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USL starters

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Don Plumb
Eminent Member

I would like to compile a list of owners of cars with early USL starters, those within the flywheel, in the pre-1916 era. Want to find those that are actually functioning, and share information with those needing information and help. Would like to create a shared registry, with information pertaining to make, year, functionality, restoration tips, etc. Please share this with folks who may have these cars. Mine is a 1913 Overland 69FE. Have a few on the list already. Any help will be appreciated. Don

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Topic starter Posted : February 9, 2018 11:27 am
Alan Dewsnup
Honorable Member

I am not familiar with the starter you mention. Could you post a picture or two of one out in the open then one or two of the starter installed? Thant would help us to help you.
Al

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Posted : February 20, 2018 3:12 pm
Ken Findlay
Eminent Member

Al
The USL starter/generator were a very unique design in that they were incorporated into the transmission side of the flywheel! You can't see any starter from the outside when looking at the bell housing. They were used by a few cars in 1914,15 and maybe a bit longer. My friends 14 Moyer has a 24 volt USL in it. Our 15 Mercer also has one but by then they were a 12 volt system. Both our USL's are in good operating condition. Some Ramblers and Overlands also used USL's in some models. In our case one of the problems with this system is that the armature is exposed to the dust created by the clutch. The brushes have to be cleaned on a regular basis.
Ken

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Posted : February 21, 2018 8:34 pm
Alan Dewsnup
Honorable Member

What does the term "USL" stand for? Does anyone have a picture of one of these starters? I have a starter system from an early Seagrave and it is huge but not does sound like what you describe. A picture is worth a thousand words.... I would also like to see a picture of your Moyer and the Mercer! They sound like very nice cars.
Al

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Posted : February 21, 2018 8:53 pm
vintagerodshop
New Member

Hi @alsfarms, I am Ken's Friend from up the road. I own the 1913 H.A. Moyer. Yes the ULS starter generator on my car is a 24 volt for starting then runs twelve volt for light and charging. it runs two twelve volt batteries now. Also from the owners use and car instruction. the car is hybrid as well. They say to run the car up to 5 miles a hour on the starter then engage the gasoline motor.

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Posted : September 18, 2018 3:44 pm
Alan Dewsnup
Honorable Member

Nice Moyer! Do you have a picture of your USL starter/generator that you could post here. Thanks...
Al

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Posted : September 22, 2018 7:33 am
Don Plumb
Eminent Member

I love the picture of your Moyer. Would love to hear it start (and run, of course)! I have pictures of the internals, and a video of my starter motoring. The restoration is nearing completion in my 13 Overland 69FE. I am trying to learn how to post these pictures/video. USL is United States Lighting and Electric Company. I know they had offices in San Francisco, but do not know if that was the site of the home office and production. The list of Overlands with these starters was started in New Zealand, and do not wish to detract from his efforts or take any credit for his efforts for which I am thankful. I just want this information out there and accessible.

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Topic starter Posted : September 22, 2018 6:00 pm
Layden Butler
Active Member

Hope this info us useful.

3112=1564 abi 9 usl
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Posted : October 19, 2018 1:30 pm
Don Plumb
Eminent Member

Nice list.USL starters were really elegant, but as you can see, also short-lived, no doubt because of their complexity, and later availability of simpler and cheaper systems. The 1913 system A was a 24/12 volt system. By 1918, system E was 12 volt.

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Topic starter Posted : October 22, 2018 12:14 pm
Don Plumb
Eminent Member

So far I have found eleven cars with functioning USL starters, 3 Overland (1913), 4 Ramblers (1913), 3 Moyers ((1913), and one Mercer (1915). All are in the US except one Rambler in Australia. Looking for more. Don

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Topic starter Posted : November 13, 2018 12:34 pm
Layden Butler
Active Member

I had a 1917 Nelson engine at one time but the bell housing was not on it and thus no USL system remaining. There is however one surviving Nelson car and it should be so equipped.

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Posted : December 24, 2018 9:48 am
Don Plumb
Eminent Member

Would love to contact that Nelson owner, but do not find a listing in the HCCA roster. Any hints on how to find the owner of this (1917?) car?
Don

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Topic starter Posted : December 28, 2018 6:17 pm
Don Plumb
Eminent Member

I found the Nelson, the only remaining one. Very unique automobile. The USL system is in FRONT of the engine, resulting in a sort of flywheel both in front of and behind the engine. Any others??

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Topic starter Posted : January 19, 2019 4:31 pm
Gary Smith
New Member

United States Light & Heating Co., Niagara Falls, NY

There are 5 Moyer cars (all 1913 & 1914 models) of the 10 Moyer cars extant, that have USL Starter/Generators, all 24v/12v External Regulated. 

(2) Roadsters, Car#s 346 & 370

(1) 5 -Pass. Touring, Car# 235

(2) 7-Pass. Phaetons, Car#s 342 & 358

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by Gary Smith
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Posted : November 21, 2021 9:58 am
Peter Findlay
Eminent Member
Posted by: @plumblinecomcast-net

So far I have found eleven cars with functioning USL starters, 3 Overland (1913), 4 Ramblers (1913), 3 Moyers ((1913), and one Mercer (1915). All are in the US except one Rambler in Australia. Looking for more. Don

Russell-Knight cars (built in Toronto)  used U.S.L. starters in 1913 and 1914.  There is a '13 in a Museum in Manitoba and a '14 in a museum in Ottawa.  I have never seen these cars, but the Ottawa car is restored and I believe it runs.  The Manitoba car has been in the museum collection for at least 60 years.  There are a few incomplete '13-14 Russell-Knights in other collections that may still have their starters.  There are no 1913 - 1914 Russell-Knights known to be in active use.

A 1913 manual states that it is an 18 volt starter system.  Here is the schematic.

Peter

Russell USL Starter
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Posted : November 22, 2021 6:13 am
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