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As mentioned by Terry B, there were many factories etc. using motorised valves but these establishments all used the normal local power supply which was A/C so there was not much choice.Ships were different with different requirements and speed control at that time was easier manged with D/C. Shunt controllers. I did my very last trip on an A/C ship. And with some trepidation. However in practice the TEFC motors twirled away and the direct on line starters worked faultlessly. First time changing over Alternators was interesting!I brought the incoming in slightly fast in order to pick up the load and used the three lights as the guide, the top one was the point to change over and put it on the board. However there are other factors. mainly frequency.Having now tried both I think A/C was less demanding. no Brushes, no carbon deposits internally. Apart from the care in changing over Alternators A/C gets it for me.
Where are you from: Gosport originally now Campbelltown N.S.W
No plural start board on ac either, unlike the Arcadia, the worst and most difficult piece of equipment I ever had the displeasure of having to maintain and repair. It didn't help that it in was the generator flat above the boiler room and had open busbars which were mounted very close to the bulkhead behind the board, If I had been the size I am now I would not have been able to access it. I wish I'd thought of it then.