View Full Version : Electrical: Amp meter wild swings

01-23-2017, 07:51 PM
On my 50 commander the amp meter swings wildly at any speed above idle at about 4-5 times a second and the head lights pulse. I know the regulator should pulse at a much higher rate, the book says 150 to 230 times a second which keeps the voltage fairly constant. If I load it with everything turned on it reads a lot smoother. Looks like the voltage regulator is working as it should but at a much slower rate. It is a new "No Name", most likely China. I have not yet tried to adjust it, really don't like to mess with a regulator, but was wondering if an air gap too for off on one of the relays could cause this or maybe a spring wrong. Anyone seen this before? It does charge the battery and the voltage at the battery looks ok. Also at idle it shows charging and very little swing.

01-23-2017, 11:28 PM
So I take it everything was fine before the Old Voltage Reg. died?
Bad Generator Brushes or springs could also cause your pulsating, but I would put my money on the Chinese junk!

The NAPA stores carry the upper line of Electrical Parts (is it still Silver Line) Echlin? Their Mexican made stuff is WAY better.

01-24-2017, 12:59 AM
When I bought my restored 1950 Champion, the owner had just installed a rebuilt generator and new regulator, and my regulator did the same thing. The contacts were much out of adjustment and needed to be cleaned. I did the adjustments and cleaning, and it worked OK, but I went to the junk yard and bought an original Autolite regulator to restore. It works great and has a very smooth ammeter now. I also bought an original untouched generator from French Lake Auto Parts to restore. It has a little better output now at idle.

I would never buy any electrical items from China. Original Studebaker quality parts are still around.

01-24-2017, 09:21 AM
I went through 3 or 4 repop regulators after experiencing the same. My electrical guy welded every rivet on the repops and they work for a while. Once the points stick a couple of time, the annodization is gone from them. I have a rather expensive universal regulator that will go on when this latest repop fails. Good luck.

01-24-2017, 09:51 AM
That is the problem with repoped parts.
Instead of solid silver contacts ,some of the aftermarket stuff just silver-plate the contacts and they fail soon.

01-24-2017, 02:30 PM
I failed to mention it has been converted to negative ground but worked good until the regulator died and the new regulator is negative ground. I converted it to use several accessories including an inverter to get 12 volts. I have a 6 volt alternator I could install, I just have not convinced myself to do it. I'm not a purist but would like to keep it as original as I can. May have to bite the bullet for another regulator. Thanks.

01-24-2017, 09:00 PM
I kept my 50 Champion all original, but connected an insulated lighter socket so the center contact is 6 volts positive. My GPS works fine on 6 volts, as do most cell phones. Just be sure to use an insulated socket so the center can be made positive. I didn't even mount it yet, but just leave it on the floor.

03-09-2017, 02:34 PM
Opened up the regulator, It was riveted, and found the voltage relay gap was way to wide, about 1/16 inch. Adjusted it down to around 1/32 and readjusted the armature spring. Works fine. I don't think the factory in China bothered to adjust it at all.

03-09-2017, 04:30 PM
do regulators know positive vs. negative ground ?

03-09-2017, 05:49 PM
Quality control is an unknown in China.
Even though you have it working OK now, I'd look for an original Studebaker part, which on your Commander should be a Delco Remy.

03-09-2017, 07:26 PM
do regulators know positive vs. negative ground ?

Electromechanical voltage regulators, such as we have on our cars do not care about polarity. Anything with a solid state (transistor or integrated circuit) inside cares very much about polarity.

03-11-2017, 09:12 PM
I read somewhere the contacts on the relays were made with a precious metal on one side to reduce arcing but other then that polarity is not involved in the operation. I have run the Champion negative ground just to see how it works and had no problem with the regulator.

I found a place called Clover Systems who sell an electronic regulator for generators that looks good. they make them to match your generator, positive or negative ground, 6 or 12 volts and your generator brand and model number. I'm thinking of trying one of these when this one quits. They can be installed in the standard regulator case.