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Thread: Bugeye electrical questions

Discuss the Austin Healey Sprite and the MG Midget. Two different but similar cars sometimes referred to collectively as the Spridget.

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    Obi Wan
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    Bugeye electrical questions

    Hi all,
    I took my Bugeye down the freeway this morning. I had the lights, windshield wipers, heater, and gps all going. After about an hour, I noticed the gps stating that external power was being lost ((cig.lighter) As I pulled off the freeway, I noticed the turn signals were no longer working either, and as I approached the stop sign, my car just died. I had to get a jump and let my car charge for 5 minutes, and went to my destination a few blocks away. I have a modified generator that was rewound to give more electricity, but I have never had everything on before. I have a few questions.
    1) How do you check the output of a generator?
    2) What should the minimum output of a generator be?
    3) Is it normal to run down a battery from having everything on in a Bugeye?
    Answers to any of these questions would be greatly appreciated.
    Kevin

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    Yoda dklawson's Avatar
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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    I can only offer a few general observations.

    The C40 family of generators typically provide around 20 to 22 Amps. I know you said yours was modified for higher output. All those generators have external control boxes which must be set properly. I have avoided generators because of that box so I am not the person to walk you through how to check and adjust the box. If I acquire any more British cars with generators I will probably install one of the new solid-state control boxes rather than try to make control box adjustments.

    You did not mention if your car's red charge warning lamp is working and whether it is regularly on or off while driving.

    I suggest at least temporarily hooking up a volt meter/gauge and observing how the system voltage behaves while you are driving.
    Doug L.
    '64 Morris Mini Cooper-S 1275
    '67 Triumph GT6 Mk1

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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    How’s your fan belt? If it’s loose or shiny it can slip under load.
    "Age considers; youth ventures." Rabindranth Tagore
    1975 Spitfire

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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    Get a GENERNATOR. They produce 45 amps and they are great. I have one.

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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    I do have solid state innards in my voltage regulator. The charging light did come on at some point, but I can't remember when it did come on. The belt is only 6 or 7 years old, and it is a little shiny, but I will check it. I currently have it in the shop to have the frame checked. I have tried to keep everything as stock as possible, except where it has just not seemed practical. I know some people have put in alternators, but if a generator can run everything okay, I don't want to switch it out. Besides, it seems complicated to do this. Went on youtube, and Moss actually has a video on checking the output. I will watch it again, but I had the impression that as long as the generator was putting out 14-20 volts, it was working properly.

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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    Take a look at Bugeyeguys website under parts and see his comments on the GENERNATOR. They are not hard to install and you get to keep your mechanical tach. Srveral places sell them. I got mine from Pacific Nortwest.

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    Yoda dklawson's Avatar
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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    Quote Originally Posted by ichthos View Post
    The charging light did come on at some point, but I can't remember when it did come on.
    I have tried to keep everything as stock as possible, except where it has just not seemed practical.
    I had the impression that as long as the generator was putting out 14-20 volts, it was working properly.
    If the red light has been staying on, it means "something" is wrong and it needs to be checked. It won't correct itself.

    As above, several firms now sell a compact alternator mounted inside what looks like a C40 dynamo housing. That would give you a few more amps and retain the stock appearance.

    They mystery of the control box is why I have converted to alternators in the past. I don't have enough understanding of how they work to adjust them. Regardless, where and under what conditions you measured 14 to 20 V is important. The battery will not handle continuous application of 20V.
    Doug L.
    '64 Morris Mini Cooper-S 1275
    '67 Triumph GT6 Mk1

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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    the voltage regulator[control box] is there to regulate the max output voltage from your generator & should cut out at approx. 13volt, above that you start frying the batt, coil and anything else switched on at the time, get your regulator tested/adjusted at any auto elec shop

    Russ

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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    I don't think volts is the problem. If your generator is making 20-25 amps (nominal) and your load on the system is greater than the 25 amps output eventually the battery will go dead. Happened to a friend of mine in 1966. Brand new Mini Cooper S going from Williamstown Ma to NYC. Headlights, driving lights, Halda Speed Pilot, Heater and wipers all on, by the time we got to NYC there was ZERO ELECTRICITY LEFT, car died ! Sound familiar ?
    Thank goodness the MG is finally gone, replaced by another Corvette

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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    Definitely sounds familiar. How do you know how much amperage is being drawn with all the various things on? If I canít have everything on, I may very well go with an alternator. I still have to go to the websites/stores mentioned to get more information.

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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    You said the charge light was on so I would start there. My Bugeye has been driven plenty with everything on and a working charging system will keep up just fine. I donít have a socket to charge anything so I canít say yours wouldnít over stress the generator.
    I would make sure your charging system is working properly then hook up a meter to the battery and with the car running start one by one turning things on and watch what the voltage does keeping the revs around 2,000. If you have everything on, revs at 2,000 and you plug your GPS in the socket and the voltage drops and charge light comes on youíve got your answer and should consider an alternator or generator.

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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    I had a similar situation but a BE w Generator. Winter, car stored in garage. Typical usage run 2 1/2 miles to grocery store and back, at night, radio on with heater and lights on and BTW Halogen bulbs in the headlights. Initial start and a restart to come home. Every few weeks I needed to plug the car into the battery charged to prevent battery from totally dying. With Bugsy IV, Genernator took care of that issue.
    Jim Gruber - Apollo Beach, FL
    Bugsy I - '68 Sprite w BE Bonnet - Gone but not forgotten
    Bugsy IV - '60 Bugeye - 1,275+.040 and a 5-Speed - CA Car - 2nd Owner from new - 10/12 Painting done, reassembly, cutting, and buffing in progress.

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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    When I acquired my BE the generator was toast and several wires were fried. E-bay seller of course didn't mention that. He had also been jacking with the regulator adjustment screws as well that cost me the next generator. I then went trough the adjustment procedure for the regulator and thought I had that licked. Wrong.....one more generator. All new and no more problems but the Lucas generator doesn't do any more than is necessary when driving at night.

    BTW, anyone know of a good place to have a tach drive generator rebuilt?

    Kurt
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    I highly recommend that you get a GENERNATOR. They are great and you also do away with the voltage regulator.

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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    On my other Spridgets I have fitted small skeleton framed alternators. I like the ones from a Ford Festiva. A generator on the BE sounds like a good idea if they still have the tach drive.

    Kurt
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    Make that GENERNATOR not generator.
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    Thats right it is a Alternator housed in a generator housing. The beauty is it comes with a mechanical tach drive and is lighter than the stock generator.You also replace the voltage regulator with a dummy box that holds a fuse and the box looks just like a voltage regulator.I can,t say enough about the Genernator after having various generators on two of my Bugeyes fail becausethey are not very well made. With the GENERNATOR producing 45 amps I have no problems with a dead battery. They are not very expensive and come in positive or negative ground. I would recommend you replace the voltage regulator with the Dummy fuse box to play it safe.

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    Yoda
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    Re: Bugeye electrical questions

    There appears to be a little bit of confusion here about volts and amps.
    To put it simply if the generator/alternator is putting out more than 12.4 volts then it is charging the battery as well as running the items that are being used. As the load (in amps) goes up then the voltage goes down (and vice versa) until the voltage is too low to be of use (in this case to charge the battery). The gen/alt can only supply a limited amount of product (power) and when it has produced as much as it can then it won't.
    The voltage regulator can be set to raise the MAX voltage that can be produced but this won't affect the max power that the gen/alt CAN produce.
    Billm

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