Just a little DS21 electrical issue?
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Thread: Just a little DS21 electrical issue?

  1. #1
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    Default Just a little DS21 electrical issue?

    My 1969Ĺ Citroen electrical system is not charging properly. I have a modified Ford regulator with the I A S F posts, a new-ish healthy battery and apparently functional alternator and regulator.

    Iíve run a few tests in order to attempt to isolate the issue:

    1. System runs at 12.5V upon starting with fully charged battery. The alternator does not kick in leading me to test the alternator and the voltage regulator.
    2. If I jump the field connector (EXC) to the (+) terminal on the battery the alternator shows a healthy output of 17V so it appears the alternator is willing to contribute power should the regulator be sending the proper signals.
    3. If I jump battery (+) to (i) ignition on the regulator and start the car the voltage creeps up and hovers around 14.2V which would seem to indicate the regulator is functional.
    4. If I remove the jumper while the car is running the voltage remains unchanged at 14.2V.
    5. With the engine still running I tested the field current from the alternator (EXC) to battery (-) Iím seeing fluctuation in the alternator between 6-10V during my short test.
    6. Engine still running I jumped (EXC) to (+) battery during this test which results in the field current jumping back up to 17V. When the jumper is removed back down to 14.2V.
    7. If I turn the car off and start it back up without the (+) to (i) jumper it returns to the non-charging state at 12.5V.


    I believe at some point prior to my ownership the car had a wiring harness update although it appears the job was only a partial repair as some original crumbly wires remain. i have some issues in the dash with warning lights not functioning. Iíve been using my multi-meter to test continuity with a focus on the RED ignition wires tested at the ignition switch.

    1. Red1 wire reads continuity to:
    • coil (+)
    • coil (-)

    2. Red2 wire reads continuity to:
    • Battery (+)
    • Battery (Ė)
    • (F) Field Wire on regulator
    • (A) Battery Wire on regulator
    • (EXC) on alternator
    • alternator (+)


    Iím not sophisticated enough in my electrical knowledge to know if this all seems correct or if thereís an issue that these results would reveal?

    Any advice or thoughts on the situation would be welcomed! Any further tests i should run in order to narrow down my issue? I'm hesitant to run more tests until i can focus my effort beyond what i've already tested.

    My guess is that thereís something pretty simple happening here but I canít put a finger on it..predictably it's driving me crazy.

    Thanks in advance gents.

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    First question. Does the charge light go on when you turn the key on before you start the engine? The Ford regulator relies on the trickle current from the indicator light to close the field transistor.
    Cheers,
    John T.

    54 11BL; 61DS19 LHM (son's); 71DS21 BVH; 73SM 3.0; 73SM 2.7EFI; 73SM 3.0 (other son's); 74 Maserati Merak

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    the orange indicator on the dash lights up when i turn the key
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    Hello, do you have a functioning charging light on the dashboard? If that is blown, it won't charge (unless you rev the nuts off it). Has the bulb been changed to an LED? If so, no good, it won't work.

    I believe 'just a little DS21 electrical issue' is an oxymoron

    Good luck

    Peter

    Beaten to it!!

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    Thanks Peter...the light works and it's a standard bulb. The "just a little electrical issue" note is a prayer as opposed to an observation
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    OK. now connect the battery DIRECTLY to the "A" terminal of the Ford regulator (this will eliminate the ignition switch from the equation). You may have to fuss with the 4-pin connector to do this. Then report back if (1) the light goes out and (2) voltage goes to 14.7 or thereabouts. Be sure the regulator is grounded.
    Cheers,
    John T.

    54 11BL; 61DS19 LHM (son's); 71DS21 BVH; 73SM 3.0; 73SM 2.7EFI; 73SM 3.0 (other son's); 74 Maserati Merak

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    Are you sure the battery is OK? It should show 13.2V when charged. Maybe one of the cells is sending postcards of imminent collapse. Have you tried a different battery?

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    thanks John...i appreciate your help here.

    I jumped Battery (+) to Regulator (A) and the dash lights go on immediately without the ignition switch being turned on.

    Upon starting the light goes OUT on the dash however the system is not getting a charge from the alternator (remains at 12.4V)
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    Is this a citromatic? When was the Ford regulator installed?
    Cheers,
    John T.

    54 11BL; 61DS19 LHM (son's); 71DS21 BVH; 73SM 3.0; 73SM 2.7EFI; 73SM 3.0 (other son's); 74 Maserati Merak

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    This was converted from a Citromatic to a 5-speed by Peter Koine about 4 years ago. That would have been the same time he would have installed the Ford Regulator.
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    badabec,

    I believe it's likely reading a lower voltage at this point due to it having not charged and having been prodded all day with many starts. It's a deep cycle OPTIMA battery about 1 year old. It holds a charge and seems to be in perfect working order.
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    The fact that the A terminal feeds back to the indicator light with the ignition switch off makes me wonder if some remnant of the citromatic starter inhibitor circuit remained after Peter changed over to the Ford regulator. Does this car now start with a key or a starter button?

    The wiring is pretty simple: I = indicator; A = Alternator (battery post); S= Stator ; F=field. Lots of folks don't realize "A" does not have to be connected to switched 12V and leave it connected through the ignition switch (unnecessarily loading the ignition switch).

    The fact that everything works properly when you touch the I (indicator) wire to positive means the regulator wiring works and it has something to do with the wiring somewhere between the dash indicator light and the regulator.
    Cheers,
    John T.

    54 11BL; 61DS19 LHM (son's); 71DS21 BVH; 73SM 3.0; 73SM 2.7EFI; 73SM 3.0 (other son's); 74 Maserati Merak

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    Quote Originally Posted by citroenthusiast View Post
    Does this car now start with a key or a starter button?
    The car starts with a starter button
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    With the Ford regulator connector disconnected there should be 0V on the "I" terminal with the key off and +12 with the key on. Is there? There should also be 12V on the "A" terminal. My money is on some remnant of the inhibitor circuit has grounded the "I" wire.
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    Cheers,
    John T.

    54 11BL; 61DS19 LHM (son's); 71DS21 BVH; 73SM 3.0; 73SM 2.7EFI; 73SM 3.0 (other son's); 74 Maserati Merak

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    Thanks John,

    I'm not sure what you are referring to when disconnecting the "Regulator Connector?" I assume you are referring to one of the 4 wires? I A S F?
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    Yes, the IASF connector. Check for voltage on the wires (not the regulator) with the connector disconnected.

    Just a little DS21 electrical issue?-ford-regulator-connector.jpg
    Cheers,
    John T.

    54 11BL; 61DS19 LHM (son's); 71DS21 BVH; 73SM 3.0; 73SM 2.7EFI; 73SM 3.0 (other son's); 74 Maserati Merak

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    hmmmm....

    With all 4 pins unplugged from the regulator i've connected my multimeter to both the "i" wire terminal and the battery (-) and i'm getting a reading of 2.4V with the key ON and OFF...no change.

    the "A" terminal reads 12V with key ON and 5mV with the key OFF

    I've also attached a photo of my regulator for reference in the event there's a clue there. This is (obviously) before i disconnected the leads.

    Just a little DS21 electrical issue?-img_0231.jpg
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    Well, there you go. Your "I" wire is grounded (albeit poorly) somewhere between the lamp and the regulator. That means the regulator is not getting enough signal to close the field transistor when you start the engine. The voltage you see is probably coming from the starter relay on the battery. (Just for kicks disconnect the starter switch wire at the battery relay and see if voltage on the "I" terminal goes to zero.)

    You probably have a wire grounded somewhere behind the instrument panel. My guess is one of the vestigial wires from the citromatic wand starter switch has lost its insulation. Look for something out of place in the region where the wiring loom crosses over the steering shaft. Worst case run a new dedicated wire from the indicator lamp to the "i" terminal of the regulator.
    Cheers,
    John T.

    54 11BL; 61DS19 LHM (son's); 71DS21 BVH; 73SM 3.0; 73SM 2.7EFI; 73SM 3.0 (other son's); 74 Maserati Merak

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    John,

    Thank you. I appreciate your help. I'm on the fix!

    Jeff
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    Update:

    I was not able to find the source of the issue...so ran a dedicated wire as you suggested above.

    Bottom line I don't believe my DS21 has ever run better!

    I believe this issue has been intermittently causing ignition issues for months. I have an Optima deep cycle battery which has masked the issue a bit as well by enabling the car to run longer without proper charge than might otherwise be possible. After long drives I've been experiencing rougher and missing low-RPM operation. Since I drive the car only a couple times a week I believe it's allowed the battery to recover charge so the problem goes away upon re-start.

    Doing the math on this....all signs seem to point to this issue. What a relief to have apparently resolved it.

    Thanks again John T and Daddy Duck for the guidance!


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    Thank you for one of the most "fun" reads in a good while!

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    Glad to hear you got everything sorted out, and thank you for reporting back.
    Cheers,
    John T.

    54 11BL; 61DS19 LHM (son's); 71DS21 BVH; 73SM 3.0; 73SM 2.7EFI; 73SM 3.0 (other son's); 74 Maserati Merak

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    ...and a continuation of my electrical issues to share here and hopefully gain some insights into fixing. I had smooth sailing since the last fix back in May 2016 which is the last time i ran into trouble! I've added about 4000 miles to the car since then.

    My charging system is failing once again and i've run all the tests i performed last time to isolate the issue:

    1. Similar to the start of this thread the system hums along at 12.5V with a fully charged battery but the voltage never moves above this charge while running. As I turn on lights and fans in the car that number decreases to 12V.
    2. Unlike the testing back in May the EXC to (+) Battery terminal jump does not change the charge. Still running at 12.5V
    3. Battery (+) to (i) ignition jump also does not seem to initiate the charging system as it did last time around. Still running at 12.5V

    After running additional checks as recommended by @citroenthusiast first time around to determine if the "i" wire is grounded somewhere in the system the test has come back negative as the fix i applied back in May seems to still be intact.

    My conclusion was that i have a dead alternator this time (i have an original Paris Rhone type with the Ford style external regulator) around so i reached out to Miles at Western Hemispheres in order to "upgrade" to the alternator he has on offer which features an integrated voltage regulator manufactured by Iskra.

    Mounting the alternator was a piece of cake as the unit comes complete with all the appropriate hardware. The unit pops into place and the belts are tight everything is ready for wiring.

    Here's where i'm getting lost:

    The new Alternator has 4 posts of which i'm using 3 (as the "W" post is for the tachometer apparently which my 1969.5 does not have) so as of now here's where i'm at:

    W: I've not connected this one
    B+: I've connected this to the Battery POSITIVE
    B-: I've connected this to the Battery NEGATIVE
    D+: I've connected this directly to the indicator lamp wire (as it was previously connected to the "i" terminal on the Ford regulator

    When i start the motor up after connecting everything i'm getting 13.2V at idle but the system only runs up to 13.6V with additional RPM although it does kick up slightly with RPMs which was not happening at all before. Clearly the alternator is providing some charge to the system but seemingly far less than it should? When i turn on the lights/wipers/fan/turn signal the voltage drops to 12.7V at idle and the built-in regulator does not seem to be kicking up the voltage to compensate?

    The ignition lights on the dash turn on when i turn the key and go off after starting as they should. As i start scratching my head in wonder what i'm doing incorrect here.....I realize that i've left the "A" "S" and "F" pins connected to the regulator. I removed them and went back through to test the voltage once again. Everything worked exactly as before with the exception of the ignition lights not lighting up upon turning the key.

    I've also NOT re-connected the field (EXC) wire to this alternator as I'm not certain where it would connect?

    Clearly i'm a novice at electrical and rely entirely on what i read here and my multimeter to work my way through issues that come up.

    Since the alternator is not charging above 13.6V i assume there's something still amiss in my first attempt at wiring this thing up? I've had the worst luck locating a wiring schematic that i can match against this alternator and even less information about converting my alternator from an external to an internal regulated alternator.

    On the Western Hemisphere's site Miles has the following notes on installation for this alternator:

    The trouble light is actuated by wiring it so that it grounds through the D+ terminal on the new alternator. The only other connection needed is the B+ which goes to the positive battery terminal.

    My only takeaway from this is that it sounds like i don't need to run the (-) battery wire to the B- terminal on the alternator so i disconnected it and ran a charge test again. It operates exactly as before with a peak charge of 13.6V.

    I'm all ears and greatly appreciative for any thoughts on what i'm doing wrong and how to properly wire this new alternator into my existing electrical system.

    Jeff
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    Try measuring the voltage between the +B and -B terminals on the alternator with the engine revs at about 2000rpm. That will be the alternator output and what the internal regulator is regulating too. If this is between 14 and 14.4 volts then the alternator is working OK and you are getting some voltage drop in the lead to charge the battery and/or the earthing lead on the B- connection. You should be able to check this if you measure between the B+ and the battery positive and the B- and the battery negative terminal when you have some load like headlights on. If you measure significant loss on one or both of these leads, they will need replacing or beefing up to get lower resistance.

    Cheers, Ken
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    Thank you @KenW !

    I measured across the alternator B+ and B- terminals and the voltage was 14.6V so it's confirmed the alternator is functioning.

    As per your direction I checked the alternator's B- to battery negative and got a voltage reading (at 2000 RPM) of .04V

    When checking the Alternator's B+ to Battery positive i got a voltage reading of .5V

    I'm not sure if that qualifies as significant? I'm not sure if i can deduce that the .5V loss would have a linear relationship to the loss of total charge capacity? In other words without this loss would i have a 14.1V charge (assuming my 13.6V current charge plus .5V+ lost to higher resistance?)
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