April 24th, 2004 : Mad Electrical Improvements
There's this web site called MadElectrical.com that is an unbelievably cool resource for understanding electrical systems in street rods. After reading a bunch of Mark Hamilton's articles in the Electrical Tech section, I decided to make some improvements on that EZ-Wire installation I did last year.
Also, my new Walker radiator is working beautifully, but the 16-inch electric fan was wired poorly and that really started me reading the info available at the site link above. I wound up purchasing all kinds of goodies and today I started by installing terminal blocks on my firewall. This is in the interest of powering everything in the engine area directly from the firewall, instead of going through the fuse box under my dash, back out to the engine area -- wasting wire and losing voltage, as is done with most wire kits.
Here's an easy-to-read booklet that explains the basics of electricity ... I found it to be quite helpful and very easy to understand:
First I disconnected my battery and installed two terminal blocks ... then I ran an 8 gauge wire from the battery-positive to the #1 terminal block, which gives me full power at the firewall (see photo and schematic below).
Next, I rewired my alternator using the Mad Electrical Alternator Wiring Kit -- the old setup had no diode on the #1 wire (going to the ignition) and the #2 wire, which talks to the regulator, was just piggy-backed over to the BAT connection on the back of the alternator. I soldered a diode in-line on the #1 wire - this keeps voltage flowing in only one direction (towards the alternator) and insures against engine "run-on" -- you can buy a 4-pack of diodes from Radio Shack for only $3 or $4: Part #1N4001 ... then I ran the #2 wire over to the terminal block where the alt. regulator could read the voltage that is actually being distributed to everything.
All the above is explained in the booklet that comes with Mad Electrical's Alternator Kit - the kit comes with everything you need:
NOTE Re: Terminal Blocks -- The order of the connectors is important; they need to be arranged bottom-to-top / largest-to-smallest.
1 - On T-block #1, I placed the 8-gauge jump wire on top of the 8-gauge battery wire and ran it over to T-block #2.
2 - On T-block #1, I placed the 8-gauge alternator BAT wire on top of the 8-gauge jump wire -- this one has a 12-gauge fusible link located at the alternator BAT connection.
3 - On T-block #1, I placed the 12-gauge alt. regulator wire on top of the 8-gauge alternator BAT wire -- this one has a 16-gauge fusible link located at the T-block.
4 - On T-block #2, I placed the 12-gauge main power wire, that goes to the fuse box under my dash, over the 8-gauge jump wire -- this one also has a 16-gauge fusible link located at the T-block.
5 - I put split loom over all the wires, vinyl tie straps where needed, re-connected the battery and started her up to make sure all was cool; it was.
Finally, I snapped a picture (above) and drove to my Mom's for dinner. It's amazing how you can feel each little change you make ... when I turn the engine off, for example, it really shuts off -- that diode I installed on the alternator #1 wire makes a noticeable difference! The engine starts up quicker and with more "confidence" than it did before, too. Also, it's very comforting to know that my alternator is reading and sending more accurately and that my dash area is getting the full 14.2 volts it's suppose to get.
If you want to purchase some of the 8-gauge Tuff-Wire, like I did, click below -- the insulation is rated for High Temperatures, it's non-flamable and is extra tough!:
Also, you may want to purchase some fusible links:
Or maybe some shrink tubing:
P.S. -- You may also be interested in checking these other electrical projects out:
Wiring An Electric Fan With Two Relays -- [Click Here]
Headlight Relays -- [Click Here]
Wiring Dome Light via Door Switches -- [Click Here]
Understanding Relays -- [Click Here]
About Fusible Links -- [Click Here]
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