This manual is stuffed brimful of the straight skinny on generating electricity at home... direct from the days when hundreds of thousands of rugged individualists did just that.
ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
As you'll remember, we put out an appeal for a Lejay manual
in MOTHER EARTH NEWS Issue 5. Well, no sooner had that number gone to press
than we received the No. 5 issue of Countryside. And what
to our wondering eyes should appear but the very address of
the Lejay Mfg. Co. So we rushed off an order for a couple
copies of their manual and hoped against hope that the
current printing would be as good as the old 1930-something
edition dad used to have.
And it darn near is (only the cover is changed, the
contents seem the same) . . . perhaps because the "current"
edition bears a 1945 copyright! When you've got a good
thing . . .
Now please realize that many of the plans and illustrations
here go back to the 20's or beyond. Some of the ideas are
outdated, the prices quoted are from 1945 and Lejay no
longer handles the parts and kits anyway. On the other
hand, this manual is stuffed brimful of the straight skinny
on generating electricity at home . . . direct from the
days when hundreds of thousands of rugged individualists
did just that.
Wanna know how to build a 110 volt A.C. light plant from a
Ford Model T generator or rewind a Dodge G or GA generator
for home use or make an arc welder or an electric outboard
motor or build your own drill press or construct an
electric scooter or bicycle or set up an electric fence to
keep the rabbits out of the garden? All this and more is in
the Lejay manual for only $1.50. If you're heading off into
the bush somewhere, have a grudge against the electric
company or just want to know how to set up a home
generating plant, this is a darn good practical handbook of
basic information. I know: I was raised with wind
generators and welders right out of the pages of Lejay.
And once you've got that basic information combined with
today's technology (such as automobile alternators which
are much better suited to home light plants than the old
car generators ever were) . . . who knows just what you
might come up with. As a matter of fact, we hope to have
some interesting experiments of our own to report on one of
these days. For now, though, the Lejay handbook is a good
place to start.
Wind Plant Information
Wind power can be harnessed to generate electricity for
lights, radio and power.
The amount of power possible in your locality depends on
the average yearly wind velocity.
Wind velocities vary in different sections of the country.
Average velocities for your location may be obtained from
your State Weather Bureau.
Wind velocities are given daily by the Weather Bureau.
WIND POWER IS FREE.
The equipment for converting the Wind into usable
electricity is your only cost.
Be certain that the plant you choose has a power output
large enough to keep your batteries fully charged at all
times. To determine the size of plant you need, get the
average wind velocity for your location from your Weather
Bureau. Then find a plant with a power rating sufficient to
show a surplus of output over your needs within the time
limit of the proven wind velocity shown by the observations
of the Bureau.
Propellers used on wind plants are of the power type.
Propellers for direct drive are High Speed.
The speed of the propeller changes with the pitch of the
The pitch of the propeller is the angle of the blade away
from a position flat against the wind.
Proper propeller design increases the r.p.m. speed of the
propeller to 3 or 4 times that of the wind velocity.
Propellers are liable to be damaged if allowed to run in
rain, sleet, snow or sand storms. Therefore, all wind
plants should be provided with a positive shut-off.
Centrifugal force increases with the speed in r.p.m.
Gyroscopic action increases with the speed in r.p.m. In
high winds, these actions may cause the propeller to fly
apart, or cause the plant to run out of control, ruining
the generator. Therefore, all wind plants should be
provided with an efficient automatic governor.
Generators geared or belted to the propeller require 25%
more power to operate.
Direct drive propellers in combination with specially wound
slow speed generators eliminate gears and belts. Therefore,
power losses through friction are reduced to a minimum.
Wind velocity is more constant at higher altitudes.
Wind electric plants operate more efficiently at constant
speeds. Therefore, wind plants should be mounted as high
off the ground as is reasonably possible; at least high
enough to clear all surrounding wind obstacles for a
distance of at least 150 feet.
An electric lamp connected directly to a wind plant will
burn out as the speed of the generator increases.
The amperage of the current generated by the wind plant
increases with the speed of the generator, but the voltage
remains constant. Therefore, the current generated by a
wind plant must be run into a storage battery or batteries.
Lamps can be used direct from the plant if all lamps are
turned on to the full capacity of the generator. They will,
however, grow dim during lulls in the wind, and brighten
with the increase in output due to a rise in the wind.
Voltage drop is loss of pressure due to resistance of the
circuit or load.
Line loss is current that is used up in forcing the power
through the connecting wires.
©1945, Lejay Mfg. Co. Reprinted by permission.
Plan 31: A Direct Drive 32 Volt Wind Plant—All Metal
This plant has been designed for the Dodge "G" or "GA"
generators because, being of the four pole type, these
generators are readily adaptable to slow speeds.
The propeller plan gives the full dimensions for laying out
actual size patterns and templates for a 7 foot 0 inch propeller
which is the size recommended for this plant. Note that the
leading edges of the two blades are parallel 5 1/2 inches apart,
and the propeller carries a width of 5 1/2 inches for a distance
of 7 inches on each side of the center. From this point the blade
tapers to a tip width of 4 inches measured from the leadIng edge.
Carefully maintain the 3/32 inches trailing edge for the whole
length of the blade. Note the riser dimensions for
positioning the cross-section heights and widths at the
section lines "A, B, C, D, and E". All tapers from E to the
tip are straight lines and should be laid out with a
straight-edge. The best results may be had with redwood or
straight grained fir,
The propeller hub is a washer of 4" diameter welded to the
helical gear of the generator, or a cast iron hub selected
from the Lejay catalog.
The collector assembly "E," and the generator bracket "A,"
which includes the clamp "B," may be purchased direct from
Lejay factory, but may be home-made as illustrated in Figs
1, 2 3 4 and 5.
The tower is four sided. The corner pieces are 60" long.
The pipe "Y" is 32 1/2 inches long if used with the factory head
assembly, but only 24 inches long if the head is to be home-made.
The length of this pipe is the only necessary change in the
tower construction to adapt it to either the factory head
or the homemade head.
The pipe support collars "K" are of cold rolled steel, 2
3/4 inches in diameter by 1 1/2 inches. A hole is bored in the center
of each collar to provide a tight fit on pipe "Y," which is
a piece of 1 1/2 inch standard pins. Drill 3/3" holes through
tower legs and collars to pass the 3/8 inch x 1 1/2 inch square
head machine bolts "L" which are threaded into the pipe
"Y." The bolt holes are 3/4 inch down from the tops of the
tower legs then the lower bolt holes are 8" below center of
The brass collector ring "O" is a tight fit to the pipe.
Saw a slit in the ring, and by spreading the slit the ring
is slipped over the several layers of varnished cloth and
the bit of electricians' tape which lies under the slit.
Insert the end of the weather-proof wire in this slit and
flow solder over the joint. Clamp the ring while soldering
to make it fit tightly. File the soldered joint smooth.
The lower half of assembly "E" is held in place by a 3/8 inch x
1 inch square head machine bolt which is screwed into pipe "Y."
From 10 ga. band steel 3 inch wide, form the clamps "H " Figs.
1, 2 and 3. The angle irons "R" are 10 inches long, and have a
alight bend, Fig. 3. Pipe "P" is threaded at the top, as is
pipe "Y," to take a lock nut cut from a standard coupling.
This nut holds the head in place.
The main vane has its lower support bolted to the top or
brush half of the "E" assembly in the factory job, The top
support is hung from the clamp "S. The main vane of the
home-built plant has both supports hung from "S" clamps,
Fig. 1. The "S" clamps are fitted to the pipe on which they
The pilot vanes on both plants are identical.
The pull cord on the factory job is anchored to the top
pilot vane support, passes through the pulley "J" on the
top main vane support, through the pulley "Z"
mounted on the "S" clamp of the top support of the main
vane (by means of a small bracket), and then is drawn down
inside pipe "Y."
The pull cord on the home-built plant is anchored to the
main vane top support, passes through pulley "J" which is
mounted on the top pilot vane support, through pulley "Z"
which is mounted directly on the top generator rest "R" and
then down through pipe "P".
On the factory casting of the head assembly stops are
provided at the open and closed positions of the vanes. The
home-built head uses a small chain "F," Fig. 3, to hold the
vanes in the open position. A tension spring connected at
point "D" on the top pilot vane support "W" holds the vanes
at right angles when the pull cord is released. The cord is
of 3/16 inch light stranded flexible cable.
The wiring diagram is clear. and needs no explanation. Much
of the success of the plant depends, however, on the brush
assembly described in Fig. 5. Adjust the wiper arm "N" to
give a good strong contact trough the ring at any position
and provide a strong flexible cable for the connection to
the generator from the fastening bolt in the insulator
block. This circuit is the positive shown is the diagram.
The negative travels through the generator case to the
tower and may be taken off tower at any handy point.
If you desire to run this plant with a governing propeller
there will be no need of a pilot vane. Cut off upper pilot
vane support "W" at a point 1inch beyond where pullout cable
fastens to support. This portion of upper support "W" will
be used as arm for pulling plant in or out of wind. There
will be no lower support "W".
No. A—Cast iron generator bracket with clamp.
No. E—Cast iron collector ring assembly. Includes a
special machined brass wiper brush which is held firmly by
means of tension spring, and insulated with fiber tube.
This rush makes constant contact onto a machined brass ring
which is pressed onto insulated lower casting. Wires are
soldered to wiper and ring so quick connection to battery
and generator can be made. Complete assembly,
No. O—Brass collector ring to fit 1%" pipe-insulation
No. N—Spring brass wiper complete with bakelite M;
drilled and (See catalog for price.)
No. 2M—Coil spring for governing tension
No. 2L—A" copper twist pullout cable. 10 feet for .53
©1945, Lejay Mfg. Co. Reprinted by permission.