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eddy blackstar
07-03-2017, 06:23 AM
hi all
when i get up to 70mph the genlight comes on. would that be a loose belt or something internal. im also after a second hand mirror as all my chrome is well aged and a bit pited. i need one on the passenger side as trying to pullout in traffic is hard when you are on the wrong side in australia.
thanks eddy

simplyconnected
07-03-2017, 06:48 AM
Ian, I will assume your generator brushes are good. If you're not sure, give them a check. New generator brushes are cheap.

It's important you understand how the GEN light works.
On one end, the bulb is fed from your key switch (positive).
On the other end, it's fed from your generator (also positive).

So, now we can measure the difference between your battery voltage and your generator's output voltage.

When you first turn the key on before starting the engine, your GEN light shines because the generator is putting out nothing but the battery has 12-volts.

If you throw a belt, your GEN light shines, for the same reason.

If you have your accessories on and stopped at a light, your GEN light might flicker because the gen is putting out very little at idle speed but the battery is at 12-volts.

Ok, I led you around the barn. Now the real answer. You may have a voltage regulator that is bad. The voltage regulator supplies field voltage to the generator so the gen can produce power. Without field, the gen puts out nothing. Without a belt, the gen puts out nothing. Even still, that important GEN light draws a comparison to tell you if your system is charging or not.

ALWAYS make sure your GEN light works. If you turn the key and it doesn't shine, buy a new bulb (I think it's a #57).

How do you know when the battery is charging? Put a voltmeter across the battery terminals and look for 13.5-volts or more when the engine is above idle speed.

To prove your generator can produce, jumper the BATT and FLD terminals on your voltage regulator and watch the voltmeter on your battery climb. Don't leave the jumper on for long because you are bypassing all voltage regulation. I use one minute intervals.

When the generator is charging, you can hear the engine speed go down and sometimes you can hear the generator as it produces power. Hope this helps. - Dave

Deanj
07-03-2017, 12:08 PM
Yes, and if you converted to an alternator you'll see the Gen light glow. It glows brighter when you add headlamps, blower, radio, and stoplights-especially at idle. I'm surprised at how hard the alternator works trying to charge the battery. My belt will squeal after sitting at a stop light for a while with the voltage demand increased. (A bit embarrassing, but one alternator expert says 'tighten the belt'!)

9310alloy
07-03-2017, 12:23 PM
Dave , I have to disagree on how to test generator / regulator output.

"B" circuit generator / regulator (original Thunderbird).
You NEVER want to jump battery terminal to field terminal at the regulator with the wires attached to the regulator. This will burn out your voltage regulator field contact system in your regulator.

Testing your generator / regulator for output :
Remove field wire from voltage regulator and with engine running at 1200 to 1500 rpms. Touch the field wire to armature terminal at regulator for a few seconds. If the voltage increases to 14 to 15 volts. The voltage regulator is bad. No change in voltage the generator is bad or wiring issues. This test is unregulated so do not run for more than a few seconds to read your volt meter.

Always check wiring for a good ground (no voltage loss) between regulator and generator , frame , block , battery.

Polarizing your "B" circuit generator :
Engine off. Disconnect the field wire from your regulator and touch / flash to battery terminal on your regulator.

Mike

simplyconnected
07-03-2017, 07:19 PM
Dave , I have to disagree on how to test generator / regulator output.

"B" circuit generator / regulator (original Thunderbird).
You NEVER want to jump battery terminal to field terminal at the regulator with the wires attached to the regulator. This will burn out your voltage regulator field contact system in your regulator.

Testing your generator / regulator for output :
Remove field wire from voltage regulator and with engine running at 1200 to 1500 rpms. Touch the field wire to armature terminal at regulator for a few seconds. If the voltage increases to 14 to 15 volts. The voltage regulator is bad. No change in voltage the generator is bad or wiring issues. This test is unregulated so do not run for more than a few seconds to read your volt meter.

Always check wiring for a good ground (no voltage loss) between regulator and generator , frame , block , battery.

Polarizing your "B" circuit generator :
Engine off. Disconnect the field wire from your regulator and touch / flash to battery terminal on your regulator.

Mike

Mike, your suggestion is plausible BUT it doesn't get the job done.
http://squarebirds.org/Electrical/VoltageRegulator.jpg
Mike, study the wiring diagram and notice that the armature and field are already connected via both normally closed contacts. If you go through your procedure, nothing has changed.

I'm trying to determine if the generator is capable of outputting charging current.

Since I suggest adding a temporary jumper from +12 to the field with the engine running, there is nothing that can be harmed. Remember, during normal operation the generator's armature outputs 30-amps at ~14-volts. All that is impressed upon the field until either (voltage or current) relay contacts open.

ALSO, the GEN light is already connected to the armature (and field coils) as soon as the key is turned 'on' through both the regulator's N.C. contacts. This 'tickles' the armature and makes enough magnetism (in the correct direction) to start producing current when the armature windings pass through the field magnetism. There should be NO reason to 'flash' or 'polarize' a charging system with a GEN light. Case in point: How many Squarebird owners had to polarize, even after 50 years?

DeanJ, you should have a resistor across your GEN light wires for two reasons; to shunt that small amount of current that makes your light flicker but more importantly... If your GEN light burns out, the alternator will not know the key is on and it will stop charging. The resistor will pass enough power by itself to keep the alternator going. Even with the resistor, your GEN light should work as you would expect. - Dave

Deanj
07-04-2017, 11:53 AM
DeanJ, you should have a resistor across your GEN light wires for two reasons; to shunt that small amount of current that makes your light flicker but more importantly... If your GEN light burns out, the alternator will not know the key is on and it will stop charging. The resistor will pass enough power by itself to keep the alternator going. Even with the resistor, your GEN light should work as you would expect. - Dave

Dave, I wouldn't know what resister to use. I take it a good spot for this might be the engine compartment close to the alternator since anything under the dash is a pain.

Again, the reason is just to keep the GEN light from burning out prematurely and the alternator functions normal?

Dean

simplyconnected
07-04-2017, 12:40 PM
Dean, sometimes I assume too much. this time I assumed you had the wiring diagram for your conversion.

Here it is:
http://squarebirds.org/Electrical/GENtoALTconversion/GenToAlt/3GAlternator_Thumb.jpg
Notice the resistor in the top blue box. Use a 1/2-watt, 560-ohm resistor. Any radio shop will have one. The resistor simply connects across the light bulb socket. You cannot stop a bulb from burning out so the resistor keeps your charging system going whether the bulb burns out or not. It also shunts a small amount of current which stops that flickering.

Hope this helps. - Dave

eddy blackstar
07-05-2017, 04:32 AM
thanks guys
i think ill stay under 70.
eddy

simplyconnected
07-05-2017, 01:09 PM
These old starter motors and generators use brushes. To be more specific, ALL charging current goes through those brushes (unlike alternators). They do not last as long as modern alternators. The same holds true for starter motors, all current goes through the brushes. Rockauto.com sells brushes for $6-7. They are relatively easy to change. Ford provided inspection covers to show what's really going on.

It always puzzled me, why people let their starters and generators go until catastrophic failure when preventive maintenance is not only cheap but available. In The States, these original starters and generators aren't always available. When that happens, the prices soar.

If you're lucky enough to get an early warning, don't wait until failure catches you far from home. - Dave

Wyldie
07-05-2017, 08:55 PM
Hey Dave great information,

personally I would never put a resister in parallel with the charge light. The charge light is the first port of call on your charging systems health. If you "gen" light didn't come on when turning your ignition on it should be investigation straight away and the assumption shouldn't be made that the globe is just blown the resister will keep things working because 9 out of 10 times it won't be the globe, it will be a charging system fault.

On most alternators the alternator warning light provides excitation by having ignition on one side of the globe, that power passes through the globe down to the D+ wire on your alternator which in turn connects to your rotor positive brush, that signal then goes through your rotor out the negative brush through the regulator then to earth turning the light on and providing a slight magnetic field for initial charging. This in turn informs you if the regulator, brushes, or rotor coil are functioning correctly, any fault that will not allow the light to turn on.

simplyconnected
07-05-2017, 10:03 PM
Michael, I agree with most of what you say IF you qualify your statements.

For example, with regards to GENERATOR circuits... The GEN light is certainly convenient but it isn't necessary. Many trucks and tractors have NO GEN light. Cars only have them as a convenience, not an essential component for the charging system. I personally LOVE having the GEN light for the reasons you raise.

Ok, let's stick with T-birds because they do have a GEN light. In normal operation;
When you first turn the key, the GEN light shines,
When your engine starts, the GEN light goes out,
When you throw a belt, the GEN light shines.

I would expect these conditions to be true in normal operation, all the time, regardless of whether your car has a generator OR an alternator.

Now, we install a self-regulated solid state alternator, commonly found in most production cars. They require a "sense" wire that turns on with the key switch.

Since the original GEN light is fed from the key switch, it serves as a perfect "sense" wire for an alternator. Generators never require a 'sense' wire. Can an alternator system do without the GEN light? No light is necessary, but the alt still requires a 'sense' signal that turns on with the key. Without that signal, the alt won't charge.

But what happens IF the bulb burns out? There goes the signal to the alt. Not only will the bulb stop working but the alt stops as well. This is bad but it only applies to alternators, NOT GEN's.

A simple small resistor will remedy this potential alternator problem. A good bulb will still work exactly the way you would expect (as outlined above). In addition, if the bulb burns out, the resistor still passes enough current for the alt to 'sense' the key is on. Let me say this another way: The resistor never takes the place of your GEN light but it is a safeguard in case the filament burns open. Again, just in alternator systems.

Another small advantage of the resistor is, it passes just enough power to stop nuisance flickering at idle speeds. The diagram below shows the GEN light connected to the 'I' terminal of the VOLTAGE REGULATOR. It turns the voltage regulator on, which in turn turns on the internal solid state components. Otherwise, if on all the time, the battery would drain.

Just a note about ONE-WIRE alternators... They were never used in production cars. Since they don't have a 'sense' wire, they automatically shut themselves off below ~1,000 rpm. This makes 'remote start' impossible to use because remote start stops cranking your engine when the alt starts putting out 'charging voltage'. One-wire alt's need a 'gas pedal goose' upon startup just to begin charging. - Dave

newyear
07-06-2017, 07:29 AM
Generator light bulb(GEN)
I just had to check to see what I had fitted on my spare instrument panel.
G-E 57

Deanj
07-06-2017, 11:57 AM
Another small advantage of the resistor is, it passes just enough power to stop nuisance flickering at idle speeds. The diagram below shows the GEN light connected to the 'I' terminal of the VOLTAGE REGULATOR. It turns the voltage regulator on, which in turn turns on the internal solid state components. Otherwise, if on all the time, the battery would drain.

- Dave

Thanks Dave. Your term "flicker" isn't how I would describe what happens to my GEN light. It's off after start up, but starts to glow brighter when the alternator can't charge the battery as well as added electronics increase draw. I'd describe it as acting as a volt meter idiot light.

Dean

eddy blackstar
07-09-2017, 06:03 AM
thanks for all the advice.what brand is the gen as i will get a full rebuild kit. its the original 352 no ac 1960 coupe
thanks eddy

simplyconnected
07-09-2017, 07:26 AM
...what brand is the gen as i will get a full rebuild kit...Ian, I've never heard of a 'kit' for generators. It is easy to forecast when brushes might wear out but not bearings or Bendix gears, etc.

Many generators seemingly go on forever on the same bearings. Others usually give early indications like noises or flickering GEN lights when things go bad.

Look in Rockauto.com and notice the different parts under 'Electrical' for your generator. I do not advocate for buying parts you don't need. That is why it's important to clean and inspect your generator. Some parts, like the armature, are not sold separately. They used to be, but not any more.

If your charging system is healthy, usually a good cleaning and maybe some new brushes are all that is necessary. It's impossible to know however, without seeing the condition of the commutator segments on the armature and the end plate that holds four brushes. - Dave

newyear
07-09-2017, 07:36 AM
Hi
Probably not much help but I have just looked on what I think is the generator originally fitted to my 58 Squarebird.The end plate has the Fomoco logo impressed on it and the body is marked with G and F and 12V.I seem to recall making an efficient item out of 3 used generators.The shop manual does not specify any particular brand of generator.
Peter

simplyconnected
07-09-2017, 11:42 AM
...The end plate has the Fomoco logo impressed on it and the body is marked with G and F and 12V...Yes, 'G' is the ground terminal, 'F' is the field terminal. There should be one more marked, 'A' for armature:
http://www.squarebirds.org/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=1881&stc=1&d=1256688742

I've seen starter motors and generators, freshly rebuilt but they refused to work because too much paint was applied to the end plate. This insulated it from ground. It doesn't take much to hold back six or twelve volts.

As with the starter motors, generators came in 6-volt and 12-volt versions. They both look identical from the outside, brushes may be the same as well but field windings are quite different.

It may be that Ford produced their own generators and starter motors but I have to believe that vendors also helped, given the numbers required to keep up with 20 assembly plants and service parts. These parts were used in cars (Ford, Lincoln, Edsel, Mercury), trucks, construction equipment, marine and tractors. The same starter motors and generators were assembled in Flat Head, Y-Block, FE, and MEL engines with only slight variations. For instance, they moved the starter post in MEL engines because it was in the way of the exhaust manifold. - Dave

eddy blackstar
07-10-2017, 03:48 AM
hi dave
found this http://www.rubberconnection.com.au/products/23677_GENERATOR-REBUILD-KIT-FORD-56-64-30-Amp-MAJOR-REBUILD-KIT-NOT-FOR-LUCAS as a kit

simplyconnected
07-10-2017, 07:03 AM
hi dave
found this http://www.rubberconnection.com.au/products/23677_GENERATOR-REBUILD-KIT-FORD-56-64-30-Amp-MAJOR-REBUILD-KIT-NOT-FOR-LUCAS as a kit Wow! That's the first kit I've ever seen. Good to know that someone carries an armature but again, don't buy one unless you need it.

Brushes (here) are US$6 per PAIR at Rock Auto. Generators used a couple different size bearings depending on if the gen was heavy duty or not.

The way to do this is to take your gen apart, clean it and inspect. Bits of highly conductive carbon will cover the inside along with road oils. I use diesel fuel to clean mine, then gently blow it dry.

If you need anything, measure the old part and order the same. The only critical part is the commutator. You want to catch worn or stuck brushes before they ruin the copper segments.

While you're at it, do your starter motor. Same drill but you can order once and possibly kill two birds with one shipping charge. - Dave