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Smart Alternators.


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OK, I have a ST170 with a smart alternator, I want to run it in a 60s ford, so I want to run the alternator as a DUMB alternator, how do you do it?

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Most people don't bother - easier to swap to a 'non smart' version. It maybe possible but no one has delved into the inner workings to determine if the 'smart' switching is purely in the ecu or if it is partially within the alternator. You could give it a try as a single connection set-up ie. heavy gauge wire direct to battery and most alternators will start outputting current with a rev or two! Nothing ventured, nothing gained I guess? Are you really needing 100+A output though - puts greater load on the engine - just a thought!

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1 hour ago, katana said:

Most people don't bother - easier to swap to a 'non smart' version. It maybe possible but no one has delved into the inner workings to determine if the 'smart' switching is purely in the ecu or if it is partially within the alternator. You could give it a try as a single connection set-up ie. heavy gauge wire direct to battery and most alternators will start outputting current with a rev or two! Nothing ventured, nothing gained I guess? Are you really needing 100+A output though - puts greater load on the engine - just a thought!

I have asked all over the place about this, and indeed if you ignore the 3 small wires, you can just run the single feed wire direct to the charging circuit, often the starter live terminal, the alternator appears to be self exciting, so it will charge, however, it wont control a charge light. so you need to run a volt meter.  Alternators are load sensitive, so, if you don't need 100 amps you wont get 100 amps, so the engine is not loading up against the alternator. weight its better to run something like a Kubota or Brise, but at the moment its on a budget. so the BIG alternator stays, unless I can bolt the 17ACR that is in the car at the moment in the place of the 170 one.

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1 minute ago, Rally Pack 2000 said:

Back to school for me. What is a smart alternator?

Used on modern cars where the car's ecu / ecm controls alternator output, turning it off completely at times to improve fuel economy. Most will output min 100A up to 200+A to deal with all the electrical gadgets in modern cars. I thought you guys were still on Dynamo's!

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6 minutes ago, katana said:

Used on modern cars where the car's ecu / ecm controls alternator output, turning it off completely at times to improve fuel economy. Most will output min 100A up to 200+A to deal with all the electrical gadgets in modern cars. I thought you guys were still on Dynamo's!

Thats alot of amps. It would melt the casing of the Escorts electricals me thinks.

No we aren't totally in the dark ages (oh maybe we were with Dynamos?). I binged watched every series of Car SOS during the lockdown and they showed these alternator things that look like dynamos you can put in instead so im all hi-tech savvy now. You know they even squirted the fuel straight into a Herald without a carby, thats still messing with my head though. Some kind of black arts sorcery Im going to double check with the vicar next Sunday just to be sure!

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3 hours ago, katana said:

Most people don't bother - easier to swap to a 'non smart' version. It maybe possible but no one has delved into the inner workings to determine if the 'smart' switching is purely in the ecu or if it is partially within the alternator. You could give it a try as a single connection set-up ie. heavy gauge wire direct to battery and most alternators will start outputting current with a rev or two! Nothing ventured, nothing gained I guess? Are you really needing 100+A output though - puts greater load on the engine - just a thought!

Agreed. I've heard bad things about smart alternators where by if you flatten your battery on your daily by leaving lights on or similar, and you take battery off to charge it back up, the smart alternator remembers the charge the last time it was used and not what it actually and wont charge properly. so not ideal of a classic that isnt used all the time.

Not sure if that's proven or not, but just something else to go wrong.

I'd stick with a standard one like Katana suggested and make it work somehow

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