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Thread: Special Alernator Switch?

  1. #1

    Special Alernator Switch?

    Jim, you are a BAC member (I think). Please do a BAC search (upper right corner) on the words "discharging battery problem", without the quotes. You will find everything you need to know, including the fact that people are working on your alternator who apparently still do not know how to troubleshoot intermittent (and solid) alternator problems. Bob Steward and I have addressed this same issue at least two dozen times so far, on both BAC and MML, and it is well documented in the FAQs on the BAC website (and the MML Archives).

    Unless you have two alternator circuit breakers (a five-amp and a fifty-amp), your alternator switch (actually the alternator field switch), is NOT a common Radio Shack switch. It will be a special switch that incorporates a five-amp circuit breaker. It is true that they can go bad. If you want to continue down the road of parts-replacement diagnostics, feel free, but these switches don't have a Radio Shack price. The current carried by the field circuit is rather small; always well under five amps even at full output. The only high-current alternator "switch" is the 50 amp circuit breaker itself.


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Jim Campbell
    To: musketeermail@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Monday, August 15, 2005 10:24 AM
    Subject: [musketeermail] Special Alernator Switch?


    We have had a lot of problems in the charging department for a few
    months. The alternator was removed and overhauled six months ago but
    we have had intermittent instances of 'no charge' or 'low charge'.
    Just after the annual last month we ended up with a dead battery, went
    back to the shop and they said an alternator wire had come loose or
    some such.
    We got it home with a really strong charge indication but next weekend
    no charge and a dead battery after a short test flight. We replaced
    the battery with a new fully charged one but still no charge from the
    alternator.

    Our repair man now suggests that the alternator switch may be causing
    the problem. He claims that it incorporates some sort of fuse or trip
    mechanism that may have failed. Is this b/s?

    I can believe that after all the years handling what must at times be
    a very large current, the contacts may be pitted somewhat But I find
    it difficult to believe that the switch is anything different from
    what you can buy in Radioshack. We believe it to be the original
    equipment (s/n MA-314)
    Jim Campbell

    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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  2. #2

    Special Alernator Switch?

    >Our repair man now suggests that the alternator switch may be causing
    >the problem. He claims that it incorporates some sort of fuse or trip
    >mechanism that may have failed. Is this b/s?

    >I can believe that after all the years handling what must at times be
    >a very large current, the contacts may be pitted somewhat But I find
    >it difficult to believe that the switch is anything different from
    >what you can buy in Radioshack. We believe it to be the original
    >equipment (s/n MA-314)
    >Jim Campbell

    Its most certail better than the RS switches sold TODAY.

    Most of the early Musketeers used a combo switch circuit breaker. Its possible that it is popping in flight. And who can complain when their 35 year old switch goes bad? Some items like this are due to be replaced because of AGE.

    An easy test is to check the output side of the switch wit a meter next time you are getting no charge. THe Alternator "Master" switch is really just supplying power to the voltage regulator, and if there is no power on the output side, that kills the voltage regulator, and leaves you with no charge fro the alternator.

    A 12V est light or a Volt-Ohm Meter is all tat you need. Engine need not be running. Flip on the battery master and the the alternator master check for voltage.

    --Bob Steward A&P IA
    Birmingham, AL


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  3. #3

    Special Alernator Switch?

    I don't want to disagree with Bob and Mike, but I think in this case
    I think it's possible they may be incorrect.

    Jim, you indicate your serial is MA-314, which is a late Super III. I
    have MA-170, a Super a bit older than yours. The alternator switch on
    mine does not have a built-in field breaker. I have a seperate 5 amp
    field breaker on the panel. Mine has an alternator switch and a
    separate master (battery) switch. These switches are wired such that
    if the alt switch in on but the batter is not, then nothing happens.
    Like the "split" master switches common on Cessnas, only this is two
    discrete toggle switches. Both these switches have the same part
    number and are heafty double-pole double-throw units (though only a
    single set of poles is used on the alternator switch). I learned all
    about this when my battery switch went intermittent. I verified that
    the wiring is as I described in the Beech parts manual. At the time
    (about 2 years ago), Rapid was getting about $40 for one of the
    switches, less if it didn't have the decorative chrome thingy over
    the standard chrome toggle. (Guess which one I bought!)

    Something to try: Your alternator switch has an unused set of
    contacts. Try moving the wires to the unused set. This might save you
    the cost of a switch.

    Sincere apologies to Bob and Mike if I'm wrong on this.

    Best regards,

    Steve Robertson
    N4732J 1967 Super III

    --- In musketeermail@yahoogroups.com, n76lima@m... wrote:
    > >Our repair man now suggests that the alternator switch may be
    causing
    > >the problem. He claims that it incorporates some sort of fuse or
    trip
    > >mechanism that may have failed. Is this b/s?
    >
    > >I can believe that after all the years handling what must at times
    be
    > >a very large current, the contacts may be pitted somewhat But I
    find
    > >it difficult to believe that the switch is anything different from
    > >what you can buy in Radioshack. We believe it to be the original
    > >equipment (s/n MA-314)
    > >Jim Campbell
    >
    > Its most certail better than the RS switches sold TODAY.
    >
    > Most of the early Musketeers used a combo switch circuit breaker.
    Its possible that it is popping in flight. And who can complain when
    their 35 year old switch goes bad? Some items like this are due to
    be replaced because of AGE.
    >
    > An easy test is to check the output side of the switch wit a meter
    next time you are getting no charge. THe Alternator "Master" switch
    is really just supplying power to the voltage regulator, and if there
    is no power on the output side, that kills the voltage regulator, and
    leaves you with no charge fro the alternator.
    >
    > A 12V est light or a Volt-Ohm Meter is all tat you need. Engine
    need not be running. Flip on the battery master and the the
    alternator master check for voltage.
    >
    > --Bob Steward A&P IA
    > Birmingham, AL




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  4. #4

    Special Alernator Switch?

    No disagreement. I said that the switch was not a breaker-switch if he has two separate circuit breakers for the alternator (a 5 and a 50). And as far as I know, all the alt field switches are in series with the Master; i.e. no field power if the Master is not on (along with the Field switch). If it is a CB switch, it will have a number on a small flat area, on the end of the toggle handle. If no number, it is a non-CB switch.

    Regardless, you don't want to replace the DC-rated switch with a run-of-the-mill Radio Shack AC-rated switch. The internal contacts will not hold up to the DC flashover. Most of the non-CB Beech switches are two parts; the switch and the handle cover. I guess that enabled them to use different trim in different planes, while retaining the same switch unit. To tell you the truth, I have never tried to remove the cover on a switch, once installed, so I don't know whether they are transferable.

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: ke4oh
    To: musketeermail@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Monday, August 15, 2005 3:26 PM
    Subject: [musketeermail] Re: Special Alternator Switch?


    I don't want to disagree with Bob and Mike, but I think in this case
    I think it's possible they may be incorrect.

    Jim, you indicate your serial is MA-314, which is a late Super III. I
    have MA-170, a Super a bit older than yours. The alternator switch on
    mine does not have a built-in field breaker. I have a seperate 5 amp
    field breaker on the panel. Mine has an alternator switch and a
    separate master (battery) switch. These switches are wired such that
    if the alt switch in on but the batter is not, then nothing happens.
    Like the "split" master switches common on Cessnas, only this is two
    discrete toggle switches. Both these switches have the same part
    number and are heafty double-pole double-throw units (though only a
    single set of poles is used on the alternator switch). I learned all
    about this when my battery switch went intermittent. I verified that
    the wiring is as I described in the Beech parts manual. At the time
    (about 2 years ago), Rapid was getting about $40 for one of the
    switches, less if it didn't have the decorative chrome thingy over
    the standard chrome toggle. (Guess which one I bought!)

    Something to try: Your alternator switch has an unused set of
    contacts. Try moving the wires to the unused set. This might save you
    the cost of a switch.

    Sincere apologies to Bob and Mike if I'm wrong on this.

    Best regards,

    Steve Robertson
    N4732J 1967 Super III

    --- In musketeermail@yahoogroups.com, n76lima@m... wrote:
    > >Our repair man now suggests that the alternator switch may be
    causing
    > >the problem. He claims that it incorporates some sort of fuse or
    trip
    > >mechanism that may have failed. Is this b/s?
    >
    > >I can believe that after all the years handling what must at times
    be
    > >a very large current, the contacts may be pitted somewhat But I
    find
    > >it difficult to believe that the switch is anything different from
    > >what you can buy in Radioshack. We believe it to be the original
    > >equipment (s/n MA-314)
    > >Jim Campbell
    >
    > Its most certail better than the RS switches sold TODAY.
    >
    > Most of the early Musketeers used a combo switch circuit breaker.
    Its possible that it is popping in flight. And who can complain when
    their 35 year old switch goes bad? Some items like this are due to
    be replaced because of AGE.
    >
    > An easy test is to check the output side of the switch wit a meter
    next time you are getting no charge. THe Alternator "Master" switch
    is really just supplying power to the voltage regulator, and if there
    is no power on the output side, that kills the voltage regulator, and
    leaves you with no charge fro the alternator.
    >
    > A 12V est light or a Volt-Ohm Meter is all tat you need. Engine
    need not be running. Flip on the battery master and the the
    alternator master check for voltage.
    >
    > --Bob Steward A&P IA
    > Birmingham, AL




    Join BAC today and be a part of the ONLY Type Club for the Musketeer series!

    www.beechaeroclub.org





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    --------------------------------------------------------------------~->

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    www.beechaeroclub.org


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    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/musketeermail/

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  5. #5

    Special Alernator Switch?

    We also had this problem and solved it by using the alternate contacts.
    John

    -----Original Message-----
    From: musketeermail@yahoogroups.com [mailto:musketeermail@yahoogroups.com]
    On Behalf Of ke4oh
    Sent: Monday, August 15, 2005 1:27 PM
    To: musketeermail@yahoogroups.com
    Subject: [musketeermail] Re: Special Alernator Switch?


    I don't want to disagree with Bob and Mike, but I think in this case
    I think it's possible they may be incorrect.

    Jim, you indicate your serial is MA-314, which is a late Super III. I
    have MA-170, a Super a bit older than yours. The alternator switch on
    mine does not have a built-in field breaker. I have a seperate 5 amp
    field breaker on the panel. Mine has an alternator switch and a
    separate master (battery) switch. These switches are wired such that
    if the alt switch in on but the batter is not, then nothing happens.
    Like the "split" master switches common on Cessnas, only this is two
    discrete toggle switches. Both these switches have the same part
    number and are heafty double-pole double-throw units (though only a
    single set of poles is used on the alternator switch). I learned all
    about this when my battery switch went intermittent. I verified that
    the wiring is as I described in the Beech parts manual. At the time
    (about 2 years ago), Rapid was getting about $40 for one of the
    switches, less if it didn't have the decorative chrome thingy over
    the standard chrome toggle. (Guess which one I bought!)

    Something to try: Your alternator switch has an unused set of
    contacts. Try moving the wires to the unused set. This might save you
    the cost of a switch.

    Sincere apologies to Bob and Mike if I'm wrong on this.

    Best regards,

    Steve Robertson
    N4732J 1967 Super III

    --- In musketeermail@yahoogroups.com, n76lima@m... wrote:
    > >Our repair man now suggests that the alternator switch may be
    causing
    > >the problem. He claims that it incorporates some sort of fuse or
    trip
    > >mechanism that may have failed. Is this b/s?
    >
    > >I can believe that after all the years handling what must at times
    be
    > >a very large current, the contacts may be pitted somewhat But I
    find
    > >it difficult to believe that the switch is anything different from
    > >what you can buy in Radioshack. We believe it to be the original
    > >equipment (s/n MA-314)
    > >Jim Campbell
    >
    > Its most certail better than the RS switches sold TODAY.
    >
    > Most of the early Musketeers used a combo switch circuit breaker.
    Its possible that it is popping in flight. And who can complain when
    their 35 year old switch goes bad? Some items like this are due to
    be replaced because of AGE.
    >
    > An easy test is to check the output side of the switch wit a meter
    next time you are getting no charge. THe Alternator "Master" switch
    is really just supplying power to the voltage regulator, and if there
    is no power on the output side, that kills the voltage regulator, and
    leaves you with no charge fro the alternator.
    >
    > A 12V est light or a Volt-Ohm Meter is all tat you need. Engine
    need not be running. Flip on the battery master and the the
    alternator master check for voltage.
    >
    > --Bob Steward A&P IA
    > Birmingham, AL




    Join BAC today and be a part of the ONLY Type Club for the Musketeer series!

    www.beechaeroclub.org





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    www.beechaeroclub.org


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