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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Re: Checking voltage regulator

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John T

10-24-2013 11:55:57
67.78.33.134



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It depends on if its Pos or Neg ground. If an ammeter registers bass ackwards, all you do is reverse the leads. If on a tractor etc that has a correct wired ammeter if you turn lights or ign etc on when she's not running, the ammeter should swing over to the - discharge side but then if running and the genny works it will swing to the + charge side and if it does opposite of that simply reverse the leads. The ammeter is just an in line series passive device to register current flowing INTO/charging the battery or out of discharging.

Regardless and to standardize things REGARDLESS OF POLARITY I tell people theres ONLY ONE wire on the SUPPLY SIDE of the ammeter and it wires to the hot UNGROUNDED battery post. On the other LOAD SIDE theres often TWO WIRES, one to loads like lights and ignition, the other to the BAT terminal on a Voltage Regulator.

To work BOTH the gennys case frame and the VR case frame must be grounded i.e. connected to the frame grounded battery post or frame ground connection.

On some trucks/cars/tractor wiring diagrams I've seen on NEG ground systems the ammeters + wires to battery + and loads and gennys output (BAT on VR) wire to the - of ammeter.

If its an A system my Troubleshooting Procedure in Para 5 will tell if non charging is a genny versus VR or other problem.

John T

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JOB

10-24-2013 15:38:47
74.36.129.162



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 Re: Checking voltage regulator in reply to John T, 10-24-2013 11:55:57  
Somewhere I saw "is the amp gauge good?" Do they go bad and is there a way to test it to find out?



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36 coupe

10-25-2013 05:12:41
66.231.194.184



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 Re: Checking voltage regulator in reply to JOB, 10-24-2013 15:38:47  
Watch the ammeter when the engine is cranking.It should move from zero to 4 amps discharge as the ignition points open and close.On a tractor with lights turn on the lights you should see a discharge of 10 amps or more.



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JOB

10-26-2013 05:22:37
74.36.135.108



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 Re: Checking voltage regulator in reply to 36 coupe, 10-25-2013 05:12:41  
I had the amp gauge wired wrong. It is now wired correct. The engine is a stationary power unit so there is no lights, just the ignition system. I will start it today (Saturday) and watch the gauge.



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John T

10-24-2013 19:42:28
67.78.33.134



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 Re: Checking voltage regulator in reply to JOB, 10-24-2013 15:38:47  
Sure they can go bad, Ive seen many where the needle is mechanically stuck (rusted) and doesn't move. However they don't often go bad such as an open circuit. As long as they are continuous they still can pass current even if the needle is stuck and cant move. An "ideal" ammeter is zero ohms.

One test is to pass a magnet across its face and see if the needle moves back n forth. Another test is an ohmmeter and it should be continuous and read very low ohms.

Par 5 of my troubleshooting procedure is an easy way to see if non charging is the fault of the genny or VR or other causes...for a Class A system

To be safe Id polarize the genny, see my procedure for how.

John T

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JOB

10-25-2013 02:43:50
74.36.129.162



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 Re: Checking voltage regulator in reply to John T, 10-24-2013 19:42:28  
Many years ago I welded on a truck with an AC buzz box and de-polarized the generator. Never did figure out what was wrong with it until many years later. Did not have a place to get help full friendly advise like this site.

This generator was just gone through by a re-builder that has done a lot of work for me over the years, I am banking that this generator has the polarity correct. I am a little bit afraid of messing something else up.

I will re-wire my amp gauge. The regulator is in a hard to get at spot, will take that off and look inside. Make sure the regulator case in grounded to generator and see what happens.

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John T

10-25-2013 12:40:43
67.78.33.134



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 Re: Checking voltage regulator in reply to JOB, 10-25-2013 02:43:50  
"This generator was just gone through by a re-builder that has done a lot of work for me over the years, I am banking that this generator has the polarity correct."

That's not necessarily so. He could have polarized it at Neg ground like late model cars use orrrrrrrrr the could have polarized it at Pos ground like many old tractors used

NEITHER IS RIGHT OR WRONG it can be polarized correct at Pos or Neg. But if you hook it up and start it and the genny was at opposite polarity from the way you wired it ITS POSSIBLE TO FRY THE VOLTAGE REGULATOR.

"I am a little bit afraid of messing something else up."

YOU DO NOT MESS UP A GENNY BY POLARIZING IT TO MATCH YOUR SYSTEM it can work at EITHER polarity... But if its at the wrong polarity because you were afraid to polarize it correctly to match your system YOU CAN MESS THINGS UP (the VR)

You can still polarize the genny even if the VR is hard to get to. Simply use a jumper wire etc to momentarily flash jump from the hot ungrounded battery post to the gennys ARM post (for a Class A system) The genny is what gets polarized NOT the VR

John T

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JOB

10-25-2013 05:58:35
74.36.130.219



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 Re: Checking voltage regulator in reply to JOB, 10-25-2013 02:43:50  
The amp gauge I can make the needle move negative with a magnet, to the ten amp line. It will not move from zero to positive at all.

An ohm meter says 01.2, is that low for ohms?



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John T

10-25-2013 12:44:33
67.78.33.134



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 Re: Checking voltage regulator in reply to JOB, 10-25-2013 05:58:35  
See if it moves if you reverse (swap North and South ends) of the magnet?? Its still possible the ammeter needle may be rusted/stuck I just cant say from here

The 1.2 ohms don't sound bad, an "ideal" ammeter would have 0 ohms but that's not been made yet.

REGARDLESS of the ammeter put a volt meter on the battery and setting it should read around 12.6 but if coupled to a good working charging system at fast RPM it should rise to at least 13 and up to 14 volts depending on battery and genny and RPM

John T

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JOB

10-28-2013 18:36:10
173.84.196.117



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 Re: Checking voltage regulator in reply to John T, 10-25-2013 12:44:33  
John, I should have got this done sooner but another job and weather interfered. I did the voltage check and I get less battery volts when it is running that before. So I would say something is amiss. I would bet it is the regulator. I never did take it off and apart.

As for the magnet and the amp gauge, the magnet I used was at the end of a pick up tool so no north and south poles. another gauge I found will only go positive with two different magnets.

I think I will just spring for a regulator.
Thanks for your help

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