I just took my '26 coupe out for a drive for the first time since getting a brand new 6 volt battery for it. I will admit that when I first installed the battery 2 weeks ago, I installed it backwards and started the car and ran it for a few minutes then turned it off. It started and ran fine, but when I came back a couple of weeks later to start it, the battery was dead and would not take a charge (because the posts were backward and I had the battery charger hooked up as if the cables were correct). I removed what I thought was a defective battery and took it to AutoZone and they charged it up for me, tested it and said it was fine. It was when I put the battery back in, that I realized my error and installed it correctly this time. I should have realized when I had the battery in wrong, that there was a problem when the positive post clamp was too loose and the negative post was too tight. Today was the first time I have driven it since installing the battery correctly.
It is correctly hooked up now, as a positive (+) system, as Ford originally intended with nothing grounded out at the battery cables. It starts and runs fine on BATT and runs fine on MAG when switched over. All in all it runs and drives great. The mystery is, when I was driving, the ammeter showed a charge of (+) 10 on BATT and on MAG, but when I shut the car down and parked it after a driving for 10 minutes, the ammeter shows a discharge of (-) 10. I checked and everything (lights, map light & spotlight), is off and there is nothing on that would use 10 amps of juice. My experience with this car has always been that the ammeter goes back to 0 when the car is off which was the case until the new battery was installed. What might be the cause of this? Could I have damaged something when the battery was hooked up backwards? What a stupid mistake for someone who has had this car for 45 years.
I would suspect that your cutout is stuck. That would connect the battery to the generator when the engine is not running. If you had a diode cutout, and the battery was backward, you would have current running from the battery to the generator when the engine is off, but would not show charge when the engine was running.
Anyway, check the generator cutout.
I second Norman's post.
Go put your hand on the generator...is it warm, as if the generator is trying to motorize the engine? If warm (hot) - indeed, a stuck cutout.
Disconnect the battery until you figure out what is wrong....now!!
A few days ago you posted that you bought a new battery as the old one quit ....sure sounds like the cutout is stuck (I forget, do you have the old style cut-out, or a modern FP Voltage Regulator?).
Do disconnect the battery until you have time to trouble shoot the issue.
What Norm said. One of the few possible draws on the batt with the key off. Unless your lights are on......
Wasn't it the Model A that ws Positive Ground?
Are you sure the T's were + ground? What source said that?
A- positive ground. T- negative ground
A- positive ground. T- negative ground
I have the modern style cutout. I will disconnect the battery now. Did the cutout become stuck because of the reversed battery poles? Does the new style cutout it have contacts and, if so, are the contacts fused together? Is there anyway to unstick a cutout such as tapping on it, or do I need a new one? Jim Patrick
If you mean modern (regulator vs. old fashioned cut out with points) like one of Fun Projects I'm afraid to say but it is likely toast.
If is a diode type also likely toast.
Please disconnect ASAP and look at the cutout.
Let us know what you find.
My T has always been negative ground until I recently got it wrong. I just went out and felt the generator and the cutout and they are very hot, so I disconnected the battery. I suppose the cutout got stuck 2 weeks ago when I first reversed the battery and the generator and cutout probably stayed hot until the battery drained down between then and 2 days ago when I got the battery recharged and installed correctly, then the generator and cutout have been hot for the last 2 days until I just now disconnected the battery. Do you suppose after being hot for such extended periods of time that the generator is damaged? It did, after all, register a charge of +10 amps when I drove it this morning. What now? Jim Patrick
Buy John Reagan's solid state cutout/regulator and your problem is fixed forever........
Pay attention to whether yours is + or - ground.
Yes Larry. The Fun Projects one. I'll take it off and see what it looks like after it cools off enough to remove. I must agree that, for it to get that hot, has probably fried it good. Jim Patrick
I thought the Fun Project's VR has an automatic circuit disconnect to prevent the generator from being destroyed in such cases. Probably will have to send your VR to John for resetting, but likely your generator is okay. Check with John to be certain.
When you reversed the battery you would have then immediately destroyed the VR since it does NOT have reverse Battery protection. It has the ability to save the generator from runaway when the battery is somehow disconnected but that is another issue entirely. By then installing the battery correctly and continuing to use the blown VR you probably had the generator polarized backwards from when the battery was backwards so when you started up the car the "charging" may have been discharge since you have to realize that when you changed the battery to backwards that the ammeter is then going to read backwards too and charge is then discharge. You need to be careful here and go slow or you can just damage one item after another. In spite of what the Autozone guy told you, I think your battery is now very likely ruined since not only was it totally discharged but you charged it backwards too at least for awhile. Turning it then back around and attempting to recharge it correctly using a blown VR is not going to result in a very healthy battery at least not on my car. You may or may not have damaged the generator since usually the backwards battery is not then run for awhile since that can be pretty bad news. Was there no main fuse on the car?? It should have blown the instant you connected the battery up backwards. You need to repolarize the generator as well as then check the generator to make sure it is working since it is questionable at this point. Installing a new VR onto a questionable generator may result in a questionable VR. Send me the VR immediately and let me see if it can be salvaged. If it cannot be salvaged then let ME throw it away since if it can be salvaged you don't want to toss it. GO SLOW - or you can screw this up even worse.
Thank you John. Is your address the address in the Fun Projects website posted by Craig Anderson? I'll send you the VR for inspection, accompanied by this thread. Should I also send you the generator?
My suggestion would be Brent Mize if the generator is toast also. He does excellent work.
Here is a link:
And like the carpenter once told me...measure twice and cut once.
Thank you Larry. I am hoping that the generator was hot because the cutout got so hot (much hotter than the generator) and that the generator is still good. When I drove the car today for a short time it did register a +10 on the ammeter and I started it again just before disconnecting the battery and it again, registered +10 on the ammeter. Seems that if the generator were bad, it would not register a charge at all. When I disconnected the battery after stopping the engine, the ammeter needle went from -10 to 0. Jim Patrick
Yes the address for Fun Projects is as posted on our web site at www.funprojects.com
Don't send me the generator but I would get someone to check it out totally separate from the VR or you will be playing very high stakes poker when you put a then known good VR onto a questionable generator. You need to stop running the car and experimenting in my opinion since in general you might just be increasing your repair bill. I am thinking you meant when you were running the car earlier with regard to the ammeter readings. I get a ton of calls about generators and just about everybody thinks that if it charges it has to be good and that just isn't so. It needs to charge of course but it needs to also reduce the charge and increase the charge as the 3rd brush is moved and it must move to near zero charge at one extreme and not ever do anything funky like stop charging at various spots along the adjustment range.
You didn't answer my question about a main fuse. I kinda think you don't have one on the car. If you are not willing to put one on the car NOW then save all of the info here since you will just need it again. The T needs a single fuse of 25 amps - no more no less. It needs it in the heavy yellow wire at the foot starter switch end of that wire.
Thank you John. I will get the VR sent off to you tomorrow. No I don't have a fuse on my car but it is a good idea. Can someone tell me where to get the fuse holder and post a picture of how it attaches to the yellow wire John is referring to (I assume under the floorboard?)? Jim Patrick
Fun Projects sells the fuse holder too.
Here is a picture for you, my easy install of the Fun Projects fuse to protect the T's electrical system. A must have, just like a carb located fuel line shutoff.
Thanks Dan. That will be my next project after getting this little problem resolved. Jim Patrick
John R., you say that the FPs VR "does NOT have reverse Battery protection". Would it be acceptable to put a diode in series w/the VR for reverse protection?
Talk slow, think fast.
NO because the current through it would quickly cook it unless you had a massive heat sink and the only place you could put it would be in series with its output and that would wreck the regulation since diode voltage varies a lot with current and temperature. The VR is controlling about 100 watts of power and has only a few cubic inches of volume in there and not much air movement. Rarely does it happen that someone hooks one up backwards any more although when we first started making them we had a bit of that. The forums have helped a bunch since by now most people know that T's are negative ground. The cost to repair VR's is a flat rate $20 including return shipment. The only caveat is that the thing has to be repairable and the cover must still be welded in place but if it is allowed to cook and cook then sometimes they are beyond repair. I have only had about a dozen that were beyond repair and that is over a period of 25 years. Burdening the efficiency of the VR or increasing its cost to prevent a dozen regulators from being destroyed would not seem fair to all the other buyers. If the car has a fuse then it will usually result in a repairable VR and in some cases the VR has even totally survived a reverse battery.
(Message edited by piewagon on April 02, 2015)
John. My VR is on its' way to you. hopefully it will not join the number of VR's that are beyond repair. Thank you. Jim
There is always hope but I suspect you will need a powerful rabbits foot on this one
Just to verify something - with the battery in correctly and fully charged - what does your ammeter read when you have the lights turned on and the engine NOT running? Make sure that you have the yellow/black wire taped off good that went to the VR screw terminal since that wire is HOT anytime there is a battery in the car.
Really good advice on this thread.
You may just missed the bullet on the generator.
John you and Ron P. are the go to guys with the T electric system.
I learn something new every time.
John. The readings you asked for are as follows:
With the key on BATT and coil silent:
Dim: -2.5; Bright: -4.0
With the key on BATT and a coil buzzing:
Dim: -4.0; Bright: -4.5
What's the verdict Doc. Will she live?
Well I would guess you have either really weak bulbs or an ammeter that is way off calibration or perhaps something else. 6V headlights typically would be 6-8 amps on dim and 9-12 on brite and there would normally be an additional 1 to 1.5 amps when a coil is buzzing. Your readings don't seem to make much sense unless you have only 20 CP bulbs in there or one of the bulbs is not lit up. Are you sure the battery was fully charged? Do one more thing. LEAVE battery turned off totally and put a DC volt meter across the battery terminals and since the engine is not running and nothing is buzzing you can use either a digital or analog DC volt meter. Measure the battery voltage with nothing turned on and then turn on the lights at brite and dim and see what the battery voltage changes to for lights OFF, then DIM then BRITE. DO NOT TURN ON the ignition with the key for any of these readings.
It is possible the battery is not fully charged as it spent 2 days hooked to the stuck VM. I don't have a volt meter but I will do the next best thing. I will go out to the garage tonight and hook up the charger to the battery and tomorrow, when the charger indicates the battery is fully charged, will take another reading. I'll let you know tomorrow. Thanks for your help. Jim Patrick
PS. I know the battery is in top condition as AutoZone did a complete diagnostic check on it on Tuesday 3/30/15 and it showed it was free of defects. Jim Patrick
I will simply test/repair/replace your VR and butt out on all other stuff since I am wasting your time. I thought I had made it clear to fully charge the battery before taking the readings but perhaps you had a better idea. 2 days with a stuck 10 amp load will pretty well drain most batteries. I never try to convince somebody of anything against their will. At this point all you want me to do is test your VR and I will do that. I will leave any further items up to your better judgement.
the spring steel strip inside cutout may be broke
leaving the points closed shorted throu generator
Hi John. Don't butt out. I appreciate your help. I have never seen a thread like this and, as Larry pointed out, there is a lot of useful advice which I believe we are all benefitting from.
The battery is fully charged and I took the readings again and the readings are exactly the same as last night:
With the key on BATT, the coil silent:
Dim: -2.5; Bright: -4
With the key on BATT the coil buzzing:
Dim: -4; Bright: -4.5
I should note that, on my ammeter, there are 5 metering marks between 0 and 10 and I assume each mark has a value of 2. (-4 has the needle right on the 2nd meter mark. -4.5 has the needle between the 2nd and 3rd meter mark)
I really don't understand why you keep turning the key to BATT since that just adds a variable. I want just the headlights on and nothing else. You may not be aware that the headlights work with or without the key turned on. Very likely you should get the same reading but if there is something drawing current when the key is on then it will be in with the previous reading. Humor me and do it exactly as I asked - namely lights only and key OFF (motor not running). It should be the same unless there is something wired wrong or something defective is wired to the ignition switch like an accessory turn signal or anything like that. Whether you do it exactly as I ask or not I promise I won't ask again.
Why does the coil draw 1.5 A when lights are on 'dim' and only 0.5 A on 'bright'?
I hope this dialog can continue along with quantitative data shared and explanations of what's happened/happening. Respectfully, jb
Bulbs for T headlights are NOT index based but just bayonet based which can insert either way. If you have one side correct and the other side backwards then you will get the same current drain in both bright and dim so you rotate one bulb 180 degrees and try again. If they are different and the dim is not the lesser current you then rotate BOTH bulbs 180 degrees and you are done. Some bulbs are the same candle power for both brite and dim and use on the the filament location to aim the bulbs different for bright and dim. Most of us are just lucky to have headlights that work at all ha ha.
Keep pluggin' John.
LOL! Thank you for your patience, John. You and my wife would have a lot to talk about regarding my propensity for following (or not) directions. I have selective hearing when she is telling me something too. I'm glad she is as patient as you.
Okay. Here goes. Key off:
Dim: -2.5; Bright: -4.0
I am going to continue to carry this on a bit in public since I was asked but I will ask YOU to not do anything to the car without telling me because I am following a train of thought and will assume you are I alone are working on your car. I don't like to work with people as part of a committee since it is like jumping on a horse and galloping off in all directions at the same time. Problems get put in as people experiment to solve problems. I try very hard to diagnose and THEN insert a fix. Wiggling wires to try and make a problem go away is a disaster since if the problem does happen to go away you likely will then not know what you did exactly and then you have no choice but to wait for the problem to return and it will - usually about 43 miles from Noplace, Idaho when it is pouring down rain.
What concerns me is that your current readings aver very very low for 6V bulbs so either you have very small CP headlight and tailight bulbs or they are not properly connected or your ammeter is way off calibration. We need to be sure of which it is since you are otherwise flying blind as to the actual current setting of the generator 3rd brush and that can spell disaster for your generator. When setting up the generator 3rd brush you need an accurate ammeter that is also a very very low series resistance ammeter connection for your car.
So to start with - DO YOU KNOW the CP (Candle Power) of your bulbs? - guessing not allowed; estimating not allowed; - opinions forbidden.
I kinda like "Noplace, Idaho", John ! And, it doesn't rain nowhere near as much as "Ourplace, Washington" !
You mentioned above that the ammeter could be off calibration.
1) How does one check the calibration of an ammeter and can a novice do it?
2) If it is out of calibration can a novice reset it?
3) When purchasing a generator should the installer set the third brush or assume that the builder did it?
4) Can the third brush be reset on the work bench or does it have to be done in the car to be properly adjusted for all the variables?
Okay, John. I won't do anything until you give me the go ahead. I just went out and removed the front headlight lenses and the taillight lens and the front head light bulbs are 12V 50/32 CP. I sold my T in 1996 to a neighbor who took it up to Maine and converted it to a 12volt system. When he passed away in 2001 from cancer, I went up to Maine and bought it back from his widow and hauled it back to Florida. When I got it back to Florida, the first thing I did was convert it back to a 6 Volt system and re-restore it and it appears that the one thing I apparently neglected to do was to change out the 12V headlamp bulbs for 6 Volt bulbs.
The number on the taillight bulb is "63" which is the trade number. I purchased a box of 10 of these bulbs from McMaster-Carr. According to the McMaster-Carr catalog, they are 7 volt, .063 amp, single contact, bayonet based indicator bulbs. The catalog doesn't say what the candlepower is. Jim Patrick
I was able to locate two old 6V 50/32CP headlamp bulbs and installed them along with the 63 tail light:
With the key off:
Dim: -10 Brights: -10
The difference is non existent.
I can't tell the difference between the 50 and 32 CP so I changed the bayonet plugs around on each bulb several times exchanging the contacts in a variety of combinations but on each combination, the readings were right on -10.
Ok that makes way more sense since I could not figure out why your amperage readings were so low. Since it would seem that your ammeter is at least within ball park of what I would expect then verify only that the lights seem bright both front and rear and then stop right here till we get your VR checked out. DO NOT run the motor with nothing connected to the generator. Can you wait til I get your VR checked out before we proceed?
Dennis Seth. Please one at a time since it gets way confusing to work on 2 guys in one thread with both then likely taking advice from 2 more guys and then there is chaos. I bow out altogether on those deals. It isn't that I want to be a prima donna but it is just impossible to have 2 guys helping at the same time. To all that are reading this thread - PICK ONE PERSON that you trust and follow that person only and do it OFFLINE until your problem is resolved or your helper is stumped too which does happen. That is the fastest and best way to do things. If you think you have it resolved yourself then ask a single question here but if you get 2 conflicting answers then move offline. Electrical problems are often intermittent and if you don't pay close attention with what you are testing and doing then you will have the problem go away without you knowing what you did and that is the worst thing to have happen since it WILL return. We can't even agree on this forum as to what part of Idaho or Washington gets the most rain but we do agree the problem will return
So all may read this - you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT setup the correct charge rate on a bench setup so don't even try it. If one were to actually read and follow the instructions for setting the third brush that come with our VR's then all would be nice in the world but rarely does that happen. Usually an alternative way is used or more often an expert is called in who insists it can or should be done differently. This can sometimes work if you are lucky but other methods don't take into account the inaccuracy of the typical ammeter. Almost all ammeters will rest with key off at mid scale somewhere and that is neutral or zero charge. Thus if you use CORRECT BULBS in your headlights and set up for a bit of charge with lights on then you are accurate since all you did was use the ammeter as a charge or discharge indicating device and for that purpose most work just fine for that. Now if you are trying to solve a wiring or load issue then it hurts when the ammeter is way off since you lack a tool to make an accurate current reading. Notice how long of a thread it has taken and how many times I questioned the one reading over and over and over and FINALLY we get to something that makes sense namely wrong bulb type and voltage. By now everyone else was thinking bad ammeter as was I heading that way but it turns out not to be so. You have to be careful to not be fooled - this is a good case lesson here.
No fuse, battery installed backwards, then "corrected" and used anyway, next action was to make tests for ammeter readings but bulbs being used were wrong bulbs...see how hard it is to find issues? Hopefully we have some things that make sense now. This is not a critique of Jim since he has been cooperative and we are getting things resolved but you simply cannot substitute a shortcut for finding out EXACTLY why something makes no sense like 6V bulbs that draw only 4 amps for 2 headlights and a tail light. The VR has internal clamp diodes that would have immediately blown the fuse in the car if it had one. Absent such a fuse the VR will typically give up its life to try and hold the current low enough to prevent generator winding burn out. I won't know if that is what happened until I examine the VR. Even with a fuse the VR typically is damaged but often repairable.
Absolutely! I will await the return of my VR and will leave the car alone until further instructions. On behalf of all of us who are benefitting from this, thank you for your help. Jim Patrick
One more suggestion while you are waiting on that VR. Get a new set of cables from the vendors for your T.
A Group 1 6v battery has posts of different sizes, the + post is always larger diameter.
That way, with the correct cables with proper terminals, there is little likelihood of switching the cables, as the terminals won't fit the posts if your hook up attempt is backward.
- post smaller diameter than + post
Thank you Dan. I mentioned that in my first post, here. That is one of the indications that I should have noticed, that my battery was backwards. When I had the battery installed wrong and I was tightening the positive cable clamp onto the negative post, I had to tighten it so that it would not tighten anymore, and then some. Also. I had to loosen the negative clamp quite a bit to get it to fit he positive post. Stupid me! I can't believe I did not investigate it further, because now that I look back on it, it did not make sense.