BAGE logo


Welcome to my Governor Operations and Tips page.

The governor's purpose on a gasoline engine is to determine MAXIMUM speed at which an engine will operate, and to attempt to maintain an even, set speed. Engine wear/condition and load determine minimum speed. Below, we will attempt to explain engine governor operation and principals.

Volume Control, or "Throttle Governing"

Gas engine governors are based on the principal of controlling engine speed by balancing spring pressure or tension against a force based on or controlled by engine speed. With a mechanical governor, spring pressure is balanced against the pressure from the force of spinning flyweights. Where the balance between the two is achieved is where the engine speed will be maintained. This is called the "governed speed". If the spring tension is increased, the result is an increase in throttle opening, and thus, engine speed.
If the spring tension is decreased, the throttle is closed, reducing engine speed until the balance is again restored.
In the example to the left, as engine speed increases, the weights, (B), move outward, causing collar, (D), to shift to the left, or outward, pulling fork, (F) with it. (F) is attached to link (E) through a lever, and pushes UP on (E). (E) is attached to the throttle at(C) and causes it to close. This action continues until the force of the spinning weights is equal to the force of springs (A). This will be the governed speed. The governor will maintain this position until either the spring pressure is changed, or the speed of the engine is changed by a change in the load placed on it. At that time, the system forces will re balance.

In summary, when spring tension is increased, it takes more force from the weights to overcome the extra spring force. The increase in spring tension opens the throttle, causing the engine to run faster until the force of the weights again equals the springs force, preventing the throttle from opening further, achieving the balance which is governed speed.

"Hit and Miss" Governing

Hit and Miss governing works on the same basic principals explained above, except that the control is achieved by locking and unlocking the exhaust valve operation. When governed speed is reached, the exhaust valve is locked in the open position, preventing further intake of fuel/air mixture, and preventing the engine from doing anything more than "coasting" until more speed/power is called for. As speed drops, the governor releases the exhaust valve, intake of fresh fuel mixture is allowed, and normal operations take place until governed speed is again attained. Hit and miss governing is obviously more fuel efficient, but doesn't allow for as close a control of speed. "H & M" governing is also more battery efficient - in cases where battery ignition was used, the governor would also generally break the ground to the ignition system, stopping ignition system functions, and saving on battery use when power/speed wasn't needed.
A Chapman pamphlet from the early 1920's explains that engines equipped with battery ignition had hit and miss governing, while magneto equipped engines had volume governing (throttling governor).
In the example below, as engine speed increases, weights (A) move outward against spring tension, causing cone shaped sleeve (B) to move away from engine, lifting governor lever (C) which in turn pushes governor finger (D) downward, locking the exhaust pushrod (E) in the extended position, preventing exhaust valve from closing.
As engine speed decreases, springs pull weights (A) inward, which in turn push the cone (B) in toward engine, allowing lever (C) to drop (assisted by return spring), releasing the exhaust push rod (E).

Governor Tips:

Now, take a little trip over to my governor test page to see how well you do!

Return to Top of Page
to Bill's Antique Gas Engines