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Driving with a Dynamo


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Perhaps a silly question but for us 'youngsters' :) on the forum, is there anything specific we need to be aware of? I think I have learnt my lesson, been using my car constantly since purchase, happily using the elctric fan, leaving it on to cool the engine if I pop into a shop and thinking nothing of it, expecting the battery to charge as I drive. However, I now realise this doesn't happen and when my amps run into negative my batterry doesn't charge. I assumed this was just the draw and the dynamo would be charging. I now seem to have struck a balance, I only use the electric fan when needed and the amp use has moved to positive which I assume charges the battery.

Next steps are to use the car as per normal and be a little more frugal and aware of electrical use (I like this idea) to replace the dynamo with a new unit and send the old one off for reconditioning or convert to an alternator and thin belt, not so keen because of the 'modern' look plus it is £300+ to change but would be more efficient.

In the meantime I am going to fit the original fan so I don't have to use the electric one quite as often.

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I ran my 4a with just a dynamo and an engine driven fan (albeit with a header tank for the rad) for many years with no problem, I did have the higher output dynamo on and the biggest battery that would fit in the space. I have an alternator now but that was only fitted as an ongoing conversion to something different.

Stuart.

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Jase,

woah, slow down a tad here.

The dynamo, in good nick is more than ample for the car, and the odd accessory, though electric fans do draw a bit.

So, I have an electric fan, with a sender and manual overide, thats the best combo in my view.

If you want lots of electrices, the dynamo will struggle, e.g. if you are driving in rain, with the overdrive, wipers , fan and lights, it will not keep

up, and an alternator is teh way to go, (Brilliant article on conversion by Ian C, in technicalities CD, idiot proof, ask me how I know)

Finally, you can run, an alternator with the wide belt pulley, so there is no need for the total expenditure all at once.

John.

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11 minutes ago, John Morrison said:

Finally, you can run, an alternator with the wide belt pulley, so there is no need for the total expenditure all at once.

John.

I still am. One thing you do need to be careful of though is if you run for more than 30 mls at night with the headlights on at in excess of 5000 RPM slow down gradually or you can encounter the same problem I did which was the belt flipped off at the exit ramp.:wacko:

Stuart.

Edited by stuart
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As you have discovered Jase, the ammeter (when correctly wired) only shows current flow into and out of the battery, so a negative reading doesn't just mean the battery isn't charging, it means current is being drawn out of it.  

A C40 dynamo in good condition only produces 22 Amps at 2250 revs and less at lower speeds so there isn't a lot extra available if your cooling fan is a power-hungry one. It can cope though if you realise that and use power accordingly, as you have found. The condition and adjustment of the control box is important in getting full output but beware of modern replacements which do not have a good reputation.

My 3A has no mechanical fan but I find it is rarely necessary to turn the electric fan on - only when stuck in traffic on a hot day or if left idling for extended periods. If you are finding more need for the fan perhaps the cooling system needs a tune-up?

As Stewart and John say above, an alternator can be run with a wide belt - and I do that also - so the conversion is not too expensive if you prefer to go that way. (I use a modern 17mm raw edge  'cogged' belt and haven't encountered belt-shedding, perhaps because it sits a little lower in the pulleys). 

Edited by RobH
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My main worry at the moment is fanbelt failure and being able to change it at the side of the road if required. Can anyone recommend an emergency belt like the Brammer belts and what length is required?

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24 minutes ago, Jase said:

My main worry at the moment is fanbelt failure and being able to change it at the side of the road if required. Can anyone recommend an emergency belt like the Brammer belts and what length is required?

Jase,

many of us, when we used the wide belt, fitted a spare, wrapped in clingfilm or tinfoil.

When at home, and not under pressure, slacken the N/S engine mount, until the nut is just still on, lift the engine, which allows you to get the spare under the crank pulley, fix with cable ties, to the cross member between the turrets, so that if you ever lose your belt, you simply need to slacken the dynamo to repaces - simples.

John.

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Problem with dynamos & electric cooling fans is that when you need the fan - normally at a standstill with engine ticking over, the dynamo is not producing any useful charge.

So you need a good battery to keep everything going until you get moving again. 

Personally I would highly recommend changing to an alternator, which can provide charge at much lower revs than a dynamo. (& also gets rid of the regulator)

Bob.

Would also go for narrow belt :ph34r:

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1 hour ago, james christie said:

It has been known to ask her to take her tights off to help out a roadside repair......:wub::wub:

james

Hi Jase,

lots of good questions coming from you.

Normally you need silly headlights at night - when it is cool. Thus you shouldn;t need the rad fan - because it is cool.

Seriously consider LED headlights - easily fitted, very good illumination. These are what I have fitted  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Nighteye-H4-H7-HB2-9005-9006-H11-LED-Headlight-Car-Light-Bulb-Hi-Low-Beam-8000LM-/372679070776?var=&hash=item56c5675438

Not the very best, not the most expensive but work well.

 

Roger

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Fitting the biggest battery that will fit in the space provided is a good start, and use the currently sparingly :)

Pair of tights in the tool box will take care of a broken fan belt, spent the day driving the Ring of Kerry a few years ago with a pair of Pretty Polly's keeping the show on the road after my dynamo ran a bearing (don't do the fan belt up too tight :P)

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1 hour ago, RogerH said:

Hi Jase,

lots of good questions coming from you.

Normally you need silly headlights at night - when it is cool. Thus you shouldn;t need the rad fan - because it is cool.

Seriously consider LED headlights - easily fitted, very good illumination. These are what I have fitted  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Nighteye-H4-H7-HB2-9005-9006-H11-LED-Headlight-Car-Light-Bulb-Hi-Low-Beam-8000LM-/372679070776?var=&hash=item56c5675438

Not the very best, not the most expensive but work well.

 

Roger

Roger, do you fit relays with these as well or are they okay as they are?

 

Thanks

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Sorry, another question, where is the regulator? Is this one of the stabalisers on the inside of the driver's wing? Still learning.

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It looks like this and is on the driver's side:

reg.jpg.e2b12817a12af93d19ef31be89d335b1.jpg

WARNING It's best not to even take the cover off unless you have disconnected the battery first.  You can do a lot of damage by operating the cut-out contact inadvertently. 

Adjustments should only be attempted if you are absolutely sure you know what you are doing.

 

Edited by RobH
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6 hours ago, Jase said:

Roger, do you fit relays with these as well or are they okay as they are?

 

Thanks

Hi Jase,

there is no real need for the relays with LED bulbs. The current draw shouldn;t affect the volts that much.

However if you already have the relays fitted then keep them fitted.

Edited by RogerH
typo
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Thanks to everyone for responding, it is a huge help. The car started no problem today after I kept an eye on my power usage. At the moment I am only using the car during the day and on dry days but I would like to plan a few adventures in her. So, I'm definitely going to go with new headlights and LED bulbs and swap to an alternator just to be on the safe side. I'm guessing any good Triumph retailer for headlights? 

Thanks

jason

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Go for head lights to take an H4 bulb, Valeo 7" units are one of the best if you can find some.

I have a pair of these bulbs in my '3, & they are really good:

https://www.classiccarleds.co.uk/products/latest-led-headlights-h4-philips-z-es-hi-lo-beam-conversion-9-32v?variant=8239030763615

The same company also does good side & rear light LED conversions.

Bob.

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Do they fit in the buckets Bob or did you use the remote IC cables? I guess that there’s not a lot of cooling air circulating in the buckets. 

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They can be fitted in the buckets, but only just, I started that way, but then switched to having the box external to the buckets using the extender cables.

Bob.

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Hello Jason

Don't worry. Just drive the car for a while and get used to it and you may well find you don't need to change a thing. I have run my 4A for 30 years on a dynamo with thick fan belt. I keep a spare belt clipped in place so I can change it if one breaks without jacking up the engine. (I am working on a tool to do this at the roadside). I have 4 spot lights as well as headlamps. No LED's in sight except in the map reading lamp (to keep it cool). I have driven all over Europe and only once had a dynamo pack up in France. Went to local tractor garage and got a replacement Lucas dynamo off an old tractor. Just changed the end plates to vented rather than solid. I now keep a spare in the car just in case. Ok so occasionally when heater, lights and wipers all on at once a dynamo struggles a bit but never had a situation where I have flattened the battery driving in rain at night in the cold weather.

Re the control box - do not attempt to fiddle with this if you don't know what you are doing.

Trust the car - it is easy to fix and keep going unlike a modern car where if the on-board computer says no then you are stuffed.

Keith

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I have changed my bulbs to led because I wanted to retain the dynamo (not because I'm a stickler for originality, more because I hate parting with large chunks of cash unnecessarily! )

My instruments previously were almost invisible at night as was the car! I followed a fellow club member up the motorway as dusk was coming in one evening and it was raining with a great deal of spray. I could see the lights of the 'moderns' easily but my friend was difficult to spot. This prompted me to change mine and I feel so much safer. I have done every bulb bar the ignition bulb. The dynamo copes well. My car has had a very tired battery since I bought it but the switch to leds has prolonged its' life by at least 10 months so far. As long as I use the car regularly there isn't an issue.

In fairness, I rarely use the heater blower as the fan is noisy,  I use the flap to get air through. Neither do I have have an electric fan (to date it has never shown signs of overheating)

Andy

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