DIY014 Testing ford / Mel charging systems

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DIY014 Testing ford / Mel charging systems

Post by 59lincolnrag » Fri 25. Sep 2009, 05:54

DIY014 Testing ford / Mel charging systems

If you have a voltmeter, here are some easy tests to make:

Measure the voltage across the battery. Should be about 12.3 – 12.6 volts with the engine off. As the engine speeds up, the voltage should increase to somewhere around 13 volts. If it does, the generator is working and charging the battery.
If the voltmeter does not go up with the engine running, first check to see that the generator brushes are not worn excessively. If you can, apply a little pressure to the brushes while the engine is running and see if the gen light goes out or the voltmeter reading increases.
If it does, the brushes may be worn to the point that they don't exert enough pressure on the commutator.
If the brushes check OK, do this test:
Disconnect the generator from the regulator (probably easiest to simply take the wires off the generator). Connect a jumper from DF on the generator to the generator frame. Now run the engine and measure the voltage from ground to D+ on the generator.
NOTE: Some generators have different types of terminals; verify which is DF and which is D+.
Refer to the shop manual ………………….
As you increase the engine speed, the voltage should jump up to +15 volts or so (@3000 RPM). If it passes this test, the generator is good.
(Don't run this test longer than necessary as it will overheat the generator.)
If it fails that test, the generator may need to be polarized. Leave the jumper wire connected from DF to ground. Remove the fan belt. Connect a wire from the battery + terminal to D+ on the generator.
The generator shaft should start to spin.
Don't run this way for more than a few seconds to avoid overheating.
The generator will now be properly polarized. If the generator did not spin during this motoring test, the generator is likely defective.
Put the belt back on and re-test for generator voltage with DF grounded. If the output voltage is still low, the generator is defective.
About polarizing
Generators, unlike alternators need to be "polarized". Auto generators need some magnetism to get started. This "residual" magnetism remains in the Field pole pieces even after the engine has stopped.
The next time the generator starts up, the residual magnetism creates a small voltage in the Armature windings. Not enough to charge the battery, but enough to allow the Field windings to draw current. As the Field current increases, the pole pieces create even more magnetism. That makes even more voltage in the Armature, and the cycle continues until the generator is capable of producing maximum output. A generator which has been stored a long time or is freshly built may have lost the residual magnetism to the point where it can no longer get the generator started producing voltage. In the case of a new generator or one which has been mis-treated, the residual may even be of the wrong direction (North and South poles reversed).
Polarization is a simple process used to restore the Field pole residual magnetism and ensure the magnetic direction is correct.
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Re: DIY014 Testing ford / Mel charging systems

Post by keithol » Sat 26. Mar 2011, 02:35

I had not read this post before ,but I felt I should respond . The information is correct if you have a Delco Remy or Pre Ford - Autolite merger Autolite charging system , but if you have a Ford system ,which most Mels do, the information will get you nowhere . Delco and Autolite systems tap power from the output brush or terminal inside the generator, route it through the field coils (electromagnets) ,and use a vibrating contact regulator to vary the amount of ground this circuit receives . Varying the current through the field coils changes the amount of magnetism in the coils thereby regulating the output of the generator. On this type of system grounding the field terminal forces full output from the generator, provided the cutout portion of the regulator connects it to the battery . On a Ford System however , the field coils are internally grounded and the regulator sends current to them through vibrating contacts. Trying to full field a ford generator by grounding the field terminal could be destructive to the voltage regulator. On a Ford system, to full field, you simply apply voltage to the field terminal instead of ground. Incidentally the same as most alternators before built in regulators . To polarize a Ford generator you apply voltage to the field terminal usually by jumpering the battery terminal with the field terminal at the regulator. The cutout portion of the voltage regulator must have a small amount of power coming from the generator as it starts turning to close the contact points and connect it with the battery . That is why residual magnetism in the pole pieces ,of the correct polarity ,is needed. Sometimes the cutout portion of the voltage regulator contacts would stick together causing a dead battery.

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