Electric starter trivia question - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 03-18-2015, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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Electric starter trivia question

I'm going to preface this by saying this is not something I *need* to know, I'm just dying of curiosity. Also I'm not necessarily sure this is an "Ariens" question, it might really be more of a "Tecumseh" question. But anywho...

This relates to the electric starter on an old (1960's or early 1970's) Ariens snowblower. I'm 99% sure it had a Tecumseh engine.

Almost every Ariens/Tec electric starter I've ever seen had a box attached to the engine with a 120VAC/3-prong plug - the intent was you connect a cord between the plug and a regular electric outlet to power the starter. And I've seen a few with the plug right on the side of the motor but they too were meant to run directly from an AC power outlet.

But when I was a teenager back in the '70's I used to do a neighbor's driveway with his Ariens that had an electric starter of a different design. There was a small box mounted on the garage wall that looked like some kind of rectifier, it had a cord going to a wall outlet, and another cord that went to a connector on the engine. I remember the engine had a label warning never to connect the starter directly to an AC outlet.

I'm just wondering if anyone else here has seen or heard of such a setup? I've done quite a bit of Googling and have never seen anything like it, but I'm 99% sure I'm not imagining things. Okay, maybe more like 90%...

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post #2 of 8 Old 03-18-2015, 12:15 PM
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it was a now rare direct current electric starter, think it uses about 12 volts dc but im not positive
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-18-2015, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 43128 View Post
it was a now rare direct current electric starter, think it uses about 12 volts dc but im not positive
Yep. Beloeve you're correct. Toro had this on some of their equipment as well.

Joe

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post #4 of 8 Old 03-18-2015, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 43128 View Post
it was a now rare direct current electric starter, think it uses about 12 volts dc but im not positive
It sounds like they used a standard AC line plug when they should've had a special & different plug altogether.

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post #5 of 8 Old 03-18-2015, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 43128 View Post
it was a now rare direct current electric starter, think it uses about 12 volts dc but im not positive
That would make sense.

Ariens sells models with onboard 12V batteries to power the starters, for the Canadian market, I believe.

This sounds like a method to still use DC starters, but to do it with household power. It sure sounds like a lot of extra stuff and risk, though, especially if the machine had a normal-looking plug

I don't know what current the AC starters draw (it's significant, based on the lights in the garage if I use the starter). But a 12V DC starter would draw about 10 times the amps, all things equal. Which means the AC->DC converter box needed to handle some serious output current. Plus, at that high current, your voltage drop between the box and the starter becomes more of a concern. Especially if the cord between them was long and/or thin.

Suffice to say I'm glad they use AC-powered starters now, when you're going to use household power

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post #6 of 8 Old 03-19-2015, 12:13 AM
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My old drift breaker has a 12 volt (DC) starter.
Previous owner installed it I believe. He always had the battery from his boat stored in his garage for the winter and used it to start the blower.

He gave me the jumper cable/leads he made for it. It has an in line push button.
I usually just pull start it, but it had zero use this winter due to lack of snow here.
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-19-2015, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah I've always wondered why 12V starters with batteries weren't more popular on snowblowers.

When you stall the engine trying to go through the plow drift at the end of the driveway, if you don't have the strength to pull-start the engine, you most likely don't have the strength to drag the 'blower all the way back to the garage either!

I suppose it does add a fair amount of cost and another maintenance item though.

~1994 Ariens 924084 (ST1032) "papa bear": restored, re-engined, real nice!
1991 Ariens 924050 (ST824) "mama bear"
Toro PowerCurve 1800 "baby bear"

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post #8 of 8 Old 03-19-2015, 09:15 AM
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I like the 12 volt idea but only because it would be great out at the end of the drive and it would be an easy spring & fall switch moving a battery from a rider to the blower and back again. Using and charging the battery might also allow it to live longer rather than sitting for so much of the year.

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Make sure the windows are up before the snow plow goes by !!

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