GasWorksGarage

Converting a Buick Super from 6 volt to 8 volt.

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Generators do not charge at idle sufficient to replace battery power drained from the load the starter uses 6 or 8 volt. The Buick manual states it takes an average drive of 20 miles to replace charge in batt lost from starter draw. 6 volt alternator charging at idle might be a consideration. Grounds with clean connections sized to carry the highest load required by components is a consideration often overlooked. Hope this helps!

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Hello,

 

my problem is that somewhere down the line someone removed the hydro electric widows and replaced with 12 volt power window motors.

they roll down slow and you have to help them roll up. I believe that 6 volts is just not enough power for the 12 volt motors. 

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Why 8 volts?  I wouldn't think that 2 volts would make much difference on most systems.  If the car isn't highly original (what year are we talking about, here?), and you are wanting to improve function & usability, I'd just go to a 12v alternator system.  Obviously you'd need to change out your lights, but you'd also want to either dial it down for the ignition system or change the coil.  Otherwise, your points aren't going to last long...

I've known several cars that continued to use a 6v starter on a 12v system.  As long as you aren't cranking for long durations, they usually survive pretty well.

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its a 48 Super. I had a couple guys tell me that 8 volt system when running puts out around 9.5 to 10 volts and that this would make a big difference and I wouldn't have to change anything else. 

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I smell what you are stepping in.  I was going to say that your 6v system should be about 8 with the engine running anyway, and you could probably tweek your regulator up to 9 without much trouble.

For a daily driver, I'd have more concerns, but assuming you drive it like most folks do, you probably wouldn't find yourself running through a bunch of bulbs at 9v.  My biggest concern would be overheating your generator, or maybe your battery on long drives.  I don't know what the availability of 8v generators is like, but I'd assume it's cheaper just to put a 12v generator on it, but leave your current regulator in place.

You could also just put a second 6v battery in the system that steps up the system voltage just for the windows circuit.  Charging it in the car would be tricky, though.  Not impossible, just tricky...

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Perhaps a step up transformer 6V to 12V,  just to suppy 12V power to window circuit? Just one component. Carefull of heat created using old wiring! Hopefully not cost prohibitive!

Edited by 2carb40 (see edit history)

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2 hours ago, 2carb40 said:

Perhaps a step up transformer 6V to 12V,  just to suppy 12V power to window circuit? Just one component. Carefull of heat created using old wiring!

 

such as this? 

 

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  • 6V to 12V Step Up Converter, DROK DC 12V Boost Converter DC 5V-11V to 12V Voltage Regulator Module 3A 36W Volt Transformer Power Supply for Car Stereo Radio LED Display
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6V to 12V Step Up Converter, DROK DC 12V Boost Converter DC 5V-11V to 12V Voltage Regulator Module 3A 36W Volt Transformer Power Supply for Car Stereo Radio LED Display

Edited by GasWorksGarage (see edit history)

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I think there is also a 6A or 10A version that may give you a bit more margin. If the only problem you are trying to solve is the 12V window motors this would be the way to go.

 

Cheers, Dave

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11 hours ago, GasWorksGarage said:

hello,

 

what all is involved in changing the electrical system from 6 to 8 volt? Changing the generator and regulator?

 

thanks in advnce

 

I'm just gonna say up front I think this is a bad idea. People usually did this to try and solve starting problems. Results were typically temporary at best. Batteries were readily available because some tractors used them. It burns out a lot of bulbs and possibly other accessories.

 

But to answer your question, usually you replaced neither of those things. The trick is to set up the voltage regulator up just as you normally would for 6 volt, but with a higher charging voltage for the 8 volt battery.

 

Some people have gone all the way to 12 volts with 6v generators, though you are getting up against some physical limits. It might work and it might not. Maybe the field burns up? Maybe the cutout relay burns up? I don't remember what the usual problem is with that.

 

Here is how 8 volt conversion was done: There are 3 relays in a typical post-1940 regulator. One is a current regulator, and one is a voltage regulator, and one is a cutout. Make sure the battery is fully charged before adjusting. The current regulator will stay the same. The voltage regulator is readjusted to the new charging voltage (tighten it's spring). Keep rechecking with the cover back on the regulator, because having it removed alters the voltage. The cutout should probably be set a little higher too, but I don't think anyone ever bothered. It's probably close enough.

 

Resistors may need to be added to 6v accessories to keep them from burning up. The resistors will get hot. Keep plenty of space around them. Light bulbs will be nice and bright but short lived.

 

Also, I don't think it will solve anything. Motors (and light bulbs) fall off extremely rapidly with loss of voltage. You don't get half the performance from half the voltage, not even close.

 

Remember 12v window motors are designed to work with a running engine, and system voltage is normally about 14.7 volts in a modern 12v car with a modern alternator. Its probably about 14.4 in something older. They have to work with the engine off (11 volts or so), but usually run slow.

 

System voltage in an 8v system is probably about 9.6v or 9.8v or so with  the engine running, and a little less than 8 with the engine off. My guess is you will still have to help those windows up by hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My 49 was converted to 12 volt they had changed the starter to a 12 volt hi torque and it has a later 12 volt generator and regulator on it all bulbs were changed to 12 volt however there is a step down to 6 volt for the original radio.If it hadn’t been changed I would have left it 6 volt.As previously posted a 12 step up just for the windows may be the fastest way for your problem.

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GasWorks, twer me I would just bite the bullet and go 12V with an alternator,.  Just change all the bulbs. A voltage reducer for the gas gauge. Same for radio if you will use it. Blower motors will run a little faster.  A one wire GM alternator, or one of the generator lookalike alternators. I did mine 10 years ago. Still ticking.

 

  Ben

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Just skip the 8 volt idea. It will be a band - aid to fix an issue that was a band - aid for a previous issue*. It is time to fix the real problem, not continue to mask prior modifications.

 

The person who installed the 12 volt motors did no favor by not finishing the conversion. They needed to put a 12 volt supply for the motors. I'm sure those 1948 windows are heavier than the later windows the motors were designed for, and now it has less than half the power to raise and lower them than originally designed.😨

 

Since window motors are intermittent operation, I suggest a smaller 12 volt battery, charged by one of those 6 to 12 volt converters mentioned, and leave the rest of the car 6 volt, if it is operating fine now. Adjust the converter to output 13 .2 or so volts. More than that and you might charge it dry over long trips. That 3 amp one should keep the battery trickle charged as you drive around. Getting a converter with enough amp capacity to raise and lower the windows will 1. be a large one, maybe 20 amps capacity (would have to use an ammeter and see what the motor draws now from a test 12 volt battery), 2. draw over 45 amps from the 6 volt system when working, more if two switches are pushed at the same time....3. Haven't found one for "cheap" yet....😉

 

Just depends on how original you want the car to be.

 

Most non-original would be just finish the conversion to 12 volts, but that needs a person who is familiar with doing it.

 

*Plus, at 9 volts, you still will not have the power needed to operate the windows as the motors were designed!

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If you need to help the window rise up,  check how hot the supply wire gets. It maybe too small for a 6 volt supply. 

The 6 volts will raise it but as you have found out much slower than 12 volts. Suitably sized voltage booster, as mentioned above, would be the easiest option. Size (amps) will be based on how much resistance there is for the window to go up. It would be wise to have a circuit breaker or fuse.

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If it were me I would go with the suggestion from Mr Du Val,that is to have separate 12 battery for the windows,a small motorcycle or lawn tractor comes to mind .It could be mounted under hood or in trunk accessible for charging with a battery charger and wire it away from rest of car just for windows operation.I did a similar setup in my 49 Hudson to power a 12 sound system was less invasive to the car but would have to recharge battery but this wasn’t that bad , it would stay changed for quite a while,just charge when car is not in use.You may want to give that a try maybe the fastest and easiest way to power the windows. I assume the windows in the doors are the only ones powered?Another power source maybe at jump box for dead battery some have a 12 outlet that you could us as your power supply.Gary

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23 hours ago, KongaMan said:

Why not go back to the original windows that worked with a 6V system?

 

From other posts it looks like this car is a convertible so the hydraulic pump must still be there. That sounds like the most effective thing to do.

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Update all, I got a setup converter from amazon, ($13.00) (2.25 x 2.25" 1.25 deep) 5V to 12V setup 3 Amps 36 watts. Same issue. I spoke to a local auto electric shop they said not enough amp or watts so back to amazon and for $20.00 I got a 5V to 12 V 10 AMP 120 watts ( not much bigger in overall size) a little better problem is when rolling up the voltage drops from 12.25 to 4.78 ? For shits and giggles also battery was low and I wanted to start the car, I put my jump box on it. 12volt box, standard )  windows worked fine no voltage drop. WTH? (heck) why the voltage drop I wonder?

 

Thanks for all your input and patience with me. are far as making them hydraulic again, I was looking at over $1,000 window.

EVERYTHING inside the door has been removed and changed from OEM>

 

 

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GasWorks, I understand your frustration. You're kind of stranded on an island and there's no obvious path back. This is what makes me dislike hack mechanics who think they can out-smart the original engineers just because they have the benefit of 50 years of technology. "Oh, that old hydraulic stuff never works, we'll just install modern electric motors and it'll cure the problem." I hear that all the time, yet here you are. I feel your pain.

 

Reluctantly, I have to agree with the others that at this point a full conversion to 12 volts is probably your best bet. Install the alternator, battery, and bulbs, and the windows should also start working. The car won't be fundamentally changed and you can start enjoying it. Things like the clock and radio won't work, maybe the ammeter (although I've seen it done where it's operational), but I think that's a more direct route than an inverter, which will never put out the amperage that you'll need to move those heavy windows. There's only 30 amps available in the 6V system with a generator, and I bet the window motors will consume a sizeable fraction of that. There's just no way an inverter can deliver that kind of juice after an up-conversion to 12V. I don't like full 12V conversions, but since someone has already sent you up the creek without a paddle, it seems the cheapest and most expedient way to get your car working and back on the road. Do it right, make notes of the parts you use for the next guy, and it should all turn out well.

 

Good luck and thanks for keeping us posted.

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Matt is correct. Cost wise, the inverters would almost have paid for the change.

 The voltage drop is because of the low amps. And small wires. The jump box worked because it puts out way more amps. With heavier wires.

 

  Good luck.

 

  Ben

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17 minutes ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

Matt is correct. Cost wise, the inverters would almost have paid for the change.

 The voltage drop is because of the low amps. And small wires. The jump box worked because it puts out way more amps. With heavier wires.

 

  Good luck.

 

  Ben

Well, with shipping I have $35.00 in both setup converters, but yes that's $35.00 toward the conversion. 

 

Thanks all!

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Put a 12V battery in the trunk and wire the windows to it. Just throw a charge on it when it gets low. That's how my Allis-Chalmers electric starter works, doesn't even have a generator.

 

Leave it like that for ten years and round up the parts.

Bernie

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2 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

Put a 12V battery in the trunk and wire the windows to it. Just throw a charge on it when it gets low. That's how my Allis-Chalmers electric starter works, doesn't even have a generator.

 

Leave it like that for ten years and round up the parts.

Bernie

 

 Leave it to Bernie. He is on the ball. And that will work.

 

  Ben

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Just add the 12 volt battery to your converter circuit. You have to do that, the converter alone cannot support the current needed for the window motor. Someone already mentioned that, wait, it was me!😉

 

On 2/12/2019 at 12:31 AM, Frank DuVal said:

Since window motors are intermittent operation, I suggest a smaller 12 volt battery, charged by one of those 6 to 12 volt converters mentioned,

 

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Bernie is right. Go to your Batteries Plus store and pick up a 20 ah 12v gel cell, or a couple of them and put in parallel. Easier to deal with than a lead acid, although you will have to charge a bit more often.

 

Cheers, Dave

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