Give me your electrical 0.2 (HELP) - Page 2 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #16 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-29-2017, 06:53 AM
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Matteo, you sound like a cool and very bright young man. I have a copy of a great trouble shooting guide (from my son's BMW factory repair manual) that I think you will find very helpful. You think your multi-meter is handy now; just wait until you find out how to really use it! Yes, it takes some effort but has clear diagrams and good explanations. Would you send me a PM with your email address? I'll send it the next time I am in my office at work.

Also, Vaseline is very good to prevent corrosion on grounds. Most of the time, electrical issues are caused by corrosion on ground contact points. Look at photograph #2 in your second post; it looks like a potential cause for the issues you are experiencing.
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post #17 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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Alright Gentleman, I am back with a small update.

I did some work today:

1. Cleaned engine ground and strap (sorry for no pictures but it definitely needed it.)
2. Replaced all the fuses with the correct ones (for some reason my nonno decided to put the wrong ones in the wrong spot.)
3. I used contact cleaners to clean up most of the contacts leading to the fuse box and from the alternator.
4. Soldered the crack on the voltage regulator (see first post- last photo.). In the bottom left corner is a crack you can hardly see but in person it is quite distinguishable.

After I preformed these tasks I re-preformed all the testing again. Inserted the battery with a charge of 12.34V hooked up the cables and turned the car on. The voltage dropped to 12.15V (this is way better than around 11.34V previous) however it was still not enough. I preformed the engine rev to 4000rpm and the voltage went to 12.34V again. I then went to check the alternator voltage it was outputing as well as the voltage on the voltage regulator and rev up. Alternator was resting on idle with around 9V again then when I revved the engine again to 4000rpm my voltage went up to 10.5V. Other things I noticed was that the Generator light is working almost normally now- its off at idle but gradually will get a brighter red with more rpm. The car sounds a lot better, and some components work a little more smoothly and I hope that shows that maybe I am on the right path. I feel like I am getting closer to being able to cruise in this beautiful weather in Canada but I am not quite there yet. I still haven't cleaned the battery to body ground yet- I am sure it will help yet but I need to grab a wrench that will get into that awkward spot.

I also would love to provide a general thanks to all you who replied and provided me with the knowledge and "How-To's" to better my Alfa and my understanding around them. I am truly grateful for you all here and this wonderful forum and even though I will most likely never meet most of you I feel like I have joined a lovely family of Alfa Romeo enthusiasts such as myself.
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post #18 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 04:10 PM
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Other things I noticed was that the Generator light is working almost normally now- its off at idle but gradually will get a brighter red with more rpm.
Nothing normal about that. The light should be off when the engine is running. A soft glow (only visible at night) at idle is OK, but "gradually will get a brighter red with more rpm" is a sign that the alternator-regulator aren't charging.

Jay Mackro
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'65 Guilia Sprint GT
'67 Duetto
'91 164L

Last edited by Alfajay; 05-02-2017 at 04:12 PM.
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post #19 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 04:25 PM
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Nothing normal about that. The light should be off when the engine is running. A soft glow (only visible at night) at idle is OK, but "gradually will get a brighter red with more rpm" is a sign that the alternator-regulator aren't charging.
really does sound like a failure of the alternator's regulator. At 4000 rpm it should put out 13.7 to 14.5 volts. climbing to just 10 volts means it is missing ⅓ of its output, typical of a diode failure.

Good Luck

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post #20 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 08:19 PM
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Matteo, the battery ground to the car body is basic... essential. Once you have cleaned that thoroughly, including the bolt, get back to us please and let us know your voltage readings again. When you get the ground terminal lug and ground area on the body shiny clean, apply some electrically conductive anti corrosive grease to the area and to the bolt head. Use a toothed lockwasher under the bolt, also.

Go to an electrical supply store, and ask for "Contax" corrosion inhibitor or "Kopr Shield" made by Thomas & Betts. Either one will do a great job of preventing corrosion of your main electrical grounds and enhancing conductivity over the long run.

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post #21 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 10:36 PM
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My guess is two part..Sounds as if your alternator is not producing properly but the alternator is not designed to charge the battery from low, just to maintain..Try a good charge on the battery and start there..batteries don't last like they used to
best of luck
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post #22 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-03-2017, 06:41 PM
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The guys above give very good advice! Also good 'contact cleaners' for your main grounds -are wire brushes or sand paper. You want to see clean bright metal and then coat it with a corrosion inhibitor (honest Vaseline works well and is usually around the house). An electrician friend gave me a bottle of Contax and it may work better but the Vaseline is less messy and easy to find in my garage.

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post #23 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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This is wonderful advice from you all and I will have another update incoming. Ill address the grounds as you have all kindly suggested. I will also just get a brand new regulator or maybe even look into purchasing a Alternator with a built in regulator. Does anyone know where I can find a the cable that currently leads into the external voltage on the '77 spider ? Is there a specific one I should look for- could not find on center line- or is it pretty generic?

Thanks all

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post #24 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 04:19 PM
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An electrician friend gave me a bottle of Contax and it may work better but the Vaseline is less messy
"Less messy" isn't the criteria here. Contax will remove corrosion and make your connections work again. I'm not sure what Vaseline will do.

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Alternator with a built in regulator. Does anyone know where I can find a the cable that currently leads into the external voltage on the '77 spider ?
Are you referring to a cable that will connect an internally-regulated alternator to your '77 spider? You don't need a special cable - an internally-regulated alternator uses fewer wires, not more. Just connect the big wire to the 6mm lug on the new alternator (as it was connected to the old alternator), separate the small green wire that goes to the "GEN" light from the old regulator and connect that directly to the "GEN" (or however it's labeled) terminal on the new alternator. That's all there is to it.
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'67 Duetto
'91 164L
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post #25 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 04:21 PM
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Pretty sure the 77 had an alternator with internal regulator.

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post #26 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 04:51 PM
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Pretty sure the 77 had an alternator with internal regulator.
Yup, it sure did. And MatteoS is considering converting the alternator-regulator combo on his '77 to a later, internally-regulated unit.
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Jay Mackro
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'67 Duetto
'91 164L

Last edited by Alfajay; 05-04-2017 at 05:11 PM.
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post #27 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-05-2017, 06:11 AM
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"Less messy" isn't the criteria here. Contax will remove corrosion and make your connections work again. I'm not sure what Vaseline will do.
Vaseline is just like dielectric grease but costs much less. It prevents corrosion but will not remove corrosion if it is already present. Maybe that is why I prefer to use a wire brush and or sand paper.

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post #28 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-05-2017, 06:41 AM
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I'd have the alternator out and over to the auto parts for a test. You may have shorted diodes or just a bad regulator.

Understand this: if the voltage "output" of the alternator is not higher than the charged battery voltage (about 12.4), you are not charging at all - your battery is draining through the alternator, etc. Typically 13.8 VDC is an alternator's output voltage when the regulator is performing perfectly - and I say VDC (Voltage Direct Current) because a bad diode can add AC (Alternating Current). AC won't charge your battery, and over time can damage it.

At an alternator test station, they often show a picture of the output waveform, and bad diodes show as pulses of distorted or even reversed voltage (it's never too smooth, but a good one is repetitive, without differences)
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post #29 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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@Alfajay I mean the wires that currently lead from my alternator to my voltage regulator (attached photo).

I am going to get my alternator and regulator tested and will be back with the results. If they are on their way out the door than I guess I might shell out the substantial money for a refurbished one with a internal regulator.
@bruce1976spider that was extremely helpful! I need to learn just how exactly this system is supposed to be functioning to help myself understand what exactly is wrong with my alfa. I appreciate the feed back.

Thank you all for your responses and I will keep you updated. My days off are usually Tuesdays and Wensdays and thats when I usually get time to work on her. I actually got my first sunburn of the year working on her last time hahaha ! I will include more photos in the next update.

Thanks
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post #30 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 05:06 PM
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@Alfajay I mean the wires that currently lead from my alternator to my voltage regulator (attached photo).
Matteo:

No photo was attached. But I can picture what you mean: a three-wire connection, with two three-terminal plugs on either end. No one sells that. Perhaps someone here will have one used. Or you could make one, using female terminals with a tang to grip the connector. What happened to your old wiring?

Quote:
I am going to get my alternator and regulator tested and will be back with the results. If they are on their way out the door than I guess I might shell out the substantial money for a refurbished one with a internal regulator.
New internally-regulated alternators shouldn't cost any more than a new copy of your old alternator. In fact, buying a new regulator + a new externally-regulated alternator would probably cost more than a new internally-regulated alternator. Here's one source:

90-94 Alfa Romeo Spider Alternator High Output 80 Amp Generator | eBay

But the least expensive solution is probably going to be rebuilding the alternator that you have. If the shop can rebuild it, and verify that your regulator is OK, you should get away for ~ $100.

Jay Mackro
San Juan Capistrano, CA

'65 Guilia Sprint GT
'67 Duetto
'91 164L

Last edited by Alfajay; 05-06-2017 at 05:11 PM.
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