Author Topic: Dynamo polarity  (Read 2718 times)

Offline A10Boy

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Dynamo polarity
« on: 17.10. 2008 12:49 »
Sorry if this has been asked before

Ive got a 1960 Flash which had a dry cell battery fitted by a previous owner. When I checked it over I found that it was wired as a Negative Earth which is obviously wrong for the year.

It all works ok, charges lights work etc, but i am inclined towards fitting a std lead acid battery Pos earth.

The question is, can I just fit the battery Pos earth and ignore the previous polarity, or will I need to do some other work, such as re polarise the dynamo, i am assuming that the CVC box doesnt care what the polarity is..?

Any advice would be welcome.

Cheers
Regards

Andy

1960 A10 - Black Golden Flash
Plus
1974 Kawasaki Z1a
Yam XJR 1300

Offline LJ.

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Re: Dynamo polarity
« Reply #1 on: 17.10. 2008 14:28 »
I seem to remember from somewhere that there was a brief switch from pos to neg earth and then back over to positive again not sure why Lucas did this though. I take it that your CVC is the Regulator? Probably as you mention... all you would need to do then after fitting the new battery is to re polarise the dynamo. Wait for other replies first though just in case I'm wrong.

By the way... Have you not considered one of the gell type batteries? I have them in all three bikes and have found them to be very good.
Ride Safely Lads! LJ.
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Offline a101960

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Re: Dynamo polarity
« Reply #2 on: 17.10. 2008 22:55 »
Except for the sake of rivet counting authenticity, it really does not matter weather you adopt a +ve or -ve earth system. The original reasoning behind the +ve  earth system was that by changing the the direction of the electron flow, battery terminal corrosion would be inhibited, or so the theory went. In fact an unforeseen problem arose. As so often happens in life the solution to one problem unfortunately  leads inadvertently directly to another problem. In this case it was chassis corrosion. Chassis corrosion had always been a problem, but matters were now made much was worse because the the chassis became a de facto sacrificial anode. Motorcycles were less affected by a +ve earth polarity configuration  by virtue of the fact that motorcycle frames were generally made from heavier gauge metal than automobile bodies. It was for this reason that the +ve earth system was abandoned. In the case of our motorcycles if you are committed to using a 6v set up then the polarity of your circuit is irrelevant, you pay your money and take your choice. If you go down the 12v route then -ve earth has the advantage of there being a greater choice of LEDs available, and LEDs give the generator an easy life (relatively). LED luminaries for fitting into chronometric speedometers and rev counters for example are only only available as 12v -ve earth products. Now you might be thinking: "the speedometer lamp is only small that won't be drawing to much current" which in relative terms is true. But our generators are right on the edge and every little saving helps. Switch the lighting switch on to the parking light position with the conventional stop/tail lamp and speedo lamp fitted to your motorcycle and look at the ammeter discharge. Then fit an LED stop/tail lamp, and a LED lamp to your speedo and rev counter. You will see absolutely no ammeter pointer deflection at all, which means lots more power will be available for your headlight without flogging your generator to death. The dynamo is a willing provider and it will willing die in an attempt to meet all of your unreasonable demands. No one would consider it wise to run their engine flat out because it would soon go bang, and so it is with the dynamo. Do not expect it to run at maximum capacity for to long. It to will go bang. So to sum up: 6v -ve earth is fine with original 6v low power headlight bulb, but do not push your luck with higher power halogen bulbs. You will get away with it for a time, but eventually the dynamo will die. 12v +ve earth is also fine but again do not push your luck with high power headlight bulbs. 12v -ve earth is by far and away the best way to go if you want a decent headlight with dynamo reliability and the widest choice of lighting options. One last thought. Mechanical regulators. They are no match for electronic regulators, they were all that was available once upon a time, and they did a job in the absence of anything better, but the is no sensible reason to continue to use them today. You might be an old sentimentalist I suppose, but would you want to watch a Blue ray film on a 405 line monochrome television? Well, all right, I know there is going to be at least one of you that will say yes!

Online groily

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Re: Dynamo polarity
« Reply #3 on: 18.10. 2008 06:39 »
Agree with A10GF re modern regs but have to say haven't yet gone for LEDs and have mainly stayed positive earth with my bikes. But you can go + or - just as you wish.
If you do want to change from - to +ve earth, you do need to change the polarity of the dynamo by 'flashing the field'. Connect the battery live side (the one you want to be live!) to dynamo F for a couple of seconds with the battery earth attached to the frame. You'll see from the ammeter afterwards whether you've got it right - if not, the needle will go the wrong way. A mechanical box of tricks doesn't care about the polarity - but a modern regulator does and will be/could be destroyed by reverse hook-up depending on the exact type.
Bill

Offline A10Boy

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Re: Dynamo polarity
« Reply #4 on: 20.10. 2008 15:51 »
Cheers guys.

I bit the bullet on sunday and fitted a new Lead / acid battery, fitted positive earth. 6V until I get around to changing the dynamo and Reg for 12 V. I did change the polarity of the dynamo by flashing the hot side of the battery [-ive] to the field connector on the dynamo. As expected, I had to reverse the wires on the ammeter.

I also took the opportunity to fit one of those in-line spade fuses which I bought from Goffey at the stafford show on saturday. A great device which should prevent a fire in case of a dead short.

Went for a short test ride, all ok running well.
Regards

Andy

1960 A10 - Black Golden Flash
Plus
1974 Kawasaki Z1a
Yam XJR 1300