Anybody Ever Open Up A Voltage Regulator? - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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Anybody Ever Open Up A Voltage Regulator?

I'm interested in what's under the hood of a voltage regulator. Did anyone ever take the cover off of one? Was it a fairly "integrated" circuit, with everything kind of merged onto one board, or were there a few discrete little assemblies wired together?
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 02:47 AM
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the original stock regulator is mechanical, not electronic.

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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 06:40 AM
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A known resto thing to do is (like I have) is to buy a new "orig style" mechanical regulator and a 70's newer style electronic regulator which has a lower profile cover, but way more reliable, and open them up to switch covers.
Using the new solid state VR but has orig style cover so looks orig.
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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 07:43 AM
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There are pictures in the shop manual along with the instructions for adjusting the original style electromechanical regulators.

67-vr.jpg

The newer replacements are just a boring looking circuit board.
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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
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A mechanical voltage regulator? What, it has valves and pipes to control the flow of electricity? Yes, I suppose it has some coils and contact points, but I wouldn't call it mechanical. Take apart an old MG regulator and you'll see a real "mechanical" arrangement, lots of iron as well as copper. I don't remember how many contact points to clean and gap and lube the pivot points there were in there, but it was a lot! My primary area of interest here is whether the accessory relay function can be severed from the voltage regulator functions. And if they can, does it leave any room under there for other stuff? So 67GTconv, you have had a top off then. What did you do with your old guts? Do you remember what it looked like? I'm not gonna take apart my original working one to take a peek. I've just got it going again after being parked for a while.
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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyOldGrayMare View Post
I'm interested in what's under the hood of a voltage regulator. Did anyone ever take the cover off of one? Was it a fairly "integrated" circuit, with everything kind of merged onto one board, or were there a few discrete little assemblies wired together?
I have a shot of a modern Motorcraft GR540B regulator with the cover removed posted here:

https://www.musclecarresearch.com/regulator

Some of the modern aftermarket regulators are completely encased in rubber. Imagine a circuit board encased in a block of rubber that completely fills the space under the cover.

I've also attached a shot from the factory service manual that shows what an original electro-mechanical regulator looks like and describes how to adjust it.
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File Type: jpg wmvr-adjustment.jpg (542.1 KB, 9 views)
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Last edited by SAH62; 07-09-2019 at 07:57 AM. Reason: Added image of original regulator
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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by MyOldGrayMare View Post
A mechanical voltage regulator? What, it has valves and pipes to control the flow of electricity? Yes, I suppose it has some coils and contact points, but I wouldn't call it mechanical. ......."
call it whatever you want, call it a drizzle-snit, IDC. It's still a mechanical regulator, that is the industry designation for it, not mine. The "mechanical" moniker is the common usage which differentiates it from the modern "no-contact-point" electronic regulator

Yes, I do know what a 1950's era MG, Triumph, and Jaguar regulators look like. I was adjusting them when they were new .....


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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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Hey Magnus, thanks for the picture! And with a small file size too! (I'm on a dial up line) It still took several minutes to load, but a picture is worth a thousand words. What I'm looking to learn here is exactly how the accessory circuit is energized. The schematics I'm finding tend to be half pictures, and especially the connectors tend to be very ambiguous about exactly what goes where. And the way they're organized and grouped power often just mysteriously appears from somewhere off the page, with no depiction of how it got there. So anyway, if you turn your key to the accessory position, (if your radio isn't on already) you can hear a click from the voltage regulator. The accessory wire off the ignition switch runs there, and from the schematics looks like it drives a coil pulling down a set of contact points. That would be the "click". Here's where the schematics get especially sketchy. That relay must energize part of the fuse block then, to drive the components on the accessory circuit. That way all that power doesn't have to go through the ignition switch. I think. Anyway again, the coil in that accessory relay must be very low voltage tolerant. If you leave your radio on, it runs down to pretty much nothing if you let it, the coil doesn't "let go" as the voltage drops. I suppose it might not latch with too low a voltage though. From that picture though, it looks like that relay function is pretty intimately tied up with the regulator functions, but I'd need a closer look. Time to stop typing and start looking.
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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
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Hey Zray, see, I'm old enough too that I predate the need for the "mechanical" differentiation! I guess I missed that one. And while a pain, I marveled at the Rube Goldberg design of those old Prince of Darkness regulators. They had some style, even inside the parts had a little bit of "design", though they were maintenance intensive.
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 09:00 AM
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Hey Magnus, thanks for the picture! And with a small file size too! (I'm on a dial up line)
I am hoping this was included for the humor? My grandkids look at me like I am telling them a tall tail when I talk about the time before DSL and fiber and describe the sound and speed of dial up. Currently use a cellular data connection at the house, faster and more reliable than the crappy Windstream DSL and satellite services we have tried. One of the downsides of living in a rural area.

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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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No I'm not kidding about the dial-up line. 44K right now as I signed on. I worked in a high tech industry for years, and used computers every day. But I was never very impressed with them. This one I bought new in 2007. It's just a shopping and information appliance. Though with the slow speeds, as an information aperture I need to pick my spots.
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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 09:50 AM
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It has been my experience that the cover on the original mechanical regulator is attached with screws which makes sense because you don't want to drill rivets out to adjust it. The cover on the solid state regulator is attached with rivets because there is nothing under the cover that can be adjusted.
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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 01:40 PM
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Hey Magnus, thanks for the picture! And with a small file size too! (I'm on a dial up line)
Wow. I generally try to make anything I post reasonably small, just as an old habit from back before decent internet speeds, but it was just an old throwback because I remember when it used to be important. I didn't actually expect that it was still relevant to anyone. Thanks for pointing out that it still matters. I've actually tried to make pics smaller in the past by making them PNGs or GIFs when they're line art like that, but the board always converted them to JPGs anyway so I went with reasonably small instead of as tiny as possible.

Should we start adding "Pics - Dial up warning" back on thread titles again? I'm not dragging my USR 56k modem back out to see how this site loads in slow mo. Actually I can't. No phone line and no serial port. Well that sucks, it was a good modem back in the day.

Ok, enough derailing this thread into a discussion about old hardware. Thanks again for pointing out that file sizes are still important.

We now return you to the discussion on voltage regulators already in progress.

Oh, and one more pic in case it helps:
67-alt-vr.jpg

Last edited by Magnus; 07-09-2019 at 01:50 PM.
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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 01:53 PM
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"The newer replacements are just a boring looking circuit board."

True, But the newer '80s-'90's ones work 1000 times better and a 1000 times more reliable....

Anyone who is serious about driving their Mustang or Classic Ford/Mercury switches over to one of these...

There can be only one...when it comes to Voltage Regulators... Works with modern Alternators and Modern Original Type Rebuilt Alternators too... Solid State, and will last the life of the car...no lie.. As A bonus it also accepts Modern Stereo and Modern Added Electronics in the car too... Stay away from the Original "Points type" Regulators...as they are only good with OEM unrebuilt OEM Alternators and will "Burn-up" (Smoke Out/Fry) with pretty much anything else used..

This is the best one that you can buy....don't cince on your Voltage Regulator......Buy it once, Buy it right...


For your car....


https://www.npdlink.com/product/volt...0001%26year%3D

or one of these...


https://www.rockauto.com/en/parts/mo...regulator,4884


Either one is a lightyears better than a Stock OEM one.....!

)

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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 01:56 PM
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I was just doing the cover swap a couple weeks ago.
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