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Old 07-10-2010, 10:09 AM
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Testing External Regulator?

Guys,

I have a charging problem with my chevelle, but I have never worked with an old external regulated alternator. Can someone tell me how to test to varify whether it is a regulator or alternator problem? The alternator looks to have been replaced at some point, but the regulator looks to be original. However, i dont want to assume that is the issue.

Any pointers are appreciated.

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Old 07-15-2010, 04:08 PM
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Regulator

Is this a mechanical or solid state regulator? The old mechanical ones would have a set of contact points in it. Those could be burned and need filing down. In any case if your charge is low on your battery you should see something like 13 Volts on up coming from your regulator to your battery depending on RPM of your car. There are cutoff circuits in their too to keep from charging too mutch normally.
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Old 07-15-2010, 06:10 PM
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Here is a couple of diagrams to look over see if this helps answer some questions
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Last edited by pepi; 07-15-2010 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 07-15-2010, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powell351W
Is this a mechanical or solid state regulator? The old mechanical ones would have a set of contact points in it. Those could be burned and need filing down. In any case if your charge is low on your battery you should see something like 13 Volts on up coming from your regulator to your battery depending on RPM of your car. There are cutoff circuits in their too to keep from charging too mutch normally.
I have no idea...it is roughly a 3" square black box that came on a 64 chevelle. I will have to do some google research to see if I can find out. I had a hard time finding much on google for testing procedures.

Thanks for the feedback. I may see if I can take it apart.

I guess I need to just go ahead and get a new regulator and start there. What I was trying to avoid is buying an alternator and needing a regulator....
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Old 07-15-2010, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepi
Here is a couple of diagrams to look over see if this helps answer some questions
Thanks, the last looks like the way it is wired.
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Old 07-16-2010, 05:44 PM
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take the cover off. you'll see right away if its mechanical (relays) or solid state(electronics)
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Old 07-16-2010, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by va4cqd
take the cover off. you'll see right away if its mechanical (relays) or solid state(electronics)
Gonna do that this weekend. Thanks!
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboS10
I have no idea...it is roughly a 3" square black box that came on a 64 chevelle. I will have to do some google research to see if I can find out. I had a hard time finding much on google for testing procedures.

Thanks for the feedback. I may see if I can take it apart.

I guess I need to just go ahead and get a new regulator and start there. What I was trying to avoid is buying an alternator and needing a regulator....
'64 Chevelle? What are the problems that you're having, and what have you done so far??

If you have an analog (points-type) external voltage regulator- switch to a solid state replacement. I believe the replacement unit is a Wells VR715, but check to be sure.

OR (better yet):

Switch to an internally regulated alternator like an SI type.

Looks something like this (from the online Hot Rod mag tech articles):

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Old 07-17-2010, 02:50 AM
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jump from the F to 3 terminal on the reg. the alt. should put out 16+ volts. if not the alt is bad, if it does replace the reg. it is a simple thing to diagnose...

BAT to field (the 3 terminal is bat. voltage, the F terminal is field) will pull full voltage out of the alternator by applying battery voltage to the field windings.

Last edited by techron; 07-17-2010 at 02:59 AM.
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Old 07-17-2010, 05:35 AM
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Techron, gives you the way to troubleshoot the problem, if you do not have a meter, take the alternator to an auto zombie and have run it and checked there. Good alternator = bad voltage regulator. Good troubleshooting methods always educates the troubleshooter .. Anyone can buy and through parts at a machine, the troubleshooter fixes it right and for the least $$$$$.
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techron
jump from the F to 3 terminal on the reg. the alt. should put out 16+ volts. if not the alt is bad, if it does replace the reg. it is a simple thing to diagnose...

BAT to field (the 3 terminal is bat. voltage, the F terminal is field) will pull full voltage out of the alternator by applying battery voltage to the field windings.
This is the perfect test, just dont leave it to long or you can damage the alternator or burn lights out.

This is known as a full field test.
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Old 07-17-2010, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt327
OR (better yet):

Switch to an internally regulated alternator like an SI type.
After determining whether the external regulator is bad or the alternator is bad, or if by now they're BOTH bad, consider the following:

New external regulator- $33.

61A alternator for external regulator system, '64 Malibu V8- $40-$60.

Also consider, instead of replacing w/the OEM parts (unless this is an original restoration or survivor that has to be kept all OEM):

Cost of an Si internally regulated alternator, 63A- $30.

Plus a couple splices and a pigtail from the "HELP" section of the parts store, maybe $5.

This is a simple mod that will allow for a higher amp alternator if desired (additional cost in some cases over the 62A cited above if bought from a parts store, or much less from a 'yard), the same thing can be done to swap to the CS type alternator if desired.
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Old 07-18-2010, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techron
jump from the F to 3 terminal on the reg. the alt. should put out 16+ volts. if not the alt is bad, if it does replace the reg. it is a simple thing to diagnose...

BAT to field (the 3 terminal is bat. voltage, the F terminal is field) will pull full voltage out of the alternator by applying battery voltage to the field windings.
That is exactly what I was looking for. I have not had a chance to get out there yet, but I hope to this afternoon.

I do have and understand using a meter, so that is not a problem.

Cobalt, thanks for the information and diagram. After I figure out what is wrong I may just rewire. The car is not 100% original so an alternator upgrade would not be a horrible sin. If I determine the regulator can be fixed I will go that route. If I have to buy anything it will just be a new alternator.

Thanks again, and I will report back.
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Old 07-18-2010, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboS10
That is exactly what I was looking for. I have not had a chance to get out there yet, but I hope to this afternoon.

I do have and understand using a meter, so that is not a problem.

Cobalt, thanks for the information and diagram. After I figure out what is wrong I may just rewire. The car is not 100% original so an alternator upgrade would not be a horrible sin. If I determine the regulator can be fixed I will go that route. If I have to buy anything it will just be a new alternator.

Thanks again, and I will report back.
If the VR is a points type, it can be adjusted. Over time, the contacts become pitted and worn causing less-than-accurate voltage regulation. If you're interested- and it actually applies that your regulator is good, but out of adjustment- I will dig out a manual that gives the procedure for measurement and adjustment.

Otherwise *[SI]*, I'm sure you'll *[SI]* come to the right *[SI]* decision.
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Old 07-18-2010, 08:36 PM
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Okay, I got it apart. It is a points type regulator. It looks fine inside, but there is some white corrosion right on the contacts and maybe a little bit of pitting. My first thought is to gently remove the corrosion, but some instruction on setting these would be great.

I did not jump the plug and try that just yet. I figure I need to make sure the regulator is right first. My feeling is that it probably worked the last time the car was parked which was years before I got it. But, who knows....maybe that is why it was parked....or it could have been the brake failure or the transmission problems or the wiring under the dash I fixed...list goes on .

Thanks!
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