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Old 03-12-2006, 06:24 AM
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Alternator/voltage Regulator Question

Ok, lets go back to basic 101 AC-Delco GM charging systems. I need help. I have an older car (72 nova) with a voltage regulator on the radiator support panel and a 3-wire alternator. I believe this is stock issue. I bought the car from someone and and am not sure. I know what a voltage regulator is supposed to do but I don't understand how it works on my car. If I converted my alternator to a "1-wire" hookup would it work? I"m looking to buy a new alternator. I guess my question is can you have an "external" voltage regulator with a "1-wire" alternator hookup?

What do the 2 wires going to my alternator wiring harness do? I thought one of them is for a dash warning light (I dont need it) and the other is basically battery voltage. If that is the case, how does the voltage regulator work then. I thought the voltage regulator makes and breaks the "excitation" field in the alternator.

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Old 03-12-2006, 03:30 PM
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i'm sure somebody else can answer this more scientifically, but basically, the one-wire alternator is a 1-wire alt. because the regulator is built-in.

so i don't see how you can get around that other than replacing your alternator.

JB
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Old 03-12-2006, 04:47 PM
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Doc here,

In basic Terms,

On the 3 wire you have, Main Power feed, that goes to the Fuse link on the Starter solenoid, about a 10 gauge red wire. This comes from the big terminal on the Alternator.

The other 2 smaller wires are , Field, and lamp. About 18 gauge in size and usually the Field wire is Red, goes to Battery power, Without this wire the Alternator will not self excite, and not charge.

The Lamp wire is usually Brown, and goes to the ignition switch Via a fuse and the Indicator lamp..Without this wire, your idiot lamp will not function, but the alternator will still charge.

The one wire, Has only, The main 10 gauge wire that runs to the fuse link on the starter. The field is jumpered to self excite from that wire, and allows the alternator to charge predicated on the demand from the internal regulator. The two prong plug on the side, is mearly a jumper

The Voltage regulator is simple. internal or external, All it's function in life is to regulate the amount of charge the system requires to support the vehicle AND keep the battery topped off..

They are NOT (charging systems) Designed to bring the battery back from the brink of death..So If you have a flat battery, don't ever expect the charging system to full charge it in a half hour..not happening..AND you may find yourself waiting for roadside service on a cold rainy day at the store because it cranked 5 times and went dead..

Mechanical or Semi Conductor (Diodes), internal or external, If the system is too low,( About 11 volts) the regulator senses it and turns on to allow Alternator To Support the system and TOP off the battery.

If It (the system ) is too High, (over around 14.4 Volts) The Regulator shuts off, to avoid overcharging the battery and warping the plates and gassing it, also to prevent damage to voltage sensitive electronic components.

You can not externally regulate a one wire Altenator nor run an idiot lamp from it..you need to go to a volt meter for monitoring.

That's very basic on what it (they) do.

Doc
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Last edited by docvette; 03-12-2006 at 04:51 PM. Reason: added info
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Old 03-12-2006, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docvette
Doc here,

In basic Terms,

On the 3 wire you have, Main Power feed, that goes to the Fuse link on the Starter solenoid, about a 10 gauge red wire. This comes from the big terminal on the Alternator.

The other 2 smaller wires are , Field, and lamp. About 18 gauge in size and usually the Field wire is Red, goes to Battery power, Without this wire the Alternator will not self excite, and not charge.

The Lamp wire is usually Brown, and goes to the ignition switch Via a fuse and the Indicator lamp..Without this wire, your idiot lamp will not function, but the alternator will still charge.

The one wire, Has only, The main 10 gauge wire that runs to the fuse link on the starter. The field is jumpered to self excite from that wire, and allows the alternator to charge predicated on the demand from the internal regulator. The two prong plug on the side, is mearly a jumper

The Voltage regulator is simple. internal or external, All it's function in life is to regulate the amount of charge the system requires to support the vehicle AND keep the battery topped off..

They are NOT (charging systems) Designed to bring the battery back from the brink of death..So If you have a flat battery, don't ever expect the charging system to full charge it in a half hour..not happening..AND you may find yourself waiting for roadside service on a cold rainy day at the store because it cranked 5 times and went dead..

Mechanical or Semi Conductor (Diodes), internal or external, If the system is too low,( About 11 volts) the regulator senses it and turns on to allow Alternator To Support the system and TOP off the battery.

If It (the system ) is too High, (over around 14.4 Volts) The Regulator shuts off, to avoid overcharging the battery and warping the plates and gassing it, also to prevent damage to voltage sensitive electronic components.

You can not externally regulate a one wire Altenator nor run an idiot lamp from it..you need to go to a volt meter for monitoring.

That's very basic on what it (they) do.

Doc
thanks Doc

I'm better now. Time to get to work on it. I'll buy a new one. I don't care if it's a 3-wire or a 1 wire right. If it's a 1 wire it must have an "internal regulator" right? If I buy a 3-wire, I already have the existing external voltage regulator anyway so I'm good. Monitoring voltage is good enough for me right now. I don't "need" the 3-wire.
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Old 03-12-2006, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leejoy
If it's a 1 wire it must have an "internal regulator" right? If I buy a 3-wire, I already have the existing external voltage regulator anyway so I'm good. Monitoring voltage is good enough for me right now. I don't "need" the 3-wire.
Doc here,

Don't be confused, three wires can be internally regulated also, as well as external, They are application specific.

The one wire is ALWAYS internally regulated.

Doc
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Old 03-13-2006, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docvette
Doc here,

Don't be confused, three wires can be internally regulated also, as well as external, They are application specific.

The one wire is ALWAYS internally regulated.

Doc
thanks buddy.
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