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  #1  
Old 05-20-2016, 02:07 PM
Deanj Deanj is offline
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Default Generator Upgrade

I see Mac's sells a 90amp Squarebird generator. My 30 amp doesn't keep the instrument lights lit at night at a stop light. Other than that, I think it should have been a 35 amp because I have factory AC. The extra 5 amps hardly seems significant. What are the implications of a 90 amp generator and what else needs replacing and adjusting?
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Old 05-20-2016, 02:47 PM
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DKheld DKheld is offline
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That's probably the PowerMaster or PowerGen unit which is an Alternator in a Generator case. $$$ There are models that have the generator light terminal too.

From what I understand it should be configured like a 1 wire alternator with a wire running directly from the new Gen/Alt to the battery (or battery post of the starter solenoid - fused would probably be a good idea).

You will still have deal with the 30A regulator on the inner fender - possibly bypass or leave in place as a big fuse. Unless you have something out of the ordinary I can't see the system drawing more than 30A - if so you may need to upgrade the wiring and bypass the regulator.

I'm sure Dave can give you some advice on an Alternator with greater amperage for less but it would require mounting modifications.

PowerGen should be bolt on, add a wire to the battery and go.

Eric
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Old 05-20-2016, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKheld View Post
...PowerGen should be bolt on, add a wire to the battery and go...
See how fast and easy it is?

There are a few things you should know about a 1-wire:
  • A 1-wire requires 1,500 RPM before it turns on. Speed is the only way it senses your engine is actually running
  • Your GEN light won't work. If you throw a belt, too bad because you won't know it.
  • Your car won't charge at idle speeds.
  • Remote Start is not in your future. RS senses the engine is started by the sudden voltage increase an alternator normally puts out at idle speeds.
  • A 1-wire puts out nothing at idle speeds which causes your battery to drain. So, don't get stuck in rush hour traffic or parades especially if you plan on an electric fan in your future.
  • Parts are rare and expensive.
Eric is right. I buy modern alternators, usually from the bone yard, from low mileage cars with electric fans. Many times I get the alternator AND the fan.

Modern alternators use a 'Sense' wire (that's the third wire) to turn on the internal voltage regulator. Conveniently, your GEN light serves as a perfect 'sense' wire because it is fed directly from your key switch. If you throw a belt, it shines (as you would expect is should).

All modern alternators have internal regulators and all electric fan setups put out enough amps at idle speeds to support the fan current without draining the battery. In other words, 'the supply meets the demand'.

I simply choose an alternator with an easy mounting, then I cut a 'C' out of heavy sheet metal and mount it around the alt. That allows me to put my own mounting/pivot holes where I want (in the 'C'). Conversion to a V-belt from serpentine is easy. - Dave
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Old 05-21-2016, 01:10 PM
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So things are not what they seem. I thought this 90 amp unit was a plug and play heavy duty generator. I guess I just want better performance from my generator. So it's an alternator or live with what I brought to the dance. I'm old enough to remember my dad's '49, '56 and '58 Chevy's, and I certainly don't recall anyone straining to read the instrument panel at night. I haven't even turned on the factory AC at night yet, but the heater was on low when I noted the dim conditions. I think you gents are telling me why the switch to alternators in the early 1960s.
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Old 05-21-2016, 02:28 PM
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Did you test the out put of your generator? it sounds like if the fan will run but if the lights are dim you might have a different problem such as a ground issue with the dash lights. KENN
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Old 05-21-2016, 03:31 PM
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Is your generator new or rebuilt? If not it may not be putting out anywhere near 30 amps. Also make sure your idle speed is high enough. Your generator doesn't cut in until at least 625 rpm and doesn't reach maximum until about 1200. Also you have a voltage regulator that affects your output. Make sure that is working correctly. Notice how newer cars boost the idle when the A/C is on. There's nothing on your car that does that so it's going to be even worse when you turn the air on. All that being said if you want everything to run efficiently including your A/C you will probably need at least a 100-120 amp alternator. Unless you want everything original for concours judging I would ditch the generator asap.

John
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Old 05-21-2016, 05:52 PM
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My generator is a rebuilt unit. I have an amp meter inside the car, but I'm not sure what it's telling me (because I don't know enough about it). I know with an alternator that voltmeters should produce around 14-15. All I know is that at idle and with lights on, there's much discharge. I know the idle rpm is high enough, and everything seems good during the day. Turn on the headlamps and you have to be driving down the road to stay on the slightly positive side.
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Old 05-21-2016, 06:53 PM
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I'm with John. Ditch the generator.
What to buy? This is where folks shoot themselves in the foot.
To restore your generator OR voltage regulator, since they are both low production items they will also be expensive.

Early alternator and regulator parts are the same story. It will cost more to buy replacement parts for a 60-amp alternator (and separate regulator) than it will a modern 100+amp alt (that already includes an internal regulator). Junk yards crush them daily.

EX: Let's look for a Ford alternator that is easy to mount. The 2001-04 6-cyl Mustang came standard with a 105-amp alternator. Rockauto.com offers that alternator (new) for under a hundred bucks. I can get it delivered to my door for $20 cheaper on eBay.
Another example is the Ford Windstar 3.0l 1999-00, 130-amp 6G alternator. Basically the same exact price. Mounting is just as easy.
These examples show how technology improved with the price being about the same as the price of a 1960 T-bird (30-amp) generator and regulator. It no longer makes sense to spend tons of money on old technology parts when the new ones are ready for all your electrical needs, now and in future.

Remember, the whole purpose for buying a high-amp alt is for the high output at idle speeds. - Dave
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:40 AM
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In addition to improved performance, an alternator with an internal regulator allows for the removal of the old mechanical points regulator and the rats nest of wires. Not as noticeable on some cars, but on Little Birds that mess occupied a lot of real estate on the inner fender. The removal makes a much neater engine bay.
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Old 05-26-2016, 12:07 PM
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How do you deal with the 2 v-belt situation? My generator has a double fan belt attachment. I assume Ford used this redundant set-up to assure generator operation.
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