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  #1  
Old 06-13-2019, 10:25 AM
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What is this thing? In the engine bay - 1972 W115 240D

Hi folks,

Cleaning up in the engine bay yesterday, I followed a cable to find something not plugged in (and the plug all nicely melted).

See imagine:



I have no idea what it is. Any ideas? My car functions just fine without it...!

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 06-13-2019, 05:21 PM
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Hi,
this is an external regulator for the generator.

Later generators have an internal regulator and don't need this part.

Regards
Norbert
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  #3  
Old 06-13-2019, 05:28 PM
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Ah, generator you mean alternator I assume? The alternator on my car is pretty new so perhaps that explains it.

I think I'll remove entirely then! Keep things tidy
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:36 PM
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No, the term is generator - which all cars used to have. They were replaced with an alternator - different product.
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by tyl604 View Post
No, the term is generator - which all cars used to have. They were replaced with an alternator - different product.
A generator is a DC machine with a commutator. They fell out of use in the 1950s. Alternators (which produce AC voltage that's converted to DC voltage through a diode bridge) took their place and have a pair of slip rings instead of a commutator. It was once common for them to have an external regulator, Ford kept them through the 1980s. They are *NOT* a "generator" though.
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Old 06-14-2019, 01:56 PM
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A few gratuitous words on the matter of electrical generation.

Both of the devices ("generators" & "alternators") found in automobiles that provide electrical energy are energy conversion devices; mechanical energy is converted to electrical by the device. That process of conversion we commonly refer to as "generating".

Within the current carrying windings of both devices the current alternates in polarity from positive to negative. Hence, internally, both are alternating current (AC) generators, aka "alternators".

To produce an output of direct current (DC) that is usable in the automobile, the internal AC must be rectified to DC. It is the method of rectification that differentiates a "generator" from an "alternator". [Internally both are generators, and both are alternators.]

In the device which we call a "generator" the magnetic fields are stationary and the current carrying windings rotate. The AC in the rotating windings is rectified to DC by the interrupted contacts of the brushes on the segments of the commutator. A segment of positive sign is always presented at one brush, and a segment of negative sign at the other brush. In 180 degrees of rotation, a segment changes sign from + to -, and then back to + in the next 180.

In the device referred to as an "alternator", the magnetic field rotates, and the current carrying windings are stationary. The AC generated in the windings is rectified to DC by diodes which allow current of + sign to pass, but block current of - sign.

Last edited by Frank Reiner; 06-14-2019 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 06-14-2019, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Diseasel300 View Post
A generator is a DC machine with a commutator. They fell out of use in the 1950s.
I had an original generator in my '73 VW bug, and an original generator in my '65 Rambler. They were definitely still being used after the 1950s.
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Old 06-14-2019, 02:19 PM
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I believe Chrysler introduced the alternator in 1960 and GM in 1962. My dad ordered a new 1962 Pontiac and was able to have access to the GM assembly plant in South Gate, CA. He witnessed the car being built and the installation of the alternator.
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Old 06-15-2019, 07:28 PM
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Given the vintage of the car and the previous owners it is bound to have had....

It looks like someone needed an alternator but didn't want to spend the money for a new one. But they had a generator and a voltage regulator and found the the generator would fit. Hence the addition of the regulator needed to make the generator work with the car.

Then, someone else owned the car and decided to put the thing back right and just blew off removing the regulator. Or perhaps the first 'solution' didn't work so well and melted down the plug. Then they owner would have to have sprung for an alternator anyway.

In any case this is not something that came that way from the factory. I mean, it is a Mercedes. You can order almost anything you want and maybe someone was too old school to want one of them new fangled alternator thingies.

In any case an interesting question. The good part is you don't need to worry about it.

And I bet if you removed it and found a Bosch part number on it you would find it came from a Volkswagen.
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