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November 2014
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ERA Expo 2015 Seminars Announced  - by ERA Staff

EXPO 2015 in Davenport, Iowa is just a little over four months away and now is the time to make plans to attend. You will find a schedule of events on page 9. The entire event will be held under one roof at the Clarion Quad-City Hotel and Conference Center. There is free parking for all attendees and free shuttle service from the Quad-Cities International Airport.

Six seminar opportunities are planned for the weekend, along with exhibition hours both Friday and Saturday. Many of the seminar topics are aimed at the agricultural market. A John Deere plant tour is offered Friday morning. ...

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Leece-Neville Batteryless Alternator Update  - by ERA Staff

Earlier this year (January to be exact), we published an article on testing the Leece-Neville alternators that are used exclusively on batteryless systems. That article was based entirely on Prestolite Technical Service Bulletin 1031, which recommended against testing these alternators connected to a battery and offered no other alternative for testing. We suggested using two 12- volt motors connected in series as a 24- volt load for test purposes. This method had been successfully tested on a 48-volt Leece-Neville alternator that was used in a hybrid greens mower built by John Deere.

Since then, it has been brought to our attention that a second document from Leece-Neville Heavy Duty Systems contradicts the information in TSB #1031. The new document strongly recommends that a battery must be used when testing this type of alternator. It also provides a specific sequence to follow when testing a batteryless alternator. This method has been tested, and it does work. ...

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Plain Talk: Far More Than A Headstone  - by Rob Buksar

On a frequently traveled route that I take, there’s a small church cemetery just over the tracks on the west side of Kennedy Avenue. If you’re driving south and slow down over the railroad tracks and glance to your right, there’s a grave stone that you can see from the road that says ”Buksar”. Yes, that’s my name.

Buried there are my grandfather and grandmother on my father’s side. I’ve seen this headstone thousands of times over the years, and it’s never impressed me as much as the way it did last week! I’m old enough to have remembered and interacted with my grandparents. I was blessed to have known them well, the good, the bad and the ugly—their hopes, dreams, accomplishments and failures. Did I know it all, of course not! Yet, I knew enough to know who and what they were and what they stood for. This much I can tell you, a stone marker in a cemetery says and represents nothing of the folks who rest beneath it. They were far more than that stone, and I pray that others besides myself know and will remember this. Why? It’s this— we are “what we are and where we are”, because we were able to build on the “broad shoulders” of people like my grandparents and many others.

The above idea was in and out of my thoughts Monday and Tuesday, the last two days of September. On Wednesday afternoon, October 1st, I received an email and a phone call immediately after, informing me that Barney Kaplan had passed away. ...

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Rectifying The Wye Connection  - by Bob Thomas

In the September issue I wrote about a CS121 conversion alternator for a Model T that came into my shop for rebuilding. It had a stator that had been reconfigured from delta-wound to wye-wound. I mistakenly stated that Delco’s 10DN, 10SI and Chrysler’s early alternators all had delta-wound stators. I was wrong, a price I often pay nowadays when I trust my memory. Those stators were in fact all wye-wound, and I apologize for the error.

Since then, I have inspected many stators, paying particular attention to their configuration. I believe that the 27SI Type 100 may have actually been the first Delco automotive alternator to not use a Y-configured stator. Application data shows that it was introduced in 1974 as part of a towing-package option, and later it became standard equipment on many Cadillac models.

In that same article, we explained the charging characteristics of both stator configurations. A delta-wound stator will produce more amperage at high rotor speeds, but the same stator in wye configuration will produce better amperage at low rotor speed. That may explain why most of the heavy duty alternators are delta-wound—for use on over-the-road trucks that spend most of their time at a constant speed. At the same time, many of those early automotive applications were wye-wound, to better carry the loads in city driving conditions. It certainly explained the reason the stator in the CS121 Model T conversion alternator had been changed to wye configuration.

Some manufacturers have used the wye terminal to power electric choke heaters, among other things. When used in this way, the wye terminal provides about one half of the system voltage if tested with a meter set to DC or AC. In reality, the voltage you are measuring is actually half AC and half DC, because the...

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Testing The Auto-Start Trio  - by Bob Thomas

The Delco-Remy Auto-Start trio was initially introduced with the 22SI alternator and has been around for over 17 years. However, many rebuilders may still not know how to test one. The Auto Start is basically a package of three components: a diode trio, a capacitor and an electronic circuit that senses stator voltage and applies excitation voltage to the field (see Figure 1).

Operating much like AC-activated self-exciting regulators, Auto Start activates the field circuit through the trio once it senses any voltage on the stator. While stator voltage must exceed .7 volts in a normal trio before any current can get to the field, the Auto Start momentarily applies full battery voltage once stator voltage reaches a relatively low threshold—well below what a normal trio can manage. The result is a very fast alternator turnon, even below engine idle speed.

To test an Auto-Start trio, all you need is a voltage regulator tester with a stator output connection and a voltmeter. In lieu of a regulator tester, you could also use an alternator on your test bench. We will demonstrate both.

If you have a regulator tester, simply hook up the trio as shown in Figure2. Notice that the tester’s positive and negative leads are connected to the positive and negative rectifier legs on the Auto-Start...

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Barney Kaplan’s “Drive”—and Other Remembrances  - by Bob Thomas, Mark Hoogterp and Dave Claybaugh

On a cold spring day in 2002, I was attending an electrical rebuilding trade show in Niagara Falls. It was jointly sponsored by this newspaper and the A.E.R.A.C. (Auto Electric Rebuilder’s Association of Canada). I met a lot of people that weekend, many of them for the first time. None made as lasting an impression as did Barney Kaplan.

The man had the ability to connect instantly with anyone. In typical “Barney” fashion, he introduced himself to me, because he noticed that I was standing alone. He asked me where I was from. When I told him Florida, he proceeded to tell me about the time he had been there during the 1930s, after hitching a ride with a woman selling pots and pans out of her car. By the time he moved on to interact with someone else, he had shared numerous tidbits of information on generators, cleaning equipment and starter drives. I do not remember ever asking him a single question, but he answered them all just as if I had. That was Barney Kaplan.

Years later, I came to possess a large odd-looking starter drive with the words “Bendix Eclipse Made in Elmira, NY, USA” stamped on the cover. This drive found its way into my shop in a carton of assorted starter parts from a nearby rebuilding business that had been closed

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Using Relays To Solve Problems: Reversing Bidirectional Motor Using Two SPDT Bosch Relays  - 
  by Bob Thomas and Wes Grueninger, Sr.

A relay is simply an electrical device designed to switch a large amount of current using a smaller amount of current.

Some, like the fender-mounted starter relays on Ford vehicles of the 60s through 80s, were made to carry several hundred amps for a short duration. Others, like the small mini-relays (see Figures 1 and 2), manufactured by Bosch and Tyco, are designed to carry smaller loads of up to 50 amps for unlimited lengths of time and are known as continuous-duty relays. Cole-Hersee even makes a small continuous-duty relay rated at 70 amps.

PROBLEM: You have a small bidirectional, permanent magnet, DC motor that must be momentarily operated in different directions by reversing current flow through the motor. This motor could be powering a small pump or a gear driven mechanism.

SOLUTION: Use two SPTD relays (see Figure 3) and a momentary three-position toggle or rocker switch so that each direction of the motor is activated by one relay. This is accomplished by applying power ...

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