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Author Topic: MCI 8 Alternator field test???  (Read 1715 times)
DEMOMAN
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« on: January 12, 2014, 11:46:05 AM »

Hello All,

     I am having a charging problem on my 1978 MCI 8.  The alternator stopped working so I've gone to the manual and then a MCI Service Info guide on the net: http://www.mcicoach.com/service-support/serinfo/serinfo07K.htm  This has proven to be very helpful in diagnosing the problem. 

     The troubleshooting process has led me to low resistance between the field and ground, (1.6 ohms when it should be 3-3.3 ohms), which says to replace the alternator in the troubleshooting guide, or the MCI Maintenance Manual says to replace the field.  There are two different options here.

     How difficult is it to replace the field?  Is the field repairable? Dare I take the whole alternator out?

I would appreciate any input on this.

Thank you

Eric

Southeastern WI
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Len Silva
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2014, 02:52:26 PM »

I wouldn't jump to any conclusions just yet.  Most typical multi meters are not very accurate in those low resistance ranges.  Not saying you are wrong but I would like to know what meter you are using, and if it has a low resistance range.
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luvrbus
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2014, 03:19:48 PM »

LOL I am from the old school if the field terminal has power to it you take a screw driver and if you can feel the magnetic pull on the screw driver the field is good one should hear the 50D engage fwiw
« Last Edit: January 12, 2014, 03:31:45 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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DEMOMAN
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2014, 04:21:09 PM »

Len, I tried two multimeters, the first one was a Fluke digital VOM with an auto adjusting reading range, and the second was a Craftsman digital VOM with several Ohm range settings.  Both were reading within .1 of each other.  I also checked the resistance on a working MCI 9 with the Fluke and it was in the correct ohm range.

luvrbus, I will try the screwdriver test but I don't know when to listen for the alternator to engage.  Is that sound when the "charging" cycle is on because mine isn't charging?
« Last Edit: January 12, 2014, 05:38:34 PM by DEMOMAN » Logged

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Eric
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2014, 05:14:23 PM »

luvrbus, screwdriver test successful.  Power to field and the field stud had magnetic pull when bus master switch is on.  I am truly confused why the bus would not be charging if the field is good.  

All,

     I should've given more information on what I have done and seen prior to going to the troubleshooting guide.  I replaced the voltage regulator when I first had this charging issue because mine was not sending any voltage to the field.  The replacement one now sends voltage to the alternator.  This did not solve the issue.  I started up the bus and noticed the alternator was lightly smoking.  (Digital Heat gun said 165 degrees F)  I don't know if it was the oil on the outside heating up, the alternator burning up from the inside, or what.  I shut the bus down and checked the engine oil level because I know the alternator is oil cooled.  The level was low so I added some to top it off.  I the re-started the bus and the alternator seemed cooler.  (110 deg F)  Still nothing charging.

That brings us back to my first post today.

Hope that helps??

Eric
« Last Edit: January 12, 2014, 05:40:17 PM by DEMOMAN » Logged

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Eric
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2014, 10:44:41 PM »

DEMOMAN, I think that the field should be within specs, and if is not, it might contain some shorted turns in it's winding. That would make the field run hot WHEN the alternator is producing power, even you can't see any output.

If you had a shorted diode, it might bog down the output enough so that you wouldn't see any net output. However, I have only seen diodes fail open. When that happens, the result is low output.

DN50 alternators are supposed to be field replaceable without removing the alternator. I have not done this operation, so I don't know how it compares to removing the whole alternator from the bus.

What's bothering me is that the alternator should not be starting up if there is no output and you did not say if you were revving it up to get it to turn on.

One other thing: your reading of the field resistance happens to match the resistance for a 12 volt generator. I could see where it would cause problems if you are running a 12 volt winding.

Good luck troubleshooting your charging system.

HTH

Tom Caffrey
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Tom Caffrey PD4106-2576
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DEMOMAN
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2014, 05:01:15 AM »

Tom,

     All of my tests have been done at idle with the bus fully aired up or with the bus not running with the master switch on.  I have not been revving up the engine on any of my tests.  I guess I didn't know that I had to do this?  Neither the Maintenance Manual or the troubleshooting guide told me I would have to do that.  Does speeding up the idle "start up" the alternator? 

Eric
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Eric
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bevans6
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2014, 06:09:43 AM »

Random thoughts on alternators...   The field tap is an input to the alternator from the regulator, to turn on the alternator.  It varies between zero and full field voltage at high frequency to control the output current of the alternator.  If the voltage regulator senses that the alternator voltage output is lower than it's set point, it turns on the alternator by setting the field voltage to full voltage.  If the alternator has a bad diode, or is otherwise not putting out a voltage higher than the set point of the voltage regulator, the field voltage will be stuck on full voltage (usually battery voltage, whatever that is).  That means that the field winding will be getting a constant full voltage, which may or may not be good for it, and might explain the high temps you are seeing, although you can expect the alternator to be up around the oil temp anyway.  If the field coil is partially shorted, it might have a lower resistance and be pulling higher current than normal, up around 15 amps if the field resistance is 1.6 ohms, which might be harming the voltage regulator that has to supply that current.

Anyway, while it may be the field coil is what's actually bad, I think it's the just as likely the stator or the output diodes.  If it was me, the alternator would be on my bench for some serious testing.

Brian
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2014, 06:24:27 AM »

Check it this way with the bus running
If stud 49 reads 24 v and stud 48 reads 0 then the regulator is bad
If stud 49 reads 24 and stud 48 reads 24 volts then the alternator is bad
If studs 49 reads 0 then the relay is bad

good luck
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 06:38:27 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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DEMOMAN
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« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2014, 07:49:46 AM »

I have 26 volts on stud 49 and 24 volts on stud 48 with the bus running.  Troubleshooting guide points toward field.  I tested field resistance and it is low according to spec in Maintenance manual and Troubleshooting guide.  I'm guessing the field needs to be replaced. 

     I found two new fields on Ebay, one is a Delco http://www.ebay.com/itm/Delco-Remy-50-DN-Alternator-Field-Terminal-Assembly-Part-10471614-/300729769209?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item4604e41cf9&vxp=mtr , and the other is a Kirk's http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kirks-10471614-50DN-Alternator-Field-Coil-24-Volt-/160384530224?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item2557a9b730&vxp=mtr .  I prefer OEM over aftermarket but I heard some bad reviews on the Delco Replacements. Suggestions?

Eric 
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Eric
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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2014, 10:30:41 AM »

Erik;

Spend the money on Genuine Delco parts.   $89 is a bargin..
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RJ
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« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2014, 09:11:39 PM »

Eric -

Is your alternator belt or gear driven?

Most MC-8s had their alternators belt driven, and, as such, had a circuit that wouldn't turn on the alternator (& HVAC) until the air pressure was over about 65-80 psi - sufficient to tighten the air-powered tensioners.

IIRC, this switching circuit is buried electrically in the fast idle circuit.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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DEMOMAN
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2014, 04:55:50 AM »

RJ,

     My alternator is gear driven.  The air is well over 100 psi when I have done the testing.

Eric
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Eric
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luvrbus
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2014, 05:03:23 AM »

Eric, if gear driven remove it to do the work check the bearings and drive you will glad you did

good luck
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bevans6
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« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2014, 07:26:09 AM »

If you remove the alternator, do you have to go through the whole drive alignment process or can you just bolt the alternator back on?  Are the bearing you suggest checking the internal bearings inside the alternator?

Brian
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« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2014, 09:46:01 AM »

I have nothing to add other then the day mine goes out, i'll fab up a mount for a new one from auto zone. Seems easier!

But good luck.
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Jon
1980 Mc9 w/ veg oil
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DEMOMAN
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2014, 09:13:38 PM »

Ok, here is the latest update on the alternator.  My bad gear driven alternator has 50 on the ID tag.  I received a lot newer donor 50DN alternator which is pulley driven (90s vintage).  I pulled the field out of it which has 3.3 ohms of resistance.  Grin 

     I see that my 50 alternator has one field stud only.  The 50DN has two field studs, F1 and F2 which are both ends of the winding wire.  F1 is the outside or "end" of the winding and F2 is the inside or "start" of the winding.   The F2 stud was grounded with a ground strap. 

     I'm assuming the 50 alternator's field has one wire to the F1 stud and the other wire connected to ground on the inside of the alternator.  I will have to use the diode frame and cover from the 50DN because the field is different. 

     I was told that I have to make sure the ground strap is hooked up the same way as my old alternator or it won't work but which stud do I hook the strap up to?  Wait and see which end of the winding is connected to what and follow suit?

Thanks for your input everyone!

Eric

 
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Eric
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DEMOMAN
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« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2014, 01:49:37 PM »

Ok, I've taken the 50 alternator apart.  Field OHM tested ok at 3.3 when it was out.  It looks like something else was the culprit.  The stator had a bit of a short which threw copper BBs all over which must have been giving me the low OHM readings when it was together.  (see picture below)

     As far as the field wire and ground strap placement on the 50DN, (2 studs, F1 and F2) compared to the 50, (1 stud, F1); the second field wire was terminated on the field body, (ground) so it was easy to figure out which way to connect it up.

     All is well and producing 27.2 Volts!  Grin 

Thanks again everyone for all of your input!

Eric   
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Eric
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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2014, 01:56:46 PM »

Good job well done!   You might think about adjusting the voltage up closer to 28 volts, the batteries want around 14 volts each for a good charge.

Brian
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DEMOMAN
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« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2014, 05:34:35 PM »

Brian,

     I adjusted the voltage regulator to 27.2 volts with a load on it so it may be producing more than what I said.  The maintenance manual suggests adjusting it to 27.2 volts with a 20-200 amp draw with the idle at 1000 RPM so I turned on the bus heat, lights and drivers defrost and kicked it in high idle.  I figured that would be enough draw and RPM. 

     I'll check voltage next time I fire it up to see where it's at.   Smiley

Eric
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Eric
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