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Old 10-01-2017, 08:53 AM   #21
Ted Duke
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

The reason that the manufacturers changed to 12 volts is to save money. By using a higher voltage they could use smaller wires. It is as simple as that. MONEY.
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Old 10-01-2017, 09:34 AM   #22
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

I agree with those saying to decide how you are going to use your car. I converted to 12 volt many years ago on a 29 Tudor we use for long distance touring & have never regretted it. Something to consider if you are in the middle of nowhere & a 6 volt alternator gives out is where are you going to get one. 12 volt alternators are in every parts store & junk yard. Consider your use & needs and build accordingly.
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Old 10-01-2017, 04:41 PM   #23
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

I switched to 12v for the availability of alternators. I recommend a battery shut off. I had the starter button stick once. I also like to use a fuse block in my car.
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Old 10-02-2017, 10:46 AM   #24
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

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Originally Posted by jrelliott View Post
If you have a generator, you can hand crank it or push start when the battery is low. You cannot do this with an alternator. BTW if you want can use a stock generator and run a 12V negative ground system. Just change the bulbs, polarity of the coil, a 12V coil or a ballast resistor, repolarize the generator, swap the wires on the amp meter and a 12V battery. You can probably get a 12V regulator from Fun Projects or Tom Wesenberg that will go in your generator.
This is the first time I have heard this. Are you saying that when the battery is so dead it won't allow the coil to create a spark, a generator will supply enough juice at hand cranking speed, while an alternator won't?
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Old 10-03-2017, 04:25 AM   #25
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

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This is the first time I have heard this. Are you saying that when the battery is so dead it won't allow the coil to create a spark, a generator will supply enough juice at hand cranking speed, while an alternator won't?
Have pull started many old cars and tractors with a dead battery.

An alternator needs to see battery voltage in order to produce current.

Also, a real-quick way to smoke test an alternator is to remove the battery cable while the engine is running.
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Old 10-03-2017, 07:39 AM   #26
H. L. Chauvin
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

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Nice to maintain everything original with 6 Volts; however, just one (1) humble opinion based on past experiences:

1. As usual, wonderful comments above, and yes, fully agree that "NOW" is the time to consider and think about a 12V conversion, vs. staying with a very functional 6 volt system.

2. Here are a few "Out-of-the-Box" thoughts that so many Model A owners find out "AFTERWARDS", and are later compelled to consider and convert to 12 volts:

A. Not trying to get personal, but are you married; and/or do you have or want a future a girl friend?

B. If so, do you want this lovely lady to accompany you mostly 24/7 when driving your Model A; or are you intending to find a very sweet female in the near or distant future with which to share your Model A?

C. Does your most wonderful female sweetie get hot spells .......... and/or, would she possibly complain a lot if she would presently be compelled to constantly ride with you in the summer in your modern car with your A/C always turned "OFF" ..... all of the time ....... even with all of the windows rolled down?

D. Furthermore, do you live in a sometimes too warm of an area, or do you live in an area where it is "always", (100% of the time), a most bearable wonderful cool area where A/C is NEVER needed?

3. After the Model A FLING gets just a little old, some wonderful females just very politely say "NO" ............. you either get A/C or I will not to ride without A/C.

4. A/C requires 12 Volts.

5. Not an all encompassing Model A scenario; but this is just one (1) slightly different and most friendly Model A 12 Volt "Sexual Consideration".
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Old 10-03-2017, 07:50 AM   #27
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

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Originally Posted by Ted Duke View Post
The reason that the manufacturers changed to 12 volts is to save money. By using a higher voltage they could use smaller wires. It is as simple as that. MONEY.
The 12 volt conversion by the OEM seems to be a few factors, as well as negative ground. Interesting subject for trivia maybe. I've read it was because in part - 1956 or thereabouts, due to higher compression engines becoming widespread. Six volts just didn't have the oomph to reliably turn over the larger engines. Vehicle accessories started to take off in a big way postwar and placed increasing demands on the electrical systems. Wire size played a role too - copper is viewed as a precious metal by the accounting department apparently. Semiconductors and alternators replaced generators, transistors replaced vacuum tubes in radios, making a negative ground system the better choice.
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Old 10-03-2017, 08:24 AM   #28
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

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This is the first time I have heard this. Are you saying that when the battery is so dead it won't allow the coil to create a spark, a generator will supply enough juice at hand cranking speed, while an alternator won't?
With a diode cutout the generator can make close to 4 volts into the system , not have to get over 6 volts to close a reley cutout, I have hand crank started the car with the battery dissconnected, you do have to flip it over pretty quick----

I have been accused of having a12 volt system, my car cranks fast, the lights are bright, from my experience the generator is morereliable than the alternator---the chevy truck that I have had 35 years has had the alternator fail 3 times in 30 years, the model A generator it's been over 40 years without doing anything ezcept a few drops of oil ----

the idea of changing to something you can get at "any parts store" instead of the reliability of proper restoration ----I guess it gives a reason to occupy time and travel from parts store to parts store
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Old 10-03-2017, 08:33 AM   #29
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

http://jmodela.coffeecup.com/mods.html
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Old 10-03-2017, 08:57 AM   #30
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

At first, when I got my first model A, I wanted to convert to the more powerful 12V. I thought 6Vs were so years ago and I didn't want to replicate some of my early experiences. I asked a cousin, who was flipping Intnl tractors what he thought of converting. He said don't bother! Just install the 6V properly (Cable sizes, clean connections etc) and it will be fine. I met a retired Boeing engineer who was into Ford N series tractors and his advice was keep your connections Clean ,Bright, and Tight! I've found them to be words to live by. Don't just compress the connectors on your cables, solder them! I also am a fan of auxiliary ground cable directly to the starter. The Mod. A was designed to ground through the frame. Almost a century later, the electrical connections and ground paths through the riveted parts is not what as it was designed.
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Old 10-03-2017, 10:39 AM   #31
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

Like Kurt said, I've also found generators to be more reliable.
Once I restore a Powerhouse, I shouldn't need to touch it again ever.
Maybe check the brush length after 80,000 miles is all.
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Old 10-03-2017, 11:34 AM   #32
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

I bought my alt from Davis,several years ago,coil from local parts supplier,I have for horn adjustable resistor from mouser electronics sits inside frame adjusted for perfect sound,took starter to local alternator starter shop they rebuilt and changed field coils to 12 volt havent touched since did the conversion,you cant go wrong using Davis,I even have his shock kit
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:46 AM   #33
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

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Originally Posted by Dollar Bill View Post
Have pull started many old cars and tractors with a dead battery.

An alternator needs to see battery voltage in order to produce current.

Also, a real-quick way to smoke test an alternator is to remove the battery cable while the engine is running.
By "dead battery" do you mean not enough juice to turn over the engine? I am still having trouble with the idea that a generator (not magneto) will produce enough current to excite the coil at hand cranking speed. If so you should be able to start the engine with the battery disconnected? That would be an interesting experiment. However if it worked, you would have to shut right down, as a generator not connected to a battery could burn itself out.

So . . .
An alternator not connected to a battery produces no power, while a generator not connected to a battery produces too much power.

Interesting.

Last edited by pgerhardt; 10-05-2017 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 07-28-2021, 02:31 PM   #34
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

I have a '29 Tudor that I want to swap to HC Head, touring cam. I appreciate the pros/cons of each, but think I'll upgrade to 12V. Thanks for the info guys
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Old 07-28-2021, 03:32 PM   #35
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

There is no need to change to 12 volts unless accessory installation demands it such as AC. If the conversion is made, in spite of comments made about converting the starter not necessary, it just is not true. I have had 5 come into my shop that the starter ring has been pushed off because of 6volt starter on a 12volt battery. Happened on my own car. Failing to convert the starter is like having a pet rattlesnake.....one day.
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Old 07-29-2021, 08:11 AM   #36
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

I’ve had the original 6V positive ground system on all my Model A’s since I bought my first one in 1967, and have had no issues other than periodic battery replacement.

The main reason many switched to 12V is no longer valid, as LED headlights can now be easily run on the original electrical system, and USB charging ports will also work on a 6V system.

Good luck with your car, whatever you decide to do.
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Old 07-29-2021, 09:27 AM   #37
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Default Re: 6 volt or 12 volt

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The main reason many switched to 12V is no longer valid, as LED headlights can now be easily run on the original electrical system, and USB charging ports will also work on a 6V system.
Very true. The only reason now to convert to 12V negative ground is for compatibility with add-ons, such as a/c or modern electronics.
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