I decided to do something about my basement since I need more space and lots was wasted. More specifically I needed to re-design the enclosed room where I had my organ blower installed, the relay boards and the air regulators which all took up about a 10' x 18' space.
So I removed the enclosure/partition walls from the half where the blower was, disconnected and removed what needed to be, and now I'm "dry fitting" to see if the new layout will work.
It looks like it will work out fine and I'll gain about a 10' x 12' area, the 10' x 8' space I originally poured the concrete floor for a few inches higher than all the rest as 15 years ago when I bought the house the basement was an all dirt floor and every spring there was a big problem with water coming in (solved 100% 3 years ago) so I wanted the critical components up higher.
The 10'x8' is what I wanted to work with now and everything will fit the space now that I've reconfigured it.
The first pic is looking into the area that was enclosed, the blower is turned 90 degrees in the pic to allow room to move one of the regulators into the corner past it
Now that I cut 7" off the support legs for the large regulator I placed it in the corner to test the fit, a rectangular hole has to be cut in the bottom of the wind trunk above it once it's in place.
Now with the blower turned back to the orientation it needs to be for it's outlet to be in the correct location- facing the foundation wall where the other regulator will go next
Another view, now the inlet under the large regulator will have to be removed and modified to exit 90 degrees out the other side. I would repaint the floor there now as it would be easier, but there's no room to move these pieces out of the way, and that blower weighs over 600#, I will probably repaint the floor once everything is in place and just work around the support legs.
The blower was built in 1927 and has a 2 hp Century repulsion-induction motor which has a mechanical method on the brush assembly to reverse it's direction, in this application it would never be reversed. It has a grease cup and two oil cups, I took it all apart 15 years ago, cleaned out all the old oil and grease, added new gaskets and repainted it
The regulator outlet near final position where it will need to attach to the main wind trunk above
It's probably going to take a few weeks to get this done as I need to replace some floor support posts which were part of the partition wall I put in long ago, figure out where to put the relay boards, rewire, also remount the starter somewhere accessable but out of the way etc etc.
I'm going to get some 4x6 lumber for under the joists, and four posts to replace the 2x4's the wall was made from.
Or I might go with four of those steel floor jacks so they can be adjusted easier. The house never had any supports under the floor, I added them years ago to enclose the space but also to stiffen things up. Going to use 4x6 since I don't want to use more than four posts across the space and that way it will be good and stiff with
the posts in a foot or so from the ends.
After figuring out where the two relay boards will have to go, I will have to cover the two walls first with a stud wall, insulation and sheetrock like most of the rest of the basement has. The basement is actually only about four feet below grade and about two feet above with the two feet being uninsulated concrete block. The walls will give me a finished surface and studs to screw the relay boards to as well as the motor starter box, disconnect and pneumatic switch box to.
One of the mechanical relay boards is shown in this older video, they operate on 12 VDC, unfortunately they are no longer manufatured by the one company who made them for decades, they replaced the mechanical model with a new electronic replacement and I've had to use a few of those to make up for the missing ones;
How did you get that beast down into the basement?
Great hobby, but heavy thing to lug around!
That was an adventure, every part of the organ had to go down the stairs, and I said I would remove everything right down to a broom clean floor and I did, completely by myself.
It was a hot as hell July about 95 degrees and high humidity, and that tower had large semi opaque plate glass windows facing West, it had to be 110 degrees in there and about 90% humidity too.
There was a funny incident when I was quietly working up there while the choir was practicing, I had all the screws out of a heavy enclosure wall except the last screw, the wall was up about 2 feet above the floor, so when it came loose I had to lower it down to the floor. It was made with 2 sides of 1/4" thick shiplap with an inch of sawdust between, and about 8 feet by 10 feet in size. As I got the last screw loose I suddenly got a lot more weight than I anticipated- probably about 100# and it was so unwieldy due to it's size and not a lot to grab hold of and I was trying real hard not to drop it on the floor, that's when I noticed the song the choir was singing at the moment: "He's got the whole world in his hand" and I almost cracked up because that's how I felt right about then, but I was quiet, and didn't drop it :)
With the motor, at first I wasn't able to get the fan disk off the shaft and that meant not being able to pull the motor out, but I worked at it and finally got the disk off. The motor weighs 290# by itself and I had it strapped to a hand truck and was just going to bump down one step at a time but the tires on the handtruck I borrowed were large and pneumatic, and the steps very narrow and the treads not very wide either, so when I braced myself and let it down the first step it proved to be far too difficult to control as the wheels bounced and went over the tread down to the next step and started picking up speed. I got it stopped 2 steps down but oil ran out, was a real mess.
Wound up sliding it down a few planks, the rest of the blower I lowered down with a rope in pieces.
here's the stairs I had to go down with this:
Getting it down in my basement was a lot easier on a plank, it's not coming back out of there!
A little more progress and I had to move a post because a wire cable to the relay box was on the wrong side of it and needed to be routed around the other side, the post was easier to move than cutting and resoldering a 100 pr telco cable :)
I'm glad that telco cable when I installed it 15 years ago almost as an after thought I pulled through about ten more feet than I needed for the run, now with the modifications I needed that ten feet to reach the new location for the relay boxes.
I did the same on the blower's flexible conduit to the starter box, so it is plenty long now to reach the new mounting location for the box.
So what are we seeing here in the picture?
In the background on the left is one of the two relay boxes, the other will mount under it and the 100 pr telco cable feeds into one end of them and telco wires exit the other end and go up to the windchests for the organ. One relay for every key on the organ's keyboards and there are two 61 note keyboards.
In the rear are the two air regulators, they use a design that dates back 500 years at least- a divided box with an opening between the two halves inside, the upper section where there is white leather strips can rise up about 6-7" and it's held in check by four black coil springs in the corners, and iron weights on top. Inside, attached to the underside of the top of each is a threaded rod attached to a roller not unlike a window shade roller which has a length of rubber coated fabric wound onto it. As the top rises and falls, the roller moves up and down with it and closes off the opening between the two compartments in varying amounts.
The input pressure from the blower is about 12" WC and it's reduced to 5", the regulators also act as wind reservoirs to meet the varying demands.
The one in the foreground now needs support legs which it didn't use before the changes, the concrete blocks are there to test fit the regulators and get their alignment with one another and the outlet of the blower correct so I can take measurements for the supports, and a new plenum.
Right now I'm tied up with a client's job today so I don't have time right now to make the supports.
On the wall on the right are the 20 amp fused disconnect box (theres also a circuit breaker on the main panel) the Square D starter control box for the blower, and a pneumatically operated switch in the last box which when the wind pressure inflates a small wood and leather pneumatic bellows activates the switch which controls the a/c feeding the DC rectifier which is presently on the floor awaiting mounting in an appropriate location.
A small relay board which serves a different purpose but works similarly to the other two large ones, and an hour meter are mounted on the side of the windtrunk above.
Lots of re-connecting to do.
At least the walls behind all this are now insulated and sheetrocked, they won't get taped or painted though.
I spent most of the whole afternoon today on making it so the blower and wind regulators could all be re-connected again, so I had to make two plywood covers to replace the two existing ones under the regulators because the inlet holes in them is now in a different location and angle than they were. So lots of measurements, and then lots of countersunk holes, gasketing, and cutting the new inlet holes in both.
I also needed to cut down the length of a plywood plenum, make a new outlet hole on the top, and an access plate on the rear to be able to reach inside it to mount it to the underside of the regulator, lots more countersunk holes and gasketing.
Then the first regulator needed a set of legs made, so I needed to make four legs and four cross-members, drill and countersink the mounting holes and install the legs, the cover plates, the plenum and close that all up, and then put the flexible boot from the blower to the plenum and it's clamp bands back on, and make a temporary repair cover for the hole in the main wind line where the inlet used to be.
I reconnected the starter switch back up temporarily so I could turn the blower on and blow out any sawduct and crumbs out the old inlet that the vacuum might have missed.
So after about 8 hours I called it a day, here's a video for those interested in old motors and stuff, there is a HEPA air cleaner upstairs that unfortunately the cam picks up amazingly well resonating through the floor even if I can't hear it, but the video shows the blower start up and shut down, and the two air regulators in operation.
As no wind is being used, the tops of the regulators rise up to their maximum extension and their internal mechanisms choke off most of the wind that otherwise would be going out into the wind trunk.
Despite the cam's sensitivity to the sounds and boosting it, the blower is actually very quiet and the motor itself is a slow speed motor which runs at 1165 rpm, but remeber- the fan disk inside is about 30" diameter so it's putting out a lot of wind.
As the motor starts up the centrifugal force takes the brushes off the commutator as they are no longer used while running, they audibly click back into position during shutdown when the declining centrifugal force is overcome by the springs on the brush assembly, so the only wear on the brushes is during start up and shutdown.
The blower and 2 hp motor were made in 1927, and besides the breakers, two 20 amp cartridge fuses easily handle it. I forget what the initial amp draw and running draw is, I measured both about 13 years ago, but it was actually very efficient.
I have lots more to do yet to reconnect the rectifier and the 12vdc circuits, a project probably for next weekend.
I spent a couple of hours today re-connecting the 12 volt wiring to the rectifier, I'm unfortunately going to have to redo the telco wiring harness from the windchests upstairs to the relay board as the wires are not long enough, but that's okay and a project for later as I'm going to remake the chests anyway, so for now that wire harness has to just hang as it does, there will be more wiring coming down eventually anyway too.
With everything reconnected I turned it on and when everything showed it was connected right I set the camcorder on and went upstairs to play it a bit, I hadn't thought of making a video of the air regulators in operation before now, so I wanted to record their operation under running everything that is currently working and connected.
After I start playing at 0:26 one can see the top of the regulator in the background move up and down to regulate the wind pressure as needed, it doesn't need to move but an inch, it's internal workings were described in more detail in a previous post. If I had the whole organ working the regulator's top would move at least a few inches up and down, as it is in the video very little wind is actually being used so the regulators have most of the outgoing choked off.
Might want to turn the speaker volume down a little, the blower was only 3 feet away from the camcorder and it really amplifies it a lot more than it really is, it's actually quiet enough to have a conversation next to with someone.
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