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Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: whubbell ()
Date: February 14, 2020 05:49PM

I finally got the Glenn car off the lift today and moved under its own power for the first time in over 2 1/2 years. I drove it in and out of the garage one car length.

That was the good news.

But...

The generator isn’t charging (indicator light stays on and no voltage on the generator terminals. This is a completely rebuilt generator w/new field coils, armature, etc. and it bench tested OK. I had a new voltage regulator but I also tried a different one, but no go. I also tried grounding the field terminal, but no go. And yes, I polarized the generator. I guess the next step is to try a different generator? Any other suggestions?

Also, the Powerglide (completely rebuilt) is not engaging correctly. Reverse seems OK, but it partially engages in neutral. Drive seems to be neutral, low seems to be drive. I’m guessing the manual valve needs to be adjusted, so the car will have to go back on the lift, drain the Powerglide fluid, and drop the pan to fix it.

Seems like nothing is ever easy...

Bill Hubbell,
President, Stock Corvair Group

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: Wagon Master ()
Date: February 14, 2020 06:30PM

Does the generator try to "motor" when you polarize it?

'29 Ford Model A Tudor
'61 700 Lakewood 110 4 speed
'69 Monza Convert. 140 Auto.
'70 Dodge Challenger R/T 440 4 speed

Been aircooled since 1973
Northwest Ohio

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: MattNall ()
Date: February 14, 2020 06:46PM

Bill What WM sez...with the belt off.

With the PG... need to pull the pan and check the valve position..


From our FAQ's

With fan belt off and both Field and Armature wires disconnected:

Ground the field terminal and apply 12 volts + to the armature.

The generator should SPIN , but turn slower than you may expect.

==============================

Shift valve adjust with pic

MODERATOR
Sea Mountain, between Charleston Harbor and Coos Bay! SW Oregon Coast
Click HERE for My Website...Click HERE for My TechPages!
..............................110-PG.................................................Webered-Turbo

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: Frank DuVal ()
Date: February 14, 2020 07:51PM

With voltmeter positive lead on Armature terminal of generator, negative lead on ground, engine running 1000 RPM or so, Field terminal grounded, there is NO voltage?confused smiley

Then the generator is not self exciting. Polarizing the generator should put residual magnetism onto the field iron to allow it to self excite.

When you polarized the generator was there a big fat spark?confused smiley

Frank DuVal

Fredericksburg, VA

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: whubbell ()
Date: February 14, 2020 08:52PM

Well, it DID motor before I installed it (that’s what I meant by “bench test” but now it does not - instead just causes an impressive short (like directly connecting the positive and negative terminals of battery!)

So, I just now took the generator out of the car, disassembled it, and ran all of the “open” and “ground” tests on the field coils and terminals, and the ground and open tests for armature - all checked out OK. The only test I did not do was the armature test for shorts (requires a growler) - Smitty might still have a growler; if so, I will run that test also. I also checked for free movement of the armature and that seems fine as well. However, upon reassembly, it still won’t motor - just shorts. So perhaps it is a short in the armature; otherwise, I’ve got no idea why it’s not working now when it was working when assembled a year ago.

I think the car just hates me. sad smiley

Bill Hubbell,
President, Stock Corvair Group



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/14/2020 08:56PM by whubbell.

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: whubbell ()
Date: February 14, 2020 08:53PM

Frank - yes - a very big fat spark when I polarized the generator.

Bill Hubbell,
President, Stock Corvair Group

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: vairmech ()
Date: February 15, 2020 06:16AM

Try giving the generator a spin as you connect power, what does it do?

Ken Hand
Handy Car Care
248 613 8586

Vairmech@aol.com

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: whubbell ()
Date: February 15, 2020 03:13PM

Ok, I’ve solved the problem and trust me, it was a weird one.

The first clue is to remember that I said I had completely rebuilt the generator.

The second clue is that The generator originally motored on the bench OK, but did not charge when installed in the car (this tells us to look for something that had changed)

Third clue - when I tried to motor the generator now, it dead shorted (like touching the battery terminal together).

In spite of this, I could not find anything wrong with the generator when I took it apart.

So, I went at it bit by bit, testing, removing, changing different things until I finally got a break - the short appeared whenever I attached the commutator end frame to the case - didn’t matter whether anything else was installed or not - that one action led to a short. So I looked carefully and there it was - the freeze plug covering the grease reservoir on the end frame was touching the armature brush holder when it was installed. But why?

Well, because dumb me installed the freeze plug upside down. It’s supposed to present a concave face to the brush holder, thereby avoiding contact with it, but I had installed it with a convex surface.

Take the plug out, flip it upside down and reinstall - problem solved. Generator motors on the bench again. I’ll reinstall it tomorrow and hopefully it will charge once again.

Bill Hubbell,
President, Stock Corvair Group

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: MattNall ()
Date: February 15, 2020 03:23PM

Good one!

MODERATOR
Sea Mountain, between Charleston Harbor and Coos Bay! SW Oregon Coast
Click HERE for My Website...Click HERE for My TechPages!
..............................110-PG.................................................Webered-Turbo

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: corventure Dave ()
Date: February 15, 2020 07:20PM

Its always good to hear of the odd=ball gremlins. thumbs up

smileys with beer

Corventure Dave

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: Frank DuVal ()
Date: February 15, 2020 07:32PM

Great to hear you found the issue.

BTW, that is not a "freeze plug" and of course freeze plugs is a misnomer anyway, they are Core plugs to remove the sand from inside a casting, to create a passage inside an object, like the typical water jacket.

That item shown is an expansion plug, aka Welch Plug, made by Hubbard.thumbs up

[www.hubbardspring.com]

And we would not have known it was a Hubbard if you hadn't installed it backwards...winking smiley

You can add this information to your useless data file.....grinning smiley

Frank DuVal

Fredericksburg, VA

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: whubbell ()
Date: February 16, 2020 04:04AM

Duly noted, and thanks for the clarification. I wondered about the nomenclature, but that was the term used in Clark’s catalog so I went with it. As an aside, I also wrote to Cal and advised him of my situation and therefore he will now include instructions as to the proper orientation of the piece.

Just doing my part to save others from making my mistakes!

Bill Hubbell,
President, Stock Corvair Group

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: vairmech ()
Date: February 16, 2020 04:30AM

You did not install the plug upside down! How do you think that dimple got into the picture on the right? Yup, someone put it there, why? "Freeze" plugs are made to sit in the hole and then when you flatten out the raised dome they actually swedge in place. If you would have tapped the dome down to finish the process it would not have touched.

If you have just set that plug in the hole with just a little push it will come out again but this time it will be able to slip just a little farther and able to maybe contact a little more than just grounding out.

Ken Hand
Handy Car Care
248 613 8586

Vairmech@aol.com

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: Wagon Master ()
Date: February 16, 2020 04:52AM

The good news is you can remove the end plate by removing the 2 long bolts and lower mounting bolt without removing the generator from the car.

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: whubbell ()
Date: February 16, 2020 04:58AM

You know, I’ll look at it again before I install it, but this replacement plug (sold by Clark’s) is considerably thicker than the original and it doesn’t install easily - takes a press to get it into the hole. It also doesn’t deform when you press it, so I don’t think it the center can be dented inward.

Bill Hubbell,
President, Stock Corvair Group

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: vairmech ()
Date: February 16, 2020 11:27AM

If it goes in that hard then turn it over and maybe seal the outer edges and then it won't come out.

Ken Hand
Handy Car Care
248 613 8586

Vairmech@aol.com

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: whubbell ()
Date: February 16, 2020 03:03PM

OK, I did as Ken suggested - put the plug in convex side up and then hit it hard several times with a punch, dimpling it good. That did the trick! That plug is good and locked in there now and there is no short - generator motors well.

I didn’t have time today to put the pulley on and test the charging circuit, but I’ll post again when I’ve done so. I expect it will work fine now, however.

Bill Hubbell,
President, Stock Corvair Group

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Re: Generator Not Charging - suggestions?
Posted by: whubbell ()
Date: February 16, 2020 05:49PM

I made the time and installed the pulley. The generator works!!

Bill Hubbell,
President, Stock Corvair Group

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