Page 1 of 1

Dynamo change to alternator

Posted: 25 Dec 2019, 10:44
by Raider73
Hi I'm after some info/advice, I'm assuming, rightly or wrongly, that the charging system on my S1 is by Dynamo and not Alternator, has anyone changed from dynamo to alternator with a built in regulator and if so how difficult was it?

Re: Dynamo change to alternator

Posted: 26 Dec 2019, 22:53
by Huib
Hello Raider73.

Thank you for putting your question here. The topic will be easier to find for others for the next few dozens of years. There is a short answer and a long answer. And many in between. Please, give me some time to finish some other work and I will come up with an in between one. English is not my native language. I will do what I can.

In the meantime study this picture of the Fulvia front suspension.
And this video on Youtube.
Do you see the trail of 10 millions years that brought the Fulvia?

Re: Dynamo change to alternator

Posted: 26 Dec 2019, 23:20
by Raider73
Many thanks, look forward to your reply, thanks for the suspension view.

Re: Dynamo change to alternator

Posted: 27 Dec 2019, 16:16
by bmarler
I'm looking forward to hear what huib has to say on this, but in the mean time, I wonder why you wish to make the change? The dynamo, when equipped with a modern, solid state regulator does a very good job. Almost the same as an alternator.
If you must make the swap, there are companies that make a product called a "dynator". Essentially this is an alternator in a generator housing. This looks the same as the original equipment for those wanting original appearance.
Another option would be a small case, one wire alternator. Doesn't get much simpler than that as long as you can make a good mounting bracket.

Re: Dynamo change to alternator

Posted: 30 Dec 2019, 22:36
by Raider73
I'm really looking to modernise the electrical system, electronic ignition, better lighting, no external regulator.
I'm really looking to know what other people have done and how, I'm new to Fulvias so any information would be good, depending on the info I get I will then choose the way I will go.

Re: Dynamo change to alternator

Posted: 12 Jan 2020, 23:03
by Huib
Here it is. I did have to finish some administrative work before the end of the year. Also my Google Drive had stopped synchronizing and I could no longer postpone fixing it. When done I noticed Drive had moved itself to the small SSD drive C: instead of staying on the big D: partition on the HDD.

When I moved it to D:, it turned out Microsoft’s OneDrive had started to work differently. Oops.

In addition, I have a Virtual Box running with the old version of the forum. That is also taking 30GB of space on C:.

I bought the “Windows 10 Bible”. Nice book. Same dimensions as the Workshop Manual for the 1st series Fulvia. The difference is that the Windows 10 Bible is at its 30st version while the Fulvia S1 Workshop Manual has remained unchanged for almost 50 years. Very relaxing. If it is good, it is good.

The question about the alternator versus the dynamo. There is a short answer. There is a long answer. And in the meantime we have gone from 2019 to 2020. The number “1” has gone from the decade. Nobody first. There is now the number “2”. That happened more in history. This time it is also twenty twenty. It hit me like a sledge hammer on January 1st. I never saw the cosmic consciousness change so quickly. Shall we follow this change in attitude in the answer? Just a bit. Let’s try.

Oh. And we have more information. Raider73 is new to Fulvia’s and wants to modernise the electrical system. The question has become tricky. Two things. Every year we get a few Fulvia’s which have been changed. They have problems otherwise they would not be in our workshop. First thing to do is bring the car back to original. Documentation is always missing. Very, very time consuming is restoring the wiring to original. A pity. The series 1 Fulvia is utterly reliable. I have been driving Lancia’s as daily driver from 1968. I bought the latest model every 2 or 3 years. The last new ones were a Thema Turbo 8V and a Thema Turbo 16V. On average they let me down twice a year. Electronics.

In 1996 I started to drive Fulvia’s, Flavia, Flaminia again. From 1st of April 2007 to 1st of April 2017 I drove a 1st series 1967 Rallye 1.3. I had restored and overhauled it completely. I did 420.000 km with it. Summer, winter. All year around. Until then the maximum for any Lancia was 3 years and 125.000 km. That first series Fulvia is the most reliable car I ever drove. And the most economic, 15km / litre of petrol.

I do test new parts on my own cars if I can. Just to prepare for the time when we would run out of repairable dynamo’s, I was some years ago testing a dynator, the alternator built into the housing of a dynamo. The dynamo is longer and has a smaller diameter. The alternator is shorter and has a larger diameter. Standard alternators don’t fit between the fuel pump and the carburettors. A dynator does.

The car gave up three times. Twice with a dynator. First time was, when I was on my way from Breda, the Netherlands to Cormons near Trieste Italy to see some friends. 1265 km in total. If I leave at 6 a.m. I arrive in time for the aperitivo. Not so this time. Just before Nürnberg in Germany the V belt between crankshaft pulley and alternator broke. I did not have tools nor a spare V-belt. I got off the motorway and drove into town. Not easy as the radiator fan was not turning. it is driven by a V-belt from the dynamo pulley. I had to stop frequently to let the engine cool. I found a service shop and the mechanic put in a new V-belt.

I had already figured why it broke. The mounting brackets are not as precise as on the original dynamo. The pulley was not exactly aligned in the same plane as the crankshaft pulley. It caused the belt to snap. The belt had lasted several months so I figured the repair would be good enough to take me to Italy and back to the Netherlands.

When I got to Austria, I ran into a snowstorm (early June!!!) so I had to slow down. Not many people on the road. A Fulvia usually does very well with its narrow tires. I did miss the aperitivo though. And the dinner. I did arrive before midnight. I lost a few hours but at least I could continue. No tow trucks.

Back at home I shimmed the mounting of the dynator. After that no more problems with the belt. The second problem was when the dynator just failed. I sent it back to WOSP in the UK. They repaired it under warranty. Very good service indeed. When it failed, I was close to home so I replaced it with an original dynamo. The 3rd time the Fulvia stalled was when the electronic ignition gave up. That was in France. I had the original distributor in the boot. An hour later I was on my way again. I did arrive in time for dinner.

My wife also had a 1967 Rally 1.3. We had problems with it twice. Both times the dynamo. First time we drove back from the Beaujolais area in France to Breda during the night. In France it is DARK. Here in the Netherlands there is always false light. Not in France. We had been driving a long time with the 4 head lights on when we went into a pub in the Belgian Ardennes for coffee. When we came out of the pub it smelled like burnt dynamo. That turned out to be our dynamo. I pulled some fuses and drove to the nearest hotel with one headlight and one taillight. The next day we drove the 250 km home without the dynamo. That is the beauty of an S1 Fulvia. It can run the whole day without a dynamo if you don’t switch on the lights. Taking a small charger with you on long trips is a good idea.

Second time we were driving down the Simplon pass on the Italian side. The dynamo failed. I calculated we would make it to the hotel. There I put on the spare dynamo.

All dynamo problems were the result of a combination of not doing standard maintenance and a worn regulator. Remember that if a dynamo is not turning it short circuits the battery. The housing of the regulator contains a second relay which is the cut-out relay. It disconnects the dynamo when a reverse current starts to flow. Because the original electromechanical regulators are no longer produced, I had to go for an electronic one. Schottky diodes in the main power line prevent the reverse current. Also, the regulating current is analogue and not a switching current. Regulating is smoother, no spikes and current delivery starts at a lower rpm compared to the original electromechanical regulator which is no longer available as a new product. Fortunately, Bosch Mexico makes an electronic regulator that is totally compatible with the original Bosch regulator.

Let me sum up some points about the dynamo and the “world it lived in”. Its habitat. It takes input and it produces output. Just like humans. On paper humans are omnivore unlike dynamos. In practice I have never managed to eat all the different dishes in existence at the same time. The input I take depends on place, time end season where cosmic seasons probably have more influence than earthly seasons.

1. The crankshaft pulley. The input for the dynamo comes from the fuel tank. Shall we start with the pulley on the crankshaft? That pulley drives a V-belt. As the radiator is in the way, we cannot mount a wider pulley. We are stuck with the V-belt. Note that the S2 Fulvia which has an alternator also has a pulley with a larger diameter to make the alternator turn faster than the dynamo. Don’t use the larger pulley on a dynamo as it will exceed its rpm limit and explode.

2. The V-belt. In the sixties it still had the V shape. The quality was such that it snapped often. That is what I wanted as my girlfriend was wearing a skirt, nylons and garters. Take one of the nylons and knot it around the pulleys. Maybe being omnivore is being able to use everything as food for growth or in other words turn everything into an advantage.

When the ladies changed to panty hoses the Gates Rubber Company followed and made the V-belts a lot stronger. I could have said a lot better. I said a lot stronger.

The 10mm V-belt system is good for delivering 40 to 45 Amps with good long-term reliability.

3. The pulley on the dynamo. An aluminium piece of art often neglected. The beauty of the V-belt system is that the belt wedges itself in the V-groove as much as required to give the friction to transfer the power required. The static load on the pulley and the bearings is small if the tension of the belt is correct. Especially the series 1 is sensitive for two reasons. The pulley is made of aluminium and because of the double pulley the force on the end bearing is quite high because of the leverage. When tensioning the belt the true master shows himself.

Many Fulvia’s come into the workshop with worn pulleys. If the V-belt runs on the bottom of the groove, you are in trouble. The belt will slip. Over tensioning will overload the bearings inside the dynamo. I have heard that the first Fulvia’s in 1963 had a smaller bearing. One of the early modifications for the Fulvia was a bigger bearing at the end.

4. The dynamo. The Fulvia dynamo is a 35 Amp unit. The alternator of the series 2 is rated at 30 Amp. The dynamo needs about 2000 crankshaft rpm to start delivering current and a bit more to deliver full current. It is enough.

If the Fulvia is new, either new in my possession or new in the workshop I take the dynamo to a specialist shop where they have the tools and test equipment to fully service and test it under various load conditions, change the paper, machine the collector etc. Then set up a maintenance schedule. Shorter intervals if headlights are used often, longer if not. And a set of brushes in the boot.

5. The voltage regulator. The original one is an electromechanical one. I would not even trust a 50 year NOS one. The recent production ones I know are electronic. Put a spare one in the boot. They are not easily available. The metal housing is the heath sink for the diodes. Careful, it carries the 15 Volt output voltage of the dynamo. Don’t tape it for insulation. It needs to get rid of its heath. If you are afraid it might become shorted to the body, tape the body. On the output side there are a small black wire going to the dashboard light, a big red wire going to the fuse box and a big red wire to the plus of the battery. On the input side there is a big red wire from the plus output of the dynamo, a small black wire going to the regulating input of the dynamo and a big black wire which is also the ground connection between engine / dynamo and body. The regulator has to be taken out of the circuit when an alternator is installed. Putting the dynamo back in in case of alternator failure is aa lot of work and a possible pitfall for someone who did not do the modification.

6. The wiring. The wiring is laid out for 35 Amps. A friend of mine put a 90 Amp alternator in his Fulvia. It is the only Fulvia I know that burnt out.

7. The radiator fan. It is driven by a V-belt from the dynamo pulley. Typical Fulvia, bullet proof, does not use any electrical current. If the dynamo fails, I can still drive the whole day as long as I don’t use the lights. I do occasionally hear that the fan uses a few HP. I doubt it. I can turn the thing with my little finger. Inside there are two deep groove ball bearings. If they are 50 years old, the grease may no longer be grease. Replace.

8. The battery. The original battery has a capacity of about 45Ah. It is tempting to put a heavier battery. Remember that also the charging current will increase. During the sixties we still used city lights in town. That is 5 bulbs of 5 Watt or 2 Amps. At idle the dynamo may not deliver much current. So the 2 Amps plus the 2 Amps for the ignition are perhaps borrowed from the battery. Add another Amp for the brake lights and indicators. If it is raining and the wipers and heater fan are on current consumption rises to 10 Amp. (If the heater fan fails and needs to be replaced, I replace it with a modern 12V fan with a DC brushless motor which uses 0,3 Amp. I gain 2 Amps). If I start driving again I run the engine at higher revs (over 3.000 rpm). So, there is some current management I have to do. Don’t idle for a long time with the low beam on. High beam (4 headlights versus 2 for the low beam) is a no no when idling. It is hardly ever necessary to idle with main beam on. I have similar management considerations with my 3.0L 24V Kappa Coupé automatic with air conditioning. If I go up the San Bernardo pass with outside temperatures approaching 40 degr C I have to shift from Drive to 1st or 2nd gear to keep the engine rpm up and I am prepared to switch of the airco. Or even better stop in the shade and have an aperitivo. Italy is a brilliant country for several reasons. One is that it is okay to have an aperitivo from 10:30 a.m. on.

9. Head lights. The original lights have 40/45 Watt Duplo bulbs. The outer ones switch between low beam (40 Watt) and high beam (45 Watt). The inner ones switch on for high beam only. So, low beam means 2 head lights are on. High beam means 4 head lights are on. If the original head lights are in good condition, use them. There are halogen equivalents for the Duplo bulbs. Some of them are H4 bulbs with a Duplo socket. Don’t use those. The filaments are in the wrong place. You can recognize them by the power spec. If it is 55/60 Watt then they are really H4 units. The true equivalents (like the Philips ones) are also 40/45 Watts. If you have no other option than going to halogen, use the Philips Ecovision bulbs. They use 15% less current than standard ones. Study the life time data of the bulbs you want to buy. The high output bulbs loose brightness very quickly.

If you want more light, don’t fall into the trap of higher power bulbs. The light units have a parabolic reflector. A parabola has a focus point. In mathematics a point has no dimensions. A filament has dimensions. The higher the power rating the larger the filament and the more will be outside the focus area. And the voltage will drop which also reduces light output. Invest in a current meter and a multimeter and clean all contacts where you have a voltage drop. You should have 13.2 volts across the bulb. Again as with all things Lancia precision and maintenance is the name of the game.

10. Fuel pump. Keep the mechanical one. It is utterly reliable and does not empty the battery when the dynamo fails.

11. The claxon. I almost forgot. The Aprilia had two claxons. A loud one during the day. A quiet one during the night. La Cavalleria Lancia. The Fulvia has something similar. A normal two tone claxon during the day. Those use a lot of current by the way. That is the black ring on the steering wheel. In the centre is a push button to signal with the low beam. Remember that we were only using city lights in town. Blinking with the low beams is effective, polite and uses less current.

Above some points. Are those all points? No. That is not possible. For a species to invent speech very high focusing power is necessary to invent names for all those items. We get all the words from someone else. No word is correct. Addiction to focus and specialization on going forward in the school benches. The school benches are also necessary to learn the formulas and tools and systems to design and build cars. Designing and building a complex thing like a car of the sixties with 12.000 parts is not possible for one person. Even those thousands of people make an occasional design error. That is reality.

When working on those cars my respect for the thousands of Italians who designed and built the car increases by the day. They did so with their hands. They did so with love. That is twenty twenty.

Germans build good cars for their customers. Italians build cars they like to drive themselves. And the good things is, I nostri amici smile if I drive one too. Grazie mille. Friends for life. Amici per la vita.

The Fulvia coupé is a people magnet. If Annebel and I are wandering through Europe with our Fulvia we are often approached. J’ai eu la même. A good glass of wine or a glass of good wine?

There is quite a bit which should be checked first. For some reason people (including myself) have a thing with electronic and electro-mechanic things. Interesting. We use vague words like upgrade or modernization.

I already put an extra spare dynamo with new pulley in the boot. If we are at a meeting and your dynamo becomes obstinate I can help you. Now the 1 is out of the decade, it is a good way to make friends.

That is my view today. It may be different tomorrow. I fully accept that others maybe more interested in engineering and changing the original blueprint.

Re: Dynamo change to alternator

Posted: 16 Jan 2020, 15:40
by Raider73
Many thanks Huib for your comprehensives advice.
I have owned several older Lancias and Fiats in the past but never had one with a Dynamo, the concerns I had came from people telling me that dynamos were not good upgrade to an alternator, after reading your response my view has changed, I think I will be putting everything back as standard apart from the voltage regulator which I will change for an electronic one, as for lighting they are sealed beam units so i dont think I can actually upgrade easily.

I would like to fit a radio so any advice on that would be welcome.

Once again many thanks for the advice.

Re: Dynamo change to alternator

Posted: 21 Jan 2020, 21:51
by Huib
Thanks. World War 2 would not have been possible without ball bearings but it was certainly possible without an alternator.

Alternators became possible for use in cars from about mid sixties when the silicon diode was invented. I think the first alternators was even from Motorola who was also quite advanced in making semiconductors.

Different mounting!!!!!

I have in my workshop occasionally a Fulvia where the opposite had happened. A series 2 engine built into an S1 Fulvia and a self made bracket to mount the original dynamo. All of them nearly fell off. Everybody underestimates the strength required for the bracket.

If the alternator is delivering 40 Amp at 14 volts it is supplying 40 x 14 = 560 watt. If you add the static tension of the V belt, this means nearly one HP (horse power) is pulling on the belt.The counter force has to come from the bracket. The current the alternator or dynamo delivers changes and switches on and off. Any metal is going to break if it is not very very solid and strong.

When I started to drive the old Fulvia's again in 1996, I had a strong inclination to modify ("upgrade" or "improve"). In the following years I discovered that if I was not happy with the original conception (blueprint) of the car I was merely projecting my own conception trauma's on the car. Nothing wrong with that. I also discovered that for long term reliability and performance fixing everything back to original works all the time.

Now my view has changed. A car is good if I would say yes if my son or daughter asks if he or she can borrow it for the Tulip Rallye or for a trip to Italy. I only says yes if the car is exactly as in the documentation, so it is safe, reliable, documented and serviceable.