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Technical Delco Generator-Standard Ignition Volt Reg. Can I adjust the reg myself?

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by F-6Garagerat, Jul 10, 2014.

  1. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,652

    F-6Garagerat
    Member

    image.jpg image.jpg 1950's Delco 12 Volt Generator-Standard Ignition Voltage Regulator (2 months old). Regulator is correct for this Generator, I have an independent auto parts, Franks Auto Supply, he's an older guy, a hot rodder still and knows his shit. He said this was a "type A" circuit Gen and got me the proper Reg for it. Generator was checked out at a good auto electric shop and got a clean bill of health. It's only making 12.68 at the cables no matter the rpm. If it sits for 2-3 days I have enough juice to start it but on a short 1-2 mile ride to the store, shut it off and no juice to start it back up.

    I pulled the battery cable while it was shut off, put a test light from the cable to the terminal and it won't light so I'm pretty certain there is nothing drawing the battery down when not running.

    I have a facet electric fuel pump also, pulled the fuse for that and checked volts at cables while running, same 12.68

    Turned the headlights on, same thing, 12.68.

    I figure the generator should make 13.5-14 volts and 12.68 or so just isn't enough to replenish the battery and have any reserve.

    The only circuits I run on the truck are the ignition, the fuel pump and the head and tail lights. Bare bones. No radio, cigarette lighter, nothing.

    All of this diagnosis was done with a freshly charged battery at 13.2 volts and the generator properly polarized.

    So, my question is, can I adjust this regulator here at home and just keep checking it at the cables with my volt meter until it's where I want it? Or pull the Gen/Reg and have the auto electric shop do it?
     
  2. Splinter
    Joined: May 14, 2005
    Posts: 1,112

    Splinter
    Member

    Sounds like you might have some kind of problem........If you don't have enough juice to start it, it's not producing enough to chg the batt and run the car. Might have a short in the Gen windings or field windings, causing your gen to not make enough current to do it all. Have you tried doing the old "pull the negative batt cable while it's running" trick to see if it can sustain itself? Might be a good place to start, cause if you had 13.2 before you started it and it was at 12.6 while running, you have a problem, brother.
     
  3. greaseyknight
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 225

    greaseyknight
    Member
    from Burley WA

    What happens when you full field it?
     
  4. Adjusting a mechanical voltage regulator is another of those "lost arts" that I never mastered. But it can be done and was done pretty frequently in the past.

    Here is maybe more than you might want to know about the subject. o_O

    http://ruiter.ca/mc/info/PDFs/1R-116.pdf
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014

  5. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,652

    F-6Garagerat
    Member

    Well, like I said, Gen was checked out, don't remember how many volts/amps it was making but the guy ran it on his machine. I think 60 amps, can't remember the volts but his comment was "it was way better than most he's seen". That was just 3-4 weeks ago. I know that doesn't mean something couldn't have happened since then. So, that's something to think about I guess but seems sort of unlikely.

    Wasn't sure the "pull the cable truck" worked with a generator, I know with an alternator it works. This is my first Delco Gen and I know they are different than FoMoCo's.

    But, I know lots of old Voltage Regs had adjustment screws on them for this reason. Just wondered if it can be done at home or if I need to take it to a pro.
     
  6. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,652

    F-6Garagerat
    Member

    I actually downloaded that earlier, lol. That's my read for tonight. Yeah it looks pretty confusing, lol.
     
  7. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,652

    F-6Garagerat
    Member

    Haven't done that. Not sure how to do it actually I'm sorry to admit. Never to old or proud to learn though, lol. I know I'll need a piece of jumper wire right, heavy like ten gauge?

    Can you explan how and what it will tell me? Thanks.
     
  8. greaseyknight
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 225

    greaseyknight
    Member
    from Burley WA

    I always forget the procedure, according to this thread
    you "Jumper from field on regulator to a ground full-fields a Chevy." It is my understanding that Type A is a Chevy, but I'm a Ford guy.
     
  9. highboy
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 91

    highboy
    Member
    from marin

    It is a lost art. I did it a few years back and my generator literally caught fire.... so be careful ..the voltage regulators don't have an adjustment screw anymore they have a metal tab the touches the top of the contact arm on the bat coil... Bend it one way and the contact gap opens ,another and it closes. I used a multimeter and got it where I thought was good..13.4 volts but the smoke and burnt brushes told me otherwise
     
  10. Yeah... It could be a little tedious. I seem to recall it being sensitive to temperature when you were making adjustments and some readings could change slightly depending on if the cover was on or off of the regulator. You mainly had to convince yourself to make the adjustments in the proper sequence and don't skip over adjustments that you didn't think were important.
     
  11. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,458

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    If you have the manual and a multi meter you can check it. There is a special tool for bending (adjusting) the arms. It might be better to have an auto electric shop do it but there is no reason you can't do it yourself if you want.
     
  12. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,652

    F-6Garagerat
    Member

    I think maybe I will just pull them both and have the electric shop adjust it.
     
  13. You didn't mention polarizing the generator in your description, you did polarize it?
    Also check that both the generator and regulator have good grounds.
    We have also have had a couple of new regulators that did not function right out of the box.
    If you compare the insides of the new ones to an old regulator, it looks like they left half of it out.
     
  14. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,652

    F-6Garagerat
    Member

    Quote from my original post:

    "All of this diagnosis was done with a freshly charged battery at 13.2 volts and the generator properly polarized."
     
  15. gotit
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 357

    gotit
    Member

    Full field it and see what the voltage is. If it goes way up then you know the gen is good. If the gen is good then warrantee the reg if it is new. I went through 4 regulators and have 1 good one and 1 nos regulator that is good also.

    I just went through this last week. It is torture
     
  16. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 33,012

    loudbang
    Member

    With that low of output the battery will never charge. There is an "overcome voltage' that has to be met before the battery will charge. That is AT LEAST 13.2 volts.
     
    gas pumper likes this.
  17. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,162

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    You can do it. I got faith in ya...:cool:
     
  18. mcsfabrication
    Joined: Nov 26, 2006
    Posts: 906

    mcsfabrication
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    There should be a phillips head screw inside the regulator that adjusts the tension on the points. Take the cover off the regulator when the car is NOT running.
    Start the car, allow it to run for a minute, with a voltmeter hooked to the battery, slowly adjust the screw until you hit around 14 volts. Shut the car off, replace the cover and start the car, check your voltage. You go to 14 volts, because when you replace the cover, the temperature inside the regulator changes slightly and you will have a slightly lower charging rate with the cover on.
    Good luck.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  19. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,652

    F-6Garagerat
    Member

    Yeah, that was my thought and why I was asking how to adjust the regulator.
     
  20. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,652

    F-6Garagerat
    Member

    I
    its a new voltage reg so I'm not sure there is an adjusting screw, I heard a lot of the new reg's don't have it anymore. I will check shortly and see if it does.
     
  21. gas pumper
    Joined: Aug 13, 2007
    Posts: 2,955

    gas pumper
    Member

    There are two elements in a voltage regulator. One for Amps and one for Volts. Don't screw around with the amp relay. That's what overloads the generator and causes burnt armatures.

    That relay has really thick windings around it.

    The voltage section is what you want to adjust.. That needs to be high enough to "cut-in" above the battery voltage and "drop-out" when the output voltage goes below the battery voltage.

    There might be a cut out section in some relays, or newer ones may have a transistor to accomplish this.

    years ago part of the black magic to adjusting was using a resistor to add load. So the system would see amp draw. But you can adjust voltage a little with just the battery and headlights on as a load.
    Don't be very aggressive making adjustments as each little increment can take a minute to show up and stabilize.

    good luck, it's a doable thing.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  22. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    If I had a problem with a new VR I just took it back. I've never adjusted a "new" VR they were calibrated on a machine, adjusted and the adjustments were sealed with paint. Once the paint was broken then the warranty was voided. I'm a big tinkerer so it was not out of fear. It was because I just paid good money for a part and I expected it to work without adjustments.

    To me a VR is like the mysterious black box in the computer system. I don't care too much how it works just that it does work. You might look at the adjustment screws to see if the paint was broken by some hot shot "know it all mechanic" may have tried to adjust it and it was returned and they just put it on the shelf again to be sold to some other schmuck.

    I went out of my way to find an old NORS VR thinking that it was probably made in America when the reputation of the part was as important to the company as the price to have it manufactured.

    I've never had to adjust a VR in all my years of hotrodding.
     
  23. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,652

    F-6Garagerat
    Member

    The regulator is new, took it out of the box myself so no one has messed with it. I've been looking at NOS delco's online and may pick one up if this one doesn't have a way to adjust it.
     
  24. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,652

    F-6Garagerat
    Member

    Ok. Here is the part number and the specs for the original delco reg that pairs with this generator.

    Regulator Number: 1118749
    12 Volt/27-31 Amp, 3-Terminal
    Cutout Relay:
    Voltage to close points: 12.8
    Armature Air Gap: .020
    Voltage Regulator Setting: 14.5 volts
    Current Regulator Setting: 30
    Current and voltage armature air gap, Inch: .075

    Pulled the regulator (see pics) and it is adjustable. Now I think I know which is which, correct me please if I'm wrong. Left to right:

    1) Current and voltage
    2) Armature
    3) Current Regulator

    #1 measures .075
    #2 measures .020
    #3 measures .010 *

    * I think I've found my problem. Now I understand this isn't a Delco regulator (Standard Ignition, made in USA) but shouldn't the specs be fairly close? #'s 1 and 2 are dead on to the Delco specs, #3, not so much.

    Now I don't think adjusting it to .030 right off the bat is the right thing to do. But, couldn't I increase it to say .020 put it back together and take a reading at the cables?

    image.jpg

    image.jpg

    image.jpg

    EDIT: the screws only hold the point "arm" on and don't adjust it. If you loosen the screw you can adjust the arm up or down.
    image.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014
  25. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,652

    F-6Garagerat
    Member

    Ok, set the gap at .025 an increase of .015, and things got worse.

    12.34 running
    12.21 running with the head and tail lights on.

    By that reasoning setting it at .005 should make the voltage go up. At .010 gap I was 12.68 volts. If it works that way, smaller gap=higher volts, .005 may get me over 13 volts.
     
  26. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,652

    F-6Garagerat
    Member

  27. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,144

    sunbeam
    Member

    The coil with the fine windings is the voltage regulator. increasing the spring tension will increase the voltage. Slip the cover back on as it will change the reading somewhat.
     
    gas pumper likes this.
  28. gas pumper
    Joined: Aug 13, 2007
    Posts: 2,955

    gas pumper
    Member

    what sunbeam said! It's done by bending the little tab that the spring pulls on the armature with.. Just a little goes a long way. It needs to get above the battery voltage first and connect the generator to the rest of the system.. You could first try and hold that one closed by hand while it's running to see if that element is the one you want to adjust.

    Now I'm kinda thinking the 1st element to the left is the cut out relay. which is not cutting in. But if the field relay isn't set for high enough voltage, it can't never get to close the cut in. Hmmmm?
     
  29. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,652

    F-6Garagerat
    Member

    Yeah it's a head scratcher that's for sure.
     
  30. jseery
    Joined: Sep 4, 2013
    Posts: 743

    jseery
    Member
    from Wichita KS

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