Voltage Regulator - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old Dec 21st, 11, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
Steve
 
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Voltage Regulator

Had some slight flickering of my interior courtesy & dome lights on my 69. After reading some posts here I figured it was probably the VR. Before replacing the original unit I checked it out & I was getting about 14.1 volts (+/1 .2V) at back of alternator as well as at my trunk mounted battery.

I went to NAPA & asked for the Wells VR 715. They cross referenced it to their VR142SB. Unlike some of the other posts here have said - this unit looks exactly like the old unit, including the cover. The only thing that doesn't look original is the "Made in China" written on the side. Got the unit home & popped it in. The flickering is gone and the voltage is now rock steady but at only 12.1 volts everywhere - even at the battery. Doesn't change with rpm either. Shouldn't this be at about 14V to make sure the battery is charging?

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old Dec 21st, 11, 08:59 PM
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Re: Voltage Regulator

Yeah they don't carry Wells/Airtex at Napa for some reason, so they cross referenced to their house brand mechanical Voltage Regulator, not a solid state like Wells/AirTex. Other big box auto shops carry the Wells/Airtex or AutoZone sells it under their house brand "Durra-last" but it is the same unit, just a different box.

Mechanical regulators such as you installed are adjustable, and were designed to be adjusted over time as your battery needed more or less of a charge. Everett has the formula of how many turns to make on the adjustment screw and has posted it a few times in recent history here if you think your battery needs a boost.

But if you are not experiencing any issues and the battery is charged and appears to be charging, otherwise you would stall out at some point.

Or you could pull this unit and put it in your tool box as a tester/trouble shooter and buy a Solid State Wells unit that does all the adjustments for you.


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old Dec 21st, 11, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Voltage Regulator

The instructions that come with this new unit says its a solid state - not mechanical. The cover is also riveted shut. I just put this new unit in tonight so I haven't had time to take it out for a cruise or find out if its charging - or if I'm going to stall. I'd just like to know if this one is working properly - otherwise I'll change it out.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old Dec 21st, 11, 09:42 PM
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Re: Voltage Regulator

Quote:
Originally Posted by docapri View Post
The instructions that come with this new unit says its a solid state - not mechanical. The cover is also riveted shut. I just put this new unit in tonight so I haven't had time to take it out for a cruise or find out if its charging - or if I'm going to stall. I'd just like to know if this one is working properly - otherwise I'll change it out.
If you look at the website for that part number the picture is of a mechanical with resistor springs on the bottom. When you installed it did yours have mechanical springs on the bottom? The Wells Solid State regulators have smooth bottom sides with only the connector tabs and in fact I know some who have gone to great lengths to give the solid state the look of an old mechanical regulator by swapping the new plastic cover for the old metal high hat covers, and even glued old fuses with bare wire wrapped around the glass tube to bottom. Others have in fact disabled the bottom plates on their old mechanical regulators, then gutted them, and mounted the guts of the solid state in the old housing. So maybe the three pictures are old and wrong for that part number at Napa on-line.

From Napa on-line :


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Last edited by 69-Pace; Dec 22nd, 11 at 04:45 AM. Reason: fixed photo link
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old Dec 22nd, 11, 04:10 AM
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Re: Voltage Regulator

You're on the right track. Voltage/current, read power, demands are the greatest right after using the starter, min 14.2 at 30 amps or so, dependent upon battery charge.
As the battery warms up, it takes less power for recharge, ie, min 13.6 volts.

Install the new VR, pack in a fully charged battery or a jumpbox, drive for 15-20 miles and check voltage at both the alt BATT stud and at the battery. There will be a 1 volt difference due to cable loss at the battery since it is trunk mounted. Min 13.6 at the battery posts after the run.

There is an adjustment inside the VR. Has to be for manf tolerances of parts used. OE designed VR's depended upon self-generated heat for the charge voltage, around 130F, remove the cover and charge voltage dropped 0.5-0.7 volts, typically.

What you can do for future reference, make a voltage comparision chart, after 15-20 miles of running,
OE VR:
Field, 2, 3, 4, and alt BATT stud, R, & T.
New VR: same as above.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old Dec 22nd, 11, 04:44 AM
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Re: Voltage Regulator

I found a series of Wells Solid State regulator VR715 photos.



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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old Dec 22nd, 11, 05:59 AM Thread Starter
Steve
 
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Re: Voltage Regulator

Thanks for the pics Brian. This new one is definitely not mechanical. No springs, and as I said the cover is full sized - to match the original. I went on the website and saw what you're talking about. Those pictures are wrong. This new unit looks exactly like the back of the VR-715.
As Everett said the charge should be greatest on start up. But it is immediately at 12.1 V and stays there. I'll compare the voltages at the units terminals & clean up the terminals on the wires as well. I wonder if the solid states are more sensitive to that.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old Dec 22nd, 11, 06:25 AM
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Re: Voltage Regulator

Quote:
Originally Posted by docapri View Post
Thanks for the pics Brian. This new one is definitely not mechanical. No springs, and as I said the cover is full sized - to match the original. I went on the website and saw what you're talking about. Those pictures are wrong. This new unit looks exactly like the back of the VR-715.
As Everett said the charge should be greatest on start up. But it is immediately at 12.1 V and stays there. I'll compare the voltages at the units terminals & clean up the terminals on the wires as well. I wonder if the solid states are more sensitive to that.

Okay good deal.

Yes solid state units are not dependent on reaching operating temperature and immediately react to voltage changes. Unless you are also putting a major drag on the system starting - i.e. hard start endless cranking, I would expect that your battery didn't discharge enough to require the VR to send full voltage to the battery. I assume yours is tuned right, and it cranks and turns right over. You could try the defroster/heater fan on high, high beams on and windshield washers going while starting to put maximum pressure on the electrical system, and that should trigger full charge to battery from your Alternator.

Great that the unit is Solid State after all and it would appear that all is working within normal parameters. You are clear to cruise at will. Happy Holiday's.


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