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Selected Articles From the
November 2012
Electrical Rebuilder's Exchange
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New “Idle Stop” Tied To A/C Systems  - by MACS Service Reports

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the September 2012 issue of “MACS Service Reports,” the official technical publication of the Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS Worldwide), detailing new HVAC/ cooling system technologies. For more information go to macsw.org.

It’s called “idle stop” for short, and it’s appearing on some new 12-volt vehicles right now, such as the Ford Fusion, Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3- Series, and Ram 1500 pickup. It is tied into the vehicle a/c system controls, so how it works and affects a/c operation is important to understand.

Idle stop has been used, of course, on many high-voltage hybrids, where there's plenty of battery power to spare, and often an electric a/c compressor to maintain cooling during the period the engine is off. Also, the vehicle may be moved with electricity only, so the engine restart is less perceptible.

We tested an optional system on the 12- volt 2012 Kia Rio and Soul, and although it performed well in our tests, Kia decided to hold off on actually offering it, to spend more time on calibration. Everyone knows how to make the system work, but two factors come up: (1) can it be barely noticeable during restart (or is it an irritant) and (2) can it provide some improvement in window sticker fuel economy, in addition to the CAFE carbon credits. ...

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Plain Talk: To Rebuild, Or Not To Rebuild  - column by  Rob Buksar

If we were studying Shakespeare, we would be considering his famous statement, “To be, or not to be ” Since we’re talking about rebuilding, our question is, “To rebuild or not to rebuild ” Let that be the question.

You may be in unique circumstances and this proposition doesn’t even apply— good for you. Yet, I happen to know for a fact that it involves more of us than you think. You just don’t realize it or haven’t been hit upside the head with it.

If you’ve been around 25 years or more, you have lived through the transition of our manufacturing infrastructure. It’s been very similar to Alice in Wonderland’s Cheshire Cat. As he spoke, he disappeared piece by piece until all that was left was his smile. Moments later, that disappeared also and he was all gone.

In the early days, if you had an overseas connection for your parts or units, you had a great advantage over most of your competition. At that time, the transactions were involved and costly. Few had the knowhow or money to bring in the necessary volumes to make the deal happen. Consequently, most of the big time wheeling and dealing was confined to the big guys. They could pull off just about anything they wanted because for a good long time they practically had an exclusive! ...

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From The President’s Desk: “It Worked For Me” Contest Enters Round Two  - column by Hank Henke

For a few years now, ERA members have had the chance to share ideas in our “It Worked for Me” forum on our website.

To increase participation in this forum, we are once again running a contest for the best tips posted as we lead up to our 2013 show in Indianapolis. Each original post made to the forum after August 11, 2011, is eligible for one of three $100 cash prizes. A panel of three ERA Technical Committee members will judge the entries for originality, creativity, practicality and usefulness. One tip we have for the best chance of winning is to give a detailed description and post photos to help explain it.

Here are a few of our recent posts to get your creative juices flowing:

• I have a bunch of different sized pipe fittings for pressing out bearings, etc. Pipe nipples work great for turning down to go inside or over shafts. It’s a lot faster starting out with a nipple than a solid bar. Cheap too! If I need it hardened I heat it to cherry red and dunk it in water.—Lamar Miller, Starter-Nator Services

• Seems like specs are hard to come by so when I sell a new unit or the ones I stock I pull the provided sheets from the box and keep them in a folder. I file them in order by Lester number so if a garage customer calls asking what a unit should pull it makes it easy to pull that sheet and give him a range to look for. The file is small and far from complete but the ones I have will cover most of the popular stuff, 10MT, Delco PM/GR, Ford PM/GR families, etc. I don’t know what the rest of the world is doing, but “it worked for me.”—Jerry Wine, Linn County Machine and Supply...

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“Rebuilder’s Rally” Revving Up  -  

The silver anniversary of the annual ERA Trade Show has all the earmarks of being as memorable as the milestone would suggest. The show, scheduled next year for April 5 to 7 in Indianapolis, Ind., will feature not only vast networking opportunities, but session after session of updated technical and business management information.

And if that is not enough, the host city also offers unparalleled options for plant touring and car-centric entertainment.

Show planners Chuck Showalter, Jerry Kieffer, Richard Vensel, Hank Henke, Ken Plourde, Alan Reynolds, Bob Thomas, Mike Dietrich, Harald Kober, Tom Barrett, Ronnie Charnes and Lynn Gross met via conference call last month with Polly Shea, the show owner and promoter.

“Well, to quote Ed Sullivan, we have a ‘really big shew’ laid out,” said Shea. “There is so much interesting and varied material which will be presented, and it’s always a bonus to have everything under one roof. And downtown Indianapolis is not the Indy we were at in 2001. It’s still enjoying the Superbowl-induced cleanup, new dinning and entertainment.A great place for people to gather.”

A tentative list of speakers includes Richard Vensel, Vensel Enterprises (“What’s Ahead for Cars and Trucks”); Chuck Showalter, Van Bergen and Greener (starter drives); Bob Hopko, Letrika/formerly Iskra (OE presentation); Mike Conner, Conner’s Repair Service (rebuilding air starters video); and Gene Kaiser/Dave Kaplan, Regitar (updated info on regulators and testing).

Other companies slated to present new information include DuPont, ZEN, Exide, Standard Magnetos, and WAIglobal. ...

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A Revised Look At The Leece-Neville Alternator For John Deere Hybrid Mower  - 
column by Wes Grueninger Sr. and Bob Thomas

Author’s note: This article originally ran in the May 2010 edition of the Exchange (Technical Document CS-201005A). We have since discovered that some critical information in the original article was incorrect. We are sorry for the error and any inconvenience it may have caused. All information in this re-write has been double checked and the test procedure has been performed as shown.

If you find yourself confronted by what looks like a Leece-Neville JB series alternator with a 48-volt regulator, you may not be dreaming, especially if the customer is a golf course. This alternator, part number 4417JB, is a key part of the John Deere 2500E, a hybrid mower for cutting golf course greens. Figure 1—John Deere 2500E hybrid mower.

The alternator provides up to 90 amps at 48 volts which powers only the three DC reel motors—each through its own separate control module. There are no batteries in the hybrid electrical circuit. The engine, which may be either gas or diesel, provides drive and control of the wheels using hydraulics, but the cutting reel motors are powered by the alternator. From a parts perspective, this unique alternator has only two special components— the stator and the voltage regulator. Everything else is the same as used in many other 12-volt Leece Neville 2500 series alternators. The stator is wound with many turns of fine wire to produce up to 90 amps at 48 volts. The regulator utilizes 12 volts at the ignition terminal for excitation and a source of field current. The regulator’s set point is 48 volts. The rotor is a standard 12-volt part, as are the rectifiers and the brushes.

You can test all of the alternator components using conventional methods, except for the voltage regulator. Pay particular attention to stator balance. As shown in the wiring diagram (Figure 3), the regulator is turned on by way of an IGN terminal using 12 volts from the key switch. This mower has a conventional 12-volt starter and battery. An enginestator charging system, along with a combination regulator-rectifier, keeps the battery charged. The circuits for the lights, engine controls and wiring are all 12 volt, but the circuits for the reel motors are 48 volt. The only thing the two electrical systems share is a common ground. ...

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Diagnosing Slow Cranking Starters On The Bench  - column by Nathan Unger

“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.”—Lord Kelvin, 1824 to 1907

When I was just starting out in business back in 1981, I went on a tour of a local rebuilding shop. After the shop foreman had shown me the equipment and how things were done, he asked me a question. “

We get some comebacks because of starters that don’t seem to have enough torque. They run fine on a free-run test. Upon closer inspection however, we notice bad solder joints on the commutators. Could you design a tester that would identify those?”

Of course, there are such testers on the market already. Vensel Enterprises, for example, offers a selection of professional production equipment. Extech offers the UM200 micro-ohm meter.

But I was hoping to find a simple solution that anyone could make and use. What I came up with could even be used as a learning aid to explore these test methods.

One way to quickly measure the condition of connections is with voltage drop testing (Figures 1a and 1b). ...

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History In The Making: Indy Rebuilder Maintains Diverse Inventory  - by Alex Craig

Van’s Electrical Systems is an automotive parts warehouse and rebuilder specializing in industrial and passenger vehicle electrical systems. Van's supplies not only products from 45 different quality manufacturers, but also the knowledge and experience to make them work for their customers.

Their growth from humble beginnings is a real American success story. In 1959, Marvin Van Vlymen Sr. hocked the family projector to buy the carburetor repair parts that launched Van’s Carburetor & Electric in a small storefront on Kentucky Avenue in Indianapolis, Ind. It soon expanded and moved to a larger location at 1091 Kentucky Avenue, and in 1974 was incorporated. In 1984, increased business made it necessary to move to 2541 Kentucky Avenue. In 1998, the name was changed to Van’s Electrical Systems to reflect that the carburetion side of the business had been eclipsed.

The success of Van’s has necessitated another relocation this year. In July, they moved into a refurbished building at 1850 Oliver Avenue on downtown Indianapolis’s southwest corner. The 84,000-square-foot building had been vacant for two years and all plumbing, heating and wiring had been illegally removed before the building was purchased. Indianapolis was able to give property tax abatements to help get the blighted property occupied; this in turn helped the local community.

The move to a larger facility allowed Van’s to rearrange the warehouse lines, completed electrical units and cores, making them easier to locate. The property was designed so that key employees would be closer together and closer to crucial inventory, making their entire operation more efficient. The building also has room for future growth should the need arise for more space. ...

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