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originally written November 2000 (updated September 2007)
This "dynamo" is from a John Deere model 670 lawn tractor (any X70, actually), and weighs 4 pounds with the regulator. Output is 20 amps minimum when driven by the mower's 6" pulley running at 2500 rpm. Part numbers are AM877557 for the alternator ($160), and AM101406 for the regulator ($67). The wonderful thing about a dynamo is that it uses permanent magnets rather than field excited electromagnets, so it doesn't "need" electricity for the windings to produce electricity. I've added up all of my electrical loads, and 20 amps will handle everything I have, including 8 amps of landing lights! Even without an alternator charging, my battery will last me 4 hours without even killing the radio or transponder. And my EIS (Engine Information System) will notify me if the system stops charging below a certain level. There is some concern that an alternator/regulator designed for a tractor might produce a lot of RFI noise that would interfere with NAV/COM radios. Troy Petteway's expensive B&C alternator on his C85 looks just like this one, and he has no problem at all with noise in his Bendix King radio. Also, the top electrical engineer at TBE felt sure that as long as the regulator used solid state components (rather than the old breaker or vibrator type) that noise should not be a problem at all, and this one's definitely solid state. But I should mention that I haven't proven this to be true, yet. I'd like to thank Chuck Corum of Farmer's Tractor Co, Huntsville, Alabama (2568304020) for spending several hours researching this application for me, and making sure that the components matched, and providing me with copies of everything I'd need to install and troubleshoot the system for years to come. He didn't have to do that. I owe him a few flights around the patch! And I'm probably lucky that it's a slow time of year for local cotton farmers too.
Here's how you hook it up. .... .and a detailed drawing never hurts..
and 16 for number 5. mainly because I'm spinning mine faster than most folks will. just like cars. number 4 is to the positive side of the idiot light (the other end of the bulb goes directly to ground). This way my ignition switch (which only provides power to the coils and fuel pumps) provides power. At 1400 rpm it's putting out 14 volts and and puts out 14. and number 5 is power from my ignition switch (this is what enables the regulator to charge. it puts out about 14. whether or not the rest of my electrical system is enabled.2 volts. And you might need this troubleshooting info someday.4V at 1500 rpm and higher. since it only powers coils and fuel pumps. and was concerned about overrevving it. With a 10 amp load on it. and slightly up to 1100 rpm when the dynamo starts charging. This setup is the "dirt . Please note that I am spinning this using a smaller diameter pulley than the stock Corvair harmonic balancer provides. Number 1 goes to the battery. number 3 is from the blue and white dynamo wire (although I don't think it really matters which is which since it's AC). and it glows when switched off. so there is no possibility of something falling across the terminals and shorting things out or starting a fire. 20 for number 4. My idiot light is an LED. Note that I've come back and shrink tubed all of the terminals (not just the two red ones shown) in the photo above. not an output from the regulator). or how much of Bob Knuckoll's failsafe advice you'd like to implement. The terminals are labeled 15 in the photo (in red). 2 is the blue one from the dynamo. Here's how mine is wired. I used 10 ga wire for 13 and ground. The case of the regulator is also grounded directly to the battery's negative pole. You may want to do it differently depending on how paranoid you are. This also allows the idiot light to work only when the ignition switch is on.
and was there as a measure to guarantee that even if the rest of the electrical system was toast. so I've skipped the crowbar stuff. The only problem is that with a dynamo. I'm not saying these things are bulletproof. without any of the safeguards that Bob expouses. Maybe I'll do some of that later on though. And it seems like he would know. because the things are just so simple. but this one requires a field current (like all "real" alternators). I have almost 500 hours on this setup with no problems of any kind.. Still. and usually the thing was packed with dirt and grass to get it that way. update. and even if they did. they'd have to buy it from the dealer anyway. It seems my web site has been responsible for some sales. so then I dropped by the John Deere dealer and asked the guy at the counter how many of those he sold. Chuck says the dynamo runs the electromagnetic PTO clutch. but it IS a means to stop a runaway dynamo. I can just turn the whole thing off and keep flying. Somebody on the internet said recently that "it's not a matter of IF a permanent magnet alternator will quit. and even some in the winter. I thought that was interesting. but it's bound to be helpful in getting your installation up and running. just undercowling air which is normally about 30 degrees hotter than ambient. the same guy that helped me find the wiring diagrams for them way back in November of 2000. because we already know that the dealer is the only place you can get one. and he said he couldn't remember anybody ever asking for one. so that's not surprising. since his address is there. These things are designed to live under much tougher environmental conditions than my plane dishes out though. It's a hard life on a bearing when packed with dirt and overheated. he thought you simply couldn't get any more reliable. this alternator was on one end of an 1145 industrial mower's engine. we are talking John Deere PM alternators here. and recieves no blast cooling. While at the John Deere dealership I spied this Denso 30 Amp alternator that looked pretty small and light. The few he sells are almost always to the City of Huntsville. after running through a 25 amp circuit breaker. Since my coils and fuel pumps are independent of the rest of my electrical system. which costs is $260.there are reliable high quality examples of just about everything. I do have almost 500 hours on mine without any problem at all. OK. so I'm told. the mower would keep on cutting! I should mention that John Deere also stocks a 35 amp version of this same dynamo. I asked what the mode of failure was and he said it was "always" the bearings locked up. and apparently they work. and that's because they run their industrial lawnmowers 8 hours a day all summer long. which uses same regulator. and even then they last for decades before giving up the ghost to a failed bearing. but from the standpoint of a guy who repairs and sells John Deere equipment. October 2005 I'm told that the John Deere alternator has been replaced by a different part number (MI10338). although I believe Kubota and probably others use the same unit. But that sounds like a real blanket statement to me. while on the other end was a dynamo like mine. it would be easy enough to make a circuit to "turn off" the regulator this way in case of a runaway. It turns out it was Chuck. so he wasn't hired just last week. increasing safety for "free". update. July 2007 As of July 2007. since there is no field current control. That also keeps the charging LED idiot light from working though. And besides. it's pretty reliable stuff if you don't pack them full of dirt and overheat them. Subsequent tests have shown that pulling the 12V wire off of terminal 5 will stop the dynamo from charging. as well as cheap junk that's not a fraction as reliable. I asked about the regulators and he said "the only call I have for those is from these guys that are putting them on airplanes". I now leave my landing lights on all the time and let those dissipate the power for me. mine is located about 3/4" behind my cylinder head. So I dropped by the local small engine repair megaplex and asked about their reliability. it's always putting out the rated amount of current. By the way. main buss power comes from the battery. and the fact that when he did see a bad one it has been in use forever and was practically physically abused.simple" version. In my case.. His opinion was that given the number of tractors that had been sold from his dealership. It does climb quite a bit after shutdown though. P/N AM877957. but a matter of WHEN". Still. . we're talking less than one horsepower. so you are always "wasting" power and may be overcharging your battery if you are not consuming it all. In fact.
It looks close to the cylinder baffles.Here's an alternative voltage regulator: It's only $83. The adjustment bracket is just some 1" x . Next is the latest incarnation.156 6061T6 using a bandsaw. which will do much better.190 ribs TIG'd in place. He now has 52 hours on his with a 17Ah Panasonic UPS battery. Total height of the bracket at the main boss is 2. update. It now has 520 hours on it without a problem. Just a little lesson on load paths. Big Twin Case". but it could still be improved upon. and it is.September 2007 Here's the "almost" final installation. and the belt has never needed adjustment. This is a classic failure at a stress riser due to a drastic step in material thickness and the heat affected zone due to welding. with . but still not great. 3. The next one made it another 400 hours before it cracked and separated completely at the weld (you can see the crack pretty clearly here). Return to Mark Langford's KR2S project. according to Al Hawkins from KRnet. It's hacked out of a piece of 3" channel.225" total. which is a replacement for a '91'99 Harley Davidson Sportster. It's a Compufire 55121 "22 AMP 19811988 Black Finned. The welding is a little better.0 x . This one will probably last. The one at top is a flimsy thing that did OK for about 100 hours before it deformed enough for the belt to get a little loose. part number 7451686. and it could use some big lightening holes as well.188 2024T6 that's bent with a 1" offset and a 5/16" slot milled into it for the adjustment. but there's a plenum between the two.233 x . Here's the evolution of the main alternator bracket.0 x 2. . and it works great. It set up a disconcerting vibration that I could feel in the cockpit as the belt orbited around with an inch of slack or so in it.