Author Topic: Do I need a new alternator?  (Read 2029 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline GavinT

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Joined: Oct 2016
  • Location: Brisbane, Australia
  • Posts: 36
Re: Do I need a new alternator?
« Reply #45 on: Thursday,November 16, 2017, 11:11:58 PM »
Just a thought but that corrosion can migrate down the cable inside (under) the insulation if there’s a large enough ‘feeder colony’ . . and yours does look sizeable. The only solution is to cut it back to sound wire.
The petroleum jelly sounds like a good idea though.

Years ago, I replaced the non-original ammeter with Smiths one because it was all I could find at the time. While the faces matched well enough the ‘can’ was made of plastic.

I didn’t think much about it and presumed the plastic ‘can’ was just another sign of the times . . . and a good excuse to grumble.
A few years later, I had my head under the dash for some unrelated reason and noticed the ammeter ‘can’ had melted and deformed somewhat. Gaahh !!
I’d not had any electrical issues that came to mind so what caused the melting remains a mystery.

Like many, I reckon I’ll go with a voltmeter too.
The limited utility of an ammeter is outweighed by the risk, I reckon.

Offline BDA

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Joined: Jul 2012
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Posts: 3,220
Re: Do I need a new alternator?
« Reply #46 on: Friday,November 17, 2017, 05:54:42 AM »
Yup, I snipped off all the corrosion before crimping the new ring connectors.

That's kind of scary about your ammeter. I was thinking the plastic 'can' had the advantage of being corrosion resistant...

I'm liking the idea of a voltmeter even more now!

Offline BDA

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Joined: Jul 2012
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Posts: 3,220
Re: Do I need a new alternator?
« Reply #47 on: Sunday,November 19, 2017, 11:25:37 AM »
For those who are swapping their ammeter for a voltmeter, on a TC anyway, you'll need to connect all the wires attached to the ammeter together: the big wires from the back of the ammeter (from the alternator and from the starter) and the wires from the ammeter to the headlight switch and the ignition switch. John pointed me to some terminal blocks but most of them are rather large and are designed to be bolted to something and there are very few places to bolt anything under a TC dash. I wanted something more compact and I think I came up with a cheap and simple solution that I could make with hand tools (snips to cut the washers and a file to break the edges).

I cut a flat on two "fender sized" #10 washers about 1/8" from the hole and then I bent the other "side" of each washers such that the bent parts overlapped the flat of each washer when you put a screw through them. I also cut another matching flat on both washers which is where I put the large wires (I really should have taken a picture of it!).

I have the smaller wires (to the headlight switch and the ignition switch) ganged into one large ring terminal for a #10 bolt. I put a #10 bolt through that ring terminal and the two washers and clamped the two large wires between the washers using a nyloc nut. The bent parts of the washers keep the wires from "squishing" out of the washers. Then I wrapped the whole thing with tape. It came out a lot nicer and more compact than my previous hack job and a lot smaller and cheaper than commercial terminal blocks.
« Last Edit: Sunday,November 19, 2017, 12:06:26 PM by BDA »

Offline EuropaTC

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Joined: Jun 2012
  • Location: Lincolnshire, UK
  • Posts: 1,886
    • LotusLand
Re: Do I need a new alternator?
« Reply #48 on: Sunday,November 19, 2017, 11:13:13 PM »
Do you have the new voltmeter installed now ?  Since your experience, coupled with the comments about one melting it's plastic case I have also been thinking again about this idea.  A few years ago I tried to find a "Smiths" ammeter so that the 4 instruments all had the same name across the top but couldn't find a suitable gauge.  But I did see half dial voltmeters and now I'm thinking I might just go that way as well. 

Brian

Offline BDA

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Joined: Jul 2012
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Posts: 3,220
Re: Do I need a new alternator?
« Reply #49 on: Monday,November 20, 2017, 05:35:46 AM »
Nisonger, the Smiths dealer on this side of the pond, was out of them waiting for a delivery. The guy I talked to said it could be another week or so before I get it.

I had some confusion about my ammeter. It is branded "Lucas", which I thought strange. Then, I found an old receipt for a new one. I have no idea why I bought it but in regards to the Lucas question, the Nisonger website has this text associated with Lucas branded voltmeters (mine will be a Smiths unit):

Although British cars produced during the '50's - '60's came with Smiths or British Jaeger Instruments, ALL Ammeters were Lucas units. Starting in the early '70's, Ammeters were replaced with Voltmeters that were branded Smiths. A wide variety of different bezel can be installed on this Voltmeter making it a suitable upgrade/replacement for any Lucas Ammeter having a Pointer coming down from the top and it is available exlusively from "The Source", Nisonger Instruments.

Since my car was built in '73, I guess the voltmeter trend started a bit later at Lotus. As for their comment on exclusivity, I'm sure they are referring to this side of the pond.
« Last Edit: Monday,November 20, 2017, 05:48:06 AM by BDA »

Offline jbcollier

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Joined: Nov 2013
  • Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Posts: 1,448
Re: Do I need a new alternator?
« Reply #50 on: Monday,November 20, 2017, 06:41:46 AM »
My dash as it is currently:

https://jbcollier.smugmug.com/Lotus-Europa/i-LNHC5cg/A

(please forgive the dust and swarf)

The instruments are from the Smiths GT40 series.  Next I plan to replace the Smiths clock with a Heuer Master Time.

Offline BDA

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Joined: Jul 2012
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Posts: 3,220
Re: Do I need a new alternator?
« Reply #51 on: Monday,November 20, 2017, 06:51:47 AM »
Do you participate in rallies (reason for the stop watches)? What is the little black thing that hangs down by the glove compartment? Did you get your A/C hooked up? How does it work?

Offline GavinT

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Joined: Oct 2016
  • Location: Brisbane, Australia
  • Posts: 36
Re: Do I need a new alternator?
« Reply #52 on: Monday,November 20, 2017, 07:41:30 AM »
As a little aside, the reason for the Lucas ammeter is due to a decades old gentlemen’s agreement between Lucas and Smiths to avoid competition.
Back in the day, this agreement left Smiths to supply instruments and Lucas to do all the other stuff like distributors, starters and switches etc.

This is why we commonly see Jaguar, Triumph, Lotus and many other British cars of the era all similarly equipped with Smiths instruments but with a Lucas ammeter.
Apparently, because Lucas was doing the main vehicle electrical components, it was also agreed that Lucas would continue supplying just the ammeter.

Offline jbcollier

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Joined: Nov 2013
  • Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Posts: 1,448
Re: Do I need a new alternator?
« Reply #53 on: Monday,November 20, 2017, 06:31:10 PM »
Not yet but maybe.  I have dual tripmeters to install as well.

It's a ball mount for a GPS/back-up camera.

Offline dakazman

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Joined: Jun 2016
  • Location: Florida
  • Posts: 226
Re: Do I need a new alternator?
« Reply #54 on: Tuesday,November 21, 2017, 05:20:38 AM »

Offline BDA

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Joined: Jul 2012
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Posts: 3,220
Re: Do I need a new alternator?
« Reply #55 on: Tuesday,November 21, 2017, 06:55:02 AM »
It's all yours!  :)

Offline BDA

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Joined: Jul 2012
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Posts: 3,220
Re: Do I need a new alternator?
« Reply #56 on: Sunday,December 10, 2017, 08:02:14 PM »
While I am waiting for my voltmeter to arrive, I took a second look at my "burned out" ammeter. It looks like part (maybe all) of the problem was that one of the nuts on the back of the ammeter that hold the connector lugs to the gauge got loose. If you're seeing funny ammeter stuff going on, you might want to check that those nuts are tight first. Tightening them could be a bit involved. On mine, and I suspect all of them, There is a nut against the gauge case, then the large lugs for the battery current and the smaller lugs for ignition and headlight switches (at least on the TC Federal) and then another set of nuts. It appears mine have lock nuts so either they were ineffectual or they were never tightened when I sent them to Nisonger. Tightening the top nuts will require ensuring the bottom nuts are tight first.