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Old 10-11-2021, 01:05 AM   #1
vern hodgson
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Default Consensus of opinion

Original rebuilt generator or alternator, pros/ cons??!
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Old 10-11-2021, 02:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

A generator can be fussy, can require fine-tuning as your electrical use patterns change. If they're not set up right, they can be hard on the battery and electrical components. Whereas an alternator is usually plug-and-play. However, if the rest of the engine bay is stock-looking, an alternator looks out of place, IMO, unless you get one of the very expensive ones that's built to look like a generator.

The best of both worlds is a rebuilt generator with an EVR. Unfortunately, no one is making EVRs right this minute.
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Old 10-11-2021, 04:27 AM   #3
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

What's an EVR?
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Old 10-11-2021, 04:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

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Originally Posted by Eccentric Old Guy View Post
What's an EVR?
electronic voltage regulator
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Old 10-11-2021, 06:37 AM   #5
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

Vern, everything is relative. A stock Model-A generator is really not that difficult to maintain. The reason that Model-A generators fell from use and alternators stepped in for use was due to poor parts availability in the late 70's. No one was making good armatures nor field coils, and the small incidental parts required scrounging at swap meets. That is why the alternator began to be popular. Almost every parts store had one in stock. At that point, I can remember that it was Monkey See, -Monkey Do.

Fast forward to today when a new armature (-actually better quality than original) is available today, new field coils with better wrapping, and all of the small internal parts are available. Even the Cut-out that is available today has a diode that makes it non-problematic. So there really is not any reason that an original generator cannot be restored and used for 50,000+ miles with very little maintenance. The difficulty of fine-tuning is really not that much either but just requires a little effort for about 15 minutes. Most people do not understand how the process works. Batteries today are of better construction, and battery tenders are the norm for most hobbyists that do not use their Model-A frequently (i.e.: several times a week). If starting a Model-A depletes 10% of the battery's reserve, a generator may take 15 minutes to replenish that whereas an alternator takes 5 minutes. If you take a 15 minute ride, what does it matter if it take 5 minutes or 15 minutes? We get so caught-up in our mindset that an alternator is needed. So if the ride only takes 10 minutes, no big deal as the battery only gets returned to 95%. Maybe the trip home takes 20 minutes and the battery gets fully re-charged. Lets suppose you have a battery tender at home. If the charging system in under-charging for the entire day, the tender will replenish it and you are ready for the following trip whenever that will be.

Others also get too hung-up on this deal about needing an EVR to regulate the charging. The Model-A came with a voltage regulator. It is called a Light Switch. If the charging plan is to replenish in 15 minutes but you have a 30 minute trip ahead, just wait the 15 minutes and then turn on the headlights to use some of the extra charging rate the generator is producing. Turn them on and drive for a bit and then switch them off. Doing this, adjusting the Carburetor's GAV, adjusting the Spark Lever, shifting Transmission Gears, depressing the Clutch Pedal, etc., etc. is all what takes the boredom out of driving a Model-A. If you don't feel like doing those things, then go drive a modern car to your destination!
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Old 10-11-2021, 06:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

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Back in the day I used a stock generator but wired in a mechanical voltage regulator to control the field windings rather than the 3rd brush. The voltage regulator was hidden. The only clue was the extra wire leading to the generator. The mechanical regulators can still be found, mostly for old Ford trucks and tractors. I have not tried an electronic voltage regulator. I have an alternator on my current Model A.
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Old 10-11-2021, 07:53 AM   #7
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

The alternator, in comparison to a generator, is the performance winner:
>Higher current output to charge the battery very much quicker;
>Superior solid state regulation in lieu of the Cutout, and does not require output adjustment for nighttime driving;

>Enables use of brighter modern lighting;
>Choice of operating voltage, 6V or 12V;
>Relatively maintenance free;

>Available in most auto parts stores & rebuilding shops are common place.
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Old 10-11-2021, 08:52 AM   #8
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRENT in 10-uh-C View Post
The Model-A came with a voltage regulator. It is called a Light Switch. If the charging plan is to replenish in 15 minutes but you have a 30 minute trip ahead, just wait the 15 minutes and then turn on the headlights to use some of the extra charging rate the generator is producing. Turn them on and drive for a bit and then switch them off. Doing this, adjusting the Carburetor's GAV, adjusting the Spark Lever, shifting Transmission Gears, depressing the Clutch Pedal, etc., etc. is all what takes the boredom out of driving a Model-A. If you don't feel like doing those things, then go drive a modern car to your destination!
This is some impressive gatekeeping right here. Who has a "charging plan?" Those who don't care to formulate and execute a "charging plan" should go buy a Toyota?
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Old 10-11-2021, 09:10 AM   #9
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

For me a generator is more reliable and cheaper to repair/replace I have the charge rate set at 14 amps ---first generator I rebuilt am still doing high output testing after temporary repair in 1972 --learned that fuse at starter causes generator and bulb problems was told that resoldering wires to commutator would be only a temporary fix ---got rid of fuse.
I drive a lot at night have halogen bulbs , no battery tender ,long battery life, use headlights during daytime to limit charge rate and expect it to stare even if it has been over 3 months.
I have had the delco alternator out of the truck 3 times in 40 years(74 chevy van) it's worn out 3 belts in that time --the stock A belt is still working at 50
It costs me more than twice as much to rebuild a alternator---i can buy a generator for 5$ or less that I can go through clean and re lubricate and have one that works for many years.
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Old 10-11-2021, 09:13 AM   #10
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

I have both ! Generator with a Tom Wessenberg EVR is on the car, an alternator in storage for a back up. The alternator doesn't look right installed on the A's, I haven't needed the output of the alternator yet, when I put in a stereo with 200 amp booster, heated seats, a/c, window deicers, then I'll need the alternator!
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Old 10-11-2021, 09:32 AM   #11
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

I have both. I prefer the generator (fully professionally rebuilt) with a diode cutout. I have an EVR that I have never installed. Charge rate is set low at 2 to 3 amps. I have a good battery installed. This works very well for occasional night time driving with conventional 50/32 bulbs. I suppose if I were going to take an extended overnight trip I might adjust the charge rate, but for 2 or 3 hours of night driving, I’ve never adjusted it. 6 volt positive ground. The only accessories I have are a cell phone charger and GPS.

Now, the alternator on my other car (equipped the same) works well, too—but I haven’t found any advantage over the generator, and it is ugly.

I recently acquired a car with my first Powerhouse generator, and so far it performs very well, but I don’t have enough experience with it yet to opine.

W. Michael

Last edited by w.michael; 10-11-2021 at 09:34 AM. Reason: Grammar
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Old 10-11-2021, 10:28 AM   #12
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt in NJ View Post
For me a generator is more reliable and cheaper to repair/replace I have the charge rate set at 14 amps ---first generator I rebuilt am still doing high output testing after temporary repair in 1972 --learned that fuse at starter causes generator and bulb problems was told that resoldering wires to commutator would be only a temporary fix ---got rid of fuse.
I drive a lot at night have halogen bulbs , no battery tender ,long battery life, use headlights during daytime to limit charge rate and expect it to stare even if it has been over 3 months.
I have had the delco alternator out of the truck 3 times in 40 years(74 chevy van) it's worn out 3 belts in that time --the stock A belt is still working at 50
It costs me more than twice as much to rebuild a alternator---i can buy a generator for 5$ or less that I can go through clean and re lubricate and have one that works for many years.
Kurt, just curious. How many miles do you put on your Model A compared to your van? I have a similar experience, but I will anmit I put a lot more miles on my van than I do my Model A.
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Old 10-11-2021, 12:35 PM   #13
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

Thanks every one for the in depth replies, I now know more than before, I also prefer to remain as stock as possible, just because. Guess I will look for a good generator, have one I was going to use, but pulley hub and shaft were rusted so bad that after removing the pulley it will no longer sit snugly on the armature shaft. The bolt (I assume it must be a bolt) actually broke off when I tried to remove it. I will most likely buy a new rebuilt one. Great replies, thanks again
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Old 10-11-2021, 02:28 PM   #14
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

Generator with preferably an EVR. [ and 6v or 12v makes no difference]

An alternator on an 'A' just ain't right. JMHO.
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Old 10-11-2021, 04:52 PM   #15
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

My 31 Tudor has a 12v alternator negative ground system and I like it. Quick starts and easy to get a jump if necessary. Other mods include seat belts, electronic ignition, and turn signals. Unless Pebble Beach is a consideration, these mods would be considered by most to be practical without crossing the originality rubicon. In the final analysis, it is really up to you.
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Old 10-11-2021, 09:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

50 years ago my pos was a daily driver, it had a delco generator 8 volt battery and wouldn't start because the battery was to weak! So one day a guy needed a ride home and it wouldn't start, he got a couple of guys to push start me. I set up everything and the guys pushed, I had it second gear and it was running with in an arms length. The guys said we tought we would have to push it for blocks! Many times I would push it myself jump in put it in second gear pop the clutch, fun times when your a teenager! No hand cranking, Dad said if he caught me if it didn't break my arm he would.

Buy the way you can jump start 6 volt battery with 12 volts just don't have any lights on, and those 12volt jumper boxes just connect and let all of the electrons flow from the box before trying to start..... don't for get to recharge the box before you need it again !!!
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Old 10-12-2021, 09:49 AM   #17
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by w.michael View Post
I have both. I prefer the generator (fully professionally rebuilt) with a diode cutout. I have an EVR that I have never installed. Charge rate is set low at 2 to 3 amps. I have a good battery installed. This works very well for occasional night time driving with conventional 50/32 bulbs. I suppose if I were going to take an extended overnight trip I might adjust the charge rate, but for 2 or 3 hours of night driving, Iíve never adjusted it. 6 volt positive ground. The only accessories I have are a cell phone charger and GPS.

Now, the alternator on my other car (equipped the same) works well, tooóbut I havenít found any advantage over the generator, and it is ugly.

I recently acquired a car with my first Powerhouse generator, and so far it performs very well, but I donít have enough experience with it yet to opine.

W. Michael
W.Micheal, what do you use for a cell phone charger on the 6v positive ground system?
where can i buy one?

ou
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Old 10-12-2021, 11:37 AM   #18
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

I have alternators on both of my A's. I went with a Powergen for my 1930 because I hate the way the modern alternators look on a Model A. Expensive, but it's been a great unit. I have halogen headlights, which is one reason I switched. I just recently installed an old Model A generator converted to an alternator on my 28, so it looks exactly original. I couldn't adjust the generator on the 28. I bought the converted generator a year or so ago, but finally installed it as I had planned to take a long trip and wanted the assurance that I would have the juice I needed.
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Old 10-12-2021, 12:58 PM   #19
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

My question anytime someone wants to "upgrade" something on a Model A is 'what are you trying to accomplish.' If the car is otherwise well maintained, has a good battery and clean connections, the original generator does what is needed (and maintains the originality).

IF you do a lot of night driving and have installed some sort of high output lights; have installed a stereo; run a CB radio...etc... These things can require more and cleaner output than the generator will provide.

It is your car, and I don't believe there is any shame in putting in an alternator, but my car is a snapshot in history...a conversation piece... I enjoy it BECAUSE it is antiquated, so I like to keep it as original as practical. I do have some modernization, but I try to stick to things that don't show.

Ken
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Old 10-12-2021, 01:47 PM   #20
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Default Re: Consensus of opinion

I do a lot of night driving and have higher wattage halogen bulbs, cranks fast , lights are bright, have been accused of having 12volts, and other modifications
I would like to know how many amps alternator equipped cars can sustain, the people selling them refuse to prove their claims.
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