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Thread: Generator - 6 or 12 volt. Rebuild or buy new?

  1. #1

    Default Generator - 6 or 12 volt. Rebuild or buy new?

    I finally have my 1947 Chief running and on the road (metaphor for riding around the neighborhood.) My last 1500 mile trip from Indiana to South Dakota in 1992 involved turning the headlight on and off every 15 minutes to keep the battery charged but not fried. Today, that generator does not charge at all and is in pieces on my bench.
    I am building a rider, not a show bike. I am considering Greer's generator for about $420.00. Is there an advantage or disadvantage to keeping it 6 volt? I have no problem converting bulbs to 12 volt. Does an inline resistor need to be added ahead of the coil?
    Thanks for any suggestions and tales of experience.

    Larry Gibson

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    754

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    Larry, I don't know of anyone who has done this, so I can't say if it's reliable or not, but there's a fellow in Washington who converts generators to alternators using the old generator case. https://www.gener-nator.com/
    Pisten Bulley is Harry Roberts in Vermont.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    154

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    Hi Larry,

    If you're not concerned with originality it's hard to beat the Cycle Electric generator with built in regulator. I'm now running the 6 volt version on three Chiefs and just installed the 12 volt version on another. I decided to go 12 volts on the last one since I may have to add electric starting in the not to distance future. In addition to changing all the light bulbs to 12 volts I also replaced the coil with a 12 volt example that does NOT require a external resistor. Coils are also available for use with an external resistor but since the original set up didn't require a resistor I assumed the replacement 12 volt one won't either. Hopefully that assumption is correct.

    Steve Slaminko

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Saltsburg PA
    Posts
    354

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    Congratulations getting your Chief on the road Larry. I have no interest in having a show bike either but do like to maintain original/appearing when it doesn't adversely affect reliability. I stayed with 6 volt, got an electronic regulator hidden inside an original regulator housing from Gene Harper. This required a simple change of the original generator from 3 brush to 2 brush which enabled me to run a lithium iron battery because of the tight charging voltage with a max of 7.2. And it all looks bone stock. I run lights most of the time and sometimes the spots at night. Going on 6 years with zero problems and NEVER had a battery charger on it once and that includes letting it sit from Nov to April every winter. If you do a lot of night riding 12 volts would offer better brightness and better bulb availability at local stores. For me the 6 volts system shines plenty good enough as I'm not going fast at night anyway.

    The Cycle Electrics have been proven for many years and is a simpler plug and play solution which is why so many install them.

    Did you determine what the problem was with your generator? or regulator? I am always hesitant to condemn original parts if they can be made to perform like new.
    Jason Z
    AMCA #21594
    Near Pittsburgh PA (Farm Country)
    Allegheny Mountain Chapter http://amcaamc.com/

  5. #5

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    Thanks Harry. I looked at the video of him with Jay Leno, and I looked through his website. Didn't see any mention of motorcycle products. It did state that most conversions were under $1000. That's good. With a core, turnarounds were 5-7 weeks. The good part of his products is that they are exactly original in external appearance.
    Larry

  6. #6

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    Hi Steve. I found Cycle Electric Inc. located in Brookville, Ohio. They do have generators for Indians. I wonder if this is the source for Jerry Greer's Engineering generator?
    Larry Gibson

  7. #7

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    Hi Jason. I looked up Gene Harper. If he was #31 in the 2018 Cannonball, I saw him and took some photos and video at Kersting's H-D in Winimac, Indiana last summer at a lunch stop for the Cannonball. He rode an Indian with a sidecar. Is this the same person? I also looked up Cycle Electric Inc as I mentioned in another response.
    I haven't determined the problem yet. Probably sitting idle for 26 years needing a clean-up. Brushes look good, but as I thought about it, I wanted reliability and a bright headlight. I plan on keeping the original and getting it working later. I am missing the cover and the metal ID tag. I talked to Todd at Greer's today and he mentioned a problem with interference between the external regulator and the booster springs on the Chum-me seat.
    Larry Gibson

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Central Illinois, USA
    Posts
    4,344

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    Quote Originally Posted by larrymgibson View Post
    Hi Steve. I found Cycle Electric Inc. located in Brookville, Ohio. They do have generators for Indians. I wonder if this is the source for Jerry Greer's Engineering generator?
    Larry Gibson
    The CE generator was a VirtualIndian web community project, Larry!

    http://www.virtualindian.org/projgen.htm#cepic

    Unfortunately, CE pushes their ugly end-mount regulator model, instead of the standard generator that can use a variety of other regulators, not so ugly.
    And of course, vendors push them for their higher profit margin.

    Now I wish I had known about IndianFrank@yahoo.com, and got a real Autolite.

    ....Cotten
    AMCA #776
    Dumpster Diver's Motto: Seek,... and Ye Shall Find!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    201

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    Hi Larry,

    CB #31, that's me!

    I have made electronic voltage regulators for Autolite generators and they work well. Simple conversion to 2 brush, eliminates all the guess work with the 3rd brush, cutout issues, over charging etc. Unfortunately, I'm out of all but a couple regulators for the GAS standard output Autolite generators, as was standard for '30-47 Indian. No High output, TC style regulators. No idea when I'll be able to get any more built, my supplier has quit, for now....plus I have plenty of my own projects!!!!

    Having Indian Frank do your generator is a safe way to go. He does good work, he knows Autolites very well. If you have him do the work, he has an electronic voltage regulator he will install on the generator. This will do all the things mine would do.

    For more info on the 3 brush vs a 2 brush with regulator, here is a link to some info on my web site: http://www.splitdorfreg.com/Splitdor...nical-Info.htm

    Gene

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    S.E.N.Y. State American side of Hudson River
    Posts
    485

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    Indian Frank did my genny on my Four about 5 years ago. Nothing but good things to say. Works perfect.
    D. A. Bagin #3166 AKA Panheadzz 440 48chief W/sidecar 57fl 57flh 58fl 66m-50 68flh 70xlh

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