Converting an electrical system from 6 to 12 volts


Posted by Vaughn on August 11, 2000

POWER WAGON ELECTRICAL 6 TO 12V CONVERSION

PARTS

  • 12 Volt Generator
  • 12 Volt Regulator for Generator (Borg Warner #183)
  • 12 Volt Alternator - Delco with an internal regulator. These alternators are available in several different configurations with the most common being the model 10-SI (63 AMP output) which was used on General Motors vehicles from the 1970’s through the early 1980’s. Positive ground systems must be changed to negative if using this alternator.
  • 12 volt coil
  • 12 volt battery
  • 12 Volt lights
  • 12 to 6 volt reducer – Standard #RU-100
  • Ballast Resister - Standard #RU-10
  • 4 terminal solenoid - Standard #SS581 (optional)
  • Universal two post starter switch (optional)
  • PROCEDURES

    FOR “WDX POSITIVE GROUND SYSTEM”

    Based on the wiring diagram for a “WDX”, you will need to eliminate the feed from the “BAT” side of the voltage regulator to the horn, and plug horn into the 12 to 6 volt reducer off of ammeter. From the positive side of the ammeter, voltage is fed to the lighting system. Splice a voltage reducer into this wire. Also splice a voltage reducer into the wire coming from the “F” terminal of the ignition switch going to the fuel gauge. It may be best to have a separate reducer for the fuel gauge for the WDX. Replace 6 volt lights/bulbs with 12 volt and upgrade any fuses Run a 10 gauge wire from the “BAT” terminal of the voltage regulator to the “+” side of the ammeter. You can use your 6 volt starter. Connect of the 12 volt battery. Polarize the charging system by following the installation instructions for the voltage regulator. Starter will spin same direction if WDX is converted to negative ground system

    FOR “NEGATIVE GROUND SYSTEMS”

    Install the 4 terminal solenoid. “+” battery cable to plus side, “-“ side battery cable to starter terminal. Run a 10 gauge wire from the “BAT” terminal of the voltage regulator to the “+” side of the ammeter. Run a 10 gauge wire from the “-“ side of the ammeter to the “+” side battery cable terminal of the solenoid. Run a 10 gauge wire from the “+” side battery cable terminal of the solenoid to the battery terminal of the ignition switch. All other wiring you can use 14, 16 or 18 gauge or what ever size you prefer. Plug the ballast resister into the wire that goes from the ignition switch to the coil. This will reduce the voltage from 12 to around 6-8. A good place to mount it is on the firewall. The two small solenoid terminals, one is “+” and one is “-“. On the negative side post, run a wire to the side of the ballast resister that is going to the coil (you'll then have two wires connected to that side). The purpose of this is to get the full 12 volts for a "hot" start then it reverts back to 6-8 volts when running. If your existing solenoid is a single terminal, you cannot set your system up for a hot spark start. Using the ballast resister requires no upgrade of points, or condenser. Change out all 6 volt lights/bulbs and upgrade any fuses as necessary. Install the 12 to 6 volt reducer from the ignition side of the ignition switch and feed 6 volt wires to the positive side of Fuel Gauge/heater/windshield wipers or any other 6 volt modules. Use 6 volt starter Connect 12 volt battery up. Polarize the charging system by following the installation instructions for the voltage regulator.

    10-SI WIRING INSTRUCTIONS: The 10-SI alternator has three terminals, however only two of them get connected to the truck. (Thus, the 10-SI is sometimes referred to as a two-wire or three-wire alternator) The “Bat” terminal should be connected to the ammeter “+” side with a 10 gauge wire. The number “1” terminal should be connected to the ignition switch ignition terminal with 16 or 18 gauge wire so the alternator only receives power when the truck is “on”. A one amp / 50 volt diode should be installed between the ignition switch and the “1” terminal to prevent backward current flow through the alternator when the ignition switch is “off”. The number “2” terminal should be connected directly to the “Bat” terminal (16 or 18 gauge wire) on the back of the alternator.

    A good auto electric shop can make the Delco 10-S into a "self energizing" ONE WIRE alternator. Single wire goes from alternator to ammeter to battery terminal on the starter switch. They can also wire them for 6, 8, or 24 volts and POS or NEG ground. Hardest part is building a new mounting bracket. I paid a lot for a "universal" bracket that looked like is was made from an Erector set. (Only the old guys will know what that is.) Use a 4 inch light weight angle iron. Drill to match the old bracket to block bolt holes. Slotted bolt holes will allow you to adjust it so the fan belt pulleys line up. Weld or bolt upright lugs for the alternator mounting bolt. You may want to trim away some of the main angle iron before final installation for looks. Belt adjuster may work without much modification. Save the old generator pulley that fits the WIDE belt. You can also reuse an M-37 pulley by chucking it in a metal lathe (The auto electric shop probably has one) and machining the "snout" on the back of the pulley so it is very short. No rocket science here. It should take less than an hour to fabricate and install. Before you do the final installation, use it as a model and make one more - for the next Power Wagon you buy.


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