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Farmall & IHC Tractors Discussion Forum

International Harvester Electrall Information

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Author  [Modern View]

11-22-2019 19:31:11

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Hi All,

I am trying to find out more information about IH Electrall generators. I recently saw a PTO version for sale and would like to learn more about them. I have heard about these before but have never seen one in person. From what I can find they certainly do not appear to be very common, and I cannot find very much information on them.

Does anyone have any information or literature regarding these generators? They certainly are neat pieces of equipment and they seem like they could be very useful to have on a farm.

Thanks in advance,


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11-28-2019 08:34:41

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 Re: International Harvester Electrall Information in reply to FarmallCT, 11-22-2019 19:31:11  
FarmallCT, there are virtually no parts available for the electrall units! A good starter/generator shop can repair the autolite exciter if needed, if the armature is still good.
The electrall uses a primitive, but clever circuit to automatically regulate the output voltage. The heart of the circuit is a vibrating relay, similar to the voltage regulator on our tractors. I have been experimenting with substituting a modern Basler (brand) electronic automatic voltage regulator, but have not yet come up with the right circuit design to make it work. My biggest problem is not having the time to work on it.
I have ran my laptop computer from the electrall with no problems whatsoever. The concern, of course, is the output voltage and frequency will change with the speed the electrall is rotating. A lot of modern electronics will run on a wide range of voltages. Most of the electronic equipment we have at work operated on 100-250 volts and 50-60 hertz! The output frequency doesn't seem to be a problem because most equipment utilize an internal power supply to change the input from alternating to direct current. That being said, please don't blame me if your $5K big screen TV blows up when you use your eelctrall for backup power! To be absolutely positive your favorite piece of modern electronic equipment will run ok on an electrall, you should install a UPS unit upstream of the piece of electronic equipment. A UPS unit, like the APC #BN450M on sale right now at Best Buy for $32.99 would be a good choice. This is a 450 VA unit, larger sizes are available if you need more VA (you can generally assume a VA is the same as a watt when selecting UPS units) DonO

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11-25-2019 16:32:44

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 Re: International Harvester Electrall Information in reply to FarmallCT, 11-22-2019 19:31:11  
There is one for sale in Wayne Maine for $1200. See Craigs List.

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Jon Erickson

11-25-2019 15:12:42

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 Re: International Harvester Electrall Information in reply to FarmallCT, 11-22-2019 19:31:11  
Very interesting question/subject.I've never seen one, but sure would like to.

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11-23-2019 07:38:13

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 Re: International Harvester Electrall Information in reply to FarmallCT, 11-22-2019 19:31:11  
FarmallCT, here is a little Electrall write up I did for the Red Power Forum:

The electrall generator was jointly developed by IH and GE. It was introduced in 1954 as a tractor mounted unit with a 10 KW, 120/208 volt, 3-phase, 4-wire power output. The popular opinion is the tractor mounted generator would replace the PTO for powering pull behind implements. The generator also had the advantage of powering the farm during a utility outage and powering welders, saws, and other tools far away from an electrical source. From the literature that I've been able to find, the only implement that appears to have been made for the electrall generator is the 55 baler. The 55 baler could be purchased with the optional electrall motor. The motor was a 3-phase companion unit, also made by GE rated for 10 HP continuous or 15 HP intermittent duty. IH appears to have had many ideas on how to utilize the tractor mounted electrall generator such as adding grow lights and bug zappers to the tractor. The tractor mounted electrall was not a commercial success and it doesn't seem like many tractor mounts were sold. We have not been able to determine the quantity sold or the original price for the tractor mounted electrall attachment. Many think it was an expensive option, which was easily replaced when the live PTO attachment that became available from IH that very same year. This might be a good example of the left hand engineering group not knowing what the right hand engineering group was doing! Apparently IH had to order a specific large quantity of the generators from GE, and when they couldn't sell them as tractor mounted accessories, they produced a trailer kit that allowed the electralls to be sold as a PTO driven back up power generator. The majority of the surviving electrall generators are the PTO driven trailer version. A third version was also made by removing the trailer wheels and adding fast hitch beams so the generator can be directly connected to an IH tractor having a fast hitch. The later made trailer type electrall generators were rated at 12.5 KW. Some of the trailer type electralls also had a connection box on top of the generator, instead of having to plug in from the bottom which was typical for the tractor mounted electralls
There is a fourth type of electrall generator which was available from IH. In 1956 and early 1957, you could order an S-series or ton pickup truck with an electrall generator mounted in the truck bed. The generator was powered from a PTO gearbox and shaft connected to the right side of the 4 speed transmission. This would have been handy option for the traveling mechanic or the construction company working on projects where utility power was not available.


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11-25-2019 15:54:10

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 Re: International Harvester Electrall Information in reply to DonO-MN, 11-23-2019 07:38:13  
Thank you for the information. Do you have any idea where parts could be found for this unit? Particularly electrical parts? Can modern electrical parts of the same function be used? Being built in partnership with GE, are there any other GE products that use the same electrical setup? I am not sure of the operational status of the unit currently, but it would be good to know where parts can be found if needed. Also, are there any concerns related to using this system with modern electronics? If so, what are potential solutions?

Hoping to use this on the farm so the more information I can find for operating and repairing it the better. Thanks again,


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leroy in ne

11-23-2019 05:16:36

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 Re: International Harvester Electrall Information in reply to FarmallCT, 11-22-2019 19:31:11  
Use modern view to bring up search box near top of page. Type in Electrall and search. It should bring up many links. I do not know how to post a link to these or I would for you.

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11-25-2019 15:56:25

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 Re: International Harvester Electrall Information in reply to leroy in ne, 11-23-2019 05:16:36  
Thank you, I did do a quick search and found quite a bit. I will be sure to go through these and see what I can find.


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11-23-2019 03:53:22

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 Re: International Harvester Electrall Information in reply to FarmallCT, 11-22-2019 19:31:11  
Rachel gingell with Steiner tractor has a buncha you tube videos. I think she has one with a cub trouble shooting generater that will help understand the basics

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