One Wire Alternator - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 4th, 03, 04:05 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Alamosa, Colorado
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Question

I purchased a new alternator recently and when it arrived the connections were not the same as the old alternator. I was wanting to increase the amp output, so I had ordered a 100 amp unit. The seller advised me that the new alternator is a "one wire" and that all I had to do is connect the hot lead wire from the harness, and just not connect the other two wires that are part of the harness. After searching this site and reading some prior posts on this subject, I am becoming convinced that the "advice" I got from the seller is questionable. Any thoughts? Thanks. DP
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 4th, 03, 06:02 AM
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John
 
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check out this part of my website about wiring one-wire alternators...

http://www.geocities.com/boodlefoof/page20.html

This is how I wired my "Magnum" brand one wire alternator that I got from Summit.

John

- '68 Chevy Camaro (sort of done, but always subject to improvement)
- '63 Pontiac Tempest (work in progress)
- '72 Datsun 240-Z (back-burner for now)
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 4th, 03, 08:49 AM
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Royce
 
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A true one wire alternator is just that, one wire is all that's needed. It senses and charges through the same wire. If you need the other two wires it is not a one wire alternator. When you connected it up as instructed, did it not work? Did you check the battery voltage, both with the car running and not? I am not sure what your question is, if he sold you a 100amp one wire and that's not what you wanted send it back and get a three wire. Are you saying the 1 wire doesn't work?

Royce (NO XQSSS) Bradley

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 5th, 03, 03:10 AM
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Look closely at your 1 wire, most likely there is a rubber plug that can be removed to reveal the other two connections. Most 1 wire units are also 3 wire units as well. I have a 100 amp summit one wire which can also be wired as a 3 wire. I plan to purchase eventually the wiring kit from madindustries to wire in the 3 wire system so that I can gain my GEN warning light on the dash again. Other than that, the 1 wire works great, run a nice clean 8 gauge wire from the back of it to your battery direct. Use some good 8 gauge gold connectors (most stereo shops have them) to hook it up properly. Thats all you need on a 1 wire, tie the old wires back up with zipties and you can disconnect your voltage regulator if you want.

1969 Camaro - GM 2003 Electron Blue
Beck Racing 383 cu in 465HP Engine - Sean Murphy Inductions Stage 2 Quadrajet
TCI Streetfighter 350 - 3.73:1 Posi 10 Bolt Rear - 12.6 sec qtr mile

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 5th, 03, 07:21 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry, I didn't really make myself clear. I haven't attempted to instal the one wire yet, so I don't know that it will or won't work. I am just wanting to know what is involved to actually instal the unit. In my search of prior posts, I had found some information that talked about changing some wiring to eliminate the external voltage regulator when changing to a one wire alternator, however, I gather from these responses that I won't necessarily have to do that. Putting aside the cosmetic issue, I am understanding that I can do as the seller advised and just bolt up the new alternator and connect only the battery lead from the wiring harness. I didn't want to instal the new alternator if it was going to require more knowledge than I current possess. Sounds like I may be ok, though. Brian, I did notice the plug you mentioned, however, the terminals on this new unit are of the newer design than my 69 vintage wiring harness. Instead of the old square connector that I have, the unit requires the newer style rectangular plug inorder to connnect the second and third wires from the harness. Can that newer style plug be obtained and changed into the harness?
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 5th, 03, 09:20 AM
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the technical reference section accessed from the main page has a good article on this.

https://www.camaros.net/techref/ftecref14.html

a plug will set you back all of a couple of dollars at any parts store, and a few more bucks for genuine GM parts at any dealer. just bring your alternator in and tell them you need a plug for it.
i would say to use the biggest wire you can get to run from the big terminal on the back directly to your battry- my Nova has a factory battery cable for an 87 Caprice cop car with HD electrical- it's the same size as the main cable that runs down to the starter from the battery. you just can't go too big here.

you don't plan sincerity.
you have to make it up on the spot.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 6th, 03, 07:43 AM
 
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I like to keep things simple. I ordered the "adapter harness" from YearOne when wiring my 69 that has the one wire deal. No sweat and drainage either. Think it cost around $15 and it was again, a very clean install. Just my .02
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 6th, 03, 08:12 AM
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Paul
 
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I don't like one wire alternators. Not because they don't charge well, but mostly because of where they do voltage sensing. An alternator is designed to be more than just a battery charger. It is supposed to be used to keep the electrical system at a steady 14.2 throughout the system and charge the battery.

In a stock harness pretty much most of the juice is being drawn at the horn relay, so that is where voltage sensing needs to occur. That is why voltage sensing originally occured at the "splice" near the horn relay. Also the charging wire went back to the splice to supply additional voltage as accesories were switched on to keep the system voltage at 14.2.

A one wire won't be able to sense the voltage draw occuring at the horn relay, so it won't boost the power as much as needed due to the difference in voltage between the battery and where the power is being drawn(horn relay).

Just one person's opinion....take it with a grain of salt.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 6th, 03, 01:19 PM
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Although PaulM is correct in his view, there are ways to allow a One Wire to operate without a problem.
Run a nice 8 gauge wire from the Battery side terminal around and under the radiator support (zip tie to the existing wiring harness) to get to the passenger side, then connect it up to the horn relay. You can now disconnect the crappy 12 or 14 gauge that was originally supplying the power. I like to use a fuse between this link so I have a dual fuse box sitting above my battery of which one supplies a 60 amp connection to the horn relay, the other supplies a 30 amp to the Alpine 5 channel amplifier.
Now since most accessories pull from the horn relay, there will pretty much be no difference in voltage between the battery terminal and the horn relay so the one wire will operate properly.

Second, as a few others have said, USE AN 8 GAUGE WIRE from the back of the 100 amp alternator to the battery side or top terminals. To use the top terminal you would need an aftermarket gold clamp that has both your starter cable hookup as well as a few 8 gauge hookups. I have a nice one that gives me a 0/1 connector for the starter and a and two 8 gauge hookups, one for the alternator, one for the dual amp fuse box (radio shack, $20)
Autozone carries the 8 gauge ring gold connectors if you were to hook it up to the side terminal on the battery. Make sure you also get a good 8 gauge hookup for the alternator side as well, not sure if Autozone has one that fits, if they don't then any stereo shop should. The reason I say get a good connector is you don't want this sucker falling off and shorting out on your heads or engine block and possibly causing a fire.
The crappy 14 gauge wire they ran from the stock alternator wrapped around all the way to the horn relay about 4" into the harness and is soldered to another 14 gauge that runs all the way back to the battery, yes we are talking about 12 ft of 14 gauge wire and its not good to send up to 100 amps of power down that wire!!!

As for using the 3 wire again, most autoparts will have that connector you are looking for. Probably best to hook it up again, but remember to get an 8 gauge wire (good guys, best buy car audio department, radio shack) and run it from the alternator to the battery no matter what, don't use the stock wiring on a 100 amp alt.

1969 Camaro - GM 2003 Electron Blue
Beck Racing 383 cu in 465HP Engine - Sean Murphy Inductions Stage 2 Quadrajet
TCI Streetfighter 350 - 3.73:1 Posi 10 Bolt Rear - 12.6 sec qtr mile

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