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Selected Articles From
January 2015
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1938 Buick—Delco Voltage Regulator: Think outside the box  - by Bob Thomas

When a customer called to inquire about rebuilding the generator on a 1938 Buick, I instructed him to bring in both the generator and the voltage regulator. “They operate as a team,” I told him. “I insist that we test them that way.”

According to the number on the generator’s original tag (see Figures 1 and 2), this was probably the original generator that came on the Buick from the factory, although it obviously had been rebuilt an unknown number of times. It failed a motor test and did not produce voltage on its own when spun. It had new brushes, but the commutator had already been turned one too many times. The armature failed a short-to-ground test and had slung solder to boot. I sent it out to be rewound and have a new commutator installed.

The regulator was the two-unit type and was mostly original. I tested it using a known-to-be functional 6-volt Bosch VW generator that I often use to check 6-volt A-circuit regulators. The regulator failed to let the generator charge, and adjusting spring tension proved futile (see Figure 3). A close inspection of the control relay contacts revealed the reason why. They were melted together, and the upper contact was detached from the stationary arm. After bending the stationary arm out of the way, it was easier to view what had happened (see Figure 4). I considered the options: repair this regulator or find something to replace it. My customer (who was not the owner of the vehicle) told me that the “old man” who owned the car just liked to drive it around the block and did not care what regulator we used—as long as it kept his battery up.

Of course, there are still quite a few 6-volt, negative ground, A-circuit regulators being manufactured today, but none of them “look” the same or have the same mounting base. A search online ...

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32nd Annual Buyer's Guide—Sources 2015  - by ERA Staff

This year's guide contains hundreds of companies that can provide everything a rebuilding shop needs.

The companies marked “ERA Members” have made the deliberate decision to support the ERA and its mission. We encourage you to reward them through your purchases, and be certain to thank them for their ongoing support!

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Entrepreneur Or Capitalist—What’s the difference?  - by Bob Thomas

When I opened B&H Electric in 1980, I purchased my first parts from a regional supplier in Hollywood, Florida named Mike Winters. Under the business name of CARPRO, he personally delivered orders for drives, solenoids, rotors, stators and armatures once every month all around the state. I got to know him while I was helping to manage another shop, and he was the very first supplier I contacted once I was ready to buy parts. I even drove down to Hollywood to have lunch with him and pick up my initial order. I have always considered him a friend and a mentor. When he visited my little storefront business for the first time, he told me something that seemed very strange back then. He said, “You are an entrepreneur now. You’ll know that you have made it when you become a capitalist.” I remember wondering to myself, what in the devil did he mean? I thought an entrepreneur was a capitalist. His statement seemed to be redundant. But at the same time, I had this feeling that I was missing his point. I just did not know at the time what it was, and I was too young and introverted to ask him.

The word “entrepreneur” is derived from the French word “entreprendre”, which means to begin something, or to undertake. An entrepreneur is basically ...

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Plain Talk: Staying on the road requires paying attention  - by Rob Buksar

As business people, we learn to adapt and make changes. We have to. The commercial environment has always been in a state of change.

These days, the changes occur so rapidly that most have not yet adapted to the previous change, and now it’s time to change again. “It is what it is.” Wow! Where have we heard that before?

The question that I have to ask myself is, who’s benefiting from these changes? Guess what? It may not be you or I!

Unless you’re doing something very special or unique, there’s a really good chance that your market is being gobbled up by corporate America.

Franklin Roosevelt put controls on our economy, attempting to protect the public from the big bankers and industrialists. These controls were accused of being socialistic in nature, and maybe they were. Yet, what they did accomplish, was keeping a bridle on capitalism. Capitalism without regulation turns into the law of the jungle, kill or be killed; eat or be eaten.

Ronald Reagan inherited a bad economy. In order to get things going again, his administration removed, set ...

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Time To Decide  - by ERA Staff

Another new year is here, and it is time for you to decide to attend ERA Expo 2015 in Davenport, Iowa, March 13 to 15. There is a John Deere plant tour to kick off the weekend on Friday morning. Five seminars are scheduled over three days, covering: rebuilding generators, rebuilding magnetos, tips on late model units, battery drain testing and Internet marketing. The ever popular Rebuilder’s Round Table Forum is scheduled Saturday afternoon.

The exposition itself will open early Friday evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and again on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A free vendor-sponsored pizza buffet with cash bar is scheduled for Friday afternoon between 4 p.m. and 5 a.m., prior to the show floor opening. See the full schedule on page 8. It is time for you to decide.

If you are thinking about flying, right now is actually the best time to buy your tickets. According to Rick Seaney of the website www.farecompare.com, the best time to find and book flights for US domestic flights is between three months and one month from the departure date.

He says that the best day of the week to check prices and purchase tickets is on Tuesday afternoon, the day most airlines adjust their pricing and introduce sale prices. “Competitors try to match sale prices, and by 3 p.m. Eastern time, that matching is essentially complete. But be careful that you don’t wait too long. A big mistake many people make is to delay shopping for airline tickets until the last minute, which is when the steeper prices that business travelers pay, kick in,” Seaney explains. “Procrastination doesn’t pay.” It is time for you to decide. Seaney also says, “Airlines can and do come out of left field with good prices from time to time (and sometimes these are mistake fares). As I wrote in a recent column for USA Today, In theory, every search request helps recalculate airlines’ ...

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What Happened Here? Answer to last month’s column  - by ERA Staff

The photos below show the pinion gear and solenoid contacts from a 24-volt 5.5kW Denso starter, part number 128000-2561. We were told that it had quit working completely on the machine, a Case loader. They had been tapping on the motor case back cover to get it to operate. The photo of the solenoid contacts (see Figure 1) reveals why this starter finally failed in the field. The other photo of the pinion gear (see Figure 2) reveals evidence of exactly what was happening. The marks on this pinion were caused by arcing. The starter had been getting a ground through the pinion starter gear to the ring gear on the flywheel. The drive bearings also became part of the ground path, and both of them had a noticeably rough feel.

The last photo (see Figure 3), not included before, shows why it was getting a poor ground. One mounting bolt was missing, and the other two had backed out. That is why tapping on the back cover of the motor case worked for a while. The tapping with a hammer was simply moving the starter closer ...

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