DYNAMO REGULATORS – SOME FACTS
(or why you should use the V-Reg2a !)

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The 'Mechanical' Regulator

What we really mean is the original solenoid type of regulator.
What are the snags here ...

Ideally each dynamo / regulator needs setting up to work as a pair, so it should be adjusted before use. Then there is the issue of long term reliability; something that requires initial setting-up can go out of adjustment. Contacts that are worked hard 'wear' out of adjustment in time, we all know how ignition points wear, the mechanical regulator contacts are no different.

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The Electronic RegulatorV-Reg II

Readily available, no setting required, long term reliable (no contacts to wear), just fit and forget. Some can be made small enough to 'hide' in original type regulator boxes.
Now there is some rumours from people that have had problems with the electronic regulators, experience shows that in most cases it comes down to a fitting accident or not following the instructions. Electricity is fast stuff and it has to be treated with some respect, especially with electronics. If there is an error in fitting it can take only seconds to damage the electronics and often it doesn't show except that the regulator doesn't work properly. So the watchword is follow the instructions to the letter, provided they are good and comprehensive there should not be a problem. DO NOT GUESS - with 4 wires there are 23 ways to get it wrong and only one correct!
The V-Reg2a is a tough product and if you get it wrong in many cases you do get another chance, but we don't recommend you try 'Russian roulette' with the connections! It is supplied with comprehensive instructions and telephone support is also available form AO Services.

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The Manufactures

There are several manufacturers, so how do you sort the good from the ugly?
All electronic components have a specification / limit and to ensure a good overall product any electronics has to cope with some abnormal as well as normal usage, this needs to be designed in from the beginning, such that the whole unit is within safe / sensible limits.
Electronic dynamo voltage regulators, like most manufactured goods these days, can be made with different strategies:

After sales support
How do you provide customers with confidence? Especially considering that a dynamo regulator is a fairly technical part and it will often be fitted by a non technical person? The V-Reg2a has full comprehensive instructions, and if there should be a query or snag there is an honest after sale service, something which is lacking from some others in this market!

We believe the V-Reg2a meets the goals of good design, doing a good job and good value for money.

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The Different Versions

There are two versions of the V-Reg2a ... to suit Positive or Negative earth. You have to specify polarity at the time of purchase as the two separate devices cannot interchange at a later time. Any dynamo system can have its polarity changed relatively easily; however for a regulator, changing the polarity involves replacing all of the internal semiconductor with reversed polarity devices!

The V-Reg2a can be used with a 6V or 12V system ... when it comes to voltage selection a user available switch is bound to introduce an area of potential failure, we all know what switches are like on the classic motorcycle! ... avoid them. So the V-Reg2a uses a link wire to make the selection; when supplied, the link wire is in place and the regulator is set for 6V operation, cut the link wire and it becomes a 12V regulator. So you can upgrade to 12V at any time without having to buy a new regulator and because the 'switch' is a link wire there will be no problems with corroded contacts!

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Developments
We are in close collaboration with the manufacturer of the V-Reg and are always looking to make improvements. After 6 years of continuous development with the original V-Reg, we were involved with the specification of the improved V-Reg2a, which was released in April, 2001.

It has been said many times that it would be nice if the electronic regulator was "bomb proof", well it could be but you probably wouldn't want to pay the price it would cost, so we have asked the manufacture to make it as tough as possible without incurring a heavy cost penalty. Our analysis shows that less than four percent had problems with the original V-Reg, nearly all of these were due to initial fitting problems (not reading the instructions!). The V-Reg2a has improved on this with a problem rate of only half of one percent. If you're smart and read the instructions you won't have any problems.

Improvements introduced with the V-Reg2a:

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12V Upgrade?

There are two basic ways of doing this, neither are fool proof. So your answer is to understand the options.

6V Dynamo with a 12V regulator; this is the first and cheapest option. The first problem occurs in that the speed of the dynamo is often not fast enough at tick-over / town speeds to get a good charge to the battery. So provided you are aware of this, keep a good battery backup, i.e. start a run with a well charged battery, make sure the AMP-Hrs are adequate (more anon). Do not expect to sit in town traffic for long periods with headlight on (especially with up-rated lights). Do not expect a 'town' bike with such a conversion to cope well with coil ignition (electronic or points). On a more positive note you could expect to safely use 50% more power from your dynamo as long as you keep is 'spinning' with this type of conversion.

12V Dynamo with a 12V regulator; In this case the dynamo gets rewound with greater turns in the field and armature. In most cases this results in the dynamo system starting to charge the battery at about the same dynamo / engine revs as it did when a 6V system. All would appear an answer to a 'maidens prayer'. But a problem can occur as the dynamo is a willing animal, and when rewound it can give more power than it was intended to, especially if you ask more from it (a modest increase in power out does seem to be acceptable, but not as much as with using a "6V dynamo for 12V" as above). There is no regulator yet seen on a British motorcycle with power limiting build in to it although the V-Reg2a addresses this situation indirectly with its thermal overload protection. Bear all this in mind when you make your decisions. One fact to remember at all times, any motorcycle battery used on such a system using Lucas E3 or similar dynamo on a Classic motorcycle over 250cc must be fitted with a battery of at least 5 Amp-hrs capacity, smaller batteries will tend to overcharge.

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Order a V-Reg II

To order a V-Reg2a see our price list page. Discounts are available for quantity purchase, dealer enquires welcome. V-Reg II

HOME | Mechanical Regulator | Electronic Regulator
Manufactures | Which Version | Developments | 12V Upgrade | Order a V-Reg II

12 January, 2011