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Old 09-28-2012, 06:23 AM   #101
Tom Wesenberg
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

This is a good example of where being there would sure help to diagnose the problem. Are the terminals soldered to the wires? Are all connections clean and tight? Is the wire of proper guage?

Trying another battery is a good idea for peace of mind, but I still wonder if the generator is putting out more than the indicated 4 amps? Where is the adjustable brush set? Moving it up lowers the output.
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Old 09-28-2012, 06:28 AM   #102
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Come to think of it, I did have a 6 Volt battery load test good and it turned out it was bad; it had me fooled. Drove me nuts. But having said that , a load test is the only way to go, just surface voltage readings without a load equiv. of the starter tell very little.
I agree. I have an old load tester and use it all the time. It will read the voltage of the battery and some time the voltage is good and then when you apply the load the battery fails.

Mrs Sturgis had trouble with her 95 Chevy Blazer battery. We were going to purchase a new battery at Wal Mart. I had them test the battery. They had a fancy load tester that also measured the temperature of the battery. The Tire, Lube Express employee said the battery was no good. I noticed the battery cable was loose. The battery cable was wiggled and we went home. I tested the battery at home an it tested good. The battery is still working great and is about five years old.

Mrs Sturgis was sure that I was wrong and that we should have bought a new battery. I am sure that if the battery fails in two years that she will tell me, we should have bought a new battery two years ago. It is hard to win sometimes. I think a sense of humor is probably one of the most important things in a relationship.

Six volt batteries do not seem to last as long as 12 volt batteries. I think about three years is the end of a six volt battery.
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:59 AM   #103
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

I agree that 6V batteries do not last as long as 12V, I have never understood that.
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:06 AM   #104
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

My experience (in the communications industry) is that 6 volt batteries last longer than 12 volt batteries. At least, in standby power systems...
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:54 AM   #105
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

My 6 volt car batteries have also lasted longer than the 12 volt batteries. When I bought the junk yard battery 8 years ago for $2, there were 3 identical 6 volt batteries that looked very clean, so I figured they must have been used as standby power for something and they may not have been kept fully charged. I bought all 3 and put them on a charger for a day. The one in my car is still going strong and it sets untouched for 6 months every winter. I use one other for my generator tester and have the 3rd on an exercise bike with a Model A generator.

When I got out of the Army my neighbor gave me a 6 volt battery that he had setting in his garage for a long time. I put it into my 1949 Chevy 1 1/2 ton truck, which I seldon used. I got 12 years out of that battery, plus how ever many years old it was when given to me.
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:04 AM   #106
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What magic elixir do you use in your batteries instead of distilled water?
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:46 AM   #107
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What magic elixir do you use in your batteries instead of distilled water?
Not a thing.

Many years ago when my 1952 Studebaker battery started to fail, I used some of that magic blue liquid and it brought life back into the battery, until the battery was stolen a month later.
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:55 AM   #108
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

Old batteries typically did last years longer.

Many years ago the lead plates in batteries were a lot thicker and were solid virgin lead. You could often flush out an old battery and then put in new acid to double it's life.

Several of the poplular modern car batteries available today typically use more recycled contaminated remelt lead that is then formed into lead plates that looks more like a waffle. This waffle plate design is done because there is more surface area for the acid and they can use less lead. New batteries are now lighter in weight because the shells are now plastic with a thinner wall and using less lead. Years of cost cutting and increases in efficiency is now giving you the throw away 6 volt battery of today.
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Old 09-28-2012, 03:42 PM   #109
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Cutout to terminal box, terminal box to dash and coil to terminal box wiring arrived today. I previously replaced the old terminal box, it was completely shot. Installed wiring. Prior to checking voltage, moved third brush upward to end of its travel.
At high idle 8 volts (starter, cutout battery side, battery, terminal box posts). 8.2 volts at armature side of cutout. Amp gauge +2 lights off, -10 lights on.
Let car run at fast idle until the canary in my garage died. No change or fluctuation in voltage, no change in amp reading.
Moved third brush down half way, amp gauge still at +2/-10, no change in voltage.
Moved third brush to end of downward travel. No change in amp reading, voltage 8.2.
Backed idle down, set brush upwards, voltage 6.3
I guess an optimist would consider the above readings a plus. At least the voltage did not peak at 10 as previously reported.
Next - change out amp gauge and have generator tested.
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Old 09-28-2012, 03:58 PM   #110
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

Worrysome: moving the brush had no affect on current?
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:24 PM   #111
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No movement of amp gauge at various third brush positions and only a small change in voltage at the full down position (brush moved towards me while looking at generator). I have several spare amp gauges, will swap them out in the morning.
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:36 PM   #112
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The voltage of the battery regulates the voltage. Have you polarized the generator? The old type cut, you just run a jumper wire between the two terminals on the cutout for a second or less. The new electronic cutouts do not require polarization. If you are using an electronic cutout make sure it is positive ground or however you have the battery connected.

Did you load test the battery?
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Last edited by sturgis 39; 09-28-2012 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:33 AM   #113
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No movement of amp gauge at various third brush positions and only a small change in voltage at the full down position (brush moved towards me while looking at generator). I have several spare amp gauges, will swap them out in the morning.

What is your latest discovery? You have not posted for a while? Did you solve the problem?
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:45 AM   #114
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sturgis - the cutout is the original type, it was polarized. This is the second cut out I've tried. The one originally on the generator was polarized as well.
I took the generator to the GO TO generator/alternator repair shop in my area. Been in business forever and has worked on every conceivable 6 & 12 volt generator you can imagine. He ran a quick "motor" test using a '12' volt source to determine how 'fast' it spun and how much “torque” it produced (he was able to grab the pulley and stop it from spinning with very little effort). He did say, considering it was hooked to a 12 volt source, it should have spun faster and produced more torque than it did. He did not go so far as to say it proved the generator was at fault.
He suggested running a load test (as many of you have) and also inquired about the battery and cut-out (i.e. condition, age, etc), connections, grounds etal. I got him caught up, as best I could, on all the things that have transpired since this saga began.
Unfortunately, he is a one man operation and is headed on vacation for two weeks, ergo, he will not be able to get into the guts of this thing until he returns. This works for me as I am heading out of the country to meet my newest grandson. As a result, I probably won’t have much to add/post until he/I return.
Next step - Bottom line, in two weeks, I’m taking the “A” on a leisurely ride to his shop where he will run diagnostics on the electrical system prior to tearing anything apart.
In regard to this thread, be assured, I will continue to post updates until WE get to the bottom of this issue. THE SAGA CONTINUES!
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:34 AM   #115
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Most excellent. Thanks for sharing. And, especially, hope you have a safe, enjoyable trip to meet the new family member!

As for taking your car somewhere to have someone else work on it: There is NO shame in that! I had a motor problem develop once that I couldn't figure out at all. Tried everything, bugged everyone I knew until they stopped returning emails, etc. Finally trailered the car to a shop and they figured it out quickly and fixed it. Money WELL spent. Never let anyone tell you that it isn't a good idea, or somehow shameful to pay a pro to fix your car.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:59 PM   #116
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Call me crazy but;

Just re-installed the generator and hooked everything up. Changed out the cut-out to the one that was originally on the car. For the heck of it I got out the multi-meter and checked voltage.
At idle 6.2 everywhere except armature side of cut-out 0 volts
At high idle 6.2 all around, 0 at armature side of cut-out
Let her run at high idle and checked again. 6.2 everywhere except armature side of cut-out. 0 volts.
My electricity challenged brain tells me A) Bad cutout? B) bad connection at battery side of cutout? C) all of the above? Or, D) what the heck is going on????
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:46 PM   #117
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Should have said "the generator" was polarized.

I was under the assumption (and we all know what that means) the cut-outs job is to respond to the batteries request for charge by closing its points thus letting voltage pass to the armature side resulting in a voltage reading. That's what appeared to be happening when I ran prior voltage tests on both sides of the cutout terminals. Problem was the high readings (8 to 10 volts, on both sides, depending on when the tests were run).
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Old 09-30-2012, 03:15 PM   #118
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

Have you tried a NEW battery? Strange, unexplained things can happen in a battery.
More than once I had this happen on old style batteries with exposed lead cell connector straps: with carbon pile load tester hooked from post to post, load it slightly, test each cell with hand held voltmeter by touching connector bars, 2 volts each. Cranked up load tester to 150 amps to simulate starter load & tested each cell with voltmeter again----FOR SOME UNEXPLAINED REASON, ONE CELL REVERSED POLARITY!!! Do try a new battery. Bill W.
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Old 09-30-2012, 03:43 PM   #119
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There should be no voltage across the cutout terminals when running.

Also, what are you talking about, "The cutout was polarized"?

Nothing on a Model A generator (3 brush) or cutout needs to be "polarized".
That is a potential way to cook the primary windings in the original cutout.

I am still recommending the simple and robust solution I offered on this thread a hundred posts back.
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I am confused about no voltage at the cut out when the engine is running. Did you mean something different. I think there is voltage at the at both sides of the cutout when the engine is running. When the voltage of the generator matches or is greater than the battery voltage then the cutout closes to charge the battery. Please advise me if I am not correct.
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Last edited by sturgis 39; 09-30-2012 at 03:52 PM. Reason: added "when engine is running"
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:03 PM   #120
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Bill - As of yet, I have not tried another battery.

After re-installing the generator, re-attaching the wires, re-setting the belt and running the car at fast idle, the car now reads 6.3 volts everywhere except the armature side of the cutout . It reads 0 with car off or car running. The 6.3 and 0 volt reading has remained unchanged, with the car running at fast idle, for quite a long time. I turned the car off and on and checked the voltage readings several times throughout this afternoon with the same results, 6.3 and 0 volts.
This is a far cry from the 8 to 10 volts the generator was putting out since the light bulbs blew way back when. Is 6.3 normal, too low, too high, what is considered normal?
In regard to the cut-out. When the battery calls for a charge, should, or shouldn't, the armature side of the cut-out (the one without the wires) show 6 volts, or a bit higher, not zero.

If the armature side is supposed to have voltage, with the car running and the battery calling for a charge, does this mean my cutout is shot or does it mean the battery is not sufficiently drained to call for the cutout to do its thing? Voltage at the battery and battery side of cutout both read 6.3.
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