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Author Topic: Voltage regulator not working properly?  (Read 25468 times)
DonSTP
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« on: March 25, 2006, 09:49:53 PM »

The connector to my voltage regulator wasn't completly snapped in, and it came off while driving down a bumpy road.  The battery died and upon inspection I found the connector to the regulator had come free so I reinstalled it firmly and got a jump.

The regulator and alternator worked properly and started re-charging the battery, but when I went to drive the car again I noticed that characteristic "whining" sound that comes from the regulator being in the "charging" position.  The battery is fully charged but the system won't stop over-charging it. 

It's a rebuilt alternator and new voltage regulator.  I've attached a picture of the voltage regulator.  There doesn't appear to be any adjustments.

Any ideas what's up?  Huh

Thanks -
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rich69rs
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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2006, 10:40:32 PM »

Don:

I can't help you with the problem that you are having with your original style, mechanical voltage regulator.

However, I do have an upgrade suggestion that I think would be "money in the bank".  There are replacement "solid state" regulators that are physically the same size and footprint of the original.  The only difference is that the cover doesn't say "Delco-Remy" like the original one does.

Most starter/alternator/auto electric repair shops carry (or can order) this solid state replacement regulator.  As I recall, price is in the $25-$40 range.

Going to the local Chevy dealership won't help.  Although you can still get a GM replacement voltage regulator, it is the mechanical (original style).  GM doesn't offer a solid state alternative.  Although I am very much into "originality" when it comes to maintaining and restoring our classic Camaro rides, this is one area where you can perform an upgrade that definitely makes sense and it will be transparent (with one very small exception) to anyone who is looking.

If you decide to use one of these solid state voltage regulators, in order to keep the appearance "original" you will have to replace the cover with an original Delco-Remy cover from an original regulator.  (The original cover has the words "Delco-Remy" stamped in it.)

The cover on the solid state regulators that I have seen are all held on by screws.  The cover on orginal regulators was riveted in place.  No big deal, drill out the rivets and the cover comes off.  Install the Delco-Remy cover on the solid state regulator base, bolt it in place, hook up the connector and you are done - no adjustments - nothing to adjust.  The one small difference in appearance is that the Delco-Remy cover will be bolted in place instead of riveted.  To me a small concession for this reliability upgrade. 

Both my 69 RS and my 66 Chevelle have solid state voltage regulators with original Delco-Remy covers and I haven't had any problems.  5+ years on the Chevelle, 1 year on the RS.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2006, 12:40:16 AM by rich69rs » Logged

Richard Thomas
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DonSTP
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2006, 06:26:19 PM »

Thanks for the tip.

Are these solid state regs made of diodes?  I bought another regulator today and it said it was a solid state regulator - after opening the cover I found the same magnet/coil setup that I had in my previous reg.

Typically solid state means diodes.  Thanks for clarification.

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DonSTP
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2006, 06:27:31 PM »

...by the way - what should the top end be of the voltage at the battery when the car is rev'd to higher RPMs?

Thanks -
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Ed Bertrand
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2006, 10:26:36 AM »

Don,

I got one from Auto Zone for 12 bucks. Works like a charm so far (2 years). You can tell the difference between the solid state regulators because they're not as tall as the coil ones. Mine's about 2" tall.

Voltage should never get above 14.7 volts according to the Service Manual. Typically, you should see anywhere from 13.5 to 14.5 volts at the high RPM's. If you get above 15 volts, you start boiling the water out of the battery and believe me, over time it makes a real mess and causes lots of rust problems!! (Don't ask...)

 Shocked

Ed
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DonSTP
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2006, 01:05:33 PM »

Thanks Ed and Rich. 

I'm going to get a new regulator, specifically ask for solid state.  If this doesn't do the trick I'm going to pull the alternator and bring it to get tested.

I will post back with my results.  So far this forum has been my only source of assistance.  I've looked all over the internet and haven't gotten as far as I have here with just a couple posts.

Thanks again.  I really appreciate the help.

Don
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Ed Bertrand
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2006, 02:20:50 PM »

Don,

Okay, I found the part number you want to get. It's a WELLS P/N VR715 and you can get it from AUTOZONE for 14.99 plus tax.

Ed
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DonSTP
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2006, 09:24:32 PM »

Thanks Ed!

I went to Autozone tonight with my alternator and it tested bad.  I'm bringing it back to the place I got it to see if I can get anything back for it - just bought it a month ago at most.  I also ordered the solid state reg like you suggested.  Wish me luck on the alternator!

Don
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rich69rs
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2006, 12:37:59 AM »

Been on the road for a couple of days and just now getting a chance to catch up with the lataest posts.
 
The solid state regulator has one small circuit board inside with a few resistors, diodes, etc. - and that is it.  No moving parts - nothing to adjust.  When you pick it up and hold it in your hand, you can immediately tell that you are holding the electronic version because it isn't nearly as heavy as the original mechanical style. 

Good luck.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2006, 12:43:24 AM by rich69rs » Logged

Richard Thomas
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jeff68
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2006, 12:51:48 PM »

I am looking at using the VR715 voltage regulator as well for reliability.  Does anyone know if the 'guts' of the solid state unit can be swapped onto the base of an original Delco unit?  I hate to get rid of my NOS regulator that has the correct date code & part number stamped on the base.  The NOS unit has small adjustment knobs on it, but I have never had good luck adjusting them in the past.
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« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2006, 03:32:26 PM »

Here's what Rich wrote below:

...I am very much into "originality" when it comes to maintaining and restoring our classic Camaro rides, this is one area where you can perform an upgrade that definitely makes sense and it will be transparent (with one very small exception) to anyone who is looking.

If you decide to use one of these solid state voltage regulators, in order to keep the appearance "original" you will have to replace the cover with an original Delco-Remy cover from an original regulator.  (The original cover has the words "Delco-Remy" stamped in it.)

The cover on the solid state regulators that I have seen are all held on by screws.  The cover on orginal regulators was riveted in place.  No big deal, drill out the rivets and the cover comes off.  Install the Delco-Remy cover on the solid state regulator base, bolt it in place, hook up the connector and you are done - no adjustments - nothing to adjust.  The one small difference in appearance is that the Delco-Remy cover will be bolted in place instead of riveted.  To me a small concession for this reliability upgrade.
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Ed Bertrand
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« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2006, 03:55:58 PM »

Don,

That being said, it still won't get you the bottom half of the regulator, where the P/N and date code is stamped. I think Jeff is looking to keep that part as well, and I just can't say if transferring the internals from the original AC Delco to the VR715 is possible. I would assume you could do it but since I've never tired the transfer, I can't say for sure. Jeff, give it a shot on an old used regulator (not you "correct" date coded one), and let us know how it works out. If I had an old Delco regulator, I'd try it, but I tossed all mine out years ago (like a fool)!

Ed

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jeff68
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« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2006, 04:17:44 PM »

Exactly - I'm trying to keep the bottom half of the regulator that has the part # and date code.  I actually still have the original regulator that came on my car from the factory, so I will pick up a VR715 and see if I can make it work with the original base.  If I can, I will just have my original base re-plated after the necessary modifications.  I love these fun little projects......
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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2006, 04:26:22 PM »

Jeff,

Good luck and by all means, please keep us informed.

Ed
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DonSTP
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« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2006, 08:20:32 PM »

Guys - good news!

I had my alternator retested at another AutoZone and it tested fine.  I was a little suspicious at the first AutoZone since two other new alternators failed along with mine.  So, I purchased the solid state (VR715) reg and installed it tonight and VOILA!  Works like a champ! 

This is thing is spot on as well - no variation in the voltage even at higher RPMs. 

Great tip - thanks again!

Now on to the temp sensor...   Wink
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jeff68
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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2006, 09:21:12 PM »

Great news, Don.  I'll be picking mine up tomorrow. 
I just stripped down my original Delco voltage regulator.  I now have a bare metal base, and hopefully I will try installing the solid state 'guts' this weekend.  I'll let you all know how I make out.
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« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2006, 07:33:04 PM »

Jeff,

I recognize the picture of your car - I believe we've spoken before on the forum regarding originality.  I was the one with the two-tone interior. 

I brought my car back to original.  Here's a pic after all said and done.  Very happy I made this decision.  Previously had a black convertible top, but the trim tag said 722 G-1 (white convertible top).  Not too many of these kicking around anymore - not to mention in the RS model.   Cool

Regards,
Don -


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jeff68
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« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2006, 08:28:25 AM »

Don-
I love it!  You made the right choice.  Great looking car.
-Jeff
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« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2006, 08:35:59 AM »

OK, I got the VR715, popped the cover off and drilled out 5 rivets to remove the circuit board.  As expected, 4 of the holes line up perfectly with the original base - the ones for the 4 connectors.  The 5th hole is a ground for the circuit board.  I marked and drilled this hole in the original base, and everything fits perfectly.  Very simple & easy.  For final assembly, I will either use rivets or small brass screws.  Sorry I didn't take any pictures, but I was moving too fast.

Now, does anyone know the correct plating for the base?  I was going to have it silver cadmuim plated along with some other parts.

-Jeff
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« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2006, 03:39:15 PM »

Now, does anyone know the correct plating for the base? I was going to have it silver cadmuim plated along with some other parts.

-Jeff

Silver cad or zinc is correct.
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« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2006, 04:30:12 PM »

Thanks for the quick reply, John.
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« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2006, 09:15:49 PM »

Don't tell John Pirkle!
I had mine restored by him and it's a top-flight job!
I have an extra one of the solid state units, no moving parts.
Here's an idea sell a solid state with an original lid and base!
My restored unit works great just a little more pricey than a $20.00
unit from Auto-Zone.

Todd
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« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2006, 10:53:50 PM »

I too had intermittent problems with my voltage regulator and finally went with with the Wells unit 3-4 years ago. I didn't use the original base, only the top piece but kept the original.  I had seen this topic discussed here and took CRG's advice and got rid of the old coil style regulator.  It's worked flawless ever since. Also bought mine at Autozone.
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jeff68
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« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2006, 12:03:02 PM »

OK, my replated base is on its way back to me.  I'll try to snap some photos when I am re-assembling the regulator with the solid state internals.  I'll have a fresh NOS correct cover, gasket & screws, replated original base, replated male connectors, and original black plastic 'thingy'.  It should look great when assembled (I just hope it works).  The only give-away will be the screws attaching the connectors instead of rivets, but you won't be able to see them once it's installed.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2006, 02:09:40 PM by jeff68 » Logged

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« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2006, 09:51:48 PM »

 I just finished assembling my original voltage regulator using the 'guts' from the solid state unit.  Maybe I'll post this over on the "restoration" forum as well. 

Here are all of the parts of my regulator, plus the circuit board out of the solid state regulator:


Top view of circuit board installed with brass screws:


Bottom view.


Finished!:
« Last Edit: April 19, 2006, 09:57:43 PM by jeff68 » Logged

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« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2006, 10:45:00 PM »

Jeff
Awesome job!
That sucker should last forever. Plus looks original, from the outside.

Todd
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Adz28
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« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2006, 07:56:28 PM »

Jeff, your post inspired me to do the same with my Voltage Regulator. Having the pictures was a big help. Thanks... I was wondering if the new set-up actually worked. Did you test it yet?

Also, do you have an amp meter or voltage meter? If you have an amp meter, did it repond any differently when the solid state version was applied.

Regards,
Adam
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rich69rs
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« Reply #27 on: April 24, 2006, 12:27:07 PM »

On my '69 RS, I have the ammeter as a part of the console gage package.  I also have the solid state regulator.  When the engine first starts, ammeter deflects sightly to the right (charge) and then comes back to neutral.  No different than a properly funcitoning mechanical / original / type of regulator.
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Richard Thomas
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« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2006, 11:38:51 AM »

... I was wondering if the new set-up actually worked. Did you test it yet?
Adam-
I have not tested it yet.  My car is currently in "paint jail" serving what seems like a life sentence.  One day I'll get to test it......
Please let us know how yours turns out.
-Jeff
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« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2006, 10:00:42 PM »

Hey Jeff,

I still have not installed it either. I recently replaced the original version with the solid state version, which is still in the car. I figured I would leave that in a little while to see how it responds, so I can compare that to the one I just put together.

I also want to get your thoughts on the way I did it. I used the plastic "insulation" and metal tabs from the Solid State version, instead of the original as they were simply in better shape. Should work the same, right?

Regards,
Adam



« Last Edit: May 04, 2006, 08:53:49 AM by Adz28 » Logged
jeff68
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« Reply #30 on: May 02, 2006, 07:04:50 PM »

Adam-
Using the new plastic piece and metal connectors (tabs) will be just fine.  I only used my originals because they were in great shape.
Keep us posted.......
-Jeff
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« Reply #31 on: May 30, 2006, 04:30:14 PM »

So far so good. I have been using the Frankenstein regulator in my car quite a bit and it seems to be working just fine.
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My68SS
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« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2006, 01:05:22 PM »

Great thread guys and superb work!!  Smiley
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Rob
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« Reply #33 on: January 15, 2007, 07:16:38 PM »

in a repair shop years ago we always checked the voltage when new parts were replaced-Voltage when engine is running-  thats why the cover comes off the regulator- you can adjust the finial voltage out put(at the batter) to gm specs
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« Reply #34 on: January 26, 2007, 10:55:17 AM »

I should add a word of caution here. It seems after looking at the pics again, that the solid state pcb has copper traces on both sides. That being the case, it would be wise to place a thin sheet of electrical insulating material between the pcb and base to prevent any possibility of a short.
Whilst the coating over the copper traces is fairly robust, it's not designed to be a mechanical barrier.
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Rob
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« Reply #35 on: January 26, 2007, 04:24:01 PM »

I would think if it was a potential problem there would have been an insulator installed on the new solid state regulator.  The 'Frankenstein' regulator is assembled the same way as the new solid state regulator - the only difference is that you are using screws instead of rivets.
With that said, it may not be a bad idea to add the insulator, and it certainly won't hurt. 
Thanks for the heads-up.

Adam - If you're out there, let us know how the solid state regulator is holding up.
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« Reply #36 on: January 26, 2007, 04:43:30 PM »

As far as I can tell, it is working perfectly. I don't have any electrical issues. Before the swap, my battery would boil over, now it is fine. I am glad you remembered the set-up of the Solid State VR, because Rob does make a good point.

Jeff, I guess your car is out of paint jail. Post a picture...
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rich69rs
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« Reply #37 on: January 26, 2007, 05:46:26 PM »

While running both of my cars this past weekend (both have been converted to the solid state voltage regulator - 66 Chevelle in 2000; 69 RS in 2005) I checked the voltage of the charging system.  Both were essentially at 14.2 volts.  Solid state regulators have held up very well.
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Richard Thomas
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« Reply #38 on: January 26, 2007, 05:54:46 PM »

Jeff, I guess your car is out of paint jail. Post a picture...
Ha! I wish!  I had problems matching my color in BASF paint.  The car was almost ready for paint, but the color match was horrible.  While I was figuring out the paint issue, the body guy slipped in another project before mine.  Unfortunately, I think that project may take years.  Oh well, I'm in no rush....plenty of other stuff to keep me busy.
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« Reply #39 on: January 26, 2007, 11:01:35 PM »

Hi crew, I was imagining that maybe the mounting holes in the solid state base were slightly raised - dome shaped, to hold the pcb up a bit and give some clearance between the pcb tracks and the metal base?
Any pics of a solid state base with pcb removed?
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Rob
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« Reply #40 on: January 27, 2007, 06:29:36 AM »

Yes:


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« Reply #41 on: January 27, 2007, 07:31:42 AM »

Thanks Jeff, it looks like the surface has a insulating coating on it? If it is, then that will be the electrical barrier.
Also, the white smear around the hole on it's own and in the lower right corner of the bottom pic, is that the remanents of a thermal compound?
Maybe their design was to have the pcb in close contact with the insulated base, with some thermal compound between the pcb and base so the base could act as a heatsink for the output transistor, which is the largest device on the board.
That transistor regulates the current through the rotor winding and hence controls the output voltage.
It will generate a bit of heat, especially driving at night with headlights on which demands more rotor current. Would also be advisable to check on the thermal design of the original solid state setup.
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Rob
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« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2007, 08:54:45 AM »

The resolution of the camera and the flash make the finish of the base look quite a bit different than it really is.  There is no coating on the base - I confirmed by testing continuity between the top surface of the base and many other points on the base.  I also scratched it and tried lacquer thinner in a small spot - nothing but plating.

The 'smear' around the hole is not thermal compound.  It is actually some very slight discoloration of the plating.

As far as the thermal design of the solid state regulator - the pcb was riveted directly to the base and a low-rise plastic cover was glued in place over it.  There should be no appreciable difference between the new solid state regulator and the original converted regulator.

 
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« Reply #43 on: January 27, 2007, 12:13:26 PM »

Ok that sounds fine then, though I'm still nervous about a double sided board that's screwed hard to a metal surface. Maybe the traces on the back are all ground connects anyway?
Sounds like you know your electronics too   Wink
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