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Old 11-25-2020, 03:53 PM   #1
billybronco1
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Default Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

I typically only take short rides around town 10-15 miles. I have not been putting the battery tender on after every trip. As this car is new to me I'm trying to figure out it quirks. I starts instantly when cold but a little harder when hot. The other day I was afraid it would not start as the battery sounded real low when hot. Yes, I drive with fog light on for my day time running lights. The amp gauge always shows neg when anything is on even at a higher rpm. So I put my battery tender on and because its only 1.25 amps it took two days for it to completely charge again - something aint right.

So today I played with the generator third brush adjustment. It really didn't seem to make any change, I moved it about 1/4" each way. With nothing on it starts at 6.5 volts and goes as high as 8.5 volts at say 1000 rpm. Once I put the lights on it will not go above 6.15 volts no matter how high the rpm.

So there is no voltage regulator to speak of like one I would recognize today. Is that what the "generator cut out" is for or is there something else to look at? What other test can I do to see why the system can not handle a load?
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Old 11-25-2020, 04:19 PM   #2
Bob C
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

With a three brush generator the battery determines the output voltage
and the third brush adjusts the current output. Sounds like you maybe have a
bad connection between the battery and generator or bad battery if the
voltage is going to 8.5. If the generator is not connected to the battery
the output voltage can go as high as 40 volts, not good for light bulbs and coil.
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Old 11-25-2020, 05:23 PM   #3
billybronco1
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

I will double check all connections, there are not many and I think all is good. Battery seems to charge up and hold a charge fine. What does the generator cut out do, any chance that is bad with the description I have? And to tell you more I think the 8.5 volts would keep going up if I kept the meter on longer.
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Old 11-25-2020, 06:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

Is your commutator clean and shiny? Slide the dirt cover back a little and clean the running generator with a strip of energy cloth.
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Old 11-25-2020, 06:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

To properly test your battery you need a hydrometer and a good battery load tester. From here on always take a hydrometer with you to check any battery you buy new for dead cells. We went through 6 batteries from three different auto supply stores before one got a battery with three good cells!!! Usually if itís three good cells then it will pass the load tester!!
But you can check your current battery for proper electrolytes level and with a hydrometer and know where you stand with it.
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Old 11-25-2020, 06:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clem Clement View Post
Is your commutator clean and shiny? Slide the dirt cover back a little and clean the running generator with a strip of energy cloth.
Clem, energy cloth ?? Emery cloth should NEVER be used on a commutator. Only use fine sandpaper. Regards, Kevin.
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Old 11-25-2020, 06:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

I have an Optima battery sealed no way to test the electrolytes
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Old 11-25-2020, 06:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

billy, just test your optima battery with a voltmeter. Fully charged it should read 6.3 volts. The cut out is just an automatic switch that connects or disconnects the generator from the battery depending on generator RPM. It is not a regulator in any way. The only generator regulation is by the third brush position. Usually volts does not come into checking the third brush but the AMPS setting is the way to do it. A normal daytime setting (no lights on ) would be around 5 amps charge on the ammeter with some revs up. Generators do not charge at idle speed. If you intend driving with headlighhts on for any length of time then the third brush amps setting will need to be increased. Dont go above 15 amps output on the generator otherwise it would overheat. Your generator looks like a 1932 unit or a mixture of parts and not an original 1936 Ford generator. I suggest you read the 1936 Ford instruction book or service bulletins for a better understanding of the early Ford V8 generating system. Regards, Kevin.
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Old 11-25-2020, 07:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

Kevin, thanks yes the Optima is at 6.4 volts when sitting not being used. Okay I will change the output amperage next.
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Old 11-25-2020, 08:33 PM   #10
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

It looks to me that there is only one connection on the back of the cutout. Is there also a wire coming out of the generator back there that should ground to the generator?
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Old 11-26-2020, 01:48 AM   #11
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terry, It appears that the generator housing is from a 32 Ford as it has a terminal stud connection to the cut out. The field ground wire is grounded inside. The 36 Ford has two wires coming out the top of the housing with one going to the cut out and the other grounded under the cutout mounting screw. The front pulley has the cast in cooling fan which is correct for 1936. Thats why I said the generator is a mixture of parts possibly, in post #8. Regards, Kevin.
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Old 11-26-2020, 02:24 AM   #12
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

Quote:
Originally Posted by koates View Post
terry, It appears that the generator housing is from a 32 Ford as it has a terminal stud connection to the cut out. The field ground wire is grounded inside. The 36 Ford has two wires coming out the top of the housing with one going to the cut out and the other grounded under the cutout mounting screw. The front pulley has the cast in cooling fan which is correct for 1936. Thats why I said the generator is a mixture of parts possibly, in post #8. Regards, Kevin.
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Old 11-26-2020, 10:03 AM   #13
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

It is surely not a 32 Generator unless somebody changed the front of it - as a 32 had a post mount, not a T-Slot mount like all other years (except maybe some early 33 production).

But, as noted - it could easily be a combination of parts - which doesn't make it a bad thing. On my 33-34 generator (which I ran on my 32 for a few years), it would keep the battery charged just fine - as long as I was running original style bulbs in the headlights. When I switched over to Halogen bulbs (mine draw 25 amps or so), I then had the generator reworked by E.J. Whitney to put a new "alternator" based center section in it. It really looks the part of an early generator (even has a "cut out" on top), and is designed for 6V operation and higher AMP output. It handles the increased load of my halogen lights just fine.

Note: This is an expensive conversion, but one that I'm totally satisfied with:

https://ejwhitneyco.com/automotive.html
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Old 11-26-2020, 11:07 AM   #14
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

The generator looks like it is set up like a Model A generator with a
stud instead of wires for the cut-out.
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Old 11-26-2020, 11:18 AM   #15
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

What ever it is or what's its from I need to make it work correctly. How much do you adjust the third brush, I moved it about 1/4". Do you play with this looking at the meter while the car is running or off? I assume a wood dowel if while running. Why would the voltage start at 6.5 and keep climbing to 8.5 or more with no load. Car ammeter shows positive until I put the lights on, then it goes slight negative an stays there no mater what the rpm, pretty much like the voltage does the same.
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Old 11-26-2020, 11:57 AM   #16
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

I adjust brushes running with a wooden paint stick. Headlights on high rpm barely positive charging.
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Old 11-26-2020, 11:59 AM   #17
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

And is the output goal a steady 7.5 volts?
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Old 11-26-2020, 02:20 PM   #18
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

It sounds like your generator is performing as intended. You shouldn't show any charge with lights on. Maybe just change the fog light bulbs to LEDs.
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Old 11-26-2020, 03:04 PM   #19
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

billy, I stated in my earlier post NOT TO WORRY ABOUT THE VOLTAGE. If you adjust the third brush up to just break even with standard bulb headlights on with some revs up then that is all you can get safely out of the gen. At that setting the charge with the headlights off will be around 15 amps on the ammeter. This is not an automatic system like on a later model car. If you have a longer drive with lights off then the battery would be overcharged. You have to set the third brush to the driving conditions you usually use. If you drive mostly with the lights OFF then adjust the third brush to charge at about five amps with some revs up. As I said this is a very simple system that does not compensate for the batteries condition (flat or charged up)or what lights you have turned on. The only way to automatically cover all situations is to fit a later model two brush generator (1939 onwards) with a three unit voltage regulator or a modern alternator which is available as a six volt positive ground unit. The car has survived for the last eighty plus years so far with its original system so why mess it up with something different, just work with it as is. Regards, Kevin.
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Old 11-26-2020, 06:39 PM   #20
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Default Re: Charging System Will Not Work Under A Load

There have been voltage regulators built into cut-out cans. You might check for something similar. Or just keep the lights off for some of your driving.
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