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Originally posted by inspecmoore

Has anyone seen one of these? It was located in the kitchen of a house that was built in 1940. It was still operational, but I was not sure what it's purpose was. Powerstat was written on the face.

As John pointed out, it's a variable autotransformer. It would have been used for dimming lights or anything else that relies on variable voltage (such as a DC motor). It would not have been used on an AC motor.

How do you know that it was still operational if you don't know what it controlled?

Look for a largeish bank of lights or a DC motor.

Auto transformers are robust and long lived, but they do eventually break down when the insulation on the windings fails. At that point, you'll just get line voltage all the time, no matter where the brushes are on the coil.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by inspecmoore

Has anyone seen one of these? It was located in the kitchen of a house that was built in 1940. It was still operational, but I was not sure what it's purpose was. Powerstat was written on the face.

As John pointed out, it's a variable autotransformer. It would have been used for dimming lights or anything else that relies on variable voltage (such as a DC motor). It would not have been used on an AC motor.

How do you know that it was still operational if you don't know what it controlled?

Look for a largeish bank of lights or a DC motor.

Auto transformers are robust and long lived, but they do eventually break down when the insulation on the windings fails. At that point, you'll just get line voltage all the time, no matter where the brushes are on the coil.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

I couldn't find anyhting which was operated by the powerstat, it could be turned on by a push button switch on the other side of the wall, and the bulb at the bottom right hand corner would get brighter as the dial was turned to the right. I talked to an electrician friend of mine who thought it probably controlled a fan or vent which was no long in place.

Thanks for the replies.

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Originally posted by inspecmoore

I couldn't find anyhting which was operated by the powerstat, it could be turned on by a push button switch on the other side of the wall, and the bulb at the bottom right hand corner would get brighter as the dial was turned to the right. I talked to an electrician friend of mine who thought it probably controlled a fan or vent which was no long in place.

Thanks for the replies.

It probably didn't control a fan. That thing varies the voltage, so if you tried to connect it to an AC motor load, you'd destroy the motor pretty fast.

If we're talking motors, you'd use this kind of dimmer for a DC motor that you wanted very fine control of over a broad range. It would be good for a model railroad or a winch or something like that.

However, in a 1940s kitchen, it's more likely that it controls some sort of fairly heavy resistance load. Think along the lines of a bank of lights or a stand-alone broiler coil.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Jim,

Did you check out the link that John Ghent posted above? It looks like some of those were designed to run DC loads and others to run AC loads.

OT - OF!!!

M.

Where did you find that? I don't see it.

- Jim Katen

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Tim, I tried to send this as a private message as it is a bit off topic but couldn't figure how to load the picture. I found this dishwasher, possibly designed by a former Evinrude engineer, in a state of the art 1957 kitchen just west of Hotchkiss. It was the only thing in the kitchen that didn't work.

Originally posted by inspecmoore

Has anyone seen one of these? It was located in the kitchen of a house that was built in 1940. It was still operational, but I was not sure what it's purpose was. Powerstat was written on the face.

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Hi I hope someone can help me with my question. I want to know

what the whattage a dryer should be when connected to a

double breaker that has 30 writen on each side of it . I need to know and cannot seem to get a straight answer out of any electrican. My dryer I have does not have the whattage writen on it and it keeps poping the breaker after 20 minutes? Please help!

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Hi,

If it's popping the breaker, you're exceeding 7200 watts. Seems like a lot but I don't know much about your dryer. Do a google search for the brand and model of your dryer and try to find an owner's manual online where the specifications will be listed. If it's supposed to be pulling less than 7200 watts get it fixed. If more, get the size of that breaker increased.

Note: I can't remember seeing a dryer that uses more than 30 amps so my money is on there being a problem there.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by sam1313

Hi I hope someone can help me with my question. I want to know

what the whattage a dryer should be when connected to a

double breaker that has 30 writen on each side of it . I need to know and cannot seem to get a straight answer out of any electrican. My dryer I have does not have the whattage writen on it and it keeps poping the breaker after 20 minutes? Please help!

A clothes dryer is not considered a continuous load, so if it's fed from a 30-amp breaker, the dryer can draw 30 amps. (Watts equals volts times amps so that would be 7200 watts.)

However, I've never heard of a dryer that draws that much. Most will draw in the low 5000 watt range. (I just measured mine, it draws 5,280 watts -- oddly thats the same number of feet in a mile . . . )

If your 30-amp breaker is tripping, something's wrong.

Is the circuit wired with a #10 copper wire?

How long has this been happening?

Is is a new problem?

Have you tried having an electrician simply replace the breaker? Breakers sometimes trip below their threshold as they age.

-Jim in Oregon

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