Author Topic: Experience with Alton 12 Volt generator for BSA A10 ?  (Read 2793 times)

Offline Viking

  • A's Good Friend
  • ***
  • Join Date: May 2015
  • Posts: 128
  • Karma: 2
I have spent a waste amount of £ in keeping the old Lucas E3L 6 volt dynamo in running order.
Used it now for 15.000-20.000 miles.

The unit was rebuild with new armature, new field coil, brush holder and var. parts.

The dynamo need a lot of attention.  Cleaning, changing brushed etc. etc. and the power output is feeble, and keeping enough electric power for night running and daylight low beam urban driving is a struggle (Low beam running light in day time is a law requirement in Scandinavia).

I am considering installing a 12V Alton generator.

Do any of you have experience with the unit ?

Pulling high power output from the generator stresses the belt drive

Do the belt drive last for long time or is the chain drive a more robust solution ?

In no doubt 12 volt is an advance in comparison to 6 volt ( Less load on switch get, easy to get bulbs, possible to fit a GPS etc. )

Online Klaus

  • Valued Contributor
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jun 2015
  • Posts: 402
  • Karma: 10
Re: Experience with Alton 12 Volt generator for BSA A10 ?
« Reply #1 on: 31.08. 2015 10:47 »
Hi Vicking,

I run Alton generators in serval bikes, and I can songly recomment them.
Allways a bright shining light, and no care about citytraffic with a battery runing out off power.
The new generation of Altons you can run with belt.

cheers Klaus

If you think, everything is under control, you are not fast enought.

Offline a101960

  • Wise & Enlightened
  • *
  • Join Date: Sep 2007
  • Posts: 1069
  • Karma: 12
Re: Experience with Alton 12 Volt generator for BSA A10 ?
« Reply #2 on: 31.08. 2015 12:37 »
6 volts or 12 volts? Alton or dynamo? Well, everyone is free to do as they wish with their bikes, but for all practical purposes 12volt is by far the most practical solution if you want long term reliability and decent lighting.  However lets look at some of the various options available.  The easiest and simplest thing to do is to fit an electronic regulator. However to get maximum benefit  a belt drive conversion is required.  This will speed up the standard Lucas E3L and give you the same charging characteristics as the original 6 v set up.  Like many people I opted for the excellent DVR2, and with good reason.  The DVR2 eliminates the problem of the battery discharging on tick over, I had previously tried another electronic regulator and at idle there was always a discharge indicated on the ammeter. Retaining the original 6v dynamo has some advantages over having it rewound for 12v operation.  Rewinding an E3L to operate at 12v  will give the same charging characteristics in 12v operation as an E3L operating at 6v, but because the windings will have to be wound with a thinner gauge wire (to get it all in) there will be an increase in resistance and more heat will be generated, and there will be no net increase in output (60 watts). An E3L with its original windings regulated by an electronic regulator will give an increased  output of about 80 watts. The Alton alternator has a much higher output (150 watts) maximum, and a claimed 90 watts at cruising speed, however around town in traffic it is no more efficient that an E3L, (unless the latest model has been much improved) and of course an Alton conversion will cost a lot more than the price of an electronic regulator and belt drive kit (£350+VAT) and then there is the additional cost of a regulator to be added. I personally used to run an H4 halogen headlamp with my 12v electrical system, and I fitted an LED pilot lamp, LED speedo and rev counter lamps, and an LED stop tail lamp. I had no problems with this set up. The E3L was able to cope perfectly well with the demand, but when an LED dipping headlamp became available I did away with the H4 in order to give the E3L an easier life.

Online groily

  • Wise & Enlightened
  • *
  • Join Date: Jul 2007
  • Posts: 1318
  • Karma: 24
Re: Experience with Alton 12 Volt generator for BSA A10 ?
« Reply #3 on: 31.08. 2015 15:21 »
We seem to agree on a lot John, for yours is my experience too. I fried the only "12v" set of armature and field windings I ever fitted on anything (solder flung off the comm, di-da-di-da, even with a DVR2 on board to try to manage the field's appetite), but have never fried the thicker-gauge windings doing exactly the same things.

The latest versions of the Alton are pretty good from what little I know - there a loads in France of course - but they aren't that user-friendly in the unlikely event of anything going wrong. Not much in there TO go wrong, but they are actually quite hard to open up.
The frailty of the original step-up gearing has been worked round, and they are now supplied with the Podtronics rectifier/regulator, which doesn't require a battery isolator to avoid the battery's going flat (now that was an avoidable lapse if ever there was), so they should be pretty OK. But at low/mid rpm it's as John says ref an original-wound E3L.

If dynamo windings are failing, might it be a quality question? There are two commonly-available types supplied to the trade by such as Wassell, one is half the price of the other. The more expensive ones are wound in the UK and cost about £80 retail on average I think. The cost is not just a reflection of first-world wages as opposed to who knows where's. I've been running three hassle-free, with DVR2s - but not with battery/coil ignition or eg Boyer Bransden, in my case.