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questions 54 ford 6 to 12 volts

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by gofast62, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. gofast62
    Joined: Jun 20, 2002
    Posts: 309

    gofast62
    Member

    my buddy is switching his for from 6 to 12 volts, whats an easy way, just new bulbs and one wire alt. or use a voltage reducer? how about the stock gauges will they work on 12 volts?
     
  2. I have converted quite a few over the years.
    You can GOOGLE "6 volt to 12 volt" and a few variations of it to get all kinds of sites and recommendations to study.

    Some important things I have learned..

    6V starters like 12 volts, so if you can't fiind a 12v version of your starter with the same teeth, don't worry about it. Use it.

    Dropping resistors are the MOST CRUDE WAY of dropping voltage.
    The resistance value you need depends entirely on the power (wattage) requirements of the item you want to power.
    The people selling dropping resistors HAVE NO IDEA what values you need, and the multiple outlet ones aren't ever close.
    Try very hard not to run two items from the same resistor or you will find that turning on or off one will influence the voltage to the other ..
    If YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST use a resistor (if your item is too big for a solid state power regulator- wipers etc), use one per item, and expect lots of heat and power waste from them.

    The only way to get accurate gauges is to use a solid state voltage dropping device that regulates to 6V. The ones I like best are the cheap ones (JC WHITNEY?) that look like a small metal strap that bolts to the back of each gauge and has a small SCR or diode device attached.
    There is one regulator in a separate box, made by Ron Francis Wire Works (spelling?) that is supposed to power a few gauges from one power source. It seems to be wired backwards from the regulator schematics described in the Radio Shack books, but it seems to work for gauges and small items.

    The best thing is to switch everything you can to 12V including all the fan motors, wipers if possible. There is a VERY good reason for that.
    WATTS = AMPS TIMES VOLTAGE.
    If a 24 watt bulb takes 2 amps on 12V it will take 4 amps to get the same output power on 6V.
    If a wiper takes 7 amps (JUST A GUESS) on 12V, the equivalent 6V wiper motor will suck DOUBLE- 14 amps.
    This means that AFTER the huge electrical+heat loss of passing the 12V current thru the dropping resistor, you will still need to have 6V with 14 amps left over for the item to run.
    In other words, your 12-Volt alternator will have to supply WELL OVER 14 AMPS in order to power something that would otherwise take 7 amps if you used the 12V motor instead. See how that can use up your alternator capacity in a hurry?

    So change everything you possibly can over to 12V. The more power it takes, the more important it is to change it to the 12V equivalent item.
    Gauges are very small power users, so a 12V to 6V solid state regulator is for the gauges is fine, and the steady voltage makes the readings reliable.

    Since 6V wiring is twice the size of 12V wiring, you do not have to rewire unless yours is old and damaged.

    Sometimes instead of a 12v battery, I used 2 six volt batteries in series to get 12v, one in the trunk and one in the stock location for a stock look under the hood.
     
  3. Tuck
    Joined: May 14, 2001
    Posts: 5,645

    Tuck
    Tech Editor
    from MINNESOTA
    1. Early Hemi Tech

    well...

    heres how to convert it 12 volts positive ground with only buying a few parts...

    I have done this for years and most people dont believe me that it works until they actually DO IT.

    I have my 34 ford set up this way.

    Buy a 56 ford Positive ground 12v regulator...
    12v internal resistor coil
    change all the bulbs to 12v
    and your DONE

    You're 6v generator will put out 12 volts.

    have any questions PM me.

    A generator is a generator is a generator... but your 6v gen needs to stay positive ground, just like your 12v system... it all works fantastic.

    Its a DIRECT bolt in.
    usually you can find the regulators at swap meets or in a yard.
    and get a coil from a yard...
    maybe it'll cost you ten bucks...

    first time I did it I used all 'yard' parts and it was all nearly free except for the bulbs.

    Tuck
     
  4. gofast62
    Joined: Jun 20, 2002
    Posts: 309

    gofast62
    Member

    thanks guys! what do i do about the positive ground deal?
     

  5. Wowcars
    Joined: May 10, 2001
    Posts: 1,023

    Wowcars
    Member

    Use it, whats wrong with it? Just don't let it confuse you when you have to jump it. Positive IS positive. Negative IS negative.
     
  6. J'st Wandering
    Joined: Jan 28, 2004
    Posts: 1,717

    J'st Wandering
    Member

    Thanks Tuck, I am going to give this a try. I have a 35 that is tough to start. I was going to beef up the battery cables but in the long run, switching to 12 volts would be nice.

    But, what is with the 56 positive ground regulator. The Chilton's book that I am looking at says that 56 and later are 12 volt negative ground. Where do I find a positive ground? Do regulators know the difference between positive and negative ground?

    I just did another car and went with 12 volt negative ground, put on a 12 volt regulator and used a 12 volt field on a 6 volt generator because I was told to. It works but your change over is simpler, I do not have to mess with the generator.

    Thanks. Neal
     
  7. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,410

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    The regulator cares about positive ground, but the generator doesn't. When you polarize your generator, what you're effectively doing is confirming the polarity of your field coils by forcing them to hold a residual charge so they always charge with the correct polarity. So if you swap polarity, you will have to re-polarize your fields.

    You can indeed make a 6V generator put out 12V - you will not have the current rating of the original 6V generator available though. For example, a 30A early Ford 6V generator when switched to 12V will only produce about 25A - it's a limitation of the armature & even swapping field coils won't fix it. While you can make an unmodified 6V generator produce 12V, you really should change the field coils to 12V field coils to help - I change the field coils in all of mine. But they do work the way Tuck said - most of our cars are running lights & gauges only, so no big impact on reduce amperage.

    You can switch back & forth between positive & negative ground & many items won't care one bit. Switches, bulbs, most early Ford gauges, etc. won't be affected. You can even run your coil backwards, but it's less efficient, so it should always have the points side wired to whatever ground you are (ie - positive ground = points to + coil terminal & vice verse). Ammeters care & true voltmeters care. I'm with DTBD on dropping resistors & would only use them as a last resort.

    For gauges, the HAMB's very own Mart sells a very nice little unit that will handle up to three gauges (he also sells smaller ones for individual gauges) & are perfect for the early Ford guys.
     
  8. Paul2748
    Joined: Jan 8, 2003
    Posts: 2,135

    Paul2748
    Member

    For the gauges, I used a Ford constant voltage regulator that was used in all Ford for gauges 1957-90's. One unit works for all gauges. No muss, no fuss. I used one on my 54 and the gauges work great. Pick it up at NAPA or any parts store, maybe even a Ford dealer.

    No such thing as a 6 volt 1956 Ford positive ground anything- Ford went to 12 volt negative ground in 56. Go to negative ground - be modern - so you can run any aftermarket accessory thats out there. Replace the generator with a 12 V unit or have yours converted. If you go to an alternator get one with an internal regulator - make life simpler.

    I made the switch in my 54 and (with a new harness) everything works great.
     
  9. gofast62
    Joined: Jun 20, 2002
    Posts: 309

    gofast62
    Member

    thanks paul it sounds like the way to go! what does it look like? i'am a junk yard boy.
     
  10. 40Tudor
    Joined: Jan 1, 2002
    Posts: 634

    40Tudor
    Member

    For the guages, use Napa part number ECH IR-1 Ford Instrument Cluster Voltage Regulator. $31 new - I got mine used for $7 including the gauge cluster. Keep your existing senders.

    It's probably 1.5"x.5" and will be mounted on the back of any Ford gauge cluster from the 60's or 70's.
     

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  11. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,410

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    On converting a generator from 6V to 12V just by changing the regulator - check the field coil resistance. If it's 6-ohms or above, you probably won't have too many problems - if it's under 6-ohms, it may run hot.

    Field coils aren't an exact science & their resistance varies somewhat. Most 6V Ford field coils measure between 4-5.5 ohms, although you'll find some higher & lower. The 12V field coils measure between 9-11 ohms.

    I just changed field coils in a generator tonight that I'm switching to 12V. The 6V fields were 4.7 ohms and another set I had were 4.2 ohms. The 12V fields were 10.7 ohms.

    Just FYI
     
  12. Paul2748
    Joined: Jan 8, 2003
    Posts: 2,135

    Paul2748
    Member

    There also is another style (different tangs, early and late). I assume both are available.

     
  13. 40Tudor
    Joined: Jan 1, 2002
    Posts: 634

    40Tudor
    Member

    Could be. My old one (59 F-100) only has two electrical connections and a slightly different mounting tab. I assume the one shown is intended to work on many different cars. That's the only part number I've found at NAPA.

    Here's one:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/e...item=320108387444&indexURL=2#ebayphotohosting

    And another:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1968...QQihZ009QQcategoryZ140720QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    Look closely at the back view photos. The smaller gauges are likely useful as replacements for your older ones. The needles and faces can be swapped to make them look right. After looking around eBay this morning I'm questioning whether this same part was used on the flex circuit clusters. Paul, is that the 'late' part you're referring to?
     
  14. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,410

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    Our very own Mart sells a nifty little device that will power 3 gauges - I just installed one in my '40 today & so far, so good. ;) Can't beat the price - cheaper than NAPA!
     
  15. Tuck
    Joined: May 14, 2001
    Posts: 5,645

    Tuck
    Tech Editor
    from MINNESOTA
    1. Early Hemi Tech

     
  16. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,410

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    I think you just like to be different, Tuck! ;)
     
  17. Flathead Youngin'
    Joined: Jan 10, 2005
    Posts: 3,661

    Flathead Youngin'
    Member

    ....got any ideas how to isolate the regulator housing? i know i could use rubber washers but the whole housing would be loaded and could short easily........also, regulators do not like heat, right?

     
  18. Martino
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 242

    Martino
    Member

    So on my 54 Ford that I have had since March. It has been converted to 12volts.
    The gauges are working but dont light up. As a matter of fact, everthing on dash doesnt light up.
    Any help or advise as to what I should do to get them to light up?

    Martino
     
  19. 51custom
    Joined: Feb 15, 2011
    Posts: 102

    51custom
    Member


    40Tudor has the right thing for your gauges, Mac's sells them I have used these on all my 6V-12V conversions.
    Jim
     
  20. Martino
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 242

    Martino
    Member

    So is 40Tudor and Mac's the same guy? Or should I get ahold of both of them? Thanks.
     
  21. 51custom
    Joined: Feb 15, 2011
    Posts: 102

    51custom
    Member

    Opps sorry man...40Tudor has the right idea, on the Constant Voltage Reducer. and macsautoparts sells them..
    Jim
     
  22. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,110

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    There are universal 12V regulators that will do either pos or neg ground!
     
  23. Martino
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 242

    Martino
    Member

    Thanks for clarifing 51custom !
     

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