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ZEFTRONICS: SOLUTIONS

TROUBLE-SHOOTING THE SYSTEM

14V Type B alternator system on Beech, Commander, Grumman, Maule, Piper, etc
By: Femi G. Ibitayo
Fig. 2.
Wiring Diagram
Voltage Regulator
& OV Relay

BUS

Alt Field
5A

A
Bat
Relay

B
C

O

OVS

Red

V

Black

R

Blue

Alt Out

D

40A100A
Diode is
used on
Pipers

F

Red Yellow Black

F2

OVP

VR

ALT

BUS

A
B

Bat
Relay

Alt Out
40A100A
J

Red

R15V0L

Blue

Diode is
used on
Pipers

D
E

OV /GFP

H Bat

F1

cF

F2

Black

ALT

ACU

OVERVIEW OF THE ACU/REGULATOR
The alternator provides power used in charging the battery and running other electrical systems in the aircraft.
The current flowing through the field coils of the alternator controls its output current and voltage. The field
current increases or decreases with an increase or decrease in the system load demand. The power to excite
the alternator’s field comes form the aircraft bus through
the field circuit breaker, alternator switch, Over Voltage
Relay (OVR) and Voltage Regulator (VR). The field
and alternator circuit breakers protect against a ground
The OVR supplies the power to the VR when the two
are separate units, but when the two are combine into
one unit (the ACU), the bus provides the power. If the
system voltage exceeds the over voltage trip point the
relay will open, removing power from the VR.
The VR controls the excitation of the alternator field to
keep the aircraft electrical system voltage at a specific
level. An alternator control unit (ACU) combines the
voltage regulator with other functions, such as over voltage protection. A “Type B” regulator excites the field of
the alternator by providing controlled power to one side
of the alternator field, with the other side grounded.
The aircraft charging system uses the alternator to convert the mechanical energy from the engine to electricity
used in charging the battery and running other electrical
systems in the aircraft. All things being equal, as long
as the field circuit of the alternator is excited, the alternator will produce an output.

Pg 1/2

5A

White

R1510L

14V ALT Piper-TSN .pub.

ACU

F1
E

Alt Field

C

Bat

VR

By Femi G. Ibitayo
©2003, ZEFTRONICS, Tovya Group Inc

Fig. 2. Wiring Diagram
Alternator Control Unit (ACU):
Combines VR & OVR

TROUBLESHOOTING
Whenever there is an electrical charging system problem, it is
tempting to replace components until the problem goes away.
This often unsuccessful and expensive method can overlook
the reason the component failed. A better method is a systematic approach that locates and solves the problem. A good way
to start analyzing a charging system problem is: Pre-voltage
regulator checks, voltage regulator checks, post voltage regulator checks.
PRE-VOLTAGE REGULATOR (Refer to figures 1 & 2)
Check the alternator switch (B-C), field circuit breaker (A-B),
wires and terminals, and the OV relay (D-E, Figure 1 only) for
contact resistance build-up: resistance should be less than 0.1Ω.
AT VOLTAGE REGULATOR (Refer to figures 1 & 2)
Confirm that there is power coming into and going out of the
voltage regulator. In this type B system: Without the engine
running, with Master switch ON, measure bus voltage at A and
the field voltage at F. The bus voltage should be 0.5-1.5V
more than the field voltage.
POST VOLTAGE REGULATOR (Refer to figures 1 & 2)
• Check your alternator by measuring the resistance of the
field. The alternator field to ground resistance should be
3.5 to 6.0Ω. Check the resistance of the meter leads before measuring field.
• Check for a “flying” short and other intermittent problems
by slowly rotating the alternator while measuring the field
resistance. A drop below 3Ω could indicate a bad
alternator that might damage an unprotected regulator.
• Check the condition of the alternator’s field, pulley, gear/
belt, terminals, and wires connecting it to the VR and the
aircraft charging system.
• Check the battery relay for proper operation and
connections.Check the fluid levels and charging capacity
of the battery

1622 E. Whaley St., Longview, TX 75601. USA
Ph: 903-758-6661; Fax: 903-236-9766. E-mail: Tech@zeftronics.com
Ph: 1-800-362-8985. Web Site: www.zeftronics.com

ZEFTRONICS
Electrical Charging Systems Solutions

Read page 1 and this page. Tovya Group Inc 14V ALT Piper-TSN .5 – 6Ω C. SYSTEM DIAGRAMS BUS Alt Field Alt Out A 5A 40A-100A V1 B C Diode is used on Pipers V2 D O Red V Blk V3 R Blu E Bat Fld F ALT Fld V5 V4 Red Ylw Blk ACU R1510L Figure 1 BUS Alt Field A 5A 40-100A V1 B C V2 GFP / OV warning light (Optional) V4 V3 Diode is used on Pipers V6 F D Alt Out Fld Fld V5 Red Wht Blu Blk ACU R15V0L By Femi G. Maule. 2. VOLTAGE REGULATOR).3V For more technical assistance: Call us. Bus voltage __________V 13.8 – 14. Piper etc By: Femi G.zeftronics. Field resistance at ACU (F-Gnd) ________Ω 3. charge-meters and panel lights. frayed.5 – 6Ω B. Fax: 903-236-9766. Alt Bat Voltage _________V __________V 12 – 13V E. Field Voltage _________V __________V 0. E-mail: Tech@zeftronics. With the engine off: Check voltage drops across the Field. ZEFTRONICS. contact. PERFORM TESTS: 1. If all tests are correct to or per steps 5 & 6. Repair or replace an alternator that has a field to ground short. do not connect the ACU to it. Pg 2/2 Bat Figure 2 ALT INSTALLATION TESTS. Grumman.pub. dirty. Perform & record these tests with the ACU connected Master Switch On & Engine Off .com Ph: 1-800-362-8985. Longview. ALT Out C/BKR resistance __________Ω 0 – 0. Ibitayo ©2003. Field resistance at ALT (F-Gnd) ________Ω 3. Most 12V alternators have 3-6Ω field resistance. or oxidized connections.1Ω D. Ground shorted alternator field will damage most Voltage Regulators/ACU. Check for and replace open. Clean thoroughly or replace corroded. Field SW/C-BKR resistance __________Ω 0 – 0. TP B Voltage _________V __________V 12 – 13V F. TX 75601. 4. or poorly soldered wire junction. 5. Web Site: www. or broken wires. High voltage-drop means excessive junction resistance and will lead to many problems like: fluctuation ammeters. Whaley St. fax us or email us with your questions and test result 1622 E. Bat Switch on Alt Switch on Typical Values A. ALT Bat to Bus resistance __________Ω 0 – 0. Alt field circuit breaker and ACU. BEFORE INSTALLING THE UNIT (ALTERNATOR CONTROLLER. Post Installation.05Ω E. run the engine and record: 12V System Typical value A. Bus Voltage _________V __________V 12 – 13V D. terminals.05Ω 6.. Perform and record the following tests with the Master Switch Off & ACU disconnected: 12V Values Typical Values A. 3. USA Ph: 903-758-6661. Check for Open or Ground-shorted alternator field.com ZEFTRONICS Electrical Charging Systems Solutions . Alt switch. Ibitayo OUR GOAL IS TO HELP YOUR SYSTEM OPERATE BETTER AND HELP YOU BETTER UNDERSTAND ITS OPERATION.ZEFTRONICS: SOLUTIONS TROUBLE-SHOOTING THE SYSTEM 14V Type B alternator system on Beech. TP E Voltage _________V __________V 12 – 13V F.5-2V <VBus 7.