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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is this possible??? Maybe someone can explain how a bad voltage regulator would fry a HEI distributor, 2 accel coils and 6 ignition modules.

Thats what I went through before I found out that my regulator was bad. I assume that since the regulator was bad it caused all of these problems that have been plaguing me for the last month.

I am just interested on technically how a voltage regulator is related to the ignition. I think I have everything fixed now (new ignition and new regulator)

Thanks
Jason
 

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Only thing I can think of would be that the regulator base wasn't grounded. That 'may' cause all other equipment to ground through the distributor if it had the "best" ground.
 

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Others may have better ideas but here's one explanation. By the way, the ground idea is also a good one but less probable since there are numerous grounds (I hope) on your engine.

Nothing else I can think of in that year car would be as sucseptible to high or dirty input voltage than an electronic ignition module. (maybe the radio) The coil was probably the 2nd victim of the high input voltage to the module.

If you think of voltage as pressure in a plumbing system, it makes it easier to understand. Too much pressure in a pipe and it breaks. Too much voltage into an electronic module or coil and it breaks too. Technically, it goes into thermal break down trying to dissipate the additional resulting heat and literally melts the internal connections of some of the components.

Electronic devices are no different than light bulbs. We always expect them to light when we throw the switch, and dare surprised when they don't. But,if you put 150+ volts to your household lights, they'd do the same thing the ignition components did on too high or dirty voltage. I know, I know, you can see a light bulb burn out. Well, if you had used a $15 digital meter on the supply side of your distributor, you probably could have seen the trouble. It was there to see. Either too much voltage or no/little rectification.

Hope this helps you understand why electronic devices don't like to be fed the wrong power.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
In trouble shooting this whole thing I did check the distributor with a volt meter. It was getting 12 volts in the on position and in the start position. Thats what was confusing me the whole time is that it didn't seem as if the distributor was getting too much voltage.

Maybe I should have been using a digital meter opposed to an analog one
 

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When you say on position do you mean car running? Not sure if it makes that much difference. A digital voltmeter is not going to show short duration spikes, if that is what the problem was. Even if the meter detects it the display can't be updated that quickly and your eyes can't see it. Need an oscilloscope to see that.
I would suspect overvoltage if anything. The battery is like a big capacitor(shock absorber), it tends to absord and level out those spikes. Not saying Herb is wrong, we're all guessing at this point. I thought about over voltage, but like Herb suggested with the household lamps they tend to blow. Same thing can happen with car lights.

At this point all you can say is it was the regulator and now your car works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Originally posted by Finally:
At this point all you can say is it was the regulator and now your car works.
EXACTLY....it works and now I know I dont have to battle the car again this weekend. I was just curious on the why part, I am pretty curious especially when I am still learning something new.
 

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Jason,
Yea, sometimes you want to know why, maybe someone else can tell. Just remember to file it away for future reference.
I spent 15 yrs fixing mainframe computers. Sometimes you'd scratch your head and say how could that thing cause that problem? I learned to just store it way for the future, it's more important to know that it can than to know why.
 
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