Board index Flathead Power-Technical Questions, Answers, and Suggestions 45 Flatties WL Generator

WL Generator

Moderators: Curt!, Pa

Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:36 am

Posts: 19
Location: Canada
Hi all,

I am considering using something other than a 32E generator on my WL. I would like to go 12 Volt.

Any suggestions for an easy installation?

Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:43 pm

Posts: 391
A factory -65A generator or a Cycle Electric unit are nearly a direct bolt on. Just use the correct gear with the slinger on it and install 1/4-24 Helicoils into the standard 5/16ths bolt holes and the stock WL bolts fit. Be sure to use the appropriate regulator.

Post Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:15 pm

Posts: 34
stay away from the mini alternator offered thru JP Cycles and/or Vtwin. it works but it is NOT a very high output as advertised. the one i have has had a habit of blowing reuglators. an alternator is a great idea, but not this one.

Post Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:36 pm

Posts: 1667
Location: Interlaken, NY USA

Just my suggestion, substitute 65A fields for the original fields, eliminate the 3rd brush and use the 32E as a 12 volt genny. Use your favorite 12 volt regulator. Works just fine, been doing this over 30 years. Makes sufficient power to run all normal loads and a 100w halogen headlight.

Post Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:38 am

Posts: 1646
There was a common conversion at one time for the Lucas 60w 6v dynamo, boosting it to 90w 12v. The main problem was the notoriously low quality of the original unit and its chronic tendency to fail in service. Much better to look for a 12v alternator equipped machine, at least at the time. I wouldn't bother converting any "period" unit, just buy a purpose-made 12v one

You could stand a failed dynamo on the old magneto-ignition bikes because a flat battery wouldn't stop the engine.
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...

Post Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:00 am

Posts: 1667
Location: Interlaken, NY USA

45Brit, I too lived the Lucas "joke", ie calling that lame single poled collection of parts a generator! This on my BB34's and M20. Yes, thank goodness the magneto was a lot more reliable. Spent too many rides coming home by the light of the moon :lol:
And the advice is good wrt to the later 12volt 65a generators, it's just I like to swim upstream, I guess.
However, on the 12volt field conversion on the 32E, it is a bullet proof job and totally reliable. My 3 daily rides have racked up hundred's of thousands of miles with no failure since I did the first conversion 30 plus yrs ago.
The pluses of the conversion are
1) Only costs the price of the fields 30-50 bucks
2) Don't need to worry about doing the adaption of threads from 5/16" down to 1/4-24 as with the 65A
3) The 32E is a more robust design than the 65A, the 65A was a "hotrodded" design electrically. They decreased the gauge of the armature winding to get more windings in the slots. This created higher voltage at lower rpm's, but increased the resistance of the winding and thus the heat created in the winding. So, if you regulate the output of the genny carefully not to exceed the rated 10 amps, you're o.k. BUT, if any thing goes awry, you toast the armature. Now I'm sure the Cycle Electric genny with the integrated regulator must do that. But, if you go for a remote regulator, you can get in trouble.

So, being cheap and not wanting to spring for the CE combined unit, I just go my own way with the 32E.

I also converted a 58 Fan cooled police unit a couple of years ago with the 65A fields and have been running that on my Pan. The bonus is the extra output from that unit, conservatively 15 amps at 12 volts. Enough extra that I was able to use heated gloves on the trip to Daytona this year, what a life saver.
Anyway, I know I'm opinionated, but I do have my reasons :lol:

Post Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:35 am

Posts: 1646
I've never seen an OEM 32E generator converted to 12v this side of the pond. They may be there but I've never seen one, mostly I suppose because most of the riders likely to have a 45 or panhead are Brit-era veterans themselves.

I've presently got two 45 projects and both have Cycle Electric generators on them, the sort with the integral regulator on the end, fitted by previous owners. I've gone with them because they both seem to test ok and there are always things to spend money on, on a project like that. I dare say I'll find out, one way or the other. sooner or later.

I've had various Big Twins, 45s and iron Sportsters over time and apart from the general comment that the 6V system simply isn't enough for ANY ohv Harley, I've never really had any problems to speak of, at least that way. I've only had one Harley with kickstart only and 12v electrics, a 61" EL panhead which was an un-start-able sod of a thing which defied any number of experts real and imagined, before being sold in disgust ( a pity as it was actually a very nice thing to ride on the odd occasions it could be coaxed into life ) so that's all I have to say about THAT, as the man said.

So I'm quite happy to take whatever you say at face value because I don't know any different.

Heated gloves are excellent. I had a pair of the heated "hippo hands" muffs once and they were pretty good PLUS you can't forget about them, walk off and bollox the wiring, like someone I know :lol:
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...

Post Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:24 am

Posts: 1667
Location: Interlaken, NY USA

Roger on the heated gloves, last day out, spent a half hour resplicing the lead wire of the gloves back together :roll:
Don't get me wrong, the CE genny is a good product, the problems I've seen are when the 65a was used with the old mechanical regulators that had no current regulation.
Too bad about the 61", urban legend on this side of the pond has it that they were the sweetest running Harley made. Never experienced one myself though. My knuck was a 61, but the first thing I did when I got it was to stroke it. (seems to be a mental quirk with me, can't leave my engines stock)

Post Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:20 am

Posts: 1646
I wouldn't use any mechanical regulators on any 12v conversion, after my experiences with Lucas units. The old mechanical regulators are OK for what they are designed to do but that's all. Trying to uprate something that depends on little tiny bits of metal clattering about like that is asking for trouble, in my book.

The 61" was a super thing, much smoother than a 74" and little or no difference in overall performance as far as I could tell, but it just would NOT start, hot, warm or cold, and no-one who tried to sort it out had any success at all. It had plenty of spark, plenty of compression; the manifolds tested with no problem, nary a leak to be seen but it would NOT start. I tried various carbs from the original Linkert to a Mikuni to an S&S and not a splutter. Ho hum.

I had a shovelhead once which was a mean ol' thing, someone had fitted a kickstarter to it but I used to let the electric boot do the job. I've never seen an electric start, Bendix carb shovel that wouldn't start first or second prod, if you got the choke button in the right place and everything else was half-way right.
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...

Post Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:09 am

Posts: 19
Location: Canada
Thanks everyone for the replies.

I would prefer to use a 32E rewound for 12V but they are hard to find at a reasonable price. Sounds like the 65A with a solid state regulator is the way I will go.


Post Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:20 pm

Posts: 1667
Location: Interlaken, NY USA

Just so you understand, I wasn't talking about rewinding a 32E armature, just using the original armature, pole pieces, brushes, (except the third) and only replacing the old fields with the 65A fields. Not expensive at all, Fields run about 40-50 bucks.
Any 32E will do just fine, as long as the armature is good.

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