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12 volt conversion on 1950 champ

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  • #16
    Gotti, They just outlawed the retractable license here in Maryland. They can ticket you while setting at a show if they want to. It seems the law reads the license plate must be displayed at all times.

    GARY H 2DR.SEDAN 48 STUDEBAKER CHAMPION NORTHEAST MD.

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    • #17
      quote:Originally posted by conestogaman

      I did a 12V swap on a VW a while back (6V neg grnd) and found this: The wiper will work, except it'll be extremely fast. I just put in a delay to slow it down. It was still fast, but it'd turn off after 1 wipe so it wasn't whipping the blades off. Perhaps switching the polarity and using a resistor will work for you.

      The starter is ok as long as you keep cranking to about 15 seconds or less (as stated earlier). I didn't put in the guage resister and found that the fuel guage read a bit high. I didn't worry about it as I relied on mileage for refuel anyway.

      The usual bulbs, horns etc.

      Wheels down, shiney side up, drive it like you stole it!
      The fuel guage is geared to operate on 5 volts, and you are running 12 volts into the thing? The gas tank sending unit see's 12 volts instead of 5 volts? You are literally playing with fire there, my friend. That is why most 12 volt fuel guages has a limiter in the thing to drop the voltage down to 5 volts and that 5 volts is applied to the temperature guage. On the 50 Champion the oil guage gets it go juice from the oil pressure itself instead of the bio-metallic heat up thingie in the guages. It would be wise to disconnect the fuel guage if you don't want to see an explosion in your fuel tank. A sixty amp 12 volt battery can generate quite a spark under conditions you don't want to witness.

      Don Dodson

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      • #18
        I just tapped the 12v battery in the Stude when I installed a C@%y
        in it back in 1960. I only ran the engine off 12v, and the rest off
        the tap. I did change the polarity in the car, even the OD worked.


        James K. Clark
        East Tenn.
        '55 Prez. 2dr hdtp.
        Don't take yourself too seroiusly!

        James K. Clark

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        • #19
          quote:Posted - 09/13/2006 : 9:31:38 PM
          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          The editor and technical advisors (Bob Palma and Dwain Grindinger, respectively) of The Studebaker Co-operator column in Turning Wheels are both regulars here and, while they stress 12-volt conversion should only be desirable if you want A/C and 50,000 watts of stereo (a well maintained 6-volt system works as it should), they both endorse Randy Rundle's The Official 12-volt Conversion Guide for $10 to Fifth Avenue Antique Auto Parts, 415 Court Street, Clay Center, Kansas 67432
          "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

          Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
          Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
          '33 Rockne 10,
          '51 Commander Starlight,
          '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
          '56 Sky Hawk

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          • #20
            The voltage drops will make your fuel guage operate correctly. The reason all fuel gauges operate at less than battery voltage is so the meter has a steady voltage regardless of what the generator-alternator voltage is. A fuel guage on a 6 volt systems runs on 5 volts because in operation, the system voltage could vary from approximately 5.5-8.2 volts. I think gauges on 12 volt systems (at least on older Chryslers) ran at 7 volts because the voltage on that system could run from 11.5-14.5 volts. By using a voltage drop,you won't have to change the sending unit in the tank because normally 6 and 12 volt systems have different resistance values. Swap them and the guage will never be accurate. I don't think you have to worry about anything blowing up though, heck, now days they put little whirring fuel pumps in gas tanks.

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            • #21
              quote:Originally posted by John Kirchhoff

              The voltage drops will make your fuel guage operate correctly. The reason all fuel gauges operate at less than battery voltage is so the meter has a steady voltage regardless of what the generator-alternator voltage is. A fuel guage on a 6 volt systems runs on 5 volts because in operation, the system voltage could vary from approximately 5.5-8.2 volts. I think gauges on 12 volt systems (at least on older Chryslers) ran at 7 volts because the voltage on that system could run from 11.5-14.5 volts. By using a voltage drop,you won't have to change the sending unit in the tank because normally 6 and 12 volt systems have different resistance values. Swap them and the guage will never be accurate. I don't think you have to worry about anything blowing up though, heck, now days they put little whirring fuel pumps in gas tanks.
              I hate it when this happens. I try to inform a person who obviously is unaware of his mistake, and I have to argue with someone. My background in Electronics lets me have some mention of knowing what I am talking about if I may. Trained by the U.S Navy with extensive Electronic theory back in 1963 through 1965, and put that training to work on a Guided Missle Frigate. Out of the Navy I was a Support Curstomer Engineer with IBM for 28 years. YES an explosion can occur with his hook up. The sending unit has no resistance from the battery to the coil of wire on the sending unit. That coil of wire is a resostat of variable resistor. The battery is capable of providing 60 amps of current to the sending unit, with no questions asked as it does so. To get a spark, all that is needed is for the wiper arm in the sending unit to bounce from a piece of trash that the wiper arm can run into and that bounce can lift the wiper away from coil of wire and we have a spark in the making, and BLEUIE!!!
              On a twelve volt car the alternator or generator will put out 14.4 to 14.7 volts with the engine running and with the engine running the deciding factor will then be whatever the generator or alternator will put out in current. I have a Chrysler type vehicle which is a 1967 Dodge Charger, and "Ole Red" puts out 14.7 volts from the alternator, and the limiter on the fuel guage limits the voltage and current to the tempature guage and oil guage to 5 volts. On a 12 volt system, the sending unit is restricted in the amount of current it can handle via the limiter in the fuel guage as it presents the 5 volts to the sending unit. With he way this youngster has his sending unit hooked up from my observations of this thread, there are NO restrictiions to the current flow. It is the same as running the sending unit straight to the battery. I've gat a feeling that coil of wire in the gas tank will heat up with 60 amps pushing the thing. Yep, I stand behind my comment about disconnecting the sending unit until he can make sure everything is hunky dory. As for pumps at the rear of the cars providing fuel under pressure is another matter, with different conditions at the helm.


              Don Dodson

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              • #22
                Don, believe me, I'm in no way arguing with you or underestimating your expertise. I have experience with electronics also, but no where close to yours and I'm the first to admit that. But when it comes to mechanics and electrical systems, I'm no inexperienced dummy either. I've had years of hands on experience with 6, 12, and 24 volt electrical systems on every sort of motorized machine you can think of, except maybe something out of the ordinary like a tank or locomotive. In addition I do household and farm wiring and nothing's burned down yet, so I must be doing something right.

                As you know, for gasoline to explode, the air-fuel ratio has to be within rather narrow parameters. Many sending units have the resistance unit located near the bottom of the tank. When it's submerged in fuel, it's not going to explode no matter what happens. If the air space in the tank is too fuel rich, neither will it explode regardless of how many sparks are bouncing about. Besides, a spark is a spark and a flammable mixture doesn't care whether it's generated by 6 volts, 12 volts, a flashlight battery, 20,000 V ignition coil or megawatt high tension lines.

                I do disagree on several points however, and please don't take this personally because it's not meant that way. As far as getting a spark from the wiper on the sending unit, I straddled a 5 gallon gas tank on my motorcycle for 30,000 mile with a sending unit that was loose as a goose. When I repaired, not repalced it, I found it was just excessive wear that allowed the wiper to bounce around making my gauge needle sway to and fro like a hula dancer. Apparently there were't any deadly sparks produced because if so, I wouldn't be writing this now.

                Your statement about the battery providing 60 amps to the sending unit is rather optomistic. True, a battery could spew out 60 amps easily, but there's no way to get 60 amps through the sending unit wiring, or hardly any other wiring under the dash without something suffering a meltdown. I'm not sure what gauge the wire to the sending unit is, but if it's 12 guage, it'll carry a maximum of 25 amps and if 16 gauge, 13 amps. Those numbers aren't a product of my wild imagination; I looked them up in the "Ace Pocket Ref" by Thomas J Glover. 60 amps through the wiring would have something going up in smoke.

                Please believe me when I say I'm not arguing with you. I know you were as you put it "trying to inform someone unaware of their mistake" and you should be commended for that. To me there is no greater good than helping someone and expecting nothing in return, which I fully believe describes you. However, we should all try to make sure our information is as accurate as possible because some folks don't know the difference. Hey, I've made mistakes on here and have been corrected by others for which I appreciate. No one was trying to "argue" with me, just correcting me. A while back I pointed out a mistake I'd made on an earlier post with no prompting from anyone. I was wrong and sure didn't want anyone getting screwed up because of my oversight. So friend, whether we agree or not, I'll discuss anything with you but I won't argue with you. I'd be doing a disservice to you, myself and everyone else.

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                • #23
                  I have a 1951 Commander that I want to convert to 12 volt system. Was this system originally a positive ground? Were all Studebaker 6 volt systems positive ground. Haven't put a battery in it yet, but need to know before I do. Thanks, ghcoe.

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                  • #24
                    Studebaker gages are "thermo" gages. I've taken them apart. The pointer is connected to a pair of thin bimetallic strips, which will bend when heated. Around each of these strips is wound a fine coil of resistance wire. The wire is not much thicker than a human hair. Source voltage (6 or 12 as the case may be) enters the gage at one stud on the back, and is fed to one end of each coil. One coil has its other end connected to the sending unit, and the other has its other end grounded. The coil connected to the sending unit acts to move the gage pointer towards "full", and the other coil acts to move the pointer towards "empty". The only influences on the strength of that coil's "push" are system voltage, and ambient temperature. The coil connected to the sending unit is influenced by both those factors, PLUS the resistance of the sending unit. Since the two coils oppose one another, the effects of system voltage and ambient temperature are cancelled out, and the movement of the pointer is solely the function of sending unit resistance. Neat, huh? There is no voltage reducer used in any Studebaker instruments that I have seen. The resistances of the gage elements themselves and the sending unit are chosen to work well with the range of system voltage in the car they are designed for.

                    Now some brands of cars do indeed use a voltage reducer for the gages; the idea is to regulate to a lower voltage so that the gages don't reflect slight changes in system voltage due to engine RPM and electrical loads. The regulators that I have seen, and opened up, BTW, are pretty much akin to a signal flasher unit: they contain a bimetal strip wrapped with a heating element, and movement of the strip opens and closes a pair of contacts. Contacts closed: a full 12 volts gets through. Contacts open: zero volts get through. A nine-volt regulator would be designed to have its contacts closed 75% of the time, given a 12 volt source. My friend Charlie, the Volvo guru, calls these things "boingers" because of the faint "boing" sound they make when cycling, which they do a few time per minute.

                    In any case, the purpose of the regulator is accuracy of the gage; it is not intended to prevent fires by limiting current through the sending unit. The resistance of the gage element itself will limit the current through the sending unit to a very small value.

                    In any case, if you look at a fuel tank sending unit, you'll note that the resistance element is contained within a steel shell, with small openings for the float arm. That is the safety feature which prevents a spark from igniting the atmosphere inside the tank. A fire which occurs within the sending unit will be quenched before it can pass through the small holes in the shell. Look up "Davy lamp" in a search engine.

                    Mr. Dodson, despite his obvious qualifications, has dumped a load of misinformation on this thread. To get back to the OP's question, I'd second Rockne10's suggestion to pick up Randy Rundle's book.



                    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
                    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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