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TO20 12V or 6V?

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Bryan Paxton

05-03-2021 10:53:21

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I know that the TO20's are a 6 volts system. I am planning to recover a 1949 TO20 from northern PA which is about 7 hours away from where I live. Not sure if the tractor runs or not but it would help the loading process if I can get it running. I would obviously need a new battery or at least need to jump it but the question is, how do I know if the electrical system was swapped to 12V or not? I looked up the manufacturer of the battery that is in there and it is a 12V battery. Not sure if the person I am buying it from put the wrong battery in there or did he swap to 12V (he has since passed so I cant ask him). I don't want to ruin anything by trying to charge it or jump it with the incorrect voltage.

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Bryan Paxton

05-04-2021 11:16:31

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 Re: TO20 12V or 6V? in reply to Bryan Paxton, 05-03-2021 10:53:21  
I'm going to attempt to start it but I have a trailer with a winch if it doesn't start.

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Jim L WA

05-04-2021 09:45:37

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 Re: TO20 12V or 6V? in reply to Bryan Paxton, 05-03-2021 10:53:21  
If it has an alternator and a 12 volt battery then it is a 12 volt. However, if it hasn't run in a long time, you might consider just winching it onto your trailer with a come along or chain hoist and then mess with it when you get it home.

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05-04-2021 09:23:27

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 Re: TO20 12V or 6V? in reply to Bryan Paxton, 05-03-2021 10:53:21  
When I put an alternator on my TO-20 I used a 6-volt regulator and kept everything 6 volt. To prevent someone putting a 12 volt battery in, I labeled the alternator, regulator and battery cables. I had an 8N Ford someone had converted and it was 12 volt positive ground, so that is a possibility too. If you're just going to jump it, 12 volts won't hurt anything if you don't run it too long.

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Bryan Paxton

05-04-2021 04:39:32

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 Re: TO20 12V or 6V? in reply to Bryan Paxton, 05-03-2021 10:53:21  
Looks like an alternator to me. Thank you!

Here are some pictures I took awhile back.

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Bryan Paxton

05-03-2021 13:16:19

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 Re: TO20 12V or 6V? in reply to Bryan Paxton, 05-03-2021 10:53:21  
So look for an alternator as opposed to a generator? How do I tell the difference?

Thank you for your help!

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05-03-2021 15:14:28

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 Re: TO20 12V or 6V? in reply to Bryan Paxton, 05-03-2021 13:16:19  
Alternator will have a finned aluminum case.

Generator will have a longer, cylindrical, steel case, usually painted black.

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05-03-2021 12:55:52

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 Re: TO20 12V or 6V? in reply to Bryan Paxton, 05-03-2021 10:53:21  
Look for clues.

If it has an alternator you can assume it is 12v negative ground.

Look at the coil, if it has a ceramic resistor on the primary side, or a true 12v coil, it is 12v.

Even if it is still 6v you can temporary a 12v battery in just to get it started. Don't run it any longer than necessary and do not leave the ignition on unless you are cranking or running. The coil will rapidly over heat. It won't hurt the starter unless you crank too long. Carry a small battery, there is not much room in the battery compartment.

Those are easy starters, if it doesn't fire right up, something is wrong, no spark or no fuel.

A good shortcut on the fuel, carry a nurse bottle of gas, a lawn mower tank, some type container with a section of 3/8 rubber hose you can connect to the fuel line and purge out any old gas or water through the carb drain. Enough hose to sit it up on the hood.

Automatically assume the points will need cleaning.

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