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Ammeter always shows a slight charge while driving/idling '63 Hawk

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  • Electrical: Ammeter always shows a slight charge while driving/idling '63 Hawk

    I've owned this car for seven years and it has always shown 3-4 amps whenever running, regardless of engine speed. I even tried reducing idle speed as low as I could get it and made sure I had a fresh charge on the battery but the meter still reads +. I had the alternator rebuilt a few years ago and replaced the regulator with a solid state reg but nothing has ever changed. With ignition off, it reads "0". It has all original wiring and all engine grounds are present. I've decided it doesn't seem to bother anything, but I'm still baffled by it. Any ideas?

  • #2
    Sounds normal to me. It's just showing the system is charging. It's when the needle stays on the "-" side of the gauge you need to be concerned.
    Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

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    • #3
      To: Gunslinger,----Or when the needle stays pegged to the right (+) side!!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by SN-60 View Post
        To: Gunslinger,----Or when the needle stays pegged to the right (+) side!!
        Yeah...I'm aware of that but since it was showing only a 3-4 amp charge I saw no reason to make things confusing. If it's charging so high the needle is pegged you can cook your battery as there's a problem somewhere. You did make a good point, though.
        Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

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        • #5
          voltage is actually a better test of the condition of a charging system
          If a 12V system, you want to get 14.4 volts across the battery posts

          if 6V system you want 7.2 volts.

          that simple

          with an alternator you can measure at idle speed.
          if a generator you must be up to about 1000-1200 rpm to measure to be safe

          if you get these numbers you are fine

          the amps follow the volts, that is the reason for this
          1947 M5 under restoration
          a bunch of non-Stude stuff

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          • #6
            Does the ammeter show a discharge when the car is off and the lights are turned on?
            Dick Steinkamp
            Bellingham, WA

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            • #7
              I'd check the battery and make sure the charging is not making it boil out. A bad cell or regulator could be the problem. Most of these do charge a bit, but should not charge all the time.

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              • #8
                That is how mine acts once the system has recovered from starting. The only time it has been different is when the battery got run down.
                Jim K.
                63 Hawk

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                • #9
                  You must remember - especially on an ignition system using points - there is always a healthy drain to "ground" with the engine running (or with the engine off but with the ignition on and the points closed). The charging will be continuous and relative to the drain/load. On "electronic" ignition systems, the drain is greatly reduced and therefore not as noticeable.
                  Last edited by carussell; 05-12-2012, 09:40 AM.

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                  • #10
                    curious - What solid state regulator did you use as a replcement?
                    Paul TK

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