good advice here....true banger guys, chris, elrod, bill. Irs30....they know what they are talking about. A ton of info can be found in Charlie Yapp's "Secrets of Speed Society" publications also. <O</OHere is some info to you generator runners. <O</OSummary is at the bottom. <O</OI will start by saying that in keeping with and striving for a true prewar style hotrod I run a 6v generator...nothing against the alternators. Here are some learning experiences I've had lately. <O</OPulled into favorite Mexican restaurant and shut off the ignition switch and noticed that the amp gauge pegged out on the discharge side. This was warning sign number one. Looked for the obvious which was to see if I left the lights turned on. Lights were not turned on and I decided to go back to the house about 5 miles away thinking that the battery would be dead later (yes battery would have went dead). I crank it up and get almost out of the parking lot and the amp gauge goes back to normal which was about 0 amps given the low rpm of the engine. So I turn around and go eat scratching my head thinking what was all of that about….something must have grounded out….or is my amp gauge on the blink??? <O</O About a week later I notice while happily motoring along that my amp gauge has crept up the about 15 amps. My normal setting is about 5-7 amps in the day time. I stop and play with the 3<SUP>rd</SUP> brush. The field brush as it is called because it connects to the field coil. Even though I run it all the way down it will not charge less than 18-20 amps at speed. This was warning sign number two. About a week after that, after scratching my head and not driving it much, I decided I would drive it for a while and see if the battery was heating up (running an optima 6v). After arriving at my destination about 10 miles away, I get out and see that my poor generator is about to take its last breath as smoke is boiling out of it. The battery seemed cool as normal. We got some water handy in case of an all out fire (yes if was very hot) but luckily didn’t need it. I then took the wire off the gen and grounded the gen to the frame (as to not burn it up whilst driving back home…lol) and took off. After getting home and letting the once again smoke boiling generator cool off, I took it apart to find everything very black and toasted looking. The heat melted part of the armature and burnt the cover off the field coils. It even melted the grease out of the sealed front bearing. Here’s what I learned after spending 5 ½ hours with a local (30 miles away…yes I live in the sticks) generator, alternator, starter, electric motor repair shop. The original style cutout shorted out and let the battery back feed into the generator effectively turning it into an electric motor….thus the discharge at the Mexican restaurant. (NOTE-If your amp gauge is doing funny stuff, pay attention. The amp gauge can be a very good tool if you know what to look for.) If the belt had been off the engine, the generator would have started spinning on its own. The cut out not only cuts out the current to the battery at a preset voltage (usually about 7.5 volts if set correctly, it also keeps the current of the battery from going back into the generator (turning it into an electric motor.) It’s like a one-way check valve. Cutouts and diode cutouts are prone the short out if over amperaged. Most of the round bodied, diode cutouts are rated at 5 amps MAX! If you run much over that, usually 50% or 8amps or so, you risk melting the diode and letting the battery current back into the generator. The second warning sign noted earlier was also from an internal short. “George”, the guy at the starter shop, told me that when they short out they will either back feed into the gen (as described earlier) or the gen can short out where it overcharges (warning sign number two). I had both at different times. Something else he told me was that cutouts and armatures are very sensitive pieces. I welded on my body without unhooking the battery which was most likely the cause of my problems. I assumed that since my old rig didn’t have any “modern electronics”, it would be ok. I was wrong. I have had 3 gens do “funny” stuff and not doubt that welding on the car was the cause of all my problems. Out of 4 generators that I took to George’s shop, 3 of 4 armatures were bad, all 4 sets of field coils were good (He said they rarely go bad. They read 80% resistance I think….or maybe it was 20 % resistance….but they weren’t the 50% that he thought they would be….based on newer style field coils…..the less resistance the more output in amps). I had 3 bad cutouts including one diode style from Bratton’s. After putting the good armature into the burnt up field coil case, with a good diode cutout, and new bearing, I’m back motoring happily again! So here’s the SUMMARY: 1) Do NOT weld on you car without unhooking the battery. 2) Diode style cutouts are good but buy the ones that are rated for 25 amps (part # K100 at your local electric motor shop) instead of the ones rated for 5 amps that are sold by Brattons, Macs, and others. 3) If you go full discharge for no reason, your cutout has probably shorted out and your feeding current back into the generator. You need to unhook the generator quickly. You probably have 30-60 seconds before the armature starts getting pretty hot. 4) If your charging too high and you can’t adjust it down far enough by rotating the field brush farther away from the armature brush, then you need to have the generator checked out asap….specifically the armature and the cutout. 5) 3<SUP>rd</SUP> brush or field brush is wired to your field coils. The other end of your field coils is wired to ground stud in the case. The stud that the cutout hooks to is wired to the other brush that has a wire screw. It’s called the armature brush. 6) Diodes can be check for current direction by local shop or you can hook it up to something that has lower amperage output than the rating on the diode and check current direction. Cutout should only allow current to flow from generator side to battery side. NOT the reverse. Happy Motoring!