[X001M2AJ], Letter from Wilson Stout Howell to Harrisburg Electric Light Co, Elias Z Wallower, June 30th, 1888


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[X001M2AJ], Letter from Wilson Stout Howell to Harrisburg Electric Light Co, Elias Z Wallower, June 30th, 1888

Editor's Notes

Dear Sir:-- In compliance with your request I have inspected the plant of the Harrisburg Electric Light Company of which I submit the following report. The in your feeder was found to befrom 8 to 9 volts with a load of 725 amperes. The loss on the mains being from 2 to 3 volts at the same time. A total loss of from 10 to 12 volts for that load, with 116 to 117 volts at bus, 108 to 109 at feeder ends and 104 to 107 at lamps. One side ranging about one volt below the other. The total load could not be ascertained accurately because the neutral ampere meter was so badly out of adjustment as to be totally unreliable. The load was 725 amperes on main ampere meter, B side and not much heavier on the A side. The mains supplied by feeders Nos. 1,2,3, and 4 are fairly well bridged between feeding points. Although much improvement can be effected by increasing the size of some of the mains which act as bridge notable in Dewberry Alley between Market Street and Blackberry Ave., and on Court Avenue crossing Market Street and on 3rd., from Walnut to Market Sts. # # Feeder No. 5 serving the Capital is independent, its mains having no connection with other mains. ##Feedrs Nos. 6 and 7 are bridged to each other but are independent [doesn't continue on next page] ##The normal E.M.F. of lamps used is 104 and 105 volts, the lowest pressure found, at the lamp, being 105 volts and the highest 109 the difference of 6 volts being made by loss on service and house wiring. ##The reading of 103 volts being taken in Lochiel Hotel reading room at 7:47 P.M. when all lamps were in use and the reading of 109 being had at 8:20 PM in Adlers store close to No. 2. (standard) feeder, where no lamps were in use, the A side being 109 and the B side 108 volts at that time. While the E.M.F. in Lochiel reading room was 103 1-2 and 104 it was 106 and 106 1-2 at point where service enters the building showing a drop of 2 1-2 volts on the house wiring. During a test of more than an hour duration the volt meter being in circuit constantly and every change of E.M.F. recorded, the highest reading was 105 1-2 and the lowest 102 1-2 both of which were momentary, and but once noticed, the average being 103 to 105 of a range of only 2 volts which included change of regulation at station and alterations of balance on lines and is exceptionally good regulation, remarkable in face of the fact that the regulation was all done on Standard (No. 2) feeder without use of equalizers and leads me to believe that your system, if helped out by heavier bridges, can be operated without equalizers on on feeders Nos. 1,2,3 and 4 probably with only one equalizer and that one on the Capital feeder. ##The arrangement and location of your regulating apparatus is faulty. ##The entire apparatus, indicators and regulators, should be treated as one part of the plant and placed so as to be seen and operated from one point and by one man. Such an arrangement can be had in your [cut off at bottom of page] that it would be almost perfect with a better arrangement of apparately and heavier bridges. ##Your pressure indicators not being connected it was impossible for me to make simultaneous comparison of all feeder ends, the method adopted bieng to take constant readings of E.M.F. on omnibus wires in state while similar readings were being taken at points nearest feeder ends and comparing the results afterwards. This gave us from 7 to 11 volts drop between the bus and lamp nearest feeder end, which includes loss in service and house wiring and is good. The pressure indicators have been removed from their old location and placed within easy reading distance of the equalizers. If the dynamo regulators can be located where the equalizers now stand, the while indicating and regulating apparatus will then be massed at one point which will greatly facilitated its operation. Your main and neutral ampere meters require attention, the main ampere meter because it will not read above 1000 amperes which limit was passed last winter, since then many lamps and some motors have been added, the neutral ampere metere is badly out of order and does not indicate with any degree of accuracy. This type of ampere meter (No. V. 6) in unreliable and is fit for little except to adorn a scrap heap. I should be replaced by a No. 467 ampere meter from which a single large neutral wire should be run direct to the cupola instead of as in usual practice, being solit into a number of separate wires one of which runs to each feeder end, making as many neutrals going out of neutral ampere meter as there are feeders in the system. One large neutral feeder starting at the bus and branching to each feeder end, would answer every purpose of the eleven large neutral war which now burden your poles, saving enough large copper wires to build heavy bridges and to reinforce small mains, all of which would materially increase the present capacity of your conductors and greatly improve your distribution. It would increase the pressure in some of the low spots and materially help to render the use of equalizers unnecessary. The condition of your outside lines is uch as to demand some effort to improve them before the winter storms arrive. Many of the poles are overweighted and on some sharp corners are becoming dangerous. The breaking of a pin or an arm, or the parting of a guy wire during an ordinary storm would shut down the station. The worst part of your line is in Tanners and Aberdeen Alleys. This line carried all the heavy feeders, all pressure wires and one set of mains besides guard wires and are lines. I see no remedy so sure and so safe as the substitution of under ground feeders on this line. If Nos. 1,2,3 and 4 feeders were laid undergound, using some first class continuous cable, leaving the neutral feeder wire on the poles, layinging only the two outside wires below ground your poles would be relieved of undue strain and be in good shape, the present frequency of heavy crosses and short circuits would disappear your "trouble" and consequent repairs be reduced and a feeling of relief and security experienced which would of itself be considerable of a dividend to your management and operatives, besides the actual saving of extra repairs in case of breakdowns, burnouts, extinguishments and the like resulting from heavy wires being crossed. ##The condition of your commutators and brushes is very bad, I never [cut off by bottom of page] and repairs to commutators) and, I am informed, that the whole trouble arises from the frequency of heavy short circuits, that the machines have good attention and much time is spent on brushes and commutators but that the work is all undone by crosses on the line. It is my opinion that the commutator of the No. 20 dynamo is too short and of too small diameter, that six inches more added to its length would allow two more brushes to be used and if larger in diameter the brush would cover but two bars of the commutor and would run with less sparking. Compared with the No. 12 dynamo its commutator and brushes are not sufficiently large. ##The general condition of your station is crowded, difficult of quick operation of rapid changing of engines and dynamos, uncomfortablely hot and poorly ventilated. Equipment firstlass but arrangement faulty. ##The handling of the dynamos could be improved by adding a dynamo changing galvanometer. A balance indicator would be a valuable help in case either standard indicator became disabled or got out of adjustment. ##I would especially recommend in ordering motors you should specicify that only 220 volt motors be snet and it would be wise to refuse to serve current to any new applicants, if motors (except those of less than 1-2 HP) are wound for a lower E.M.F (Image 5 of 6 last full paragraph)




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Thomas A. Edison Papers, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University
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