N Board Forum - Expanded Thread Page

Subject: 6 volt alternator

[Back] [Return to Top of Forum]

AL CT    Posted 01-25-2018 at 21:01:53 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • 6 volt alternator
  • Has anyone installed a 6 volt alternator on their tractor. I know some go through the expense in installing a 12 volt system. The guys that restore Model A's have been using the 6 volt alternators. A friend how has an extensive collection of Model T's also has made the switch to alternators.

    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 01-26-2018 at 07:13:07 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 6 volt alternator
  • I concur with Jerry (Ultradog)on just going full tilt boogie doing a proper complete 12-volt conversion. I'm a 6-volt man myself but don't totally condemn 12-volt conversions, if done properly, and so many are not. One only has to read the daily posts on these boards to see 99.98% of non-running/non-starting issues are related to hackmaster 12-volt jobs. There use to be 12-volt generators too, but if I had a tractor I used everyday I would probably install a 12-volt system with EI. When I go to car shows, I always look at the electrical systems first. I almost never see any antique Ford with the original electrical system -they will have a 12-volt conversion done. Most of the time it is because the owner does not know how the correct wiring should be on a 6-volt system. I see some 12-volt jobs with EI too that have issues as well. Mostly it is because they are wired incorrectly. When I see a vintage model like an early 9N and the owner has restored it correctly; meaning 6-volt/positive ground with the correct generator and voltage regulator (on early 9Ns) or cutout (on late '39 on up models) I know he has done his homework. Units like the Model T using the wood ignition box cornfuses guys/rebuilders that they just go to 12-volts for ease and convenience. I've worked on so many Ford Tractors with badly done 12-volt jobs that every time I get a new one I think I've seen them all but then another comes in and surprises me. One guy had two voltage regulators hooked up to his alternator, wondered why it wouldn't start. "I keep charging the battery..." I have not worked on anything with a 6-volt alternator, have seen them, my old Ford Tractor mechanic buddy has a half dozen of them as well as some 12-volt generators. When he gets an old Ford N in to refurbish (he doesn't restore) the first thing he does is to install a 12-volt battery with an alternator. The vintage car guys feel more warm and fuzzy with 12-volts, and that's fine. At the end of a weekend show and it's time to load up to go home, they don't want any hiccups. That being said, I have seen many fellas with their jumper cables out too. I just don't see any need to go with a 6-volt alternator, do you? Next time you are at a show, ask the guys why they are using a 6-volt alternator. There are several N-Owners here who also have vintage cars, Bruce(VA) for one has a Model A but he still keeps it 6-volt. Like I said, at shows, I'm always looking at electrical systems. Why? Curiosity mainly, but when I find a '37-'40 Ford model, especially the DeLuxe Model used the same VR as the early 9N tractor. I have yet to find one still 6-volts though. If someone can explain any advantage to using a 6-volt alternator, please do. Meanwhile I'll keep my N's at 6-volt, and fix the ones that come in with bad 12-volt jobs. If I ever did do a 12-volt conversion to one of my N's, I'd add EI and do it right. I think electrical systems scare a lot of guys simply because they do not understand the principals involved. Going to 12-volts is often the thought pattern because that is what they have in their newer car or truck or it is what a mechanic told them to do because he doesn't know either.

    Tim Daley(MI)

    Ultradog MN    Posted 01-26-2018 at 05:56:13 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 6 volt alternator
  • The biggest reason for staying with a generator is originality. Some folks just like their tractor to appear as it did when it left the factory so they want to keep the generator on it.
    To answer your question though, there are several advantages to running an alternator over a gen/vreg system. Alternator is more robust, they last about forever, they charge at lower rpm, they usually will put out much more power than a generator, internal, solid state vregs have no moving parts, 1 or 3 wire alternators are simpler to wire and alternators require zero maintenance.
    For me though, if a guy has made the paradigm shift and can tolerate the looks of an alternator on his tractor why wouldn't he go full monte and get the many advantages of 12 V too?
    I think that using a 6V alternator would be a lot like trying to have some fun with a pretty girl where both of you keep your heavy winter clothes on. It might be kinda fun but would have nowhere near as many 'advantages' as it would if you did it the right way.

    36 coupe    Posted 01-26-2018 at 17:40:17 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 6 volt alternator
  • My wife had 2 80s GM cars that boiled up the batteries.I spent much time in my shop repairing alternators before I retired.The internal regulators crapped the bed on a regular basis.The rear needle bearings failed often.Brushes were too small and had to be replaced........ often.Alternators are out in the weather on a tractor are will have a short life.I have replaced brushes on Chrysler cars and trucks in parking lots.Others had to be pulled apart when brushes failed.John Gould said you can make whoopee.with your mittens on.I remember fondly the Chrysler alternator that lost a chunk out of the pulley when the pulley puller slipped.

    AL CT    Posted 01-26-2018 at 09:31:59 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 6 volt alternator
  • To be perfectly clear, I am one for originality and keep the 6 volt system. One of the down falls I see with an original 6 volt generator is when running and lights on, the lights are very dim. I think that problem would go away if an alternator is used. That's all.

    Rick WY    Posted 01-26-2018 at 10:59:27 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 6 volt alternator
  • I put a 6 V alternator on my 1930 Model A Tudor. No, it doesnít maintain the carís originality, but it works very well and makes the car more efficient. The alternator charges the battery much better, allowing for significantly brighter headlights - for a sustained period of use (not possible w/ 6 V genny). The 6V genny works fine if one does not use the headlights. I would consider installing a 6 V alternator on my 6V tractors (8N & Jubilee), except I rarely use the headlights. Not so with the Model A. My two cents.

    R geiger    Posted 01-26-2018 at 09:55:02 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 6 volt alternator
  • I would find it hard to put an alternator on one that I would want to keep original. An alternator is an alternator whether it is 6 volts or 12 and not original.

    JMOR    Posted 01-26-2018 at 09:50:38 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: 6 volt alternator
  • Dim lights. If the bulbs do not draw more than the generator output, then I do not believe an alternator will make them brighter. If they draw more than the generator output, then the ammeter will be reading discharge, as some of power will be coming from battery. If such case, I would verify that correct bulbs are installed (no so called 'upgraded' bulbs) and that the generator is capable of its rated output. Also, that the VR is regulating to the specified voltage.

    [Back] [Return to Top of Forum]