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Technical discussions specific to 1964-1967, 1968-1970, and 1971-1973 Classic Mustang. Discuss all tech related to in-line six cylinder and V8 powered Vintage Mustangs here.

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Unread 01-13-2012   #1 (permalink)
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Default 1 Wire Alternator hookup

I switched my original alternator to a powermaster 140 amp 1 wire internally regulated alternator the other day. The alternator works fine and the one wire is connected to the battery line to charge but the gauges in my instrument cluster for the alternator is not working. I realized that the alternator is not connected to my instrument cluster alternator gauge and was wondering how to hook that up. Can I use one of the wires from the original 3 wire alternator hookup? And how do I hook it up to the new alternator?
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Unread 01-13-2012   #2 (permalink)
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As much as I know you would like to have the original ammmeter working, it is not a good idea. It is unfused, and is a recipe for a fire. You can install an under dash voltmeter. This is safer, and is simple to do following the instructions that come with the voltmeter.
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Unread 01-15-2012   #3 (permalink)
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Why would using the original ammeter be a bad thing?
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Unread 01-16-2012   #4 (permalink)
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Do a search on this forum for "1 wire alternator" and "ammeter", and you will get some good info. Also a google search for "wiring an ammeter with a 1 wire alternator."
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Unread 01-20-2012   #5 (permalink)
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wont it work if uuse the orginal outsput wire?
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Unread 01-23-2012   #6 (permalink)
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The ammeter wont work and its a bad idea because its unfused, in the old setup the fusebox got a lead that was switched through the key and ammeter. when you go to a self regulating one wire alt(which I love so much its all I do now) that curcit is no longer involved and to piggy back it to the terminal on the alt its puts the diodes and internal regulator board at risk from backfeeding current and potential shorts. New cars solve this by monitoring the Voltage not amperage. a volt meter is simply tapped into any + lead and shows charging by reflecting >12V for good and <12v for bad news, should the gauge fail it does not Knock out the charging system. In the old setup a bad gauge means the load curcit is open and the battery goes and there you are. is it frequent??? no but they do fail and cause fires, poor charge conditions due to conductor fatigue and so on. Big amp draw spikes like high power amplifiers and electric fans also cause rapid load fluctuations which works the diodes that much harder if directly connected to the alt as in the old days vs. now with low switch amp draw due to battery saturation and remote relays so the switching curcits are not so heavily loaded. Keep in mind that unless the car has been rewired, ALL of the electrical load also passes through he ammeter....not good when you consider the age of the meter and wiring. An all original car no upgrades - no problem in general.
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Unread 01-23-2012   #7 (permalink)
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I will agree with all the others. don't do it. I can verify from personal experience what happens. I had a fire in my 65. did not hurt anything but the wiring, but it fried that. a voltmeter is what you want. if you look at most aftermarket gauge clusters that is what they all have.
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Unread 01-23-2012   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silver69 View Post
The ammeter wont work and its a bad idea because its unfused, in the old setup the fusebox got a lead that was switched through the key and ammeter. when you go to a self regulating one wire alt(which I love so much its all I do now) that curcit is no longer involved and to piggy back it to the terminal on the alt its puts the diodes and internal regulator board at risk from backfeeding current and potential shorts. New cars solve this by monitoring the Voltage not amperage. a volt meter is simply tapped into any + lead and shows charging by reflecting >12V for good and <12v for bad news, should the gauge fail it does not Knock out the charging system. In the old setup a bad gauge means the load curcit is open and the battery goes and there you are. is it frequent??? no but they do fail and cause fires, poor charge conditions due to conductor fatigue and so on. Big amp draw spikes like high power amplifiers and electric fans also cause rapid load fluctuations which works the diodes that much harder if directly connected to the alt as in the old days vs. now with low switch amp draw due to battery saturation and remote relays so the switching curcits are not so heavily loaded. Keep in mind that unless the car has been rewired, ALL of the electrical load also passes through he ammeter....not good when you consider the age of the meter and wiring. An all original car no upgrades - no problem in general.




You said that all the electrical load is passing still to the ammeter? Does this mean that I need to rewire my car any further from getting a voltmeter or is it fine staying unplugged? The voltmeter goes directly to the battery lead and really doesn't do much but say how well its charging? Do I necessarily need that straight away or could I wait a while to install that?
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Unread 01-25-2012   #9 (permalink)
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I did not mean to confuse you, I get long winded sometimes. For the ammeter to work the voltage and AMP Load has to pass through it. That is why its not working now, because the self exciting/regulating 1 Wire alt is charging the battery directly.
No rush, just find a constant 12+ signal for the Volt meter and make sure the trigger power is switched with the key(like the radio/wipers..... that only operates when the key is in the run postion).
By going to the 1 wire Alt, you have bypassed the ammeter, do not try to hook it up, it will cause you problems and possibly ruin your new alternator. if you want to monitor your charging system install a volt meter instead.
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Unread 01-25-2012   #10 (permalink)
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I, like mccance had a fire. The amp meter itself shorted out directly to ground as I went to start the car. I turned the key and immediately there was smoke boiling out from under the dash and hood. By the time that I was able to disconnect the battery there was considerable damage done to my wiring harness. The meter just decided to short out on its own. I had not interfered with anything that may have caused it to short.

Since this is one of the unprotected circuits, it's an electrical fire just waiting to happen. Needless to say, the repair cost me time and money. The amp meter, fortunately, is rapidly becoming a thing of the past and with good reason, obviously. The volt meter will tell you what you need to know. The needles on the amp meters on these cars barely moved under normal conditions anyway and just aren't worth the risk.

I have a 67 and found that a 2 1/16" size gauge fit into my gauge cluster. A volt meter took the place of the non-existent clock.

I also am using a PowerMaster 100A one wire alternator and it works just fine. You disconnect the voltage regulator and remove it, or just leave it there for originality.

The one wire set up requires that the charging/regulating circuit be turned on by slightly revving the engine after start up. The voltmeter shows when the circuit has been activated by indicating an increase in voltage from battery voltage, (Approx.12 volts), to the operating voltage, (Approx.14 volts).

My advice is to get rid of the Amp meter ASAP. Disconnect it and leave it in place if you don't want to disturb the originality. One of the amp meter's wires can be used for the volt meter if there is a fuse installed in the circuit. The second wire to the amp meter gets disconnected and completely eliminated.

PowerMaster has instructions for installation on their web site. If I remember, they also have an FAQ.
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