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Old 09-04-2012, 06:02 PM   #1
joeypoconos
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Default Is There An Electrician In The House?

Some weeks back I posted a thread regarding my 1929 Sport Coupe titled Where Did All My Lights Go. In short, when I turned on my dims to leave a cruise night, about a mile down the road, my dims became very bright and burned out. Switched to my bright lights, a few seconds later same results. Ditto for my cowl lights. LED brake and tail lights remained working.
To date, Ive performed voltage and continuity tests , all appears normal.
Fiddled with my repro headlights and sockets thinking theres a short somewhere in the circuitry.
I bought new bulbs and turned on the lights without problem. Ran the car at a fast idle, no problem. Took her out for a 5 or so mile jaunt, no problem. Back in the garage, turned the car off, ran the light switch through the three positions, no lights. Started the car, bingo, lights. Revved the motor, lights got very bright, pop goes the light bulbs. LED brake and tail lights not affected.
I went through the continuity tests and voltage tests again, same results, all appears normal. This time around I removed the wiring harness from the bottom of the steering column and ran some tests with a probe light. The three dimples controlling the dim, bright and cowl lights showed a very low glow on the test light. The battery dimples lit up bright, the brake and tail lights had no affect on the test light.
I ran a jumper between the LIVE dimples and the dim, high and cowl dimples. All lights lit up and looked normal.
Next I REMOVED THE FUSE from atop the starter and checked the three (dim/bright/cowl) dimples with same result a very low glowing of the test light. I touched the test light to various parts of the car (head light buckets, starter housing, generator housing, coil housing, radiator shell etc.) the test light glowed very dim.
My knowledge of electricity is along the lines If I stick my finger in a light socket, its going to hurt like heck. Im stumped as to why the test light is glowing when the circuit is no longer fused and really stumped as to exactly how to find the short or whatever else could be causing this problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

Since I picked up where you said you touched the test light to the generator housing, I am going to assume it does have a generator and not an alternator but none the less, I am thinking you still have poor ground(s) creating your issues.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

Since you apparently have a generator (not an alternator), you have a poor connection between the generator and the battery. The generator isn't "seeing" the battery voltage and ramping up intermittently. From what I can tell, there isn't anything limiting the voltage from the generator without a load on it.

The LEDs will withstand a lot of abuse. Since LEDs are likely current limited internally, you wouldn;t blow them out until the genrator voltage went WAY up.

The way to test this is do exactly as you did before, but put a voltmeter right across the headlamp socket. You should see around 7-8 volts (on a 6 volt system) with the car running and engine revved. If you see more than that, there's a problem between generator and battery.
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

If your lights are picking up voltage with the fuse out, I sense a SHORT TO GROUND where the bulbs are working in reverse, picking up their limited voltage from a ground connection, yet getting more voltage through the wires when the system is complete, yet still having THAT GROUND to want to escape to.
SO, now you have this HANGING SHORT TO GROUND, giving the system and the bulbs maybe five volts, but still being a GROUND SOURCE that the 30 volt juice wants to flow to, all THIRTY VOLTS, THROUGH the bulb, kabam !
This Short to ground is what your generator sees as a MEGA DEMAND and rushes to meet it, putting thirty volts or so to the lights (and ground) causing them to act like an exploding star.
Get an ohm meter from Harbor Freight FOR FREE or maybe eight dollars with no coupon, attach one end to say a head bolt, and go probing the head lamp connections to see where your SHORT TO GROUND is.
(It will be a similar number as when you touch the two leads -Infinity or therabouts) (BIG NUMBER of ohms)
GOOD LUCK !
Its FUN!
But then I used to do this kind of stuff for computers ,communication systems, and such.
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

CHECK where the negative lead goes to the starter for a short to ground where it passes through the firewall first.
Then go hunting from the headlamps to where a hot wire independent of the fused wire can short to ground intermittently.
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

Does your horn work? Twice, while dusting my car, bumped the horn wire conduit, hot wire came off inside horn cover, jiggled around at times causing an intermittant short. Bill W.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

Just a couple of questions that may or may not have any bearing on your problem. Does your test light
have a 6 or 12 volt bulb and where are you getting the power for your test light ( battery, starter, coil)
If your lights are getting bright and blowing out I also think you have a ground issue.
You are getting a dim test light when you test the dimples because you have the test light and the
bulb in the head light wired in series.

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Old 09-04-2012, 08:58 PM   #8
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To check for a poor ground just connect the volt meter to the generator case and a good ground such as a head nut or starter case. Put the meter on the lowest volts DC and you should have NO reading. If you show any voltage, then you have a poor connection at that point (generator mounting bolt connection). Do the same by connecting the volt meter to the battery ground post and a good ground, such as the starter case. Again, NO voltage should be showing. Test the ammeter and terminal box posts by connection the volt meter to the two terminal box wing nuts. Again no, or almost no voltage should show. If you show more than about .1 volts, then you have a poor connection at the ammeter or terminal box posts. These are 3 easy to check likely spots for a poor connection. Since it cranks over just fine, I'd guess the battery posts and ground strap are OK, but that would still leave the generator mounting bolt connection, and the terminal box/ammeter connection, and the wires between the generator and starter switch.

For those wondering how the lights got power with a blown fuse, the generator is supplying the voltage as long as the engine is running. Remember, the lights pick up the power right at the cutout.
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:51 PM   #9
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I have a quicker way to do this it will require two people. disconnect the positive wire on the battery. have your helper attach the aligator clip of your test light to the disconected pos wire. touch the point of your test light to the posative post on the battery. now if you have a short the light should be lit. now have your helper stay there wile you go to the driver side of the car open the hood and there are a few butt connectors on the wire harness right by the radiator for your lights and horn. disconnect them one at a time when the light goes out on the test light you have found the wire or cuircut with the short. as you disconnect them if the light dosen't go out plug them back in. if light doesn't go out for the lights,or horn go to the next component the genorator . disconnect the wire from the cutout switch. if light dosen't go out move to the distribution box on the fire wall. you should be able to find the short quickly using this method.
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:19 AM   #10
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

Popeye31, All true what you just posted for SHORTS, but the high voltage output that burns out light bulbs is cause by an unregulated generator having an OPEN. Generators with an EVR won't put out high voltage and burn out bulbs, even if the battery is taken out of the circuit. I do this often to show guys one of the benefits of an electronic voltage regulator.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:03 AM   #11
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

Bob C - test light uses AA battery. The test light is rated for use at 6 or 12 volts.

Tom W and Popeye - Good advice, I'm waiting for my helper to show up. Will run the tests you suggested.

Tom W - With the fuse removed and car off I still don't understand how I'm getting current (dim test light) to the dimples and the other areas I probed (i.e. buckets, starter body, generator body, etc). Is it possible current is getting past the fuse holder even though the fuse is removed?

Tom W- Mitch//pa also recommended an EVR, I plan to install one after I resolve this issue. At this point, I'm concerned an EVR will just mask a serious underlying problem that could result in a fire or some other not so nice condition.

Many thanks to all, I appreciate the feedback and will post an update, hopefully, in the near future.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:47 AM   #12
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Popeye31 - performed first of the tests (positive cable to positive post). Test light DID NOT come on. Does this eliminate a short anywhere in the system and point to an un-regulated generator ??
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:59 AM   #13
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

I worked on a friend's Model A that had current across the safety fuse holder even with the fuse removed. The fuse posts were shorted out and I was able to fix.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:04 AM   #14
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeypoconos View Post
Popeye31 - performed first of the tests (positive cable to positive post). Test light DID NOT come on. Does this eliminate a short anywhere in the system and point to an un-regulated generator ??
The test light is used to check for battery voltage. If you probe the + battery post and + cable end on that post you are just checking for voltage drop. For this you need a DC volt meter with a low voltage reading. You also need current flow to measure voltage drop, so you crank the engine over while doing this test. You shouldn't be able to measure any voltage. If you measure voltage, the the clamp must be loose or dirty.

A test light is handy to locate where the voltage is or isn't. On the Model A the horn and coil should always have 6 volts and operate when a ground is sent by the horn button and by the points. The lights have power up to the point of the switches, so the headlights have power to the light switch on the bottom of the steering column and the brake light has power up to the brake light switch.
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:16 AM   #15
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Never had a test light with a battery, is it just a continuity tester or will it light up if you hook
one side to POS and other to NEG?
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:26 PM   #16
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If I have this straight you are using a battery powered test light to check for continuity. If you have the clip hooked to ground and probe the switch contacts on the harness then the test light should come on showing continuity to ground as long as you have good light bulbs in place. The light will dim some as the bulbs act as a resister.

Whenever I've encountered the problem you describe in someone's car it has been a loose connection at either the terminal box or ammeter post. I've also heard via the forums that some fuse blocks fail due to loose rivets which would cause enough resistance to cause similar results.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:19 PM   #17
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Bob C The test light is just a simple device that has a bulb, AA battery and an alligator clip at the end of a wire and a pointy metal probe. The alligator clip goes to a good ground and the probe is placed on a connector (i.e. generator terminal). If electricity is present, the bulb lights up, no electric no lit bulb.

Marco Ive used the test light to probe every connection in the system. At all points the bulb lights. Ive also used a multi-meter to check continuity throughout all circuits, all is in order. I checked amperage via the amp meter. With lights off and car off meter shows 0. With cowl lights on and car off meter shows slight discharge. With dims or brights on and car off meter shows -10 amps discharge. With car at normal idle and nothing on meter shows 0 amps. Car at idle and cowl lights on meter shows slight discharge. Car at idle and dim or brights on meter shows -6 discharge. Car at high idle or when revving engine with dims or brights on meter goes to +7-8 amp charge. With this latest iteration, the bulbs did not blow out.
Okay, now its on to the voltage test using my multi-meter. Previously, my voltage tests showed 10 volts at the headlights with car at idle or high idle. I adjusted the generator third brush to +4 amps at high idle in hopes this would bring the generator voltage down. Today I re-tested the voltage throughout the system with the car running at high idle. Im getting a consistent 10 volt reading everywhere.
Do these tests indicate that the system is free of a short(s) and that Im dealing with a generator thats not quite right? If so, will an EVR remedy this situation or should I have the generator checked/rebuilt then install an EVR.
My apologies for the long winded posts, just a novice trying to get to the bottom of all this before I decide to convert this thing to the largest, and only, 1929 Model A Sport Coupe pedal car.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:06 PM   #18
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I've been reading all this,and come to the same answer.You have a bad connection.The battery is the regulator,and if the generator can't read it,it will make up to 40 volts.You should NOT be putting out 10 volts.The third brush regulates amps,not volts.Next,you are using a continuity tester,not a test light.A test light doesn't have a battery,a continuity tester does.When you stated you were getting power to things with the fuse out,I knew you were feeding the system yourself.I'm not buying that you have a short,a short won't partially feed a system,it will go bang,and melt something until it burns up and becomes an open.You need to start at the battery,connections,clean,bright and tight.Both inside and out.Cables rot inside the terminals too.Ground to frame,and from there to the transmission.Too much rust,paint and grease to depend on grounding through the mechanical parts.They're pretty simple,you just need the right tools and a little pointing in the right direction.
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:05 PM   #19
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Default Re: Is There An Electrician In The House?

Make SURE every connection from cut out to battery is TIGHT & CLEAN.
Start at battery terminal at cut out, follow that wire on to junction box, on to ammeter, out of other side of ammeter on to the other side of junction box, and on to battery cable on starter switch. Check the nuts that secure the ammeter posts to the ammeter case for tightness. Remove wires, at junction box, one side at a time & tighten both sets of nuts in both sides of junction box. You will OVERCOME! Bill W.
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:43 PM   #20
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There is a common misconception that a "bad or loose connection" means total failure. That is NOT necessarily the case. It can lead it intermittent failure (temporary loss of continuity) during vibrations, etc. Additionally, a bad or loose connection can have perfect continuity but cause resistance and not be able to deliver the required load. The best way I can describe it is like having your garden hose wide open and delivering 10 gallons per minute. If someone steps on the hose and partially flattens it the delivery is dramatically reduced.

It's worth mentioning that excessive resistance also creates heat at and near the point of the cause. While I've never tried it, I suspect if you drove the car for awhile (daytime, lights off) with the generator showing a charge, you would probably have a warm ammeter or wires at the terminal box.

I'll be VERY surprised if it isn't one of the three places I suggested.
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:02 PM   #21
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I agree with Marco, as that's where I always find the problems also. If you don't do a voltage drop check as I described earlier, then feel each connection for heat as Marco mentioned. I always connect a volt meter across the terminal box posts to measure voltage drop there first. If I measure more than about .1 volt I remove the terminal box lid and check the connections. IF they are clean and tight I remove the instrument panel and check the ammeter nuts. If they are clean and tight the problem might be inside the ammeter.

If you use your continuity test light to check voltage, the 6 or 12 volts will blow the tester bulb.
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:29 PM   #22
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Keith - Just a clarification regarding using my test light with fuse removed from the fuse holder located on the starter. When I probe the various connections (i.e. generator, starter, junction box connectors etc) the test light does not light up which is exactly what I'd expect. When I touch the probe to any part of the car (i.e. engine, radiator shell, h/lite buckets etc.) the test light glows very dimly. That led me to believe there could be something amiss with the fuse holder. I probed both ends of the holder (no fuse) it did not light up (to be expected) nor did it have that dim glow. So what is causing the light to have that dim glow. Is there residual current from the starter and or generator that causes this or is it coming from the battery cables or??

Again, thanks to everyone for the input. Once again, I will be out in the garage tomorrow, and every day thereafter, until I get this thing worked out. In the interim, no cruise nights for me.
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:53 PM   #23
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I'm still trying to get a handle on your test light / continuity tester. When you are running your test what
is the alligator clip hooked to and if you hook the alligator clip to the probe does the light come on?

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Old 09-05-2012, 06:13 PM   #24
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Alligator clip hooked to a good ground. When I hook the clip to the probe I get the dim light. Hmmm, I think I'm beginning to see the light! Geez, am I glad I'm not messing with house current!
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:37 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeypoconos View Post
Alligator clip hooked to a good ground. When I hook the clip to the probe I get the dim light. Hmmm, I think I'm beginning to see the light! Geez, am I glad I'm not messing with house current!
Ok, you are doing exactly what I surmised and suggested in my first post. Now, it's important to note that if you hook the clip to the probe (tester end to tester end) and get a dim light it's time to change the batteries!
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:05 PM   #26
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You are getting that glow because you are using the car to complete the circuit.You are using a CONTINUITY
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:25 PM   #27
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For some reason just a part of my post showed up.Bottom line is that you are using a CONTINUITY tester instead of a TEST LIGHT.You are using the car to complete a circuit.You need to test the car using a test light,not a continuity tester with its own power.The test light uses the cars power,not an outside source.Before you do anything else though,clean ALL terminals.Start at the battery,fuse holder,terminal box,and the ammeter.There is a very good chance the problem will clear up.The continuity tester has a lot of uses,but right now you need to throw it in the bushes,it is confusing you.You need a simple test light.Right now you are using the wrong tool and it is throwing a monkey wrench in the works.If you are trying to use a light that glows when you touch the alligator clip to the probe you just have the wrong tool.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:07 PM   #28
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Keith - thanks for the info. It's back to the garage in the morning to check connections and, if necessary, run the tests you and the other barners have suggested. Just in case, I'm going to pick up a test light, the kind with the positive and negative clips.
More to follow!
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:31 PM   #29
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NO NO not with positive and negative clips, just get the simple one with and alligator
clip on one end and a probe. Link to simple test light http://www.napaonline.com/Catalog/Ca...069_0361168735

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Old 09-05-2012, 08:39 PM   #30
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One more thing........how old is the battery? and what condition is it in?

A weak battery or one that's too small will also allow the generator to put out too many volts, even with good connections. When I first bought my 29 Tudor the battery was old and very week, and the powerhouse was putting out about 10 volts. That's when I decided to make an electronic voltage regulator for it. The EVR won't fix the bad battery, but it will keep the output at a safe level. Yes, I did replace the battery because it was too weak to crank the engine over.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:38 PM   #31
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Tom - Battery was in the car when I purchased it several years ago, ergo, age unknown.

Battery cranks very strong.
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:16 PM   #32
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sorry for the delay in replying if you did not get a light than you don't have a short. I would look at the cutout on the generator. Or a bad connection. check your connections
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:30 PM   #33
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oops I left a few words I was trying to delete I corrected it now.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:39 PM   #34
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Now that we know its a CONTINUITY TESTER you have been using, a quick lesson on how a continuity tester WORKS, is for you to touch the alligator clip with the probe and the bulb should light. A BRIGHT light reflects a good 1.5v battery IN the continuity tester. A DIM lamp indicates a bad battery or problem IN YOUR CONTINUITY TESTER,
NOW, clip your continuity tester to a head bolt and touch most any good ground in the engine and you should get THAT SAME light as you got when you touched the probe to the alligator clip. (That's continuity)

A TEST LIGHT, on the other hand, has a 6 volt bulb and two wires coming off it, positive and negative leads, and THAT, is was what we thought you were referring to.

Good Luck !
Wow, with all the assistance on this forum, you should have a solution soon.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:16 PM   #35
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Headed for the garage this morning for another round of trouble shooting.

I now realize that some of the stuff Ive been trying is probably meaningless and confusing to most of you. Imagine what its doing to me. In any event, if some of the things (tests) Ive documented below have no bearing on trouble shooting this problem just come out and say Hey dummy, how many times must I tell
No offence will be taken!

Oh well, here we go.

1 - Starting at the battery, disconnected pos/neg and cleaned the terminals, wire contacts, grounds etal. Moved on to the starter, fuse holder, generator, junction box, coil contacts, behind dash, brake switch cleaned and tightened everything.
What did I find? Battery ground cable to cross member bolt was loose.

2 - Next, with fuse installed and car off, I probed everything with my continuity tester. All okay. Turned on cowl, dims, brights all worked. B
Horn, brake and taillights work.
What did I find? When testing the generator for continuity I touched the probe end to the wire connector on the cutout. The probe slipped and touched the connector and cutout body at the same time resulting in a spark. Is this normal??

3- Next, checked voltage with fuse installed and car off. Readings at all points 6 1/2 volts. Started car and ran at idle. Voltage now just over 7. Cutout putting out just over 7 volts. Increased to fast idle and voltage increased a bit over 8.
What did I find? Generator now making a noticeable squealing sound.

4- Next, turned off car and left fuse in place. Tried lights nothing. Horn nothing. Tried starting car it cranked over as normal but would not start. Checked continuity ok from starter to fuse (both sides). Nothing from condenser connection (the one the wires attach to) to anywhere else in system.

5- Next, took a deep breadth, headed into the house for a cold one, counted to ten, several times.

6- Next, back to the garage. With car off and fuse inserted tried lights they work, horn - works. Car starts, lights work, horn works. Ran car at normal idle, high idle, revved motor all had no affect on lights (did not get bright or burn out). Generator still making a squealing sound.

7. Next, went through several iterations of the above with the same results. Continuity, no continuity. Lights work, lights don't work. Car starts, car does not start etc. etc. etc.

8- Next, took a deep breadth, headed into the house. This time I turned to something a little bit stronger then a cold one, counted to one hundred, several times. Ill tell you what; this Mayan calendar thing cant come soon enough for me!
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:32 PM   #36
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Please give the continuity tester to your dog, so he can bury it in the back yard.

You are only concerned with checking voltage by using your volt meter.

#2. you shorted the battery power to ground, so the spark was normal. It would usually blow the fuse.

Is the genertor belt loose enough to slip and squeal, or is it a dry bearing. A slipping belt will make the pulley get hot. Look for burned paint or check by feel.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:45 PM   #37
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In #4 I don't understand what the condenser connection is. When the light and horn don't
work see if you have battery voltage at both of the studs on the terminal box, if only one side
has voltage probably bad ammeter.

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Old 09-07-2012, 07:39 AM   #38
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Bob C - that should be "cut out" not condenser. My mistake.

Tom - Belt is fine. Not loose or slipping.
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:53 AM   #39
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You still have a bad connection somewhere,you found the big one everybody suspected at the ground lug.Now run a cable from that lug to a transmission bolt.That will really clear things up.I really suspect the fuse holder or fuse at this point.A lot of them are poorly made,and they will lose contact after sitting around.Then contact will come and go.Get rid of the continuity tester,until you understand how the system works it is not your friend.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:23 AM   #40
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Okay thanks, I ditched the continuity tester. I think all of the good advice I've been getting has put me on information overload. Well, back to the dumb questions.
What gauge cable should I use between lug and transmission bolt?
Once installed, what should I be looking or testing for (using the proper tool)?
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:28 AM   #41
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Tom - the squealing sound that just cropped up appears to be internal to the generator. I oiled the generator some 100+ miles ago so the sound is a mystery to me.

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Old 09-07-2012, 10:08 AM   #42
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Tom - the squealing sound that just cropped up appears to be internal to the generator. I oiled the generator some 100+ miles ago so the sound is a mystery to me.
Sometimes the brushes can make a light sqeal, but a bad bearing should be noticable louder. I'd slip the fan belt off and spin the pulley with your hand to check for any play or rough bearings. While the belt is off you can jump a wire across the two cutout terminals to make the generator spin like a slow electric motor and see if you still get the squeal. I see a lot of front bearings that are shot from lack of lubrication. I install a sealed bearing so the owner won't have to worry about it in the future. The rear bushing only needs a drop or two of oil every year or 2,000 miles.

Remember, generator belts DON'T need to be real tight.

How far do you live from Kurt or Kevin in NJ? Or are you close to any other Model A owners good with electricity?

Last edited by Tom Wesenberg; 09-07-2012 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 09-07-2012, 02:50 PM   #43
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Tom - the squealing sound that just cropped up appears to be internal to the generator. I oiled the generator some 100+ miles ago so the sound is a mystery to me.
I have a generator that recently started squealing after being oiled. Turned out to be the rear bushing in the generator. Not sure why oiling it made the squeal start. Only did it at idle and you can feel the armature vibrating in the bushing. Still works ok.
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Old 09-07-2012, 03:49 PM   #44
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Tom,
Kevin lives near Atlantic City, which I guess is 75 miles from Freehold, NJ where Joey appears to be from.
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Old 09-07-2012, 04:47 PM   #45
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Tom - I don't know Kevin or Kurt.
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:13 PM   #46
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I have a generator that recently started squealing after being oiled. Turned out to be the rear bushing in the generator. Not sure why oiling it made the squeal start. Only did it at idle and you can feel the armature vibrating in the bushing. Still works ok.
Replace the bushing ASAP or you may have to replace some much more expensive parts. A worn bearing or bushing can allow the armature to rub on the pole shoes and that's what can kill the armature and/or field windings.
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Old 09-08-2012, 03:02 PM   #47
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Latest update.

Close visual inspection uncovered the following:
- Terminal box body is cracked.
- Terminal box grommet jury rigged. Found rubber (resembles inner tube rubber) wrapped around the ignition cable as it exits the firewall. The grommet was cut in half, one half was placed over the ignition cable and the junction box cover put in place.
- One of the fuse holder terminal rivets loose. Bypassed the holder by attaching wire directly to starter. With car off, voltage reads 6.5 at all points. Started car, at low and high idle voltage now above 9.5.
- Battery cables appear to have some age. Time for new ones.

For the heck of it, replaced cut out with an original NOS unit. Voltage still 9.5.

Okay, this one is a bit scary. Added another cable to ground. Secured one end to the bolt holding the primary ground strap to the cross member. I had previously sanded, scraped, wire brushed the frame several days ago, repeated the process before affixing cables to cross member. Removed transmission bolt, scraped/sanded/wire brushed and bolted on cable. Started car, at low idle checked voltage at the starter. Multi-meter was set for 10 volts, when I probed the starter connection, the meter went off the hook. Shot right past the max for the 10 volt setting. I did not reset the meter to a higher voltage and try again for fear something might be damaged. Instead, I shut her down, went into the house and reached for a cold one, counted to 1000, several times.
Went through Snyders catalogue, will send in an order Monday for replacement parts.
The saga will continue upon receipt of parts. All input greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:40 AM   #48
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What replacement parts were ordered?

What is the setting on the generator adjustable brush?

You shouldn't be reading 9.5 volts and I'm wondering if the generator charge rate is just set too high. Read the voltage at the battery posts with the engine running at fast idle and post your findings.
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:41 AM   #49
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Joey P lives about 8 miles from me in Jackson, so fri. I went over and tried to help him out. What I found was a nice 29 Sport Coupe and the wiring all seemed to be in great shape. Nothing was loose or frayed. We tried the alternate ground with a jumper cable. I attached the cable to a head nut and the + side of the battery. No change! We swapped cutouts, he had spares. No Change. We bypassed the fuse on the starter, again, Nothing, It still read from 8 1/2 to 10 volts. Then we tested the meter on my truck battery, it was 12v on the nose. The problem is the generator is producing extra voltage. How or why this can happen is beyond my meager knowledge. The only joker in this pack is the third brush. I understand that output can be varied by the position of this brush. Exactly how and why this is possible, is beyond me.
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Old 09-09-2012, 08:39 AM   #50
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Checked battery with multi-meter pole to pole before starting engine - 6.2 volts

Engine running, amp gauge reading 10 amps, 8.5-8.8 volts
Engine running, amp gauge reading 4 amps, 8.5-8.8 volts
Engine running, amp gauge reading 0 amps, 8 volts.


Tom - Parts order on Monday
Junction box (existing one cracked with broken pieces)
Fuse Holder (existing one has loose terminal)
A few more light bulbs (just in case)
Firewall junction box grommet (existing one shot. also found inner tube rubber wrapped around ignition cable to prevent shorting at the firewall. Not sure how effective this will be in the long run)
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:27 AM   #51
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If the generator is charging the battery at a high enough rate to bring the post voltage from 6.2 to 8.0 then the amp guage should be showing a fairly high charge rate. Make sure the new terminal box studs don't short out against the firewall. I've heard complaints of the screw heads not being recessed enough. Also, you might want to just solder the fuse holer terminals if they are loose.
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Old 09-09-2012, 12:06 PM   #52
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I didn't go back and read all your posts but have you removed the generator and removed all the
paint and rust from the generator mounting brackets and the timing gear cover where the generator
mounts so the generator has a good ground?

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Old 09-10-2012, 01:47 PM   #53
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Bob C - I'll give that a try.

Tom - As you suggested in an earlier post, connected volt meter to generator case and ground, negative battery post to starter case, junction box wing nut to wing nut with no movement of meter.

Borrowed a circuit/spark plug tester from a buddy. Probed system end to end, everything checked out normal.

Have a buddy that runs a repair business in town. He suggested running a voltage drop test, same as Tom recommended many posts ago. My bad, never ran the test but I will when my better half gets home (needs two people).

My buddy gave me the number of a retired fellow who owned/operated a generator repair business. I called and explained the problem. From my description, he does not think the generator is the culprit but can't be sure. He suggested running a jumper cable from the generator housing to the battery ground post to eliminate a generator grounding problem. I did, nothings changed. He also feels there could be an internal problem with the battery. I'm going to have it tested.

I've been googling the web in search of a similar problem. Came across this link. Although the problem described (almost identical to mine) is with a Harley Davidson, the HD's electrical system appears to be very similar to the Model A's.


http://www.antiquemotorcycle.org/bbo...hp/t-9440.html

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Old 09-25-2012, 12:42 PM   #54
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I’ve been busy with family business so had to put a temporary hold on “A” trouble shooting. Back in the garage so here’s an update.

Parts arrived from Snyder’s. Terminal box and grommet, bulbs, safety fuse mount set, positive and negative battery cable & strap and two blade aluminum fan (has nothing to do with electrical issues).

1. Had battery tested – no problems found
2. Headlights have repro sockets. As per Les Andrews book, soldered ground wires to bulb sockets and grounded them to headlight buckets.
3. Installed safety fuse mount set.
4. Removed hood, drained cooling system, loosened hoses, pulled radiator out of way
5. With belt disconnected ran a “motor” test on the generator. Generator ‘motors’ as it should. Installed fan blade, buttoned everything up, and adjusted fan belt for inch play. At this point, cooling system remains drained.
6. Removed old damaged terminal box from firewall. The darned thing fell apart in the process.
7. Removed cylinder head bolt holding ignition cable to head, removed distributor from engine, unscrewed distributor from ignition cable. Slid new terminal box, grommet and ignition cable hold down clamp onto ignition cable.
8. Closely inspected all wiring to/from terminal box. Visually, wiring appears to be good, however, at this stage of the game it can’t hurt to replace with new wiring. Order has been placed. In the interim, re-installed existing wiring to new terminal box. Insured metal conduit, holding the cut-out to terminal box wires, was clear of terminal box post. Re-installed all parts.
9. Filled cooling system.
10. Installed new battery cables and fired her up. Started on 2nd turn of the engine.


Checked voltage readings as follows:
With car off 6.2 volts at all points in system except armature side of cut-out which reads 0 (normal). Amp gauge reads 0.

With car at idle: 6.3 volts at all points except the + side of coil (red wire) which reads 5 volts. Amp gauge reads +1 with lights off -10 with lights on.

With car at high idle:
8 volts at starter
8.2 volts at fuse
8.2 volts other side of fuse
8.8 at cutout battery side
9.5 at cutout armature side
9 at both terminal box posts
9 at coil negative side (black wire)
7 at coil positive side (red wire)
Amp gauge reads +4 with lights off -10 with lights on.


With idle adjusted higher:
8.8 at starter and fuse (both sides)
9 at cutout battery side
9.8 at cutout armature side
9 both terminal box posts
9 coil negative side
7 coil positive side
Amp gauge reads +4 with lights off -10 with lights on.

With car back to normal idle:
6.2 volts everywhere except 4.2 volts at coil positive side,
Amp gauge reads +4 with lights off -10 with lights on.


Turned on the lights, backed her out of the garage and went for a long drive. Amp gauge at -10, turned off lights amp gauge went to +4. Turned high beams on for remainder of journey (switching between high, low and cowl lights while applying brakes etc). No fluctuations of amp gauge. No burnt out bulbs. Car ran great.
Don’t know how to interpret the low voltage reading at the plus side of the coil other than to assume 1) it's normal, or, 2)there’s a problem with the wiring at the terminal box post or 3)???? Also, still have no idea what's causing the voltage to fluctuate.
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:00 PM   #55
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The + side of the coil would be the ground from the points through the ignition switch if you have a
positive ground system. The voltage you are reading is probably feeding through the primary winding in
the coil from the hot wire on the negative terminal.

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Old 09-25-2012, 03:56 PM   #56
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The + side of the coil goes to the points and is the ground side. If the points are open, then the + side of the coil should read the same as the - side, with the key off or on, and engine stopped. With the engine running the points will be switching the coil off and on, so the + side should read less than the - side, but more than 0.

The bulk of the voltage readings seem to be high, unless the battery is low or weak, or has a poor connection. What is the voltage reading at the battery posts in the center? Also what is the voltage readings on the battery cable ends? Just searching for a voltage drop to indicate a bad connection.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:46 PM   #57
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Tom -

Center post to center post 6.2 volts

Cable to cable 6.2 volts

Negative post to positive cable connection on cross member 6.2 volts

Negative cable to positive cable connection on cross member 6.2 volts
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:05 PM   #58
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8.8 volts at the starter with a high idle and 4 amps showing on the meter, but only 6.2 volts at the battery. I can't see loosing 2.6 volts through battery cables.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:42 PM   #59
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Also losing over 3/4 volt through cut out.
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:17 PM   #60
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8.8 volts at the starter with a high idle and 4 amps showing on the meter, but only 6.2 volts at the battery. I can't see loosing 2.6 volts through battery cables.
12-volt (smaller wire gage) cables (believe 0-Gage is recommended for 6-volt systems) or corrosion inside cable terminals?
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:40 PM   #61
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There is a lot of confusion here. Bad connections will not trigger high voltage output from the generator. Blowing light bulbs comes only from one cause, voltage too high. The third brush increases the charging output but you can't separate the voltage from the amperage. The only explanation is the the field is shorted internally, delivering full battery voltage to the field, triggering an ouput that is off the charts. You need new field coils or a new generator. Temporarily swap in another gen from someone else's car and watch the problem disappear.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:00 PM   #62
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Sounds like the generator is working exactly as it should considering the voltage drop between the generator and the battery through the cutout, wiring, terminals, etc. it's behaving precisely as expected. The cutout should not have more than 0.1 volts of drop through it under load, and 0 volts drop with little or no load. Sounds like resistance in the cutout or the terminals or cables between the generator and the battery.

One way to "fix" this is to switch to a 6VDC positive ground alternator. It isn't exactly a fix, but it will mask all the symtoms enough that you could live with them happily ever after.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:39 AM   #63
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An interesting conversation and I only scanned the pages.
If the cut-out (reverse current relay) is solid state (diode) I would expect a .7v drop.
Batteries are like large condensers. Battery physics dictate some terms. I would expect a good 6v battery to draw a very lot of current above 7.5v. A bad battery may go to 9v on little current. if you put a line charger on a battery and it draws little current and goes to 18V (12v battery) the battery is suspect as a 6v would be..
You can run lights at 9.2/9.3V but above that you will blow them out
To achieve those voltages as mentioned the generator will not be seeing the battery.
Also and I doubt it given the info provided something to consider, if the generator is negative ground it will be in series with the battery. Yikes.
Lastly, wiring (I own an electrical shop but don't do wiring) too much information will make the task very hard to solve.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:55 AM   #64
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I wanted to share a like story. My name is Mike btw.
I just brought my first A (I have a T). I put a carb on it, warped Tilly wasn't gonna cut it. Ran smooth as silk. About half way home it started to backfire mildly between shifts so I ran the mixture a little richer. No luck. By the time I got on the 45mph road I was humming along. Then Kaboom, car is barely running and on the shoulder gas running out the carb. Hit it with a wrench at the needle and seat. sat down and watched traffic. Tried to restart after a good while, nope!!

I thought about it for a while. Turned on my cowl lights, nope. Headlights nope..
Checked the fuse on the side of the starter. Popped up out of the the holder (30A SFE) It was too large and would not sit down in the ears and click in...

So here is what I think. At 45MPH the generator is going high, very high. The coil saturates and stops firing. Car floods and slows down. Generator voltage drops coil fires and all that gas lights off, kaboom.
Push the fuse down, drive homes purrs like a kitten.
Oh I had a small tour the next day. Pulled the brake light bulb out and yes indeed, black and blown out. Glad my headlights weren't on.
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:16 AM   #65
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There is a lot of confusion here. Bad connections will not trigger high voltage output from the generator. Blowing light bulbs comes only from one cause, voltage too high. The third brush increases the charging output but you can't separate the voltage from the amperage. The only explanation is the the field is shorted internally, delivering full battery voltage to the field, triggering an ouput that is off the charts. You need new field coils or a new generator. Temporarily swap in another gen from someone else's car and watch the problem disappear.
Bad connections sure will trigger HIGH voltage. The Model A generator is unregulated and can put out up to 40 volts if it doesn't have a good connection to the 6 volt battery. This is why at least 3 of us make an electronic voltage regulator for the Model A's. Mine fits inside the generator where the adjustable brush normally fits. This keeps the output voltage regulated to a safe level.

With over 2 volts dropped in the battery cable with only 4 amps flowing, I'd suspect a poor connection. Give the cable a good tug and see if it is loose at the terminal. I've seen two cables that pulled right out of the heavy lead terminal. With the starter engaged the cable will be flowing at least 100 amps, and even with that heavy current flow it still should come nowhere close to a 2 volt drop.


Last edited by Tom Wesenberg; 09-26-2012 at 07:01 AM.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:44 AM   #66
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With over 2 volts dropped in the battery cable with only 4 amps flowing, I'd suspect a poor connection.

That's exactly what I think it is too.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:51 AM   #67
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Double checked battery cable and ground strap for tight connections. Cross member at ground bolt connection is free of paint or any other obstruction. Cable and strap are the new ones I just received from Snyders. Below readings are basically the same as they were with old cable/strap installed.

Voltage test results.

At idle 6.2 volts everywhere except coil ground side.
Amp gauge shows +2 charge.

At high idle
Starter and both sides of fuse 8.2 volts
Cutout battery terminal 8.9 volts
Cutout armature terminal 9.0 volts
Terminal box left and right posts 8.9 volts
Coil 8.9 and 6.8 volts
Amp gauge shows +2 charge

With idle still set high I turned on the lights and tested voltage again, Below readings are same with either high, low or cowl lights on.
Starter and both sides of fuse 6.8 volts
Cutout battery terminal 6.2 volts
Cutout armature terminal 6.6 volts
Terminal box left and right posts 6.2 volts
Coil 6.2 and 4.4 volts
Amp gauge shows -10 discharge.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:01 AM   #68
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If the voltage is 6.8 volts at the starter and 6.2 at the terminal box, there is definately resistance somewhere. Either corroded wire, a bad crimp on a terminal, a bad connection, oil in a connection, something.

Do this- First, verify no resistance between the battery + terminal and the generator ground. Should be less than 0.1 ohms. If higher, then fix that. If 0.1 ohms or so, then proceed below.

Check the voltage right at the battery, directly across the two battery terminals. Start the car and set to high idle. Compare that voltage reading with the voltage right at the generator output.

Now, run a wire from the generator output to the negative battery terminal directly (bypass everything between them) and check the voltage at the battery terminals again. Should be pretty close to 7 volts. If not, bad generator. If so, bad electrical connection or corroded wire adding resistance.

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Old 09-26-2012, 06:03 PM   #69
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The statement that the Model A gen is not regulated is not true. It is regulated by the third brush, like all the generators of its day and even many tractor generators well into the 50s and 60s. Granted it is not a very sophisticated means of regulation, but regulated nonetheless. And yes any generator without proper regulation can put out very high voltage. A shorted field will give little or no regulation. Yes the solid state regulators out there are much better. His readings do not indicated bad connections. They do indicate high voltage and blown bulbs indicate high voltage. Swap the gen. for a known good one for kicks and giggles and see what happens.

Advice by PS above is good advice. try it.
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:58 PM   #70
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The third brush only sets the amps and has no control over the voltage coming out of the generator. Therefore a poor connection in the charging circuit allows the generator voltage to rise to dangerous (for the lights) levels. Take any good running Model A without an EVR and lift the battery cable off while the engine is running and has the lights on and see what happens. With an EVR, it's no problem.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:30 PM   #71
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Tom, or Mike, or any electrician,

It sounds like using one of those common starter-mounted fuses is a big gamble; if it comes loose or fails while you're going down the road, an unregulated generator would blow any lights you have on. What else? Burn the points? Cook the coil? Fry the generator? How would you know if you weren't using the lights?

I assume that the regulator in an alternator would offer protection--right?

Thanks!

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Old 09-26-2012, 07:48 PM   #72
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The fuse is never a bad idea. However, if running a fuse and an original sytle generator, you should modify the electrical system just a tad. I would run a wire directly from the generator to the battery with its own fuse, the run the wire from the fuse block to everything else.

If the fuse between the generator and the battery blows, you simply stop charging, and your ammeter would show that. if you blow the fuse between the battery and the car's electrical system, then everything comes to a halt, including the motor. That may sound bad, but a new fuse gets you going again and doesn;t allow the generator to run directly into your electrical system with no battery load.

Best bet of all- Run a separate fuse for individual circuits!

I decided best bet for my car was an alternator and the single fuse for all with a separate fuse for some electrical components. The planned project for this winter is to install a block under the "dash" (fuel tank) with separate fuses for individual things like lights, horn, ignition, etc.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:18 PM   #73
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The fuse is never a bad idea. However, if running a fuse and an original sytle generator, you should modify the electrical system just a tad. I would run a wire directly from the generator to the battery with its own fuse, the run the wire from the fuse block to everything else. ....
Will the ammeter ever show "charging" with that setup?

Steve
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:08 PM   #74
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Your low readings ( highlited in red) on the points side of the coil are normal. As the voltage at this point is continuously alternating between 0v when the points are closed and 6v when open, when the car is running, the voltmeter will average these two voltage levels, giving you a some what lower reading than you might expect. The actual average voltage reading will depend on the dwell setting of the points.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:49 PM   #75
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Will the ammeter ever show "charging" with that setup?

Steve
No, the ammeter is out of the circuit as described here.
Also, if the fuse blows for the generator, then it is no longer connected to the battery and will be putting out high voltage internally and burn itself out. Some of the other makes of cars had a fuse in the field of the generator to protect it from burning itself up.
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:02 AM   #76
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I should have been more clear... My described setup is a "get you home" setup only.

My suggested setup (ideally) is the alternator.

I was describing my own car.

Sometimes, when I'm typing a post from work, the multitasking causes confusion. My apologies!
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:16 AM   #77
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I have a Power House Generator on my "A". I bought it from Ron Rude. He included a modern cutout. I always wanted a Power House because they are a little different. I had a circuit breaker on the generator output for protection if the points stuck on the old cutout to prevent the generator from acting like a motor. I still have the circuit breaker on the Power House output. I never plan to run an alternator or switch to 12 volts. I highly recommend fuses but the stock system works fine.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:58 AM   #78
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...The planned project for this winter is to install a block under the "dash" (fuel tank) with separate fuses for individual things like lights, horn, ignition, etc.
Here's what mine looks like--reasonably handy and out of sight. Hopefully, you can do a prettier job. I probably would go with more modern blade style fuses if I were doing it again. You can see my little schematic to remind me of what's what rolled up and tucked above the stoplight relay to the left.



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I should have been more clear... My described setup is a "get you home" setup only. ...
Thanks for the clarification.

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Old 09-27-2012, 09:04 AM   #79
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P.S. - Here are results of tests your suggested.

One multi-meter probe to + side of battery and the other probe to the generator housing (is this the ground you are referring to)? No movement of OHM meter detected.

Battery voltage pole to pole 6.2

Started car and ran at high idle. Initially, battery side cut-out started at 7.5 volts and slowly moved to 8.4 volts. The armature side of cut-out started at 7.8 and slowly moved to 8.9 volts.

Ran wire from battery side of cut-out to negative battery post. Checked voltage across battery terminals. Car running at high idle 8.4 volts. Car turned off 7 volts.
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:29 AM   #80
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This can not be such a big problem. Are you sure you have a six volt battery and not an eight volt battery. Three fill caps for a six volt. Try a different cut out, try a different generator and see what happens. Check wiring behind dash panel and quit with all of the voltage an amp readings. Take the generator and batteryto a parts store and have them test the generator and the battery.
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:42 AM   #81
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OK, excellent! Thanks! Now, we know what's going on here. You apparently have a battery that is going weak. One cell is calcified or has developed current leakage most likely.

Especially easy to spot if that 7 volts drops back down to 6.2 fairly quickly. It should take several days to get down to 6.2. Assuming a correctly working charging system, a good strong battery should sit around 6.7 after a day or so. 6.2 would be after a week or more.

As an afterthought... One could install some zener diodes across the light sockets as an over-voltage protection of sorts. This assumes headlights are on their own fuse (someday).

Steve S- Thanks for the picture. That's sorta what I am going to do, but with a different style block that has the bus built in, uses blade fuses, and has places to put labels next to each fuse. But, electrically, same idea. Will try to remember this thread and post a pic when finished if you like.

Very best regards.

Last edited by P.S.; 09-27-2012 at 10:09 AM. Reason: Spelling (again)
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:59 AM   #82
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This is the blade fuse block I'm going to use.
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:08 AM   #83
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That's the same one I am going to install, except for color. Mine is all black for use with white letter on black labels. Good choice!
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:43 AM   #84
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This is the blade fuse block I'm going to use.

You do not need all of the stuff on a Model "A". Fuse the generator output and the fuse on the starter that feeds the entire electrical system. Simple basic engineering and not a bunch wires and fuses. Two fuses to check and easy to replace.

You are creating more problems and solving none.
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:31 AM   #85
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... That's sorta what I am going to do, but with a different style block that has the bus built in, uses blade fuses, and has places to put labels next to each fuse. But, electrically, same idea. ....
Maybe you can come with a better approach, but I found it necessary to not have every fuse on a common bus, like when I wanted to insert a fuse into an already-hot wire. You can see that only half of mine are on the "bus."

For folks who are inclined to use only one or two fuses, I have two thoughts. Remember, it's the wiring that the fuse is protecting, and different gauge wires have different safe current/fuse loads. And, of course, it's really nice to not have everything shut down when there's a problem with only one item, like, not losing your headlights, or ignition, if the stoplight switch shorts out.

Steve

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Old 09-27-2012, 12:02 PM   #86
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You do not need all of the stuff on a Model "A". Fuse the generator output and the fuse on the starter that feeds the entire electrical system. Simple basic engineering and not a bunch wires and fuses. Two fuses to check and easy to replace.

You are creating more problems and solving none.

I disagree.

Then again, I am an electronics engineer by trade with degree in electrical engineering, so it seems overly simple to me.

There is a keen advantage to having everything on its own fuse. For one, if your headlight wiring shorts, you still have everything else functional. If not for the headlights being on their own fuse, you'd be dead in the water doing it your way.

Currently, my car is wired with the one fuse on the starter mounted fuse block, and when the horn got stupid, the whole car was dead. That made me cuss (and I don't cuss as a rule). Once the horn is fed off of its own fuse, the next time (if ever) the horn wants to get a mind of its own, the car is still fully functional, lights work, etc.

Also, having seperate fuses for items like interior lights, etc. makes troubleshooting easy. If your interior wiring was shorting out, you can pull the interior lights fuse and drive the car to the parts store to get the parts to fix it!

And, it's just plain a lot safer. For example, let's use the above interior lighting wiring scenario. Let's say the wire running to the interior light in the headliner was rubbing on the body metal and wore through and was making intermittent contact. There's enough small diameter wire between the short and the 30 amp fuse on your starter mounted fuse block to allow enough current to pass to create heat, but not enough to blow the 30 amp fuse open. What does that mean? That means enough current will flow through the small wire in the headliner to create enough heat to catch the headliner or cotton batting on fire and cause your car to burn to the ground. When having the interior lights on its own smaller 5 amp fuse, any shorts in the small wire would blow that small value fuse open, disconnecting the circuit, and saving your car (and garage) from catastrophic ends.

For those who do not have the ability or expertise to rewire your car correctly, the starter mounted fuse block is sure better than nothing! But, for thos of us who do have the expertise, it is a LOT safer way to go. Besdies, after re-wiring the car with brand new (period correct looking cotton covered) wire, it will be good for another 80 years or more, right?
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:09 PM   #87
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Maybe you can come with a better approach, but I found it necessary to not have every fuse on a common bus, like when I wanted to insert a fuse into an already-hot wire. You can see that only half of mine are on the "bus."
Steve

The 'bus' on mine will be the connection from the ammeter to the fuse block. From there, new period-correct looking wiring will go to each item from the block through a harness. 1 wire to the ignition system, 2 wires to the light switch at the end of the steering block (1 for headlights, 1 for tail lights), 1 wire to the horn, 1 wire to the brake light switch, and 1 wire to the interior lights. That will take up all 6 fuse positions.

If I ever add anything like a GPS or radio that will actually run off of the 6 volt system, I'll probably wire directly to the battery with an inline fuse since such an item would be temporary anyway and not something I'd likely leave in the car all the time.

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Old 09-27-2012, 01:00 PM   #88
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...Will try to remember this thread and post a pic when finished if you like...
Do you have a schematic that you could post?
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:36 PM   #89
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The 'bus' on mine will be the connection from the ammeter to the fuse block. From there, new period-correct looking wiring will go to each item from the block through a harness. 1 wire to the ignition system, 2 wires to the light switch at the end of the steering block (1 for headlights, 1 for tail lights), 1 wire to the horn, 1 wire to the brake light switch, and 1 wire to the interior lights. That will take up all 6 fuse positions. ... .
So, you're not going to have the yellow and yellow/black wires from the alternator to the horn and light switch on the bottom of the steering column, right?

What gauge wire will you use from the alternator to junction box/ammeter/bus?

Steve

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Old 09-27-2012, 02:01 PM   #90
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So, you're not going to have the yellow and yellow/black wires from the alternator to the horn and light switch on the bottom of the steering column, right?

What gauge wire will you use from the alternator to junction box/ammeter/bus?

Steve

Nope. The yellow with black tracer will only be used to feed the fuse block and go to the alternator.

The yellow wire to the horn will come from a terminal on the fuse block.

The yellow with black tracer to the lights will be re-routed, replaced with separate wires for headlights (yellow/black) and for the brake/tail lights (planning to use green wire) that will feed the light switch from the fuse block rather than from the generator lug.

The instrument panel lamp and interior light will be fed with black wires from their terminal on the fuse block.

Since I'm such a huge fan of electrical wiring overkill, the plan is to use #10 wire for almost all of it. I may even go slightly larger #8 on the feed to the fuse block.

I have already obtained the period-correct looking wire. I'm going to use some decently period correct looking wire loom to encase everything and make it look as original as possible. I have extra repro wire clips and clamps already to fasten everything to the frame, etc. and keep it from vibrating or getting in the way.

All connections and ring terminals will be soldered, no crimp type! If I have to do any inline splicing (plan is to avoid that), then the plan is to solder and heat shrink, then pull cotton cover over and wax. Should look pretty decent if anyone wanted to get nosy.

After I'm dead and gone, somebody is going to lose the schematic and dig into this car and wonder "What the heck??"

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Old 09-27-2012, 02:28 PM   #91
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I have to agree with P.S. on this one. While it may sound like more fuses is more complicated the opposite is true. Having individual fuses for each load (lights, horn, ignition, etc) not only provides better protection but if a fuse blows it becomes easier to troubleshoot and identify the problem by narrowing it down to a specific circuit. All while keeping the car running (unless the problem is in the ignition). Modern Electrical Design/Engineering has come a long way since the 20's/30's and utilize progressive and coordinated overload protection. Take a look at how mine is wired. Some may call this overkill but it really is a simple, reliable system. Lets face it: Model A's vibrate and where there's vibration there's chaffing and where there's chaffing there's the possibility of a short circuit. Granted if proper wiring techniques and attention to detail are used in a stock wiring system, the probability of short is small. But I have peace of mind that a short anywhere in my system, except the main batt cable to the cut-out switch, will blow a fuse and not cause a fire, something no Model A without a fuse can guarantee.
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:40 PM   #92
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PS,

Sorry if I'm dense; trying to understand exactly how your plan will work and what the tradeoffs will be.

There will be only one wire coming off the generator post, and it will join a wire from the ammeter at the fuse bus, or maybe they'll join at the junction box and then a wire from there to the fuse bus. Right?

Are you still going to use the original light switch on end of steering column? If so, I don't understand how you will keep the headlight and taillight circuits separate.

Thanks.

Steve

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Old 09-27-2012, 03:44 PM   #93
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How old is the battery? As P.S. said a new battery should read higher, probably closer to 6.4 to 6.7 volts. I'm still using the $2 battery I bought from a junk yard 8 years ago and it also reads 6.2 volts and works fine.

I wonder if you are putting out more than 4 amps? Have you checked the output with a quality amp guage? I find original ammeters fairly accurate if the pivots are oiled, but I find repro ammeters often stick and don't have an accurate reading.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:36 PM   #94
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Battery (it is a 6 volt) is approximately 3 years old, give or take. I had it tested several weeks ago, it tested good. It was fully charged for testing purposes and sat on my work bench for over a week without any drop in voltage.
Only have the Model A amp gauge that's in the car plus a few others I purchased at swap meets many moons ago.
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:23 PM   #95
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OK, I've never had a 6 volt battery go bad in 3 years and since it tested good, I'd say it's OK. My Sperry SP-152A analog multimeter has a 20 amp scale, so it would be ideal to check the accuracy of your ammeter.

If you're using a digital meter to do your checks, I'd recommend a change to an analog meter as mentioned. This meter can be delivered to your house for under $15, if you look on ebay for it.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:06 PM   #96
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Tom - thanks for the info. Using an inexpensive analog meter. Highest Amp setting is 150 milliamps, just a wee bit low for the Model A.
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:32 PM   #97
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Well one thing we can all agree on is that this is a very interesting thread and I sure hope the eventual outcome is posted so we can all learn something!
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:45 PM   #98
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I have to agree with P.S. on this one. While it may sound like more fuses is more complicated the opposite is true. Having individual fuses for each load (lights, horn, ignition, etc) not only provides better protection but if a fuse blows it becomes easier to troubleshoot and identify the problem by narrowing it down to a specific circuit. All while keeping the car running (unless the problem is in the ignition). Modern Electrical Design/Engineering has come a long way since the 20's/30's and utilize progressive and coordinated overload protection. Take a look at how mine is wired. Some may call this overkill but it really is a simple, reliable system. Lets face it: Model A's vibrate and where there's vibration there's chaffing and where there's chaffing there's the possibility of a short circuit. Granted if proper wiring techniques and attention to detail are used in a stock wiring system, the probability of short is small. But I have peace of mind that a short anywhere in my system, except the main batt cable to the cut-out switch, will blow a fuse and not cause a fire, something no Model A without a fuse can guarantee.
You have convinced me that more fuses are needed. I am also going to run redundant circuits double pole double throw toggle switches as soon as pigs fly. I am an eighth grade graduate from St. Patrick's Catholic Grade School.

I still have 82 % mobility in my left arm so I will not be installing turn signals.
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:54 PM   #99
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OK, now I'm really lost. I'm trying to figure this out. If the battery is good and the generator is good and there's no resistance in the wiring or the ground connections, then there should be no problem, right?

I'd still swap another battery in and compare voltage readings with the car running. I'm still betting on the battery.

Steve- Yes, one wire from the gen (swpped to alternator) to the main bus. Yellow with black tracer at the terminal block.
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:47 PM   #100
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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.
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Old 09-28-2012, 06:23 AM   #101
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 wont have much to add/post until he/I return.
Next step - Bottom line, in two weeks, Im 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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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.
Ford Garage

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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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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Old 09-30-2012, 04:12 PM   #121
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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????

Joey

If there is no voltage on the armature side of the generator when the engine is running, than the generator is not putting out when the engine is running. You did not paint the generator after it was tested and there is not a ground for the generator.That darn paint is a good insulator when you do not want it to insulate and is not a good insulator when you need a little luck.

I am still waiting for Ford Garage to reply about voltage at the cutout. I could be 180 degrees off on this stuff.
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:14 PM   #122
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sturgis - More than likely I'm the one that's confused. I was indicating that there was no voltage at the armature side of the cutout with the car running at fast idle. Heretofore, that was not case. That led me to conclude that either the cut-out is defective or the battery is not sufficiently drained to call for a charge. I suspect it's the later as the voltage reading at the battery is 6.3 and the at the batter side of the cutout 6.3 which is probably not enough to cause the cutout points to close. In any event, I'm letting the car sit turned off with the headlights on to drain the battery (not too much). I'll start her up and see if the cutout is doing its thing.
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:16 PM   #123
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With engine reved up & no voltage at armature terminal means that the generator AIN'T chargin' Bill W.
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:16 PM   #124
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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 remained steady, with the car running at fast idle, for quite a long time. This is a far cry from the 8 to 10 volts the generator was putting out since the light bulbs blew. Is 6.3 considered too low? Too high?, if so what is considered normal?
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Old 09-30-2012, 05:26 PM   #125
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Should be around 7 volts with the motor running fast enough for the cutout to latch. When it does, the ammeter should show charging.

The absolute highest you should ever see the voltage (at the battery) with the car running is around 7.4 volts. MAX. That's not very good for the battery, but that's what you may see on a Model a generator. Ideally, the voltage should never exceed 7.1 volts, in a perfect world.

Typical resting voltage on the battery will be between 6.7 and 6.2 volts. But it should take close to 24 hours for the battery to settle down to that voltage.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:09 PM   #126
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The cut out does not have anything to do with battery voltage, it is just a switch that closes when the
generator voltage gets to around 7 volts. It just keeps battery voltage from feeding back to the generator
when the engine is not running and trying to motor the generator.

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Old 09-30-2012, 07:28 PM   #127
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Again
There should be no voltage across the cutout terminals when running.
did we check amps at the cut out terminals when running with an external amp meter
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:38 PM   #128
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0V at armature side means the gen is not genning and the cutout is open. The 6.2 you are reading is surface voltage on the battery itself. Any gen may need to be polarized from time to time. I have had to re-polarize my A gen several times over 10 yrs, usually after sitting all winter. You are not polarizing the cutout with this process, but re-magnetizing the pole shoe magnets. The cutout has no way of knowing if the battery charge is low. Usually if all systems are correctly operational you set the third brush to show about a 4 amp charge at fast idle if mostly daylight driving, higher if more nighttime driving. This is a compromise, it will never be perfect but it sure worked anyway for the past 80 yrs for most of us. I am well aware of motoring a gen to 'test' it, but the battery voltage supplied should be the same as the gen is rated for, not higher or lower. And yes, it will not motor fast because it was not made to work that way. The field coils need to be ohmed out and the armature needs to be put on a growler. These 2 tests take 5 min. Drop by my shop in N. Texas and I'll run these tests for you for free. It requires several types of tests to test a gen. I'd still put on a known good gen and known good cutout and see what happens, you have nothing to lose. You did state the battery was recently load tested but I'd try another known good battery also. The quite diverse opinions of what needs to happen here are intriguing. I do know that part of the problem is that none of us can be right there to check it all out.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:44 PM   #129
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Been there done that and offered my services for free at my shop and I am a hell of a lot closer than Texas about 50 miles
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:29 AM   #130
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First DON'T use a digital meter for your tests. ONLY use a good analog meter.
As mentioned the stock cutout, or diode cutout is a simple OFF-ON switch (relay) that closes the contacts when about 6 volts from the generator is reached. It has no regulation and doesn't care what the battery voltage is. A good generator should be able to charge the battery as long as the engine is running about 475 RPM's or more. Even is the engine was running at 100 RPM there should be some voltage showing at the output stud, but it might only be a volt or two.

Since your generator had output, but now doesn't after the shop motored it, either he messed up something, or you may have left the insulator off the cutout for the angle bracket that is fastened to the generator output stud. Without the insulator on the cutout terminal the generator output stud will always show 0 volts, since the output would now be grounded. The thin insulator goes on the input (generator stud) side, and the thick insulator goes on the output side of the cutout. Be sure you don't use screws that are too long on the cutout terminals, or they may screw into the cutout windings and short them out.

Vince is saying that 0 volts should show ACROSS the cutout terminals. In other words the voltage drop across the cutout terminal should be 0 volts. In reality there is a very small voltage drop such as .1 volt or less with about 5 amps current flow. A cheaper repro cutout may have .2 or more volts dropped across the poor quality contacts in the cutout.
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:21 AM   #131
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Bill - The cut-out insulators are in place as you describe.

I hate to be a pest and continue to ask the same type of questions over and over again, but I still need to understand how the cut-out operates internally. Im sure the terminology Im using to describe my plight leaves much to be desired.

In any event, here I go again;
The cover on my cut-out contains the FORD script and is embossed BATT above the post where the wires that lead to the lights, junction box, etc. are attached.

The opposite post is embossed ARM.

I removed the cover from the cut-out and inspected the guts and found points very similar to the points in the distributor. The BATT terminal is a simple metal device that serves as the STATIONARY side of the points. This post gets its electricity from the battery via one of the wires connected to its external post. Unless you have a fuse mounted on your starter, or somewhere else in the system, with the fuse installed this post will be HOT. If you have an un-fused system, the post is always HOT.


The ARM side is also a metal plate. This plate is soldered to a fairly thick coiled copper wire. The opposite end of the coiled copper wire is soldered to the SPRUNG side of the points.

Based on the way this thing is put together it appears when the points are OPEN there is no electricity flowing from the BATT side to the ARM side. That means the battery is the source of power to the electrical system. I believe the battery sends out power in one direction (battery outward) which causes it to discharge. When the voltage from the battery drops below the output voltage produced by the generator it needs to be charged. This condition causes the cut-out to CLOSE the points allowing current to flow from the BATT terminal to the ARM terminal and into the generator where through some type of magic the generator takes over as the source of power to the electrical system. As the power generated by the generator is bi-directional it serves to charge the battery and provide the juice to power everything. When the battery is sufficiently charged, or the car is turned off, the points open breaking the circuit and allowing the battery to take over once again.

Now, if what I am assuming (and we all know what that means) is correct, with the car running and the points closed there should be voltage at both the BATT and ARM side of the cut-out.
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:09 AM   #132
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Your last sentence is correct but your theory of how the cut out works is wrong. The cut out does not
sense battery voltage it senses generator voltage, that is why you have to adjust the third brush so you
don't over charge the battery.

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Old 10-01-2012, 10:23 AM   #133
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Okay, I think I understand. It's the armature side of the cutout that tells the points to close. That's how the switch is accomplished between battery power and generator power.
Correct?
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:41 AM   #134
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Now you got it
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:54 AM   #135
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Bob - now that I think about it, that makes perfect sense. Okay, to put an end to my pestering about the cutout, another one of my cockamamie theories is in regard to determining if the points are opening/closing. I'm assuming (and we all know what that means) that if the car is running and the points are closed I should get some kind of voltage reading at the arm and batt side of the cutout. If not, the points are open and the armature side should show zero. I would think, with the points open, the BATT side is receiving juice from the battery connection resulting in a voltage reading. Please straighten me out on this one.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:55 AM   #136
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Yes, you need voltage FROM the generator to close the points.

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Old 10-01-2012, 01:08 PM   #137
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I think at this point whether the cutout is opening/closing ( I will replace it with a diode cutout) probably has no bearing on the reason why I originally opened this thread. That is, the high voltage produced by the generator (as high as 10 volts) that caused my lights to go belly-up.
The mystery to me in all of this is why have the voltage readings suddenly gone from a consistent 8 volts or higher until this past Saturday when the readings dropped to a consistent 6.3 volts everywhere with car running at fast idle. So what changed between Fridays readings and Saturday afternoons?
1. Polarized the generator
2. Removed generator, took it to a shop where it was visually inspected and motor tested. The shop is closing for vacation so thats as far as we got.
3. Re-installed generator. Could the act of re-installing the generator resulted in an improved ground?
4. Re-installed fan belt. Free play is approximately the same as prior to removal.
5. Changed out the cut-out. Is the cutout grounded to the generator body, if so, could this ground have been improved?
6. Re-installed wires to generator cutout. Could this have resulted in a tighter/improved connection?

So now the questions become, is the reduction in voltage a result of one of the above items? If voltage consistently remains below 7 volts, is it considered normal? If so, should we declare victory, fold up the tents, and call it a day? In any event, going forward I will have the generator checked by the repair shop, and if necessary, take the car over for professional testing albeit, at this stage, Im not sure what he will be testing for.
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:16 PM   #138
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Maybe the shop adjusted the third brush or the generator is inop

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Old 10-01-2012, 02:28 PM   #139
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If you are getting 0 volts at the armature side of the cut out at fast idle you have a problem, should be
closer to 7 volts. Is your ammeter showing a charge?

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Old 10-01-2012, 03:00 PM   #140
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You should show some voltage at the generator output post anytime the generator is turning over, and when the voltage reaches 6 or more the cutout contacts should close, so the generator output will now be going to feed the battery, lights, coil and horn. If the electrical items turned on draw more than the generator is putting out in amps, then the battery will supply that portion of demand.

This is where an EVR is nice to have, so it can tell the generator to put out more when needed, so you aren't drawing down the battery.
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:34 PM   #141
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Tom - If Im understanding you correctly, the generator is no longer providing output at the armature side of the cutout as proven by the zero voltage reading. Prior to Saturday, I was getting consistent readings at the armature post of anywhere from 8 to 10 volts, obviously produced by the generator. After Saturday, the voltage dropped to 6.3, that can be explained by the generator going away leaving the battery (6.3 volts) as the only source of power. Okay, finally its starting to come together. So now it appears something on Saturday, the motor test??, caused the generator to go belly up.

Bob C/Mitch The amp gauge is only showing negative amps when the lights are turned on. Ive moved the third brush from one end of its travel to the opposite end with stops in between. I checked the amp gauge at all stops and only witnessed a very small movement, if any, to the positive side. This is in deference to the +4 to +10 amp readings I received earlier on in this saga.

Should the next step be to have the generator gone through??
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:56 PM   #142
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Tom - Just a clarification. When I stated "after saturday, the voltage dropped to 6.3" that did not include the armature side of the cutout. Reading there was 0.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:11 PM   #143
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Yes, the generator needs to be gone through.

How long did your friend lock it up while on 12 volts when he was checking the torque?
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:37 PM   #144
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Very quick. A few seconds.
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:21 PM   #145
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i see a long tunnel and no light...
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:57 AM   #146
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i see a long tunnel and no light...

No way. This is a simple system with only a couple major components. You have:

1. generator
2. battery
3. wiring

If all else fails, you "shotgun" the thing and replace all 3. Problem solved! Light at the end of the tunnel and on all sides.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:08 AM   #147
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ha ha 8 pages for one 'simple' thread is a tunnel. The shotgun should have fired long ago ha ha
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:04 AM   #148
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Tbirdtbird My apologies for rambling, theorizing and wearing everyone out. Im sure the day will come when I look back at my posts and cringe. So be it! It has still been a learning experience for me and Im grateful for all feedback.

So Tbirdtbird my friend, some people look through a tunnel and see darkness. I look through that same tunnel and see light. PEACE BE WITH YOU!
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:06 AM   #149
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ha ha 8 pages for one 'simple' thread is a tunnel. The shotgun should have fired long ago ha ha
LOL, I've been thinking the same thing for several pages.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:54 AM   #150
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Tbirdtbird My apologies for rambling, theorizing and wearing everyone out. Im sure the day will come when I look back at my posts and cringe. So be it! It has still been a learning experience for me and Im grateful for all feedback.

So Tbirdtbird my friend, some people look through a tunnel and see darkness. I look through that same tunnel and see light. PEACE BE WITH YOU!

No shame in this thread at all. It's interesting to see someone 'evolve' and uncover more info about a subject.

Heck, take a look at some of my own ramblings when I'm stumped on a motor problem, and I will be the last to cast a stone!!
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:56 AM   #151
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At about pg 2 I would have put a 6V alt on it and been done. JMO
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:52 PM   #152
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1931 flamingo I respect your opinion and believe me I considered doing just that. My reluctance came about when I read of instances where Model As went up in smoke due to loose wiring connections etc. So my thought was, right or wrong, an alternator, or some other device, would put a band aide on a serious underlying problem. Ill be the first to admit Ive carried this thread on much too long. But on a positive note (I think), there are over 4000 hits on this thread. Hopefully someone has gained some knowledge from the expert advice (not mine) Ive received or at least had a few laughs at my expense.
Gezz, if I could have charged 10 bucks a head admission, Id be one happy camper.
Well there I go again, rambling on. Im outta here.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:22 PM   #153
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At about pg 2 I would have put a 6V alt on it and been done. JMO
Paul in CT
No, No, No, alternators just look so wrong on any antique car.

I'm not sure at what page the generator was found to be the problem, but I thought it showed output until the shop guy looked at it and motored it on 12 volts. This shouldn't have damaged it if done only for a few seconds. Generators are easy to take apart and check, so that's what I'd do at this point. The field windings should draw 3 or 4 amps on 6 volts and you'll need to use a growler to test the armature. Inspect the armature for thrown solder or bare wires.
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:17 PM   #154
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Tom You are correct, the generator output varied from 8 to 10 volts prior to taking it to the shop Saturday morning. When I re-installed it Saturday afternoon, no juice.
The shop owner is on vacation for two weeks, upon his return, he will go through it from top to bottom. Thanks for the feedback. Regards
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:03 PM   #155
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Tom - I'll enter this one into the here we go again category.
I have three spare generators, when terri from jackson was here helping me trouble shoot he motor tested all three, Only one spun, albeit very slowly, but it did spin. I took it apart and found one brush wired to ground. Second brush wired to the armature terminal. Third brush connected to one of the field windings via a wire. There is a wire from the other field winding that is grounded EXTERNALLY to one of the generator mounting bracket bolts. Seems kinda odd, is this correct?
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:49 PM   #156
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Tom - I'll enter this one into the here we go again category.
I have three spare generators, when terri from jackson was here helping me trouble shoot he motor tested all three, Only one spun, albeit very slowly, but it did spin. I took it apart and found one brush wired to ground. Second brush wired to the armature terminal. Third brush connected to one of the field windings via a wire. There is a wire from the other field winding that is grounded EXTERNALLY to one of the generator mounting bracket bolts. Seems kinda odd, is this correct?
The later Model B generator had 2 wires coming through a rubber grommet, rather than a brass terminal. One is the field ground wire and it is grounded under one of the cutout mounting screws. The other wire is the output wire and is connected to the armature. The adjustable brush must be connected to the field wire.

I've seen a few generator shops mix up the output and field wires, and the result was a fried generator.
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Old 05-31-2014, 01:13 AM   #157
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Holy cow, this must be the longest thread on Fordbarn about a problem and it seems there never was closure.

To do a quick recap the generator was putting out high voltage until it was bench tested by someone who motored it with 12 volts. Since then it was reinstalled and now has 0 volts output, so we know the generator has a problem. I wonder if the original generator problem was that someone mixed up the field and output wires going to the brushes. I've seen people (generator shops) do that and it fried the generator.

I hope joeypoconos comes back with a reply as to what he did.
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Old 05-31-2014, 08:00 AM   #158
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My suggestion is for Joey to ship his generator to Tom Wesenberg for his experience to look it over......and by all means please use UPS!!!
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:43 PM   #159
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[QUOTE=Tom Wesenberg;886510]Holy cow, this must be the longest thread on Fordbarn about a problem and it seems there never was closure.

I have a "New to me" 30 Tudor with ~9 volts out of the generator at fast throttle. The lights are very bright and when I use the horn is sings soprano.
What regulates the VOLTAGE of the generator?
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:20 PM   #160
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I have a "New to me" 30 Tudor with ~9 volts out of the generator at fast throttle. The lights are very bright and when I use the horn is sings soprano.
What regulates the VOLTAGE of the generator?
Hster, You should have started a new thread.
Here's a LINK to answer your adjustment question.
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:36 PM   #161
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Thanks
My question did relate to original question to this thread but I didn't see an answer. The question as I understand it is not how to adjust the amperage output , but what determines the voltage output.
I'll try a new thread
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:45 PM   #162
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Thanks
My question did relate to original question to this thread but I didn't see an answer. The question as I understand it is not how to adjust the amperage output , but what determines the voltage output.
I'll try a new thread
Hster,

The Battery is what determines the Voltage Output, sounds like you need to check the condition of the battery. Make sure it is a 6V battery and that it is in good condition.

Darryl in Fairbanks
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:51 PM   #163
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The battery has nothing to do with the overall voltage output if the generator is working and in the mix. You can make a generator put out way more volts then 6 or 12 volts, it's what controls it that matters. The voltage cutout or regulator controls the max voltage.

What am I missing here?

Last edited by Tinker; 11-15-2014 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 11-15-2014, 12:05 AM   #164
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Hster,

The Battery is what determines the Voltage Output, sounds like you need to check the condition of the battery. Make sure it is a 6V battery and that it is in good condition.

Darryl in Fairbanks
This is true. There are those that have 12 volt batteries with a stock generator.
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Old 11-16-2014, 10:14 PM   #165
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I'll bump this post up again becuase I want to learn and am not trying to be difficult. So if I have a 6 volt battery and a 6 or 12 volt generator with a 12 volt cutout or regulator. Will I do damage to the electric system? Just curious.
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Old 11-16-2014, 10:31 PM   #166
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I'll bump this post up again becuase I want to learn and am not trying to be difficult. So if I have a 6 volt battery and a 6 or 12 volt generator with a 12 volt cutout or regulator. Will I do damage to the electric system? Just curious.
You need a cutout or regulator the same voltage as the battery.

The 6 volt generator can charge a 12 volt battery, and a 12 volt generator regulated down to 7.2 volts can charge a 6 volt battery.
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Old 11-16-2014, 10:45 PM   #167
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Ya that's what I though. Thanks Tom.
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Old 11-17-2014, 01:53 AM   #168
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What part of the Cutout regulates anything, it simply opens the circuit to the battery when the generator stops generating, thus preventing the battery from back-feeding to the generator.

Darryl in Fairbanks
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Old 11-17-2014, 02:20 AM   #169
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What part of the Cutout regulates anything, it simply opens the circuit to the battery when the generator stops generating, thus preventing the battery from back-feeding to the generator.

Darryl in Fairbanks
You want to wait until the generator matches the voltage of the battery to turn on. You don't want the generator at 6 volts connected to the 12 volt battery. Just as you don't want to connect a 6 volt charger to a 12 volt battery.
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Old 11-17-2014, 09:13 PM   #170
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I suppose that I have opened myself up to performing a test, which I will, but it will have to wait for a bit warmer weather here.

My line of thinking is that the purpose of a reverse current cutout relay is precisely that, prevent the reverse flow of current from the battery to the generator once the generator stops producing power.

Darryl in Fairbanks

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Old 11-18-2014, 04:59 AM   #171
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Darryl, you are correct.

With near 15,000 views and the number of electrical problems that are mentioned, I think someone needs to write a book and make a video of troubleshooting the Model A electrical system and include a tutorial on using an analog multimeter.
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Old 11-18-2014, 10:54 AM   #172
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Tom, that person could be you! A good way to get thru the winter
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