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Battery charging thingy.

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It's what it says on the tin: Switchboard, Charging, 1260 Watt, No.1 :-D


It's the control unit used with several of the 1260 watt charging sets, for centralised battery charging in the field.

(Since you don't want to give your position away by the noise of petrol generators near the front line, plus they're more stuff to carry when you move, a lot of WW2 sets had freshly charged batteries delivered along with rations, mail and ammunition. The discharged batteries were collected at the same time and returned to a central point (with several of these units and generators) for recharging (and testing).


The generator will deliver up to 30 volts, so you can charge up to 24 volts worth of batteries in each 'string'. (I think the rheostat on the far left controls the generator field winding, and hence the delivered voltage.) The other rheostats allow the charging current to be individually controlled for each string of batteries. (All the batteries in a string MUST be the same capacity (in amp hours) or some will get overcharged and damaged.)


The generator sets will not work without the switchboard connected, as the field circuit will be incomplete - this causes people to assume they're faulty when there's actually nothing wrong with them.


The cut-outs (one of which has its cover missing) stop the charging when the current drops to a preset value (I think).


Now you just need a suitable charging set and the cable to connect the switchboard to it. :-D



(Somewhere I have a couple of spare cut-outs if you need to replace the missing cover - It could take a long time to find, though.):-(

Edited by Chris Suslowicz
Voltage control is on the LEFT!
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These would be carried at squadron level in mechanised units and after the 300 watt Canadian Chorehorses were the most widely used range of Generators in the British amy during WW2 and into the 50's. A great pity people setting up displays forget such mundane things which would have been everywhere.


I have a Petter and Jap Generator in this range which I need to sell if you want to complete your Panel.

I also have a 1940 Onan which is very rare. Quite what panel these charged through I do not know as they do not have the necessary plug.


One of your gauges is also wrong but I have spare ones if you are interested.

Edited by REME 245
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So do these have a separate engine/generator unit and split the charge or are they self contained? Never seen one before.


Yes: the 1260 Watt charging set consists of engine, generator and fuel tank in a tubular steel frame (can be carried small distances by inserting poles into the frame and having porter at each end). The switchboard controls the current in the generator field winding so that the output voltage can be adjusted, and you then have four individual charging circuits, each with its own rheostat and ammeter to set the charging current. Batteries (all of the same storage capacity) can be connected in series (up to a maximum of 24 volts) and hooked up to each charging circuit. You then set the rheostat to maximum resistance (minimum current), switch the output on for that circuit, and adjust the rheostat for the required charging current. The charging process does require regular monitoring, to keep an eye on the state of charge, battery temperature, etc. so you would have an operator in attendance while it was in use.


The set and switchboard allowed all of the common lead-acid batteries to be recharged in the field, these being:


6V 16Ah (small wooden-cased battery used with wavemeters, etc.).

6V 85Ah (used in pairs with the WS19 (etc).

6V 100/125 Ah and 170Ah for larger radio installations.


(All done in fours.)


12V 14Ah and 22Ah (WS 22, 62, etc. for portable (including manpacked) use.

12V 75Ah (WS22, 62 and 19).


(Done in pairs.)


plus many others (individual 2V 16Ah cells and combinations like the 10V 16Ah battery for the long range signalling lamp) could also be recharged using this setup - I'm not sure about the small 2V battery for the Signal Office lamp, as that was very low capacity and may have required special arrangements.



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