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-   1958 To 1960 Squarebirds - General Technical Discussion (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=14)
-   -   charging system (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=7397)

birdbrain 09-22-2009 07:00 PM

generator apart
The shop was to busy to look at my charging system so I went and got it. I removed the two long screws and pulled the back off the generator. The brushes were very dirty lots of what appeared to be carbon, I took emery cloth and cleaned the thing that the brushes ride on, then I cleaned the large cylinder with the cloth. The "field " that is the thing inside of the generator case was dirty also with black soot or something, I cleaned that as well. I scrapped all the black paint like stuff off that. I hope I did not hurt anything as this is the first time I have been inside of a generator. The brushes and springs were ok as they moved freely and I cleaned the contact area with the emery cloth as well. My question is did I mess up anything or miss anything? When it comes to the two studs "field" and "Arm" the plastic at the base of these studs was a bit brittle should I be concerned about that? I'm I ready to put this generator back on my car now? any thoughts ?

bird 60 09-22-2009 08:37 PM

Hi Rodney,

It's pretty hard to tell without seeing it. You say the brushes looked O.K. I haven't done a Genny for a long, long time but the Brushes should be about 3/4" from memory.
Even though they might look O.K. but are down quite a lot it would be best to change them. For peace of mind get a Buddy of yours who's Machenically / Electrically inclined to have a look. When Dave gets on he'll be able to go one further.

Chris....From the Land of OZ.

simplyconnected 09-22-2009 10:26 PM


Originally Posted by bird 60 (Post 37510)
...When Dave gets on he'll be able to go one further...

Thanks, Chris.


Originally Posted by birdbrain (Post 37496)
I'm I ready to put this generator back on my car now? any thoughts ?

Rod, you probably did as well as the shop would. Just a few thoughts, if I may give a little background:
Generators are nearly bulletproof. There isn't much you can do to damage one. Cleaning the inside is a VERY good thing as carbon dust loves to conduct electricity to the grounded case, causing a short.

There are a few cautions. The copper commutator should not be sanded (at all) unless the shape is distorted (egg-shaped, tapered, oval, severly scratched, etc). Those brushes you removed conform perfectly to the commutator, and if they still have good length left, they should be put back in (**more on this in a moment).

Bearings need grease, but as you witnessed, too much grease will spread all over the inside of the case and all the carbon dust will stick to it. So, grease the bearings before re-assembly but don't go overboard.

Carbon (graphite) is a natural lubricant and it conducts with resistance. It also withstands lots of heat because we pump ~40-amps through it. Your brushes need to freely slide in their holders so proper spring tension can push each brush against the commutator. A buildup of heated dirty grease will cause the brush to hang. That's when trouble starts. Current wants to pass, but an air gap between the brush and copper segments will cause burning.

Two things need to happen before you button it up: Grab the brush by that braided wire, and pull straight up. Feel it slide in the holder without obstruction, all the way down. If your spring is pushing the brush way down the hole, replace the brush. When finished, leave the braided wire such that it can freely extend to take up brush wear, but it won't touch any metal parts around it.

**I have changed many brushes on huge DC motors. We never change them all at once. They need to wear-in to conform to the commutator with decent surface area. Your generator only has two brushes. If you get new FLAT-ended brushes, find a cylinder about the same diameter as your commutator, put fine sandpaper on the surface, and arc the new brush's contact surface to conform to the commutator. Being carbon, they sand easy. A flat-ended brush will only conduct at a line of contact passing too much current over a small surface until it wears-in.

INSULATORS: One of your brush holders is insulated on the back plate, and the other is GROUNDED to the back plate. So, power is produced in the armature; Positive goes out the insulated brush to the stud, and Negative goes through the grounded brush to the case. You can see how important that back plate is to your system's ground. The two studs you mentioned should be well-insulated and tight. Plastic can be brittle as long as it is not broken (and shorting the stud to ground). Fiber washers and sleeves work well if you need more insulation.

You can check each component with a meter during the whole rebuild process. While the generator is still on your bench, check for shorted field or shorted armature windings using the technique I described below. You can do this as well as anyone else, for a whole lot less money.

Hope this helps. - Dave

Dutchbird 09-23-2009 06:58 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Hi Rodney,

I've problems at this very moment wit my GEN also, and far from being a mechenic.
I've never had a generator apart. However I took the shot and removed it to look (and clean) and it's just the way Dave describes.............

Here are some pics.......(and please experts, are these brushes OK?)

Richard D. Hord 09-23-2009 07:44 PM

Hey Guys,
I got rid of my generator and went with a alternator. Never had generator apart but if it were me and the trouble it is to take off and put back on, would it not be best to replace brushes:confused:
Richard D. Hord

bird 60 09-23-2009 08:23 PM

Hi Marco, to me the Brushes look O.K. but what was the problem? Also could you send additional Photos so that we can see the condition of the Armature & Commutator.

Chris....From the Land of OZ.

simplyconnected 09-23-2009 08:26 PM

Marco, God Bless you for taking the bull by the horns, and doing it yourself. I have lots of respect for guys like you. We all started out the exact same way. I assume you got your pulley off. Nice cleanup job, too.

New brushes measure .9" long. I would discard them at about 5/8" (.63"). Marco's pictures tell a lot, not from the length of the brushes, but by the contour at the ends.

I would love to see pictures of the copper commutator segments. That's the real business-end of a generator.

tee-bird.com (in Pennsylvania) sells all the parts for your generator, at a reasonable price:
Brush set (set of two) - US$6.50 (Part #10069B)
Spring, generator brush - US$2.75 (Part #10057A)
Kit, generator repair, including two brushes, two springs, and both bearings - US$$26.90 (Part #10001A)
(Call or visit their site to confirm prices.)

After you are familiar with your generator, the starter motor works nearly exactly the same. It has four brushes instead of two. You can either buy the whole remanufactured starter for US$130 + exchange, OR you can check your brushes and save a ton of money. A set of four starter brushes at tee-bird sells for US$7 (part #11057A).

I sincerely hope everyone performs preventive maintenance on their Thunderbird. These parts NEVER get any attention, and they are so inexpensive to maintain. If the thought of removing these parts makes you cringe, then you will most likely look for parts at the most inconvenient time and place, because of catastrophic failure. - Dave

birdbrain 09-23-2009 08:29 PM

wiring at the generator
I put everything back together and it's not charging. I think my problem doesen't have anything to do with the generator. I think I have had my generator wired wrong. Question, The yellow wire, red wire and black /white wire. These all go to the generator. Where do they go? I have been using the yellow wire as a ground wire, it's connected to the back of the generator...right? Red wire is "arm" black/white is "field"

Today I was told that the yellow is the "arm" the red is ground and the Black/white wire is "field" if this is true I have had my charging system wired wrong for some time now. Since I drive my car once a month and never at night this could be my problem.

Please advize What is the correct wiring for my T-Bird. Nothing is burned or sparking I guess it just dosen't chrarge.

Dutchbird 09-23-2009 08:50 PM

Chris and Dave (in random order)

I'll take and upload some more pics, but not be able to work on it until upcoming weekend again.
Keep you informed..........

Richard D. Hord 09-23-2009 08:56 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Hey Rodney,
See if this helps! Lower picture.
Richard D. Hord

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