Kohler 1A21 Electric Plant Project - MyTractorForum.com - The Friendliest Tractor Forum and Best Place for Tractor Information
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 92 Old 06-28-2015, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
Super Moderator

 
mrbeef's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 13,093
Barn
Kohler 1A21 Electric Plant Project

Sometimes in life you take chances and buy something that you think might be a cool project… yesterday at an auction I bought two of those projects… one was a pallet full of John Deere E 1.5 hp engine parts… which after a decent amount of digging tells me that I am better off taking the money from selling the parts and putting it towards a working engine. So that project did not pan out.

The second project was really a case of the auctioneer looking at me with him carrying the money at $80 and asking $85 so I said OK… followed not a split second later by “SOLD”…. And the voice in my head going “Eiiiiaaaaaa what have I done” a moment later

So what did I buy? A 1945 Kohler 1A21 Electric plant…… basically an automatic electric plant for on demand power…. This particular one was rumored to have come out of a light house. It operates (when set up correct) by starting when anything plugged into the unit (over 40 watts) is turned on.

36 hours ago I knew nothing about this set up…. Had not even seen one…. But I have really grown fond of it since I bought it.

Hopefully over the next several months I can get it up and running and then make it operate as it should…. Not a huge power generator…. Only 1,500 watts… but it is enough to have fun with.

What I know I have….
1) I have not found any missing parts… yet
2) No leaks
3) Clean oil with no water
4) Full coolant
5) Decent compression
6) 4 working sets of valves
7) No spark
8) Unknown fuel system and carb setup

Hopefully this will be a fun project.














The true test of skill is when you can put something back together and it works... not the dusty half disassembled pile of junk in the corner....

Tractors:
'17 JD 4066R, '08 JD 1445, '07 JD X748, '88 JD 318,'83 JD 214, '74 JD 140, '69 JD 140, 60's Power King, '57 JD 820

The Round Fenders: '67 JD 112H, '67 JD 112H, '67 JD 110H "The Frog", '67 JD 110, '66 JD 110, '65 JD 110, '64 JD 110
Former Machines:
60's Power King, '64 JD 110, '65 JD 110, '65 JD 110, '66 JD 60, '66 JD 110, '66 JD 110, '66 JD 110H, '66 JD 110H, '67 JD 112, '67 JD 112, '69 JD 112, '69 JD 140H3, '69 JD 140H3, '70 JD 112, '72 140 H1, '77 JD 212, '79 JD 212, '80 JD 317, '80 JD 317, '80 JD 317, uk Cushman 898807, '83 JD 318, '84 420, '86 JD 318, '86 JD 420, '87 JD 430, '87 JD 318, '88 JD 318, '88 JD 318, '88 JD 855, '89 JD 318, '90 JD 318, '91 JD 430, uk Cab Cadet 2140, '92 JD 320, '93 JD 320, '96 JD 445, '98 JD 425, '99 JD 3215A, '00 Sabre 2046, '01 JD 455, and '01 LX277


Want to watch a guy fumble through a project where he has no clue what might be next......
Kohler Light Plant

mrbeef is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 92 Old 06-28-2015, 07:05 PM
3K Poster!!!!
 
pctdavis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: PA
Posts: 3,300
Re: Kohler 1A21 Electric Plant Project

Common dude, can I have both pallets? Lol! Both are worth your money I think. Proud of you and mad at you simultaneously.

Red meat is not bad for you. Green FUZZY meat is bad for you!
pctdavis is offline  
post #3 of 92 Old 06-28-2015, 10:33 PM
5000 Strong & Climbing
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Washington
Posts: 5,115
Re: Kohler 1A21 Electric Plant Project

There are quite a few of those 1A21 gensets around. The one I have also has the auto start feature but I don't use it. The genset starts with just a couple flips of the crank. Seldom use it as the little Honda sets are so handy.

You can get a lot of information on the "Smokestack" forum. Look in the generator section. There have been a few threads/posts about these units in this forum over the years as well.

Perkins engines still has manuals and some parts available for the engines.

The problem of no spark can get expensive. Be sure to mark the drive sprocket and hub before removing the magneto so you can get it back in the right spot. There should be a little window in the cap that a white line will line up in. Bring it to the window before removing the mag and reverse the process when putting it back in place. Not uncommon to have the condenser die on these. You can get new points and condensers from your local Car Quest if you have a good counter person.

Mike

A gun and a parachute are much the same. When you need one nothing else will really suffice.
Tencubed is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 92 Old 06-28-2015, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
Super Moderator

 
mrbeef's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 13,093
Barn
Re: Kohler 1A21 Electric Plant Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by pctdavis View Post
Common dude, can I have both pallets? Lol! Both are worth your money I think. Proud of you and mad at you simultaneously.


I was super pumped about the E at first... but the higher the potential bill went the less excited I got.... I was staring at an easy $1200 just in parts (based on eBay and the two or three parts websites that are out there.......

Sorry the electric plant has a home for the moment.... let me get tired of moving the thing around then it might be for sale .... at 500 lbs coupled with its shape it is not easy to roll on the dolly or lift with the forks... lots of slow methodical fork movements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tencubed View Post
There are quite a few of those 1A21 gensets around. The one I have also has the auto start feature but I don't use it. The genset starts with just a couple flips of the crank. Seldom use it as the little Honda sets are so handy.

You can get a lot of information on the "Smokestack" forum. Look in the generator section. There have been a few threads/posts about these units in this forum over the years as well.

Perkins engines still has manuals and some parts available for the engines.

The problem of no spark can get expensive. Be sure to mark the drive sprocket and hub before removing the magneto so you can get it back in the right spot. There should be a little window in the cap that a white line will line up in. Bring it to the window before removing the mag and reverse the process when putting it back in place. Not uncommon to have the condenser die on these. You can get new points and condensers from your local Car Quest if you have a good counter person.

Mike
Thanks Mike,

I have spent a lot of time on Smokestak in the last day.... lots of good threads on there.

I can appreciate the cost of no spark.... before I can really start to figure out the issue I need to have a better understanding on how it works and the testing that I need to do. My no spark issue could be as simple as I disconnected the wrong wire for a manual start.... I think I got it right... think being the key word.... there are also lots of dirty connections and bits and pieces that need to be cleaned...

Goal this week is to make it through a good portion of the manual and to attempt to gain an understanding for the electrical side of the unit since it is integrated with the engine.

For anyone interested here is a cool link to read. Also has a link to a manual.
Light Plants

The true test of skill is when you can put something back together and it works... not the dusty half disassembled pile of junk in the corner....

Tractors:
'17 JD 4066R, '08 JD 1445, '07 JD X748, '88 JD 318,'83 JD 214, '74 JD 140, '69 JD 140, 60's Power King, '57 JD 820

The Round Fenders: '67 JD 112H, '67 JD 112H, '67 JD 110H "The Frog", '67 JD 110, '66 JD 110, '65 JD 110, '64 JD 110
Former Machines:
60's Power King, '64 JD 110, '65 JD 110, '65 JD 110, '66 JD 60, '66 JD 110, '66 JD 110, '66 JD 110H, '66 JD 110H, '67 JD 112, '67 JD 112, '69 JD 112, '69 JD 140H3, '69 JD 140H3, '70 JD 112, '72 140 H1, '77 JD 212, '79 JD 212, '80 JD 317, '80 JD 317, '80 JD 317, uk Cushman 898807, '83 JD 318, '84 420, '86 JD 318, '86 JD 420, '87 JD 430, '87 JD 318, '88 JD 318, '88 JD 318, '88 JD 855, '89 JD 318, '90 JD 318, '91 JD 430, uk Cab Cadet 2140, '92 JD 320, '93 JD 320, '96 JD 445, '98 JD 425, '99 JD 3215A, '00 Sabre 2046, '01 JD 455, and '01 LX277


Want to watch a guy fumble through a project where he has no clue what might be next......
Kohler Light Plant

mrbeef is offline  
post #5 of 92 Old 06-28-2015, 11:34 PM
Hahn Star

 
MikMan48's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Ontario
Posts: 10,106
Re: Kohler 1A21 Electric Plant Project

Great find kyle. Those plants are so cool, my Dad has always wanted one but never have found one or had the need

Looks like it will be fun to follow along best of luck



Challenge Met

Have you met "The Fahn" yet?

https://www.mytractorforum.com/189-o...meet-fahn.html
MikMan48 is offline  
post #6 of 92 Old 06-28-2015, 11:41 PM
3K Poster!!!!
 
QAFarm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Burlington WA
Posts: 3,734
Re: Kohler 1A21 Electric Plant Project

Nice find Mr B. Hope you can get it running correctly and it doesn't turn into my Kohler powered air compressor that's still in the corner lol.

1981 john Deere 317. 1986 John Deere 318
1964 International B414 1982 John Deere 400
10 s cart
26T John Deere sweeper
Model 50 cart
1969 Patio model 80 cart
1982 John Deere 80 cart
1976 John Deere 80 cart


Former equipment. 1979 JD 216 so others can live.
1999 Scott's 46 inch cut
1972 simplicity 3415H w/tiller
1977 JD 214
69 John Deere 112H SF
QAFarm is offline  
post #7 of 92 Old 06-29-2015, 12:18 AM
Re: Kohler 1A21 Electric Plant Project

Hope it works out for you and you get it running and working without having to dump a lot more money in it. Wish I had your energy to keep tackling all these projects.

Just call me Larry
2012 JD X729, 62C deck, 45 loader, 54" front blade, Quick Hitch, Cat 1 3PH, Heavy Hitch. Heavy Hitch Forks. Heavy Hitch Sub Soil Ripper. Heavy Hitch sleeve hitch. 8 JD suitcase weights. 2-50# cast rear wheel weights. 4 home made 63# wheel weights. Front fork frame for 45 loader.

197? Economy Power King Model 1614 with tandem transmissions, hydraulics and 3PH and 48" mower deck.

Thread for 110 RF build https://www.mytractorforum.com/12-john-deere-forum/287161-66-110-rf-rebuild.html


1966 JD 110 RF, 580 TracVac, Home built log splitter, Stihl MS260 Pro Chain Saw,
Stihl BG85 Leaf Blower, Echo GT2400 Weed Whacker, 20KW Generac standby generator.
KWDAILYD is online now  
post #8 of 92 Old 06-29-2015, 12:32 AM
not quins. but sextuplets
 
Whirly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Iowa
Posts: 15,103
Re: Kohler 1A21 Electric Plant Project

COOL dude... now do I see power for ur antique CHRISTMAS lights.. wait... u'll get them at the next auction..


the round fenderd JD's
4-JD 60's.. 2-JD 70's.. 6-JD 100's.. 2-JD 110's.. 2-JD 112's..

3 JD LT 155's.. JD R-72.. JD Scotts 2048.. JD 111.. JD Sabre 1742..
WH RJ-58.. WH Lawn Ranger.. WH 654.. WH 854.. 2- MF 14's..
Craftsman GT 6000.. CC 70.. CC 100.. CC 129..
total tractors is 30..
home built log spliter 4x24 ram.. 20hp.. 11 seconds per cycle..

give a monkey a wrench & he can ruin the world.. whirly 7/27/2018
Whirly is offline  
post #9 of 92 Old 06-29-2015, 01:09 AM
Collector of many tractors

 
Kbeitz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Northeast Pennsylvania
Posts: 15,115
Re: Kohler 1A21 Electric Plant Project

I had one and sold it.... Check it out....

https://www.mytractorforum.com/156-me...-pictures.html


Kbeitz is offline  
post #10 of 92 Old 06-29-2015, 11:57 AM
19 year old JD lover
 
richwoodrocket's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Hamburg, NY
Posts: 2,443
Kohler 1A21 Electric Plant Project

I can't wait to see the finished product. Your video has made me really interested in these.
I never would have expected it to be a four cylinder. I guess that shows how much engines have come since back then.
I'm assuming it runs off of gasoline? Where is the fuel tank?

2012 John Deere X530 w/54 inch edge mower
1980 John Deere 317 (repowered with Honda GX620)
2007 John Deere JS40
2014 Husqvarna 128LD
richwoodrocket is offline  
post #11 of 92 Old 06-29-2015, 01:51 PM
5000 Strong & Climbing
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Washington
Posts: 5,115
Re: Kohler 1A21 Electric Plant Project

One of the nice things about these plants is they only turn at 1800 RPM. The fuel tank is whatever you hook it too. I use an outboard boat tank.

Mike

A gun and a parachute are much the same. When you need one nothing else will really suffice.
Tencubed is offline  
post #12 of 92 Old 07-01-2015, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
Super Moderator

 
mrbeef's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 13,093
Barn
Re: Kohler 1A21 Electric Plant Project

Just a small update. I am about 1/2 way through the manual and starting to understand some of the starting circuits and how I might start to unravel the mystery some. Lots of connections to clean before I can even begin testing everything.... last thing I want is to spend a bunch of money to fix something that was not working because of a bad connection somewhere in the system.

With a little digging around I was able to find a few videos of the light plants at work.

This is a 1E21 plant... mine is a 1A21.... the E stands for emergency so it is hooked inline with the power. Mine is just automatic with no provisions for a power hook up to the grid.



Here is another video of the 1E21.

The true test of skill is when you can put something back together and it works... not the dusty half disassembled pile of junk in the corner....

Tractors:
'17 JD 4066R, '08 JD 1445, '07 JD X748, '88 JD 318,'83 JD 214, '74 JD 140, '69 JD 140, 60's Power King, '57 JD 820

The Round Fenders: '67 JD 112H, '67 JD 112H, '67 JD 110H "The Frog", '67 JD 110, '66 JD 110, '65 JD 110, '64 JD 110
Former Machines:
60's Power King, '64 JD 110, '65 JD 110, '65 JD 110, '66 JD 60, '66 JD 110, '66 JD 110, '66 JD 110H, '66 JD 110H, '67 JD 112, '67 JD 112, '69 JD 112, '69 JD 140H3, '69 JD 140H3, '70 JD 112, '72 140 H1, '77 JD 212, '79 JD 212, '80 JD 317, '80 JD 317, '80 JD 317, uk Cushman 898807, '83 JD 318, '84 420, '86 JD 318, '86 JD 420, '87 JD 430, '87 JD 318, '88 JD 318, '88 JD 318, '88 JD 855, '89 JD 318, '90 JD 318, '91 JD 430, uk Cab Cadet 2140, '92 JD 320, '93 JD 320, '96 JD 445, '98 JD 425, '99 JD 3215A, '00 Sabre 2046, '01 JD 455, and '01 LX277


Want to watch a guy fumble through a project where he has no clue what might be next......
Kohler Light Plant


Last edited by mrbeef; 07-01-2015 at 12:37 PM.
mrbeef is offline  
post #13 of 92 Old 07-02-2015, 12:47 AM
Martian Wx Moderator
 
Mark / Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Central Ohio USA
Posts: 11,506
Barn
Re: Kohler 1A21 Electric Plant Project

Those old power plants have always fascinated me. I did not realize they had the automatic startup on a load or loss of mains power capability on them back then.

Mark -2002 John Deere LT150H
Mark / Ohio is offline  
post #14 of 92 Old 07-05-2015, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
Super Moderator

 
mrbeef's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 13,093
Barn
Re: Kohler 1A21 Electric Plant Project

Since I was cleaning out the garage a little today I figured it would be a good time to poke at the light plant a little more.

Notes for today:
1) Mag has spark again after I cleaned the points.
2) Pulled the spark plugs and there is all kinds of junk in the cylinders. So I will need to do something about that. Does anyone have some thoughts about pulling the head? Even though a head gaskets is some serious $$ if you can find one.
3) Since I am considering taking the head off I figured I should drain the radiator... only one problem... I removed the plug and nothing came out. So I grabbed a pick and was able to poke a hole in the sediment in the line. Luckily there was no coolant in the rad, just straight water and mud. Thought the black was caused by oil at first but there was not evidence of oily residue. So I flushed the radiator for about 15 mins until clear water came out.

Part 2:

The true test of skill is when you can put something back together and it works... not the dusty half disassembled pile of junk in the corner....

Tractors:
'17 JD 4066R, '08 JD 1445, '07 JD X748, '88 JD 318,'83 JD 214, '74 JD 140, '69 JD 140, 60's Power King, '57 JD 820

The Round Fenders: '67 JD 112H, '67 JD 112H, '67 JD 110H "The Frog", '67 JD 110, '66 JD 110, '65 JD 110, '64 JD 110
Former Machines:
60's Power King, '64 JD 110, '65 JD 110, '65 JD 110, '66 JD 60, '66 JD 110, '66 JD 110, '66 JD 110H, '66 JD 110H, '67 JD 112, '67 JD 112, '69 JD 112, '69 JD 140H3, '69 JD 140H3, '70 JD 112, '72 140 H1, '77 JD 212, '79 JD 212, '80 JD 317, '80 JD 317, '80 JD 317, uk Cushman 898807, '83 JD 318, '84 420, '86 JD 318, '86 JD 420, '87 JD 430, '87 JD 318, '88 JD 318, '88 JD 318, '88 JD 855, '89 JD 318, '90 JD 318, '91 JD 430, uk Cab Cadet 2140, '92 JD 320, '93 JD 320, '96 JD 445, '98 JD 425, '99 JD 3215A, '00 Sabre 2046, '01 JD 455, and '01 LX277


Want to watch a guy fumble through a project where he has no clue what might be next......
Kohler Light Plant

mrbeef is offline  
post #15 of 92 Old 07-05-2015, 08:07 AM
3K Poster!!!!
 
pctdavis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: PA
Posts: 3,300
Re: Kohler 1A21 Electric Plant Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbeef View Post
Since I was cleaning out the garage a little today I figured it would be a good time to poke at the light plant a little more.

Notes for today:
1) Mag has spark again after I cleaned the points.
2) Pulled the spark plugs and there is all kinds of junk in the cylinders. So I will need to do something about that. Does anyone have some thoughts about pulling the head? Even though a head gaskets is some serious $$ if you can find one.
3) Since I am considering taking the head off I figured I should drain the radiator... only one problem... I removed the plug and nothing came out. So I grabbed a pick and was able to poke a hole in the sediment in the line. Luckily there was no coolant in the rad, just straight water and mud. Thought the black was caused by oil at first but there was not evidence of oily residue. So I flushed the radiator for about 15 mins until clear water came out.

Part 2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkiD...ature=youtu.be
Looks like a nice paced project. Good work so far. What's the parts support market for stuff like the head gaskets? I'd imagine they should still be somewhat available? I think it sounds like a bit of cleaning wouldn't hurt it, especially with it being liquid cooled (think of my F-14).

Red meat is not bad for you. Green FUZZY meat is bad for you!
pctdavis is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the MyTractorForum.com - The Friendliest Tractor Forum and Best Place for Tractor Information forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in











Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome