A wall of Dials and Gauges….DeCoded!

Generator Control Panel, Patos Lighthouse mid 1950’s

In my previous post, I mentioned a young man who was very interested in one of our photos taken by Coast Guard Officer, Dale Nelson, stationed on Patos Island in the 1950s.

We have received a descriptive email about the panel, so without further ado, here is the description of the photograph:

Description of Generator Control Panels and gauges Patos lighthouse.

The top row of three gauges are Current Meters showing amps in each phase.

The second from the top shows three gauges, the one on our left is unknown (PF?), the center is voltage, the one on our right is unknown (VAR?).

The third row from the top has a gauge likely Exciter Voltage , the center is likely a selector switch for the volt meter above it with the following positions A-GND, B-GND, C-GND, A-B, B-C, and C-A, and on our right a gauge possibly Exciter Current.

The fourth row has a rheostat for the exciter which controls generator voltage, the center meter is a reed frequency meter and the dial on the right is likely governor control.

The fifth row has three synchronizing lamps.

The sixth row has two toggle switches. The one on our left is likely for selecting manual voltage control or automatic voltage control. The one on our right is likely for selecting manual governor control or automatic.

The seventh row has the cabinet door handle, the Generator main breaker, nameplate and a 50/51 protective relay with target showing (the three red stripes).

The bottom section is likely a battery charger with voltage and current meters. It appears to have been recently upgraded possibly to a system using the latest, for the 1950’s, Germanium Power Diodes.

A big thank you to lighthouse visitor, Jeff Brown, for this valuable information! Jeff does want to add that, “…. point out it is a work in progress and encourage anyone recognizing the equipment in the photos or familiar with Lighthouse power systems to make contact.”



2 comments on “A wall of Dials and Gauges….DeCoded!

  1. Oliver Shuskey says:

    Toggle switches serve a very crucial and specific purpose. It can be defined scientifically as a mechanical device that permits or does not permit the flow of current in the circuit. The switch usually has two positions which is on and off. In a normal toggle switch, when the switch is on , the circuit remains intact and there is proper flow of current whereas when it is off there is no current flow as the circuit is incomplete. The switch has a different shape and has two arms which are inline and connected with the help of a pivot. This pivot creates a positive instant action or snap action as it is termed getting two arms in contact when the switch is turned on..

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