I'm just about to spend some money... The question is, on what? My 6 volt generator quit putting out ( not unlike my ex-wife! ) and after some normal checks to rule out wiring or the cut-out, l removed it, knocked it down, and found that one of the field coil link wires had broken. After messing with trying to remove the field coil screws, l have decided to replace the whole unit.
So, my question to the group involves what to get. l want to stay six volt and l do have a Fun Projects regulator at this time. My options appear to be 3... Rebuilt Generator, Best Quality Rebuilt Generator, 6V Alternator:Gear Driven.
Lay it on me.
Being a purist, I'd keep the generator. Which one? That's up to you. If you send it to Ron Patterson, you won't have to worry about it for a long time. I'm sure there are others that can do a good job too. If you want one in a hurry, the vendors may do a swap rather than waiting on getting the same one back. Me? I'd probably do it myself and just order the parts, assuming the armature is good. That's what I did with mine on the TT and it's been going strong for 6 years.
I would send it to Brent Mize he does really good work.
Did one for me and it's beautiful. Email or call him the prices for gen work aren't on his website. He has a restored Allen gen test stand that he uses.
Don't forget to consider your 4th option, no generator. Early T's had no generator and thus eliminated a power drain on the motor and another unnecessary item to maintain.
Give Becker's a call later in the week for your 6 volt alternator....the same as I have on the '26.
BECKER AUTO ELEC
2332 Us Highway 250 S Norwalk OH 44857
Mr. Becker died a few days ago, but his sons have posted on the Forum that they will be continuing the family business.
Give them a call later in the week, most likely they'll ask for your address and send the unit with a invoice.
The 4th option is certainly interesting, but the car is driven a lot at night, so I do need the charging. I like the idea of Brent or Ron doing it but l don't want to have her down for much time, so the Vendor route seems ok. Bob, what are the pro's of the alternator over the genny?
Dave, you may have answered your own questions.... especially on night driving.
Been using the 32-50 cp headlight bulbs, gives more light especially with the re-silvered reflectors from a few years ago.
Seems the alternator keeps the battery "up" to snuff better than the generator, even when I ran a rebuilt genny with the voltage regulator. Kinds like Viagra for your battery ???? LOL !
I've had two 6V alternators crap out on me.
I think I'm going back to a generator.
You already have a good regulator, just get your generator working and you'll be a happy camper!
The stock generator will easily handle the electrical loads of a Model T. With a properly rebuild generator and your Fun Projects regulator, you will have both a combination that will handle your electrical needs and one that is very reliable. Installing an alternator is a unnecessary modification for most any T.
I have a modern 12-volt system in my '15 Touring and the unanticipated disadvantage is a 2-amp drain on the battery to energize the alternator's electromagnets when the engine is idling. While waiting at a red traffic light, I set the throttle so the engine revs high enough to keep the needle out of the "discharge" side of the ammeter.
I'd guess that if your car already has a 6-volt generator, the simplest way to go, in terms of reliability, would be to replace the original cut-out with a voltage regulator and just let it go at that. A generator should work just fine and unlike an alternator, it can charge a completely dead battery. Oh, and one other thing: It'll let you idle the engine as low as you like.
You can make a block off plate to drive the car while the generator is being rebuilt. The car will run with an occasional charging without the gen.
Look at the current Becker posting :
My experience with the Becker alternator... Starting he engine, ammeter will not show a charge till a certain rpm is achieved, after that the ammeter will show alternator is charging, usually about 4-6 amps and tapers off within a minute. At idle, ammeter shows zero charge, headlights turned on ( 32-50 cp and double tail lights) will have ammeter show a discharge of 10 amps, very shortly will have alternator bringing charge rate up to 2-4 amp discharge... remember this is at engine idle speed.... increasing engine idle brings the ammeter back to zero.
Can't say anything on other than Becker's alternator......my experience.
In case one is wondering, I have no connections with Becker other than being a happy customer.
Well, I decided to do a multitude of solutions. An alternator is on order from Becker, I made a blank off plate so that I can drive her today, and I'm sending the old generator out to Brent Mize for rebuild. I firmly believe in having good spare parts on hand and being able to help a buddy in need, so having that fresh generator sitting on the shelf ain't a bad thing. We put at least 3500 miles a year on our 26, and if the alternator gives me a little more light at night, all the better.
A generator makes the electricity in the rotating armature and then that electricity must travel across the brushes and there is a lot of wear and resistance at slow speeds where a Model T runs. A generator makes more amperage at higher speeds. The model T generator can be adjusted for more amperage by moving the third brush. This is necessary and very inconvenient when you do a lot of night driving or a lot of stopping and starting of the engine. A Model T generator usually makes less than ten amps.
A more modern generator has fixed brushes and regulates the amperage through a two or three way regulator mounted outside of the generator. These systems can generate up to and beyond 30 amps. Three way regulation on six volt models is available but a lot of folks get the 12 volt Alternator kits and they let you run GPS, charge cell phones and run other things requiring 12 volts.
An alternator generates the electricity in the outside or non-rotating armature and so there is no high resistance losses across the brushes. The alternator generates alternating current and then converts it to direct current through Diodes. The alternator is more efficient at all speeds than a generator but requires more cooling, hence the Internal fan of an Alternator. Alternators can be found in six, 8 and 12 volt models. Alternators charge well at very very low speeds that Model T's run at.
Use a stock generator. You won't be sorry.
A Voltage regulator on the T generator removes the need to adjust the 3rd brush more than once per life of the generator hence not an issue. While alternator of course also has a voltage regulator - it has no control of the maximum charging amps as does the T generator/VR approach.
You are incorrect that a T generator makes less than ten amps. It can and does make up to 100 watts of total power. At 7 Volts output (normal regulated output of both alternator and generators) that means the generator can put out just under 15 amps safely.
Since the T system is a 20 amp system there is adequate power for starting and lighting using the T generator with no chance of too many amps overloading the T wiring and burning out its ammeter.
Belt driven alternators have adequate fan cooling but gear driven alternators do not seem to charge properly at low RPM unless first excited with high RPM and then the cooling is not adequate since the pulley that contains the necessary fan is removed and replaced with a gear. Internal fan is not the saving grace since all the current is handled by the stater and it needs a large volume of air to keep it cool as witnessed by the size of the fan on the normal alternator pulley. The internal fan was added to aid cooling but is not a sufficient replacement for the main front pulley. I have no problem with belt driven approach but most recent tour I was on had 2 gear driven alternators that were no longer working.
Are you implying Becker's gear driven 6 volt alternator regulates voltage and not amperage ?
"While alternator of course also has a voltage regulator - it has no control of the maximum charging amps as does the T generator/VR approach."
Please explain. Thanks.
I have an alternator on my 19. As mentioned it will show a discharge at idle. My two reasons for the switch to alternator was one, If for some reason the generator come off or gets broken the generator will be damaged. This is not the case with an alternator. The other is its getting hard to find a good 6 volt battery anymore. It seemed that every spring I would need t buy a battery, Even with a 6 volt battery tender hooked up to it all winter. Its possible it may have something to do with the sever cold temps that the battery has to endure during storage in Northern NY but the 12 volts batteries just seem to hold up better.
Generator wire, not the Generator. Really need to proof read!
first quick response I would have is that a model T generator is enclosed correct?
I have no understanding of how someone would think that an internal fan wouldn't provide proper cooling for an alternator, it has been Delco's design for many years, and obviously a more efficient system than a outside fan, it forces the air directly through the alternator,
and that I stated that a generator USUALLY makes less than ten amps, NOT saying that it isn't capable of making more amps.
BUT How many amps do you want a ENCLOSED generator to make? that is the issue here as you DO NOT want your generator producing even 20 amps or more for an extended period of time, such as long drives, and this high rpm your saying that the alternator requires?? is solved by the smaller pulley, would you say that the alternator (with smaller pulley) rotates at least 1000 rpm? or less?
Basically I would Have to say , the number one option of a Generator or alternator would be... do you show your car? 100% including tags originality ? do you only drive your model T VERY short distances? as a person who grew up with a father who valued originality I have no problem with the ORIGINAL Generator, Original being the cut out and not a regulator, obviously any change at all, however slight, would dictate a non original,
That being said , if you drive distances, especially state to state or any more other than very local running around/ if you want to add any accessories ,Halogen light bulbs, ect. anything which will increase your power demand , and proven durability ,simplicity
usability , Then an Alternator would be the option,
Its all personal preference
Heres my Becker belt driven alternator on a 1917 engine in a 1924 Model T. I`m happy with the performance---Paul
"How many amps do you want a ENCLOSED generator to make?"
Answer: 5 amps. Why do I want more?
"I have no understanding of how someone would think that an internal fan wouldn't provide proper cooling for an alternator, it has been Delco's design for many years,..."
Answer: Is it also Delco's design to firmly bolt the alternator to a very hot Model T engine which supplies a huge amount of heat in addition to that generated within the alternator? Also, the alternator is now located out of the air stream by tucking it along side the (hot) engine and behind the generator mounting ear. John R. stated that he had no problem with belt driven alternators, I suspect for these reasons.
"...this high rpm your saying that the alternator requires?? is solved by the smaller pulley..."
ANSWER: I believe the low RPM issue is the case only for gear driven alternators. I've seen some very poor alternator performance at low engine speeds in those situations. You can't counter John's argument that gear driven alternators go too slow, by suggesting we use a smaller pulley. Your very suggestion supports the notion that gear driven alternators are, in fact, too slow turning.
I want to add that I'm not bashing your product in any way. By all accounts, you turn out a quality product.
Jerry , Not at all I welcome 100% any and all ideas, findings and comments , we all learn from each other.
1st, only reason you would want more than 5 amps output, would be as I said any additional load needs , halogen light bulbs, and accessories simply turning your lights on requires(originally ) you to adjust the 3rd brush on generator. alternator eliminates that requirement as well.
also provides over all dependability especially on long drives.
and there are many other benefits.
No I did not mean a pulley on the Model T , that is concerning the Model A unit, that was my mistake as the pulley was mentioned in previous comments and I generalized the comment, my mistake for sure,
BUT that being said much advancement has been made in decreasing the speeds required to activate the alternator, I will put a comment together with some very specific information on that topic.
Thank you for the correction on the pulley vs gear I didn't intend to say there was a pulley on the Model T
First off the term Alternator does not define all alternators but the kind most of the hobby started to use was the so-called "single wire" alternator. These were mostly Mitsubishi and had external regulators. Many of those were equipped with 6V regulators that frankly didn't work at all. There is nothing in these typical alternators to reduce or control the amount of charge current up to its absolute maximum other than the DC resistance of the windings and the external wiring. There is no dynamic control of the maximum amperage output at any given RPM. Sure the amps go up and down with RPM but nothing to hold it down like the third brush action of the T generator. Thus large amperage is very possible and likely but most of the hobby is not told this so they hook it up in place of the generator and start burning up things since these can easily put out more than 20 amps. The T generator controls the maximum charge rate obtainable via the third brush action which limits the field current available based upon the third brush setting. Then a VR can control the amount of voltage out by reducing the field current further from that maximum setting. The alternator has no such limit on the charge rate and that is what makes it unsuitable for a stock T wiring system. They don't seem to have enough cooling or RPM when gear driven but that is a problem for the alternator it would seem.
Please read my post again. I stated that the T generator is limited to 100 watts. I never advocated for 20 amps out of a generator since that is way beyond 100 watts at even 7 volts out.
Generator is enclosed but the high current portion is the armature and it spins in the ambient air to cool itself while the stator of an alternator does not move and MUST have forced air cooling or its output rating must be lowered a bunch to match the lack of cooling which is the same issue with the generator. the typical alternators that are gear driven have had the Vpully/fan removed and a gear fitted up and then it is mounted right behind a bulkhead and the only air it gets is coming through the radiator having been warmed by that. In free air the alternator is capable of 750 watts of output but I have no idea why anyone would need that much wattage since the lighting is about 80 watts and the ignition operates via magneto. The only thing the alternator brings with it is a voltage regulator and that is a good thing since that gives much longer battery life but there is no need for such a huge amount of excess power that can cause problems for the T electrical system.
So, in a nutshell, you are saying there is no provision for amperage limitation in the Becker 6 volt alternator ? .... specifically asked in above post.
The ammeter on my Becker equipped '26 never showed a charging rate greater than 10 amps, even with a weak battery...... then from what you stated the 20-0-20 meter should have been pegged and smoking ?? The wiring harness has a # 12 battery/generator wire which is good for 20 amps.
Don't really care for failed alternator "history", looking for specifics on your take on Becker's alternator.
If you haven't the experience with Becker's alternator, please say so.
I used the Ford issued generator and the FP regulator, and I'm sure there are many satisfied owners.
Not seeing your car I cannot comment on the 10 amps other than it is likely that is all the charge power available. The first question I would probably ask is how accurate is your ammeter and that is not any plot against either alternator or generator since the small ammeters are notoriously off by a bunch. I am not expert on alternators but thought I made it very clear that unlike the 3rd brush mechanism the alternators typically do NOT HAVE ANY KIND OF DYNAMIC current limitation that can be adjusted as can the 3rd brush of a T generator. If Becker's unit has that ability then that clearly is something very beneficial to the T system if it can be set to never allow more than 20 amps charge rate - then it would be safe to wire it in place of the generator. Those are a lot of ifs but I simply have not seen ANY alternator as yet that has that feature built into it. With alternators you get what you get and on modern cars typically the more you get the better but not so on a T. A weak battery is less likely to draw high charge current so it helps lower the charge rate as does weak wiring. If you have low resistance wiring and an early ammeter with its lower resistance you get more current and if you have a new but dead battery you get more current. I would not want to demonstrate on anybody's car how to smoke an ammeter and wiring using an alternator. In truth if that could not be done on your car and you only can get 10 amps max charge then what advantage would that alternator have over a T generator with regard to accessories and the like. You can't have it both ways.
I only entered this discussion when there was some rather inaccurate info being offered about T generator output and that the only real solution was to put up with constant 3rd brush adjustment or buy an alternator. That to me is misinformation. I make a voltmeter now for the alternator equipped cars and am not at odds with what folks want to do but I do want this forum to have correct info so that newbies don't get mislead.
Will C. - with a Voltage regulator on your T generator the fear of that wire coming off is eliminated since the regulator shuts down the generator immediately if the load goes away for some reason. Not suggesting you buy one but just wanted you to know that. I have some ideas as to why you are getting short battery life but that is for another thread. Send me a PM if you want and I can share some info you might find interesting but it is off topic here.
Wow John, when I ran a Ford generator with your FP regulator, the same ammeter was in the car.... " small ammeters are notoriously off by a bunch ". Used that same ammeter and it's reading to set up the generator with your regulator.
What is one to believe ??
First, Yes I agree the early designs of alternators had there problems in development, and honestly I prefer a DELCO unit over having JAPAN on the back of my unit, like the Mitsubishi alternator does, even though I have seen some mits. units that now have the japan machined off the back. BUT hey there again is just a personal preference.
I agree fully with Bob as why you continue to say that an alternator doesn't control the amperage or has no provision for amperage limitation, I have no idea why you say that. I would like for you to full field that generator and tell me how many amps you get??
also I want to add the fact that HIGHER voltage requires a smaller wire, as the amperage is moving faster through the wire, Hence why the new 42 volt systems are being installed in many vehicles, LESS copper wire and smaller wire, what exactly is going to happen in a SHORTED out situation with them , I am not sure, as many of you know how aggressive a 24 volt system can be when a short occurs, BUT that shows the wiring requirements at a higher voltage is actually LESS
Honestly to say that because the armature rotates and that it cools itself in a closed system is sort of ridiculous, (not at all being sarcastic) just look at your armature and ask yourself if it at all shows any signs of design to have a cooling feature in any way, it is a tightly wound piece of steel with copper wire VERY tightly wound , while the stator is positioned by the air vents and positioned to be cooled by the fan forcing air through it, by the internal fan such as our units now(as we are not using the older style Delco SI units anymore, and also all parts are 100% new , so we have eliminated many problems and increased efficiency considerably.
also the internal fan pushes the air our of the unit instead of sucking it through the back, as the 10 si 12 si units do, making an increase in effectiveness and eliminating the collection of dirt and ect from going through the alternator
for anyone who may not know . these watts you keep referring to with the big numbers, is VOLTS X AMPS = WATTS
so your 100 number means that 7 volts X 15 amps lets say equals 105 watts
and we haven't even mentioned the cushioning effect the BATTERY has on a system,
THAT comes into play, As the Battery is the Bucket of water(power) and the alternator/charging system is the (faucet) keeping the bucket full. and it cushions any voltage. amperage highs and lows.
simply where is your wiring hooked up to for all loads? the battery , NOT the alternator correct.
In a nutshell , The alternator controls voltage and amperage the same as a generator regulator, it reads the battery requirements, from an internal setting, more when needed and less when not needed, now you have to ask yourself if you trust a mechanical points system with springs and contacts that wear or an digital electronic system,
Hence why the voltage regulators can have a mind of there own symptom, charge on and off, sometimes work right , sometimes don't as the digital alternator regulator either works or it doesn't, it does not come and go,
also do not want to forget that a lot of charging problems can be attributed to bad connections or a bad battery cell , which will cause any units to have a false reading at the battery and give incorrect information to a regulator,
during my 5 years as a Delco Remy Technical Representative and Trainer,
CLEAN AND TIGHT, MAKES IT RIGHT
is the old saying concerning connections
Actually Daryl the battery is NOT hooked up to carry the lights, horn, or ignition except when the charging source is not there. Once the generator is putting out then the generator carries the load and the battery is doing nothing. The generator is. The ammeter will show this. If you hook the alternator up in place of the generator then the current goes from the alternator to the various loads and the battery is only used for starting the car. Read the wiring diagram and you will see that. Your discussion is interesting but "full fielding" the alternator has nothing whatever to do with a dynamic control of the current. The alternator VR contols the field current only in response to voltage change of the battery and nothing controls that field current based upon the amount of current coming out of the alternator. The typical modern automotive system does NOT control the charge current hence the alternators have no such control built into them. What I have been unable to show you all is that the T generator is a current source and without a VR it has control of its output current only via its third brush. The voltage is not controlled as anyone can attest to who has ever had the generator wire come loose or had a cutout stuck open. With the addition of a voltage regulator to the T generator you have a composite system that regulates BOTH the VOLTAGE via the voltage regulator and the CURRENT via the 3rd brush. Thus one can set the 3rd brush up for the maximum charge rate wanted and then the voltage regulator controls the charge rate within zero and that maximum and there never is a higher current than that 3rd brush maximum. What may sound preposterous is actually happening and is what assures that no damage can be done to the generator from too much current nor the battery from too much overcharge. I can demonstrate this concept in person if you want but you will have to bring an alternator demo and I will show you that the alternator has NO SUCH COMPARABLE ability. Modern cars don't need that ability so its not there. The T needs that limitation since its system is only a 20 amp system. BTW our voltage regulators are totally solid state with no "mechanical points system with springs and contacts that wear..."
Bob - We don't rely on the accuracy of the ammeter when setting up our VR's on the generator. If you installed it per the instructions you might remember that we used the headlights as a load and simply rely on the ammeter to then indicate a charge or discharge. Even the poorest ammeter seems to be able to determine which way the current is flowing by showing on the charge or discharge side. We have you turn on the lights and then adjust the charge rate to show a small charge with the lights on and in that way we don't rely on the ammeter accuracy for that setting. We do ask folks to do a final check that does depend on the ammeter accuracy but if they did the setup OK then the generator should be safe even if the ammeter is not totally accurate. Our VR is not a cure for a sick electrical system and sometimes it is difficult for folks to know that there is a problem in their system. I wish like everyone else that there was a better meter for the 26/27 car but Ford didn't leave any room for a good one to fit into.
Come on now, the ammeter readings were still used to set the third brush.
" We don't rely on the accuracy of the ammeter when setting up our VR's on the generator. If you installed it per the instructions you might remember that we used the headlights as a load and simply rely on the ammeter to then indicate a charge or discharge."
And your installation instructions relies on ammeter charge with the headlights on..... no mention of small ammeters being inaccurate.
http://www.funprojects.com/pdf/5055R6.PDF Regulator Installation Instructions
first question is . is the battery part of the loop/circuit for the starting and charging devices??
And the full fielding is concerning the GENERATOR , NOT the alternator.
what would the output of the generator be if the field circuit caused the generator to full field? what if your contact arcs and stays closed , what will happen ???
Bob: No the ammeter readings aren't relied upon for setting the third brush amount since we want that to be determined by the headlight load. Why would we go to all the trouble of using the lights if the ammeter is for sure accurate? We tried to use a method that would only set the charge rate high enough to charge the battery a bit when the headlights are on.
Daryl I honestly don't understand what your question is?
My last post was with regard to the first of your last 2 posts since I was typing the same time you were so now we are both out of sync ha ha.
I am a bit confused even with the second post. Not trying to evade the question but since in a 3 brush generator neither of the ends of the field winding come outside the generator and the field current is derived from a tap off the armature - there is no direct way to force a "full fielding" as with a standard 2 brush generator or alternator. Your question asked "what if your contact arcs and stays closed, what while happen???" Again not to avoid the question but there ARE NO CONTACTS to stay open or closed. The generator is unmodified and totally stock. We do not alter it or add connections to it. The field current amount is determined by the setting of the tap on the 3rd brush but there is zero field current unless the generator is spinning which is different than 2 brush generators. This is why I was stating that the setting of the 3rd brush determines the maximum amount of field current that the generator can have and thus determines the maximum amount of current the generator will put out. Our VR then controls that amount of current from zero to that max as requested by the VR circuit in the normal manner. It the alternator had another circuit in it that allowed a fixed maximum amount of charge current that was at or below 20 amps, that would then prevent burn damage to the T system in the same fashion that the adjustable 3rd brush does for the T now. The down side for the T was that the adjustable 3rd brush generator itself would burn up while not harming the T wiring but that can be prevented by monitoring the output of the generator and applying a direct short on it when the output goes way too high and our VR does that. The alternator doesn't have that issue nor does a 2 brush generator. "Full fielding" is generally something that is done to test a 2 brush generator but the field current in that case is coming from outside the generator. There simply is no easy way to get at the field connections to do that with a 3 brush generator and I am not too sure how meaningful a test that would be for a 3rd brush generator anyway. I hope this answers your question. I was wondering at what RPM your 6V alternator begins to charge since typically the older alternators had to get above 1200 RPM or so. Do you have any charts that show charge current versus RPM for the 6V unit since I thought that alternators would charge at idle but I am mainly familiar with belt driven type on modern cars and I know that you can't alter the gear ratio of the gear driven alternator on the T. I would be interested in the RPM either in engine RPM or alternator RPM. I offered this coming weekend to help a young man with a speedster whose alternator is dead (one of the 2 dead alternators I mentioned). I don't know yet what all is his issue but there are some wiring errors in the car since the lights don't move the ammeter when they are on and the alternator doesn't move it either but I have measured only battery voltage at the alternator output with no increase in voltage at any engine speed. Could be the VR in it but could be something else since there are a few wiring errors that I spotted. If the Alternator is dead he will be in the market for another one no doubt.
I bought a rebuilt generator from Ron Patterson, then installed a Fun Projects meter and VR. Going into a car that's been in the family for 90 years I think I made the right choice.
Disappointed that you have no direct knowledge of the Becker alternator and it's merits...
Your "typical" alternator theory ramblings mixed in with three brush generator function is comparing apples and oranges.
All I know from a consumer standpoint that the Becker alternator on my car for the past four years has worked to my satisfaction keeping the battery charged, strong starter spins and bright lights when needed.... and is my preference for reliable running.
your strong starter and bright lights are a function of your battery. The alternator keeps your battery charged, just like the generator I rebuilt 3 years ago does for me. Nothing more.
If you're running a ton of non-stock lights and other electrical equipment, then an alternator might be required for the extra amperage necessary. The only way an alternator is more reliable than a stock generator with a VR is if the wrong guy rebuilt the generator. So long as the output of a T generator is sent somewhere (like a battery!) the individual components are hugely robust.
one more thing while I'm here typing:
the energy expended by the battery, to start a T, is replenished in just a few minutes, even with a generator set to just 5-6 amps. I believe that quite a few people have the mistaken belief that it takes a long time for a generator to replenish the battery, or that it takes a huge current output to do so, and that simply isn't the case.
Only non-stock light is a second tail/stop light on the right fender.
Headlight bulbs are the 32-50 cp incandescent.
With generator and VP regulator night driving at road speed in excess of an hour would bring down a fully charged battery to a point where the starter would crank so slow not to start the engine after cooling down to park in garage.
Generator was set according to the regulator instructions.
Nothing else was changed on the car.... same battery, same wiring, same bulbs, same trip. Becker's alternator resulted in brighter lights and the electric starter started the engine after cooling to park in garage.
The implication that the original Model T generator third brush must be continually manipulated for day or night driving is incorrect.
Who implied that Ron ??
Yeah. It sounds like the same old E-Timer claims that made it sound like you have to continuously fiddle with your coils to keep a T running properly. And for the same reason.....
Bob, If you had adjusted your third brush to provide a slight charge with the lights on, I don't see how driving with the lights on could discharge your battery.
I repeat, generator was set according to the procedures in the FP regulator installation instructions.
Lets stay on topic please.
I believe the original poster gets to set the topic. That topic being, whether to use a generator or an alternator. Not the set-up procedure of the FP regulator, as you would prefer.
FP regulator set up procedure was in my discussion because I used and ran my engine for a few years with that combination with mediocre results.
The Ford Manual goes thru the rebuild & set up of the generator. Also takes into consideration the candle power of standard Ford light bulbs to set the third brush.
In today's world , for safety, who would not use the 32-50 candle power headlight bulbs ?
Your question is answered: use 32-50 CP bulbs and don't follow the FP regulator instructions.
Bob J. it was Daryl B. that implied that at the beginning of this discussion. I agree with Ron, I have never had to readjust my generator for daytime or night time driving. Dave
Looking thru the posts, if you are referring to :
"Jerry , Not at all I welcome 100% any and all ideas, findings and comments , we all learn from each other.
1st, only reason you would want more than 5 amps output, would be as I said any additional load needs , halogen light bulbs, and accessories simply turning your lights on requires(originally ) you to adjust the 3rd brush on generator. alternator eliminates that requirement as well.
also provides over all dependability especially on long drives.
and there are many other benefits. "
I read that to adjust the third brush according to the load of owner installed "options" and lights , Not at all referring to "manually manipulating" high or low charging generator rates for day or night driving.
Posted by DWB on Monday, July 29, 2013 - 10:25 pm:
"The model T generator can be adjusted for more amperage by moving the third brush. This is necessary and very inconvenient when you do a lot of night driving or a lot of stopping and starting of the engine..."
I entered this thread mainly because of the information in this entire posting which I felt was very misleading as did others who have used generators for many years. I am not saying there was deliberate attempt to mislead but the information presented "missed the mark" on this and other generator data that was presented. I think it has been cleared up by Daryl and I am satisfied that his intentions were good and thus we move on.
That's the post that I was referring to Bob. Dave
Thanks for everyone's input. So, here is what I have done: made a blank off plate so as to drive the car now, ordered an alternator from Becker and am going to have the generator rebuilt by Brent Mize. Wow, three solutions!
I drive this car about 3500 miles a year and plenty of that is at night. The generator always did fine with John's VR on it. My lights are as good as they get, in my opinion, since l ran individual grounds to the sockets, but l sure would like a little more brightness. Maybe the alternator will do that. Having the rebuilt generator on the shelf, or the alternator on the shelf, isn't a bad thing on a Friday night before an event. Being able to help a buddy in need of a part is always a good thing. Thanks again, all.
You have very neatly come up with a solution that should satisfy everyone's personal preferences, at least to some extent. So rarely do solutions to any problem ever do that. Are you a politician?
How would one adjust the generator using your regulator..... using 32-50 cp headlight bulbs, and dual stop/tail lights ?
My observation, using a generator with a Patterson rebuilt brush plate, properly seated new brushes, motoring to set neutral position, polarized without regulator, set according to the Ford Manual, having to set the third brush advanced more than half way in adjustment could not show ammeter charge on the plus side, averaged about 4 amps negative.
Are the 32-50 bulbs and double tail lights too much of a load for the Ford generator to handle for a 90 minute night ride without a generator failure ? ... or a drained battery ?
Not a politician, just a guy who has to keep about 40 pieces of powered equipment in operation... Cranes, trucks, forklifts, boats, cars etc. l know that they all break down and can be put back in service by doing it right the first time.
setting neutral can sometimes be trickier than what the book would have you believe. Sometimes they will be obstinant and it pays to have a really good ammeter in the loop and set null while running on a stand or in a vehicle. If you are showing 4A discharge with all lights burning, then your generator is putting out pretty well as it is, and should take many hours (more than I'd want to drive at night) to pull your battery down very much.
What a discussion. If I might join in I would suggest that folks may appreciate a simple analogy.
An Alternator is like a plug on the wall. 110 V with say a 20 amp breaker. When you plug a device into it the voltage will attempt to maintain 110, The amperage will vary depending upon the devices current need.
The alternator's VR has a set point. Be it analog or pulse width modulated (as in the pictured Becker alternator) it will try to control the field to maintain it's set point. In this case PWM is a plus.
The voltage may ramp down if the field is at max as amperage rises but I doubt you'll ever see that in a T.
If you load say a 100A alt to 95A you will typically see the voltage drop. Like climbing a hill with the throttle down, you lose speed as the hill gets steeper.
John is of course right.
I would suggest that a CS alt with internal fans will be "cool' enough on a Model T. Those alt's will do 70 amps at engine idle and the output is almost straight up from there to 105A.
I have no evidence to support my contention but 10 amps at idle should not cause the stator of rect to run that hot. The air should flow from the rear (over the rect) to the front.
All numbers are arbitrary, just trying to explain in simple terms, all that I'm capable of...lol
Cute ,how word for word gets analyzed on the forum , BUT hey I have noticed quite a few topics have been dropped /faded into the back light, Such as the cooling issue that was so loudly being broadcasted across the forum ., Thank you for addressing that issue again Mike, as Yes the alternator By Far has the cooling issue at hand . Nice to see that has been corrected, even though not openly admitted,
Not sure what the point of all the voltage/amperage information is attempting to prove, But the fact is easy to explain , and can not be changed at all, It is the Teeter Totter effect , any time you have high amperage you have a lower voltage, and any time you have HIGH voltage you have Lower amperage. on ANY system.
as The alternator controls the field to maintain a level of charge at a designated sensing point .
I honestly have no understanding of why on a forum For Model T's, the chalk boards get dragged out to scientifically dissect this system , what should be exposed , is the fact of how simple it truly is,
I would Honestly think that the opposite should be taking place Here ,
Lets make this and every system for the Model T as SIMPLE as possible for every one to understand , My goal and I am sure many others also, want to make everyone's MODEL T experience as enjoyable and simple as possible,
Not, Dazzling them with brilliance , or baffling them with ,,, well you get the idea.
as for the alt/gen issue originally addressed on the page
simply put, If your goal is originality , meaning 100% tags ect, then obviously a Generator and the exact Original SYSTEM needs to be used.
BUT if at all , meaning any slight change in original equipment is used, Then the question comes into play.
What do you want to use your Model T for?
and if a good amount of money is to be spent in any direction, what are the options?
The only information I believe that would benefit the normal user, would be the benefits or lack of, in any certain direction,
Being why stay with the generator and why change to an alternator.
Isn't this TRULY the original question ???
Honestly, If your not dealing with the original issue, and other than personal appearance of the generator VS the Alternator
ASK yourself ,, when I go to the airport, Do I ask to fly in the Boeing 747 or the Biplane??
as for technology ,and advancements , It is that simple
Brighteness of lights has to do with the reflectors you use and the amount of voltage you put on the bulb and the bulbs candle power (CP). Tungsten filament bulbs are very sensitive to voltage as Ford found out in 1915. Raising the voltage only 10% from its design voltage reduces the life of a tungsten filament bulb to about 1/3 of normal. Conversely lowering the applied voltage by 10% below the design voltage will extend the life by a factor of 3. Higher Candle power bulbs draw more current to get the additional brightness which then taxes the electrical system that much more. The best thing you can do to get brighter headlights is to resilver the reflectors but putting in higher CP bulbs is easier so people keep going bigger and bigger. In truth I think it wiser to add more lights in the rear since if you get in an accident with a T you are most likely going to get rear ended. My T doesn't go fast enough that I can't see where I'm going and oncoming traffic can see 2 headlights easy enough even at modest 21 CP. I hate to sound like a broken record but a T generator is capable of 100 watts and at 7 volts of charging that comes in at just under 15 amps (14.2857 Amps for the anal crowd). If you try to get more than that you will see the T generator overheat and toss out solder for awhile and then it will be dead. Most factory ammeters are 5% accurate when new according to the Ford drawing so you need to keep that in mind and again sounding like a broken record also know that 26/27 ammeters are notoriously inaccurate. Repro 26/27 are worse yet. So long as you don't exceed the 14.2857 amount, it really doesn't matter how you use it up whether it be via headlights, tail lights, GPS, Cell phone, Horn...etc. Since heat build up takes some time, most things that are short intermittent loads like horn, brake lights, turn signals...etc will not cause any problems for the system if they are not figured in at full worst case value since usually turn signals share bulbs with stop light and one doesn't normally blow the horn while sitting at a light waiting to turn (unless you are in NYC). Horn usually is used while car is moving hence it and the brake light are not often used together if you think about it. An efficient system generates only the power that is needed and does it with minimum loading on the motor. Higher voltage out of charging device that exceeds the design voltage of the light bulbs will shorten their life and also cause the battery to be overcharged which shortens battery life. The lights are more sensitive to this over voltage than is the battery with regard to life expectancy. If you look carefully you might find that not all 6V bulbs are in fact rated at 6V but some are rated at 7V and others at 6.3V Increasing the voltage is not a good way to get more light but it works - for awhile. With regard to headlights not much is mentioned about the filament shape but it matters a bunch when it comes to focusing the headlights. Most car guys only know about CP and that "more is better" - it isn't. All things are trade offs. Usually guys just buy the biggest CP headlight bulbs they can buy - ignore the resilver idea - add on rear lights and accessories that they want and then when all is done - only then do they consider the charging source and end up putting on an alternator and blame the generator as not being up to the job. The alternator of course has about 4 to 6 times more power than they need but the T electrical system is only capable of 20 amps so they begin to modify the electrical system with more stuff or simply ignore the possibility of too much current and wonder why they have electrical problems when everyone else doesn't. I hope you understand this is a bit of humor with the truth mixed in. An alternator on a Model T is like putting a Hemi V8 on your lawnmower but then maybe it will in fact cut more grass that way - what do I know.
Its a Model T. If you want and need all the conveniences get a Mustang.
John F. Regan on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 10:56 pm:
The T generator is NOT inherently UNRELIABLE but an alternator without forced air cooling (and lots of it) IS unreliable. It needs a big fan because there is nothing in it to limit the current when your battery is dead and the high current part of it (the stator) does NOT MOVE in the ambient air. What on earth in a T needs 750+ watts of power?? That much power represents a hazard in itself to the wiring and ammeter. What do you gain? Reliability? Really? I don't think my T's generator is likely to be the thing that breaks down next. 80 year old generators are rebuilt and still usable for way more miles than I will ever drive and I have tons of miles on my T. I have over 20 years now on my generator since it was off the car. I know my opinion is tainted because my company makes the Voltage Regulator but I DO have experience on tours and an electrical background and think that I have a right to a voice to the newbie out there. The alternator equipped T has not proven any more reliable electrically than my T with its 20 year old generator.
Alternators certainly are cheaper to build than generators and they have no brushs to replace and if belt driven with a fan on them to force air through them they are wonderful on modern cars to supply the power to all the electronics that the modern car has. I am not here to say alternators are some bad invention but a Hemi V8 is a great and powerful device too but I wouldn't convert my lawnmower to install one on it. You might think that a silly example but from an electrical point of view - the example fits.
If you put an alternator on your T - buy a belt driven one and upgrade your wiring and ammeter and put in some fuses. You might just want to drop a small block Chevy in there while you are at it and solve a lot of other "future problems"- grin.
THIS WAS A PAST POST OF YOURS JOHN CORRECT?
1st, The cooling issue? Totally backward and incorrect, obviously applies to the GENERATOR.
2nd. NO BRUSHES to replace???
3rd, cheaper to rebuild???
Your basically putting down the alternator because it has the (capacity) to put out more than the generator, Not accounting for the fact that it(alternator) only puts out what is asked for by the system.
Your NOT mentioning the fact that an alternator that has a higher ability than a generator is producing such a lower PERCENTAGE of its designed ability .
where the Generator is producing a higher percent of its ability.
WHICH MEANS= what unit would last longer?
not here for a what last longer debate as there are many external things attributing to a units life.
I am sure many forum readers have left this topic as It has turned into bringing out the blackboards and hitting them with numbers that are not needed at all for the laymen to understand the system.
I am sure people are more interested in things that directly effect them,
2. Durability-how long it will last
3. SIMPLICITY. EASE of installation and use.
4, Appearance ( original guys) obvious Generator is the choice,
5. ABILITY- can the unit handle what is asked of it and for how long? which will last longer , as DRIVING the Model T has increased DRAMATICALLY from its original design, correct?? obviously only by those who choose to drive it more,
So you have a design CREATED for short driving , limited output and a device created for long driving and more output, By switching these devices, what would there LIFE expectancy be????
and as funny as the hemi comparison is, Another would be ,
would you rather have a hemi in your car or a 5HP briggs??
I guess it depends on what you expect if/when you ever ask it for more, and also durability.
I am sure as the 5 hp briggs lasts a long time on the lawn mower , as it was designed for , I am sure its life will be diminished when attempting to move the car.
And as you seem to mention it so often , (the ability ) of the alternator to produce more than you NEED is true , BUT you never seem to mention how that doesn't come into play if the alternator isn't ASKED for more
Well I for one find the numbers and background information very interesting.
In fact, I'd like some more numbers... can someone please post the typical current draws for 21 cp and 32-50 cp bulbs, and also tail lamp and brake lamp bulbs? Thanks.
It should be fairly simple to find out the amps needed for the bulb if you have the wattage,
using the formula
Volts X Amps = watts
as long as you have any 2 numbers you can find out the other as,
I have heard the 32cp bulb is a 35 watt
so 35w divided by the 6.3V of the fully charged battery = 5.52 amps
Wonder who has the wattage value using the 50 cp. filament ?
I could do it myself, but we ( Forum ) and I want to hear from those familiar with electronics
I personally would go with the alternator. I guess the real question is what are you doing with your T? If its mostly a show car or one that you drive during the day then a generator would be very fine. However i opted for a alternator since mine is a tour car. Powering headlights is a biggie for me. Here is another option... oh boy here we go... Get a 12v alternator. Then you can put in 12v headlights and get a hotter spark out of your coils. to each his own, but id get the alternator.
Nathan — my Ts are not show cars and both are driven daylight and after dark. I have decent lights, good batteries, good generators and voltage regulators on both. The Speedster also has unobtrusive bicycle LED taillights.
I have adjusted the third brushes such that with head and tail lights on, the ammeter shows about 0 to maybe -2, depending on road speed. My guess is I could drive all night, lights on, without seriously depleting the battery. For me, that's plenty enough electricity.
Despite these not being show cars, I want them to look "right" and in period. Wayne Sheldon's characterization of this as "looking like they came out of an old photo" sums it up perfectly for me.
Personally, and totally just my opinion, an alternator on a T engine is just about as ugly as it gets (followed by plastic-covered wire and modern carbs).
Now, if one could successfully shoehorn a modern compact alternators into a T generator housing and have it reliable and unseen, that would be a winning product... Daryl?
Chris, try this one: http://www.gener-nator.com/
Thanks Ken, very interesting. He does not seem to make one for the Model T, but I have inquired re my '47 Dodge.
Chris , trust me, that is definitely in development , and the trick being cost , as There is already a alternator generator available for $700 and up area,
I am very sure many would appreciate a much lower cost,
Please don't take this the wrong way, but there is already enough misinformation in this thread.
The Model T coil is a current device, not a voltage device. Changing from a 6 volt battery to a 12 volt battery will not alter the quality of the spark from a properly adjusted coil.
Ron the Coilman
I have a Model T that I drive regularly. I put approx 2000 miles per year on it. Since the beginning of 2007 the generator has not put out any voltage and was shunted to prevent any possible future damage. The thing is, I drive daytime and sometimes I don't get home before dark. I charge the battery at home once or twice per month when I remember. So the question is, how much charging does it need? It still cranks the engine and lights the lights.
You posted to Nathan : "Please don't take this the wrong way, but there is already enough misinformation in this thread."
Please do correct and give us the correct info.
I agree, there is misinformation in this thread; but surprisingly not propagated by Nathan. Charging a Model T ignition coil from 6V instead of 12V WILL alter the quality of the spark from a properly adjusted coil.
Quality of spark commonly refers to how “hot” the spark is for the purpose of igniting the fuel/air mixture. A Model T ignition coil causes the spark plug to spark by storing energy in a magnetic field of its primary winding during the point dwell interval. That energy is transferred to the secondary winding when the points open and can be calculated by the value of primary current at the time the points open using the equation: E=1/2*L*I^2 Where E is energy stored in the primary winding, L is the inductance of the primary winding in mH and I is the current flowing in the primary winding in Amperes at the time the points open. This energy is transferred to the secondary winding of the ignition coil via transformer action. The higher the stored energy in the primary winding, the higher the energy transferred to the secondary winding and hence, the “hotter” the spark.
Here is data taken on a properly adjusted coil operating on 6V. The coil was professionally adjusted by a well-known coil rebuilder. The vertical scale is 1A/10mV and the horizontal scale is 0.5ms/div.
The coil charges to a peak current of 4.92A in 4.38ms (0.00438 seconds) when the magnetic field pulls open the points and the primary current drops rapidly to produce a spark. The value of primary coil inductance can be calculated from the rate of rise of coil current to be 3.4mH. The energy stored in the primary winding the moment the points open is: E =1/2*( 0.0034*(4.92)^2) =41.5mJ
Here is data taken on the same properly adjusted coil operating on 12V.
Note the coil charges to a peak current of 6.2A in 2.27ms (0.00227 seconds) when the magnetic field pulls open the points and the primary current drops rapidly. The energy stored in the primary winding the moment the points open is: E =1/2*( 0.0034*(6.2)^2) =65.5mJ; that is a 57.8% increase in stored energy in the primary winding. Not all of the energy stored in the primary makes it to the secondary being lost to heating the coil and non-ideal magnetic coupling between primary and secondary but results in a significantly “hotter” spark given all loss factors being equal for the same coil. The air/fuel mixture can be ignited under ideal conditions with as little as 0.3mJ to 1mJ of energy, however under non-ideal conditions (compression ratio, fuel mixture ratio, wiring losses and plug fouling) requires more spark energy to ensure reliable ignition; between 30 to 70mJ of energy. So operating a properly adjusted coil on 12V battery provides a significant improvement in the spark quality for the purpose of initiating combustion under more adverse conditions.
Another consideration for spark quality is the time/space relationship of the spark with respect to when the spark is needed for optimum engine performance. Ignition coils require a specified amount of time to store sufficient energy in the primary winding to ensure proper combustion as the preceding examples illustrated. The longer an ignition coil takes to store energy (i.e. charge) the more the crank shaft rotates the more the spark arrives late (retarded) with respect to piston position. The faster the engine speed, the more retarded the spark occurs. This is why it is necessary to advance the spark lever to adjust the spark timing to compensate for the fixed coil dwell time. Note that the coil dwell time of the properly adjusted Model T coil was nearly twice as long operating on 6V as it was operating on 12V. That means the effectiveness of the spark lever to advance spark timing is nearly cut in half operating on 6V compared with operation on 12V which is why engine performance is better operating on 12V battery compared with operation on 6V battery. Performance would in fact be equal if it were possible to extend the range of spark lever adjustment while operating on 6V.
Mike, thank you for chiming in. It is great to hear from someone who really knows what he is talking about.
At the risk of thread drift, this statement by Mike Kossor:
"Performance would in fact be equal if it were possible to extend the range of spark lever adjustment while operating on 6V."
is mostly true for an individual coil, but I have found that without a way to "balance" the four coils for timing (such as using an oscilloscope or the ECCT) inter-cylinder timing disparity is effectively doubled when running on 6V as opposed to 12V. This accounts for a good deal of the improvement when using 12V, in my opinion.
What are the wattage values of 21, 32, and 32-50 cp headlight bulbs ??
#1188 50/32 cp shows 34/24 watt.
#1110 21/21 cp shows 21/21 watt.
#1116 32/31 cp shows 25/18 watt.
Accuracy unknown, YMMV. Don't kill the messenger.
I think the 1116 is 32/21 rather than 32/31. The wattages posted are for 6V and the charging voltage of 7V would raise the current and CP to higher levels. The wattage would be raised to approx 27/20 on this same bulb. I am not sure how accurate Don's bulbs is as a source of data since a couple of the entries on the 1188 bulb data make no sense. Some places show the 1188 bulb as being a 5.5V bulb but that would make it near to being a flashbulb when then used at 7V (6V system under charging conditions).
Thanks Doug & John
If you want bright lights and dependability, go to a Becker 6v alt. Been running them for several years. Tried the gens with new plates, regulators and so on and they still failed.
Thanks for your observation & comment... read above comments from the top.
I agree it is essential to balance the four coils for equal dwell times for optimal engine performance and the disparity is greater on 6V as opposed to 12V.
I the reason for superior performance operating on 12V as opposed to 6V is partly due to the reduction in the ability to advance the spark due to the longer coil dwell time as described in my previous post. Another reason is inconsistent timer contact during the charge interval which lasts approximately twice as long operating on 6V compared with operating on 12V. The timer is not an ideal switch providing continuous ground contact and uninterrupted dwell interval as captured in my previous oscilloscope photos. Intermittent ground contact occurs as the roller/brush/flapper hops, skips and jumps its way across the contact surface which can prolong the coil charge time, effectively adding variation in coil to coil dwell time and further reduces the ability of the spark lever to compensate for the added dwell time. The longer it takes to charge the coil, the more the effect of non-ideal timer contact to ground during the dwell interval the coil is charging. Operating the coils on 12V minimizes these effects resulting in superior engine performance.
Yes John, should be 32/21. Fat fingers late at night. HAHA