism for Trash Sweeper

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