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Thread: intermitted generator issue

  1. #1

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    Default intermitted generator issue

    I have a 53 Tri Pacer with O290dD2 and a 20 amp generator. Sometimes when I am flying the gen quits charging, when this happens the amp indicator is at minus 5 to 10 amps and I hear the strobe in my headset. When this happens I can switch my master to off and back to on a couple times and everything starts working again. I am not sure if this is just part of 1950's technology or if it is a sign of impending failure. I understand that an alternator would fix this, but that isn't in the cards at the moment. Any opinions on this would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: intermitted generator issue

    Sign of impending failure. Either the regulator, or generator brushes sticking.


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  3. #3
    Gilbert Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: intermitted generator issue

    Does it come back on by itself?

  4. #4

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    Default Re: intermitted generator issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Somedude101 View Post
    When this happens I can switch my master to off and back to on a couple times and everything starts working again.
    The terminal connections on the master is where I would start. If wiggletoggling the master switch gets it to work than I would be looking for a broken wire or possibly a screw come loose on the field terminal of the master switch. If you lose the field you lose the gen.
    Last edited by PA-16; 01-10-2021 at 09:16 PM.

  5. #5
    MrBill's Avatar
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    Default Re: intermitted generator issue

    Quote Originally Posted by PA-16 View Post
    The terminal connections on the master is where I would start. If wiggletoggling the master switch gets it to work than I would be looking for a broken wire or possibly a screw come loose on the field terminal of the master switch. If you lose the field you lose the gen.
    I would go with you, PA16. Your advise about my master sw. being the overcharge problem seemed far fetched but the explanation made good sense. Now that I have a working gen. I was able to verify that before spending too much time on other troubleshooting rabbit trails. My problem was internal corrosion (arcing?) on the sw. contacts causing a resistance that made the regulator ramp up the voltage. Problem started right up again with my new generator but with the new wiring and swapped out regulator the only thing left was the sw.. All went well the other day throughout a 45 minute flight with a temporary field from the gen. to reg.. New sw. is in the mail.
    Pain in the butt to go thru all that but a lot cheaper than an alternator....Gilb...

  6. #6

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    Default Re: intermitted generator issue

    Thanks for all of the replies. dgapilot I was concerned about that as well, it has a solid state regulator, which makes me concerned with brushes sticking. Gilbert Pierce that I can tell it does not seem to fix itself. PA-16 and MrBillI had to replace the master switch last year, so I didn't give the idea that it could be a bad master or loose wire in the switch. In hind sight I guess a wire on the master could have come loose, I'll check that before I start looking for brushes or a replacement gen. Is there anything other than the items listed above I should check out, do solid state regulators go bad often? It seems that when I turn off the master for about 1 second and turn it that everything starts working properly. Thanks again for the help.

  7. #7

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    Default intermitted generator issue

    Donít forget to check all your grounds as well! Not only at the regulator, but the engine ground straps.


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  8. #8

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    Default Re: intermitted generator issue

    Quote Originally Posted by MrBill View Post
    I would go with you, PA16. Your advise about my master sw. being the overcharge problem seemed far fetched but the explanation made good sense. Now that I have a working gen. I was able to verify that before spending too much time on other troubleshooting rabbit trails. My problem was internal corrosion (arcing?) on the sw. contacts causing a resistance that made the regulator ramp up the voltage. Problem started right up again with my new generator but with the new wiring and swapped out regulator the only thing left was the sw.. All went well the other day throughout a 45 minute flight with a temporary field from the gen. to reg.. New sw. is in the mail.
    Pain in the butt to go thru all that but a lot cheaper than an alternator....Gilb...

    Glad you got that solved. I would not use that style master again though.. I would ditch the old DPDT master switch and the 30 amp glass fuses and buy a 30 amp circuit breaker and a simple ON/OFF toggle switch for the master switch. And than buy a 5 amp breaker for the field and another simple on/off toggle switch for the field.

    Maybe a 25 amp breaker instead of 30 to replace the glass fuses, the price for the breaker triples going from 25 amps to 30 amps, if you dont need more than 25 amps.
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    Last edited by PA-16; 01-11-2021 at 11:24 PM.

  9. #9

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    Default Re: intermitted generator issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Somedude101 View Post
    Thanks for all of the replies. dgapilot I was concerned about that as well, it has a solid state regulator, which makes me concerned with brushes sticking. Gilbert Pierce that I can tell it does not seem to fix itself. PA-16 and MrBillI had to replace the master switch last year, so I didn't give the idea that it could be a bad master or loose wire in the switch. In hind sight I guess a wire on the master could have come loose, I'll check that before I start looking for brushes or a replacement gen. Is there anything other than the items listed above I should check out, do solid state regulators go bad often? It seems that when I turn off the master for about 1 second and turn it that everything starts working properly. Thanks again for the help.
    What is your voltage when it kicks off, and what is the voltage when you turn the master back on and get it working again?

  10. #10

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    Default Re: intermitted generator issue

    Quote Originally Posted by MrBill View Post
    All went well the other day throughout a 45 minute flight with a temporary field from the gen. to reg.. New sw. is in the mail
    That doesnt make sense, where was the temporary wire? You say from the gen to the reg, the field wire does not run from the gen to the regulator.... ok .. it can if you bypass the master switch, is that what you meant? Ran a temp wire, disconnecting the input to the master switch and output from it and connected them together to bypass the master switch?

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