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Basic generator info 1950 champion

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  • Electrical: Basic generator info 1950 champion

    Hello all,
    Since this is the first vehicle I’ve owned with a generator and not an alternator I thought I’d get some info to help manage my expectations. When I start the vehicle, at idle, the ammeter reads dead center, if I put lights or a turn signal on it will show a draw. I believe this is normal. I’ve put a multimeter on the battery and after several test drives under 35 mph ( it’s not registered yet so just around the block) and numerous test starts after all the work I’ve done on the ignition and fuel system, I still get 6.1 volts. I suspect the system is working correctly, but I want to verify. My question is when will I see the ammeter show a charging status? Is it always dictated by RPM regardless if accessories are on? Does it matter if the vehicle sits for a couple weeks between starts? I know this is pretty basic stuff but appreciate your input.
    Thx,
    Jim

  • #2
    If you run the engine at an RPM faster than idle, you should see some charging. Faster = more charging. There will be essentially no charging at regular idle.

    But 6.1 volts at the battery is not enough. A fully charged "6 volt" battery at rest should read 6.3 volts and with the generator charging, it should be closer to 6.7 to 6.9 volts.

    Charging rate is a function of generator RPM and how much the battery needs, plus how many accessories are on.

    Some folks have attempted to adjust the voltage regulator, but I have never had any luck with that.
    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
      Ok thanks a lot Roy. Sounds like I have an issue then. It may be something I did when changing out the battery cable and pulling the distributor. The shop manual has a few diagnostics to see if the VR or the generator is to blame. Once I establish that I have a good ground . I’ll check them out.
      I also saw this test in a previous thread on this forum. Seems very straightforward:
      “To test the generator, remove the field wire from the generator. Hook a jumper wire from the field post to ground. Start the engine. If the generator is working, the amp gage will show full charge. If that checks out, the regulator is not working. If it don't, the generator is not working.”

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      • #4
        Don't ground the field wire until after the engine is running. There is no need to disconnect the wire. Just start the engine, hook a wire from field to ground, gun the engine and see if it charges. Disconnect the wire before shutting the engine off.
        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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        • #5
          Will do, thx!

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          • #6
            The System needs to be "Polarized" after components are disconnected.
            This SHOULD be an Autolite System that gets it's Regulator "Field" Terminal jumped quickly from the "Batt". Terminal of the Reg. to initiate a Charge.
            StudeRich
            Second Generation Stude Driver,
            Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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            • #7
              All this should be true if the ammeter is working correctly.
              With the engine idling and the ammeter sitting in the middle. As you said when you turn on the head lights. The meter goes to Minus. (sounds like the meter is working) Now step on the gas. If the generator is working the meter should move towards the center or plus. If not the generator is not working.
              Before you try to polarize the system you need to know if you have a Autolite (prestolite) or Delco Generator and if it has an internally grounded field or a field powered by the generator. Both manufactures made replacement generators with the field connected either way.
              After 70 years I would doubt that the car has its original generator or regulator.
              Ron

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              • #8
                Ron is your information "General" for all Autolite Systems for ALL Makes?
                It is my understanding that all Studebaker Autolite Systems are polarized by Jumping Power to the "Field" Term.

                Of course the only other Instruction in the Studebaker Shop Manual is for the Delco Systems used on Commanders that get their "Arm" Armature Terminal jumped from the Batt. Term.

                How would anyone know if the Car has a Internally Grounded Field Generator?
                StudeRich
                Second Generation Stude Driver,
                Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                • #9
                  It’s possible I caused this when I disconnected some wires during R&R of the battery cable and distributor- how do I polarize the system?

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                  • #10
                    I just checked the shop manual- looks like I could have fried my VR by not polarizing system

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                    • #11
                      Stud Rich;
                      I wrote the note the way I did as I do not remember How to polarize a Generator. I have not had a car with a Generator sine 1969. Nor have I worked on one since.
                      I did have to polarize my 120 volt portable generator a few years ago; It lost its polarization just sitting. Had to dig out the owners manual as to how to do it. Now that I think of it I should start the Generator; have not had to use it since.
                      As I mentioned Both Delco and Autolite made Generators with internally grounded Fields or Fields internally powered by the armature. I believe that ,at different times I had either brand of Generator on my 1955 Commander.
                      The easiest way to test a Generator if the field is internally grounded is with the field terminal wire disconnected and with a multi meter set to ohms. Check for continuity from the field terminal to the generator case. Set the meter to its lowest scale. If the field is internally grounded the meter should read close to zero. That is if the field is good.
                      Disconnect both the field and armature wires And test again. If the meter again reeds close to zero the Field is powered off of the armature.
                      As I said I am doing this from a old memory. Not something I think about every day. I could look it up; but the information is in a manual that I would have to find.
                      Too bad an Auto Electric shop like the one I cleaned parts at as a teenager no longer exists in most towns . The Old German owner had his own build test bench for Generators. He could run them, load them etc.
                      As A side note. If you power the Armature terminal and either ground or power the Field terminal as required a Generator will run like a motor. That is if the generator is any good.
                      Ron

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                      • #12
                        The shop manual says to momentarily connect the battery and gen terminals of the regulator to polarize system

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Flthdchamp View Post
                          The shop manual says to momentarily connect the battery and gen terminals of the regulator to polarize system
                          Be careful there!

                          Are you SURE that is for a Model "G" Champion with Autolite, and not for a Model B Commander, with a Delco System?
                          StudeRich
                          Second Generation Stude Driver,
                          Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                          • #14
                            Hi Rich,
                            I attached a pic of the pg from the manual showing how to polarize. The car is at a different location to my primary residence so I can’t get a look at it now but I found a couple photos that partially reveal the generator, attached below. The position of the terminals (side by side) looks different than what the manual shows should be on a ‘50 champ. I also attached a pic of engine compartment where you can see the VR.
                            thx again for your input.
                            Jim
                            Attached Files

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Here is a pic of the pg from manual showing generators for champion (top) and commander( bottom) in ‘50. Is it possible that my generator is from a later year champion? My distributor was from a ‘56 so I know parts have been interchanged in the past.
                              Attached Files

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