I noticed my amp meter started kicking out over 20 amps. I checked the generator and it seemed exceptionally warm and I checked the voltage and it was kicking out about 24 volts; I also noticed that it blew the lightbulbs. I tried adjusting the 3rd brush and this made no difference. Does anyone have any suggestions before I start tearing it apart tomorrow? This is on a 6 volt system.
6 Volt Alternator works GREAT. and even less expensive than a generator rebuild, simple one wire hook up, Never adjust that 3rd brush again and never limited in charging, even at low rpm , TROUBLE FREE , Just saying
Sounds like you have a bad connection someplace between the generator and battery. I doubt that you really had 24 volts at the battery.
The battery could easily have 24V across it if the charge current was 20A and one of the cells was defective. I've put higher voltages across defective batteries.
Anyway, it wasn't stated the voltage reading was actually taken across the battery terminals.
I find the concept of an alternator in a Model T somewhat strange.
I have a problem with my generator overcharging as well. I'm keeping an eye on the responses to your thread to get an answer. Mine is overcharging lately to 12,15 and even more, so I have to turn the headlights on to bring it back just above zero. Not a bad thing though because I probably should be driving with my lights on anyway. On a drive last Sunday I forgot to turn on my headlights and got a smell of the battery so turned them on and the next 60 miles went smooth at just above zero.
I haven't checked to see what it's sending to the battery. I'll have to do that today.
Hope you/we find a solution.
I'm not going to pretend to know what is causing your problem, but just turning on the head lights won't fix it. It may keep the battery from overcharging, but a generator putting out 15 amps or more is not going to last for long. Hopefully, John Regan will chime in here soon. I'm sure he will have some insight.
And JohnH, I couldn't agree with you more. They just look out of place. If they made one that looked like a generator, and I was in need of a new generator, I might give it some consideration, but otherwise, I'll stick to a generator. I have one on my TT (7 years?) and my Model A (12 years?). So far, they have been trouble free.
On two tours I have been on, people with alternators had them go bad on the tour. The gear comes loose. In my mind they are not any more dependable than the T generator, and they don't look right.
I disconnected the wire at the generator and still had 24 to 26 volts . I will open it up today and keep you in touch.
Where did you take your measurements ?? At the generator terminal or battery ? Calibrated meter ?
You're correct, something isn't right.
Becker's alternator has a unique screw-on gear that doesn't require pinning..... can't come off in use.
Daryl Becker is working on a alternator unit that is encased in a T generator housing..... promising.
I prefer generators which fit in generator housings
You should never run the generator with the wire disconnected, that is a sure way to destroy the generator. A generator is self exciting and it will run away with itself.
Check all your connections from the battery to the generator.
Norman, The ALternators you speak of that had gears loosen are NOT Becker Alternators, The Gear I use is a screw on type NOT the old pinned type, and NEVER !! loosen, and the alternator, OTHER than appearance for the original guys, Is an ultimate alternative, internal regulator handles charging from 0 to what ever amount needed, , will charge only what the loads of vehicle ask for and BETTER charge at Low RPM. your battery will be more fully charged and lights will appear brighter , NO more adjusting a 3rd brush or driving during day light with lights on to use the over charging of a Generator, and a less expensive , permanent solution than rebuilding a Generator, simplicity and problem solving at its BEST !! Just saying
No Hal, just facts
Why are we all not sitting around a nice campfire at Hershey????
Well! Daryl, that looks like it would be an improvement.
Hawking at its finest!
Why don't you get two, Bob. You can have mine too.
Cannot find here an answer to Charlie's question. What is way to reduce generator output when third brush is fully forward?
Check the negative ground cable where it is connected to the frame. That is once you have checked the terminals on the battry.
Assuming that there are no shorts in the armature or coils, then generator output is at it's minimum when the third brush is adjusted fully CCW when viewed from the front. If at this point, your output is more than an Amp or so, then the nulling of the brush block has been done improperly.
Since Charlie's problem came on abruptly, I'm going to bet that it's not an adjustment problem, but an insulation or grounding breakdown of some sort. Carbon dust everywhere, mixed with oil, can be a problem...poor wiring can be a problem...shorted plates in battery...
Lots of generator problems are not the generator. Check everything.
An alternator won't fix a wiring problem.
and a generator wont fix a wiring problem Ken, BUT a Alternator WILL fix a Generator problem !!
Not to sell anyone on Beckers charging systems but I have there systems on all three on my model T's and have never ever had a problem. The one on my TT is just a little noisy but I don't drive that very much other than to display at shows. I have cooked two generator when the wire came off and I didn't know it. It got to a point that it was more financially prudent to do away with the original generator system and modernize.
I've had just the opposite experience with alternators.
I have had three alternators on one of my T's.
Two of them went gunnybag after a few thousand miles and the third is acting goofy.
I've had generators on two other T's and they just work.
I went with an alternator in the first place because I thought it would be one less thing to work on beside the road.
Bob: Not all alts are the same. What brand/type failed for you ?
My T has no stinking alternator, generator, starter, water pump or distributor and I've never had a lick of problems with any of them. I treat my battery just like my gas tank, water level and oil level, if the battery get low, I push more electricity into it with my always reliable battery charger. Just keeping it simple.
Bob...First one was from Lang's. I don't know what brand it was.
Other two were Becker's.
Those two are still covered by the Becker warrantee....let them make good.
I sent the first Becker one back and they charged me $125 plus shipping to fix it.
I'm gonna stick to generators when it quits again.
Well, I have to say Daryl Becker is a stand-up kinda guy.
He sent me a PM saying he'll take care of the problem.
(Bob, I have no idea who's alternator you have, even if it is an old version from my father , or brother, as I separated from because of issues I had with there work, and quality issues, I hate to hear someone dissatisfied with a product, I would be willing to offer you this, tell me what volt you would like, I will ship you one of my units free, All I ask is that you return the alternator that didn't work in the box I send , it will only cost you $12.35 in shipping the returning alt in the flat rate box, and then keep me informed of any issues you may have with the alternator I send you, Thank you Daryl Becker 419 577 2341 email@example.com)
Bob , I wasn't sure who's alt you had ,and I am sorry someone charged you to repair the one, as I spoke of, I am not at all anymore connected to the L.D. Becker from Ohio, maybe now, some will understand why
I've had problems with generators on sixties cars, dim lights at idle etc. Not with the T. The stock T generator works great always for me. The Fun Projects voltage regulator is all it needs.
Does the regulator fix the problem if the generator isn't charging?
also if my generator doesn't keep up at low rpm, will this regulator solve that problem?
if my lights don't seem to be bright enough because of low rpm charge, or they fluctuate because of low rpm at night, will this regulator fix that problem?
and if I need a generator rebuild and also this regulator, what would that total cost be? and am I still faced with the limitations of the original generator?
Well, if you have a bad generator, it would not be much different than having a bad alternator. I'm just saying a good T generator works daily driver perfect when it has a voltage regulator and it looks correct too. Perhaps the stock cutout can work fine as well, I don't know. I didn't want to find out from the things I've heard.
The stock generator works just fine for a Model T that has close to the original electrical loads. I agree that the Fun Projects regulator is a fine add on. Now, if you want to add high wattage lights and other significant electrical loads, it may be necessary to use a generator or alternator with greater capacity. Without a greater load, larger capacity is just sitting there providing no advantage.
I often turn on the lights for visibility to others. My stock generator with regulator works just fine to recover the losses from starting and the demand of the normal Model T lights.
Any update on your generator problem ?
Sorry for the alternator off-topic posts.
If anyone has had contact or correspondence with Daryl since Hershey, would you please PM me with some particulars?
Im not sure if this helps or not and not T related
but I have a 1953 Ford F900 with a 391FT and 100 amp alternator. In a instant it blew every bulb and the ampmeter was pegged. Problem was the ground cable
fell off the battery. Electricy does strange things.
Contact info for Daryl B.
Here is what causes high current from the generator. Open connection between generator and battery. It could even be open internally within the battery. If the problem is in the battery, You would have a dead battery when the generator is not turning. The battery acts as a voltage regulator in the original wiring circuit for a T. If there is no battery connection, the generator "sees" it as a dead battery and puts out a full charge. Since it cannot charge the battery, it will burn out the lights if the lights are on at the time. It will also overheat the generator and burn out the windings within the generator. Whenever one sees a sudden increase in the current as read by the ammeter, the best thing to do is to stop the engine and ground the output terminal of the generator. Then you can start the car and drive it until you get home or to a place where you determine where the open circuit is and repair it.
Charlie, I'm sorry I do not know what is causing your gen problem.
Like many parts of my T, I really enjoyed learning all about the generator while rebuilding it. http://www.flickr.com/photos/bruckzone/sets/72157622909753128/
I did use a F.P. V.R. on it as the original cutout demise is what killed the generator in the first place. Another learning experience (hmmmm, I wonder why the amp meter is not indicating like it used to?).
For me, that was part of the fun. I always like to know how things work. Now it works great, looks right, and I learned more about my T.
Unfortunately when the battery becomes disconnected and the generator is running with no load - the ammeter is reading zero and there is no immediate indication that the generator is about to get fried. Only if it happens at night with the headlights on might you see the ammeter get pegged but you would also see the headlights go super bright for a very short time too and that might catch your attention more readily. The ammeter has no light in it if its a stock ammeter. Most of the high current that burns out the generator doesn't harm the ammeter. The high current stays within the generator as the field winding becomes the only load on the generator and the more the generator puts out, the higher the field current and then the higher the field current, the more the generator puts out so it is what we call a "runaway" condition which causes the generator to destroy itself even though its 3rd brush is locked down to what was a correct adjustment. Our VR senses an overvoltage via a safety circuit inside the VR and will immediately shut down the generator by shorting its stud terminal to ground and also opening up the battery side even though that side of the circuit it probably open anyway at that juncture.
To answer the original question....
You cannot use a digital voltmeter, it will give a false reading You MUST use an analog voltmeter, preferably with a 10 or 15 volt DC range.
With thee engine stopped and ignition off, measure the battery voltage. If the reading is less than 5.95, the battery is fully discharged and needs charging. If it is more than 6.33 you have an new electrical discovery, it cannot happen with a lead acid cell.
Assuming the voltage is between the limits, turn on the ignition. The voltage may drop a little, check the ammeter, the current draw should not exceed 2 amperes. If it does something is causing the current draw, find it by disconnecting stuff.
Assuming the draw is less than 2 amperes, start the motor to to fast idle. Measure the voltage at the battery, it should not exceed 7 volts and the ammeter will show a charge. If the ammeter shows 20 amperes and the voltage at the battery exceed 7 volts then I suspect a bad battery. If the voltage at the battery is about 7 volts or less, measure the voltage at the generator output, it should not exceed the battery voltage by more than one volt. If it does then you have a bad cut out or bad connection. If that is the case, measure the voltage at the output of the cut out, is it within one volt of the battery, then it is definately the cut out. If the voltage still exceeds one volt over the battery, then go to the terminal block and repeat the measuring process. Eventually you will find the bad connection.
The whole process takes an experienced electrician less than two minutes, must faster than it takes to type or read this answer.
HELP- I just got my 26 engine together and put it on rolling frame. no body.. still in works. I had to start it.. I hooked up battery and ran a wire from battery to coil box. after a bunch of hand cranking.. She started..(Still smiling).. I couldn't stop there.. I made a wood seat and plywood firewall.. and drove it down the road. I DID NOT hook anything to generator. I now realize I need to ground it but my question is>>>> Did I fry my generator? How can I test it.. (hook up a headlight to it?
Since you have the generator in the car, hook up the battery to the generator just like it should be and see if it charges the battery. A sure fire way to see if it is working is the check the battery voltage when the car is off and compare that reading to when it is running. If it is higher when running, you know it is working.
A fully charged battery should be about 6.3V when the car is off and up to about 7 volts when running.
Also check that the generator housing is grounded, these units appear to be provided with an internal ground and it should also be confirmed with an open ground it can runaway.