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  • Electrical: Voltage Regulator

    Reviving a 1949 Champ that hasn't run in a year. Installed new battery and the generator got hot and begun to smoke. I assume a bad voltage regulator although it's relatively new. If so, is replacement the only option?

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum.

    You will be better served to do some testing first, rather than assume the voltage regulator, or anything else is bad.

    Did you hook up the battery correctly, with the positive terminal to ground?

    You can take off the steel band around the body of the generator and inspect the commutator segments. If there are any droplets of solder on the band or in the generator, the generator has overheated and is bad.

    You can disconnect the wires at the generator and remove the fan belt so there is no physical load on the generator. Ground the field screw (the skinny wire one) and put 6 volts to the armature screw (the one with the fat wire). If the generator turns like a motor, it might still be good.

    Then you can take the cover off the voltage regulator and see is any of the points are stuck closed.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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    • #3
      Welcome to the SDC Forum.
      I believe that you are referring to a Champion model. A Champ is a pickup.
      I think that now, or in the past, the battery was hooked up in reverse. As stated above, it should be positive ground. After having the battery hooked up properly, you may get away by polarizing the regulator. With the generator smoking, it is likely that it is damaged.
      Gary L.
      Wappinger, NY

      SDC member since 1968
      Studebaker enthusiast much longer

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank u both for the good advice. Battery connections have always been negative to ground (block). The guy who re-wired the vehicle is gone now but I seem to recall that he told me that he rewired it to a negative ground. Took the generator to a good shop and he pronounced it OK after testing on his bench. That would seem to leave the voltage reg. Removed after reading ur advice. Good clearances between the BAT points Other 2 very little if any clearance. Thoughts?

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        • #5
          Thank u both for the good advice. Battery connection has always been negative ground (negative post to block). The guy who re-wired is gone now but I seem to recall that he told me he re-wired for negative ground. Took the generator to an experienced shop and he pronounced OK after bench test. That would seem to leave the VR. Removed after reading ur advice. Good clearance between the BAT points. Other 2 very little if any clearance. Thoughts?

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          • #6
            Any further advice, gents?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JohnAustin View Post
              Any further advice, gents?
              Clean the voltage regulator contacts without bending them or stressing them.

              Put the battery in the correct way, positive ground, polarize the generator per the shop manual, start the engine and see what happens. If the generator gets hot, shut it off and disconnect the battery.

              There should be no current draw when the ignition is off. Look for a tiny spark when hooking up the last battery cable. If there is a spark, disconnect the BAT terminal to the voltage regulator and see if the spark is gone. If so, get a new voltage regulator.

              The only "re-wiring to change the polarity" would be swapping the ammeter leads and the low voltage connections to the coil.

              Check the coil leads to see that they are hooked up properly.
              RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

              17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
              10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
              10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
              4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
              5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
              56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
              60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

              Comment


              • #8
                Thank you, sir

                Comment


                • #9
                  You do have a 6 volt battery, right?
                  Don Wilson, Centralia, WA

                  40 Champion 4 door*
                  50 Champion 2 door*
                  53 Commander K Auto*
                  53 Commander K overdrive*
                  55 President Speedster
                  62 GT 4Speed*
                  63 Avanti R1*
                  64 Champ 1/2 ton

                  * Formerly owned

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ddub View Post
                    You do have a 6 volt battery, right?
                    Good question. Seeing as a prior owner converted to negative ground, that might have been done in conjunction with a 12-volt conversion. There's no real good reason to do it with a six volt system.
                    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                    • #11
                      I think most Studebaker 6 volt batteries that get put in backwards are because many folks have not seen a positive ground system before. They just "assume" that the negative terminal goes to ground on all cars.

                      I did a radio for a customer's 55 Chrysler one summer. The next spring, he came back because the radio did not work. Turned out that he bought a new battery and the "mechanic" put it in backwards. Solid state components do not take kindly to reversed polarity. I explained it to him, but it may have gone over his head.
                      RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

                      17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
                      10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
                      10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
                      4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
                      5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
                      56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
                      60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I had a friend that put his battery in backwards and he had to pound the neg terminal wire on to the positive post with a hammer (this was a neg ground vehicle) and when he started the car he couldn't figure out why the amp gage was reading backwards. The biggest mistake he made was to tell his story to 20 guys in the fire hall. His nick name was CLOUDY.

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