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Old Ford Generators and Regulators : I'm not a rocket scientist!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Flathead Youngin', Jun 7, 2007.

  1. Flathead Youngin'
    Joined: Jan 10, 2005
    Posts: 3,531

    Flathead Youngin'
    Member

    I’ve been beating my head against the wall over my generator and regulator.

    Excuse my rambling and unorganized information, but I don’t know enough about it to put it down in a logical fashion

    I NEED SOME HELP!!

    I’ve search the net, Fordbarn, here and the MSN tech site. I went to our local starter, alternator, generator rebuilder. These guys have a name and are known for being experts. Long story short, they didn’t seem to know…..I think they know how to fix them and make them work but not explain how/why (that or they didn’t want to share their knowledge- I know some people don’t)

    Here are some “facts” that I’ve gathered from places…please add to, correct, etc…

    There are two different kind of regulator circuits:
    A circuit regulators the field is grounded (according to "experts" this one is for generators that motor)
    B circuit regulators the field is energized (add 12v???)

    I have checked all of my generators to see if they “motor.” This is where you put 12v on the generator and see if spins- generators are just motors…the ones with 3 posts (BAT, G, F) do, but I didnt check the one with two wires coming out of it. The expert said the two wire one takes a B circuit regulator.

    Originally Posted by Flat Ernie
    The regulator cares about positive ground, but the generator doesn't.


    I was grounding the housing of my regulator to negative. I couldn’t get it to charge. As soon as I read the above statement, I grounded the regulator housing to positive and it worked. However, I’m VERY worried about something falling into the regulator and causing a short.
    So, I switched to a positive ground and couldn’t get it to charge at all (probably something I’m doing).

    I’ve read where the generator doesn’t care whether or not you have a positive or negative ground.

    The “expert” said that some of the older regulators ground internally and some ground through the housing. He also said that most of the new regulators can have a positive or negative ground. Lastly, he claimed that once you polarize the gen and reg that EVEN the regulator doesn't care about a pos or neg ground??? I'm getting a lot of conflicting info here.....

    To polarize the generator, I’ve read to momentarily use a jumper and short between A and BAT…..some say with the car running, some say turned off, and some say not to use a jumper but to take the A off the terminal and touch it to the BAT…..and some say to touch other terminals......some say to do this at the generator???? WOW!

    I’m LOST!!! I really don’t even know what to ask. I’ve spent the last 4 days or so studying this and cannot seem to get anywhere. I did get it charging when using a positive ground to the regulator housing (rest of system is negative ground) but I’m scared to death I’m gonna burn the thing down…..I’m going to mount the reg under the seat and I plan on storing tools, etc. under there. I could wrap it with black tape, make some inner tube insulators but that would look like crap and would make it hard to service.

    Any ideas?

    Right now, I'm negative ground, a generator that has GEN, BAT and G....I have two older regulators to play with. One says negative ground on the housing, the other doesn't say anything. I have the generator G grounded to the intake (I've had it on the regulator too)......uh, i have an amp meter in between the BAT of the reg and the actual battery...
     
  2. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 19,602

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member

    I do not begin to understand regulators, but...some of the statements apply to multiple types, not your particular one!

    Be sure you have a Ford gnerator, which with a flathead is pretty easy since nothing else bolts on, and proper matching regulator. Gen and reg get grounded together with direct wire, unlike some other flavors of regulator, and that ground wire can be improved a bit by a jumper from one end to known well grounded part. Remember, you have ground problems everywhere on newly painted stuff...
    Polarize by the book and all should be happy.
     
  3. Flathead Youngin'
    Joined: Jan 10, 2005
    Posts: 3,531

    Flathead Youngin'
    Member

    I had a G wire from the gen running to the housing of the regulator.......then i took a jumper to the neg of the batter.....no go...

    so, i ran the G on the generator to a ground....then, i isolated the regualator housing (so it couldn't short out) and ran a jumper from the positive side of the battery to the generator housing.....started charging when I revved it up...


    gotta go the kids are hollering....:eek:

     
  4. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,742

    tommy
    Member

    [​IMG]

    I'm not much on theory. I'm into practical application. Wire it like this to a VR for 56-64 Ford. Just ask for a VR for 57 Ford. It's always worked for me. I too ran the ground wire from the G terminal on the housing to the fuel pump stand bolt on the intake. For me the VR grounds just fine through it's mounting bolts on the firewall.

    PS Take your hot wire that feeds the whole system off between the generator and the ammeter. I usually use the ammeter terminal on the generator side. That way if anything is left on like the lights or a sticky brake light switch, you will notice it in the ammeter. If the brake lights are stuck on the gauge will show a discharge. You probably don't need a fuseable link in the batt. wire for a generator but I use one any way. A quick glance at the ammeter will immediately tell you if something is left on. I turn the key off and check the ammeter before I get out. Just a habit but it has saved a few dead batteries from my stupidity.
     
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  5. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 19,602

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member

    Polarization and testing differ between brands, Delco-Ford-Autolite. I don't do this stuff without looking it up to be sure, but I think proper Ford way is remove field wire from reg, touch it to Bat terminal for a second. The way that uses a jumper wire is for other brands grounded differently...
    There is also a simple way to bypass regulator to show whether generator is capable of charging; I need to look that up too, but likely there's someone here with better memory...
     
  6. chuckspeed
    Joined: Sep 13, 2005
    Posts: 1,643

    chuckspeed
    Member

    I love you, man! I just paid $30 for a Dykes Automobile Encyclopaedia to get that diagram...and it was in your head all along!



     
  7. J'st Wandering
    Joined: Jan 28, 2004
    Posts: 1,414

    J'st Wandering
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    First figure out if the problem is your generator or regulator.

    For a ford system. To bypass the regulator. Unhook the generator from the regulator. Hook a wire from the field to the armature and on to the battery. Do not hook the wire to the battery up until after you get the engine running. The generator should put out it's max amperage. Stick an amp meter in line to make it simple to know if it is charging.

    As far as I know, putting power to any generator will motor it. I have done this to the ford generators and it works.

    I have just been through all this lately. I am guessing that you have a 12 volt system. I had a most difficult time on getting the generator to charge with the correct polarity. I finally changed the fields and it worked. Before I changed the fields, the generator motored but backwards and would discharge when I bypassed the regulator.

    Bruce is correct on the polarizing. Take off the field wire at the regulator off and touch it to the battery wire on the regulator.

    Neal
     
  8. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,742

    tommy
    Member

    It's been here on the Hamb for 2 years.:D
     
  9. Youngin"
    I think your problem may be the old regulators your using.
    I have both mine setup with aftermarket regulators and ford generators.
    The aftermarkets ground through the housing. I always attach an extra wire from the ground terminal on the regulator to the mounted bolt just to be sure. You polarize the generator on all applications. BUT>>>>> it can be done at the regulator side of the wiring.
    In fact the aftermarkets tell you exactly how to polarize it.
    A few bucks..... get yourself a new regulator and try it before you drive yourself and us nuts. :)
     
  10. chuckspeed
    Joined: Sep 13, 2005
    Posts: 1,643

    chuckspeed
    Member

    Remember - I'm currently the king of stupid car tricks, so the fact I didn't find it is no surprise. If you look up dumbass in the dictionary - you see my pic....
     
  11. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 19,602

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member

    A factoid: Something inscrutable forms on electrical contact points, new or otherwise, when they sit for a long time. I recently tried to test timing on a flathead distributor I put new points into about 1974 and was unable to use a continuity light on the thing till I polished the points.
    Get a contact burnisher (not just a file) and clean up anything suspect a bit.
     
  12. Flathead Youngin'
    Joined: Jan 10, 2005
    Posts: 3,531

    Flathead Youngin'
    Member

    yeah, i used your diagram as the gospel for wiring mine....that's a good thread....

     
  13. Flathead Youngin'
    Joined: Jan 10, 2005
    Posts: 3,531

    Flathead Youngin'
    Member

    hahaha....don't laugh, i found your old thread about generators troubles!!:D:p

    you never did do that tech hahaha...go back and look.....;)


     
  14. Flathead Youngin'
    Joined: Jan 10, 2005
    Posts: 3,531

    Flathead Youngin'
    Member

    i'll give some of these other trouble shooting ideas a go.....i've got to play mr. mom here in a bit so it may be late tonight or tomorrow....

    it's kind of hard to concentrate with a baby screaming in your ear...litterally:)

    the "expert" is supposed to have an A circuit in tomorrow.....i'll try to go get it and giver her a try if i can't figure it out.....i just need some options to experiment with....these old regs may not be worth a crap! but they both charge if i put their housings to positive....instead of negative

    edit: i peaked over his shoulder at his book and i think the # was 12095 or 12096...it may have had two 0's and the catalog had "Ace" on it...i've search all over the internet but can't find anything.....i saw where he had hand written "57 ford" on one but it wasn't the one he said i needed.....
     
  15. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,742

    tommy
    Member

    The VR has to be matched to the generator. You need a 12V N ground Ford VR. Trying to theorize and use anything else is a waste of time IMHO.:D
     
  16. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 19,602

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member

    "A circuit"?? What do you mean by that?? Some manuals label that way, using A for Delco and B for one that might actually work for you...
    Part numbers from strange suppliers: Type them in on the NAPA site. Many will come up with corresponding NAPA number, and you can then figgerout what they are. For 12, '56-63 Ford base level model, for 6 '41-55 Ford will be what you want. Other kinds generally make grounding arrangements incompatible with way generator is wired on Fords.
     
  17. Flathead Youngin'
    Joined: Jan 10, 2005
    Posts: 3,531

    Flathead Youngin'
    Member

    well, i finished fixing the "heart shaped sandwich" and remember this:

    oh crap, i forgot something VERY important!

    the "expert" (i keep calling him this but they are a VERY busy place and really do know their stuff) said that a 6v generator will keep up with an old hot rod/tractor because you only have light, ignition and brake lights......grandpa always told me that the 6v generators would keep up with it a "little bit"......this guy swears it will......he said to use the ford 6v generator with the 12v regulator....says they do it all the time on tractors......that's what i'm doing!



     
  18. Flathead Youngin'
    Joined: Jan 10, 2005
    Posts: 3,531

    Flathead Youngin'
    Member

    i don't know, that what he told me and i wrote it down

    "A" circuit and a "B" circuit....

    i tried the # in the napa site but nothing....that was the first thing i did when i got home because he didn't have it in stock and i was going to run out to napa..

    edit: he said my two wire generator (one with the cut out on top, removed) take the B circuit.....he didn't have it either...

    i told him about my other generators that had GEN, BAT and G and he said if i could make them motor, they needed the "A" circuit regulator.....i told him i already had made them motor.....so he looked up in a book and 12095 or 12096 is what i saw him looking at...


     
  19. Flathead Youngin'
    Joined: Jan 10, 2005
    Posts: 3,531

    Flathead Youngin'
    Member

    wait, i was just rereading this....one of the regulators i'm using is an autolite......hmmmm.....don't know about the other one.....they look alike except on is black and green the other is black and red....:D:rolleyes:

     
  20. NoSurf
    Joined: Jul 26, 2002
    Posts: 3,819

    NoSurf
    Member

    I follwed Tommy's diagram and polorization technique on my converted 6 to 12 volt generator, and my system works fine. Even hoodless for 655 miles in the rain down to Austin TX.

    That said- Tuck swears by the method he used to convert his shoebox. He got a certain year voltage regulator and used it with his 6 volt generator, to create a 12 volt system.
     
  21. Flathead Youngin'
    Joined: Jan 10, 2005
    Posts: 3,531

    Flathead Youngin'
    Member

    this is what i'm trying to do......suggested by the guy at the repair shop...

    i''ve followed tommy's thread but i can't run a 49-53 generator because i need to run a fan......guess I could weld an adapter on it...like grandpa used to ......


    edit: beside, i think you cheated with an electric fan!:D :p

     
  22. J'st Wandering
    Joined: Jan 28, 2004
    Posts: 1,414

    J'st Wandering
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Really, I am not B.S. you, a ford generator will motor. I did it to two different generators a week ago. They were both ford. Your "expert" is full of it. I am under the assumption that when you are talking about A and B circuits is where A circuit is a gounded field and B is the ford style.

    I put a 12 volt field on a 6 volt generator and it worked for me. I have heard from others that a 6 volt generator will work on a 12 volt system but have never done it.

    Forget about using your expert and read over the information posted on this thread and you will get it working.

    Neal
     
  23. side_valve
    Joined: Sep 22, 2002
    Posts: 789

    side_valve
    Alliance Vendor

    I had a lot of trouble with my 12-volt generator and regulator until an old timer told me, “Make sure your regulator is isolated – meaning it’s not touching metal where ever you mount it.” That’s what the LRF support is for - come with the regulator. (LRF = little rubber feet)
     
  24. J'st Wandering
    Joined: Jan 28, 2004
    Posts: 1,414

    J'st Wandering
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That is why I used the 6 volt generator and only changed the fields to 12 volt. Go find a 12 volt ford generator and take the outside housing with the fields in it and put that onto the 6 volt generator. Nothing to adapt. But out of curosity, I would go with the 6 volt generator and see how long it will last. I probably switched to the 12 volt fields for nothing.

    Neal
     
  25. Very early in your post you mentioned something most people haven't seen. A starter/generator. These were used quite often on older small tractors and lawn mowers. I had a lawn tractor that had one of these, it charged the battery while the engine was running and acted as a starter turning the engine over when you engaged the start circuit via the key. It had a hole in the case for an alignment pin and looked just like the one on my flathead.

    I went nuts looking for the starter until I traced out the wiring. It worked good on the tractor but ican't see one turning over a car engine. For all I know all generators may be able to do this.
     
  26. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 19,602

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member

    Early Dodges, I think circal early twenties, used a belt drive starter/generator. It was HUGE, and ran with a 12 volt system usung two 6-V batteries, so had tremendous reserve. An old, old geezer told me that when he was a kid, he could crawl out his window at night and go for a highly unauthorized run in his Father's Dodge...he motored out and back in silently on the gigantic starter, and only ran the engine when he was out of earshot of his sleeping parents.
     
  27. DrDano
    Joined: Jul 10, 2003
    Posts: 696

    DrDano
    Alliance Vendor

    Running a 6v generator with a 12v regulator is a BAD idea, you'll overpower the armature to where it runs so hot it will desolder the windings and then you're looking at a pretty costly rebuild.

    You can use the 6v armature and just upgrade to 12v fields to achieve roughly 80-90% of the full potential output of the generator. In most cases this is acceptable because most people upgrade to fire modern 12v electrics and have the better 12v lights...not to mention smaller wiring needed for 12v.

    The "cheapest" way to convert it over is to go to a boneyard and find a late 50's - early 60's generator and rob the 12v fields out of it. Popping the case open and swapping them is easy enough, though I'd suggest an impact driver to loosen the field retaining shoe bolts.
     
  28. MilesM
    Joined: May 28, 2002
    Posts: 1,201

    MilesM
    Member

    No expert but I was told a B regulator had to go with a B generator and a A must go with an A type.

    I just had a early euro Ford generator (small one) rebuilt and the old guy said it was a B type and I needed a Lucus B type regulator which he set me up with leaving me to believe that a normal US flathead type generator was a A type. These two types seem to not be voltage specific.
     
  29. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,305

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    A circuits have one side of the field tied to the Armature internally & the other end goes to the VR. The voltage regulator will have a strap between the Field & Arm. Easy to identify with the cover off.

    B circuits, which the early Ford is, have the field grounded on one side (generator case on early single-post generators, extra wire back to VR on later two-post generators) & the regulated end of the field goes to the FLD terminal on the VR. Other than the tiny bleeder resistor, there should be no contact between the Arm & Field internally to the VR.

    You have to match the VR to the generator. A circuit VR to A circuit generator & B to B.

    Ford generators DO motor if you put 12V to the ARM terminal & ground the case. Don't do this long, but it will verify all is working properly with the brushes & commutator.

    For the conversion - there are a couple ways to do this. Yes, you can use the 6V field coils if they ohm out below about 4 ohms. If they're higher than that & you pull max current through them at 12V, you MIGHT lose some solder from the commutator & it MIGHT destroy your armature. But I've converted many from 6V to 12V simply by using a 12V VR - use the lower rated VR (see below).

    You can swap in 12V field coils or the entire 12V case in most instances. Some of the later (61-64) 12V generators have longer cases & the fields are too big, but the majority will bolt right in.

    I used NOS '56 field coils in my recent conversion on my '40 & a '56-64 35A voltage regulator. The 12V VRs come in 35A & 45A - I wouldn't run a 45A regulator on a 6V armature, but that's just me. If you decide to run 6V fields & they're right at 4 ohms or higher, I definitely wouldn't run a 45A regulator.

    Wire it per the diagram above & you should be good to go.

    Generator & VR don't care about polarity - hook up your battery how you want it (neg ground I assume) & disconnect the FLD terminal on the VR & touch it to the BAT terminal - you should see a small spark - don't hold it longer than a second, maybe two - you can burn fields with too much juice. Hook it back up & you should be G-T-G.
     
  30. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 19,602

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member

    But--your A-B decision has to be figgered out, since I now gather you are using a 3-brush gen never made for regulator, and regulating it...somewhere around here I have basic circuit diagrams for both flavors. Sounds like your parts guy already looked it over and figured out a way to wire it as an A type??
     

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