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Misc: Charging Systems Alton generator

Chris Launders

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
The recent thread on generators has prompted me to have a look at the Alton that came with my twin and wasn't working, it's a 3 phase direct drive unit (no gearbox) and looks rather fried inside but is showing 0.7 ohm across all three phases and no short to earth, does anybody know what it should read before I try to rig up a drive to test if it will work at all.
Chris.
 

Brian Thompson

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I’m glad this topic has come up. I’ve fitted an Alton on a new engine/bike restoration with a bob newby 40mm belt drive.
When I started the bike it was very noisy in the alternator area . I was thinking it had something to do with the teeth on the belt. I’ve removed the Alton drive cog but I haven’t started the bike since.
If I was asked to describe it, I’d have said it sounded like a dry gear reduction.
When my leg gets better I’ll start it again and see how noisy the belt drive is with the Alton disconnected.
Cheers
Brian
 

vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Add me to that like list.
All my many mods to the alphabet twin are reversible
even more to the point when I built my Grey Flash I used all the components that I had stashed away purchased in the seventies when the first flush of "get it back to standard" started that included hacked RFMs,bent brake levers and milled out forks. I had to cut up zero parts
 

greg brillus

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Brian, The alton's are sensitive to the teeth engagement on the primary. Although i am referring to the standard triplex chain set up.......Even the movement of the chainwheel on its bushes which is quite sloppy makes the mesh inconsistent, and this makes them noisy. I have often had to lift the generator lower cradle by fitting a shim plate under to lift the assembly. This seems to work in near all cases. Good luck with it.......... Greg.
 

Bill Thomas

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I’m glad this topic has come up. I’ve fitted an Alton on a new engine/bike restoration with a bob newby 40mm belt drive.
When I started the bike it was very noisy in the alternator area . I was thinking it had something to do with the teeth on the belt. I’ve removed the Alton drive cog but I haven’t started the bike since.
If I was asked to describe it, I’d have said it sounded like a dry gear reduction.
When my leg gets better I’ll start it again and see how noisy the belt drive is with the Alton disconnected.
Cheers
Brian
I will come over and give you a hand Brian !!, Or should that be a Foot !!.
You should have known about those Squishy Pistons, Get Well Soon, Bill. :)
 

Glenliman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Brian, The alton's are sensitive to the teeth engagement on the primary. Although i am referring to the standard triplex chain set up.......Even the movement of the chainwheel on its bushes which is quite sloppy makes the mesh inconsistent, and this makes them noisy. I have often had to lift the generator lower cradle by fitting a shim plate under to lift the assembly. This seems to work in near all cases. Good luck with it.......... Greg.
Just to be clear, this is on an eccentric created by the mount position and hub position offset in the generator body. It is possible to install the bottom bracket backwards, that could mess up the arrangement.
The hole through the primary case is oversized to allow for the adjustment and movement of the Miller/Lucas or in this case, Alton.
The amount of available movement is great- enough to lift the sprocket tooth nearly out of the chain or drop it too low so that the sprockets gullets are resting on the rollers.
Just rotate the charging unit around until the sprocket has a tiny bit of Freeplay back and forth.
Rotate the chain wheel and check that there is freeplay at even the tightest spot.
This should be easy to do without the need for shimming as there is so much adjustment there.
-Re the noise level.
I tried running a black Delrin sprocket. I can't remember who supplied or suggested this.
The bike sounded like it had a Police siren fitted.
The white plastic ones run quiet, but I've gone back to the steel. If it's making a noise, I can't hear it !

On edit, Brian's bike has the Newby belt drive so the Alton will be fitted with an al. Newby toothed wheel. I'm not sure why that would be noisy, it's aluminium running on a rubber belt with a nice wide contact area.

Glen
 
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Bill Thomas

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I could not think what Brian's trouble was, But now Greg and Gary have said, I think I can remember hearing about it before, You can only turn the Alternator a bit, Before it rubs on the side of the hole.
Cheers Bill.
 

Glenliman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
My Vincents all have enough movement to go way past the happy spot in either direction.
Perhaps they are not all that way?
One of them, the 1360, has a Newby belt drive and Alton , the same arrangement as Brian has.
I expected alignment issues here as these are Molnar cases fitted with a new Spares Co bracket, the Alton and special toothed Alton drive wheel supplied by Newby. It all gets driven by the teeth on the outside of the belt.
So there is not a single factory Vincent part in the arrangement. I expected some trouble, but there was none.
It seems that all involved went by the drawings, it all adjusted up nicely.

Glen
 
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Brian Thompson

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
That's right Bill. I had to remove the slinger tin part from the case as it was just touching it. There's not alot of adjustment there even when using the eccentric sleeve.
I'll start it again this weekend and see. I don't have a primary on it either. Maybe that's why there is noise that isn't muffled by the cover. I've just had some 1" spacers made for the primary cover for clearance.
I fell off my trials bike Bill. That's why I have a sore leg.
But yes this 1200cc and high compression do make starting it a technique. I'm getting there.
Cheers
Brian
 

bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
This won’t be much help, due to my so-called memory, but I needed to crimp another terminal on my Alton lead and discovered that I had to scrape the insulating enamel off the end of the lead.
My 1999 vintage Alton wasn't showing a charge on the ammeter, so I was steeling myself for buying a new one. Being thrifty, I took the Alton out and trimmed the leads where they had cracked insulation, sanded the ends per the above, and soldered on new terminals. My luck held out and it makes proper amps again!
 

vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
In passing, will a Comet Alton fit a twin and vice versa? I know the direction of rotation doesn't matter because I asked Alton as I am fitting my ex twin Alton in a Mag dynamo setting.
 
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craig

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I want to charge a Li Shorai LFX18A1-12BS with my 5 year old Alton generator on a Rapide. This Rapide Alton with a Podtronics regulator has been successfully charging a Leoch LP12-7.0 battery.

My understanding is I need 13+ volts (most of the time) to adequately charge a Shorai LFX18A1-12BS.
Is there a special regulator I need to mate with this Alton to produce 13+volts?

PS I have this exact LFX18A1-12BS installed and successfully working for 2 years on a
Norton Mk3 with stock oem charging system, zeners, Lucas, capacitor, OEM Lucas stator/rotor.
 

oexing

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
You should have 14 V for any old lead battery anyway, should be allright for lithium types as well. Did you ever check your voltage with an instrument ?

Vic
 

craig

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Started Rapide today, first time with Grosset electric, with Shorai LFX18A1-12BS with my 5 year old Alton generator and Podtronics regulator.
Voltage at Shorai before start 13.63v
Voltage after started and running at idle 13.4v
Voltage when revs at 2000+ was 14.2v, 8amp meter pegged at 8 amps at high RPM.
Several more starts today with a run time of 5 mins each time.
Voltage with engine off was still 13.60v


Since this Shorai battery is a PIA to remove from the Rapide and hook up the official Shorai charger, i am planning to purchase a Battery Tender Li charger for keeping up days between rides ( and doubting my Alton system until proven).

LiBatteryCharger1.jpg20201102_StarterTest1.jpg
 
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craig

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I received my new Battery Tender Junior 800mA, $37usd with tax, hooked it up to the Exide encased Shorai battery on the above Rapide and the charger stayed in charge mode (blinking green led) for 45 mins. At the end of charging (solid green led) the Shorai measured 14.15 volts.
This new Shorai battery was being used for test bench starts without proper running for recharging so I knew it would take a longer charge time.

I then hooked this new charger up to my Mk3 Norton (same exact Shorai battery ,2 years old) and obtained a full charge in 15 mins. with 14.3 volts at the end of charge.

Short term (2 days), I am happy with charger.


 
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craig

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I have used this Battery Tender Junior 800mA for a couple of days on two Shorai batteries, one in an Alton charged 47 Rapide and the other in a 75 Norton Mk3.

I did a number of workbench Grosset electric starts of the Rapide, maybe 4 or 5, shop fan running to cool, but only 5 min runs. reving the throttle at the last of each run to watch the 8-0-8 amp meter peg on 8 amps. i am trying to eliminate oil leaks and tune Amals.
I put the new charger on the Rapide and find that the charge voltage is now 14.8v at the Shorai battery and when the charging is complete, solid green light, remove charger, the voltage at battery is 14.8 volts. However ck the voltage hours later and it is 14.3 volts.

The Mk3 Norton Shorai battery does the exact same thing - charge at 14.8v etc.

Switch the new charger to Lead Acid and put in on a sealed lead acid and the charge voltage is 13.8v.

Just a report you might find informative.
 
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clevtrev

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Started Rapide today, first time with Grosset electric, with Shorai LFX18A1-12BS with my 5 year old Alton generator and Podtronics regulator.
Voltage at Shorai before start 13.63v
Voltage after started and running at idle 13.4v
Voltage when revs at 2000+ was 14.2v, 8amp meter pegged at 8 amps at high RPM.
Several more starts today with a run time of 5 mins each time.
Voltage with engine off was still 13.60v


Since this Shorai battery is a PIA to remove from the Rapide and hook up the official Shorai charger, i am planning to purchase a Battery Tender Li charger for keeping up days between rides ( and doubting my Alton system until proven).

View attachment 38447View attachment 38448
Leave the flying lead on the battery.
 
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