Solid State Voltage Regulators For 3 Brush Motorcycle Generators


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Steve Blancard

  I first became interested in Splitdorf equipment in 1990 when I acquired a 1928 Indian Chief in original condition.  It was fairly complete but missing, among other things the generator.  As I roamed the Antique Motorcycle Club of America (AMCA) meets in search of parts and information about this machine it soon became apparent that there was no one who knew a lot about Splitdorf generators.  A few people knew a little about them but I could not find a definitive source of information.  What I did learn was that I needed a "long shaft" generator for the chief.  But I didn't know specifically what model generator.  Eventually I found what appeared to be a long shaft DU-1.  It was in sorry shape, missing a lot of the internal parts.  Nevertheless I was quite happy to find one at all.  Several people told me that they didn't work very well and to just paint it and use it as a dummy since electricity was only needed for the horn and lights.  Most people don't ride these old machine at night so the battery would be sufficient for most riding.  I never really bought off on this idea. If the Splitdorf generator was used for almost 15 years by Indian I figured that it couldn't be that bad.

    With more research I eventually found that there was no such thing as a long shaft DU-1.  I finally decided that a DU-5H is what I really needed.  After more searching I finally found a restorable one.  Unfortunately I could not find anyone who was willing to restore it.  Several shops said they would try to fix it but I was unwilling to let someone else try on my long sought after generator.  With 15 years of electronics experience in the navy I was not intimidated by the generator and my innate curiosity wouldn't allow me to just leave it as is.  I started buying any Splitdorf literature and generator parts I could find.  In 1994 I began the restoration.  Of course no new or NOS parts were available so many parts had to be made from scratch.  Perhaps the most difficult part was how to solve the problem of a working cutout.  The cutout is the Splitdorf's achilles heel and is very rarely found in working condition.  I'd seen a number of Splitdorfs that had a non standard external cutout mounted.  To me this was unsatisfactory.  I wanted my generator to function and look as original.  After a good bit of experimentation (read trial and error) I developed a solid state cutout that mounted in the original location under the cap using the original mounting holes.

    To make a long story a little shorter, I have since restored over 40 Splitdorf generators and repaired many more.  This brings me to the purpose of this web page.  The problem is that I have more work than I can handle. Even though I'm now retired from the navy, I work full time as a combat system engineer for a defense contractor in support of the navy. So my time is limited.  Over the years I've answered many Splitdorf questions as they relate to antique motorcycles.  This page is intended as a forum for Splitdorf lighting generators and magnetos.  I hope that by sharing my experience I can encourage others to take on their own generator restorations.

        If you have read this far I will assume that you have some interest in this subject.  Follow the links on the main page for more information.

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