I Saw The light!

| June/July 1997


505 24th Street NW Minot, North Dakota 58703

It must have been five or six years ago while I was at a local threshing show that a man was 'checking out' some of my restored engines I had on display. He commented on the nice paint jobs and how good they ran. We talked about all the work that is involved in getting some of these old engines in running order. He was attracted to a small air cooled engine of Fairbanks Morse design and indicated that he had something similar with a generator mounted on it. He told me that if I was interested in it I could come and get it.

I guess I am a sucker for something free. It didn't take me long to get to his farm a few days after the show. We went looking for the generator unit and found it in a cluttered old work shop. Although the unit appeared to be complete, it had been neglected over the years. It had been exposed to a lot of moisture, and the electrical components were corroded and in sad shape. I was somewhat discouraged as I felt the relay coils were ruined and that it would be almost impossible to find replacements.

Of course I accepted the unit in good faith and promised the farmer I would make every effort to get the unit restored.

Once the unit was in my shop I did some further investigating. I was very concerned about the moisture damage, but I was also anxious to find out the condition of the little engine. With very little work, my friend Joe Hambeck and I had the engine running. It ran fine but there was no output from the generator. At least now I knew the engine was in good shape. At this point, I had other old engine projects that had priority and I put the generator unit back in the corner out of the way.

Two years later, while at a flea market, I found an original manual for the unit I have. I couldn't believe it, and for $2.00 I took the book home with me. Now, at this point I was beginning to see the light. I was excited now that I had a wiring diagram and a parts breakdown to follow. I read the book from cover to cover and made a plan of attack on the old generator unit.