So I wired my alternator wrong... - Chevelle Tech
Electrical & Wiring Troubleshooting electrical problems.

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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old Aug 22nd, 05, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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So I wired my alternator wrong...

After getting the wiring on my car (1970 camaro) pretty much buttoned up and sorted out I had to take her out to get exhaust work done. The two weeks before this I left my red top Optima hooked up and all was fine. The headlights worked when I turned them on and the car would turn over and start.

The day came when I had to load it up to get my exhaust done. So i went to start it, and I got nothing. No crank, no lites, it was dead. So I pushed it out and boosted it with my jeep. This kept it running for maybe a minute and then it would sputter and die. I was able to start it up a couple more times, but each time it died, then after that it just wouldn't turn over. I was mad.

I did the internal regulator conversion to the car. I was surfing through old posts on this site looking for tips. I thought something was draining my battery. I went out to my car and pulled the neg. cable off the battery and checked for a drain with a test light, nothing. I remember a couple of posts about people wiring the alternator wrong when doing the conversion, so I checked mine, and sure enough I had #1 and #2 connectors wired backwards.

I quickly fixed this, charged the battery for awhile, and then started the car up. Now it would run and idle fine, no stalling. I checked the battery with a multimeter and it read about 15 volts.

So what I really want to know is while the #1 and #2 wires were mixed up, what exactly was happening in my charging system?

Also, THANK YOU for the information. This is by far the best electrical forum for chevy's out there.

<b>Jeff<br /><a href="" target="_blank">1970 Bigblock Z28</a><br /><i><a href="" target="_blank">Better than Sex</a></i><br /></b>
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old Aug 23rd, 05, 4:27 AM
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Re: So I wired my alternator wrong...

When wired correctly....Power off the IGN switch goes through the GEN bulb and out to terminal 1 at the alternator. When the cars not running, terminal 1 is grounded, lighting the GEN light. As soon as the car is started, voltage is applied to terminal 1. Voltage is now on both sides of the GEN bulb (its no longer grounded) turning off the GEN light. Terminal 2 is the sense line, it is wired to battery power ( always hot) at the main junction (usually near the horn relay).............
Now to answer your question, you had terminal 1 wired with the sense wire, which is always hot, and terminal 1 is grounded when the cars not running. To the alternator, its the same thing as turning the key on and never starting the car when wired correctly. The alternator was using power through terminal 1 and thats what killed your battery. You got nothing with the test light because the battery was already dead. 15 volts is a little high but the battery's probably not fully charged. test it again when the battery's fully charged, should be 14-14.5 volts. You really should charge the battery with a battery charger, the alternator will be putting out max (which is not good and can kill the alternator) Till the battery's charged some. Is that a good enough explanation?

Greg U

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