Headlights oscillating

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wrote:

headlights on dim and engine warmed up and idling, the brightness cycles from normal to slightly dim. Cycle time is around a second. When I rev the engine slightly, they return to normal steady brightness.

center, slightly charging, in the normal position.

and cleaned all the battery connections, including regulator and other parts when I was fixing a grounding issue.

battery.

RPM is steady. Oscillating lights happens at slow idle. If I increase idle speed just a little with accelerator, lights are steady.
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In alt.home.repair, on Wed, 5 Aug 2015 10:05:16 -0700, "Snuffy \"Hub

Even at steady RPM, the reguator relay goes in and out, but I really don't know at what rates. IIRC a generator needs a regulator with 3 relays, and an alternator needs 2 relays.
One of the two limits how much current goes to the field winding, but is that only for generators?
Do you have a wife with another car. I always wanted a wife with a pickup truck, but I coudlnt' find one. What's the worst that can happen, youll break down onthe way to work adn she'll have to pick you up and take you to work and the car will sit there until you can get a new alternator. Can you get one right away and replace it wherever the car dies, or would you have to be towed?
What's the voltage of the alternator, while the lights oscillate. While they say 13.6 is what it should put out, and maybe lightbulbs are designed for that voltage, really anything over 12 6 should charge the battery a little. Or say over 12.7. You said your ammeter shows slight charging. If the alternator will to completely fail, you could drive more than a day I'll bet if you have a fully charged battery. Old cars start easily and cars don't need too much current to run.
I once drove from NYC to Chicago to Indianposlis to the Pa. Turnpike near Pittsburgh. When I left NY, maybe by the time I got to Ohio or earlier, the headlights were dim, but as I usually do, I igonred the problem. The rest of the car ran well and most of my driving was in the day time.**. I drove to Chicago and around there for 2 or 3 days, Indy for a couple day, and just as I got to the big gas station near the entirance to the Pa. Turnpike (after a trip of 1400+ miles.) the car stalled and woudn't start. I opened the hood and the fan belt that drove the alternatas literally hanging on by a thread. Of course a fanbelt thread is thicker than sewing thread, maybe half a millimeter.
But the belt was no longer tight enugh to drive the alternator and I had been running on the battery for at least a couple hundred miles, and that was in the dark and again I'd noticed that the headlights weren't very bright. But the road had been well marked and I coudl follow the car in front of me, etc. . IIRC, I had a fan belt in my trunk, that I had taken from a junk yard car like mine, and I put that on, and after I got some food I got the gas station guy to come the 100 feet to my car with his portable jumping thing, and I'm not even sure he charged me, but he started me and I started driving east and charging the battery. And that was the end of the story.
Now I was in my 20's and people our age don't live like this, but otoh, if I were just drivign around town, and I had someone to come and get me, even the number of a taxi-company. I'd still do it that way. Because you don't yet know that the alternator is bad or that you'll *have* to replace it before the car fails permanently for some other reason.
In the old days the oil light would flicker on and off at idle and that was normal, even though it's a lot more imporant that a few little light bulbs.
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After serious thinking micky wrote :

I'm not sure but to my long memory Alternators have had solidstate regulators and no relays since they were invented. :-Z
--
John G Sydney.

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In alt.home.repair, on Thu, 06 Aug 2015 16:26:00 +1000, John G

You're definitely wrong about that. Atlternators made their first showing in large numbers maybe in 1965 or about then and all of them had relay-based regulators, with two of them, for several years. Then some had relay-less regulators within the alternators, but they made cars with both styles for a while.
I guess I was forgetting sold-state regulators and assuming no matter what year his car is, he had relays. My mistake. (I don't know if they ever made external soldi-state regulators.)
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In alt.home.repair, on Thu, 6 Aug 2015 22:52:43 -0700 (PDT), Uncle

Error: Unable to find site's URL to redirect to.
These preview pages are annoying anyhow. They just mean I have to wait two times, at least twice as long,
i don't have any trouble with full length urls, no matter how long they are. If t hey wrrap or if they wrapped and were quoted wrapped, I click on reply and delete the extra line feeds and > characters.
I understand while some people want them but if you coudl include the real url too that would be best.

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In alt.home.repair, on Fri, 7 Aug 2015 20:34:03 -0700 (PDT), Uncle

I think this worked better this time, but for complicated reasons, I'm not sure.

Thanks.

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In alt.home.repair, on Thu, 06 Aug 2015 16:26:00 +1000, John G

Maybe you were thinking about the diodes in the alternator**. If they had had to depend on diode tubes, whether glass or metal, instead of semi-conductor diodes, I don't think alternators would have been possible.
**For the youngun's here, if there are any, generatos had a commutator and generated DC current. Alternators had two rings for the two brushes, no commutator, and generated alternating current, hence the name, and used diodes to turn it into DC.
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On Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 5:21:25 PM UTC-5, micky wrote:

My dad's radio in his '60 Caddy had tubes...great sound for the time.
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On Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 5:21:25 PM UTC-5, micky wrote:

...and before silicon we had selenium:
http://i1181.photobucket.com/albums/x430/BenDarrenBach/SelRec_zpsxt2tpfbj.jpg
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On 08/07/2015 09:22 AM, bob_villa wrote:

Sorry I couldn't see your picture. Photobucket web page tried to run potentially dangerous scripts from 6 different websites. Fuck that!
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On Friday, August 7, 2015 at 12:14:38 PM UTC-5, nobody wrote:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/o59wqc5
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Not quite since they were invented - but shortly after. Alternators became standard in the early sixties, and Ford and GM were still using electromechanical regulators on their alternator systems up to 1978-79. Mazda still used some as late as at least 1981 and Toyota untill 1986. Chrysler used then till about 1979.
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wrote:

There are no relays in toda's regulators. They are all electronic. Some regulate the feild with a PWM, others just switch resistance like the old relat type.
Generators needed to control maximum current as well as maximum voltage, AND disconnect from the battery when not charging(cutout) so the generator didn't "motor" and draw all the power out of the battery

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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca posted for all of us...

And don't forget to "pulverize" it when installing!
--
Tekkie *Please post a follow-up*

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Sorry if I missed it, but can an alternator be tested with a VOM?
Last time I had the auto parts place test one, they pinpointed the alternator. Bought it, had a mechanic check it out, also said it was the alternator, they replaced it and 2 weeks later same problem. Turned out to be bad connections. Big unnecessary expense.
Would rather TS it myself as much as I can.
in message This just started.... or at least I just noticed it. With the headlights on dim and engine warmed up and idling, the brightness cycles from normal to slightly dim. Cycle time is around a second. When I rev the engine slightly, they return to normal steady brightness.
When running with or without lights, the ammeter is just right of center, slightly charging, in the normal position.
I don't suspect a connection -- within the last 2 months, I removed and cleaned all the battery connections, including regulator and other parts when I was fixing a grounding issue.
Battery cranks start just fine. No other indications of failing battery.
Thanks folks,
Snuffy
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I'd get after the grounds, battery to engine, engine to firewall, headlights to radiator support, combination grounds to intake manifold, etc, etc.
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