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View Full Version : Converting a 6v syst. to a 12v?



Stude1928Commander
02-23-2006, 06:02 PM
Hi Guys,[8D]
I am restoring a 1928 Studebaker Commander and I am having alot of problems finding some new gauges for it. The car has a 6 volt positive ground system. [:0]

Is it alot of work converting the entire auto to a 12 Negative ground system? What would all have to be changed on the engine?[?]

Thanks alot in advance for your answers and suggestions![:o)]

Donald Terrien
1928 Commander under restoration

N8N
02-23-2006, 06:06 PM
If the gauges are your issue very little will need to be changed. You will want to add a ballast resistor to the coil (assuming that it uses a Kettering ignition system and not something older and weirder) and change al lthe bulbs in the car to their 12V equivalents. Headlights may be problematic; not sure if 12V replacements for the original bulbs are available. If you have a heater the blower motor should be changed to a 12V version. I assume you have vacuum wipers so no issues there. Your wiring should be OK but don't go nuts on alternator size, small is actually better for an old car as your main feed wire is still probably only 10AWG. A 60's Stude or MoPar unit should be fine. (I'd try to keep it at 40A max just to keep from blowing stuff up.)

That said, unless you are rodding the car, I'd be tempted to go to the effort of getting the gauges fixed to keep it original. I'm not much of a purist but if someone asked me to convert a '28 anything to 12V I'd probably politely decline.

good luck

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
62 Daytona hardtop
http://home.comcast.net/~njnagel

Swifster
02-23-2006, 06:10 PM
Yeah, what he said... ;)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tom - Lakeland, FL

1964 Studebaker Daytona

Michigan Speed - www.michiganspeed.com
Club Hot Rod - www.clubhotrod.com
LS1 Tech - www.ls1tech.com

curt
02-23-2006, 07:49 PM
I talked with a fellow Studebaker owner over the weekend at a meet. He is PhD in industral/mechanical engineering. His 1953 Studebaker is 12 volt. He reversed the polarity (now has negative ground)Same 6 volt generator & uses a 12 volt regulator. Then did the normal bulb changes and resistor where indicated. He said this was well documented years ago when 12 V was replacing 6 V. What does anyone know about this use of the stock 6 volt generator and a 12 Volt regulator???[?][?]

Mr. Dan0
02-24-2006, 07:31 AM
I really dont know a lot.however I took my starter in for a re-build the other day.............Got to talking to the "pros"

They are going to rebuild the starter and put a 12volt solenoid
and I'm am buying a alternator from them with an internal regulator.
and a 12V coil.

They also said I may have to use the pulley off my old gen.

I'm sure there is a bit more involved like switching the polarity and bulb change.

okay so what is that silver thingy on the fire wall with the glass fuse underneath it? is this something I can chuck out when I convert to 12V? or do I just chuck out the black box on the firewall (regulator) only

anybody have a web site I can check out or call for the following:

door felt
h20 pump

how bout after market gauges?

gordr
02-24-2006, 09:00 AM
quote:Originally posted by curt

I talked with a fellow Studebaker owner over the weekend at a meet. He is PhD in industral/mechanical engineering. His 1953 Studebaker is 12 volt. He reversed the polarity (now has negative ground)Same 6 volt generator & uses a 12 volt regulator. Then did the normal bulb changes and resistor where indicated. He said this was well documented years ago when 12 V was replacing 6 V. What does anyone know about this use of the stock 6 volt generator and a 12 Volt regulator???[?][?]


Well, I've read plenty of period magazines, and I never heard of using a 12 volt regulator to make a 6 volt generator put out 12 volts. Now you MIGHT actually be able to get a 6 volt generator to put out 12 volts, but you are going to have max out the field current, and even then, it'd probably only charge at high RPM. I expect the smoke would get out pretty quick if you tried it. Anyway, it's not like 12 volt generators are hard to get. Why do a half-assed job that is almost guaranteed to cause trouble?

Twelve volt generators are wound with more turns of finer wire than six volt generators. The voltage output of any generator is a function of the strength of the stationary magnetic field, the speed at which the armature coils cut that field, and the number of turns of wire that make up the coils. The job of the regulator is to vary the field current, and thereby vary the strength of the stationary magnetic field, to maintain a steady output voltage as generator RPMs vary with engine speed. Regulators and generators are complementary components, i.e. a Delco 25 amp, six volt generator uses a specific regulator. Mis-matched regulator and generator pairs may not work at all.

Methinks your PhD friend is piling it higher and deeper;)

In the case of '28Commander, I'd really be hesitant about converting the car to 12 volts. Simply no need. If you were street-rodding the car with a brandX engine, the 12 volt conversion would go with, of course. If you are keeping it stock, a 12 volt conversion solves nothing. As far as gauges go, I'm sure you will find some eventually. In the meantime, you might be able to take some fairly plentiful early '50s Stude gauges, and modify the movements so they fit in the housings on the '28. You'd probably have to change the fuel tank sending unit. I'm not even sure if the '28 used an electrical fuel gauge, to tell you the truth.

IMHO, changing out the entire electrical system because you can't find gauges is kind of like sawing your feet off because the bed's too short:D

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

Blue 15G
02-24-2006, 09:16 AM
DanO, that "silver thingy" with the fuse hanging under it on the firewall is the overdrive relay. Don't throw it away [:0], they are hard to find!

N8N
02-24-2006, 09:24 AM
Overdrive relay? on a '28? I would suspect that it is actually the horn relay, for which 12V equivalents are readily available.

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
62 Daytona hardtop
http://home.comcast.net/~njnagel

Mr. Dan0
02-24-2006, 09:50 AM
So if the "thingy" blows I have no OD !

anybody have a h20 pump in their pocket `ya wanna get rid of or ........>> trade for some unwanted parts off my 49..

Like
tail-lights >> switching to led
and a couple other parts that I have no-use for....

How bout a 6V gen. minus (maybe) the pulley

Oh and I will give `ya for free a handful of acorns!!

Trade for h20 pump......... Not a junk one either

also thinking bout getting rid of chrome strip on rocker's.........both in "like-new cond."

curt
02-24-2006, 08:39 PM
quote:Originally posted by gordr


quote:Originally posted by curt

I talked with a fellow Studebaker owner over the weekend at a meet. He is PhD in industral/mechanical engineering. His 1953 Studebaker is 12 volt. He reversed the polarity (now has negative ground)Same 6 volt generator & uses a 12 volt regulator. Then did the normal bulb changes and resistor where indicated. He said this was well documented years ago when 12 V was replacing 6 V. What does anyone know about this use of the stock 6 volt generator and a 12 Volt regulator???[?][?]


Well, I've read plenty of period magazines, and I never heard of using a 12 volt regulator to make a 6 volt generator put out 12 volts. Now you MIGHT actually be able to get a 6 volt generator to put out 12 volts, but you are going to have max out the field current, and even then, it'd probably only charge at high RPM. I expect the smoke would get out pretty quick if you tried it. Anyway, it's not like 12 volt generators are hard to get. Why do a half-assed job that is almost guaranteed to cause trouble?

Twelve volt generators are wound with more turns of finer wire than six volt generators. The voltage output of any generator is a function of the strength of the stationary magnetic field, the speed at which the armature coils cut that field, and the number of turns of wire that make up the coils. The job of the regulator is to vary the field current, and thereby vary the strength of the stationary magnetic field, to maintain a steady output voltage as generator RPMs vary with engine speed. Regulators and generators are complementary components, i.e. a Delco 25 amp, six volt generator uses a specific regulator. Mis-matched regulator and generator pairs may not work at all.

Methinks your PhD friend is piling it higher and deeper;)

In the case of '28Commander, I'd really be hesitant about converting the car to 12 volts. Simply no need. If you were street-rodding the car with a brandX engine, the 12 volt conversion would go with, of course. If you are keeping it stock, a 12 volt conversion solves nothing. As far as gauges go, I'm sure you will find some eventually. In the meantime, you might be able to take some fairly plentiful early '50s Stude gauges, and modify the movements so they fit in the housings on the '28. You'd probably have to change the fuel tank sending unit. I'm not even sure if the '28 used an electrical fuel gauge, to tell you the truth.

IMHO, changing out the entire electrical system because you can't find gauges is kind of like sawing your feet off because the bed's too short:D

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

curt
02-25-2006, 04:19 PM
Well you have never seen it work, I have. Half *** is not a good term in my opinion, but write it if you must. I have a Mopar 35 amp alternator and a solid state regulator in my 1955 Studebaker.

gordr
02-26-2006, 12:25 AM
quote:Originally posted by curt

Well you have never seen it work, I have. Half *** is not a good term in my opinion, but write it if you must. I have a Mopar 35 amp alternator and a solid state regulator in my 1955 Studebaker.


Now, that's NOT a half-assed conversion. You used an alternator and regulator that were made to work together. Your buddy used a generator and regulator that were never intended to work together. Maybe he got lucky, and it works, but that poor old 6 volt generator has to be about maxed out to generate the 14 volts needed to properly charge a 12 volt battery. Given that 12 volt generators are readily available, why would one play around with trying make a six-volt unit crank out 12 volts?

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands