Electrical questions


Bihari, James

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<font size="2">Thank you to all for all the answers to my recent questions about bumpers and carburetors.</font>
<font size="2">Now I have an electrical question. I'm trying to get the car running by Monday so I can use it</font>
<font size="2">to give rides at an optometry picnic onTuesday and it doesn't seem like the generator is charging.</font>
<font size="2">I figure it can be one of4 problems: the generator, the voltage regulator, the wiring, or a belt is</font>
<font size="2">slipping. It't not the (neww) belt and we put the wires back on according to Hugh Gordon's </font>
<font size="2">electical manual and the owners' manual wiring diagram. Wehad cleaned all the contacts</font>
<font size="2">on the voltage regulator but have ordered a newregulator which will be here Monday. The</font>
<font size="2">guys at Advance Auto (who can get a new generator in two days for $55) couldn't put the generator on their testing device but said tohook it up like a motor and see if it runs. Leaving the</font>
<font size="2">generator bolted to the positive ground, we connected the large terminal on the generator to the</font>
<font size="2">negative hot terminal of the battery and the generator spun around like a motor, so we think that</font>
<font size="2">means the generator is good. Should I order a new one just to be sure?</font>
<font size="2">What was confusing us (my Dad and I) at the start is that in this positive ground system, we expected that the smaller insulated field wire connection on the generator should be connected to</font>
<font size="2">the negative hot side, since the case of the generator is connected to positive ground side, but</font>
<font size="2">it seems like that connection is positive ground. With all the wires connected, it only measures a</font>
<font size="2">fraction of a volt potential between the insulated field wire connection and the positive side of the battery, while it is over 12 volts potential between the field connection and the negtaive side of the battery. Is this normal? If not, is this something that could be caused by a bad vontage regulator so that putting on a new one on Monday could fix. Or is there some other problem in the</font>
<font size="2">wiring that we need to find. Can a generator have a problem (short) in the field coils that would still allow it to pass the "act like a motor" test yet still not generate. And what is all this stuff about energizing the field coils the wrong way. I remember some posts about passing current</font>
<font size="2">through the field coils to energize them the correct way. My Dad said that we did not disturb this</font>
<font size="2">the way we performed the "motor" test, but would have if we connected the wires in the opposite</font>
<font size="2">way. Any help would be very much appreicated. </font>
<font size="2">Jim Bihari</font>
<font size="2">(330-339-5702 collect calls welcome if easier than typing, but mention Amphicar as it's my parents' number)</font>


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I realize you probably haveyour generatorproblem resolved by now, since you wanted to use it today (Monday) .

Anyway, regarding the generator questions or problems, I was having problems with my generator not doing its job. I talked with knowledgeable Amphicar people and it was hard to say if the Voltage regulator or the Generator was the real culprit. However, I have been contemplating putting an Alternator in to replace the Generator, as I have done that to several cars, including a Model A Ford. I took the Generator off and took it to an Auto-electric shop in our area who are both knowledgeable and personable as well as what I think is very reasonable.

I'll digress to tell you what first made nme think they were extremely reasonable. 2 years ago, I was having problems with a 1954 Ford starting poorly and turning over slowly. I took the starter to them and they said they would check it out and call me. In about two days, there was a message on my answering machine saying that they took it apart and it looked like brand new. When I went to pick it up, there was no charge ! I am sure some of you have had experiences to the contrary as there are many shops who would have decided it needed this or that, even if only minor problems. I explained to them how unprepared I was to encounter such candor and honesty and thanked them very much.

Back to the Amphicar. I took the Amphicar generator to this shop andone of the two owners (father and son) checked it out right while I was there and said that it was barely generating and needed to be taken apart and cleaned and checked out. While there, I inquired about the feasibility of instead putting in an Alternator and they said that could be done. I explained that it was positive ground system and that the power requirements were not large. They estimated they could do the job, alter the alternator ( which has a built in voltage regulator ) to a Positive ground system and do the whole installation in one day for not over $200. Though I expect my OEM generator can be put in order, I decided to have them put in the alternator instead and I had previously installed a Voltmeter ( which is ananalog type VDO black face so it looks like it belongs ). Let me tell you, it is wonderful to turn on the engine and even at idle, it is charging. The battery is always topped off, even if I makeonly ashort run. And the cost ? - $ 195. In short I love it and personally recommend it. For a purist, the "alteration" could always be reversed and the Generator reinstalled. However, since I am not worrying about resale value because unless someone someday made me an offer I couldn't refuse, I shall takemy "Split Personality" with me forever ! It only has 11,000 miles on it and runs like a top.

Though you may have already solved or resolved your situation, Jim, I am sure there are other owners pondering the same question. The advantage of a beautifully charging alternator and no separate voltage rebulator give me great peace of mind. Hopefully, this will help some other owners facing this same decision.
Vic Nelson with the '67 "Split Personality" near Daytona
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