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  • Electrical: I'm confuse!

    I thought my 50 Champion has a positive ground, but while working under the hood I noticed this?
    Click image for larger version

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    sorry for the bad picture, but it clearly shows the ground wire going to tge negative post of the battery. The car starts and runs and lights work and the gauges (well the oil pressure gauge works ) so what's wrong with this picture!
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  • #2
    The photo doesn't show the battery terminals. That would help. The oil pressure gauge, if original, isn't electric
    Perry
    \'50 Business Champion
    \'50 Starlight Champion
    \'60 Lark Convertible,
    \'63 GT R1,
    \'67 Triumph TR4A

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    • #3
      I know it's a bad picture but if you look at the battery you'll see the negative mark on the battery, and the ground wire is going to the negative post, take my word for it.

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      • #4
        What is the battery voltage?

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        • #5
          6v as far I can see all the wiring is stock, should the car be able to run if the ground is reversed?
          ​​​​​​

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          • #6
            If its not broke dont fix it

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            • #7
              Yes it will run with either post grounded. I mean, dude, it is, isn't it? None of the circuits care if the electrons go clockwise or counterclockwise through them with the exception of the radio. You will get somewhat better spark if the the neg terminal on your coil is wired to the distributor if you have negative ground, and and the positive terminal to the distributor if you have positive ground. At sometime in the past the car got switched over--usually by accident. You can put it back to positive ground if you like in a matter of minutes by reversing your leads and repolarizing the generator. Many older voltage regulators "prefer" one polarity or another as the metal on the contacts was chosen to prevent sticking as the normal slight arcing occurred during operation. I'd probably switch it back to pos ground.

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              • #8
                Well there's alot broke:

                ​​​​​temp gauge
                fuel gauge
                amp gauge
                fan switches
                dash lights
                OD
                ​​​​​
                among other things. I'd just like to know if someone switched the ground could you still start and drive the car? If so what was done to do this so I can properly switch it back.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ross View Post
                  Yes it will run with either post grounded. I mean, dude, it is, isn't it? None of the circuits care if the electrons go clockwise or counterclockwise through them with the exception of the radio. You will get somewhat better spark if the the neg terminal on your coil is wired to the distributor if you have negative ground, and and the positive terminal to the distributor if you have positive ground. At sometime in the past the car got switched over--usually by accident. You can put it back to positive ground if you like in a matter of minutes by reversing your leads and repolarizing the generator. Many older voltage regulators "prefer" one polarity or another as the metal on the contacts was chosen to prevent sticking as the normal slight arcing occurred during operation. I'd probably switch it back to pos ground.
                  How do you change (orcheck) the polarity on the generator ?

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                  • #10
                    Mattn;
                    To answer your simple question. Yes the car can start and run.
                    Not knowing what was done or why the car was changed from positive ground I am unable to say what you need to do to change it back to positive ground. Or if you should
                    The following are some of the automotive items that are polarity sensitive
                    Generator, Regulator, Coil, Ammeter, Radio
                    Most of the other items that you mention as not working are not polarity sensitive. I do not know about the Over Drive.
                    Ron

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                    • #11
                      It is likely your gauges are shot because the polarity was reversed. This has happened to me once.
                      sigpic

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                      • #12
                        Thanks all, so if I flip the polarity, wont I have change the leads on the starter?

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                        • #13
                          My suggestion is to completely discharge the battery with a small lamp maybe over a weeks time and recharge the correct way. It most likely got recharged backwards at some time. If a battery is totally dead it will charge in either direction with no fuss if there is any juce in it it will fuss.

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                          • #14
                            THE MOST important thing about this is; the Coil Lead MUST match the Battery Polarity.

                            The "Hot" Lead goes to the Ignition Switch.
                            The Ground lead goes to the Distributor.

                            So if the Batt. is Positive Ground the Coil needs to be.
                            Once the Battery is dead and recharged, you can change both Polarities, Batt. Ground and Coil.

                            If that Battery has 3 Cells it is a 6 Volt as it should be, a Group 1, If it has 6 cells, some idiot has put a 12 Volt Battery in it.

                            Actually, the Battery is not shown, only the edge of it, and the cable is in the middle so could go to either end, but out of sight.
                            StudeRich
                            Second Generation Stude Driver,
                            Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                            • #15
                              Oh, gosh. First, I will take Ron's word for it that the battery is hooked up negative ground. Yeah, the car will start and run. If the car was converted to negative ground, it should start and run fine. That would entail swapping the terminals on the coil, and on the ammeter, and repolarizing the generator. If the battery were simply reversed, without doing that, the generator might swap polarity on its own; sometimes they will. But coil output would be weak, leading to possible hard starting and maybe a high-speed miss, or miss under load. And the ammeter would indicate backwards. Everything else should work fine. Even the factory radio will play with reversed polarity. The tube filaments don't care, and the B+ comes from the rectifier tube that sees AC from the vibrator transformer, and the vibrator makes AC from whatever polarity DC it gets fed. The gas and temp gauges are "thermo" gauges, and are not polarity sensitive. And all the motors in the car, starter, fans, wiper, are series-wound motors, and would run on AC if you fed it to them. And not run backwards, either.

                              Ron, I suggest that you start the car, and see if the ammeter shows a charge as the engine is revved up. If it does, then presumably a previous owner converted it to negative ground, and things are working as they should. If it shows a discharge that gets stronger as the engine is revved up, then the generator is putting out, but the ammeter was not reversed. Double check by stopping the engine, and turning on the headlights. If it indicates a charge, then the ammeter is wired normally for positive ground, and the battery was simple installed backwards. If the ammeter doesn't indicate at all, under any circumstance, it may have been taken out of the circuit, or the movement might be stuck. Ammeters are pretty robust, and usually never fail.

                              You could also connect a voltmeter (DVM on "volts") to the battery, and start the car. A fully-charged battery should indicate 6.3 volts, and if the generator is putting out, it should rise to maybe 7.2 volts. If the voltage remains constant, regardless of engine RPM, then the generator isn't putting out. In which case, the ammeter won't show a charge, and it won't show much of a discharge, either, unless all electrical loads are on.

                              With all the stuff "broken", I am wondering if maybe somebody put in a 12 volt battery, and fried the dash lights, gauges, and other accessories? Then realized their mistake, and installed the six-volt battery. Backwards, because of course the 12 volt battery was installed negative ground.
                              Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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