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Polarizing A New Voltage Regulator
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 12:12 pm    Post subject: Polarizing A New Voltage Regulator Reply with quote

I am installing a new Niehoff voltage regulator on my 1970 Squareback. According to the instructions that came with the regulator I am supposed to polarize the regulator after installation by touching a "jumper wire to both the terminal marked D+ or 61 and the terminal marked B+." My Bentley Manual does not mention anything about polarizing the Voltage Regulator, nor do any of my many other manuals. They only say that the generator should be polarized. Should I polarize the regulator as it says in the instructions that came with it or will I risk damaging it by doing so.
If I am supposed to polarize the regulator I am unclear with the instructions. Am I suposed to polarize it by touching a jumper wire from terminal B+ to both terminals marked D+ and 61 at the same time or just touch the jumper wire from B+ to either terminal D+ or 61? The diagram in the instructions just show a jumper wire going from B+ to terminal 61.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently replaced my VR with a solid-state Bosch VR.. and did not polarize the generator at all.... and have had no problems whatsoever... got in and drove it to Tulsa OK and back (250+ miles).....
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmmm.. i know there was a really good thread on this same issue maybe a couple of months ago. try doing a search and finding that thread. i think ev chimed in and said that he always polarizes? i don't remember now.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voltage regulators do not need to be polarized. But if it will make you feel better, momentarily connect a jumpr from the B+ (battery) terminal to the D+ or the idiot light terminal, (they are connected together).
If this is one of the new solid state regulators, make sure you are not touching the body of the car with the housing. In a T-3 it mounts different than in a T-1.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I installed the new regulator and did polarize it with the jumper. Unfortunately after installing the new regulator the red light is still on. I just replaced the generator yesterday with a rebuil;t Bosche unit and I have tested it so I can rule it out as the cause. When I do a no-load test at the B+ terminal on the regulater there is no voltage. If I rev the motor it the voltage goers up a little to around 6-8 volts and the regulator starts to make a buzzing noise. Again, I tested the Generator without the regulator and the voltage is correct. Bad regulator?
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you show no voltage at the B+ terminal, then you are not connected to the battery. B+ is battery voltage. Are you sure you don't mean D+, which is the output from the generator.
Lately, I have been hearing of some poor quality of Bosch rebuilt units. Like they are not testing them before they leave the factory.
Take the belt off the generator, and then do the polarizing again. The generator should spin like a motor if it is good.
That is how I bench test used ones I get.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Russ Wolfe wrote:
If you show no voltage at the B+ terminal, then you are not connected to the battery. B+ is battery voltage. Are you sure you don't mean D+, which is the output from the generator.
Lately, I have been hearing of some poor quality of Bosch rebuilt units. Like they are not testing them before they leave the factory.
Take the belt off the generator, and then do the polarizing again. The generator should spin like a motor if it is good.
That is how I bench test used ones I get.


You are mistaken. Yes, there should be voltage at the B+ terminal if the battery is connected but to test the charging system the battery should be disconnected from the B+ terminal on the VR.
To do a no load regulated test on your charging system you first disconnect the wires from terminal B+ at the voltage regulator. You then connect a voltmeter to B+ and to ground and start the motor to check your voltage. If the voltage is not correct you then do a no load, unregulated test on the generator by disconnecting the DF and D+ leads from the terminals on the generator, connect the DF terminal to ground and connect a voltmeter positive lead to the D+ terminal and the voltmeter negetave lead to the DF terminal. If the voltage is correct then the Voltage regulator is at fault.
My generator tests fine using the no load, unregulated test but has the problem I mentioned earlier when doing the no load regulated test at the B+ terminal. There is little to no voltage and a buzzing sound.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I did polarize the generator.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[email protected] wrote:
Russ Wolfe wrote:
If you show no voltage at the B+ terminal, then you are not connected to the battery. B+ is battery voltage. Are you sure you don't mean D+, which is the output from the generator.
Lately, I have been hearing of some poor quality of Bosch rebuilt units. Like they are not testing them before they leave the factory.
Take the belt off the generator, and then do the polarizing again. The generator should spin like a motor if it is good.
That is how I bench test used ones I get.


You are mistaken. Yes, there should be voltage at the B+ terminal if the battery is connected but to test the charging system the battery should be disconnected from the B+ terminal on the VR.
To do a no load regulated test on your charging system you first disconnect the wires from terminal B+ at the voltage regulator. You then connect a voltmeter to B+ and to ground and start the motor to check your voltage. If the voltage is not correct you then do a no load, unregulated test on the generator by disconnecting the DF and D+ leads from the terminals on the generator, connect the DF terminal to ground and connect a voltmeter positive lead to the D+ terminal and the voltmeter negetave lead to the DF terminal. If the voltage is correct then the Voltage regulator is at fault.
My generator tests fine using the no load, unregulated test but has the problem I mentioned earlier when doing the no load regulated test at the B+ terminal. There is little to no voltage and a buzzing sound.

You should always check a charging system with the battery in circuit. NEVER EVER run it without a battery in circuit. The regulator needs the battery as a reference voltage.
Been doing these things for longer than you have probably been on this earth.......
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Bentley Manual along with every other Volkswagen manual I own dissagree.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[email protected] wrote:
The Bentley Manual along with every other Volkswagen manual I own dissagree.

Manuals, even the Bentley, aren't perfect. And every manual pales compared to a Bentley. I would trust Russ' certified, life-long experience over a manual.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the Bentley is not correct what procedures should I use to test the charging system.
I am still having a problem.
I took the voltage regulator back and got a another new one which I installed today. When I started the car the Generator light glowed faintly but would go out when I revved the motor. I let the car run for a while tot see if the light would go out completely but then the generator light popped on and stayed brightly lit with no change when I revved the motor. It stays on all the time now. I ran out of daylight and I don't think my voltmeter is working properly so I didn't get a chance to test the generator or regulator again today. Although if I am doing it incorrectly as Russ said I guess that wouldn't do me any good anyway. The reason I think my Voltmeter may be bad is because when I connect it to the battery with the motor off it reads 15.5 volts and I know it should only be about 12-12.5 volts. It also reads 15.5 volts with the motor running with no change when idle speed is increased. I tried the volmeter on the battery of another non-Volkswagen vehicle that has no charging problems and it also read 15.5 volts. I'm guessing bad voltmeter.

Russ - I did find another test procedure in My Haynes manual for the Beetle.
"Using a voltmeter, check the battery voltage with the engine off. It should be approximately 12.6 volts.
Then start the engine and run it at fast idle (about 2,000 RPM). Check the battery voltage again. It should now be approximately 13.5 to 14.5volts. Turn on the headlights. The voltage should drop, and then come back up if the charging system is working properly.
If the voltage is more than the specified charging voltage, replace the voltage regulator. If the voltage is less, the generator oor the voltage regulator may be malfunctioning. Replace the voltage regulator and if that doesn't correct the problem replace the generator."

Do you agree with that test procedure? It is much simpler than the Bentley test procedures and leaves the battery in circuit. Of course I will not be able to retest using this procedure until I get a new voltmeter as my 25 year old one seems to peg at 15.5 volts so it would be useless for this test.

Could my problem be caused by a bad connection at the idiot light on the dash or lack of continuity from the wire from 61 terminal to the light? The reason I am suspecting that is because shortly before the light started coming on and I started having these problems I washed my car and a whole lot of water came out from under the dash, probably from a clogged drain tube. The water came directly from the area where the Gen. light is on the dash and it got pretty wet under there. Could there be water stuck in the idiot light or just corrosion or a bad connection causing the light to stay on?
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What the Haynes manual says is a proper way to check a charging system. You can also check it at the B+ of the regulator. Or the D+ of the generator with the engine running.
The way the generator light works, is that on one side of the bulb has the 12V from the ignition switch. When you start the engine, you supply 12V from a second source, the charging system. If both sides are equal, the light goes out.
Any resistance or loose wire can cause the generator lite to glow.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I were to test the voltage at terminal 61 while the car was running shouldn't it also be 12 volts or more since it is connected to D+. It would have to be in order to shut off the idiot light according to your explanation if I understand it correctly.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Russ Wolfe wrote:
[email protected] wrote:
Russ Wolfe wrote:
If you show no voltage at the B+ terminal, then you are not connected to the battery. B+ is battery voltage. Are you sure you don't mean D+, which is the output from the generator.
Lately, I have been hearing of some poor quality of Bosch rebuilt units. Like they are not testing them before they leave the factory.
Take the belt off the generator, and then do the polarizing again. The generator should spin like a motor if it is good.
That is how I bench test used ones I get.


You are mistaken. Yes, there should be voltage at the B+ terminal if the battery is connected but to test the charging system the battery should be disconnected from the B+ terminal on the VR.
To do a no load regulated test on your charging system you first disconnect the wires from terminal B+ at the voltage regulator. You then connect a voltmeter to B+ and to ground and start the motor to check your voltage. If the voltage is not correct you then do a no load, unregulated test on the generator by disconnecting the DF and D+ leads from the terminals on the generator, connect the DF terminal to ground and connect a voltmeter positive lead to the D+ terminal and the voltmeter negetave lead to the DF terminal. If the voltage is correct then the Voltage regulator is at fault.
My generator tests fine using the no load, unregulated test but has the problem I mentioned earlier when doing the no load regulated test at the B+ terminal. There is little to no voltage and a buzzing sound.

You should always check a charging system with the battery in circuit. NEVER EVER run it without a battery in circuit. The regulator needs the battery as a reference voltage.
Been doing these things for longer than you have probably been on this earth.......


I'm solidly behind Russ on this one. Testing a charging system without a battery hooked up not only goes against my VW training, but against my Mercedes and Porsche training, as well.
The first requirement for a reliable test of ANY automotive charging system is a known good, fully charged battery. PERIOD.
the charging system cannot be checked if the circuit is not completed. On Alternator equipped cars, running without a battery is a surefire way of melting down the diodes, toasting the rectifier bridge, or both.
Think of it this way: Trying to test the charging system accurately without a battery to receive the energy is like trying to determine fuel pump output volume accurately without a vessel to catch the fuel... no matter WHAT any manual tries to tell you.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got a new voltmeter and was able to run tests today. I first tested at the battery with the motor off and and showed 12.5 Volts. I started the motor and no change it still was reading 12.5 volts even when I revved the motor. I then tested at the D+ terminal at the regulator and it also showed 12.5 volts with the motor running and no change when RPMs were increased. I then tested the generator without the regulator and it was reading just under 1 volt. So I polarized the generator again for the 3rd time now and tested again. The generator was now putting out the correct amount of voltage, around 14.5 volts at idle and off the 16 volt scale when RPMs were increased. I hooked everything back up, started the car and the generator light went off and everything appeared to be working just fine. Took it for a drive on the highway and the light remained off for a while then popped back on. Drove a little further and the light went off again. You could heard the voltage regulator click when the light would turn off. It staid off for a while until I got off the highway and stopped the car and shut off the ignition. When I restarted the car the Generator light would stay on until I revved the motor then it would go out but if I let it idle it would come back on. This happened for a short period of time then the light went off and stayed off until I got almost all the way home then it popped on again and went off again after a short distance of driving. When I got home I ran the tests again and it showed no charge at the battery with the motor running just a steady 12.5 volts. I tested at the with D+ terminal at the regulator again and it also read 12.5 volts with the motor running. So I shut it off, disconnected the VR from the generator again and ran the test on the generator again where it appeared to be charging normally for a short period of time then the voltage dropped off to just barely reading on the Voltage meter scale. I am guessing that there must be some kind of short in the generator itself causing it to work intermittantly, possibly when it gets hot. I bet it would of started to work if I polarized it again but as I have already polarized it 3 times I think that would just be a temporary fix and it would probably do the same thing all over again. I have another generator on order and should have it tomorrow and see if that fixes the problem.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Polarizing A New Voltage Regulator Reply with quote

I realize this post was 10 years ago, but what ended up happening? I am having the same issue.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Polarizing A New Voltage Regulator Reply with quote

So, your light is on? Flickering light is pretty common and not critical if your battery is staying charged. Did you press down on the top brush to see if the light goes out?
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