Fried out Voltage Regulator - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 29 Old 08-15-2007 Thread Starter
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Fried out Voltage Regulator

Hi there,

This is actually a follow-up to my Engine/Ignition woes posting last week.

I currently have a 1973 Albin Vega with a '73 Volvo-Penta MD6A, two cyl, 10 hp diesel with a dynastart. The last time I tried to start the engine, all I heard was a chattering/buzzing noise that was originating from my behind my wiring panel. A number of folks suggested that it might be the solenoid, however, the dynastart is a combination unit that has the solenoid built in. Some thought possibly that it could be poor contacts caused by corrosion or pitting. Some thought it might be a problem with the relay. Some even suggested a tired battery. I checked all of these, and the only thing that seemed to make sense was the charging regulator...

This afternoon, I went out and tried her again. I got the same sound so I popped off the cover of the charging regulator (where I traced the sound to). I could smell the smoke when I removed the cover and discovered that the regulator was, in fact, fried!

Now, the questions I have are the following:

1.) Is this just a symptom of problems further down the line, such as overcharging, poor wiring, bad grounding, etc... (the engine has been running fine for almost 50 hours this season with no problems or signs of failure)

2.) Are there replacement solid state regulators for this model that anyone is aware of, or are there standard voltage/charging regulators that I can install that will provide the same service?

3.) Any suggestions where I might find these parts?

Many thanks in advance for your thoughts, suggestions, and expertise!
Chris
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post #2 of 29 Old 08-16-2007
 
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If the wiring and electronics are pretty much original I would say it is probably time for an upgrade.
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post #3 of 29 Old 08-16-2007 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rewell6 View Post
If the wiring and electronics are pretty much original I would say it is probably time for an upgrade.
I would tend to agree with you, however, this is currently not a feasible option. Plan B anyone??

Chris
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post #4 of 29 Old 08-16-2007
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You'll have to track down the source of the problem. Take alternator into a shop and have them diagnose it, and eliminate it as a problem as from overcharging. Balmar makes regulators, among others. it might be cheaper in the end to remove the old system and replace with new. Do you know how to troubleshoot an electrical system? Get Nigel Calder "s book "Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual. Tracing wires and troubleshooting can take more time than ripping out and installing new.
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post #5 of 29 Old 08-16-2007
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I just removed this engine from my boat last week because it over heated and cooked the head gasket. My electrical system is in great shape. I have any part you need for an MD6A. I want to part out this engine. There are lots of good parts including the Bosch voltage regulator. You can contact me at or by telephone 541 466-5203
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post #6 of 29 Old 08-16-2007
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Good for you for finding the prob. Regulators in general are subject to failure, without more info. it's hard to say if it fried because of a problem elsewhere or just because it was time to go. With a voltmeter you can check what voltage your generator/alternator is putting out by connecting the pos./red lead to the batt. terminal on the alt. and the neg./black to a ground on the block and run the engine at a high idle. IIRC it shouldn't be much above 14.5 volts. Coastal Marine in Seattle seems to be able to get a lot of older parts for Volvo, ask for Jesse in parts 800-223-5284, I've used them for years.

John
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AFAIK there are no replacements for the Dynastarts and owners sometimes have to take great effort about rebuilding them or finding other solutions.

But if you can find a wiring diagram from one of the Vega owner groups, a regulator can often be replaced with something "good enough" if not better. If that was a "simple" external regulator, with relay coils in it, it may simply have died as that kind often eventually did. That would be very good news--you'd be able to substitute something newer and more efficient.

But you will need the wiring schematic, or advice from someone who is familiar with these.
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post #8 of 29 Old 08-16-2007 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
if you can find a wiring diagram from one of the Vega owner groups, a regulator can often be replaced with something "good enough" if not better. If that was a "simple" external regulator, with relay coils in it, it may simply have died as that kind often eventually did. That would be very good news--you'd be able to substitute something newer and more efficient.
Hi Hellosailor!

I have actually been able to locate a 2nd hand original unit and will probably go that route for now. The engine has run fine for years under the current system, so I have no reason to believe that there is any other problem, but she is an old engine and so I can't rule out faulty alternators, dynastart, or corrosion...

It never ends, but I have received some great advice, tips and encouragement from both the sailnet community and the Vega group!

Will keep you posted on my progress or lack thereof!
Chris
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post #9 of 29 Old 08-16-2007
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From my reply in the other thread:
Quote:
The small box is likely to be the charging regulator.
YAY! The diagnosis was good...

As HS said;
Quote:
If that was a "simple" external regulator, with relay coils in it, it may simply have died as that kind often eventually did. That would be very good news--you'd be able to substitute something newer and more efficient.
The contacts in these things will corrode over time in *any* environment, let alone a marine environment. Corrosion creates resistance, which, in turn, creates heat, which will toast the regulator. You can find a 12 volt negative ground voltage regulator at Auto Zone for about $20, which will do the job. If you can find the original equipment regulator, you should use that. However if it is used, carefully open it up and clean the contacts with a pencil eraser. Then scribble on the contacts with the lead (graphite) end of the pencil to give it better contact.

You may also need to check the current state of teh charge, and the electrolyte level in your battery. As the regulator was dying, it probably over, or under charged your battery.

Given your location, you may want to ask any of the following for help;
Freeman Alt & Starter - RR 113, Brownfield, ME - (207) 935-3856

Sawyer's Alternator Generator & Starter Repair - 163 Dingley Spring Rd, Gorham, ME - (207) 839-2222

Falcon Auto Truck & Marine Electric - 325 Harrison Rd 7, North Bridgton, ME - (207) 647-3873

Good luck!

Ed

Last edited by eherlihy; 08-16-2007 at 09:21 AM.
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post #10 of 29 Old 08-16-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
If you can find the original equipment regulator, you should use that. However if it is used, carefully open it up and clean the contacts with a pencil eraser. Then scribble on the contacts with the lead (graphite) end of the pencil to give it better contact.
I suppose the pencil-eraser-and-pencil-lead trick would be okay for a "field expediency" fix, but it's not the way I'd go about it in the comfort of ones marina. Most pencil erasers will leave a film behind, and the soft ones aren't any good for cleaning the kind of corrosion/oxidation we're talking about here, anyway. Rubbing the contacts with a lead pencil... well, loose graphite... I dunno.

Better to find a "relay contact file/cleaner." This will be a relatively small, thin/flat, semi-flexible thing with an exceedingly fine grit. You close the relay's contacts lightly, and gently burnish the contacts with one of these.

Don't know where to tell you to find one, these days. Sorry.

Lacking that, you can use extremely fine-grit wet/dry sandpaper, maybe something around 1000 or 1200 grit, if you're very, very careful and very, very gentle.

In either event: It's generally not necessary to be real vigorous with the burnishing. Or, if it is, the contacts are pretty much done for, anyway.

Jim
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